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Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (103A)

Reviews Views Date of last review
19 92,783 Wed July 24, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $30.33 8.59
Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (103A)

"This was one of Tamron's best selling lenses throughout the early to mid 1980s for good reason — it successfully combined a moderate price with above average optical performance along with a lightweight package featuring very good ergonomics. This lens features a completely new optical design compared to the earlier model 03A lens. Images are very slightly soft in the corners with the aperture wide open at the 80 and 210 zoom settings, with sharpness across the entire film plane improving to very good at F/5.6 and smaller apertures at all zoom settings. While this later model 103A version lost the built-in lens hood, this lens was nearly a half inch shorter in overall length compared to Tamron's previous model 03A and had much better optical performance. This lens was replaced in 1986 with the 70-210 F/3.8-4 model 46A which was only in production for two years since the market was rapidly transitioning to autofocus camera systems. -

Lens Model 103A
Focal Length 80 — 210mm
Aperture Range f/3.8~4 — 32
Angle of View (in 24x36mm format) 30°~11°
Optical Construction (Groups / Elements) 10 / 13
Min. Focus from Film Plane 35.4" (0.9m)
Macro Mag. Ratio [w/2X Converter] 1:2.8 [1:1.4]
Filter Size 58mm
Diameter 2.5" (64.5mm)
Length at 5.4" (137.7mm)
Weight 22.4 oz. (634g)

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

Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (103A)
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New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Well Built, Sharp, Great Colors, Inexpensive
Cons: Weight?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D600   

I think this is a great lens (like most of the Tamron adaptall & SP lenses), its a little heavy, but if you want quality you have to give up something, very sharp (even wide open, relatively), easy to use (love the 1 touch operation), great colors and light catching, cost very little, smooth focusing and zooming, i got my copy in great shape for $20.00, with Nikon adapter.
Junior Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 25

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 6, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: excellent build, sharp, versatile, cheap even in excellent condition
Cons: a bit heavy, needs expensive pk/a for AE, pk/m works only in M mode
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-x   

My first zoom lens on a Canon A-1 back in the '80s. I sold it in 1986 but never forgot how good it was. Recently I found a guy clearing old stock and had one in excellent condition, case, hood, papers etc. I had kept the SP 2x extender but I did not have a Pk mount. Luckily he found a Pk/m in excellent condition and the whole set was bought for €60.
The lens is sharp even open in f/4 at 210mm. Th Pentax SR works as magic producing clear images at 1/10 ISO1600. Colors are simply beautiful. Handling the lens and manually focusing with the large ring makes me happy and brings back old memories.
A first set of SOOC jpgs can be found here:
[ ~ ]
and here with some images of the lens
New Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: May 8, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: quite sharp, nice colors, nice and creamy bokeh, good handling
Cons: very soft focus ring
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

One of the better and more reliable manually focusing zooms a photographer may use. It produces above average pictures, it is fast enough (especially in Spring and Summertime with the abundant and clear sunlight), and can be used as a moderate macro-zoom lens to produce decent results. I like it! Its only con (which exists in the 03A version, too) is the soft focus ring that slides back and forth too easily. Its price is more than tempting, and if you are lucky you can find them with a genuine Tamron AD2 adapter attached to it. (Avoid the imitation adapters cause they suck!).
My recommendation: Go get one!
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: November 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp at f 5,6,very nice bokeh, excellent colors
Cons: some very few CA's
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-x,k200,fuji x-e1,fuji S2,samsung nx1000,panasonic G1   

this lens has one achromate more than its precedor 03A, which means that I can use it without stopping down so much.

If I shoot with my focal reductor (2/1=achromatic, too), my close-ups become marvellous:

03A is very good, 103A is excellent.

both lenses have very nice color rendition, very good contrast.

I've used both exemplaries (4items) in school with my pupils. very good experiences with them.This lens will give you very sharp results. Pictures can be used for big posters after interpolation by Photoshop f.e., and sharpening. If you find one, buy it.
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2012
Location: North Wales
Posts: 2,082
Lens Review Date: January 24, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: I share the opinions of the previous reviewers
Cons: slight fall off in IQ towards 200mm
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

My 103A is very much in the same ballpark to my Viv series 1 (tokina) and kiron 80-200 f4. Comparing some shots of the same subjects the VS1 is marginally the best IQ, the kiron softest wide open and slightly more prone to CA, but otherwise second in sharpness, while the 103A is close behind, particularly at the 80mm end. There is a distinct (but not great) drop in sharpness/contrast towards 200mm (aperture, focus and shake are normally more significant). I recall reading somewhere that this lens is more optimised for close up work WABOL I'll get more perspective withsome macro opportunities..
So I would say 8/10 compared to 8.5 for the kiron and 9 for the viv. A solid performer.

For comparison with 03A see my review of that lens.
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Bedfordshire, UK
Posts: 143
Lens Review Date: December 11, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Built, zoom range, price, performance
Cons: IQ at open aperture
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Very good lens in most aspects. The built quality is classic '80 when companies were still not saving on material: nice metal lens barrel that gives a good heft for the lens.
Most (if not all) of these lenses come with original hard case and lens hood which is a nice bundle especially for the price people ask for them.
The most important factor, its image quality is very good although wide open this lens is definitely soft. Stepping down half step or to 5.6 it becomes really good with nice colour rendering.
Initially I bought this lens as part of a lot and did not want to keep it but considering it came with a P/K adapter and that I could not sell it for probably more than £5 I rather keep it and use it occasionally.
A very good alternative if you do not use tele lenses much as it can deliver very good results with hardly any strain on your budget.
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 17,622
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, build, handling, close focus
Cons: Not good wide open, start at 5.6 & +
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   


I picked up a really great condition copy of this lens with the hood and its original case, plus a Nikon AI mount which I have traded off already. I really like this lens and it feels much better in your hands as compared to the 46A successor. I will post a few samples later, but overall I agreee in general with previous reviewers' opinions.

