Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Macro 52BB

Macro lens • Announced in 1984 • Film era • Discontinued

SP Professional lens with high quality optics and robust build. Meets the highest standards and provides excellent performance and flawless image quality unachievable with traditional optical technologies.
MACRO Macro lens. Designed specially for shooting close-ups of small subjects but can be also used in other genres of photography, not necessarily requiring focusing at close distances.

Model history

Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.5 Macro 152E1:2A8 - 60.39mE52 1994 
Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.5 Macro 52E1:2A8 - 60.39mE52 1990 
Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Macro 52BB1:2Adaptall-2A8 - 60.39mE55 1984 
Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Macro 52B1:2Adaptall-2A8 - 60.39mE49 1979 


Optical design
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Diagonal angle of view: 27° (35mm full frame)
Lens construction: 8 elements - 6 groups
Floating element system
Mechanical design
Mount: Interchangeable mount
Interchangeable mount system: Adaptall-2
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type: Automatic
Number of blades: 8
Closest focusing distance: 0.39m
Maximum magnification ratio: 1:2 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method: <No information>
Focusing modes: Manual focus only
Manual focus control: Focusing ring
Physical characteristics
Weight: 410g
Maximum diameter x Length: Ø66.5×73mm
Filters: Screw-type 55mm
Lens hood: Screw-type 98FH (round)

Manufacturer description

A new version of the original best-selling 90mm medium telephoto/macro lens (52B). Totally new in appearance, this lens features greatly enhanced optical performance and handling. Tamron's unique O.A.C. optical design assures sharp images with outstanding contrast from medium telephoto to macro photography (1:2 maximum ratio). Macro photography with up to a 1:1 ratio is possible with the use of an optional macro extender, an exclusive option for the 90mm lens.

From the editor

Designers are always trying to extend the capabilities of their lenses which they can do in two ways: by adding extra features to general purpose lenses or by taking the specialist lens and making it more useful for more general purposes. Tamron's 90mm falls right at the meeting point of two principles; it's a portrait lens with wide maximum aperture for low light shooting and it just happens to focus down to 0.39m for a ratio of 1:2.

Although Tamron calls it a tele-macro and not a macro-tele, it is computed to provide good results both near and far without sacrificing speed or size.

Set to infinity, all the front section of the lens is one great focusing ring which is flush with the depth of field scale and aperture ring, so the maximum diameter of the lens remains the same all the way down. Rack the focusing ring out to 0.39m - about five twists of the hand - and the barrel's front section appears out of it while depth of field scales for f/16 and f/32 plus magnification ratios become visible from 1:10 to 1:2, and 1:5 to 1:1 with the SP 2X teleconverter.

Fully extended, length is only about 120mm, or 163mm with the teleconverter for 1:1.

Typical application

portraits, travel, macrophotography and product photography

Lenses with similar focal length

Sorted by manufacturer name

Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Macro 52B1:2Adaptall-2Pro 1979 
Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Macro 1:1 72B1:1Adaptall-2Pro 1996 

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice


Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

Professional lens

One of the best short telephoto macro primes

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

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Quality control issues

The manufacturer of this lens does not provide adequate quality control. If you do decide to purchase this lens, do not order it online, but choose the best copy available in the store. In any case, there may also be problems with the build quality, and warranty repairs can take months.

Model produced in a small batch. It is collectible and can only be found on the secondary market.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film. The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Classic focal length

85 and 90mm are the classic focal lengths of short telephoto lenses for 35mm full-frame SLR and rangefinder cameras (respectively). As a rule, this class of lenses consists of high-speed models, however, there were also slow ones in the era of analog photography.

Short telephoto lenses are optimized for portrait photography, so that the background blur and impressive isolation of the subject from the background is achieved at medium focusing distances.

Many short telephoto lenses are compact and lightweight enough to be well suited for casual and travel photography. Some models are equipped with optical image stabilization.


Sorry, no additional information is available.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Floating element system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance. It is particularly effective for the correction of field curvature that tends to occur with large-aperture, wide-angle lenses when shooting at close ranges.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. A magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size". A lens is not considered to be "true" macro unless it can achieve at least life-size magnification.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Convex protruding front element

The convex front element protrudes from the lens barrel, making it impossible to use filters.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.