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Quick Review: Tamron 90MM F/2.8 Macro VC Lens

These days when you hear Tamron, most people seem impressed with their lenses. My go-to lens recently has been their 35mm f/1.8 lens which is a must for landscapes. I’ve also found myself using it frequently on weddings. Tamron has been a breath of fresh air in providing high quality, inexpensive options for lenses.

A Look at the 90MM F/2.8 Macro VC Lens

Recently I was able to get my hands on the new Tamron 90mm f/2.8. My normal favorite macro lens has always been the Canon version 100mm.  The lens is available on the following mounts: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony A mount.

Here are the specs for the lens

· Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) 11/14
· Angle of View 27°. This works well for both macro work and portraits.
· Minimum Focus Distance 11.8in. (0.3m)
· Macro Magnification Ratio 1:1
· Filter Diameter 62mm
· Weight 21.5oz which makes it easy to travel
· Length 4.6 inches
· Includes a lens hood and a case which is nice as it cuts down on reflections and keeps the lens safe.Shooting Portraits

Normally you see a review on a macro lens and expect a review regarding macro photography but truthfully ,macro lenses are fantastic for portrait work. It is flattering to my clients and many of my favorite portraits were taken with a macro lenses.  I love using macro lenses for my portrait work. Here’s a sample of a portrait shot with the lens. 

A89A0490-Edit

The Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens is reasonably priced.  It has a street price of about $650.  This is about $200 less than the equivalent lens from Nikon or Canon.  That’s enough of a gap to make a reasonable person wonder why they would spend $200 more for a similar lens. The price is probably one of the biggest selling points of the lens and is what initially caused my curiosity to peak.  I definitely was  excited to get my hands on for a shoot.

I decided to use the 90mm on some typical client work I already had booked, including a portraits session. I used the lens on my older Canon 7D and decided to focus my review more on the portrait side. This way you can see how an inexpensive lens such as this Tamron can help you grow as a portrait photographer without breaking the bank.

Here’s a few example images and the specs for those images. I also had Profoto lights and an assistant with a reflector. Normally on a portrait shoot such as this, I would use a 70-200mm lens. I love the fact I could achieve the same result with a much lighter lens.

The only negative I found was that when my subject was backlit..i.e. in this case the sky behind his head, I found a little bit of chromatic aberration (CA) around his head. Which you will actually find in most Macro lenses and thankfully it takes two seconds to remove in Lightroom. I assume it’s from the brown contrast with the light sky. I didn’t find CA in any other image I took. I have yet to find a portrait lens that doesn’t have a little bit of CA when I’m wide open and it’s back lit.

CA

Shooting Macro

Next I brought the lens to a food shoot. The client was a local food truck and they want to really showcase their menu. I used available window light and a reflector. Using shallow depth of field here’s a few of the images:

For this shoot, I ended up shooting handheld. I had no major issues with focusing and it was an ideal lens for what we were trying to achieve. I could get the details and get in close for macro (all hand held). If I was doing true macro photography, I would have a tripod but again, I had no problems. I was happy and my clients were happy.

Closing thoughts

I found that shooting with the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 to be easy and fun.  It was an excellent tool and a great price point.  Highly recommended.

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