Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF
Lab Test Results
(From Tamron lens literature) Tamron introduces a new version of the famous 90mm macro lens for film and digital photography. Tamron's 90mm macro lens, often referred to as "the portrait macro"; and loved by photographers all over the world, is now reborn as a Di lens that is perfect for use with both film and digital cameras.
I have to admit that I really love macro lenses, and this Tamron 90mm f/2.8 seems like a real winner, particularly at its price point. Let's take a closer look:
In the sharpness department, this lens presents offers no opportunity for complaint. It's just a hair off critical sharpness wide open, but at f/4 it's "prickly sharp", and stays that way all the way out to f/11. Diffraction limiting starts to set in about f/16, and at f/32, diffraction makes for a very soft image. Across its broad sweet spot though, this lens is extremely sharp, and almost perfectly uniform across the entire frame.
The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 also does very well in terms of Chromatic Aberration, with low to moderate maximum CA and low average CA.
On a sub-frame camera, light uniformity is excellent across the board. Shading hits a maximum of only 0.2 EV wide open, and drops to more or less unmeasurable levels at f/4 and higher.
This focal length seems to be a nearly ideal one for lens designers to minimize distortion: The most distortion the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 shows just 0.04% pincushion, and average distortion is less than half that value.
The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 uses a conventional (as opposed to ultrasonic) motor, so isn't quite as fast nor as quiet as lenses powered by the more advanced technology. It doesn't do bad though, taking about 1.8 seconds to slew from closest focus to infinity, or a bit under a second when the focus-range switch on the side of the barrel is set to its "Limit" position (which limits the closest focusing distance to about 10-11 inches from the front of the lens). On our EOS-20D test body, focus acquisition and tracking seemed precise and sure-footed.
Build Quality and Handling The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 doesn't rise to the "built like a tank" quality of some manufacturer's primes, but its plastic barrel feels sturdy and solid, and manual focus operation is very smooth. The plastic construction does help a little with weight too, so this lens doesn't unbalance the camera to the extent some lenses built with more metal might.
The aforementioned focus limit switch is helpful when you're shooting at subject distances greater than a foot or so, as it greatly reduces the amount of time the camera could spend hunting for correct focus. At a range of ~11 inches from the front of the lens, and mounted on a 1.6x crop factor DSLR, the field of view is about 2.6 inches (67mm). With the focus limit disabled, the minimum field of view is about 0.87 inches (22mm), with a working distance of about 3.5 inches (~9 cm) from the front of the lens.
Speaking of working distance, for some reason, the front element of this lens is recessed into the barrel about 1.5 inches (~4cm). This decreases the working distance by that amount, but may also eliminate the need to use the included lens hood in all but the most extreme flare conditions. In common with other non-IF (Internal Focusing) lenses, the barrel of the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 extends quite a distance (about 2 inches, or 5 cm) as you focus closer.
This lens also has a different way of switching between manual and automatic focusing, which is accomplished by sliding the focus ring forward or back on the lens barrel. We found this much more convenient than the usual small slide switch most lenses use. As a visual cue that you're in manual focus mode, a blue ring around the end of the lens barrel is revealed when the focus ring is slid back to the manual position.
Prime macro lenses in the ~100mm range tend to be pretty darn good, regardless of who builds them, so competition for the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is pretty stiff. It holds its own pretty well though. As of this writing in mid-November, 2006, other lenses we've tested in this range include the Canon 100mm f/2.8, the Nikon 105mm f/2.8, in both its original and recent VR-equipped versions, and the Sigma 105mm f/2.8. In terms of sharpness, the Tamron 90mm does very well, and may in fact be the sharpest of the group, from about f/4 through f/11. (The Sigma may be almost imperceptibly sharper at f/11 and f/16.) All four lenses show very low shading and distortion. In terms of CA, the Sigma wins out over the other three, and the Tamron is slightly worse than the two manufacturer primes.(Although the differences there are small enough that they may be inconsequential.) Price-wise, the Tamron and Sigma are almost a toss-up, both running about a hundred dollars below the price of the manufacturer's lenses. (Except the new Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 VR lens, which is a bit over twice the cost of the Tamron, due in part to its inclusion of Vibration Reduction technology.)
