Review: Tamron SP Di 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 lens

Tamron SP Di 90mm f/1.8 Macro 1:1

A great lens for macro photography that doubles as a good portrait lens as well when you need it. A little long to use as a walk-around but can sure capture some interesting angles.


  • Focal length: 90mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Macro with 1:1 reproduction
  • Di: Lens is made for DX sensor cameras and not suited for FX type cameras
  • AF: Lens is autofocusing but require camera to have focus motor
  • Sliding swtich between manual focus and autofocus
  • Hyperfocal scale: YES
  • Infrared focus indicator: NO
  • Apeture ring
  • Limiter for focus


This was my second DX type lens that I bought. I have used it for many years now and I really like it. When I put it on the camera a new world appears. The ability to focus very very close to your subjects are so fun it is crazy. And it is also a very sharp lens that gives you much more reach than a ”normal” 50mm lens does. Perhaps it is not very suiteable as a walk-around lens due to the focal length of 90 mm, you wont get that much landscape in it, but for getting certain details it is great.

Tamron SP Di 90mm f/1.8 Macro 1:1

I have also used it to make pretty good portraits. For this purpose the lens is very good. The 90mm focal length allows you to get a slight compression of your subjects when shooting, this is generally adding to the aesthetical especially when doing close framed head-shots. Compared with a 50mm I would say I prefer this one when it comes to doing portrait work.

All in all it is a brilliant lens that I love using and when working with macro shots it is a joy to work with! I just wish my viewfinder on the D70 was a bit better so I could use manual focus more than I use today!


It is a well built little lens optically. The front element is very well recessed and well protected and the hood is normally not really used. It does look cool with the hood on though.

Very little chromatic aberration all over.

Good sharpness from about f/4 to f/16 more than f/16 and there is some diffusing.

Short DOF, crazy short if you are working at close focus in f/2.8 mode! Put that to good use!


There is a focus limit switch on the side of the lens. The purpose of this is to lock the focus so that it can either go betwen infinity down to a couple of meters or from a couple of meters down to the close range focus. The idea here is that when using autofocus and the focus function ”miss” the focus and keeps ”hunting” for focus you loose a lot of time if the lens has to go all the way. By using the limiter you can lock it down in macro mode or in normal mode and use it as it is. Great feature really.

Tamron SP Di 90mm f/1.8 Macro 1:1

There is a hyperfocal scale on the lens showing HF for f/16 and f/32 which is excellent i macro mode! This means you can prefocus just on distance and then shoot sharp pictures it is a really good feature. The way it works is that you have the focal point in the middle telling at which distance the focus plane is. Then if your aperture is set to f/16 you can read from the markings on the hyperfocal scale where things come into focus and where they go ot of focus again. This way you may also pre-focus for infinity and have great control over the field of depth.



  • Sharpness is very good
  • Very little chromatic aberration
  • Wide aperture range from 2.8 to 32 and more when focused closer
  • Hyperfocal scale printed on
  • Very good c ontrol of manual focus in macro mode
  • Limiter for the focus to avoid long times when ”hunting” for focus in AF-mode
  • Recessed front element, don’t need the hood normally
  • Doubles well as a portrait lens
  • Resonable price


  • Focusing extends or contract the lens, easy to hit things with it when working.
  • It seems to generally produce a bit of a blue cast at times, easily corrected in WB settings.
  • Focusing can be slow, mechanical focus
  • A little noisy perhaps

Shots taken with this lens

Click on the pictures for more options or to view larger versions!

Light Summer Reading

Macro Daisy

Pill Box


Single butterfly



Bumblebee on Echinacea