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Tamron Adaptall-2 (03A) 80-210mm F3.8-4 Review RSS Feed

Tamron Adaptall-2 (03A) 80-210mm F3.8-4

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 35,488 Thu May 11, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $28.67 7.67
Tamron Adaptall-2 (03A) 80-210mm F3.8-4

"This is a fairly lightweight and very nice handling zoom lens with average performance. Additional features include a built-in lens hood and continuous focusing into macro mode. This model 03A lens, introduced in 1979, was superceded in 1981 by the model 103A. The latter model 103A is more compact, doesn't have a built-in lens hood, and features a heavily revised revised optical design with much better off-axis optical performance. -

Focal Length (mm) 80-210
Aperture Maximum 3.8-4
Aperture range 3.8-32, AE
field of view (in 24x36mm format) 30-11.3
optical construction (elements / groups) 12/10
Coatings BBAR Multi layer
Minimum focus distance (mm from film plane) 900mm
magnification ratio 1:2.8
filter diameter (mm) 58
Length (mm at infinity) 146.5
maximum diameter (mm) 64.5
Weight (g) 610

Accepts teleconverter SP 2x (01F)
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 (03A) 80-210mm F3.8-4
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Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 892
Lens Review Date: May 11, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, well built
Cons: Purple fringing.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I took a couple of large crates of books to a charity shop this morning, while waiting to get my breath back and my arms to stop aching I noticed a couple of Tamron Adaptall boxes in a glass cabinet. When the young lady assistant had finished unpacking the crates I asked to have a look at her camera "stuff".
One boxed 03A, one boxed Canon FD adapter, one boxed Canon FD fit 2x converter and a small pile of filters and a holder all in their cases / boxes. The young lady assured me that they were all new! I didn't say anything about their likely age.
I noticed that they were asking £20 for the 2x teleconverter so ignored that. £20 for the filters and holder so ignored them. The lens was £10 so I made an offer on the lens and adaptall mount (not priced for some reason) and went home happy.

The lens (and mount) are in good condition, better than my copies of 46A and 103A. Also better than the SP19AH I sold on recently and my favourite SP23A. The tiniest amount of zoom creep at either end of the FLs if I shake the lens, smooth focussing, clear optics, I like the Tamron Adaptalls so I couldn't not buy it.....(Well that's what I said to my wife as she looked daggers....she didn't help me carry all those books in!)

My review;
Pretty sharp, early indications are that it is close to the 103A in sharpness. ie good.
Great to be able to swap mounts on the lens to use another make body. I used a P-KA mount.
Focussing is relatively easy in good light and starts at less than 1 metre but the 10 metre to infinity focus is a short throw so care must be taken to correctly focus and not nudge it.
Downside is CA, as you would expect. Try and avoid situations that exacerbate this
Recommended as a budget (as in cheap to buy) lens with adaptall capabilities if you are prepared to focus manually.
Much the same can be said of all the Tamron adaptalls I imagine.
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Southern Indiana
Posts: 39
Lens Review Date: October 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Warm photos, sharp enough, solid build.
Cons: Heavy CA
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5   

Considering the cost, this is a fabulous lensÖ as long as you know its limitations. Iíve had this lens for almost a week, and Iíve been testing it in various conditions. Once you figure out when and where to use it, you can get great results. But the CA is persistent in my copy, and too heavy to get easily rid of in PP.

Low light and high contrast daylight creates heavy CA, but stopped down in cloudy weather or outside direct sunlight you can find marvelous opportunities with this. Fall colors will glow with this lens.

The action and build are stellar, and while it is a fairly heavy piece of equipment, I expect to be carrying it around quite a bit.

New Member

Registered: January, 2010
Location: Auckland
Posts: 18
Lens Review Date: March 7, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Singe focus >< zoom ring, sharp, compact + small MFD
Cons: Some CA at long end
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 10    Value: 7    Camera Used: Sony a850   

I have owned this lens for 24 hours and have adapted it to a full frame Sony camera. My expectations were quite low and it has exceeded them:
1) Excellent design and build - solid but light and compact with an easy one action zoom and focus ring. Constant aperture at 3.8 is a bonus. No zoom creep and built in lens hood.
2) Sharpness - sharp stopped down at all focal lengths. Soft at f5.6 or wider
3) Aberrations. purple CA present - very marked until stopped right down and not possible to eliminate in PP.
4) Bokeh - can be harsh with backlights - but generally fair.
5) Colour - very warm tending to the magenta. Likeable.
6) Flare - nil
7) Vignetting - nil
8) Spherical aberration - nil

I have updated and downgraded my review of this lens having now owned it for about a week. Its a very useful focal length and its main strength is COLOUR and SHARPNESS when stopped down. However the CA is a reall issue and the Bokeh on this lens is over rated. It appears from reviews that the SP version may be a better bet in terms of aberration control. Its still a likeable lens mainly due to sharpness (stopped down) and coluors and its compact size and good handling.