At the end of the day, the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro stacks up very well against its competition. It's tack sharp, with very low distortion and shading, and has chromatic aberration comparable to that of competing manufacturer's lenses. Against its most direct competitor, the Sigma 105mm f/2.8, the Tamron is noticeably sharper at f/4, and slightly sharper from f/2.8 - f/8, but has slightly higher chromatic aberration. Bottom line, this is an excellent macro lens at a very attractive price, and available in a wide range of lens mounts (Canon, Minolta/Sony, Nikon, and Pentax).
Update 09/02/08: Tamron has announced that the Nikon mount version will be available with built-in AF motor (Model 272E) , for use with the Nikon D40, D40x and D60 SLRs.
Full-Frame Test Notes:
The full-frame test results for the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens look very similar to its sub-frame results, with the usual slight improvements from the larger pixels on our EOS-5D test body, and slight decreases in performance in the corners of the frame
Thanks to the 5D's larger pixels, the Tamron 90mm f/2.8's sweet spot extends from f/4 all the way to f/16, but there was some noticeable blurring in the upper corners of the frame wide open at f/2.8. Shading does increase to a bit over a half a stop at f/2.8 and a quarter stop at f/4, but drops to about 0.15 EV at f/5.6 and higher. Geometric distortion increases only a tiny amount, to 0.05% pincushion, while Chromatic Aberration drops just slightly relative to the sub-frame results on the 20D body.
The larger full-frame image circle presents a challenge to some lenses, but the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 takes it in stride quite easily, making this an excellent lens for full-frame macro work.
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF
Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 SP AF User Reviews
5 out of 10 points and not recommended by Beaversman (1 reviews)Good image quality Lightweight PriceColour profile noisy poor auto focus
I will admit this lens produces some good quality, sharp picture. Both macro and portrait. And yes, it less than half the price of the Nikon 105. However, the poor autofocus is a real disappointment. Sometimes near impossible to focus in dim lighting, and even if good sunlight it has a tendency to search though its entire range and even then still needs fine tuning. Yes it is sharp, but colours are a bit off compared to almost every other lens I own.reviewed March 22nd, 2017 (purchased for $400)
Would I recommend it? No, unless your on a very tight budget and no other option. Good glass is forever, this lens is a one night stand.
5 out of 10 points and not recommended by syousef (1 reviews)With AF fine tuning maxed out it is very sharp for portraits. Excellent macro results if focused manuallyFocus completely off and only corrected with maximum AF fine-tune. Not usable on my older DSLRs. Concerns dismissed by Ebay seller and Tamron support. Not economical to fix so must use as is.
