Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro Review: Sleek, redesigned macro lens offers fantastic image quality


posted Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 6:02 PM EDT


Tamron's been on a tear recently, releasing or announcing a number of redesigned, high quality lenses. The latest new model hitting our testing lab is the most recent edition of Tamron's venerable 90mm f/2.8 Macro lens. Beginning last September with a pair of all-new f/1.8 stabilized primes -- in the 35mm and 45mm varieties -- Tamron appears to be taking aim at Sigma with its very own premium yet affordable lenses that offer high quality performance, as well as features like image stabilzation which aren't often seen in competing optics from the bigger manufacturers.

Like its other recent SP-series lenses, the new Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro (Model F017) undergoes the same cosmetic redesign with a smooth, matte black finish and a champagne-gold ring around the lens mount. Regarding the optical design itself, there's not a lot of difference between this new model and the previous one -- this can be considered, more or less, a refinement on that lens. There is, however, a fluorine coating on the front lens element for improved resistance to moisture, dirt and smudges. Additionally, the weather-sealing throughout the lens is said to be improved.

Nikon D800E: f/3, 1/1000s, ISO 100

As for the optical performance, this lens is fantastic. We're talking tack-sharp images, even at f/2.8. And being a 1:1 macro lens, you'll often find yourself stopping down quite a bit for true close-up work, and we found excellent sharpness all the way to f/22 with minimal diffraction-related softening. The lens can keep going, down to f/36, but that's best avoided, we think. The lens' other optical qualities are equally excellent, as is its image stabilization system. 

For all the details, including our full testing results, lab sample images and real-world gallery photos, check out our in-depth Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Macro review.

Nikon D800E: f/20, 1/200s, ISO 125, -1.3EV
Nikon D800E: f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 100

Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro Review