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Review by Markus Stamm, published October 2011
In a time before digital SLRs were invented, medium tele macro lenses in the range of 90 to 105 mm often had to cover two usage scenarios: macro shots, of course, but since most of these lenses were also rather fast in terms of aperture they also eliminated the need for a dedicated portrait lens for many.
In the digital era with APS-C sensors being used by the majority of DSLR owners, 60 mm lenses now cover the needs of macro shooters looking for medium tele options. But allthough the fast aperture of usually f/2.8 has remained, the reduced image size of crop sensors leads to increased depth of field over comparable full frame options, making these lenses less attractive for portrait shots or any other usage, where subject separation is one of the primary targets.
Tamron is the first to address this issue by offering a 60mm macro lens that features a maximum aperture of f/2.
The Tamron AF 60 SP Di II is a dedicated APS-C macro lens offering magnification of up to 1:1. The build quality of the lens is very decent thanks to an outer barrel made out of high quality plastic and in line with other current offerings from Tamron. The broad, rubberized focus ring is slightly damped.
Thanks to a true IF design, the physical length of the lens remains constant at all focus settings. Typical for most macro lenses, the effective aperture decreases towards the minimum focus distance. The lens reports this corrected value to the camera.
The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem.
The lens features an integrated AF drive, so it is compatible and provides AF with all current Nikon DSLRs, including the motor-free entry-level cameras. Unfortunately, the era of silent wave driven motors has not started yet at Tamron, so the AF produces a noticeable amount of noise during operation. There is a M/A-switch on the lens barrel, however the lens also offers FTM (full time manual) focus operation, so you can override the AF manually at any time.
|Equiv. focal length||90 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. aperture||f/3 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||14 elements in 10 groups incl. 2 LD elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7|
|min. focus distance||0.23 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)|
|Dimensions||73 x 80 mm|
|Filter size||55 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||barrel shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||Constant physical length (true IF design). Integrated AF motor.|