It is extremely disappointing that the AF is so badly off because if my copy wasn't so miscalculated it would be a great lens. Once AF fine tune is maxed out on my D7100, the lens is good. I initially bought the non-Di version and had a lot of trouble with it, so returned that copy. I then bought this Di lens through grey import channels at a reasonable price. That turned out to be a mistake. My communication with the seller was pointless and I was directed to email Tamron in Australia and Japan. On communicating with Tamron that I was having issues getting a sharp image especially in portraits I was told that this is not a portrait lens and that I should use it only for macro. At the time of my communication I only had Nikon D70s and D90 bodies, which do not support AF fine tune. The lens went into the cupboard for 2-3 years until I eventually bought a D7100. On fiddling with the fine tune, eventually maxing it out, I found I could reliably get sharp images at any distance. Please note that I own other f/1.8 glass (35mm and 50mm) and that I have no trouble nailing focus with those lenses wide open with a decent keeper rate. I now own three Tamron lenses and I will be very reluctant to purchase a fourth. Buying this lens is a gamble unless you know you can return it for full refund without jumping through hoops. Camera and lens service being what it is in Australia doesn't help the situation.reviewed March 14th, 2016 (purchased for $389)
1 out of 10 points and not recommended by Trvthseeker (1 reviews)Lerns fell apart
Purchased the older (Non=Di) model used. Had it mounted on the camera on a tripod, with the lens pointed at the floor. The lens fell apart. The entire telescoping part fell out. I have never had a lens of any price from anyone fall apart. This has to be the ultimate in poor design. The camera store said I would have to send it to Tamron for repair, at $160.00 and up. They also offered to sell me the new Di model for $499.00. With a design flaw like this, I felt it would be sending good money after bad, and did not buy another Tamron. It won't even work as a boat anchor, it is too light. As you can tell, I am really upset.reviewed September 20th, 2014 (purchased for $250)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by robberstea (1 reviews)sharpness, smooth bokeh, bargain price, handling, focus limit switch, weightminimum focus distance, kit lens build quality
I love this lens. It does everything I need it to do and never gets in my way. The lens has all the features I need and offers flawless handling. The optical performance leaves nothing to be desired. The wonderful bokeh, focal length and focus limit switch make what could be a specialized lens highly adaptable. Whether I’m doing product shoots, taking a stroll through the woods or documenting a wedding this lens is always on hand. With its small size and light weight, there is no reason not to have it in your camera bag. In the less than one year I’ve owned it, it has captured some of my favorite images. All this from one of the cheapest macro lenses available. It’s a no-brainer for me to recommend this lens.reviewed December 5th, 2012 (purchased for $400)
View my full review (including pictures) at: http://jeffreypalmerphoto.com/photoblog/?p=1041
7 out of 10 points and not recommended by tclune (6 reviews)Extremely sharp, creamy bokehCA, too cramped macro focal distance
I picked up the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 1:1 macro lens while the Tamron $50 rebate is still in effect (good through the end of year). I am pretty much limited to lenses that are $500 or less, and have a Nikon D5000, so I was interested in a lens with a focusing motor. This lens, after rebate, was just over $400. One of the things that I wanted was to use the lens for indoor photos of school plays and the like, so I wanted it to be as bright as possible. I don't currently have a macro lens, so that was a plus -- although I am not really into macro photography, and have the Kenko 3 extension tubes set that has met what little need I have for such things so far.reviewed December 1st, 2010 (purchased for $410)
I am very favorably impressed with many aspects of this lens. It is sharper and brighter than the Nikon 85mm f/3.5 micro lens which was also in my price-range. This Tamron is just about as sharp as a lens can possibly be. Its color rendition, contrast, and bokeh are very pleasing. The motor is not silent, but close enough for me. The speed of focus is adequate for my purposes -- I don't do sports shooting and the like. Truth to tell, I don't have the chops for anything that won't sit still for me to figure out what I need to do.
Two aspects of the lens were disappointing, however. First, there is a lot more chromatic aberration (CA) than I was expecting, especially given SlrGear's assessment of CA on this lens. I use the auto-lateral CA removal with Capture NX2 and I never see any CA after that on any other lens I own -- even those that are known for their tendencies in this direction (my other lenses include the Tokina 12-24 f/4 DX II and the Nikon 35mm f/1.8). This lens, however, showed very obvious CA, especially wide open, even after removing lateral CA. The good news is that I am able to fully remove the CA using Capture NX2's axial CA removal slider. I just wasn't expecting to have to.
Second, the clearance distance between the lens and subject at 1:1 is stunningly short. Because the lens trombones and is recessed into its housing, at 1:1 the front of the lens housing is not much more than one inch from the focal point. I was expecting much better working distances from a 90mm lens. Macro isn't that important to me, so this isn't that big a deal. But, if I were actually caught up in macro (which I imagine the target market is) this lens would make me uncomfortable for that use. And it would not be possible to add one of the Kenko extenders to increase the magnification of this lens.
