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Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF] Review RSS Feed

Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF]

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14 58,031 Wed August 29, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
86% of reviewers $220.00 8.36
Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF]

Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF]
Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF]

Aperture: f/3.5-5.6
Minimum Aperture: 22
Construction: 14 Elements-10 Groups
Angle of View: 84-18 degrees.
Minimum Focus: 0.4 m
Filter Size: 72 mm
Length: 80.6 mm
Weight: 530 grams
Macro Ratio: 1:3.3
Coating: Multi-coated
Focus System: Automatic
Price History:

Add Review of Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF]
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New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Useful focal range, Good colour
Cons: Average resolution, AF inaccuracy
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-3II   

Among Tamron AF lenses for Pentax within the standard focal range, this is only second to 28-75 2.8. I got a copy of Tamron Anniversary version. It is just a difference in appearance, no big deal.

I bought it from a seller in Australia, at an acceptable price, a bit more than HKD 1000, more than 2 years ago. I was using K-3II. Although I had FA* 28-70 2.8, it was heavy and its focal range started from 28mm, which is obviously not wide enough when used on a APS-C body.

In my hands, the lens did not feel particularly solid. I would say its original build quality should be a bit better than average. This is the only Tamron AF I have ever tried/owned so I am comparing it to DA zoom lenses in this aspect.

On K-3II, its AF performance was average, too - similar to DA 17-70 F4, I would say. Its image quality is as expected from a mid-range zoom lens. There is enough sharpness in the center, but on the borders you cannot expect much better than DA lenses, not to mention the new HD lenses such as 16-85. The colour looks brighter than DA lenses. Yet I prefer the colour from DA lenses and Tamron 28-75 2.8 (according to online samples). Its greatest drawback in image quality is in darker colours. I would advise using it in an environment with dim light. It might take some PS work to make a photo look as it should.

I only owned my copy for a while and sold it without looking back. I guess it would not perform any better than new zoom lenses for K-1. If you ever come across a cheap one, you can take your time though.

If you want a mid-range zoom lens for APS-C bodies, 16-85 (used to be my most used APS-C lens) gives you the most useful range, more solid resolution, better border performance, better AF and weather resistance. At small apertures, Tamron 24-135 might perform marginally better than DA 18-135, depending on variation between lens copies. Therefore, you can see it an upgrade from a kit lens, if you prefer the telephoto to wide focal range, or you cannot find similar F or FA zoom lenses. (Pentax-F 24-50 or FA 28-70 F4)

It is a obvious NO for Pentax K-1. I would see many K-1 users looking for quality photo-taking experience as well as image quality generally no worse than Full Frame shooters of other brands. After my experience with FA 24-90, FA* 28-70 and this lens, DFA 28-105 is the best choice, if not a must.
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2014
Location: Colorado
Posts: 476

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 27, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Useful range, sharp at 24mm, inexpensive
Cons: Performance deteriorates at the long end
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-1   

This review is for this lens' performance on the full-frame K-1. It is quite sharp in 24-50 range. However as the zoom extends further the resolution drops. The performance at 24mm can be rated as 8.5. On the 135mm end, however, I can only give it a 6.5. Generally the best resolution is achieved by closing the aperture 1-1.5 stops. In the 28-70 range, it is slightly worse than my FA28-70/4. However this lens is both wider (24) and longer (135). It is very useful to cover most shooting needs.

In terms of handling, the lens is well made, feels quite substantial, and balances well on K-1. For the price I paid, I think it is a great value.
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 84

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 10, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $220.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp. Will be a good FF walk around lens
Cons: Zoom a bit stiff
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I bought this lens the day Pentax announced it would actually make an FF camera. I picked up an almost mint copy for a great price. I thought it would be a good FF walkaround lens until I can afford something like a D-FA 24-80mm F2.8 WR or similar if Pentax decides to make one? I'll probably keep it as well anyway. It's replaced an FA 28-105mm F4-5.6 in my line up although it will also replace my excellent DA 16-45mm to some extent.

Handling is good with my only real complaint being the zoom ring is a bit stiff. This might be due to the lens not being used much? Well at least it's better than a loose ring, but makes it a bit annoying for shooting video without a tripod.

I'm not sure about the complaints about the lens hood. Mine seems to be fine. All in all I'm very happy with the image and build quality. I hope it performs well on the FF.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 38

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, build quality, weight.
Cons: Hood is esily detached.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Film bodies   

Quite a sharp and well built lens. Light in weight and sharp.

