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Thread: Tamron 90mm macro

  1. #1

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    Tamron 90mm macro

    G'day, just a quick question, I am looking to get a macro lens and have seen the
    Tamron SPAF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1
    I am looking to get flowers and some Bugs and Insects, What does everyone think of this lens as a starter lens?
    Peter

  2. #2
    sleist's Avatar
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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    Hi Peter,

    I have used this lens on a D90 and D5000 (nikon mount)
    Very sharp. Excellent image quality.
    The front element extends when focusing, but the working distance is large enough to not bother me.

    It focuses slow, which is the case with most macro lenses.
    No VR like the nikom 105mm, but I don't use VR for macro anyway.

    The bokeh is very pleasing as well.

    See Thom Hogan's nod to this lens at the bottom of his Nikon 105mm f/2.8 micro review

    http://www.bythom.com/105AFSlens.htm

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    I have been using a Canon mount Tamron 90mm f/2.8 AF SP macro lens for years. This is the model previous to the present Tamron 90mm f/2.8 AF SP Di lens. The Di designator in Tamron's alphabet soup label indicates that the lens is "optimized" for digital use. However, I have achieved very nice imagery with my non-Di lens.

    Tamron 90mm macro

    I purchased this lens, used, in mint condition on eBay several years ago at a low price of $USD 100. It has done the job for me quite well and I would expect that the Di version might even be a bit better. However, I am satisfied with my lens.


    Tamron issued a 90mm f/2.5 manual focus "Adapt-All" lens previous to the two 90mm auto focus lenses. This "Adapt-All" lens could fit on different cameras by just changing the adapter mount. However, the image quality was not up to that produced by the later 90mm f/2.8 auto-focus models.

    The auto-focus on the 90mm f/2.8 (series) lenses is fairly slow. Slower than the 100mm f/2.8 Canon Macro Lenses which are equipped with Ultra Sonic Motor (USM) drive. However the auto-focus, once attained is very accurate. The speed of the auto-focus doesn't bother me because I shoot macro in manual focus and my secondary use for this lens is portraiture and that doesn't require exceptionally speedy auto-focus. I don't think I would like this lens if I additionally wanted to use it as a short, general purpose prime telephoto because of its slower auto-focus.

    BTW: the bokeh produced by the Tamron is smooth and creamy; earning it the nickname, "The Portrait Macro". Here is a review which mentionss this lens for portraiture.
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/s...hp?product=249

    Here is a review of the 90mm f/2.8 AF SP Di on Nikon bodies.
    http://www.nikonians.org/html/resour...mron/90_macro/

    The Tamron lens, new, is quite a bit less expensive than the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro (non-L version). A new Tamron purchased from Amazon.com runs about $375 for Nikon or Canon mounts; compared with the 100mm f/2.8 Canon price of $569 from Amazon. That is almost a two hundred dollar difference.

    The Tamron lens cannot be used with a tripod ring mount but, it is so light in weight that such a mount is completely unnecessary.

    My Tamron doesn't have a stabilization system such as the Canon IS or Nikon VR. Stabilization would be nice but, I don't consider it an absolute necessity. Photographers have been shooting macro photography for many years without stabilization. Macro lenses with stabilization systems are far-far more expensive than the Tamron.

    Both the 90mm Tamron and the 100mm Canon are very good lenses. I have not used the 100mm Canon but, it is (along with the L-grade IS model) the gold standard among Canon mount macro lenses and I would expect that the 105mm Nikon Macro could go head to head with the Canon 100mm. I am very happy with my non-Di Tamron. If you want to be frugal, you might haunt eBay or other used camera equipment sites to see if a 90mm f/2.8 non-Di Tamron pops up. I would not pay much over $200 for this lens but, if you can find one for that price or under, it will be a good buy. I would not purchase the f/2.5 "Adapt-All" model.

    BTW: I agree with Thom Hogan's statements
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 22nd October 2011 at 07:13 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    If you are photographing flowers, Peter, then 90 mm is fine; but if you are likely to get really keen on insects I would recommend getting something bigger like 150 mm for example.

    You can get really close to flowers, or other inanimate subjects but bugs are likely to fly/run away at 12 ins approx.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    I agree with Geoff but, if you are shooting with a crop camera, the 90mm is an equivalent 135mm for a Nikon and 144mm for a Canon. However, at 1:1 image ratio, the lens to subject distance is the same for a crop camera as for a full frame camera. I can understand how a 90mm macro would not be long enough on a full frame camera for a lot of less than 1:1 shots. I shot with a 90mm Vivitar macro on 35mm film cameras and it was not IMO long enough for insects, etc. I centainly would not want to shoot with a 50mm or 60mm macro - even on a cop camera.

