Tammy 90 question

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Dusty Dog, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Presently, I own a Tamron 90mm macro. I love the lens and got it used at a great price. But, the reach is sometimes just not there. My lens of choice if I had the money would be a Sigma 150 or 180. But, I don't have the bucks, and choose to live with this otherwise great lens. I am considering increasing the reach of the tammy by adding a TC, either a 1.4 or 1.7. I think the 2X would possibly just degrade the image too much. When I have more money (after paying off some debts), I'll sell the tammy combo to my sister and buy the Sigma.

    My question is...... Do any of you have experience with coupling a tammy with a TC? If so, how does it affect bokah? If so, which TC magnification? If so, have any pics to post? If so, would a Kenko be good? If so, does a Kenko work on other lenses, as well? I'm just so confused about what to buy and whether it would be worth it or not.

    I guess I should have said "My questions are....." :tongue:

  2. koolk2


    Sep 9, 2006
    I have a Sigma 1.4 TC. My Tammy 90 will not mount to it. I use an extension tube, then the TC to get greater magnification.

  3. Ken, I'm not surprised a Sigma won't work with a Tamron. I would expect that either a Tamron TC or a Kenko TC would work. What kind of extension tube allows for this coupling of the Sigma TC to the Tammy? Interesting. I specifically ask about the Kenko because it may have the ability to work with other lenses than just a Tamron. I just really don't know.

  4. Diane -

    The extension tube goes between the lens and the camera and, for macro purposes, gets you more magnification without a TC. More or less it trades working distance for magnification: with the Tamron 90/f2.8 and a (fairly long) 52.5mm tube you can get about 1.6:1 magnification. On the other hand, you will be only about three inches from your subject. Extension tubes from Kenko are the ones you likely want, since they retain electronic metering. On your D200, the old Nikon tubes are an option, but you lose any possibility of AF.

    I'd also be cautious about replacing your 90/f2.8 with a long (150/180/200) macro. The big ones are excellent, and they do produce more working distance, BUT they do not produce more "reach" or magnification. All of the lenses in question focus to 1:1 magnification on their own, so the end "reach" in the traditional sense is the same. And they are considerably harder to transport and to use hand-held. I have found that the medium and long macros are sufficiently different that I keep them both, although obviously some may not find the use or finances for both.

    Finally, if it's working distance that you're after, you should be aware that sometimes a long telephoto with an extension tube may produce the best solution for really long working distances. I've been on a dragonfly kick these days, and some of them are really skittish. It's not feasible to get within the 18-20 inches necessary with my 200/f4 Micro. Instead I've been rigging up a 500mm lens with extension tubes and shooting from about 5 feet, and that's a FAR more practical solution for skittish dragonflies. With your 200-500, you could just try the Kenko tubes - I'd guess that's a nice combination.
  5. Diane, when you say 'reach' and you talking about magnification, or working distance ? The Sigmas and the Tamron have the same magnification - 1:1. The longer lenses give you more working distance (distance from front of lens to subject).

    To answer some of your questions:
    1. A Kenko 1.4 Teleconverter will mount on a Tamron 90.
    2. I tried the following combos and they both work:

    Camera - Kenko TC - Tamron 90.
    Camera - Kenko Tubes - Kenko TC - Tamron 90.

    Working distance diminishes as you add stuff. DOF gets narrower making it very difficult to focus. With that last combo, you are in macro-rail territory. DOF is about the thickness of a hair.

    Hope this helps,
  6. Brian, thanks!!! In fact, working distance was what I was after, but I found that the 70-300 and the 200-500 don't give me the macro detail that I was looking for. If I could get the detail from the 200-500 with tubes, then you're right, that's what I want. But, in comparison to a TC, do tubes reduce light the way the TC does? I suppose I could just give it a try, and if I don't like them, sell them. There's always someone willing to buy stuff.

    Also, I found on ebay that brand x tubes are really inexpensive. Are they also really cheap? I know that they don't have glass, but build and AF may be considerations. Kenko tubes sets can cost upward of $120, whereas these brand x sets cost a fraction. Money is an issue for me. I can't be buying junk, but at the same time, I don't want to be throwing good money after bad. It's always a tough balancing act for me.

    And, just as an aside, one reason that I'd prefer a Sigma 150 over a Tammy 90 is the lens plate and tripod adjustment. Even though the tammy isn't big, and even though I'm using a quality Markins M20 ballhead, I find that adjustments using a lens plate to be much easier. And, for what it's worth, my hand holding ability kind of sucks, so I prefer a good tripod setup. And, being able to just pop the macro onto my camera set up on my Sidekick would be great. Sometimes, when I'm shooting long, and I see something close to shoot, I have to take down the Sidekick and camera to re-attach to the Markins with the macro lens. It gets tiresome. I prefer a lens longer lens to have a foot, be it on the Sidekick or on the ballhead. Just my shooting style, I guess.
  7. Craig, you sure answered my question. Thanks! I'm looking for working distance, so this isn't going to work. I need a longer lens, like the Sigma 150. But, I'm really considering using the tubes on my 200-500, as Brian suggested. That seems like an interesting combo.
  8. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006

    I find that the KenkoPro 1.4 works great with my Tamron 90. But a long lens and either tubes or a Canon 500D are great for Dragon's. I often use my 80-200 or my 300 AFS f4 with the nikon converters and a canon 500D....
  9. Brian, I agree with everything you say here (especially about the skittish dragonflies! :eek:), with one small note: I recently bought a Sigma 150, and so far have found it no more difficult to hand-hold than the Tamron 90 I'm replacing. It surely is bigger, as you say, and that may be an issue for anyone. And it could well be that a 200mm Micro would be a different story, I don't know. So far however, no problems here hand-holding the 150. I do tend to bump the ISO to 400 with both the 150 and 90, which helps get a quicker shutter speed to offset my shakiness. Anyone else's mileage may vary, of course.

