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on September 16, 2009
I had this lens on order for months, hoping to be one of the first to get it as soon as it was available for a Nikon mount. When I first heard the announcement of this new lens from Tamron, I was more excited than I have been for a while over new glass! As a pro photojournalist, I have quite a bevy of lenses. I was interested in this from past experience with Tamron lenses, notably the 90mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro. I have used this lens on a just-about weekly basis for over 10 years. I do not have the latest version of the 90mm, but the one I have is still working incredibly well, and I have never had a single problem with it, even as much as I have used it. The main things I loved about that lens is the absolutely wonderful bokeh, impeccable sharpness, and nice color rendition. The AF could of course be better, but maybe it is in the newer versions, I can't say. I became aware of the 90mm lens over 15 years ago when I bought the 90mm f/2.5 version of the lens for Minolta, which I used on several Maxxum 9000 bodies for many years. I absolutely loved it, so when I made the switch to Nikon, I bought the newer one, although I have always wondered if they could make it faster, as the old one was 2.5, although not a true 1:1 macro (It was a 1:2, with a extension tube to make it 1:1).
As I bought the 90mm to use on FM2 and F5 film bodies, I thought it extremely suited for portraiture at the 90mm focal length, and used it for that purpose as much as for macro work. But with the switch to digital and the cropped format, 135mm is a bit tight for most of the portrait/environmental portrait work I do. I then started using the wonderful Nikon 50mm f/1.4 for most of that work. I also own the Nikon 85mm f/1.8. Both lenses are sharp, bright, great lenses. But they do not focus very close. Hence, I found myself constantly switching between the two Nikkors and the 90mm Tammy for studio, fashion, food and portrait photography.

Enter the 60mm. Its basically back to the 90mm focal length on (cropped sensor) digital cameras. If I shot mostly with a full-frame (FX sensor) camera, I wouldn't be so interested in this lens however. The working distance of 100mm even beats the 90mm for macro shooting. If I were a full-time macro shooter I might suggest an even longer working distance to keep shy bugs and such happy, but as I said earlier, this lens is a nice hybrid for macro/portraiture use.

I have only limited use of this lens as of this writing (just a few days), but this is my thoughts so far:

PERFECT PORTRAIT LENGTH OF 93MM, with MACRO WORKING DISTANCE of 100mm.

A f/2 APERTURE! This was probably one of the main selling points for me. Although, I must express why I am a little disappointed in that regard. From tests I have done so far, f/2 does not seem to come into play until around 14 feet to infinity. At focusing distances closer than 14 feet, the lens switches to f/2.2. It switches from 2.2 to 2.8 between 12-ish feet and a foot (that's not bad really, so you still have 2.8 all the way up to a foot in front of the lens). All true macros will do this to my knowledge, the physical parameters of focusing so close loses light. I was expecting this. But I absolutely think/wish the lens would stay a true f/2 in the portrait-shooting distances (3-8 feet lets say). Of course, its still a good deal faster than 2.8. But using the lens in studio settings or in manual modes or with manual flash settings, the aperture / exposure shifts could be annoying. And you are not getting the low-light usefulness of f/2 for any portrait-distance use.

This lens is a true INTERNAL FOCUSING lens!! I find this a monumental breakthrough for a 1:1 macro lens! The front element does not move, the lens maintains its length at any focusing distance, even at minimum. Filters stay in the mounted position. It uses a 55mm filter thread, which is very common and useful. I have many SFX filters in this thread that I can use for this lens. The hood is a nice length and stays put, and is easy to take off and put on. Seems as though it would protect the front element well and controls flare pretty good from what I can see.

The BOKEH OF THIS LENS IS SUBLIME!!!, (just as I hoped it would be). It has inherited the beautiful out-of-focus highlights that distinguishes the 90mm. Although, I was a bit skeptical as I noted that the 60mm employs a 7-blade diaphragm rather than the 9-blade of the 90mm; but the roundness of the blades seems to make a nice effect regardless.