Kiron Kid
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 7

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Build quality, price, auto focus
Cons: sharpness, weight, hood easily detaches
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 7    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

I bought this lens on China's flea-bay (taobao) for a trip through Vietnam. The lens has a good reputation and I thought its useful range would come in handy. I shoot mainly street and have the 21mm and 43mm gems.
Unfortunately, the tammy suffers in comparison to the Pentax limiteds

I did some chart testing at home when I first bought it and it seemed sharp enough, however out in the field it just didn't cut it.
Contrast and sharpness were disappointing. The lens just has no wow factor - it produces just so-so images.
Moreover, I found it a bit heavy for a walk around and not particularly great in low light because it needs f8 to get sharp.
The end of its zoom is where he lens is at its weakest. Lastly, I had problems with the lens hood staying on.

On the positive side, build quality is good, auto focus is decent and the lens is fairly well balanced on the K3

Maybe my copy is flawed but in a testing it didn't seem too bad when set to f8 - f11.
My advice, test before buying if possible to make sure you get a good copy.

Registered: September, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 941

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 12, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Versatility, cost, quality
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

I was looking for a reliable walk-around lens for my K-x. I tried some 28-105 ones with mixed results, and the Pentax 18-135 is out of my price range. (NOTE update below.) I found a very nice copy of this Tamron at a very good price, and this has become the lens that is most on the camera. Yes, it is a bit heavy, but the bulk is in its girth and not its length. Fitted on the K-x, it fits quite nicely in a small camera holster.
My copy is quite sharp across the whole frame. In the 24-50mm range, it's very good wide open, but as the FL increases, it helps to stop it down some. It seems weakest at 135mm, but otoh, it functions quite nicely at that end as a 1:3.3 pseudo-macro. See the attached pic at 100% center crop shot from about 5' away though it can get as close as 16". Pic is untouched except for cropping.
CA is not significant. The lens does seem to like a lot of light, and it is not particularly fast. It's at f5.6 at 70mm. It seems to have more of a warmer tint than my Pentax lens, but it is still appealing. At the wider end, it holds its own with my 16-45 and 35-70. For sports and tele needs, it still can't beat my DAL 55-300.
All in all, a great lens with a very nice range even on a APS-C.

UPDATE: 2/2014: I ended up selling the 16-45 and buying the DA 18-135 which has become my primary lens. It's WR and does everything quite well, but...
this Tamron 24-135 beats it at every focal length. (Only exception is at 135mm where both are similar.) It exceeds or matches the well-regarded F35-70 at every length. At 50mm, it's just as good as the DA 50 f1.8 (though that lens is considerably faster since this Tamron is at 4.5 at 50mm). For non-macro shots, it can hold its own with the Tamron SP AF 90 f2.8 Di Macro (though again this 24-135 is already at f5.6 at 70mm). The only lens I have that really can beat it is the DA 35 f2.4.
I'm using the DA 18-135 because it's WR, lighter, and wider.
I'm keeping this Tamron 24-135 because of its outstanding IQ, excellent photo qualities of sharpness and contrast, and its full-frame capability (should I ever need it!).
I did a rather thorough (though unscientific) comparison of this Tamron with the Pentax 18-135 and also some primes. Only the good primes beat this Tamron. Review HERE.
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 302
Lens Review Date: September 13, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Build quality, image quality, close focusing
Cons: Weight (for some people)
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I have been using this lens on my K20 for about a month now and am continually impressed with its performance. I do a lot of nature/garden/pond detail photography and it is becoming my preferred "one lens". Its close focusing performance is quite good such that I seldom have needed to use my prime macro lens in ordinary use. The 135mm long end also enables me to reach out "just enough".I also have been comparing it to my Pentax-DA 16-46 and except for the wider zoom range, I find the Tamron out performs the Pentax lens especially in regards to CA where I have seen purple fringing more often. The Tamron may seem too heavy for some users, but I find that the weight reduces camera shake when hand held (of course I work on tripod quite a lot). In conclusion: if you want an all purpose zoom on your resticted sensor digital body that will produce superior images and don't need anything wider than 24mm (36mm equivalent) and don't want to spend a great deal of money (I got mine for $200, new with 6 year warranty) I would recommend looking for one.
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2008
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 4,180

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 2, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Read review for this
Cons: APS-c negatively affects its great range

A 10 may sound like too much, but please read on. This lens has an amazing focal range to cover, yet the numbers & pics show it does so admirably. While I like the range & IQ much more on my D700, the lens shines on APS-c too.

It is very sharp from 24 to 40mm, & sharp for the rest of the range--surprisingly so--even wide open. Contrast is plentiful, while distortions & CA are subdued. The lens weighs in with the 28-75mm 2,8 Tammy, but it is bulit better than the 28-75. Lots of metal--no zoom creep--nice focus ring. It offers good close-focus capabilities too.

