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Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)

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17 70,049 Fri February 5, 2021
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100% of reviewers $72.86 9.00
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)
Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)

"Tamron's SP 35-80 F/2.8-3.8 zoom lens is, without question, the best zoom lens ever manufactured within its class and price point. The sharpness and contrast of this lens is extraordinary compared to similar after market lenses and many OEM lenses. Only the similar Nikkor performs better, but not by very much. Macro performance across the central two thirds of the film plane stands up very well against dedicated macro lenses. Amazingly, this lens yields very good macro performance across the entire film plane when used with Tamron's SP 2X tele-converter. There is no push button or macro ring which must be turned to enter the macro mode. The user merely has to continuously turn the focus ring in order to focus from infinity to the minimum focus distance for macro work. Tamron calls this feature "continuous focusing" or CF. While turning the focus ring, the zoom ring will automatically turn as necessary until the zoom ring is at the 80mm zoom setting.."

This SP designated 2 ring mid range zoom was made from 1979 to 1985. It continued production even though the 28-80mm SP 27A was launched in 1983. It can be said that this lens played a big part in the reputation of the adaptalls.
It has a strong macro mode (for a zoom) to 1:2.5 magnification ratio, an innovative design facilitates this, the focal length automatically changing as the lens is focussed into macro. However well used examples can have mechanical issues such as looseness/play of the focus section. Tightening a slotted locking ring that holds the focus section can help/fix.

Focal Length: 35 - 80mm
Aperture Range: f/2.8~3.8 - 32, AE
Iris: 8 blades
Optical Construction: 8 Groups / 9 Elements
Min. Focus from Film/Sensor Plane: 10.6"/27cm at f=80mm
Macro Mag. Ratio: 1:2.5 at f=80mm
Filter Size: 62mm
Diameter: 2.5" /64.5mm
Length: 2.8" /72mm
Weight: 13.6 oz. /386g

Accepts 01F 2x TC but not 014F 1.4x tc.
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 17
New Member

Registered: February, 2021
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great image quality for vintage zoom
Cons: Sharpness at wide end
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Sony A7   

Great vintage zoom lens. That said I believe that there is some hype going around with this lens since the Sony FE 28-70 kit lens that ships with A7 is sharper and has better contrast, and can be had for not much more than the Tamron. Interestingly enough the Sony kit is usually said to not be that good and Tamron is praised and I think that is because Sony is usually compared to new Zeiss glass while Tamron is compared to Vivitar Series 1 and similar vintage glass.

So, these are the results testing at 3.5 and comparing to Sony SEL2870:

- 70mm - Tamron is a the winner here, mostly due to corner sharpness. Not by much.

- 50mm - Almost a tie but Sony is a bit ahead in sharpness and contrast

- 35mm - Clear win for Sony as Tamron loses quite a bit of sharpness, esp. in corners.

Tamron is a clear winner for macro tho simply because Sony does not have any macro capability, but then the kit has OSS and AF.

So I would recommend Tamron if you plan to use it at its long end where it is quite sharp.

I know I am comparing apples to oranges here but I wanted to give some context to users of modern zoom lens.

And lastly, there is a major issue with the colors and contrast washing out with any sun coming from the front. Lens hood is a must and even then if it sees direct sunlight image just washes out.
New Member

Registered: April, 2015
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: January 31, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Perfect allround multipurpose lens: Sharp at f/4; Flexible; Macro
Cons: Bit soft at f/2.8, CA
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 3    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-S2   

If there is one lens you want to use all the time then this is it! Tamronís flexible continuous focus (CF) system is very convenient. Makes you forget about focal length, and lets you focus on the subject.

One of the best lenses for Macro work. From F/4 this lens is sharp. Unlike many other lenses that have macro function on a fixed focal length, this lens has macro 1:1.25 on ALL focal lengths. From 35mm to 80mm. Very flexible.