The Autofocus on this lens is usable. It is much better than on my old 90mm. Most of the time, it seems to focus rather quickly and accurately. It makes a slight noise, but is not harsh or too loud. It will at times not find focus and rack in and out, slowing performance. It really SHOULD have a limiter switch as the 90mm does to limit focus to two distance groups. This is particularly useful to keep the lens in the focus areas you are intending, be it portrait range use or close-up macro work. It does not have a limiter switch! The full-time manual-focusing override is very nice however. It feels good in the hand. The manual mechanism however seems to be a bit hard to find focus at times; I can focus much finer and smoother with other manual-focusing lens rings. But it works, and I may become more used to the feel of it in time. Being able to 1:1 macro focus with decent AF/IF and manual over-ride (without having to move the switch or push-pull a clutch mechanism) is nice. Keeping it around 3 inches in length (at any focus distance) is very nice. It is a little over 5" in length with the hood attached.

THE LENS IS VERY SHARP, EVEN AT f/2! It's even sharper stopped down a bit. But the bokeh and sharpness at f/2 is amazing! The out-of-focus planes are very smooth. The sharpness seems very flat from the center to the edges (as all macros should be).

THE COLOUR RENDITION IS WONDERFUL! Seems slightly warm and somehow smooth. Skin tones are very good.

Seems well-made and robust. Is hard, slightly rough-feeling plastic with metal mount. Black matte finish blends well with Nikon bodies. I have no worries about quality issues. Especially with the standard 6-year warranty from Tamron USA. My copy is #0007** and it states it is made in Japan. It is rather light but solid feeling, and balances well on camera.

Shots so far with this lens are as hoped for. I am greatly pleased with this lens, especially for use on a DX-sensor camera. ****Really wish it would maintain f/2 from at least 4-6 feet, rather than 12-14 feet though!*** But so far I really like and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it for portrait/macro use on DX cameras.
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on August 23, 2010
Before I bought this lens I used a friends Canon 100mm Macro. While that was a great lens I felt 100mm was too much reach to use everyday. I also used another friends 50mm f1.8 and wasn't happy with it either, though the distance was better for using as a walking around lens.

This lens is the best of both worlds for me.

Pros:
60mm is a great distance
Fixed lenses offer incredible image quality, this lens is no exception.
Solid contruction.
Light weight (much lighter than the 100mm)
Comes with a hood.

Cons:
AF can be slow/sometimes it searches, but it isn't too loud.

Conculsion: This lens hasn't left my XSi body sense I got it. It is truly wonderful. The AF was a bit of a problem at first but once I attached a Speedlite 430 the AF assist beam almost completely eliminated the problem.

I highly recommend this lens.

UPDATE: 3/9/11:
- Canon has confirmed that some Tamron lenses (including this one) do not work as they should with the Canon xxD line and the Canon 7D. I just upgraded to a 7D and the Auto Focus is practically useless. If the lens is starting in a "very out of focus" position when you press the shutter release, sometimes it won't do anything at all. Other times it will hunt through the entire focus range return to where it started and then confirm the focus. If it is close to focus sometimes it will still take seveal seconds to lock on.

I do no recommend this lens of you have a xxD body or a 7D.

UPDATE: 4/18/11
I haven't touched this lens in a while. But I got it back out the other day to play with it. And it seems that if I select one a single AF point the autofocus is much better. If I select Zone AF, or All 19 points it gets worse. The performance from a very out of focus position is still not good. For my test I used the Tamron 60mm and a Canon 24-70 f2.8L. I used a blank wall with a small hole where a nail used to be. I sat about 6-8 feet away, I started both from the minimum focusing distance and tried to get the lenses to focus on the hole using All 19 AF points, and Spot AF (center point). With Spot AF both lenses found the hole and locked on, however the Tamron took 2-3 times longer than the Canon L did.

I then switched to All 19 AF points. The Tamron failed to achieve focus on the nail 3 times out of 3. However the Canon L successfully found focus on the hole every time.
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on January 16, 2011
Others have already written plenty about the various imaging qualities of this lens and I see nothing to argue with. Used correctly it delivers very high quality images in all regards. It's a better lens than I am a photographer. I'm very happy with it.

Otherwise, here's a couple of thoughts about properties of this lens that a potential purchaser might like to be aware of...

* It has a 55mm filter thread, which means filters should be relatively inexpensive.