Malcolm Lyons March 2014
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 12
Lens Review Date: February 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp lens at f 8, very nice macro photos possible
Cons: few CA's, focus ring slipping very easily
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

my lens hasn't these strong CA problems (perhaps version II).

Any phenomena of CA will disappear; when stopped down to f11 in close up range and using an achromatic focal reductor.
(I use it for 4/100 bellows, too)

For this purpose you must fit a glass from 8x30 binocular into a PK maco ring.

So I've got a cheap macro zoom from approx 65 to 175mm with excellent optical qualities
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2012
Location: North Wales
Posts: 2,669

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 16, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp, handling, lens hood, cheap!
Cons: persistent CA, 103A better close up
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

I am a bit surprised there aren't more reviews on this lens, its pretty common, so since I acquired one as part of a job lot here are my thoughts.
There question basically is: we know how readily available the 103A is; if instead you find yourself looking at a 03A should you walk away? makes no bones that the later model is a revised and improved design. But does that mean forget it, or does it mean well actually if you have a choice then definitely go for the 103A, but otherwise don't worry about it, both reflect Tamron quality?
So we are primarily comparing the two.

In appearance and handling the two are almost identical, with similar markings. If you are looking at a tamron 80-210 and don't know which it is, 03A is the one with the built in hood, and the bigger aperture collar (that extends further along the barrel of the lens). Mechanics of both are great. One thing I noticed was a tendency to back focus at high zoom: since this was with both I am now inclined to blame the camera (user..?). Focus is millimetric at that end; with both I used live view. On the 03A focus is covered in half a rotation of the sleeve, on 103A in 2/3rds.

Sharpness first and my impressions are that they are broadly equal. I did some comparisons of the same subject at f4, f5.6, f9 at different focal lengths and felt the differences were relatively insignificant.
For what its worth I thought this lens was stronger at the long end, while I thought the opposite of the 103A. Both were softer wide open but not unacceptably so except below ~120mm - I would say avoid f3.8 at the short focal lengths. Contrast wise I have to say I preferred the contrast of 03A when scrutinising the slate roof but that could be more related with 03A's blue tone.. both were pretty good.

Optically the lenses do offer a different look - bluer for 03A, yellower for 103A (unprocessed jpg's here).

I checked both out with the 01F 2x TC. test subject: the estuary marker. Long distance (~500m) high mag shots like this are a bit pernickety, a passing draught can make a difference, but I tentatively offer a conclusion: 03A consistently showed a bit better (and that yellow sea looks a bit !*!*). This is representative (f5.6, 200mm x2, x1.5 crop = 600mm). Now I need to do the same with close up subjects (watch this space).

Close up I seemed to get better results with the 103A. Both focus to 0.9m/3ft, 03A has an eight blade iris, 103A six blades. Bokeh was similar at wide apertures, stop down and 103A becomes spotty, but ok, while 03A becomes scratchy - ugh (looking through the lens while closing the iris the edges of the aperture at f4-f8 are not smooth!). I also noticed sensor reflections with both lenses. But overall 103A gets the vote on this one.

Aberrations: here 03A almost lost its case. Tree against the sky shots exhibited pronounced CA and strong purpling that was still evident at f9; this was worst at 210mm. However this almost disappeared when the sun wasn't shining - RH crop. Only reason I don't cry bye bye 03A: 103A isn't great on this either. Not as bad, but I've had more than a few instances of PF and complementary R-G fringing.
50% crops

Below are two shots of the quay, ~180mm, tripod mounted, f5.6, pentax k-r, click the links for full size. I'll leave it to you to evaluate them for yourself, and assign pic to lens.

So whats the verdict? 03A almost lost it but I find myself somewhat in the middle. The CA was disappointing but the sharpness is good, and it does offer such a different look it really asks to be judged on its own merits. It seems the answer to the which one question is ....19AH! Trick question, see! But these are available for a tenner or less, and the last 19AH auction I watched went for over a hundred....
Full size here

Full size here
New Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Los Angeles California
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: January 1, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $22.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: compact- cheap price- SHARP for not being a SP

I purchased this lens for $22 since no one else seemed to want it on Ebay... My purpose was actually to GET A PENTAX K ADAPTER! .
Turns out I got this nice zoom in the process which I may use on occasion outdoors when the weather is inclement.
Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 (03A) 80-210mm F3.8-4

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