Overall, I am quite happy so far with this lens. It is a very good bargain. But it is not an unalloyed blessing.
I have a small gallery of photos that I took while evaluating this lens that shows the CA issue as well as the wonderful sharpness and creamy bokeh here: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6370541681/invite/77B3D176D43E47D6ADAFBF306EC04A51 In addition, the gallery may illustrate a problem that I have heard others mention -- on smooth focal regions, the focusing system does not seem to function as well as many other lenses do. But, as I comment in the gallery, I'm not absolutely sure that the back-focusing on one of the images was the fault of the lens and not "cockpit error." I don't think so, but I can't be positive.
ETA: Having lived with this lens for a year or so now, I wouldn't buy it again. I don't use it much anymore because of the LoCA and its tendency to miss focus at mid distance. I will still use it for macro photography, although I wish it had a better working distance. And, if I am specifically shooting portraits outdoors, I will include this lens in my bag. But, for the most part, it just sits at home. So I've changed my recommendation to a "no," even though the facts about the lens haven't changed over the last year. The lens isn't awful, but it is the only lens that I own that I have such luke-warm feelings about using.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Mac_In_FL (5 reviews)A bargain. Can serve as macro and portrait. Sharp wide open ... stop it down and it just gets better.Focus is slow but not unusual with macro lens. Build quailty is not top tier but good for price.
I continue to be amazed at the quality this lens can provide. It was one of the first I picked up when migrating to Nikon system. In addition to being an excellent macro lens, I have heard the Tamron 90/2.8 called the "poor man's portrait lens" and indeed it can wear two hats.reviewed July 23rd, 2010 (purchased for $325)
As a straight macro lens, it leaves little to be desired. Performance is good wide open and continues to improve until around f11 or so. I think the photographers technique will be the only limitation when using this lens.
The Tamron can also serve as a good portrait lens, though a little long on DX sensor. The only drawback is the focus can be a little slow and noisy compared to an AF-S lens but is to be expected considering the wide focusing radius on a macro lens.
To underscore how good this lens is, I later upgraded to the Nikon 105/2.8 AF-S VR. The Nikon is a fine lens and has its own unique advantages but I was surprised to find that the Tamron out performed the Nikon at every aperture regarding sharpness, especially wide open f2.8. I planned to sell the Tamron to cover the cost of the Nikon upgrade but after a year, I still have the Tamron. Considering how little I have in the lens, doubt that I will ever sell it. It is that good.
Very few downsides:
- the lens barrel extends out quite a bit when close focusing.
- build quality is a not professional grade but it doesn't cost $$$ so a fair trade-off.
- focusing is way under-damped. When disconnected from a camera body, the lens barrel will extend if held vertical.
I highly recommend this lens, especially if you are starting a a new system on a budget. Great lens!
8 out of 10 points and recommended by lightknight (31 reviews)very sharp, good focal lengthbuild quality
This is a very sharp lens and it is highly competitive with almost any other, whether for macro or landscape: see the following landscape:reviewed February 5th, 2010 (purchased for $400)
I would have any number of these and I know that comparing them with other lenses that I have they are around as good as one can get sharpness wise.
The main issue with it for me is that its build quality, while smartly presented (which is why I have given it 6) , leads to it being too unreliable as a day to day lens for a semi or pro photographer. As the lens trombones out during close focusing it has twice broken its internal plastic retaining lugs allowing the object lens to literal fall out. The fist time this cost me about $250 to repair, but the second time I have given up and it now sits in my cupboard unused and unloved. This is a shame.
