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Tamron 278D AF 80-210mm 1:4.5-5.6

Reviews Views Date of last review
9 38,592 Tue October 23, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $41.51 7.22
Tamron 278D AF 80-210mm 1:4.5-5.6

Tamron AF 80-210mm 1:4.5-5.6
This is a very light lens, 281g (9.9oz), according to one online vendor. My version also includes the number 278D (mentioned in an old thread as a model number,) and manufactured in China.
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Add Review of Tamron 278D AF 80-210mm 1:4.5-5.6
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Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2016
Location: London
Posts: 404
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $24.69 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Lightweight
Cons: Not especially sharp, feels slightly flimsy but OK
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Canon Eos 400D   

I bought this badged as a "Kodak Gear 78-215" for Canon - it's the same lens, there seems to be some debate over the true focal length. My guess is that Tamron have been slightly conservative with their labelling, the Kodak Gear version is labelled accurately. Since it's about a 2.5% variation at either end it really doesn't make much difference. The extremes are identified as 80mm and 210mm in metadata.

I took it out for a test walk in Kensington Gardens, London, on a nice bright day. It's lightweight and handles well, and seemed to work well throughout the range but didn't strike me as being any better than other zooms I've tested in this range, and a couple of pictures came out less sharp than I expected.

Some examples:

More here:

Overall, I think that it performs about as well as can be expected - but there are better and faster lenses out there that aren't a lot more expensive second hand. The big advantage is light weight for the size, making it a good lens to take with you if you don't especially expect to need it but want to cover all possibilities.
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2014
Location: Southern California
Posts: 113
Lens Review Date: January 3, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Price, fairly sharp throughout most the focal range, snappy AF
Cons: Some CA (fixable in post), a bit soft at extreme focal distances
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-1, K-30, K-50   

This lens is a great Ebay find if you can spot a K-mount version. I have the Promaster branded version. Because it's an earlier autofocus film-era lens, it has an aperture ring. Basically you can use it on an old manual body like a K1000, or switch it to "A" and let an electronic camera body control it. Because it's FF, it's a good choice for a cheap and functional lens on the K-1. Here's a shot of a drone I snapped with the Pentax K-1, 1/100 @ f/20 and I think 200mm. I should mention that drones don't hover in one spot... they float around a bit in wind and with GPS corrections. Mounted to the K-1 I was able to lock focus and hold and follow, and get some crisp shots.

The downside: It does suffer from a little CA / purple haze on occasion, but nothing you couldn't eliminate in post, and it isn't all the time. Also, it's a little soft sometimes at 80, but you aren't buying one of these to shoot at 80mm.

I've used this lens now for about five years (and a year on the K-1) and once I learned its few limitations, it's proven to be a capable lens. It isn't the greatest but for the price it definitely holds its own. I've seen a few negative reviews about it and honestly the only thing I can think is that age and environment have taken their toll on some of these. Given you find one lightly used (like I did), you will be happy.

It's by no means recommended for professional use but in a pinch it could squeeze out some pro-level shots, and it definitely does fine in most situations. I mean I only paid $45 USD. I think I got a deal!
New Member

Registered: April, 2017
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: May 1, 2017 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: lightweight, silent and somewhat-fast focus
Cons: IQ, colour aberration
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 7    Camera Used: Pentax K-50   

I have put this lens against a more recent Tamron 70-300, and the older 80-210 cannot match the modern opponent. The sharpness of my copy of the 80-210 is not acceptable, according to my taste.

You see a number of full-res cops here, along with my considerations:
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: August 4, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: really sharp lens
Cons: few CA's
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8   

perhaps there are some troubles of production or an improvement of newer lenses?

My tokina 2,6-2,8/28-70 or Meyer Domiplan 2,8 was my worst lens because of strong CA's - but this one is a normal lens, well corrected, not without CA's, but acceptable.

flare stopped down a few not remarcable,nice colours, good contrast

this is not my best lens, but for me a really fine performer

averidge 8,6 points = 9 points

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Posts: 5,363
Lens Review Date: May 15, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Cheap, light, smooth zoom, fast AF
Cons: Not the sharpest, purple fringing, rotating and extending focus ring
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 6    Camera Used: K3   

I picked up this lens for 25 and decided to take a chance.

It's average size for the focal lengths covered, but very light. The build quality isn't the best but I've seen a lot worse and the focusing and zoom are very smooth indeed. The aperture ring also clicks nicely. AF is fast but not exceptionally so.

This lens doesn't produce the sharpest results at any aperture. There's virtually no change in this aspect stopping down to smaller apertures or at different focal lengths. It's not really sharp enough to be acceptable wide open and stays that way. Purple fringing is the same - it's always present to some degree at every aperture setting and focal length.

