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Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)

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29 133,562 Wed June 20, 2018
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97% of reviewers $109.95 9.03
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)

"A very good 1:2 macro lens with above average resolution and contrast. Performance is fairly similar to Kiron's 105mm F/2.8 macro lens. Contrast is noticeably improved by using the accessory lens hood to control stray light since the front elements are barely recessed in the front of the lens. The model 52BB is merely a cosmetically redesigned version of the original 52B. Tamron made an optional accessory 1:1 extension tube (018F) for this lens. -

"Cult classic" macro lens with a great reputation. The first all metal version was replaced by the 52BB, with a redesigned barrel, in 1988 (pics 2,3).
Full 1:1 magnification can be achieved with the 018F extension tube or with the 01F 2x teleconverter. An alternative to the 018F is a deglassed 01F TC. Mount specific extension tubes and tc's can of course also be used, with a matching adaptall mount.
The 52B/52BB was replaced by the similar but 1:1 macro 90mm f2.8 72B in 1996 (separate review here). This was produced into the 2000's but faded in competition with optically identical (72E) AF versions.

Specifications: 52B (pic 1); 52BB (pics 2, 3)
Focal Length (mm) 90
Aperture: f2.5 - f22
Field of view: 23deg horizontal full frame; 14.9deg APSC sensor.
Optical construction (elements / groups): 8/6
Coatings BBAR Multi layer
Minimum focus distance (from film/sensor plane) 39cm
Focus throw: ~360deg; ~330deg
magnification ratio 1:2
filter diameter: 52B = 49mm (screw in hood 23FH); 52BB = 55mm (bayonet hood 98FH)
"length ( at infinity): 66mm; 74mm
maximum diameter: 64.5mm
"weight" 440g; 410g

"kido" on mflenses has done a nice comparison of IQ with both the 01F 2x teleconverter and/or the 018F dedicated 1:1 extension tube here (update no pics any more but comments are still useful).

Accepts both 01F 2x TC and 014F 1.4x TC's. Note: TC's are reviewed in miscellaneous lenses - TC's.

Review by Prarie Rim of 52B.
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)
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Moderator Emeritus

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Edmonton Alberta, Canada
Posts: 10,644
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Solid build, Easy to focus, Fast
Cons: A bit more flare, 1:2 macro without 2x

A much older lens that still holds up today. Very fast and as a macro that's not a big deal except this lens needs the BBAR 2x converter to get to 1:1. With the 2x the image quality doesn't seem to drop but you loose 2 stops which is why the fast speed is important. With the 2x you get a 180mm 1:1 and a decent distance from the subject. A big advantage when shooting bugs or other living items that might move if your shadow could disturb the scene.

It can also be used with extension tubes to get 1:1 and beyond with or without the 2x. With extension tubes the speed helps in manual focus as this lens is quite bright in the viewfinder when wide open.

Nice focus ring with a fairly long throw but not too long.
Allows for fairly fine focus.Works with the Adaptall 2 M and A mounts. Another nice feature if you are hand holding the lens it will trap focus very easily. The Adaptall mount is unfinished metal (steel?) and shorts out the AF so trap focus works.

As a telephoto lens, it's old school. You need to get used to the manual metering it using the basic Adaptall mount. It's not the lens so much as the Pentax crippled mount that meters M style lenses poorly. Mine seems to overexpose around 3 stops from the meter. But it's a sharp telephoto with a flat field of focus and good corner sharpness. FF helps as the corners are cropped.

Get a hood if you don't have one. It's not and SMC lens and does suffer from a bit more flare but CA's are well controlled in normal situations.

Average prices for the AE Adaptall mount are $100 and the lens sells around the same so that's approaching the cost of the Sigma 105 or Tamron 90 which are better lenses with AF. If you are buying one, get a package with the 2x, lens and Pentax mount. These always sell for less than the pieces separately. It's most appealing feature is the 180mm with the 2x.

Here's some pics of the adapters for this lens:

2X TC:
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2006
Location: NJ USA
Posts: 13,056
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: fast, good color, great for portraits as well as macro
Cons: Sensor Flare!

I'm in general agreement with the prior review - this is an excellent lens. Easier to focus, of course, on a film body. But the fast aperture makes dSLR focusing snappy as well.