Wide open, there is a bit haze and it is soft. CA is a problem on this lens.
New Member

Registered: November, 2018
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, Built, Look, Macro, Focus precision
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D600   

Just got one in great conditions on Ebay, the only thing i can say is: What a beautiful lens! Very sharp from f4 (but even wide open ain't bad), very well built, super easy to use, great Macro capability, and it looks so cool mounted on camera, which doesnt hurt. Im in love with it!
New Member

Registered: February, 2017
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: March 15, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, sharpness, sharpness
Cons: none so far
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D3   

An absolutely "stonking" lens. Learn how to master MF on your camera (any brand) and you wil be bowled over by what this lens can capture


Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 891
Lens Review Date: December 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Close focussing, fast, changeable mounts.
Cons: Gets a little stiff when zooming through FL's
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

A great purchase, came with a Contax/Yashica mount but the "Adaptall" means I can fit my P-KA adapter on it.
I compared it to my recent purchase of a Pentax-M 35-70mm F2.8-3.5 and was just as pleased with the images it provides. The "A" setting makes it slightly easier to use and it is much closer focussing and with a little extra length on the long end. Build quality and cosmetic appearance seem to favour the Pentax as might be expected.

Others have mentioned some downsides in their reviews but I cannot help liking it. My one downside is the zoom ring gets a bit stiff when zooming between the ends of the focal lengths. Maybe it will free up a bit with use...or get worse.

As usual, a good SP lens at a great price!
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: May 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast, sharp, very well made, handles well, very good close up, hardly ever any CA
Cons: No so good out-doors towards infinity; flare?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Samsung GX20, Pentax K-x   

I have had this lens (purchased with a PK/M adapter attached for £23 on eBay) for 6 months now, and have tried hard to like it, but I'm still unsure.

The Good

No aberrations to speak of, colours like the Pentax kit lenses close up, rich yet natural, really good contrast, excellent Macro mode. Sharp from wide open and easy to focus at all focal lengths, the 01A gets obviously sharper as it goes longer (and slower). Indoors, and in and around my pocket-handkerchief back garden, I have nothing to complain about.

The Not So Good

Outdoors, at distances from a few metres upwards, the colours seem to get washed out. I would have said it was flare, and flare is certainly an issue when the sun is close to the frame, but even using a deep screw-in rubber hood and with the sun behind me, the colours are less pleasing than in pictures taken with the Pentax FA 28-105mm f4-5.6 Powerzoom. This isn't the case indoors, or close-up outdoors. No question but that the images are still super sharp, pixel by pixel, but when the images should have saturated colours they seem to lack something. It's not noticeable when the subject is more or less monochrome, such as the courtyard at Somerset House in London, but next door, Kings College London, where there is greenery and brickwork as well, it's obvious.

Bokeh is not obtrusive but nothing special.

The older Tamron Adaptall QZ-35M is technically inferior in almost every respect, and it is harder to focus accurately, but it makes the townscapes look retro whilst the 01A tends to make them look as though I shouldn't have bothered to take the picture in the first place! The QZ-35M also boasts an A/M switch, so Aperture Priority works without a PK/A adapter.

I prefer the Pentax-M 35-70mm f2.8-3.5 outdoors also. And it is faster than the 01A for the most part. But there is no possibility of Aperture Priority, it doesn't go as long (though the claimed 80mm for the 01A is more like 75mm), and it lacks the excellent macro capability of the 01A.

I tend to take the 01A rather than the Cosina 28-105mm f2.8-3.8; this is down to the smaller size and superior handling of the Tamron 01A, and its macro mode.

The Tamron 18-50mm f2.8 AF is better, period, over the range it has in common with the 01A, if the focus is right.

To conclude, the 01A is excellent in an intimate setting, but I won't be taking it hiking in the great out-doors.

You might think an 8 is rather harsh considering the individual scores above, and the scores I have given some other lenses, but I'm marking it down for the flare.

