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Tamron Adaptall 24mm f/2.5 (CW-24)

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5 28,370 Fri May 8, 2015
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80% of reviewers $57.50 7.40
Tamron Adaptall 24mm f/2.5 (CW-24)

Technical data for the Tamron Adaptall 24mm f/2.5 (CW-24):
* Model Name: CW-24
* Mount: Adaptall
* Focal length: 24mm
* F value: 2.5 - 22
* Lens construction: 10 elements in 9 groups
* Minimum focusing distance: 0.25m
* Filter size: 55mm
* Weight: 220g
* Diameter X length: 65mmx38mm
* Release date: 1976
* End of production: 1979 (estimated)

There is also a chinon 24mm f2.8 that is like this Chinon 28mm f2.8 that may be derived from the cw24 - other lenses from this chinon series from the 1970's are certainly derived from the adaptalls.

Like all first gen adaptalls this has a M42 style A-M (auto-manual) aperture switch. When using this lens with PK-M mount in "M" (green button) or PK-A mount in Av mode, make sure this is set to "A". To use Av mode with PK-M mount, set to "M" (flick to "M" to stop down at the moment of taking the picture).
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

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Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 1,972
Lens Review Date: May 8, 2015 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: focusing close, built quality
Cons: poor sharpness outside center, even on APSC
Sharpness: 4    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 5    Camera Used: K-01   

I bought it on a whim, since I own also Tamron 28mm, 135mm and 200mm from that early Adaptall series, and these are good lenses. Sadly, this 24mm was not up to it. And to clear it, it was in pristine condition, no trace of tinkering with or anything like a knock or a fall. This lens is just poor, the resolution in the middle is pretty weak from wide open , and improves there only by stopping down to F5.6 or more. Edges and corners are just plain bad - no matter how much you stop, this lens is just poor. Lens when stopped down was usable , but nowhere near of the quality you will get from SMC 24mm f2.8 or Sigma 24mm f2.8 lenses.

I returned it the same day it came. I think Tamron had some great glass in their past, and most of this early Adaptall lenses are excellent, but this time they got it all wrong. Lens is just weak and I would never recommend it.
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Minahasa, North Celebes (Sulawesi)
Posts: 585
Lens Review Date: July 27, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid construction, fast and wide enough for DSLR
Cons: For sharp landscape photography, step down to f/8
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

First I got the Adaptall II 28 f/2.5, got very curious, so I purchase this, also the newer Adaptall II version. As an Adaptall, it's well constructed and simple. The f/2.5 and my K20D ISO 800 gives me clean, good shots, even in candle-lit situation. I opt this lens rather than the Kiron/Vivitar 28mm f/2 because of the wider field, which is proven to be very useful shooting indoors. Probably this is the reason this lens is, for wide and low light photos, since using it outdoors for landscaping, it needs to be at f/8 to achieve sharpness, but hey, isn't landscape photography do need a generous amount of DOF?

Senior Member

Registered: August, 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 237

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid build, smooth focus, very sharp by f/5.6, bright VFI, adaptall mount useful.
Cons: Very soft at f/2.5, five-bladed aperture, f/16 max, CA/PF, stop-down metering

I've had a copy of this lens for many years, but not used it much since my screwmount days.

Optical Performance (APS-C)
Wide open at f/2.5 the CW-24 is distinctly soft and exhibits some purple fringing and very hazy low contrast. However, by f/4 the contrast and sharpness are much improved.
Centre sharpness peaks at f/8, and is still very good at f/16. Sharpness across the frame is OK - not stunning, but pretty good for a 1976 lens on APS-C. Some red fringing is present at the edges across the aperture range - at f/16 it is practically unnoticable, and easily corrected.
There is a slight, but noticeable amount of barrel distorsion, so either keep it away from straight lines, correct it afterwards or just go with it. It's not enough to be a real problem.
The lens does have multi-coated elements, but they're not up to modern standards, so it's best kept pointed away from direct sun. A hood is highly recommended.
Bokeh is not too bad. It can be quite smooth, but also exhibits a lot of ringing wide open. The five-bladed aperture doesn't help when stopped down, but as it's a wideange, it's not usually an issue.