I got mine from goodwill, so it was a great deal. I ended up adding the flat field 2x and lens hood from KEH, as they were cheaper than the going rate on ebay.

I'm really impressed with the color rendering with the lens. It's a great portrait lens, with decent bokeh. In macro, the resolution and contrast are good all the way around.

There are some draw backs using the 2x converter - apart from loss of speed, the entire package gets very long. (see attached pic) On the other hand, 180mm gets you further away from the subject - I haven't had a chance to do bug photography yet, but I'd imagine it's good for that sort of thing.

mine is the 55mm filter size version (52BB). I've shot some comparisons with the 70 Limited, and I think the sharpness and contrast of the Tamron is in the same league.

I had the KA adaptor previously - having to buy one is expensive, unless you luck out and find a private seller (I did). I have the plain K adaptall as well, and wouldn't think it was a hardship to use one with this lens (only I haven't done so yet....)

*** Under certain lighting conditions and when stopped down, this lens may exhibit a round center blue spot in the photo. This appears to be caused by the sensor reflecting off the flat rear element.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: North West UK
Posts: 382
Lens Review Date: March 27, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Fast lens (even with 2x) IQ
Cons: 1:2 without converter

If you want a quality macro at a reasonable price, in fact, any price, then go for one of these. I have got some stunning images from this lens mainly with the 2x converter.

There is a total lack of CA with this lens, not bad for a pre Digital lens.

IQ is excellent, as is the Bokeh at wide.

Can't fault it. Just get hold of one.

An example is here:-
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: madison
Posts: 239
Lens Review Date: May 22, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: fast, bang/buck
Cons: only 1:2 macro, lens extends too much

I really like this lens and use it quite often, mostly for taking flower shots.

At f2.5 it sends in plenty of light and makes manual focusing easier. The shallow DOF also helps. I've never used one of those pentax F4 macro lenses but I imagine they will be harder to manual focus.

The sharpness seems pretty good to me although I am no expert.

The Bokeh is generally smooth and pleasing. However, when there is highlight area in the background it can look ugly sometimes. I guess that's probably true for most lenses.

it's not a 1:1 macro, but for shooting flowers I find it more than adequate. I figure if you want to shoot bugs you might want to look elsewhere. It comes with a 1:1 extension tube but I am not a big fan of extension tubes in general. Plus the front of the lens already extends too much for my liking. Add on another extention tube and you got yourself probably one of the ugliest looking lens ever.

Highly recommended for anyone just getting into macro

P.S. I will second the previous reviewer that the lens shows excellent CA control, as compared to other older lenses, e.g. Pentax K 135/2.5
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 62
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Less Expensive, Fully compatible with all modes, Sharp and Contrasty
Cons: 1:1 macro setting gets very heavy and keeping track of a moving bug at 180mm is a challenge

This lens is a nice one. If you just need 1:2 macro then you have a tiny lens for the purpose, it also can be used as a sharp portrait lens. For achieving 1:1 as mentioned in other reviews u need a custom 2X converter or extension tube and you have a 180mm and with a KA adaptall mount you can use it in all modes. Some negative aspects of this lens is at 180mm tracking a moving bug is a challenge. The lens is also prone to flares but that is very much improved with a lens hood. It is not really the best for tele photos.

A surprise in mine is that I think I am able to use it as a 180mm f2.5 macro... whereas it is supposed to f5 when using the converter. I tried comparing the shutter speed by keeping the same aperture across few lenses and it seems like it is functioning as a f2.5. I read in one review that it works so.. but couldnt find it again. If you get one at a good price... go for it..
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: Lachine, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 453
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, contrast, color rendition, build quality
Cons: lens flare, low contrast under backlit conditions

Even though I do give a few caveats in terms of this "old school" lens, I have to say that given it's quality and what it can produce, these are negligible issues.

I picked this lens up with the P/KA adapter (with contacts) and lens hood for 80.00 used. In excellent condition. The version I purchased was the 52BB version, with the focus scale window.

What a surprise this lens is for me! I was looking for that medium telephoto focal length but found that the fast 85mm options were either too risky (build quality and versions of the Jupiter) or way too expensive (Takumar/K series 85mm). So when this opportunity came up, I couldn't resist giving it a try.

