Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52BB)


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

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 (52BB)

Technical Details

Launch Year 1988
Discontinued 1996
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 (52BB) was sold with a lens Hood: Bayonet type, 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. Later editions of the lens were sold in a presentation set which included a leather case, the extension tube, water spray bottle, cardboard backgrounds – all presented in individual boxes in a larger presentation box.

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 f5.6 180mm 1:1 macro lens.

Lens Gallery

Marketing Documents

The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52BB) 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’.


Background and Availability

The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm f2.5 Macro (52BB) 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.

The only mechanical issue I have had with this lens – and from others online I know I am not alone in this – is that originally the aperture would not stop down past around f8. The lens needed to be opened up and a spring tightened to sort this issue out.

Another 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

Whilst this lens is clearly designed as a macro lens, its speed, combined with its remarkeably quick and easy focusing (images snap into focus almost like no other lens that I have used), makes it double up as a very effective portrait lens. This has been one of my favourite lenses to use and accounts for a significant number of my Flickr images. It is sharp – even wide open – has good contrast and is very resistant to flare with the right hood – and the flare produced into the evening sun makes for lovely portrait images.

It is easy to focus and I’ve had no problems getting some very good macro images with this lens. It functions well with the Tamron SP 2x (01F) teleconverter that can be picked up very cheaply on Ebay – making this lens a full 1:1 180mm f5 macro lens. I rarely used the dedicated extension tube as losing the ability to focus at longer distances was just to limiting for my style of photography (which is basically just wondering around snapping things that I see).

I rate this lens very highly and it is one of my first recommendations to any Mirrorless camera user.

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