7 out of 10 points and not recommended by yanjianh (1 reviews)Lightweight, sharptoo easy to get sand in, very special serice
I need a lens for portrait and macro. I narrowed down two choices: Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S VR or Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di. I searched the internet. Thom Hogan says ” The big difference is this (between the Nikon and tamron): for $400 less money, you give up VR, focus speed, and a bit of build quality from the Nikon 105mm. That's about it. The Tamron 90mm is the poor man's mid-range macro.” (http://www.bythom.com/105AFSlens.htm). I learned the Nikon is bulkier, heavier and cost much more, the tamron is cheaper, optic quality if not better, at least as good as the Nikon, I also learned from somewhere Tamron’s service is good, fast, six years. I am not a professional, not going to use it a lot, so I ordered the Tamron from B&H in May15, 2009.reviewed October 7th, 2009 (purchased for $460)
I tried the lens to shoot a quarter; it IS sharper than my Nikon 28-105mm D. it is summer time, I bring my boy to North Beach in Chicago. I quickly found that the lens refuse to focus automatically without any warnings. It just won’t focus when I press the shutter bottom. But if I power the D200 off and on, or unscrew the lens off the body and put back again, the focus will be back. Tamron uses a push and pull mechanism to switch from manual focus to automatic focus, actually I like this, but the problem is the switch is not smooth. Sometimes I have to first turn the lens about 45 degree before I can pull it back.
I remembered I read somewhere some one is saying it has the same problem. I want the lens, don’t want to return it. Summer is good, I used it for about three to five times on the beach, but the problems are getting worse. So I decided to send it back to Tamron for a check.
Tamron mailed back. Saying it needs 160.0$ to repair and it is not under warranty. The repair listed is
“ SK Evidence of shock damage
F Focus defect or poor image quality
Z Zoom defect
1 General check, clean, and adjust
2 ETA:10, Business days depending on volume”
This morning (Oct 6, 2009) I called 1-800-827 8880. A gentleman answered. I said I just used the lens four to five times, and I never dropped or bumped the lens, how could it be shock damage” He asked me to wait him to get the lens. He came back saying the lens has sand in it, it is the sand causing the problems, so not covered by warranty. I said I did use it on beach, sand could be there, but it might not be the cause of the problems. He then said, actually the lens needs a “major repair”, they are doing me a favor, price it for a “minor” repair. I asked him if he really believes it is the sand that causes the problems, he confirmed and told me to think about it, and I don’t need to make a decision at the moment( to pay the 160.0$).
I hang up, not happy, the estimate did not say anything about sands, instead “shock damage”. So I called again. This time a lady answered. I told Her in a very calm voice” I might not be in a good mood, so I am sorry”. The lady said “I am not in good mood too”. So I tried to tell the story. Not long into it, she interrupted me, saying I can keep going on and on, but it will not change the conclusion, sand causes the problems and not covered by warranty, and she has that lens too, it is the best lens Tamron ever produced, no problems at all. Then I asked if I paid the money, you fix it, and when it gets back, the sand is no more there, but the problems come back, will tamron refund the money because that approves it is not the sand that causes the problems. The lady said no, if the problem comes back, they can repair it again. I said, then it approves it is not the sand causing the problems. She said they could be caused by something else, but they can’t refund you. I asked, why not, and then she said “hold on”. I waited, waited about five minutes, then another voice said hello. I said I was talking to a lady, the lady wanted me to hold, I don’t know how the phone got it to you. Then I was transferred to the lady in the service dept again.
The lady said “sorry, I have another call”. She said she talked to the manager, the highest person in charge of the repairs. The manager said they made a mistake, it is a major repairs, needs to charge more than 300.0$. The lady then said, at least it needs 240.0$ instead of the 160.0 to repair it, but it is their mistake, so they will honor the 160.0$. I began to feel guilty if i don't accept the kind 160.0$ offer, but I stupidly repeated the same question if she really believes it is the sand or the sand particle is coincidental there. She told me to hold again.
I waited this time much longer; the phone went back to the operator again in about 8 to 10 minutes. I asked the lady in the service dept if you asked me to “hold”, will the phone go back to the operator. The lady said” yes, it loops”.
I asked the lady if there is Tamron authorized service agents in Chicao, The lady said”no, there is only one in California, they will charge you three times more”.
I gave them my credit card number, 160.0$, a lifelong big lesson.
