Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

Tamron SP 90MM F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro Lens Review

Tamron has been well respected for their legendary 90mm macro lens. They have worked on the 90mm macro for many years and this is the 3rd iteration. This latest model uses the same great approach to making a quality lens but adds even more features and tech, notably vibration compensation. I was very excited from the onset to get my hands on this lens as the sample images and images I have seen online of other photographers shooting with this lens have been nothing short of spectacular. But even with that said, is this lens worth the money? Is this a good macro lens you can use for your product photography? Is this lens even worth shooting a portrait with? Let’s take a look.

(This Review may apply to all versions of this lens, but the Nikon version is tested here)

THE SPECS:

  • Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens
  • Model F004
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 11.8″ (0.3m)
  • Lens Construction: 14 Elements, 11 Groups
  • Angle of View:
    • (diagonal): 27°02′ (with full-size SLR cameras)
    • 17°37′ (with APS-C sized sensor digital SLR cameras)
  • Macro Magnification Ratio 1:1
  • Working Distance 139mm (5.5 in)
  • Filter Diameter ø58
  • Weight 550g (19.4 oz)*
  • Diameter φ76.4mm
  • Length(*1) 114.5mm (4.5 in)*
  • Entire Length(*2) 122.9mm (4.8 in)*
  • Diaphragm Blade Number 9 (rounded diaphragm) (*3)
  • Minimum Aperture F/32
  • Accessory Lens hood
  • Mount Canon, Nikon, Sony A mount(*4)
Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

Tamron 90mm Macro Di VC USD 1:1 Nikon

THE GOOD:

  • USD (Ultra Sonic Silent Drive)
    • This lens gives you both the option for continuous manual focus and a full AF, which in our tests was not only silent but very responsive. If we found the lens hunting for focus, usually our range was to blame.
  • VC: (Vibration Compensation)
    • In our tests, we were able to shoot at even 1/40th shutter speeds with almost no issues. That’s not something you can say about all lenses. Being able to shoot macro hand-held and not get blurry images is always a plus. Tamron also claims a 4-stop advantage, which is noticeable. Besides, unless you want to always use a tripod, you’re going to want and even NEED vibration compensation.
  • IF: (Internal Focusing)
    • The length of the lens doesn’t change as all of the focusing elements are internal. The barrel does not extend. Some might not see the huge benefit in this, but for someone who is obsessed with trying to maintain their gear in the best condition and keep it safe, as well as preferring lighter weight and smaller size, I see this as a huge plus.
  • Great for Portraits as Well
    • Instead of spending extra cash on yet another piece of kit, getting this one lens will allow you to shoot great portraits at 90mm as well as ultra high quality macro shots. Nikon’s 85mm F/1.8 prime/portrait lens is very popular and one of the lenses on my short list, but this Tamron lens easily replaces the need to purchase a dedicated portrait lens at a similar focal length.

 

THE BAD:

  • Slight vignetting occurs at F/2.8
    • This is of course to be expected, but would be nice if it didn’t happen at all. In a macro shot you are not likely to want that shallow a depth of field, so this is more of an issue for certain customers and not the majority, still worth mentioning.

 

THE COST:

  • $749.99

 

SAMPLE IMAGES:

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 01

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 01

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 02

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 02

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 03

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 03

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 04

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 04

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 04

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 04

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 05

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 05

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 06

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 06

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 07

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 07

 

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 08

Tamron 90mm Macro Sample Image 08

 

CONCLUSION:

What’s there not to like? This lens gives you a fast aperture, the latest technology and produces ultra-sharp images. Additionally, the quick AF system, a proper vibration compensation feature and a versatile range.  As if those weren’t enough, it is much more affordable than its competitors. I make it no secret that I am a Tamron fan. I remain as objective as I possibly can. I want to give my visitors and followers as honest of an opinion as possible. A decision to make a major purchase such as a lens should be based on facts. I own two other Tamron lenses (24-70mm and 70-200mm) and absolutely love them. In the past Tamron has been known to be somewhat of the affordable/cheaper alternative to a Nikon or Canon lens, an “underdog” if you will that suffered with some quality and technical issues. However, if this lens and the ones I already own are any indication, in the last two to three years they have been producing absolutely solid lenses. Lenses that have almost no downsides. Producing the highest quality image, great build and design and no technical issues. I think there’s something to be said for a company that continues to listen to its customers and improve upon an already great product like this 90mm macro lens.

 

RECOMMENDATION: Strong Buy (4.5 / 5.0)