Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Macro £580, $750
What’s good: Superb optical performance and handling; weather-sealed; hybrid stabilisation. What’s bad: Currently it’s not such outstanding value in the UK as it is in the USA. Our verdict: It’s the best macro lens you can buy for Nikon DX- and FX-format D-SLRs.
It’s not always the case that Nikon lenses are the best choice for Nikon cameras. The Tamron 90mm macro is a case in point, with superior features to Nikon’s 105mm VR. The Tamron has a more advanced stabiliser, better autofocus performance at close range, and captures close-up shots with greater sharpness and contrast. Its bokeh is also creamier.
The Tamron 90mm undercuts the Nikon 105mm for price, but it’s currently better value in the USA than in the UK. In a reversal of fortunes, the Sigma 105mm is unbeatable value in the UK, but pricey in the USA. The Sigma is rich in high-end features and delivers excellent performance, coming a close second to the Tamron lens overall. The Samyang and Tokina are interesting lenses with their own strengths and weaknesses, while the Nikon 85mm is the best choice of DX-format optic. Even so, we’d prefer to use the Tamron or Sigma lenses on DX- as well as FX-format bodies.