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Lost in translation ...
Posts: 18,005
Lens Review Date: December 21, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, build, size/range, f2.8 ...
Cons: Flare ...
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   


A great AD-2 lens that I am now happy to have... Purchased at the annual Tours, France, expo/swap meet with a somewhat aged and battered original case, an original front cap, an FD mount with end cap, plus a Vivitar filter ... it was a good deal for the price.

All test shots thus far have been quite good and the "01A" is living up to its reputation in my books. Need to do more test shoots outdoors when the weather clears up a bit ... thus,more samples to come, but here's a p0rn shot on the K-5 with a PKA adapter ...

Allez et salut, John le Green Frog

Junior Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 36
Lens Review Date: March 31, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, build quality, easy to focus
Cons: relatively prone to flare
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This lens is really nice, it feels very nice,

IQ seems good. I tried some shots at best f/stop and they don't seem too bad

No post processing applied.

Nowadays, it costs next to nothing. The price paid included also a nice film camera, an unused flash, a bag...


Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Paris, TN
Posts: 3,129
Lens Review Date: May 22, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: N/A 

Pros: Consistent performer, sharp across all FLs
Cons: little protection for front element

I've accumulated two of these over the years. A good description would be 'consistently above average to excellent in all respects'.

Just for fun, I ran both lenses through the full range of apertures at 35, 40, 60, 70 and 80 mm and at three distances. (Thanks to digital photography this becomes both practicable and economically feasible today.)

From f 5.6 to f 11 and 40~70mm about the only practical variation in the image is what's dependent on the general optical laws for aperture and focal length. There's noticeable fall-off in sharpness and contrast at the extremes but no more than expected and often less. At 35mm/f 2.8 the lens still appears relatively sharp but there is a noticeable luminous 'bloom' that softens the overall image.

IMO, this is one of the very best Adaptall SP lenses and equally suitable for both film and digital bodies. With 10 - 36mm of extension tubes it serves quite well for close-up and near macro photography in the field but isn't quite up to the standard of the various Tamron90mm macro lenses as an all around macro solution.

I use the O-ME 53 optical viewfinder and a micro-prism split image screen and never miss auto-focus with this lens.

New Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Dorset , UK
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: April 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very sharp at 80mm f5.8/f8
Cons: less good overall at 35mm

Done more test on this lens,using a lens chart.
This is a zoom lens,quite a few years old and manual focus,nevertheless if you are looking at portrait or macro lens for your Pentax digitial camera I would go for this one ! AT 80mm and f5.6/f8 and down to f16 this is super sharp,especially at closer focussing distance which is really unusual.
I use it almost like a fixed lens at 80mm.
At wider angles (35-50mm) it needs also closing down but doesnt deliver quite the same resolution.Its still more than usable,just not as sharp as at 80mm.
Image quality at 80mm = 10
at 35-50mm = 5
build = 9
= 8 overall (for me)
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Sydney
Posts: 77
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, contrasty, light, fast....
Cons: rotating front element, zoom ring can stick with poorly maintained copies

An excellent performer for an older standard zoom. Starts a little long on my DSLR but all in all 35-80mm is a good range! My manager was once a wedding photographer, and says he used to swear by this one back in the day...

The cam changes direction when zooming, which as the lens ages can cause it to stick at that point. Appart from that ergonomics are pretty nice! I love the big spherical front element as well!

The rotating front element is an issue, but I never use it for landscapes so don't have a PL filter for this one.

As with all adaptall lenses on Pentax it really depends if you have the PKA mount. If you do, you don't lose much funcitonality.

Its fast, very very sharp, and its nice to walk around with older class on your lens sometimes! For an old zoom this one really does come up with the goods.
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 634

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 8, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp and fast zoom. Nice sharp macro and smooth bokeh.
Cons: No Auto Fokus.

I found this in a very bad shape at a flee-market for 10usd.
The Zoom was almost stuck and it was hard to see the numbers cause it was so dirty but I bought it as a fun thing to try to fix.