This lens feels fantastic. Manual focusing is smooth and well controlled, and as others have stated the focus "pop" is fantastic. Coupled with the P/KA adapter, a true treat to use with my K100D super. Continuous focusing is such a pleasure to use, allowing the creative process to take hold instead of manipulating a macro switch.

f/2.5 also gives an amazingly bright and contrasty viewfinder image- a real godsend with the tiny viewfinders on crop sensor cameras.

Image quality in the right light is outstanding. Sharpness that is breathtaking when stopped down even a bit, and that wonderful color reproduction and contrast of Tamron lenses. I don't have either the tubes or teleconverter (as of yet), but I'm not a bug shooter, so not sure if that will be necessary.

Bokeh is beyond the pale in quality- even at f/4-f/5.6 it's smooth, buttery and just dreamy. Near-distant bokeh is awesome, also.

Great lens for candid indoor portraiture wide open. I find at f/2.5 it meters almost identically as my SMC M 50mm f/1.7.

CA/Purple fringing seem to be non-existent, even at f/2.5.

Caveats- well, as stated here (and on the adaptall-2 site) the lens hood is so important for this lens, since the front element is not recessed anywhere near enough in the lens design. Wish there were other lens hood options- I even felt-lined the lens hood. This all tends to give a bit of a "hit" on lens performance in lighting conditions that are difficult, since so much stray light hits the front of the element that contrast greatly suffers in back lit or intense direct sunlight situations. Just think about the light when shooting and move your butt to a better angle and things become magic with this lens!

As well, I find focusing subjects in the near distance a bit tricky with this lens- although that's not the lenses fault, since that isn't what it was primarily designed to do. I feel this is due to the fact that the focus isn't "geared" toward this type of shooting, so the focus rotation is ultra-sensitive with minimal rotation greatly affecting focus quality in the near-distant to distant range. Focus screen helps a ton in this case.

However, that all being said, I can hardly take this lens off my camera. I'm finding it's a great window into how I like to shoot. I adore it to bits, and given the price vs. image quality of this 1980's wonder of engineering, I heartily give it a 10 on 10!

See my gallery at, where I have posted many shots taken with this lens. Lens information is in each image description.
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Charlotte, NC United States
Posts: 146
Lens Review Date: September 24, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $179.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid, great feel, beautiful results
Cons: haven't found one yet

I had read many positive reviews about this lens and had tried to buy one on ebay but it always went out of my price range. When I found the 52BB version @ Adorama, I decided to go for it. Am I glad. Solid, quality feel to the lens. went right on my K20D using the PK/A adaptor and I really like the first results. I expect the results to get better and better as I learn to use it.

Just feels like a keeper.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 509
Lens Review Date: June 6, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very well built, high resolution and contrast, compact, little PF
Cons: flare, adapter not perfect,

Very good in the adaptall line. It would be a top Macro choice if you have a couple of adaptall lenses. Tamron does not seem to built high quality lenses any more.

Since it has 90mm, it works well as a portrait lens. Image quality at F2.5 is acceptable. It is very well built. The quality is not far away from a K or M lens. High resolution and contrasty which are important to a macro lens. Not much PF even at f2.5.

There are some downsides in comparison to Kiron 105 and Sigma 105.
1. the adaptall adapter is not always perfect. Sometimes, it would allow the reading of f2.4 and thus underexpose.
2. 1:2 not 1:1 without an adapter
3. flare flare flare. It is not SMC.
4. lower resolution at f2.5.

All in all, a very good old lens. It is smaller than the Kiron or the Sigma. Affordable if you can find a cheap adapter. Works well with the SP 2X converter. But there are better macro lenses outa there.

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,425
Lens Review Date: July 25, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp closed down - flat field - solid construction
Cons: needs a hood to prevent flare - bit soft wide open

I bought this in the early 80's for my Rollei SL35E. I've also used it on a Nikon F. Very sharp at f8-16 close or at infinity. If you can get a PK-A mount for a decent price, it's a great low-price lens.
New Member

Registered: August, 2010
Location: Northamptonshire
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: good manual focusing

I was looking for a dedicated macro lens for my Pentax K20D and after alot of research I decided to go with the Tamron SP 90mm.
Snapped one up off Ebay and very pleased with this lens.
The build quality is excellent, a heavy lens but you can feel that it's built well.
As this is my first dedicated macro lens I can't really compare it with others but I am getting brillant results from it.

