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Lens Review, Tamron SP 90mm 1:2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro On The E-P5

Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro Lens Review
A retro look at a cult classic, the Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm 52BB 1:2.5 Macro on a 2X crop sensor mirrorless digital camera.

As an enthusiast of both Olympus OM SLR film cameras and the mirrorless digital versions of the same market brand, I was in complete awe of the manual focus Zuiko Auto-T 180mm f2 ED-IF, a distinctive-looking high-performance fast telephoto lens introduced by Olympus in the late 80s. The lens, a rarity, sells for tens of thousands of dollars on the auction market. Even the lesser of the siblings, the slower Zuiko Auto MC 180mm f/2.8, which is equally hard to come by, is also within the four-digit price range at the auctions.

Olympus E-P5, Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro

Why a 180mm focal length lens? Beyond the standard nifty-fifties which are generally the favorite with photographers, high-performance medium telephoto lenses with a 180mm focal length do occupy their own niche and are ideal, especially for action or performances in sports arenas, concert halls, and the like. In the right creative hand, a lens with the focal length can be equally used for candid shots, portraits, street photography, landscapes, wildlife, and astronomical photography.

Olympus E-P5, Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro

As an alternative, for the 2x crop sensor Olympus E-P5 which I have been using for quite some time, I opted instead for the Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm 52BB F2.5 Macro, a manual focus vintage which will give the same focal length equivalent to a full frame 180mm lens when mounted on the E-P5, though with a smaller maximum aperture, and the opportunity to test it out for my favored photographic genre.


Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm 52BB F2.5 Macro

The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm F2.5 52BB Macro, first launched in 1988, is a short telephoto lens well acknowledged for its 1:2 macro capability and being extremely sharp and easy to handle, with users showing superb results with the lens used both as a dedicated macro lens and as a portrait lens.

    90mm F2.5 Macro Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 52b Lens Review With Samples

    Photography episode: 072 I do a full review of vintage film era Tamron SP 52b Adaptall-2 90mm F2.5-f32 Macro Lens with samples of both video and images taken with my Sony A7II full frame camera Music from https://filmmusic.io "Sovereign" and "Funkorama" Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The lens is optically identical to the earlier all-metal 52B model which came with a screw-in hood, while the 52BB is a cosmetic redesign with a bayonet fitting for a hood. The lens focuses down to 1:2 natively and down to 1:1 with an optional matched extension tube. The lens has a huge following with digital users and is one of the most commonly recommended lenses for anyone looking into buying a manual lens to try on digital.

Olympus E-P5, Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro

The lens weighs 420 grams. The test unit imaged is an Ai version and is mounted onto the Olympus E-P5 via a commonplace Ai-M4/3 lens adapter.


Image Captures

Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro Lens Review 01
Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro Lens Review 02

Reviews accolade the "cult classic" Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 90mm F2.5 Macro as a great lens for both macro and portrait work. The first all-metal version of the lens, the 52B, was replaced by the 52BB which comes with a redesigned barrel with a bayonet fitting for a hood. There was also a mention of a fixed mount autofocus version 52E.

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The lens focuses down to 1:2 natively and down to 1:1 with the 018F extension tube or with the 01F 2x teleconverter. An alternative to the 018F is a deglassed 01F TC. The 52B/52BB was replaced by the similar but 1:1 macro 90mm f2.8 72B in 1996.

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Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro Lens Review 08
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Tamron SP 90mm F/2.5 Adaptall-2 Macro Lens Review 10

Both versions of the lens can occasionally be prone to sensor reflections due to the flat rear element - causing a purple "spot". The 52BB can also be prone to a lazy iris, most noticeable when using with eg mirrorless with an adapter in stop-down-Av mode. The iris will close to about f8 with the aperture ring but then tend to stick.

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