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04-29-2013, 07:47 PM   #1
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Let us all rejoice in the wonder that is the Tamron (Di) 90 Macro

I was going to bump an old and semi-relevant thread, but instead I thought I would start a new one because this lens deserves it.

Picked this up on the weekend. I didn't mean to, I just came across a near-mint+++++ copy for a deal too good to pass up. So I bought it. Totally on a whim. I never shoot macro so this lens was not on my radar at all.

WOW. This lens constantly makes my jaw drop. I've taken probably hundreds of pictures now in the past two days of just lots of random things. I have never seen this level of sharpness and crispness in a lens before. I don't even really use it for its macro capabilities. I'm taking pictures of people across the street and getting great details on their faces. Tomorrow I'm going to find some excuse to step out of the office during the day and go for a long photo walk, and I can't wait.

It's all plastic, and it sure feels like it. I am concerned that a stiff bump against something will damage it on some way. It's also quite long, even longer than some of my zooms.

That being said, it's all-plasticy-ness makes it super light, and the focus ring is buttery smooth. I also enjoy the AF/MF switch. I like to fantasize that I'm reloading some sort of shotgun. (that only shoots pictures) I also enjoy that fact that IT DOESN'T NEED A LENS HOOD because the front element is so recessed into its body. Keeps things simple.

One of the main oft-cited drawbacks has to do with its focus speed. On my *istDL, it is indeed glacier slow, even in AF mode. It also hunts a lot more, even in decent light. On my K30? It's fast even in MF mode, and in AF mode, a hair faster. Probably still not good for something like fast action sports, but only just. It also focuses better in dimmer conditions. I'm guessing newer bodies mitigate the slow speed and AF issues, so if you're reading some of the older reviews on the lens database for this lens, keep in mind the reviewer may have been using an older camera and basing their experience on that. It is of course screw drive, so it sounds like a can opener, but frankly I'd rather it not have SDM anyways.

One thing I like to think about lenses is to think of what a logical upgrade would be to it. I can't think of one for the Tamron 90. The Pentax DFA 100? Even if the IQ is better (doesn't seem like it), I doubt it's 2x the cost better. It's even worse in other mounts, where similar offerings hit the 4 digit mark. Is the Tamron the ne plus ultra of 90-110mm macro lenses?

It's been a while since I've been this excited about a lens, and about photography in general, and it's all because of a random lens purchase. Just had to share.

04-29-2013, 08:27 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
It's been a while since I've been this excited about a lens, and about photography in general, and it's all because of a random lens purchase. .
I got mine just about a month ago (purchased it on a whim with a K2000d, Tamron 70-300, and 18-55 for a good price) and am in love with it as well, just wish I had more time on my hands (darn school... at least it's almost over...).

My observations (with the K30) are just about the same as yours. For the price I got mine at, I can't complain- it is a wonderful, relatively affordable, and fun macro lens to use.


My favorite image taken to date with it:

04-30-2013, 12:09 AM   #3
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Coincidentally, I just got this lens today. I needed it for photographing jewelry, but I look forward to some bug shooting as well. My initial impressions mounted on my K-x are that it focuses quickly (less than 1/2 second for intermediate to long distances), the size and feel is similar to the DA 55-300 (plastic, but solid enough), the focus limiter is useful to prevent the lens from going from one end to another if and when it is hunting for focus. The lens seems sharp in both near and far subject-- how sharp I still have to discover since I am only judging results so far by my less than stellar camera screen.To go from manual to AF is a two step operation (switch camera setting, pull lens choke), a bit of a hassle compared to the one step lens-only operation with the Canon or Nikon versions of the lens. Manual says you will damage lens and/or camera if you spin the focus barrel while on the manual setting without also switching the camera to manual. The lens action in manual is indeed buttery smooth.
I took a chance and bought this new from a seller on ebay based in Hong Kong. He offers a two year warranty, and has 99.7% seller rating. Paid $379 new out the door and had it delivered by Fedex three days after ordering. Free shipping. Couldn't be happier with the purchase and the process.
04-30-2013, 06:51 AM   #4
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This lens is on my want list (along with several others). Just need to free up some cash... Once I do, it's bugtime!

04-30-2013, 07:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
One of the main oft-cited drawbacks has to do with its focus speed. On my *istDL, it is indeed glacier slow, even in AF mode. It also hunts a lot more, even in decent light. On my K30? It's fast even in MF mode, and in AF mode, a hair faster. Probably still not good for something like fast action sports, but only just. It also focuses better in dimmer conditions. I'm guessing newer bodies mitigate the slow speed and AF issues, so if you're reading some of the older reviews on the lens database for this lens, keep in mind the reviewer may have been using an older camera and basing their experience on that. It is of course screw drive, so it sounds like a can opener, but frankly I'd rather it not have SDM anyways.
I have the older non-DI version of this lens. It is an excellent lens and quite lightweight. Focus speed will be slow on macro lenses. That's because of the long focus throw a macro lens needs for precision focussing. And when doing macros you'll likely be in manual focus anyway, so AF speed is irrelevent. Plus I find they also make great portrait lenses, especially with that narrow DoF.

I suppose an internal focus macro lens may be a bit faster on autofocus. But that will add $$$ to the cost of the lens, and then people will criticize the lens for being too expensive, I guess.
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