Finding a weakness for the lens is the toughest part of the review. Its only one is its 24mm starting focal range, but this is only a problem when paired with APS-c, not a the fault of the lens. The lens covers an APS-c equivalent of 16mm when it is properly paired on full-frame. It has an aperture ring--hooray!

Of all the Tamron AF zooms I've used, the AF of this one is best. It is consistently spot on, & it does not have the large aperture advantage of the f2.8, 17-50 & 28-75 that I've shot with.

In the box, comes the nicest soft leather pouch I ever got with a lens. It is part of a Tamron 50th Anniversary celebration package, which also features a bayonett hood & 50th Tamron Anniversary pinch front cap.

Now I've saved the best for last--COST. The lens retails a little over $500. However, that was for its premiere on FF C & N bodies. APS-c cameras have taken off since its introduction, making its range much less valuable. Because of this, the lens can often be found for under $300, and sometimes brand new for less than that as stores move to clear out the remaining inventory of this older design.

If you like quality, but do not like spending more than you have to to get it, jump on this lens for true happiness.

Utility Wide-Open=10
Sharpness: 9
Value= 10 +

Click on pics twice for larger view:

Junior Member

Registered: June, 2010
Posts: 47

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $390.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: useful range, good sharpness, accurate color
Cons: slight CA that can fall within magenta/cyan and blue/yellow
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 4    Handling: 8    Value: 7   

I bought this lens so I can have a good all around lens, when carrying multiple primes and other lenses isn’t ideal. This certainly fit the bill. I researched other lenses close to this focal range (even the 18-135 pentax da) and this one seemed to have the best image quality, and you cant go wrong with the 6 year warranty, which blows everyone else out of the water. The other ‘super zooms’ like the 28-250’s and the like seemed to sacrifice a lot of image quality for the useful range, which this one does not seem to do. I had many photos taken at the long end of 135mm and they came out great. I paid a bit more than most people did here, but it is because it has been discontinued and I bought it new. I used it daily when I was on vacation, and so far I am pleased with the results. I also own the tamron 10-24mm, so these two lenses together can have me covered for almost any type of landscape, portrait, or architectural shooting. It is heavy, but it is also compact in length at 24mm and balances well on the k7 w/battery grip. Without the grip it may be a little large in diameter. There is small amounts of CA, in both the magenta/cyan and blue/yellow ranges, so it can take a little more time to correct than a lens that just has one type. I am sure once I get some presets set up in Lightroom to correct it, it will be a lot quicker. No noticeable PF as of yet, which is good. The sharpness across the frame seems good for this wide focal range. After more usage I will edit this, if necessary, but I am very happy with it so far, and give it a 8 for the image quality for this useful zoom range. If you can only take one lens with you, this will be it.
Update 4/9/12: Still enjoying this lens for landscapes. The colors are just excellent with it, especially with a polarizer. A very good 'landscape' walkaround lens. I have only used it minimally for a 'portrait' lens, and I don't think it is the best choice for that. This will be a beneficial lens once Pentax releases their FF
Update 12/29/16: I have still used this lens, up to this point, but I find myself trying to use other lenses (primes) when at all possible. I can't say this is a good 'all around' lens, as I really dont care for any people-shots I take with it. I have taken a ton of great landscape photos with it, but anything with people are just blah. I chalk this up to the lack of shallow depth of field and lack of good bokeh. The lack of shallow depth of field can be a bonus in many landscape situations though. That is probably one of the strongest points of the lens, and the sharpness is relatively uniform across the frame. I just picked up a sigma 17-50 2.8. While I know the bokeh is not excellent by any means on that lens, I know it is better than this one for portraits. I have not had good luck in the past with Sigma lenses (always major focusing issues, sometimes very soft corners), however so far so good on the 17-50. I do like the colors Sigma lenses have and it produces a more film-like quality, in my opinion. All that said, it has served me well in many situations for over 5 years.
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 169
Lens Review Date: October 29, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, pleasing colours, macro mode
Cons: bit soft wide open

Just testing the lens for the past couple of days and am very happy with it. When stopped down to F 8, I find the pictures to be very sharp. I find the focal range to be just right for casual photography. I was able to get sharp images of flowers with the macro mode. The built quality is very good and it is a bit on the heavier side on my k-x. Overall, I am very satisfied and I think this is probably one of the best mid range zooms availabe for pentax users.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2009
Posts: 134

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very versatile walkaround; beautiful colours; sharp
Cons: not really

I agree with aforementioned: very versatile walk around lens and fits very well with K20D with grip; very practical range; good AF

stays a lot on my K20D; very nice colours and bokeh.

