Tamron SP 90mm f2.5 Macro 52BThe Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52B) is a compact, fast macro lens that focuses down to 1:2 natively and down to 1:1 with an optional matched extension tube. The later 52BB model is a cosmetic redesign, switching towards plastics instead of metal, but is optically identical.

Technical Details

Launch Year 1979
Discontinued 1988
List Price when new ¥49,000
Focal Length 90mm
Aperture Range f2.5-32
Aperture Blades
Angle of view 27°
Optical Construction (Groups / Elements) 6 / 8
Minimum Focus 15.3″ (0.39m)
Maximum Macro Magnification ratio 1:2
Filter Size 49mm
Diameter 2.5″ (64.5mm)
Length 2.6″ (66mm)
Weight 420g


The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52B) was sold with a screw-in lens Hood, model number 23FH. Since this macro lens only focuses to 1:2 an optional matched extension tube (model 18F) was available to allow this lens to focus to full 1:1 lifesize macro.

This lens is also compatible with the Tamron SP 1.4x (140F),Tamron SP 2x (01F) and the Tamron SP 2x (200F). These 2x teleconverters also allow the lens to focus to 1:1 lifesize macro – albeit at the expense of 2 stops of light – making a f5 180mm 1:1 macro lens.

Lens Gallery

Marketing Documents

The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52B) lens was marketed by Tamron as a lens for both macro and portraiture work, due to Tamron’s ‘newly developed optical aberration compensator’ which automatically corrected ‘shifts in aberrations at various focusing distances’. This allows ‘superb high contrast image quality from infinity down to its maximum magnification ratio of 1:2’.

Optical Layout

Tamron Adaptall 2 SP 90mm 52B optics


Background and Availability

The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52B) is a highly respected macro and short telephoto lens known for being extremely sharp and easy to handle. Users have used this lens with superb results both as a dedicated macro lens and as a portrait lens. It has a huge following with digital users and is one of the most commonly recommended lens for anyone looking into buying a manual lens to try on digital.

The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52BB) is optically identical to the earlier 52B model. The original 52B features a lot more metal in its construction and has a screw-in hood, rather than a bayonet fit. This cosmetic update was also applied to the SP 17mm f3.5 and the non-SP 24mm f2.5.

A known issue with this lens on digital sensors is a ‘purple spot’, caused by the flat rear element of the lens. This, in certain lighting situations, shows up as a purple spot in the middle of the photo. How common this purple spot is seems to be dependent on the user and their style of photography.

Expect to pay around £70-130 depending on condition and extras – both models are very common and almost always available.

Performance and handling

I had and used the later 52BB model extensively with my Sony A6000, before selling it for the last Adaptall 90mm lens – the full 1:1 90mm f2.8 72B model – which I then sold in favour of keeping the Canon FD 200mm f4 Macro. I’ve always missed the SP 90mm, and one day I happened to be in a camera store and they had the original 52B in mint condition, albeit minus the hood. It was good to have it back, and to see what it could do at its natural focal length on the full frame Sony A7ii.

It hasn’t disappointed. The handling is lovely and build quality is much nicer than the later largely plastic model. It feels like it’ll go on forever and everything feels beautifully smooth and snappy. I’ve shot landscape shots wide open, portrait shots of my daughter and this lens never fails to deliver. It’s compact, sharp, things snap into focus and it is a useful macro lens, albeit limited to 1:2.

It’s just lovely and that it cost me just £35 makes me love it even more. Hunt one down, get one of the last true bargains for your mirrorless camera.

Sample Images

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