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Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B) Review RSS Feed

Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B)

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9 64,852 Tue May 14, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $140.62 9.67
Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B)

Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B)
Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B)

This was the last edition of Tamron's 90mm adaptall macro. Revamped optics - 10/9 instead of 8/6 - plastic build, slightly slower at f2.8 but 1:1 macro without adapter/extension.

Aperture: f/2.8
Minimum Aperture: 32
Construction: 10 Elements-9 Groups
Angle of View: 27 degrees.
Minimum Focus: 0.29 m
Filter Size: 55 mm
Length: 101.5 mm
Weight: 426 grams
Macro Ratio: 1:1
Coating: Multi-coated
Focus System: Manual

Probably optically the same/similar to the auto focus versions 172E / 272E. Pentax mount versions normally have the suffix -P.
172E/272E reviews.
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B)
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New Member

Registered: May, 2019
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 14, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $185.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Comparatively low cost, incredibly sharp, light with smooth focusing, good hood
Cons: (Aforementioned) difficulty focusing near infinity, not great with flares
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Sony A7III   

This is a fantastic lens. I needed a macro and didn't want to shell out $1K for the native Sony, but also didn't want to deal with TCs or lessened apertures, so this seemed to be the place to go. I think I was lucky to find one in mint condition on eBay. Still getting used to digital photography in general (coming over from amateur cine world), but I'm loving this lens so far even if I haven't really left my front yard with it.
amateur dirt farmer

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 26,376
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $149.99 | Rating: 9 

Pros: handling, build, ease-of-use, focusing-ability
Cons: coatings not up to today's standards
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3, K-50   

the Tamron Adaptall-2 72B, which is a 90mm f2.8 macro lens and requires an Adaptall adapter to fit your camera; a bare-bones K-mount will work, but I prefer the KA-mount, which gives you more control in-camera...

to begin - this lens is a stunner; it allows me to take pictures that, quite frankly, startle me that they are so good... I honestly don't believe that I've progressed to the point that I can take shots like this.... but here they are...

I have read where some people don't care for the Adaptall lenses; that the adapters can be fiddly and not always cooperative - I have three Adaptall lenses and for me, the best way to sort out the fiddly-ness: buy adapters for all the Adaptall lenses and never take them off the adapters.... This has worked for both the 72B and the 02B I own (the 55BB isn't as touchy, since it's a constant f8)...

back to the 72B: well-built, substantial feel, nicely-damped focus ring, it feels good in the hand when you're using it - what isn't to love about it? well, it is manual focus (which is more positive at macro-level focusing), which is why there weren't many of my dogs with this lens, and it is not a weather/water resistant lens....

I've also found that it's coatings are not on-par with modern DA lenses, and it tends to over-expose in strong light... so I set it to under-expose and pay attention when shooting in harsh sunlight, etc...

that's it - those three dings are the worst things I can come up with for the 72B.... as a short (90mm) fast (f2.8) telephoto, it's very nice - decent bokeh, easily focused, etc; and as a macro lens (native 1:1 without any adapters), it is just amazing...

one of the interesting things about the lens that I read before I purchased this copy, was that it tends to 'pop' into focus - you'll turn the barrel, looking for the focus, and, all of a sudden - it is IN FOCUS! with about 270 degrees of rotation available in the focus ring, you have quite a bit of flexibility in getting it dialed in just right ...

some shots with the 72B:

rose buds by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr daisy by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr
eastern amberwing by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr [url=] jumping spider and surprise lily - detail by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr
morning fog - pano by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

here is my flickr album of the lens
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 71

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 30, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, nice hybrid metal/plastic build & very smooth mechanically
Cons: Tough to focus near infinity (wish the throw was a bit longer)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

I have had the opportunity to try the following Macro lenses on my K-50 over the past 6 months.

Kiron 105mm f/2.8
Sigma 90mm f/2.8
Tamron 52B 90mm f/2.5
Cosina 100mm f/3.5
Tamron 72B 90mm f/2.8.
Tamron 01A 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8 (not a dedicated macro but included because it has a strong macro mode and I used it for such)

While these are all nice lenses, for me, the sharpest and most compelling images have come from the Kiron and the 72B. They are also the smoothest mechanically (along with the 52B) and the most pleasurable to use. The Kiron is easier to focus precisely since the throw is super long and smooth, but it can also be a pain in some non-macro situations because you have to keep turning...and turning until you get it there. If you are switching between macro and non-macro a lot then be prepared for a wrist workout. It's also a bit larger and heavier due to its all metal build, as opposed to a combo of metal and plastic on the 72B. I would say that the 72B is more nimble due to its lighter weight and reduced but still long focus throw of about 230 degrees, and would be strongly preferred as a walk around lens if you'd like to take some macro and some non-macro shots. Despite the plastic components the build quality is very nice, super smooth, and there is no play at all in my copy. I put one of my P/KA Adaptalls on it and have had no issues at all with the mount, though I have seen some flaky mount/lens pairings in the past so the complaints of previous reviewers are almost certainly valid.

Focusing can be touchy near infinity with the 72B. The final few degrees of the focus throw changes the focus from ~10 feet to ~100 feet and it's very easy to overshoot. This is less of a problem at macro distances, but it is always going to be less precise than the Kiron due to the shorter throw. Don't get me wrong, it's still very usable with good technique and worth the trouble when you lock it in.

For what it's worth, my copy has a very low serial number (000703) so I assume it was produced soon after the release of this model in 1996. It still looks almost like new.

