Tamron AF 60mm f/2 SP Di II LD [IF] macro (Canon) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff and Markus Stamm, published February 2010

The lens has been kindly supplied by Marcel Sahlmen!


In a time before digital SLRs were invented medium tele macro lenses often had to cover two usage scenarios - macro- and portrait-photography (or shallow depth-of-field applications in general). The latter was possible because most of these lenses were also rather fast in terms of aperture. In the digital era with APS-C sensors being used by the majority of DSLR owners 60mm lenses cover the needs of macro photographers looking for medium tele options. However, although the fast aperture of f/2.8 remains typical for such lenses the reduced image size of "crop" sensors results in an increased depth of field compared to full frame options making these lenses less attractive for e.g. portrait photography where shallow depth-of-field capabilities are pretty much a precondition for good quality results. Tamron is the first manufacturer to address this issue by offering a 60mm AF macro lens featuring a maximum aperture of f/2.

Typical for today's macro lenses the Tamron AF 60mm f/2 SP Di II offers a maximum object magnification of 1:1 (object size in the real world = projected size on the sensor). The minimum working distance at 1:1 magnification is 10cm which is supposed to be industry leading in this specific lens class (short macro lenses). Thanks to a true IF (internal focusing) design the physical length of the lens remains constant throughout the focus range. It may be an unusual thought but the effective aperture decreases towards the minimum focus distance - this is a normal behavior for most macro lenses. However, the effective aperture is NOT reported to the camera (which is different compared to the Nikon variant of the lens). The build quality of the lens is very decent thanks to an outer barrel made out of good quality plastic. The broad, rubberized focus ring feels somewhat stiff though. The front element does not rotate so using a polarizer remains easily possible.

The lens features a conventional AF micro motor which operates fairly fast albeit slightly noisy. The lens allows FTM (full-time manual focusing) so you can override the AF manually at any time in one shot AF mode. This is a fairly new feature among Tamron lenses (although it's actually a mainstream aspect on Canon lenses). There is no focus limiter which is a bit of a drawback because if the AF hunts, and this happens at times, it'll hunt throughout the whole focus range. We're pleased to report that the focus ring does NOT rotate in AF mode - this is usually an annoying aspect on Tamron lenses.

Equiv. focal length96 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/3.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction14 elements in 10 groups incl. 2x LD elements
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance0.23 m (max. magnification ratio 1:1)
Dimensions73 x 80 mm
Weight390 g
Filter size55 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)
Other featuresConstant physical length (true IF design). FTM

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