    I have not had a lot of trouble with the 90mm on my 1.6x canon cameras. The advantage of the 90mm is that the Tamron is really light weight and can be hand held relatively easily. I hand-hold much of my bug shots because I can follow the little creepy-crawlers more easily when off tripod.

    BTW: Using my Canon 300mm f/4L IS lens which has a MFD of about 59 inches (about 150 cm) I can get a pretty decent magnification of .24x (about 1:4). Add a 12mm or 25mm extension tube and you can get magnbifications of up to .9x which is almost 1:1. I don't have an extension tube but often shoot my 300mm f/4L IS with a 1.4x TC for closeup work. It makes a pretty nice long focal length pseudo-macro lens with Image Stabilization with which I can stay a long distance off.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 23rd October 2011 at 02:50 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I agree with Geoff but, if you are shooting with a crop camera, the 90mm is an equivalent 135mm for a Nikon and 144mm for a Canon. However, at 1:1 image ratio, the lens to subject distance is the same for a crop camera as for a full frame camera. I can understand how a 90mm macro would not be long enough on a full frame camera for a lot of less than 1:1 shots. I shot with a 90mm Vivitar macro on 35mm film cameras and it was not IMO long enough for insects, etc. I centainly would not want to shoot with a 50mm or 60mm macro - even on a cop camera.

    I have not had a lot of trouble with the 90mm on my 1.6x canon cameras. The advantage of the 90mm is that the Tamron is really light weight and can be hand held relatively easily. I hand-hold much of my bug shots because I can follow the little creepy-crawlers more easily when off tripod.
    Very true. I have the Sigma 150, but really need a tripod for sharp shots in natural light.
    The Tamron is very easy to handhold.

  7. #7
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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    I will add to the comments by Richard and Steve; my Canon 100 macro is just fine on the 30D (crop) body, but not significantly better on the 5DII.

    I may have mentioned it on another thread, but shooting from the same distance with the 100 mm at the same object, when the image from the 5DII is cropped to what I get with the 30D, the MP left is about 8.4, compared to the 8.1 of the 30D.

    A FF body really needs something longer than 100 mm focal length for real macro shots - actually most of my shots are not truly macro in the strictest sense (1:1); they're just closeups.

    So I would never recommend a 90 mm macro for a FF body. And really, the same goes for Canon's 60mm EFS macro on a smaller sensor.

    Glenn

    PS (23 oct 11):

    There are many times when I'm working at or very close to MFD (minimum focus distance) which is governed by the lens not the camera.

    The 30D's full 8.1 MP can be utilized for an image, but at the same object to sensor distance, the 5DII image must be cropped: 5/8 x 5/8 x 21 MP yields 8.2 MP - not much better than the 30D.

    Starting with 21 MP on the 5DII, and c
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 23rd October 2011 at 04:48 PM.

  8. #8
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Tamron 90mm macro

    At the risk of beating a dead horse... Glenn is perfectly correct when he stated that most "macro" shots are shot at a considerably lower image ratio than 1:1 (tiny insects excepted). Shooting at a 1:1 image a full frame camera would only cover an area of 36x24mm while the Canon 1.6x and Nikon 1.5x formats will cover an area even smaller. However, if I were to shoot at a 1:4 image ratio and print to a 4"x6" (or European equivalent) size, the image on the print would be greater than 1:1. If I viewed the uncropped image on a computer monitor, the result would be vastly larger than 1:1.

    The advantage of a macro lens is not only that you can get large image ratios (up to 1:1) without the need for an extension tube or a close-up filter (also called a close-up lens) but, that the optics of a macro lens are designed for optimum quality and lack of distortion when shooting at very close quarters. Some "normal" lenses do not produce optimum imagery at the MFD.

    Most macro lenses, including the hundred U.S. dollar or so Phoenix macro (sold under various labels) provide very good to excellent imagery. IMO, although you CAN shoot close ups and even 1:1 or greater shots using non-macro lenses with extension tubes or reversed lenses; the macro lens which allows 1:1 imagery is to easiest and IMO most pleasant way of achieving close-up and macro imagery.

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