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Review – Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 SP Di II LD Macro Prime Lens (Canon)

Incredibly versatile Tamron AF 60mm f/2.0 Macro Lens

Thank you Dennis Pena for providing DSP his insights on the Tamron AF 60mm f/2 macro lens.

I’ve been aching for a macro lens for the longest time and as if a joke was being played on me, every time I had the chance to get one, something else would come up that would require my attention. Well, I think my long wait is worth it as I pretty much got what I exactly needed.

When I was still hunting for my first macro lens, I tested several lenses (Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8, Sigma 70mm f/2.8 and Tamron 90m f/2.8) and while I was quite happy with the test results, there was a nagging doubt in the back of my head that prevented me from getting one.

1lens_box_tamron_60mm_macro

That is until a good buddy of mine [David: me! LOL] pointed me in the right direction: the Tamron SP 60mm macro direction. And when I got the lens and fired off a few test shots then looked at the resulting images, I immediately knew that I got what I was looking for.

Build Quality and AF

The Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 is the fastest macro lens currently in the market. Aperture wise, it beats its competitors hands down.

The Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 has an excellent feel.  Build quality is very good.

It’s a little bit longer than a 50mm lens but shorter than the Tamron 90mm and I like it like that i.e. I get the versatility of a 50mm and the function of a full macro lens.

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The auto focus works quite fast, although the non-ultrasonic motor is kind of noisy so this lens might not be good for insect macro photography as the noise might scare the critters away.

The AF/MF switch can be found on the side of the lens. The Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 has IF so the there is constant physical length. Additionally, the front element doesn’t rotate so a CPL can be attached to the front element.

One neat feature of the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 is that it has FTM (full time manual) focusing and with FTM, the AF can be overridden for some accurate focusing.

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Image Quality

The Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 produces excellent images. Tack sharp from all apertures (f/2 – f/22).

It’s as sharp as the Canon and Nikkor lenses that cost much more so in terms of IQ:cost, Tamron has a winner here. Just like the Tamron 90mm macro, optics is very good although this lens has IF and the 90mm doesn’t. The Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 performs excellent as a macro lens or as a portrait lens (see sample images at the end of the page)

Although the lens shows a slight amount of barrel distortion, it is too minimal to have an impact on the overall IQ.

There is slight vignetting wide open. Stopping down to f/2.8 solves the problem. Vignetting will practically disappear from f/4 upwards.

If there are two gripes that I have with the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 it would be these: (1) there is visible CA and (2) Tamron’s VC is absent.

The CA is practically a non-issue as it can be easily corrected during post processing.

If you’re into creamy bokeh, then the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 will not disappoint you. As one Internet-based camera review site would say, this lens is bokehlicious.

Thanks to the excellent optics and rounded edge blades of the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0, circles that this lens produces on bokeh is perfectly round, not octagonal or hexagonal. Perfect for portraits!

Conclusion

Overall, the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 is a winner of a lens.

Brilliantly sharp images each and every time. It has superior optical performance and delivers the goods at all apertures.

It’s very light and compact so it’s a good “alternate” lens for a 50mm.

If you’re into portrait photography and/or macro photography and want your images brilliantly sharp all the time, then this lens is for you.

Highly recommended!

Sample Images for the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0

Test macro shots

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Just to show you how sharp the image is, I cropped a section of the above photo for reference:

 

The leaf below is just a half-height bigger than a thumb tack.

Test Portrait Shots

When I was trying out the Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 for portraits, I had no live subject around so I had to settle with my daughter”s teddy bear. Still, the resulting images were fantastic.

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 The Tamron AF 60mm F/2.0 is relatively affordable and very flexible due to its 60mm focal length. The fast f/2.0 aperture sets it apart from the rest of the macro lens crowd (which hovers around the f/2.8 range).

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