The focusing ring, in fact the whole extending zoom barrel, not only turns when focusing but as you focus closer the focusing ring moves away from the camera, which is annoying and makes manual focusing tricky.

Image quality isn't great but it's not terrible either. The light weight and nice feel of the lens make me like it overall. I plan to mostly use it on film where I doubt either the resolution or fringing will be noticeable at all.
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2012
Location: Cirebon
Posts: 29
Lens Review Date: December 24, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $88.89 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Speedy AF, Lightweight, Sharp even wide open in whole range
Cons: CA
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 3    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I've got this lens with metal mount not plastic as seen in picture and I was surprised .

One negative thing this lens is PF, CA, PF and CA, it's so terrible but i can't complaint with the price.

This lens much better and better than Tamron Di 70-300 especially for speedy AF and sharpness. Both of them have CA problem.
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2012
Posts: 80
Lens Review Date: November 5, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Blazing AF!, sharp stopped down, smooth zoom
Cons: Purple fringing, CA
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

No reason not to like it. It can be acquired on the cheap and the AF speed is truly something to behold. The DA 55-300 is positively snail-like comparing speed. It's not perfect. Wide open, the CA is fairly obvious but not that bad. Stopped down to f9 is it's sweet spot. It's actually rather sharp at f9. There is still some PF even at f9 but it's only on really bright highlights and that can be cleaned up in RAW. You can see that as well as the somewhat cool color in the shot below. The zoom mechanism is very smooth to the point that zoom creep is an issue but that also means that smooth continuous zooming while shooting is easy. It is also VERY light meaning it's a great all-day shooter. Handles flare fairly well and generally contrast is pretty good even without the hood. Bokeh is nothing fabulous and has distinct rings around OOF highlights. Then again, this is not a super smooth portrait lens. It's best use would be sports considering the AF speed.

I recently shot much of an airshow with it. The AF is so fast I got shots many lenses would miss.

I should note I have the Promaster version which differs only in the grip style. You can find it even cheaper than the identical Tamron.

Russian Mig - Just under Mach 1. (no adjustments, no cropping). Yup, that's it's shadow on the ground just in front of it.

New Member

Registered: September, 2011
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: October 31, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Lightweight, small, cheap, fast AF, good value
Cons: CA, seems to struggle with high resolution, occasional metering issues, poor contrast
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 3    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8   

First of all this is a great budget lens but it does suffer in a few areas because of this.

The pros: very light, and small and is a great lens to have in your bag if you're out and about. When it's on my K-X the whole package is very light indeed so pretty easy to keep steady. The AF is lightening fast too, certainly when compared to the Pentax 55-300 DAL. It's sharp-ish but nothing exceptional.

The con: It has terrible CA in just about any situation where there's any sort of contrast in the light, but if you're shooting in RAW then it's easily fixed afterwards. It does also seem to struggle with resolution at the longer focal lengths which is a bit of a problem. The biggest annoyance for me though (and this may just be my copy) is that when you shoot at anything over f8-ish the metering is woeful unless you choose spot metering. Otherwise, everything is hopelessly over exposed and blown out past the point of recovery.

All in all though this lens is a great budget buy and I have no regrets at the moment. Obviously, in an ideal world there are telephoto lenses I'd rather have in my bag but until I can spare a 1000 I see no point in upgrading. A few sample shots below. They've been sharpened a little and had some contrast boosts:

Angry Otters by andy_grundy, on Flickr

Take Off by andy_grundy, on Flickr

Roadside Flowers by andy_grundy, on Flickr
Forum Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Bergerac, France
Posts: 67
Lens Review Date: March 26, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light weight, really fast focusing, sharp even wide open
Cons: CA in against the light shots

I acquired my example of this lens in an eBay package costing $40 with an SFX and a Pentax f 35-70. Both the SFX and the 35-70 are essentially junk, but this lens turned out to be a treasure, despite also being damaged.

Although I have had it for more than 6 months I have only just started to use it. There is internal dust, everything wobbles and there is quite a nasty scratch on the front element, but it rises above these challenges

The speed at which it finds focus is astounding for a non HSM lens. It is lightning fast. Although it is best stopped down a little it really performs very well indeed at all focal lengths even when wide open.

I am in two minds about whether to try to find a cosmetically better example, but then I have one that works really well despite the war wounds.

At this price how could you lose even if it were a mediocre performer? But it isn't mediocre, it's quite astounding.

I'll post some example shots later - got a busy weekend ahead.
Add Review of Tamron 278D AF 80-210mm 1:4.5-5.6

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