I don't see them a lot on the market place in Pentax format though

here are example photos

New Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 9, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very useful range. Reasonably sharp. Good colour rendition. Zoom lock.
Cons: A bit large (requires a huge filter). Less useful in low light.

This was the second lens I acquired after purchasing my K10D + 16-45 but it is probably still my most used lens. I have a number of primes which I use for more specific purposes and both a 28-105 and an 18-250 but I keep coming back to this one lens. It's certainly on a par with - and possibly even better than - the 28-105 and 18-250.

I'm an avid railfan and, as much as I love shooting primes, the versatility of this lens can't be beat in the varied situations one encounters. I have the 50-135 and there's no doubt it's optically better than the 24-135 but when I'm railfanning I often grab the Tamron because of its zoom range.

It's a bit on the big and heavy side but I routinely use it on my K20D with grip installed and don't feel the weight. Build quality is very good. I don't abuse my gear but it does get banged around a bit from time to time and the lens works as smoothly today as when I bought it two years ago.

If you're looking for a decent general purpose lens I doubt if you would be disappointed with one of these.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Paris, TN
Posts: 3,065

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Excellent working range,
Cons: Relatively heavy

I consider this my walk-around lens for when I'm in an auto - sort of a drive-around lens where you don't tend to get quite as close to things as when you're a-foot and don't mind a little more weight and bulk. I got this to extend the useful range of an FA 28-105 for shooting old barns and mid-range landscapes in daylight and in rural conditions and it serves quite nicely.

Overall image quality seems to be about the same as the Tamron 18-250 - not as tack-sharp as the 28-75/2.8 and about the same as my FA 28-105/4 - 5.6 (Tamron version) and certainly capable of sharp images. Slightly soft in the corners wide open and perhaps a little softer at the tele end as might be suspected of this type of zoom lens. Close-up results are quite satisfactory if 1:3.3 is OK. It goes to f5.6 at about the 75mm point. I find a -1.0 EV adjustment gives more pleasing color with normal exposure settings on a K200D.

No noticeable PF and CA is very well controlled and easy to clean up in PP if present.

Build quality is typical of modern Tamron SP lens - very good. Used as a landscape lens you'll want to note the 72mm filter size for a CPL or ND filter.

When there's no other better plan for an outing and a little extra weight isn't important , this tends to be a very utilitarian one-lens solution. Without it, I tend to drag along at least one or two more lenses. I'd bump it to 8.5 for that reason alone.

Edit 1: after 16 months I've come to appreciate the versatility of this lens. If I were going to build an economy 17- 300mm system with Tamron I'd consider this lens with the 17-35 and one of the 70-300 zooms and not feel my skills were being insulted by equipment and still only have about $600 invested in used lenses.

I'd also note that the size of this lens overwhelms the *istDS-class bodies and is a better fit for the larger K10/20's or the K200 with a grip.

I'd normally rather have images from the SP 28-75, but the convenience of the additional range from 24-28 and 75- to about 110 offsets the slight difference in IQ when used as a utility lens. Above about 90mm I've usually switched to a longer lens anyway if I have one.

Edit 2 - Aug 2011: Over a two year period I sold the original lens and recently replaced it at a bargain close-out price of $200 USD (NIB) since that FL works well for me. It could just be my imagination but this copy seems slightly sharper than the first copy. Not quite an AF 28-75 in overall sharpness and slightly cooler in color rendition.

I'd note that new these lenses were manufactured a while ago and when new may exhibit lubrication that's stiffened up after a long shelf life as this one has. That may lead to an early impression off poor build quality but use does improve the feel considerably. One effect I've noticed, and this would be true of ANY lens, is that auto-focus can be somewhat inconsistent until the lubrication smooths out from use. The Tamron six-year warranty should cover that situation if it doesn't clear up and needs to be re-lubricated.

Edit 3: Recently acquired a DA 18-135. It's smaller, lighter, WR, adds 12mm to the WA end and has become my carry lens - BUT, I'm keepin' the AF 24-135 and when I know I'll be intentionally using some part of that FL range it's often the lens of choice for color and confidence in its rendering.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Michigan/USA
Posts: 173
Lens Review Date: March 15, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fairly compact and comprehensive zoom range.
Cons: Not especially fast lens.

This is actually a pretty nice lens, though I do favor the primes. Gets in very close, good colors, decent bokeh. I use it primarily on my 10D but perhaps would be even better on 20D since you could increase ISO and retain image quality. I used it for a dance recital once and though the range is great, the lens just wasn't up to the demand of the situation (lighting and movement). For outdoors it's very nice, took it camping last year and it was more than sufficient.
Add Review of Tamron SP AF 24-135mm F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical [IF]

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