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Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B Review RSS Feed

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 34,138 Sun December 22, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
83% of reviewers $917.50 9.17
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B

"This lens, compared to the earlier model 60B, features a very slightly revised optical design and adds a floating element system to the internal focusing system. The overall optical layout, including the two low dispersion (LD) elements and the spherical aberration compensator group, is nearly identical to the earlier model 60B. This cosmetically redesigned model 360B features a new lens hood which attaches via two screws instead of the bayonet-on lens hood found on the earlier model. Thanks to the new floating element internal focusing system, optical performance is slightly improved over the earlier model, particularly off-axis and at closer focusing distances. Overall optical performance is "best in class" when compared to other similarly priced 300mm F/2.8 lenses." -

This lens superceded the 60B in 1993 and was manufactured into the 2000's. There is also a (rare!) fixed mount AF version, the 360E.

Weight: 2265g (79.9oz.)
Length: 208mm (8.2" )
Filter Diameter: 112mm, 43mm rear slot in (pic 3).
Min. Focus:2.5M (98.4" )
Max. Magnification:
Field of view: 8deg.
Min. Aperture: 32
Optical Construction:10 elements, 7 groups

Note that the 43mm filter is a designed part of the optics. While the effect of its absence on image quality is difficult to discern, what is noticeable is that infinity focus is shifted slightly. So be aware of this, if you are scratching your head wondering why you can't get the moon in focus - check the filter is present.

Pic 4 shows a 360B with a diy'ed hood and a diy'ed tripod mount plate. The latter is an important accessory: as well as offering better balance points on tripods and monopoints (front heavy otherwise), it also acts as a platform for bean bag use, and as a palm rest (see also pacer's review).

The extended light baffle (pic 3) at the rear prevents this lens from accepting the adaptall teleconverters: SP 1.4X tele-converter 140F, SP-200. The SP 2X tele-converter 01F does fit. One solution is to mod the baffle by shortening it - should be no more than ~ 5.5mm exension see review by pacerr. Note: TC's are reviewed in miscellaneous lenses - TC's.
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B
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Forum Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 89
Lens Review Date: December 22, 2019 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $1,200.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Optically good, nice smooth focus, nice bokeh
Cons: Adaptall mount was just atrocious
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 4    Value: 4    Camera Used: PZ-1, Z-1p   

I have mixed feelings about this lens. I bought mine new in the late 90's and it was as sharp as I had hoped, or could have expected for the low price I paid for it. IQ was very satisfying with just the prime lens, however the supposedly matched 2X TC cut the IQ dramatically and introduced considerable CA.

All that said, this other wise nice lens was absolutely ruined by the horrible adaptall-II mount (no less than 4 were tried). The mount had so much sloppiness in it the exposure could vary by more than a stop! In today's digital world, or using print film that might not be a deal breaker, but at the time I was earning a good portion of my income from photography and my customers demanded transparencies. Give or take a stop of light unfortunately didn't cut it.

I ended up trading it (at full value - kudos to my dealer) for the AF version (yes, it was available). The AF version has it's issues (with the AF) but seeing as it has a fixed mount, the exposure is right on.

I just have to comment on the folk that berate 300/2.8 lenses for being heavy. As far as 300/2.8 lenses go, the Tamron models are pretty close to being featherweights. The thing is, weight is a reality with a well built lens of this class. If you buy a Hummer, you don't complain that it's bigger and heavier than your Honda Civic - right? I'd advise folks to do their research so that hings like this don't come as surprises. Certain lenses are inherently big and heavy because they have to be. Down rating them for that reason makes no sense whatsoever.
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid IQ, relatively light weight, delicate focus ring
Cons: AF version for Pentax exists but almost impossible to find.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1, K20d   

I borrowed this lens from a very gentle Pentaxian, who happens to be a fan of Tamron lenses at the same time.

I spent only around two weeks with it as I am going to be back at work and too busy for it. I took it for close-range and mid-range birding. Previously I had only had TAIR 300 F4.5 and Sigma 400 5.6 APO Macro. Neither of them is ideal for birding so I wanted to have a taste of the power of a 300 2.8.

Though as expected, I was still surprised at how the bokeh and transition are considerably better than the Sigma. The difference is not as big under less-than-satisfactory lighting conditions, but it is good enough to me. I am aware of how modern 328 lenses perform in terms of IQ. But even a FA* 300 2.8 could cost me a fortune. Thus, I am convinced to buy the Tamron for its IQ, if it is available for less than HKD 5000, in good conditions.

I could achieve some partial AF with this lens after applying Pentax-F 1.7x TC. At original apertures F2.8 to F4, where you handle the balance between shutter speed and IQ carefully, the resolution remains very good. I also tried combining DA HD 1.4x TC altogether. The IQ certainly worsens so the only highlight is the original large aperture, which lets you confirm focus relatively easily and avoid shooting at very high ISO values.

It has been a great time with this lens and I am convinced of the power of Tamron's best glass in 2018. Even if you are not into birding, keeping a 328 with you is not a bad idea. AF 328 lenses from Sigma and Pentax are undoubtedly much more convenient, yet more expensive.