Allez et bonnes photos! J Frog
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Location: Milano
Posts: 9

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 15, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: cheap, build quality, quite fast
Cons: aberrations
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

Nice lens, I use it for trap-focus with some good results.
Not so sharp at f/4, but very interesting at f8-f11
Some shots here:
New Member

Registered: October, 2011
Posts: 18

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Cheap, good build, great colours
Cons: None as yet...potentially weight
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

So, just grabbed one of these guys as a lot of 3 Adaptall lenses. Paid £40 for the lot with postage, if I'm honest I'd have paid that for this lense alone. Only played around with it a bit, but I love the smoothness and action of the zoom and focus mechanisms. The whole one touch thing is great (slide to zoom, twist to focus). Takes great macro shots with heaps of sharpness and great rendition. Considering I've recently see one go for £3.50 on eBay, I'd say everyone should get one...aside from the small issue with finding an adapter that'll allow for auto aperture...
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Minahasa, North Celebes (Sulawesi)
Posts: 585
Lens Review Date: August 27, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: A very fine lens overall. Plenty of stock on the used market.
Cons: The "A" mount costs 10 times the lens.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Bought this three times. The fist one I got was without anything, even the mount. My last copy comes in the original box, a shinning leather case, manuals, papers, stickers, even the original price tag for $189.55! Boy, now this lens could be snatched for as low as $10, if you're lucky. Do you know that Tamron protected this lens with six years warranty? This lens is so good that my friends always envy my shots using this, ending up in a "may-I-borrow-your-lens-for-good" thing Well, I don't have many Pentax-users friends, but, God help, it's an Adaptall and Chinese-made Adaptall mounts is only like $10..

What I really love about this lens is it gives SMC'ish colors. Bokeh is great, too. Build is very well-made. Praise for the one-touch system, making operational pretty simple. The 1:2ish macro is great for close-up works, do plenty of flowers & plants with this lens. Max F4 aperture really spoils me, did almost all of my "controlled lighting" still-lfe & products photography with this lens. If by any chance you stumble on lens reviews that is started by me (here at PF Lens Database), those item's pics are all taken with this great lens

With too many uses, now this is the kind of lens I just can't live without. This is a very well crafted lens, a champion from the past. I think of it as the Volkswagen Beetle. Yes, it was a mass product, it was dirt cheap, but it performs.

Say, if another friend of mine 'steal' my last copy (again)..

New Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: December 7, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: cheap, all metal constuction, handling
Cons: little heavy, 5.6 working apeture neccesary, CA

The tamron 80-210mm 3.8-4 103a adaptall lens is a decent lens, that really stand out because its so ridiculously cheap, I got my copy for $15 (10 of which was the shipping) in very good, condition with a Pentax K mount (I already owned a KA mount). This lens is rather soft wide open with a lot of purple fringing, stopping down to 5.6 improves its performance tenfold. It exhibits some CA threw out the aperture and zoom range. The lens provides rather consistent results regardless of zoom setting but is a little softer towards the long end. This lens is best used in strong sun or on a monopod due to the long focal length and slow working aperture. It is defiantly sharp enough for doing portraits, and has a very nice bokhe to it. It also performs surprisingly well in close focus or macro situations. The results with a Tamron adaptall 6 elemnt 2x 01f converter are sub par in my opinion, even when used at middle apertures on a tripod. The lens has a very solid build to it, it is entirely metal and glass. Mine actually survived a four foot fall (camera bag failure) with out any real damage besides a bent filter ring that I was able to pound back into shape (try that with a plastic lens) well enough that it can still take filters no problem. The lens is a one touch zoom which I prefer but is not to everyone’s taste. Zooming is very smooth and focusing is phenomenally smooth and precise. Between its smooth operation, all metal build, and nice distribution of weight, it is a very pleasant lens to use. It balances well on a k10, not quite as good on a ZX-L 35mm but it is still perfectly manageable. This makes a very good budget walk around long zoom that performs well enough for most work.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: Saffron Walden, Essex
Posts: 362

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 30, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good wide open, sharp, constant(ish) aperture
Cons: Zoom creep, weight

An excellent lens for a very low price. Good wide open performance. I used mine with a PK/A adapter but the almost constant aperture would be useful for use with a normal PK adapter.

My copy suffered from major zoom creep if you pointed the lens downward. The loud clunk isn't so worrying when the lens only cost £20 though

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Springe
Posts: 2,804

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 11, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, good build quality
Cons: CA in high contrast situation

Excellent value for money. A very sharp lens with solid build quality. My copy shown no zoom creep at all. Compared to modern "plastic" lenses it may appear a heavy to some - but compared to my 2.8/80-200 it is lightweight

Here's a sample shot taken with my copy

Senior Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: houston
Posts: 165
Lens Review Date: January 9, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, great bokeh, cheap
Cons: bit heavy on a k-x

this lens is great! the bokeh is excellent, cant believe i only paid 45 bucks shipped to my house!
Inactive Account

Registered: June, 2009
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains
Posts: 53
Lens Review Date: July 11, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


That seagull shot does show great bokeh and a nice crisp subject. I may have to shoot one of my 80-210's more before selling them off.
Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (103A)

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