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Lens Reviews

Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 Model 272E Lens Review

Paul Fisher (Paul_Fisher)

Keywords: tamron, lenses, non_nikon, macro, sp, 90mm

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Since 1979, Tamron has produced 90mm macro lenses whose optical quality has rivaled the extraordinary Micro-Nikkors. Some photographers claim to have preferred the Tamron over the Nikkor because of its superior handling of out-of-focus areas ("Bokeh").

More recently, Tamron have introduced a range of “digitally integrated” Di lenses, each of which has raised the bar in value-for-money optical performance. Now, we see the marriage of the famous 90mm macro to the most up-to-date Di technology. The result is the ...


Tamron 90mm Di macro

Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 Model 272E


Like all the Tamron SP Di lenses released to date, the 90mm macro is made of black polycarbonate, with a rubberised focusing collar and metal lens mount. It shares a family resemblance with the superb 180mm macro, through the use of gold engraving and blue manual/autofocus markings.

In the hand, this lens feels compact and light, but never flimsy. It is too small to accommodate a tripod collar. However, this is not an IF lens, and grows by 50mm when focusing to the 1:1 position.

A welcome addition – and something the 180mm really should have had – is a full / limit switch. The action of this rotary switch is very light – very easy to use, but it is the one item on this lens that feels less than robust. I wonder at its durability.
Switching between manual and auto focus modes is as easy as sliding the focusing collar forwards or backwards. A distinct click ensures you do not change modes accidentally.



The front element is deeply recessed, so that the supplied hood is not really necessary. Conversely, the rear element is right up in the throat of the lens mount, and does not move during focusing. The lens barrel is thereby sealed against dust entering from the rear.

Being polycarbonate, the lens is lighter than an equivalent metal lens. However it feels solid and well made. I have no doubt that it will prove just as durable and reliable as a metal lens.


Model 272E
Focal length 90mm
Maximum aperture f/2.8
Angle of view 27°
Lens construction 10 elements in 9 groups
MOD (minimum object distance) 0.29m / 11.4"
Magnification ratio 1:1
Filter size 55mm
Overall length 86.5mm / 3.41"
Maximum diameter 83.2mm / 3.28"
Weight 405g / 14.3oz
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Minimum aperture f/32
Standard accessory included Hood


The new lens has the same optical configuration as that it replaces, plus the digital integration technology. The following is from a Tamron press release:

One major difference between digital cameras and film cameras is how internal reflections may occur and to what extent. These internal reflections can cause unwanted flare or ghosting on the final image. In a film camera, internal reflections can be created inside the mirror box of the camera or from light reflecting off the film surface itself. In a digital camera, stronger reflections can occur from light bouncing off the sensor, since CCD and CMOS sensors are almost mirror-like on their surface, making the problem more noticeable with digital cameras.

Unlike conventional lenses designed to cope with internal diffused reflections off the mirror box and film surface, Di lenses offer new anti-reflection countermeasures that are essential in lenses designed for use with digital cameras. The new SP AF90mm Di (Model 272E) features an improved coating technology that reduces the reflections that are likely to become a problem, to the absolute minimum.

(2 Votes )
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Originally written on June 13, 2011

Last updated on March 23, 2017

Paul Fisher Paul Fisher (Paul_Fisher)

Awarded for his multiple article contributions

Perth, Australia
Silver, 12884 posts


James Walker (Endorfun) on August 24, 2023

Well, having only been in possession of this lens for just a couple hours now, it has gained my approval after about 2 dozen random test images. It's certainly one of the best lenses out there, and I believe it will be one of my most used lenses. The clarity alone had me impressed. For me there is going to be a learning curve before I will get the closeup performance that I want. Like most quality instruments they require a bit of effort to get the very best out of them.

Neil Waldman (leo2500) on February 2, 2016

Does anyone have any experience using the non Di version on a Nikon D7000 or D750. Are the results positive or would you have to move up to the Di version?

bill kelly (paver12321) on March 25, 2015

Very nice-So much to learn!

Rob Avery (Robeaver) on November 27, 2013

Yes sharp, had mine for a year, then put it on my new

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