One last note; while the description above says that this is the last version of the classic Tamron Adaptall macro, it would be more accurate to say that this is the first version of their current macro offering, with a 10 elements in 9 groups design. The 52B and 52BB have 8 elements in 6 groups, a different lens entirely. Think of this as a MF version of the 272E with older coatings.
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2012
Posts: 28
Lens Review Date: February 15, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 10 

Cons: none of consequence

I have six macro lens in my collection and the three Tamrons in there are the 52B, 72B and the 272E. I really do like the 72B as it feels "right" in the hand, the weight is just enough to feel that's it's well made and solid. I'm not really a fan of lens barrels made of plastic but with Tamron I can make an exception as it is constructed with quality in mind. The images are really sharp, with a lovely bokeh, and good contrast and saturation in the colours. To be honest when using different macro lens of different fixed focal lengths in one day I adapt to the different throws rather than trying to make the lens adapt...if you get my meaning. Focusing is spot on and I always have the K5 in manual mode so using a manual focus lens is much better for macro anyway as I tend to take a lot of shots handheld rather than on a tripod so I use a set focus and lean in and out to get the shot. I bought the lens in "as new" condition and every control moves at just the right tension and pressure. The Adaptall mount is firm and tight when locked in so I have had no problems there. A very sharp lens, easy to use, solidly made and I've always been pleased with the result when shooting macro. If you're thinking of getting one then, in my opinion, it a great lens and well worth the price paid.
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: lightweight, interchangeable mount, very sharp
Cons: none in particular

I have the adaptall 52bb plus the extension that comes with it but it was a nuisance to change back and forth so I bought this lens. It is very well built and lightweight and easy to use. Since it is manual focus lens it is easier to manual focus than the AF focus version. The focus throw could be a little longer but that is not a big issue. With macro shots on a tripod you can use a focusing rail for a finer adjustment on the focus. I have seen new (old stock) copies on ebay for about $150 which is really a bargain for a lens of this quality. Very sharp at all distances and across the frame. Very nice colors. I have 3 PK A adapters and after fiddling with them a bit I have them all working pretty well. The K5 seems to want to overexpose it a bit so I reduce the exposure from the default settings. Reducing the exposure seems to give much nicer colors especially with closeups of flowers. Since I also have a Nikon D 7000 I can use this lens with it and the ais adaptall mount which is an added bonus for me. I think the 72b was one of the last models of adaptall lenses manufactured by Tamron and one of the nicest ones. It is a shame they no longer manufacture interchangeable mount lenses. There are so many different mounts today and with lenses being so expensive it would be nice to have the option of buying good interchangeable mount lenses.
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, fast, handles well, good bokeh
Cons: PK/A Adaptall mounts are flakey

At f2.8, it makes a nice portrait lens. Stopped down in macro mode, it is razor sharp.

I use it with a plain PK Adaptall Mount. I have two PK/A mounts, and they are both useless on this lens. On one, one of the insulator plugs embedding a switchable contact has sunk in to the surface of the mount and no longer makes contact with the camera body, so any attached lens can only be read as an f3.5 or an f4, whilst the other, though externally sound, has an electrical problem (a loose connection?) within the body of the mount which means it can only be read as an f4.

The sample picture (if I can work out how to upload it) is a full size crop of a JPEG straight from a Samsung GX20; no sharpening or post-processing of any kind. Shot at f5.6.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 186
Lens Review Date: December 11, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh... nearly everything
Cons: Focusing is tricky (see below)

This is nearly a perfect lens for me. A very nice short telephoto for normal shooting situations and a stunning macro.
The image quality is simply superb, you cannot really ask more from a lens. The only real issue is the focusing that annoys me. Even the slightest movement changes focus so much that it can ruin your pictures even close to infinity so caution must be taken all the time. A good solution might be a stopping rubber ring that you can buy off eBay.
Other minor issue is when used with P/KA adaptall mount most of the camera sees only f4 as max aperture so I do not bother with auto functions.
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 94
Lens Review Date: April 25, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, bokeh, macro 1:1, colors, contrast
Cons: focusing ring rotation throw

This is an evolution of the highly regarded 52B. It reaches 1:1 macro without tubes and got a modified formula (internal focusing). Colors, rendering, bokeh are stunning.

Constructed like a tank.

The focusing ring rotates about 3/4 of a circle; that may sound ok, however at larger magnifications focusing becomes very sensitive. At times, I dream of a focusing ring with much more rotation.

Indicated price is without the P/KA adapter, for which I had to spend an additional 80$. P/K adapters are way cheaper.

Sample below with no PP whatsoever, only JPG conversion with IrfanView.

Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2008
Location: Swansea, Wales
Posts: 455
Lens Review Date: July 7, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely sharp, lightweight thanks to plastic construction, gorgeous bokeh, lovely action
Cons: Adaptall mount tends to rattle, flush aperture ring tricky to work, plastic construction (but see above)

This is one of my favourite lenses. It works equally well as a portrait and macro lens. The focusing action is super smooth, and it has bokeh to match. It's a lens that really uses its fast aperture to good effect.

To achieve 1:1 magnification you need to be quite close to the subject - and the lens extends reasonably far. But the continuous focus means you can use the lens just as well at intermediate magnifications. It's just a whole lot more convenient than, say, extension rings. And flare is low because of the extremely deep-set front element.

The lens is very light thanks to its plastic construction, but it feels very well built (no visible seams) and I can't imagine it breaking. I even like the functional Tamron lens cap!
Add Review of Tamron SP MF 90mm F2.8 MACRO 1:1 (72B)

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