I bought an PK-A adapter ring to go with it which I feel is quite important if your not comfortable with setting aperture manually and wish for the metering system to do the work for you.

The only negative thing I have with this lens, and it maybe just with mine alone but the connections allowing for auto aperture can be not work sometimes and I find I have to disengage the lens slightly in order to get a proper connection.

Overall its a good lens for anyone who is looking to get a dedicated macro lens but doesn't want to spend alot of money on the latest models.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Saffron Walden, Essex
Posts: 362
Lens Review Date: August 30, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, low CA, great bokeh
Cons: None

I've had the 55BB version for about 18 months. The lens is brilliant. Razor sharp, beautiful bokeh, low CA, great focus action. I use mine with a PK/A adapter. Out of all my manual focus lenses, this is - by a long way - the one I use most. I don't have a hood but have yet to notice any flare problems, although I suppose the lens is usually pointing downwards so that could explain it.
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Posts: 17,275
Lens Review Date: May 20, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: well made, focus dampening
Cons: only 1:2 naitivly
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

This is a nice compact, well made lens. The focusing on it is nice. It requires either the matched 2x flatfield tc or the matched extension tube to reach 1:1. I have this and the subsequent 52bb. I prefer the look and weight of the 52BB over this one and it is a good match to the *istD. I would give the 52BB a 9 and this one an 8.5.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Langley, BC
Posts: 538
Lens Review Date: May 20, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp!
Cons: none

I have the early version, and I've used it on various film bodies and the K10D. It's a fantastic lens, with or without the matched 2x doubler. Sharp, excellent build quality, and not too expensive. Who needs AF for macro anyway?
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Posts: 48
Lens Review Date: July 14, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $130.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, nice bokeh
Cons: Soft open wide

I've the later 52BB version.

Very nice lens for shooting plants and people. It's a bit soft open wide, and I have to stop down 1 or 2 steps to get a sharp photo. But when it's sharp, it's sharp!

I have the 2x TC to make it a 1:1 macro, but have hardly used it because it adds a lot weight to the lens. Shooting portrait with 2x TC is not a good idea as it loses contrast and sharpness. But for close-ups, it seems to do well.

I've taken a liking in it so much that I upgraded the lens to the 72BB version, which is 1:1 macro. The 72BB is even sharper and more contrasty, so I sold off my 52BB. Though I really like the 52BB design better. But the 72BB is a bit more expensive, so if you are on a budget, the 52BB will serve you well!

Here's one of my favorite shots with the lens.
Inactive Account

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Trabzon/Turkey
Posts: 1,010
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2011 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Size, True Colors, Bokeh
Cons: Heavy, Flares a lot, Not Sharp enough for a macro
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 3    Value: 5   

After I've managed the install adaptall-2 mount (quite a task for novice) for 1x1 macros, removing 1x1 adapter for 1x2 photos, reinstalling adaptall adapter was easier. Most important property of this lens is it's getting sharper beyond f/11 despite adaptall-2 official site says.

This lens has great saturated colors, in fact I've never able to get nice true purplish color in thorny plant with any other lens picture below. You need to get a hood as big as possible because it flares a lot. Bokeh is good. But sharpness is an issue with this lens, it's not sharp below f/11 and gets sharper with f/16 and f/32, it's not a hand shake issue because I've tried that with tripod and mirror lock. For a macro lens this lens deserves only a mediocre lens title, I've never tried but I am sure it would make a great soft portrait lens wide open. Don't get confused with the sharpness of the samples I've given below, because these are the best of bests, maybe only 1 out of 10 pictures comes out that sharp, that I would call just luck. So, this lens deserves 6.6/10 (2/3) just for the colors and bokeh other than that, I do not recommend this lens as a macro lens.

Since I can't find a way attaching new pictures in this review section I am giving you best samples of original jpeg's links I've mentioned for you consideration , remember they are 4-4.5 MB in size.

Worry Beads.
My Own Tomatoes, Grown by Mysef :)
Thorn (Beautiful Purple)
Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f/2.5 (52B/52BB)

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