Passion for the Camera: Tamron SP90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD (1)

By Shinya Yoshimori

Why the author uses the new model rather than the predecessor

Tamron SP90mm has long been seen as “a legendary macro lens” since the age of film cameras. It is a medium telephoto macro lens credited with an excellent depicting performance, which is passed down to lenses of the company in the age of digital cameras. I have used some SP90mm lenses. Last April I posted an article on the Tamron SP90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD. Thereafter I kept using it until I began to use its new model, the Tamron SP90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD this summer.

Oh, it has the same name as predecessor. To distinguish, however, the predecessor adds “Model F004” at the end of the name and the new model “Model F017”.

The new model has the same optical functions with the predecessor. The lens structure is 14 elements in 11 groups using a LD lens made from specialized glass and two XLD lenses; it features Floating System, which delivers a high optical performance in a range from macro to telephoto, as well as eBAND Coating, which is good at preventing reflection to provide clear pictures. But the new Model F017 combines eBAND Coating and BBAR Coating to improve the ability to prevent reflection. Also it puts an antifouling coating in front of the lens to make it more durable. And it features a new dust- and drip-proof structure.

Moreover, Vibration Control (VC) made progress. It reduces not just angle shake but also lens-shift vibration. This allows the image stabilizer to work properly in macro areas where compensation effects were hard to take place before. This is the main reason why I decided to use the new model.

Inevitably, that means goodbye to the predecessor. But before that I compare it with the new model. The latter reflects the design concept of the new SP series, making it different from the other one in terms of design and the quality of materials used. For example, the lens barrel of the predecessor is made of plastic, but the new model uses metal. Thus, the look and tactility are different.

So are switches of functions located on the lens barrel near the body mount. Focus Limiter, AF/MF switch, VC switch, etc. are arranged the same way as before. But switches of the new models are little away from the body mount (located forward). The shape of the switches and surrounding parts are rounded and simple. Personally I’d prefer the new model because it is easier to use. In the traditional Focus Limiter the space between three positions is narrow. On top of that, it is a bit hard to see the distance range.

So I am using the new model now. But I have not used it that much. As the autumn advances, however, there will be more opportunities to shoot subjects suitable for macro lenses such as maples. It will be time to fully enjoy this new lens. Stay tuned.


For more information please visit Tamron



Shinya Yoshimori

He is a professional photographer in Japan. He comments on cameras and lenses and is regarded in the industry as the man who likes cameras the most in the world. He loves everything about cameras from taking photos to seeing to touching to buying and dreaming of cameras. Not surprisingly, he collects a variety of cameras from digital to compact to classical to silver salt. The column title expresses his deep passion for them in his native accent (Hiroshima in western Japan)―Washa camera ga sukinajya (I love cameras).


New name: the title of Yoshimori’s column has been slightly changed from “My Passion is the Camera”.

More on Tamron from the author

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