Here are a few things I learned:
1.The repairs stated on the Repair Acknowledgement/Estimate” might not be the real cause, as “shock damage” to “sand” in my case.
2. They will make mistakes in estmate, from “major repair” to “minor repair”. They should charge from more than 300 to 240 to 160, they are doing me great favors.
3. Their phone loops. They will ask you to hold, the time during “hold”, the phone will loop from the service department to the operator of the company. However, the operator is nice enough to transfer you back to the service agent you were talking with, and the line was not cut.
4. No Tamron authorized service agent in Chicago, only one in California, it might charge three times more.
5. Sand will easily get into the lens (my years old Nikon 28-105mm is not, taking so many pictures on the beach). Sand particles at least will stop the auto focus that can be saved by power off the body and void the warranty.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by sgnirts (7 reviews)Sharp, f2.8,build
I like the range of the Tamron 90mm macro. this is a fairly versatile lens, but best for macro work. the build quality leaves much to be desired, the autofocus cooked some time ago.reviewed February 6th, 2009 (purchased for $250)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by Badmono (15 reviews)Cheap lens - nice 'n sharp wide openThe Brand Name
I was given this lens by a friend over a year ago, being a Tamron I never found a reason to use it, however I recently give it a try when I had to do some Bug shots- To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement, this lens is damn sharp - plenty good enough for my amount of macro useage, and the colours were crisp and true. What else can anyone ask from a lens.reviewed November 24th, 2008
Well done Tamron.
My only whinge the black paint job is very flaky and with the small amount of use this lens has had it looks fairly battered. So I would say its a good lens for amateur use, but I believe Pro's would hate to see their kit look so used after so little careful usage.
7 out of 10 points and recommended by x-other (2 reviews)SharpBuild quality, slow focus, hunting on dim light conditions
The image quality is excellent with my D200, but within 4 months I couldn't focus on infinite despite of any lack of damages on the lens or camera. The clutch focus is more facile than A/M button, but shows some lack of precision (must be a little bit rotate before switching from one mode to another).reviewed March 6th, 2008
I have to take it back from the service and I have to decide if to keep it or to add another 300 EUR for 105 VR.
I really don't know if mechanical construction and some trouble with it worth to spend some more money for almost the same image quality. I'll let you know!
10 out of 10 points and recommended by grahambo (8 reviews)sharp, bokeh, handeling, cluth mechanism, logical limit switchOld style focus mechanism (sorry D40/D60 owners), Not a zoom?
Tamron has been offering a great rebates on this lens. I got $90 back. :)reviewed February 24th, 2008 (purchased for $390)
I don't use is as much as my zooms, but when this is the right tool for the job, there is no substitute. Image quality is impeccable on my D80.
Consider carefully what length macro lens you get. At 90mm (actually longer when focused close, that's just how macro lenses work), I have to stop down a lot for depth of field. For flowers, a 50mm or 60mm might be better, but you have to be careful not to shade the subject. 90mm to 105mm is really the starting point for doing bugs and portraits. It gives a better working distance and stronger bokeh. The 90-105 lenses seem very general-purpose. For seriously chasing bugs, consider a 150 or 180 and a good flash.
Pictures with the 90mm macro on my photoblog: www.photograhambo.com/index.php?x=browse&category=21
10 out of 10 points and recommended by rainerknappe (24 reviews)sharpness, light-weight, easy to usetoo much plastic
A real brillant macro-lens. I am using the Pentax-K-mount (DSLR Pentax K 10) and the lens works really fine and giving fantastic results, even at f2.8. Strong sharpness, very good contrast, exellent bokeh.......reviewed January 8th, 2008 (purchased for $390)
The construction is very solid, but there is a little bit to much plastic in. Together with the Sigma EX DG 70mm f2.8 the best macro on the market. 1000% recommended!