After taking it apart, cleaning it and back together again I did some test shots and was blown away by its sharpness and smooth bokeh.
The macro capabillities is another big bonus and for portraits it has been great too.
I keep putting it back on my Kx even though I have so many other choices that have autofokus or better macro or weighs half of what this one does.

As for now this one is the best lens I have for most situations I find myself in.
If I need a zoom or better macro I have to use something else but for everyday photos its great.

I just whish that the Kx had the old fokus style so it would be easier to use.
Focusing is quite hard and I seem to always fokus slightly behind but thats not the lens. Thats me

If you see it. GET IT.

Update: I like this one so much I had to get a second copy....
My first copy had some problems with the Aparture lever that I couldnt fix.
I found someone selling a copy with an Adaptall M42 mount for 25usd so I bought that one and it was in much better shape then my old one. Ill keep the old one for parts

Here are a couple of images I took with my first copy last weekend.
I had to edit the pictures to get a width of 800 to fit the forum and in the process I added some sharpness to parts of the images + level adjustments.
I love the bokeh and soft, dreamy feeling I get with this lens.

Junior Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: central kansas
Posts: 27
Lens Review Date: February 24, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp and contrasty.
Cons: None that I have observed.

This was another of my eBay purchases. Bought this one from someone in Sweden. Great price and it is flawless. It is almost the equal of my Pentax-F 50mm f/1.7 at that focal length. Just can't find enough good things to say about it, except that it is manual focus.

I have taken some sunrise shots and have seen a little more flare than in a fixed focal length lens, but for a zoom this is a really great lens. I highly recommend it.
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Posts: 509
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: high resolution; compact, well made, good macro
Cons: flare, flare, flare
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I do not own many zoom lenses (about 10 or so). This one perhaps is one of the highest in terms of resolution. The macro function rivals the real ones. The zoom range is OK(2.2X). Aperture is large for a zoom lens. The lens is very well built. The adaptall thing is a magic and certainly an engineering marvel.

So what is the issue. Flare. Flare. Flare. It reduces contrasts substantially. It is perhaps one of the worse ones in my arsenal. If you ever point to a light source, you would know. Perhaps too many elements in the lens? Perhaps it lacks SMC coating. Perhaps that is why lens makers are using AL elements to reduce the number of glasses. That is why prime lenses are still popular. But it would not be a problem for most macro scenes.

Moreover, Largest aperture is very sensitive to lighting and the shooting situations. Chromatic Aberration is evident. Resolution also suffers. But it is no worse than most third party lenses of the era.

It sometimes does not work perfectly with my Kx. It shows f2.8 even at the 80mm end. It does not always work well with the Anti-shake function, since the focal length is fixed. Over-exposure and under-exposure are not uncommon. Not sure why however.

Contrast is not as high as Pentax ones. The color is not as good as Pentax primes. Saturation can be increased a bit to partially compensate for the problem. Zoom and Focusing rings can feel tricky sometimes.

Finally, it is optimized for close distance. BE careful about this in the field.
Inactive Account

Registered: June, 2009
Location: Santa Cruz Mountains
Posts: 53
Lens Review Date: July 11, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact + great Macro
Cons: none

It really has RARE performance for a zoom,most notably in macro. With the SP2X you can do 1:1 macro...yet you also get a sharp lens at the "landscape"35mm and the 'portrait" 80 mm...or a rather fast "street"walkabout.

On mine...the tab to change mounts was busted so I need a paper clip to swap mounts. my KEEPERS are M42 and K mount..but a sideline is buying +selling film gear...and I CAN put this on just about ANY camera in the house.

I have the 28-90SP and a bigger 28-135 SP tat are NICE..but this puppy is the fastest/smallest/best macro.

Got the SP 60-300 and a YS Sigma 135 1.8....which also can do PK or M42.

I liked the Tammy 35-80 enough I put my Pentax 35-70 AF up for sale. Not that hot for AF..really. Have the Tammy 28 2.5...sweet,but want the 24 mm version.
Add Review of Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm F2.8-3.8 (01A)

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