Tamron AF 60mm f/2.0 SP Macro Lens Review

Announced in mid 2009, the Tamron 60mm F2 macro lens provides 1:1 magnification for APS-C sensors. This Tamron 60mm macro is available in Canon, Sony and Nikon mounts and it incorporates two low dispersion elements to compensate for various aberrations, lets you achieve 1:1 magnification at a working distance of 100mm. The F2 maximum aperture makes it a whole stop faster than other lenses in the same class. The Tamron AF 60mm f/2.0 SP Macro Lens is the world's first and currently the only 1:1 macro APS-C size lens with a maximum aperture of F2.

What’s with the name?
Like all Tamron lenses, this lens has a very long name – Tamron AF 60mm f/2.0 SP DI II LD IF 1:1 Macro Lens

  • SP – SUPER PERFORMANCE :  Tamron SP (Super Performance) series is a line of ultra-high-performance lenses designed and manufactured to the exacting specifications demanded by professionals and others who require the highest possible image quality.
  • Di – DIGITALLY INTEGRATED :  Di (Digitally Integrated Design) is a Tamron designation that applies to lenses that have been optimized for digital capture using advanced multi-coating techniques and optical designs that assure excellent image quality across the entire picture field.
  • LD – LOW DISPERSION : Low dispersion (LD) glass elements in a lens help reduce chromatic aberration; the tendency of light of different colors to come to different points of focus at the image plane.
  • ASPHERICAL : These innovative optics allow us to achieve the ultimate in image quality, and at the same time produce lenses that offer remarkable zoom ranges in extraordinarily compact packages.
  • IF – INTERNAL FOCUSING : Internal focusing (IF) provides numerous practical benefits to photographers including a non-rotating front filter ring that facilitates the positioning of polarizing and graduated filters, and more predictable handling because the lens length does not change during focusing.

Tamron likes the names of their lenses to be descriptive. For this post I will just refer to this lens as Tamron 60mm F/2.

Specifications

Model G005
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) 10/14
Angle of View 26° 35’ (APS-C size equivalent)
Diaphragm Blade Number 7
Minimum Focus Distance 9.1in. (0.23m)
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:1
Filter Diameter ø55
Weight 400g (14.1oz.)
Diameter x Length ø2.9 x 3.15in.
(ø73 x 80mm)
Accessory Lens hood
Mount Canon
Nikon with Built-In Motor
Sony

What’s included?

The Tamron AF 60mm F/2 comes with a detachable lens hood, manual, and registration form. There’s no padded case included like most Sigma Lenses.

Strong Points and Reasons to buy this lens:

  • Fast F/2 Fix Aperture.
  • Full Time Manual Focus.
  • Internal focusing system for enhanced ease of use.
  • Excellent Image Quality / Excellent Optics.
  • Light / Compact / Perfect as an all around Portrait / Macro Lens.
  • Meticulous countermeasures against ghosting and flare.
  • Gives you a working distance of 100 mm or 3.93 inches.
  • Great for Low Light.
  • Features 1:1 life-size.
  • Cost ($365.99 after $100 mail-in rebate at the time of writing).

Weak Points :

  • No VC /IS /OS /VR.
  • Focus Ring a little tight.
  • No Weather Sealing / Proofing like top of the line macro lenses from Canon or Nikon.

Impression:
I'm an occasional macro photographer, in fact I sold my Canon EF 100mm F/2.8 macro lens after owning it for less than a year. It's a great lens, but I don't use it that  often,  that's why I sold it. For occasional macro photography, I used my lovely EF 85mm F/1.8 and an extension tube.  While that combination worked fine for me, I felt that  the Tamron 60mm F2 Macro has a lot to offer so I decided to give it a try. For me there were three driving factors for purchasing this lens, like everyone else, the F/2.0 aperture attracted me to try out this lens, currently it is the only macro lens sporting this maximum aperture, second is the focal length, it's between 100mm and 50mm macros, it's great for everyday use and like what other reviewers are saying, I get two lenses in one, it's a macro lens that doubles as a portrait lens. Third is the price, it's a no brainer, a macro lens for only $365.99 after a $100.00 mail-in rebate.

tamron60mmmacrof2-0405

 

The Tamron 60mm macro lens is light, seems well made and feels good on my hands. It is entirely made of hard plastic with a metal lens mount making it light and easy to handle. If you've ever had a Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 or the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 or the Tamron 90mm F/2.8, the quality is very much the same. Although not like top brand macro lenses which cost more, the quality of this lens is very descent and will last a long time.

Autofocus is just fine, not fast, not slow, definitely slower and noisier than my 50mm F/1.4 and 85mm F/1.8.   I like the large rubberrized focus ring, easy to grip but I find it a little tight to rotate.

Since the Tamron 60mm F2 Macro lens features an internal focus mecahnism  the lens does not extend and the front element does not rotate when focus is adjusted. Another feature of this lens that I like is the Full Time Manual Focus, which can come really handy at times.

Conclusion:

Overall I like the lens, results are stunning. I tested this on a Canon EOS 40d and EOS 60D bodies and work well on both. It feels comfortable on my hands, feels solid despite having an all plastic construction. So far I didn't find any focus or exposure problem. The only thing I can say is, I find the focus ring a little tight and AF is on the slow side. Other than that, it's a great lens, great for still macro, great for portraits. If you plan on going after insects, you may have some difficulty on that area, but you might still be able to catch a few. So if you are looking for a macro lens, or a portrait lens, I can highly recommend this lens, it is a great macro and portrait lens.

The Tamron AF SP 60mm F/2 Macro available from:

Amazon| Adorama | B & H

 

Update March 10, 2012:

After more than a month I sold my Tamron AF 60mm F/2 SP. I don't do a lot of macro, and for portraits I love my Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 and Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 and for occasional macro work I'm comfortable using both lenses with my extension tube.

Photos of the Tamron AF 60mm F/2 SP Macro Lens

For some sample photos taken with the Tamron AF 60mm f/2 SP Macro Lens, please click here.

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