Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 SP Di macro (Nikon mount) - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published July 2006

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Julio M. Alperi Gonzalez!


The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP macro is a recent update to the highly popular AF 90mm f/2.8 SP macro. The lens is a designated Di (Digitally Integrated) lens which refers to an optimized lens design for image sensors specially regarding chromatic aberrations (CAs). Tamron also improved the coating of the lens elements to take care of the more pronounced reflections from the image sensor. The lens belongs to Tamron's SP (Super Performance) line up indicating a professional grade lens similar to Sigma's EX lenses. On the D200 (used for testing) the field-of-view is equivalent to about 135mm on full format cameras. The primary application of the lens is, obviously, macro photography but it's not limited to that - infinity focus is possible.

Note: the product images above show the Canon variant of the lens

The build quality is very good with an exceptionally smooth but little damped focus ring. Typical for most macro lenses the length of the lens increases substantially when focusing towards closer distances. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is not problem. Besides the lens and a soft-bag the lens package also includes a lens hood but this is really a strictly optional accessory item because the front element resides deep within the lens (about 2cm below the front) making it a little hard to clean the front element of the lens.

Switching between manual- and auto-focus is possible via a focus clutch mechanism by moving the focus ring back and forth. This can be done in any focus position. Quite nice actually (Canon & Nikon only. On Sony and Pentax DSLRs it is a two-step process). Typical for most conventional lenses in Nikon mount the Tamron has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. As a result the AF generates a moderate degree of noise. The AF speed is Ok but unless you use the lens for macro photography it is a good idea to take advantage of the focus limiter in order to avoid excessive AF hunting throughout the focus range.

Equiv. focal length135 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction12 elements in 9 groups
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.29 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)
Dimensions72 x 97 mm
Weight405 g
Filter size55 mm (non-rotating)
HoodBarrel shaped (supplied)
Other featuresOne-touch focus clutch. Focus limiter.