* The included bayonet-mount lens hood appears well made, fits nice and securely and is deep enough to be effective. On the other hand, it is likely to interfere with available or artificial light sources when working with very close range subjects, so you'll probably need to remove it when focus distance is less than around a foot or so. On yet another hand, the working distance at closest focus is very generous for a macro lens of this length, which is very appreciated in practice. This makes it a perfect lens for small product photography with controlled lighting.

* Auto-focusing speed isn't the greatest, but I don't think it's particularly slow, either. Just a little sluggish if you're in a hurry. In practice, it doesn't matter. This is not a sports lens. For most likely purposes it's more than fast enough. For very close macro, auto-focus on any macro lens is pretty much useless and it's faster and easier to manually focus by moving the camera, anyhow. Unsurprisingly, hunting can happen with a low contrast or poorly lit subject when focusing from very close to far, or vice versa. It's something people like to test, but again, in practice, rarely if ever necessary in a realistic picture taking situation.

* The maximum aperture is the headline selling point on this lens. Like many macro lenses, maximum aperture reduces as focus gets closer. Here's some numbers from my approximate testing:
Subject distance (to sensor) / Max available aperture
Infinity / f/2
10' / f/2.2
18" / f/2.5
12" / f/2.8
10" / f/3.2
9" / f/3.5
closest (1:1) / f/4
Again, in practice not as important as you might expect because at closest focus the depth of field with an aperture of f/4 is very tight and getting good subject focus with it requires a stationary subject, very steady support and practice. The problem with macro photography is much more often how to get more depth of field: Lots of light and a macro lens with a small aperture! The Tamron 60mm has a useful minimum aperture of f/45 at closest focus.

* Build quality and durability is fine. Not up to the standards of a professional Nikkor, perhaps, but nothing to make me think there's any problem in regular use. Focus ring movement is maybe a little tighter than I'm used to, but nothing to lose sleep over.

* Small and light compared to many macro lenses - very appreciated on long days away from home.

60mm on a reduced size sensor DSLR like the D90 is a very useful length. Great for close-ups, head-and-shoulders portraits without invading your subject's personal space, all sorts of general photography. I'm finding I'm using mine more than anticipated (I originally only bought it for use as a macro) and considering selling my 50mm, because this is a more than adequate and versatile replacement. A smart move by Tamron.
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on November 2, 2009
This is my first true macro lens. I have had it for about a month now and am using it with a Canon Rebel XSi. I am very pleased with its performance and the great shots it has produced. The pictures I've gotten are extremely crisp. The ability to use manual focus while in the Auto focus mode is a very nice feature. You don't have to take the camera from your eye to switch off the auto focus. That is a time and picture saver especially when you have a situation such as a bee or other insect flying around and you only have seconds to get that great shot. I love the feel of the focus ring and overall feel of this lens. It feels smooth and has the feel of a quality product. I find the speed (f2) great for those close-ups of insects such as bees or flowers on an overcast day where you don't want to use a flash. Image stabilization would be nice, but that would add to the cost. This is my second Tamron lens and again I am very pleased with this product and the results I have gotten. I would not hesitate to recommend this lens.
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on November 1, 2009
My friend just bought this lens and let me check it out. In one word Fantastic! It is among the sharpest lens I have seen in a lens of this class even wide open. I have a 50D and that camera is pure torture on lesser lenses, but the Tamron has no problem keeping up with its hunger for resolution. The other two reviewers commented on the price, but I don't see that as a con as you are paying only a little more over Nikon and Canons (other brands to) for an extra stop. This is worth it to me. Most would argue you don't need the extra stop on most macro as you usually want more depth of field and this is true, but this lens also is intended for portraiture and for that the extra light does come in really handy, even when doing flowers and what not a shallow DoF can help add interest to a subject.

This lens does not have the build of say an "L" lens but does seem sturdy and have no doubts it would hold up well even if it got some rough treatment. The focus ring is smooth and responsive combined with its light weight makes this lens a joy to use. I will defiantly be ordering my own copy of this lens as soon as I get paid and can't wait. I highly recommend this lens to anyone looking for a macro in the 60mm range.
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on June 5, 2010
This is my first experience with Tamron lenses and this one is a fantastic lens. It was a great deal and I got some more incentive as Tamron has a good rebate program that can be combined with their education rebate program as well. Amazon shipped it out quickly and the lens was well packaged and had no signs of damage from packaging or shipping.

