First Impressions: Tamron SP 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8 Model 01A (Adaptall-2 System)



Now and then one should try to let go of one’s prejudices. When it comes to vintage MF lenses I have always preferred primes and have had a good deal of skepticism towards the older zoom lenses.


Among the older Tamron Adaptall-2 primes that I have long had a keen eye on are the Tamron 90mm f/2.5 Model 52B  and Model 52BB because of their macro-properties and fast aperture (f/2.5). However, availability and prices have not really met to my current abilities.


Then, one Saturday afternoon as I was gloating over the all the goodies that I would so much like to have on  I turned away for once in a while from the primes and took a closer look at this little zoom. Hmmm…. there was something special about this one. The specs. and the very look of it in the brochures kind of intuitively appealed to me. And obviously Tamron themselves took some pride in their achievements with this lens.


I then remembered that I had seen it advertised in a catalogue from a physical shop not too far away from where I live. A check in the catalogue, a phone call and yes, they still had that lens – and at a very reasonable price (: that is, from a physical shop; but it also came with a full year return and warranty right) so, why not take the trouble to go and have a look?


You may know that special, rare feeling when you have a lens of excellent build-quality from those days in your hand for the first time: “This lens was made for me!”


So it was with me and this Tamron 01A (which also happened to be in mint condition). I took a few test shots in the shop and happily left the shop with my “treasure”.


And here is then without further comments a bit of what I got during the first couple of days trying out the lens:


--- Landscape, nature, portrait, macro (1:2.5 and 1:1.25 with Tamron’s SP 01F teleconverter) and astrophotography (not at all a matter of course for a zoom). I think Tamron was in their good right when they immodestly wrote in their brochure from  1980: "Do not let the small size fool you "


Forget all petty quibbles over the “wrong” zoom range or VERY slight distortions around 35mm. This lens DELIVERS, be it sharpness, resolution, contrast or colour!!! Should I say anything critical it would be that it IS rather sensitive to flares. A sunshade will certainly be needed in some situations.


For me, that Saturday afternoon’s browsing over the Adatall-2 SP zoom pages was the beginning of a lasting friendship.


View: Sample Images Slideshow


Brochure: Tamron SP 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8 Model 01A


Copyright © 2010 - Steen G. Bruun