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LENS PORN: Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)


First Published: January 2017
Revised and re-written from scratch: 21 June 2017


The Tamron Adaptall 2 SP 90mm f/2.5 Macro (52B) is a highly regarded telephoto macro lens for macro photography as well as for portraiture, which makes it very versatile and great value for money. Plus, it also sells much cheaper than its Nikkor counterparts, which it can easily compete with.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



Interchangeable mount lenses were common in the days of manual (early 1980s or before) -- like the YS mount which is basically a T-mount that supports 'auto diaphragm', Komura's uni-adapters that are very rare nowadays, the TX mount used by Soligor and Vivitar (Tokina exchangeable mounts), and the Tamron Adaptall, probably the most popular and enduring of all time, even up to today holds so much value and respect.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
Lens without an adapter.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
Adapters from left to right:
Minolta/Sony A, Nikon F, Canon FD



There are several incarnations of this lens. To easily identify, the one I have here is Model 52B. It is the first incarnation of its kind and goes down to only 1:2. It is a fully manual lens and made of all metal and glass, compared to later versions that are plastic but can go down to 1:1 magnification.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
You can find the model number and serial on the aperture ring, at the rear side.



The minimum focusing distance of 0.39 meters works fine for me. At this distance, the maximum magnification is only 1:2 but I always felt that it is enough for doing product closeups. To get to 1:1 or more, I use it with my Kenko MC7 2x Tele Plus or my Vivitar Automatic 3x Teleconverter (Konica AR mount).

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



The focus ring is very damped. It means there's a certain amount of resistance when turning it. Some people might like it, especially for macros, but I prefer a very loose focusing. So I did my own hack and removed the 'sticky grease' on the focusing helicoid that's causing this. After the first attempt, I was still not pleased. The second attempt was what I wanted. Now I can easily focus on quick moving subjects (eg. my pet rats!). But mind you, the double helicoid is so hard to put back together even if you marked it. It took me 2 days to do so. Actually, I dreamed about the solution and tried it once I woke up. Then you know... it's back in one piece!

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
I almost died here.



From infinity to 1 meter, the focus throw is 45 degrees. This makes it easy and quick to adjust focusing on normal distances like for portraiture and street shots, landscapes, etc. The from 1 meter to 0.39 meters, the focus throw goes 3/4 of a circle for very precise macro focusing.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



The aperture ring has clicks in between full stops (eg. between f/2.5 and f/4, f/4 and f/5.6, so on). If you're doing manual exposure, it's easier to calculate using full stops and you will also find that you know you're going from f/5.6 to f/8 for example, without having to keep on looking at the aperture ring. From f/2.5, it goes down to f/32 which is especially nice for macros.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



The rubber grip of the focus and aperture rings are prone to having those white film due to the moisture from my hands. Unlike my Nikkors, I find that these rubber grips have to be cleaned every 2 or 3 months. At one time, I actually replaced the rubber grip, but then reverted to the original

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



The bokeh at f/2.5 is absolutely stunning, and it's also tack sharp at that stop (naturally, because macro lenses are made that way). The glass has a pleasing green reflection which says it is multicoated with anti-reflective properties to reduce flare, improve contrast and light transmission. I'm always pleased to use this lens. At f/2.5, I noticed there were color fringing in high contrast edges which might be normal with wide aperture (even at normal view, I don't pixel peep!). It totally disappears from f/4 and images are consistently crispy down to f/32. There's really nothing for me to complain about, the images were always stunning and I've heavily relied on this lens for product shots.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



This particular model, the 52B and other film lens versions are known to cause the dreaded purple spot in the center when at very small apertures like f/11 and pointed toward a light source. The explanation is that these lenses were made for film and the spots are caused by internal reflections. When shooting product closeups, I always set to f/8 or f/11, but fortunately it does not show up. If I do shoot outdoor, it's usually from f/2.5 to f/5.6 anyway. In my entire life of using this lens, it only happened once, shown below, which was I intentionally did that to produce the effect.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
This was my first ever shot of the lens, before buying it from a seller.
I did this on purpose to see what 'purple spot' reviews were talking about.



Unlike many macro lenses whose front elements are deeply recessed into a built-in hood, this lens' front element is exposed like a regular lens. In fairness, the multicoating is effective and the images look fine without hood in bright outdoor scenes.

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



Conclusion: I love this lens! It is probably my most used lens in history, especially for product shots. It's a great value budget lens that combines a portrait lens and macro lens into one. Maybe the tradeoff is that it's only f/2.5 and max magnification is only 1:2 (it's not a handicap for me). If you find one selling very cheap just grab it immediately before someone else does!

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

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SPECS

Tamron Adaptall 2
90mm f/2.5

Model Number:
52B

Years Produced:
1979 - 1988

VERSIONS
1979 - 52B, fully manual all metal
1988 - 52BB, redesigned plastic barrel
1996 - 72B
72E, AF version
172E, D lens version
2005 - 272E, Di lens version

Minimum Focusing Distance
0.39 meters

Focus Throw
Almost 360 degrees
45 degrees from infinity to 1 meter
It goes longer from 1 meter to 0.39 meters

Filter Thread Diameter
49mm

Aperture Run
f/2.5 - f/32 (8 blades)

Made in Japan




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Samples


I shoot on my Nikon D5200
a DX camera with crop factor of 1.5x.
90mm becomes 135mm on DX!



Bokeh Comparison


Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)










Macro Shots


Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)








Macro Shots with teleconverter

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)






Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)








Landscape


Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



Product Shots

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
This is a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 AI




Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
Pop style for the Fujifilm X-T20

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)



Nature Shots

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
Jasper the Siamese cat's eyelashes




Portraiture


Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
Jasper the Siamese cat by the window

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
My self-portrait at f/4

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
My self-portrait at f/4

Tamron Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 Macro (Model 52B)
My self portrait at f/4

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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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