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Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD (F017) Review

John Riley reviews the new Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD lens with improved image stabilisation, image quality and design.

|  Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 MACRO 1:1 Di VC USD F017 in Interchangeable Lenses
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SP 90mm f/2.8 MACRO 1:1 Di VC USD F004

Tamron's 90mm Macro lenses have always enjoyed an enviable reputation, both in their original manual focus guise and later with auto-focus added to the specification. This new version promises faster AF, improved VC (vibration control) and improved resolution. Does this challenge the best of the best? Let's find out.


Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Handling and Features

Tamron Sp 90mm F2,8 Macro On Canon 6D

The lens has 14 elements in 11 groups, including 1 LD (Low dispersion) and 2 XLD (Extra low dispersion) elements, with a Fluorine coating on the front surface to repel dirt and grease. It employs floating elements to ensure optimum performance at all distances.

Reflections are suppressed using eBAND and BBAR coatings. eBAND (Extended Bandwidth and Angular Dependency) is a nano crystal coating and BBAR (Broad Band Anti Reflection) is Tamron's version of multi-coating. The lens focuses to 0.3m, has a maximum magnification of 1:1 or Life Size, takes 62mm filters, has 9 diaphragm blades and weighs in at a reasonable 610g. 

It is an AF lens and also has Vibration Control (VC) to reduce the possibility of camera shake. The VC has been upgraded to include X-Y axis control. Two switches on the lens barrel control AF/MF and VC on/off. There is also a focus limiter to select either full range or a reduced range of 0.3m to 0.5m. This should assist in preventing hunting when working at macro distances. There is a solid plastic bayonet fit lens hood provided and this clicks firmly but easily into place.

Focusing is snappy and the viewfinder image reassuringly crisp. The point of focus is very precise, although there is the odd time when the lens will hunt over its full range. As there is no aperture ring on the lens there is no depth of field scale either. Manual focusing is via a wide rubber ring at the front of the lens. The distance scale is marked in metres, feet and magnification ratios. The direction of focus was correct for the Canon EOS 6D camera used for this review.

Tamron Sp 90mm F2,8 Macro With Lenshood On Canon 6D

The VC system takes about one second to click in, which does mean it is best switched off for action subjects. It is also best to switch it off when using the camera on a tripod as the VC system may try to hunt for vibration that does not exist. It is however, excellent for more static subjects and continues to work well even for macro shots. This is the first time I have found a macro lens that I am happy to use in AF most of the time.

Moisture and dust resistant seals are included in the lens construction, a feature that is really useful as we can now continue shooting images regardless of the weather conditions. The lens is fairly bulky but it balances well on the Canon EOS 6D used for this review, making a very ergonomic package. The operation of all controls is smooth and reliable.

Applications will cover many different areas of photography, from portraits to landscapes, sports, close up and macro in particular of course and anything else needing a short telephoto lens. The fact that it is a macro lens adds a considerable amount of versatility to an optic that is equally at home shooting landscapes.

Tamron Sp 90mm F2,8 Macro Rear Oblique View

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themak 8 1.0k Scotland
28 Apr 2016 12:03AM
You've described this as the F004 model - I think it's the F017.
joshwa Plus
11 927 1 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2016 8:30AM
This has been corrected, thanks

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