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Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 (# 172E / 272E ) Review RSS Feed

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 (# 172E / 272E )

Reviews Views Date of last review
7 31,872 Sat December 28, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $209.14 9.71
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 (# 172E / 272E )

See also the adaptall 72B - reckoned to be optically the same.

Focal length: 90mm
Min. focus distance: 0.29m
Macro ratio: 1:1 (life-size)
Filter thread: 55mm
Focus: auto (screw) & manual with limiter
Aperture blades: 9
Aperture ring: yes
Weight: 420g
Length: 97mm
Hood: Bayonet fit, circular lenshood
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 (# 172E / 272E )
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Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Somewhere in Southern Oregon
Posts: 187
Lens Review Date: December 28, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Handling, feel, and the quality of the images it produces
Cons: None, really, except perhaps size: it's a little on the large side
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax KP   

I haven't had the lens - which I purchased used, but in quite good condition - for that long, but so far the results have been jaw-droppingly good. Especially with regards to IQ or image quality: it simply is capable of producing stunning images.

At a focal length equivalent to the traditional 135mm field-of-view - this macro lens doubles as a light telephoto and portrait lens - and it's great in both of those areas. The quality of images is equal to - and possibly better than - those of the best lenses I've used, both for my Pentaxes (analog and digital) and for some other cameras (including some fine Leica-branded lenses for my micro four thirds Lumix GX8).

It's a significantly larger (and heavier) lens than some of the tiny, jewel-like Limited lenses which I've used with my KP - but it doesn't feel either too heavy or unwieldly in actual use.

And, these days, since it's an older (and largely unknown or forgotten) third-party 'legacy' lens, you can acquire copies for, well, for really reasonable prices.

This is the first lens review I've written for PentaxForums - mainly because the lens is so cool, and so affordable, that I felt obligated to give it a 'shout out' to fellow Pentaxians. The two photos below show the lens mounted on my KP body - and one of the first pictures I took with it, converted to black and white.

New Member

Registered: March, 2017
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: November 26, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $209.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: muy nitido, rápido AF, buena construcción/very sharp, fast AF, good construction
Cons: El AF se pierde a veces/AF is lost sometimes
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

Increible relacióm calidad-precio, muy nitido a 2.8.
Por un lado es un objetivo increible, tanto para macro como para retrato aunque en APS-C puede ser demasiado largo, el AF es muy agil si se usa con el limitador, se echa de menos que sea quick shift, pero no se pude pedir todo por el precio.
El unico punto negaativo tal vez sea que el Bokeh no es de mi gusta, no tiene nada que ver con un Helios 44-m, siendo para mi el mejor, algo personal sin duda.
Como conclusión lo recomiendo sin lugar a dudas, tanto para macro como para retrato al no tener casi deformacion y esquinas muy nitidas.

English Translation:

Incredible quality-price relationship, very clear at 2.8.
On the one hand is an incredible goal, both for macro and portrait although APS-C may be too long, the AF is very agile if used with the limiter, it is missed unless it is quick shift, but could not ask all for the price.
The only negative point may be that the Bokeh is not my liking, it has nothing to do with a Helios 44-m, being for me the best, something personal without a doubt.
As a conclusion, I recommend it without a doubt, both for macro and portrait, as it has almost no deformation and very sharp corners.
New Member

Registered: November, 2017
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharpness, bokeh, pretty fast autofocus, price
Cons: none for me
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K1   

Received it today so maybe too early to give opinion, but I already another version of this lens and already great lens to shoot with.

I deeply recommend this lens, not only as macro one but for portraits as well, the image quality is so amazing and you can find it at great prices too.

All photos are Jpeg directly taken from the camera without post processing, of course I can get even better images by working with the RAWs.
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 38

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $225.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very, very sharp
Cons: none for it's intended purposes
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K3, K-S1, & Canon Rebel   

Although a rabid Pentax user, I have a Nikon D50 converted to IR by Lifepixel, and I have used Canon for macro from the start because of that incredible Canon MP-E 60mm f2.8 that operates only from 1:1 - 1:5, in effect turning your camera into a low powered microscope. No one else makes such a lens, so Canon is the only game in town in this regard, unless you want to go to the clumsy vintage bellows route.

I bought a Tamron 90mm macro of this vintage to augment the Canon close up system, and I used it to copy and digitize negatives against a light box, as I still shoot a lot of film, especially large format. My digital negatives were incredible, and I simply reversed them in GIMP, and treated them like any other jpeg file for posting on forums, and printing, where they equaled the 17mp (or crop) of the Rebel. Good stuff.

The lens was so sharp, easy to use and versatile I bought one for my Pentax system.

If you get a good copy at a good price, just buy it. You can always wear a Tamron 90mm Macro of any shade with pride - it's a true Cult Lens. The more updated version with the digital coating is just as good. Whether the digital coating makes any difference, is a debated issue. With the recessed element of this lens, and a hood, I'd doubt it.

This is about the sharpest lens you'll ever put on your camera. The in-house Pentax shake reduction works brilliantly with macro lenses, and you'll get the sharpest handheld casual macros possible with the combination of this lens and say, a K3.

The Tamron autofocuses well, but remember, a macro lens of any type has a huge helical bearing surface and hence large physical extension. And in the macro range you manual focus and move the camera back and forth. so you're not going to use this lens for sports. But for Head and shoulders into small flowers and insects, you just won't do better than this lens, so get it. And you'll spend less money than on a new Pentax macro as well.

I'll not add any pictures to this review because the posted ones are just superb and make all of my points as well as I could. By the way, the lens lock/limiting switch is very useful.
New Member

Registered: November, 2012
Posts: 22

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 31, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $236.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp with creamy Bokeh
Cons: None really.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K5 IIs & K30   

This is my first Tamron and is a great lens. It is made for Macro and Portraiture, not action shots. I was going to agree with many reviews that state the autofocus is slow. The lens is not pin point accurate when focusing on moving subjects. It does focus well on a still subject. So, considering what it is designed for, I would think subtracting points for slow autofocus is unfair. Plus, I love the collar switch from auto to manual focus, pretty cool design, and the manual focus is smooth and easy to use. A definite great value in today's market for used lenses.

My album link on Facebook includes a link back to this lens review.

Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 1,125

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $199.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp, focus works ok on K-30, nice bokeh, good for both far and close range, very good color and contrast
Cons: some color fringing in high contrast, some CA in some circumstances

Excellent optics. Reminds me of a way 43mm ltd would look - great other than some CA are present wide open.
The subjective image quality compared to lenses I have would be:

DA40 ltd > Tamron 90mm (172) > 16-45mm > 55mm SMC Takumar F1.8 > Tokina 80-200mm F3.5-4.5 > Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 > 55-300mm > 18-55 WR

Color, contrast and sharpness are excellent. They are very close to DA 40mm limited, albeit marginally worse. Chromatic Aberration is present, but only some times, in many cases there is no CA to speak of. Particularly, I didn't see any with flower macros taken under diffuse lighting.

Autofocus is not bad on Pentax K-30. It struck me as similar to 55-300mm. The build quality feel is also similar to 55-300mm, but manual focus ring is nicer on the tamron 90.
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2012
Location: Pathum Thani, Thailand
Posts: 47
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, handling, weight
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: MZ-S, K5   

Bought this lens new in circa 2001. It's the version prior to the introduction of the digital coatings and it is probably the sharpest lens I have.

Brilliant as a macro, it's intended purpose, and great also as a short telephoto.

Very well balanced on K5 with battery pack

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