7 out of 10 points and recommended by SETI (20 reviews)Lightweight, sharp, non-expensive, amazing bokeh !chromatic aberrations, slow focus
Got it for my old D50. Great... portrait lens =))) Macro is good too, but it's 9 rounded aperture blades makes very expressive images !reviewed April 26th, 2007 (purchased for $400)
It's weak point is ability to catch CAs ! I had even long correspondence with Tamron about it and they tried to tell me that it's impossible. I had change it to another and got same problems (tried it at my D200 too). So... I sold it =)
Also AF is slow... So, I can recommend it as a portrait lens with good macro included =)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by italy74 (8 reviews)Great sharpness and value for moneyAs many other similar lenses, it doesn't keep F2.8 at closer distances
Definitely a great lens for the money paid. Optically excellent, it "pays" only the barrel extension which isn't really a problem in macro shots, rather in close portraits, where a shallow depth of field could be required. Not its problem, though, since almost all macros (except the Nikkor 105 VR and Sigma 150 F2.8) behave the same way. An inner motor could make this lens much faster in focusing. For macro, it's better working in manual focus and not choosing wider apertures than F/8 unless you are a wizard. Despite its "plasticky" finish, optically is really great and well worths the money paid. Highly recommended!reviewed April 23rd, 2007 (purchased for $580)
8 out of 10 points and recommended by jdf (8 reviews)
I have used this lens, in a very short time, but it did gave me great impressions, it's very light and compact. The AF is somewhat slow in comparison to a USM lens but very good.reviewed January 12th, 2007
The best is the image quality. it's superb! Very sharp wide open, to f16! A very good alternative indeed.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by thomiz (16 reviews)Sharp, lightweightNot to sturdy
Excellent lense. The IQ of this lense on a DX body is wery good. I does extend to an obsene amount. I owned the earlier version (before Di) and it did not have great build quality, it was totally acceptable, but not among the best.reviewed January 11th, 2007
9 out of 10 points and recommended by _Mike_D (12 reviews)Perfect focal lenght (for my taste), Sharp, LightweightPurple Fringing in extreme highlights
This is a great lens. I had previously owned a sigma 105, but the sigma was just a little too much on the tele side for my taste.reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $425)
The lens appears sharp across the entire frame and the images it produces are a pleasure to look at.
My only complaint is the lens seems to generate more purple fringing around extreme highlights (sun reflections and such) than my other lenses. This is almost never a problem, but it can be annoying.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by mortensven (2 reviews)Good build, good opticsno stabilizer
I only use it occationally, but it does deliver some fine shots. For portraits and macro stuff (for which it was build), it draws superb images. If you can handle it, that is. Because it isn't exactly very well balanced on the 20D. It's too long for it's light weight, I gather. I have to use 1/180 sec exposure time or less to be sure to avoid motion (photographer's) blur. Could use my tripod, but usually can't bother logging it around. If this just had the gyro-things (Image Stabilizer), wow...But it doesn't.reviewed December 18th, 2006
In daylight situations, it is a pleasure to work with. The focus ring is nice, big and smooth. It's f/2.8 aperture delivers a bright image in the viewfinder. The recessed front element and included hood gives good protection from raindrops, dust and sunshine.
Sharpness isn't really topnotch on my specimen, but so far it hasn't given me any tension. Other optical issues: Nope, it performs brilliantly.