    You give great advice though! Distance with some subjects especially is key, and I can understand how your solution with the 500mm and extension tubes would work well in some situations.
  10. This was shot with a Tamron 500/f8 mirror lens and a short (14mm) tube:

    I got away with a 14mm tube for this one because the Tamron focuses much closer on its own than the Bigma. In the future I'm going to use a longer tube so that I don't have to focus the Tamron so closely; its optical performance is excellent at normal distances, but not so when it's cranked all the way to minimum focus as this was. And these two were shot with a Bigma 50-500/f6.3 with a pretty big (52.5mm) tube:
    In the full-size version of this last one, you can even count the sections on the eye!

    I've never tried any tubes other than Nikons (what I have) and Kenkos (friends have them). The Kenko tubes are built "ok." One tube at a time and you'd never have a problem. Stack them and you'll realize that they're a little loose, especially if you compare to the Nikons side-by-side. But after noticing this, Jeff and I tried really hard to find any problems caused by the play, and we just couldn't.

    There are other differences, too: the Nikon tubes are purely mechanical, which is why you always lose AF and non-AI metering. I'd guess that the cheapo tubes are like this. The Kenko tubes have both mechanical and electrical metering connections, and they may also have AFS/HSM focus signals going through too, although I don't know about that part.

    My advice here is to buy the Kenkos if you think you're going to stack the tubes. If you're just going to use one at a time, and since you can meter with AI-style lenses, you may be able to get away with cheapo tubes. On the other hand, anything that doesn't have electrical pass through will be a problem if you ever want to use a G type lens (such as the Sigma 150/f2.8 HSM!) with the tubes. You ought to check that if you're considering the upgrade. We know the Kenkos are fine. The Nikon tubes are built like tanks but also are inoperative with G lenses and they are also expensive.

    Your shooting style is very similar to mine, although I don't use a Wimberley. You may really be after a focusing rail, but those again are $$$. (Don't look up the price of a Novoflex focusing rail unless you're sitting down - that could be dangerous!)

    I don't have a Sigma 150, I have the 200/f4 Micro-Nikkor. But it's not so much that it's bigger, but longer and with narrower FOV. It's not so much a sharpness issue but a matter of precise and repeatable framing. With a narrow FOV, precision counts, and that's really hard without a tripod. Plus...

    The other issue with really any macro but especially longer ones and hand-holding is that unless you have a D3 or D700, you either end up with sky-high ISO or you end up writing off the capabilities of the lens. It's pretty much impossible to shoot at f/22 and a hand-holdable shutter speed without pushing the ISO over 1000. All fine on a D3, but for most of us, it's pushing the edges. With a tripod, it doesn't matter much if the shutter speed goes down to 1/15th unless we're talking about insects, and even then it's often OK.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2008
  11. Brian, I love this shot! Those eyes are incredible.

    My first outing with the Sigma 150 was yesterday, and I only shot a few. They were all hand-held however, as I wasn't interested in getting myself or my tripod in the mucky water where I was shooting. Also, the breeze was blowing, which meant I needed a fast shutter speed anyway. Couldn't get as close as I would have liked, but the result was still plenty sharp. In the full-size version of this one, you can count the fine little hairs along the insect's back-side:


    So my point was merely that it is possible to hand-hold this lens. Yep, I'd rather use a tripod in some circumstances.
  12. Thanks so much for all these responses. I've learned some stuff today. It boils down to using my tammy 90 without anything, and using the 200-500 with tubes. As for iso, I shot this image with the tammy at f/14, iso 400, 1/160s, handheld. I can shoot handheld if I'm shooting fast enough. This one was borderline, but the bee was moving too fast for the speed I shot this at. Maybe I could have stepped up to a smaller stop to shoot faster. It's a minor crop, so I was able to get close enough. I don't think adding a tube or TC would have helped me here. What do you think?


    However, shooting dragons is a different story. This was shot with my 200-500 at 1/1000s, f/9, iso 200, 500mm. As you can see, even though it's cropped, it's too small in the frame. Rather than crop too much, I chose to leave some oof branches for context. I think it's a better comp.


    But, would you think that a TC or a tube would have been better to shoot this with? Which would have filled the frame more? I was thinking the TC, but do tubes accomplish the same thing? I continue to be confused. Learning is fun, but frustrating. ...... sigh ........
  13. Tubes do lose you some aperture, but they have no glass, so they don't degrade optical quality. If you have Kenko tubes you'll be able to fill the frame more than this. Your dragonfly (Common Baskettail?) looks like it's about the size of the Red Darner above (with the orange wings), and I didn't even use a tube for that one.