I received this lens the day of this review and I've already taken over 500 pictures. I'm using it on a D70 and a D90 so with the cropped sensor it's effective angle of view is 93mm. The internal focus is working flawlessly. There is a small switch which will allow you to change over to manual focus and the manual focus works well. The focus ring you use in manual focus is well built and works easily and quickly.

The image quality is good. Bokeh is also good. It comes with a lens hood which should be used to keep unwanted stray light from getting into your picture. I'm an average user and this is a really fun lens. I tested taking pictures of wedding rings, bees, flowers, roly poly's (Armadillidiidae), running water, and tight portraits. I'm pleased with the results of these pictures and commend Tamron for doing such a good job with a lens.

If you're in the market for a macro or a portrait lens in the 60mm - 90mm range take this one into consideration. If you're still not sure read some more reviews on it and then go out and buy it! Ha-ha, you won't be disappointed in this lens.
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on April 13, 2011
I'd say the lens is solid all around. I'm not the most experienced with sharpness/etc. I've taken a few hundred pictures with it all ready. I never realized how difficult macro photography really is. Getting the focus right is so, so difficult at 1:1 ratio.

The focus on this lens seems pretty fast on my Canon 60D. It should work well for sports photography, especially with its 60mm + 2.0 aperature.

I'd definitely recommend the lens to someone looking for a cheaper + faster lenses than the canon alterative. I'm replacing my 50mm 1.8 with this lens, since it's more versatile.
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on August 11, 2010
I have had this lens for a little over 2 months now. I really enjoy it with my Nikon D5000. It is super sharp, lightweight and the manual over-ride focus is great. The auto focus can be a little clunky when shooting close up, but I usually switch to fully manual at that point. It is not as zippy as a Nikon lens but I have no regrets. The motor is definitely audible, but so is the shutter. The bokah is AMAZING on this lens. I mainly use it for food photography so the f/2.0 comes in handy and is appreciated. I'm very pleased with Tamron (great warranty too) and am currently shopping for another lens for my collection.
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on October 21, 2010
I had been wanting a macro lens for a while ever since I had to chance to use a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras. That Canon lens is sharp and has great build quality so it is easy to see why it has gotten so many good reviews. I also toyed with the idea of getting the Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP A/M 1:1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras which is also supposed to be very good. However, after playing around with my 18-200mm zoom set at 90mm/100mm, I found this range was simply too long for practical daily use.

I was looking at the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Digital SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLR Cameras as I wanted something that had a more useful focal range and could perhaps replace my Canon 50mm f/1.8. But f/2.8 is not f/1.8. Then I discovered this lens and it seemed to fit the bill. I have had good experience with the Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP ZL Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras so I ordered the 60mm. I am happy to say this lens is excellent!

For macro shots, this thing is very sharp. But if you are trying to shoot macro at f/2.0, you'd better have pretty still hands because it's easy to miss the focus if you even move a hair. At 60mm, it's good as a walkaround lens and the length also works well as a portraiture lens (on a 1.6x crop it is 96mm). The bokeh is very nice... better than my 50mm f/1.8 for sure, but not as creamy as the Canon 100mm. This lens is already sharp at f/2.0 and incredibly sharp at f/3.2 and higher. The construction is pretty good and feels very balanced on the camera. The full-time manual focus, even with the lens set on autofocus, is a fantastic feature. It's great being able to tweak your focus without having to flick a switch. The included hood can be reverse-mounted on the lens when not in use, but completely hides the focus ring when mounted this way, so you should get in the habit of mounting the hood properly when you are going to be shooting macro.

The one negative I could point out, and this is not a biggie, is that the focusing seems to hunt a bit in lower light situations and is a little noisy. In reality, it's not very loud at all, but it certainly is not as quiet when compared to Canon's USM found on their 60mm or 100 macro lenses.

Overall, if you are looking to get into macro photography and would like a useful walkaround lens for your camera, get the Tamron AF 60mm f/2.0 and you won't be disappointed!
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on August 29, 2010
I had been looking for a lens to shoot flowers, food and objects with that beautiful, shallow dof and crisp focus of subject. This is a great lens all around. I have an older Canon EOS D10 and it makes this camera like new. Also great for portraits.
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