8 out of 10 points and recommended by diamondpete (2 reviews)Sharp, lightslow focus at times
I use this lens mostly for macro work, though occasionally for portraits as well, because it is the right focal length for portraits. It is a very sharp lens, especially for macros. Although it has a good build quality, it is light, which also argues in favor of using it for multi-purpose. I have found it to be somewhat slow in the focussing, especially in low light situations. All in all I recommend this lens.reviewed December 17th, 2006
10 out of 10 points and recommended by zooomlenz (6 reviews)Sharp (WOW!), Did I say it was sharp?None
Probably the best non Nikon ED or non Canon L lens I have ever used. I have no complaints on this one. A fine addition to any photographer's camera bag.reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $440)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by rbh8252 (3 reviews)Excellent image quality at a great price pointNoisy AF drive
I've been shooting with this lens for 5 months now and find it to be a great Macro and Portrait lens. Over all this is an excellent prime lens that is getting more use than I expected when I purchased it and have no regrets in its purchase.reviewed November 27th, 2006 (purchased for $440)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by planefreek22 (2 reviews)VERY sharp, focuses a lot faster than I expectednot silent, clutch
Great build and image quality. Great value too. My friend has one that he let me play around with. The only drawbacks I can see are the fact that: 1. it's loudish 2. I prefer the full time MF overide on Nikon's AF-S lenses to the clutch mechanismreviewed November 25th, 2006 (purchased for $435)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by Lawrence88 (5 reviews)Sharp lens, lightExtending barrel, hunting AF in low light
The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 is a very good macro lens for the price. It is a very sharp lens and does what it's supposed to do, good color, contrast and excellent sharpness. The build quality is decent, although I am worried about the long term life of the mechanism used to switch focusing mode from auto to manual.reviewed November 24th, 2006 (purchased for $310)
Most of the use of this lens should be in manual mode, as macro is about working distance. Here the lens allows very fine manual focusing as it turns around 180 degrees compared to Canon's 100mm. Its AF performance is also inconsistent in available light (room with ambient lighting), where it will keep hunting without stopping to focus. It's not a problem with a flash attached (580EX in my case).
Last thing, due to its extending barrel (about 50% of its total length), hunting bugs/live small animals could be a problem.
All in all, a very nice macro lens for the price. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by julioalperi (15 reviews)Resolution,distortions,vignetting,CAs,bokeh.price.None.
This is an excellent lens. Resolution is extremely high strait from F:2.8 ( my D200 reads 3 ),Good contrast, vignetting is very low, CAs are low and distortions are extremely low ( not visible ). Very nice bokeh.The build quality is good. I highly recommend this lens.reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $399)
9 out of 10 points and recommended by nikoskard (17 reviews)Sharp, True Macro, Light Weight, Price.Feel not quite well build, extend a lot for 1:1 macro, Loudy AF mode
Very Sharp, true Macro Lens. Well Build, although, not feel like.reviewed November 14th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
Not so smooth control, but defenetlly a superb IQ. Sharp from Center to Corners with high Contrast and well flare control.
The only thing i would like to have is inner focusing, especially when shoot macro life.
Highly recommended, but also have a look in Sigma 150 and Canon 100/60.
10 out of 10 points and recommended by dumbo (3 reviews)Very sharp, Great BokehGets longer when focusing closer
This lens is super. It's sharp and have wonderful bokeh. It's light and compact.reviewed October 25th, 2005 (purchased for $540)
The front lens is recessed pretty deep into the lens. This give a little less working distance, but makes the use of a lens hood (bundeled with the lens) unnecessary most of the time.
This lens has one downside, which applies on all lenses that does not have internal focusing, and that is that it becomes longer as you focus closer. No big deal IMO.
Under some extreme backlit surcumstances I've noticed a little more decrease of contrast than you normally would like. This can be used creativly also, of course. It's nice (at least sometimes) to fill the entire frame with a golden glow when the sun stands low.
I have not notices any flare yet, though.
It's not boult like a tank, but I think the bould quality is pretty good. As long as you don't use it to hammer nails when building your house it should serve you well for a long time.
Oh... And the push-pull AF/MF selector is very neat. AF is farily fast on my D70. Faster than I though it would be. I've used it so catch flying birds with good results.
9 out of 10 points and recommended by wtfgary (1 reviews)Sharp, Affordable, Reasonable weight and buildFocus speed, noise of the motor
This is one hack of a great lens. I have been using for one and a half year. Yes, it is a prime but it is my favourite lens in my collection because of great sharpness, good bokah, and it's affordable price.reviewed October 21st, 2005
Bad thing is, it does extend quite a bit and make sound motor noise when it's focusing.