I am keen on birding more than sport so I should consider Tamron 400 4 first.

Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: St. Cloud, MN
Posts: 185

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp and fairly minimal CA. Focusing ring is large and smooth, built like a tank
Cons: Built like a tank (heavy as hell).

Unfortunately, my copy can't stop down and is stuck wide open at f2.8

The lens is heavy as hell, but color contrast and sharpness is still spectacular even though I've just been shooting at f2.8.

Used in combination with the 2x Adaptall TC, it's not as magical, but still very much usable as a 600mm f5.6. With a 2x TC the CA control is not as good, and sharpness is lost a fair bit.

Keep in mind that could have been fixed with stopping down, which my copy couldn't, so YMMV.

I took a friend of mine out to take test shots with this lens.
New Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 17

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 6, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp at all apertures, hardy, internal focusing, easy to focus, bright viewfinder
Cons: Not built for teleconverters

The 360B is a lens that I have gotten out of pure luck and have been happy with ever since. Weighing in at a robust 6 pounds, it is just light enough for me to use handheld with a K20D to practice birding (moreso thanks to its internal focusing elements). The lens has many advantages, from a respectable minimum distance, to a very comfortable to handle rubber grip that makes focusing slide easily in the hand. One particular issue with Pentax-based lenses in the long range is that it has an insert tab for a smaller filter and it fits and stays in perfectly. The OOF changes smoothly and is very easy on the eyes.

In terms of image quality, wide open to small will provide you with a relatively workable image. There is some fringing issues that will develop though, although they minimalize if you step it down. Colors will be pretty good regardless of this and Iím sure it is needless to say that this lens is sharp as a tack from all ends, with the lens excelling at f5.6 to f8.

I would potentially avoid using teleconverters with the lens if you are a pixel peeper, as the best teleconverters will not work with it. This can be blamed on the extra long collar that is installed into the lens, making the Adaptall 1.4x teleconverter worthless while the Pentax 1.4x-L is unable to fit into the box-sized adapter hole for the lens. Use with a doubler will work, but a lot of postproduction is required to get anything remotely impressive, which is kind of upsetting considering how most people buy a 300mm so that they can use it with a teleconverter.

I have resorted to get around this by using a Pentax 1.4x-S teleconverter which will provide some usefulness, although fringing will be slightly more evident. Braver individuals Iím sure can get around this by sawing off the collar, but I am not one of them.

Using it indoors has proven also as comfortable, as I have dragged this lens with me to concerts to catch close ups of artists from balcony locations and is really bright through the viewfinder.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Paris, TN
Posts: 3,175

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 17, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $920.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp. Versatile.
Cons: Heavy

Given that weight and bulk go with fast 300mm lenses, and accepting the lack of auto-focus, I'm completely satisfied with this lens. The 360B is a noticeable step above the 60B in every respect - well worth the additional cost if this is going to be a lens used often.

CA in the OoF areas can sometimes be "interesting" but is comparable to other lenses in this class at worse and generally fixable in post processing.

This lens works surprisingly well with both of the matched Adaptall TCs and the PZ-AF 1.4 MC4 as well.* With 12-36mm of extension tube help, close-focus capability offers about all the close-up quality you can use at this focal length. A "gutted" (glass-less) TC has a more confidence inspiring feel than the economy extension rings and at about 25mm it knocks a few feet off the minimum focus distance.

Here's an example of the 360B plus the 1.4X (140F) TC at f4 at about 100 yds. The image sharpens up nicely between f2.8 and f3.5. (K200D, ISO 400 with my Super Sophisticated Lens Test Target)


* Edit: Two notes that contradict or modify the comments about TC use in the next review:

1. The Tamron Pz-AF 1.4x TC works quite well optically with this lens and since it fits between the lens/adapter and the camera mount it avoids the sometimes awkward installation associated with the Adaptall TC's. There is a re-branded ProMaster 1.4x or Kenko 1.5x TC that's identical to the Tamron Pz-AF TC.

2. The protective collar extending beyond the rear lens element can be carefully shortened to .22" / 5.5mm beyond the base of the bare lens which clears the optics in the 140F TC enough to allow its use. That has been done to this lens.

And another sample image without the 1.4x TC used above. Image is cropped to about 25-percent of the original image size. ISO 400 at 80 yds. No CA reduction was applied in PP in this sample.


Edit 2:

A palm rest similar to those shown here is very helpful when handholding this lens. It allows the weight of the lens to be supported in the palm of the hand leaving the fingers free to manipulate the focus ring.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 45

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $1,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great IQ under all conditions
Cons: Heavy, best used with monopod

I've owned multiple copies of all of the Tamron SP 300/2.8 lenses. The 60B was good enough for years till I had the chance to buy a new 360B models on a closeout. Definitely can see at least a slight improvement over the excellent 60B model. I like the rubberized finish over the old green metal of the 60B. Unlike some of the 60B models the 360B came with correctly calibrated focus at infinity, something that many of the 60B models have issues with, although for normal work and not astro-imaging it is a moot issue for most.
Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 300mm f/2.8 LD IF - 360B

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