Friday, November 28, 2008

Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro

I hardly shoot macro photos and I can't even remember when was the last time I used the Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di Macro lens for macro work, but only for close up product shots. There are several lifesize macro lenses for Canon EF mount in the market. One of the cheapest lenses is this from Tamron. I'm very satisfied with it not only because of the price (around RM1300) but the performance. Being designated as "Di" lens, it supports both fullframe and APS-C body. This is the added advantage compared to Canon's EF-S 60mm F/2.8 Macro USM which is designed solely for APS-C body.

Being offered at this price definitely has its own drawbacks such as extending barrel, slow and noisy AF and no FTM (Full Time Manual). The extending barrel is the most annoying part since the barrel will be fully extended by a few inches when I require a lifesize (1:1) magnification. This reduces the "working distance" and the lens will be relatively closer to the subject, as compared to Canon's EF100mm F/2.8 Macro USM which offers internal focusing. If you're not going to use this lens for other purpose such as sports shooting, you'll be fine with the slow and noisy AF. I only use manual focusing when I shoot macro. With newer generation bodies such as EOS50D and EOS5DMkII, extremely accurate focusing can be done via the LiveView LCD with high magnification viewing. Focusing with the small pathetic optical viewfinder is a history.

If you intend to own only one budget medium telephoto prime lens for macro and portrait work, then this is the lens. Else I would recommend you to get EF85mm F/1.8 USM specifically for portrait work due to larger aperture and faster AF.

Here's a shot of an Australian bank note.

EOS350D, 90mm, F/16, 2.5s, ISO100

100% Crop (click for fullsize)

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