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02-22-2012, 10:07 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Tamron 90mm vs Pentax D-FA 100mm WR Macro

Now that there are only two 100mm-ish AF macro lenses available new for Pentax, it wasn't hard to compare them all to each other

See below for our latest lens review: the Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro vs the Pentax D-FA 100mm F2.8 WR Macro:
Tamron 90mm Macro vs Pentax 100mm WR: Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Enjoy!


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02-22-2012, 10:12 PM   #2
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Adam,
Well done. Great stuff.
Thank you.
02-22-2012, 10:23 PM - 1 Like   #3
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For the record, the review was written by forum member bdery. I would probably explode if I had to run the site plus generate 100% of the content on the homepage I think he did a fantastic job, too!

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02-22-2012, 10:25 PM   #4
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Thanks. I had been considering buying a WR to compare for myself. I guess I can live happily with my Tammy.

02-23-2012, 01:29 AM   #5
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Sigma still make the 105mm f/2.8 Macro you know
02-23-2012, 02:25 AM   #6
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Thanks bdery, great review. It does confirm my observations so far and I can fully agree with the conclusion.
02-23-2012, 06:07 AM - 4 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
Thanks bdery, great review. It does confirm my observations so far and I can fully agree with the conclusion.
A pleasure. It was quite a bit of work, but very interesting. I hope it can help some people decide!
02-23-2012, 08:55 AM   #8
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Strong work! Seems like in the 100 mm-ish macro lens department there isn't a bad lens. I chose the D FA 100mm WR because of the build, quick shift ability and I don't need to do better than 1:1 macro, but I can see how people would choose Tamron over this because of its pros.

Thanks again for your excellent work.

02-23-2012, 09:07 AM   #9
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With Da100 you still have several options to go beyond 1:1. The only one you lose are cheap manual extension tubes.
02-23-2012, 10:06 AM   #10
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Thank you for this review! I have been interested in these two lenses for a while. The compact size of the Pentax is enough to justify the extra cost to me. I appreciate you going over the details to help me understand it.

As a technically-minded person, and generally a critical thinker I have a few questions and suggestions for the review. I hope you don't mind? I certainly don't mean to be negative or anything.


In discussing the bokeh of the two lenses, the following paragraph is rather confusing:

QuoteQuote:
As can be seen in the test shots provided at the end of this review, the two lenses perform quite similarly in most cases. In only one occurrence did the Tamron deliver a surprisingly dynamic bokeh. The following image illustrates the phenomenon, which occurred when a background with strong textures was photographed with the lens wide open. It was never observed in other situations, so it is a marginal issue.
What does "deliver a surprisingly dynamic bokeh" mean? That sentence alone seems to indicate, based on the way I am accustomed to speaking and reading about bokeh, that in only one image did the Tamron's bokeh actually impress. ("Dynamic" almost always bears a positive connotation as well.) But if that is the meaning then it is in direct contradiction to the first sentence in the paragraph, and to the entire preceding paragraph, and to the final bokeh rating the lens received in the review. Further, the image that follows is of a bird, but it's several sections later in the review. But it seems that it could match what is being described, in that there is an obvious difference between the subject and the background, but nothing about the background/bokeh that I would describe as "dynamic". At any rate this section is not clear.

Also (and this I suspect has more to do with the site design than the specific review), the side-by-side bokeh examples are almost impossible to gauge because the viewing windows are so small. Personally I got around this by opening the respective images in separate tabs. (Thank you for naming the files after the respective lenses! SO much easier to keep them straight that way.)

A few little nit-picks as well:

* The Tamron sample photos are predominately distant subjects. The Pentax sample photos are predominately close-up (more typical use for a macro lens) subjects.

* At least on my screen the Tamron samples are almost always sharper than the Pentax of the same subject. ("Pentax Sample 2" and "Tamron Sample 2" seem particularly dramatic examples. But it also looks like the Pentax could just be focused a little deeper in that shot?)

* The Tamron section begins by stating that this is the most up-to-date version of the lens. But I can't find a date anywhere on the page or within the review (except the mention of the expiration of the available Tamron rebate) to document when this was written. Right now that is easy to figure out, but in theory this review will be up for a while. Might want to add that for posterity.

* Finally (and this is, I think, is more of a site design matter than specific to this review), in the dropdown navigation menu there is a link to "discuss this review". It does not, however, lead to a discussion of this review as we are having in this thread. That was found by noticing it in a list of recent forum posts, after being frustrated that following the above link actually goes to a page where users can submit their own reviews for 3rd party lenses (why default to 3rd party when this review included the Pentax?). Again, a small matter but from a usability standpoint it's kind of frustrating. Changing the wording of the link to "add your own review" or "see other users reviews" would make a lot more sense.
02-23-2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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The Tamron is slightly bigger, but the lens is recessed so you don't need to use the hood. So the Tamron is smaller than the WR with hood.
02-23-2012, 11:27 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by intjonmiller Quote
* The Tamron sample photos are predominately distant subjects. The Pentax sample photos are predominately close-up (more typical use for a macro lens) subjects.
Firstly many thanks to bdery for a superb write up and comparison. Job well and truly done.

Secondly I really have to agree with the quote above. Re. sample images from the Tamron .... only one macro shot ?! It should be the other way around with mostly macro shots and maybe just a couple of distance shots thrown in to illustrate the bokeh. And in the case of both the Pentax and the Tamron there weren't any 1:1 shots (well maybe in the case of the Pentax, though not that clear if one of them was).... the major strength of these lenses and the reason most people buy them.
02-23-2012, 12:03 PM   #13
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Thanks to bdery for the review!
02-23-2012, 04:12 PM   #14
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Good to have the comparitive review! I preferred the Tamron 90 to the 100mm WR, and was under the impression that the Pentax lens had worse CA, and was softer, at maximum aperture. But I can't rule out that the higher price of the WR raised my expectations, and I didn't have the lenses at the same time.
02-23-2012, 05:10 PM   #15
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Glad you've done this one, Adam. These two are the only two I was considering, and it does help to have a comparo before pulling the trigger on one or the other.
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