The CW-24 is the older "Adaptall" (rather than Adaptall-2) type, so it doesn't meter with an open aperture on PKA, FD, etc. bodies - stopping down is required, which can make it awkward and slow to use on a modern APS-C DSLR.
It's a nice little slab of metal and glass. It feels good in the hand. The focus is quite smooth (Slightly stiff on my copy, but I think it loosens up with regular use,) and has an approximate 120 degree throw, which makes it quite nice to use - not being too long or short. It has an unusual gravel-textured rubber grips which are quite good, but could have been better if they were wider.
The aperture stops are responsive, but only go to f/16 which may limit its use as a landscape lens.

I inherited this lens so I don't know how much it cost, but I think if you picked this up for fifty pounds nowadays it would be good value. Its value, like a lot of older lenses, is relative to the user. It all depends on how you want to use it - Again, good for careful, considered shots, but it's no match for a modern AF lens where speed and convenience are concerned.

Personal Opinion
It's not that I don't appreciate a 36mm equivalent lens, but the Tamron CW-24 is simply difficult to use on an APS-C DSLR.
I should probably try to use this lens more, but I can get better and more reliable results with my DA 16-45. I appreciate it for its solidity and quality, and I wouldn't sell it. However, I prefer to use lenses that are generally usable wide open, and the CW-24 is only good for dreamy vintage-looking portraits below f/4...
If you like good quality nostalgic lenses, it's pretty good. If you simply have to get that shot when it happens, this is not the lens for you. The CW-24 is good for using stopped down on a tripod, but it can be dodgy for handheld shots in available light.

But you don't get lenses like these anymore...
I give it an 8 overall, but for using on an M42 Spotmatic I might be tempted to give it a 9.

Test images for f-stops 2.5 - 4 - 8 - 16

50% crops for above images (linked to 100% crops)

All images are from K10D RAW. No adjustments or sharpening applied.
A full range (2.5, 3.2, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16) can be found here:
Picasa Web Albums - Spongefingers - CW-24 Tests

Good qualities:
  • Very solid metal construction.
  • Smooth focus (if a little stiff.)
  • Nicely sharp from f/5.6 onwards.
  • Bright viewfinder (when not stopping down.)
  • Adaptall mount still useful for multiple systems.

Undesirable qualities:
  • Very soft, PF and low contrast wide open, almost unsuable until f/4.
  • Only has a five-bladed aperture.
  • Stops down to just f/16.
  • Chromatic abberation shows up on digital.
  • Not so useful or easy to focus on APS-C.

I don't consider manual focus a bad point, it is what it is!
Inactive Account

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Wide and Sharp
Cons: Manual Focus (which is fine with me)

I got this with a Vivitar 19mm; and has never got unmounted from my Ricoh film-body ever since! I very much love it, not too wide (like the Vivi 19mm) - just enough to get those landscape/sunrise/sunset shots!

Just a warning if you're gonna use it on digital, Adaptall lenses have that "Dark viewfinder" syndrome when coupled with a dslr... Not good if you're gonna shoot in dark places... But still good if you're out on a sunny day!
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2007
Location: Huntingdon, Cambs. UK!
Posts: 94
Lens Review Date: November 27, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast f2.5 wide angle lens of higher than average optical quality
Cons: Not so wide on APS-C Digital SLR's

I bought this lens in the mid 80's for 20 from a proper 2nd camera shop in Swiss Cottage. From the moment it clicked onto my Nikon FA I fell in love with this lens. Photographs taken with that combination FA+FP4+24mm earned me exhibitions, sales and magazine exposure.

The main reason I bought my K100D was to keep using this lens.

Of course it is not the same giving me a field of view of 36mm on my APS-C equipped DSLR's

But I do use it, often, it is in my day bag now.

On FF/film it rocked now it's the moderate wide I use when I want to take a photograph rather than a snap shot.

It is sharp enough for me - not being a pixel peeper - and it is very well constructed - I have baked it in the Sahara and frozen it in the depth of winter in Maine. It has shrugged off the NC hurricane season and the Shanghai smog.

It is a great little all metal and glass stalwart of a MF lens of days now gone.

I tried to replace it with the Tamron SP10-24mm but I use the old boy more.

I might one day replace it with a DA21mmLtd, but not untill I have bought every other Ltd and even then I'll not sell it.

Now all this has reminded me why I need the 15ltd........
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