Stealth Purchase

Last evening I went home early by myself instead of waiting for my wife to knock off. I felt it is more efficient if we did not have to wait for each other. Firstly, I walk faster, so I could reach my destination faster, or run errands like buying dinner, groceries, etc. And since we do not travel together, we have double the time to accomplish tasks, instead of 2 persons doing the same task at the pace of the slower person.

But that’s besides the main story of this post. The main point is: I bought another camera lens. It’s one of those in-shop decisions. Actually, I have been considering reconfiguring my lenses. No, I don’t mean tearing apart camera lenses physically and install some alien stuffs, but the idea is similar. As you know, DSLR owners tend to have a lot of lenses to cater for different situations, from the ultra-wide-angle lens to the telephoto lenses. With my current lenses, I can shoot anything from 12mm to 200mm, with lots of overlap lenses in between.

So initially, I was thinking of replacing my Tokina 12-24mm lens with Sigma 10-20mm lens, a logical choice to extend my lens coverage by 2mm wider. Price is one major concern. Another concern is the quality: Sigma lenses have this horrible coating on the lens body that easily peels.

Another contender is to replace my Nikon 17-55mm lens with Tamron 17-50mm lens, the latter being known to be of pretty good quality, and about 1/3 the price. But I’m not putting much thought on this because there is no doubt about the Nikon lens’ quality.

Anyway, both options face one problem: they are direct replacements of my existing lenses, and I’m not sure whether the replacements are better.

Meanwhile, another lens sneaked up onto me: Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 Di 1:1 Macro. The beauty of this lens is that it is a 1:1 macro lens, which means it can literally capture life-size objects. With 1.5x crop factor on all Nikon DSLR, it means I can capture objects at 1.5 times its size. This equipment is a must-have for versatile photography. So far, I have been relying on my Tamron 28-75mm lens to capture pseudo-macro shots (1:3.9). I also have a cheap reverse coupling ring and stack 2 50mm lenses together to get macro shots, but the severe limitation is that I need to be about 2 inches close to the object – not possible if you wanna shoot moving things.

So last evening, I walked up to my favourite camera shop, which was surprisingly quiet. I requested for a test of the 90mm macro lens, and was blown away by the sharpness. It took me about 15 minutes to decide to purchase it:

– sharp copy lens.
– I need a macro lens to capture close-up objects. Useful for still photography like food, insects, plants.
– popular lens with high resale value
– 3-year warranty

Check out these sample images, taken hand-held at ISO800, so pardon the image noise:

1) Original image resized. This image is taken from the TDK CD-R package.

2) Section where the crop is taken

3) That is the crop, 9mm in length.

I couldn’t even see the print artifacts using my naked eye, but this lens captures it clear and sharp.

This lens can also double as a portrait lens. At 90mm, it’s an ideal coverage. Of course, the focus will take longer than a standard lens.

I like this lens, and can’t wait to use it on the fields.

  1. Anonymous

    Thanks for the review. Very useful. Just a comment… try to go home with your wife more. If you leave her too often, you will eventually drift apart 🙂

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