Review of Tamron 80-210mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro

For the ability to write a review Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 model 103A many thanks Volodymir gulchuk. If you were skeptical about the long name of the lens and its outdated zoom system, then the fact that Tamron 80-210 3.8-4 produces a very, very good image will surprise you.

View Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Macro

View Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Macro

TTX Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 model 103A:
Focal length: 80 - 210mm
Aperture Limits: F / 3.8-4 - 32, AE
Optical design: 10groups and 12 elements
MDF: 0.9cm
Filter Diameter: 58 mm
The weight: 610g
Maximum increase factor: 1 to 2.8

There were several versions of this lens Tamron 80-210 mm f / 3.8-4.0 model 03A (1979-1981) - the first version with a retractable hood. Tamron 80-210 mm f / 3.8-4 Adaptall-2 model 103A - The second version presented in this review. Also, there was and is Tamron 70-210 mm f / 3.8-4 Adaptall-2 model 46A - the latest version with changed focus and 12 elements in 9 groups, earlier versions had 12 elements in 10 groups. The 103A was one of the best-selling models in the Tamron lens line up until the mid-1980s. (source link) The lens combines excellent ergonomics, good image quality and measured price. 103A was the best of the three, as it had an improved optical design compared to version 03A and an all-metal construction compared to the half-plastic model 46A.

Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Macro view from different sides

Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Macro view from different sides

The lens is quite old, it was produced from 1981 to 1986, since the mechanics even felt great in 2012 (the year the review was written), a reasonable conclusion suggests itself that the lens is very high quality. This is confirmed by the inscription Made in Japan.

View of the Tamron 80-210 mm F 3.8-4 Tele-Macro on a modern camera

View of the Tamron 80-210 mm F 3.8-4 Tele-Macro on a modern camera

Key features of the Tamron 80-210 mm f / 3.8-4 Adaptall-2 model 103A lens

1. The lens has a non-standard, in our digital time, method of zooming (zooming). Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 - piston type lens. Here you do not need to twist the zoom ring, but you need to move the piston. The piston itself runs very smoothly, does not leave and drives in under its own weight. And most importantly - the piston does not change the length of the lens - this is the first time I see it. Mostly piston lenses, such as Nikon 35-70mm f / 2.8 AF-D ZOOM-NIKKOR, change their size when moving the piston. Also note that zoom with piston back-to-back. At the closest position of the piston to the camera, the largest focal length is achieved, and when the piston moves from the camera, the focal length, on the contrary, decreases. It is very easy to get used to such a reverse operation scheme, especially since the focal lengths for the position of the piston are indicated on the lens.

Photo on Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Photo on Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

2. The lens has manual focus only. Focusing is carried out using a piston. It seemed to me such a lens device is brilliant. You can while holding onto the piston ring, zoom and focus. The piston ring, at the same time, is also the focusing ring. You can use your hand to move the zoom back and forth and rotate left and right to focus. The focus ring turns around a little less than 360 degrees. The stroke is very smooth, focusing on sharpness is very convenient. Tamron is a huge plus for the unusual zoom focus ring design! The downside is the fact that, when focusing, the front element travels about 3cm forward, while not rotating.

Photo at Tamron 80-210mm F 3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Photo at Tamron 80-210mm F 3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

3. The lens can be used both on full frame and on film. Of course, people who have money for a modern digital SLR, full-frame camera are unlikely to use the old Tamron. But still, I would love to shoot him at full frame. On DX (cropped) cameras, the viewing angle will be narrower. EFR in Crop will be 120-315mmwhich turns the Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 into a rather long-range telephoto zoom lens.

Example photo on Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Example photo on Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

4. The lens has Adaptall system, which allows, using the desired adapter, to use Tamron 80-210 mm f / 3.8-4 on different systems. My Tamron 80-210mm f3.8-4 with Adaptall to M42 thread. The lens has an iris diaphragm with the possibility of semi-automatic control. I did not block the diaphragm pusher on the lens, therefore, all images were taken at the maximum available apertures at different focal lengths.

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

5. The lens has multi-coating. The lens tolerates both side and back light well. The older version of the lens had a built-in telescopic hood. The version from this review is without a hood.

Sample photo on the Tamron 80-210 mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Sample photo on the Tamron 80-210 mm F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

6. The lens able to shoot macro. True, not real 1 to 1, but only 1 to 2.8. If use teleconverter, then you can achieve macro 1 to 1.4. The lens has a very interesting scale, which shows the degree of magnification - orange twisted lines that display the magnification at different focal lengths and focusing distances. The depth of field indicator, too, is made unusually, in a classic, at that time, multi-colored style. Each color of the line corresponds to one of the aperture values. In general, due to the number of multi-colored lines and indicators, the lens looks rather unusual.

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Picture

The lens gives a sharp, contrasty image over the entire range of focal lengths. I did not block the aperture and always shot on F3.8-F4.0 and got a very high-quality picture. I think that with an increase in pure F, sharpness will also increase. HA well fixed, color rendering is very pleasant. Distortion and vignetting are almost invisible on the cropped matrix. The bokeh is excellent, the only thing is that green stains appear quite strongly in the zone of not sharpness. They say that at the full frame the edges will be slightly softened, but on the crop the picture is sharp across the entire field of the frame.

Sharpness on Tamron 80-210mm 3.8-4. Crop 1 to 1, quality 100, without processing

Sharpness on Tamron 80-210mm 3.8-4. Crop 1 to 1, quality 100, without processing

Personal impressions

I liked the lens, even more than the legendary autofocus Nikon 70-210mm f / 4 AF. The difference in aperture 4.0 and 3.8 is only 10%.

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

How to use on modern digital SLR cameras?

The best option to use the Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 on modern digital photography equipment is to install the native Adaptall adapter under the desired mount. If this is not possible, then you can do as I do. I shot with Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 model 103A with M42 adapter on Nikon system using adapter KP-42 / N. The ability to focus on 80mm disappeared at 3 meters, the ability to focus on 210mm disappeared beyond 5-6 meters.

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Strong side light on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

How to use old manual lenses with a non-native mount on the Nikon system - you can read on the page Soviet Optics. For Canon with infinity, everything is much simpler, you just need an adapter M42-Canon EOS, in more detail in the section Old Canon Lenses.

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Sample photo on Tamron 80-210mm CF F3.8-4 Tele-Macro 103A

Sample photos on Tamron 80-210 mm f3.8-4 Tele-Macro Adaptall-2 model 103A

All photos are taken on Nikon D40, without processing. Shot in RAW -> JPEG, Q80%,  BB auto, resizing up to 1600 * 1200 + imprinting data with EXIF.

Catalog of modern Tamron lenses can look at this link.

In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

conclusions

Tamron 80-210mm f3.8-4 - excellent manual zoom telephoto with neither big nor small aperture. Great for portraiture, wildlife and amateur macro.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter.

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Comments: 57, on the topic: Review of Tamron 80-210mm f3.8-4 Zoom-Macro

  • altavista

    Tamron 80-210mm f3.8-4 - an excellent maruil zoom telephoto.

    Manual.

  • gulch

    Dyakuyu for tsikaviy looking around. Sklo for labor snipers :)

  • Alex

    A good test is mental

  • Petro

    Good day! Can you tell me ... When I mount this lens on a Nikon using the native adapter Adaptall, will infinity be lost? there is no lens. I look forward to your answer, because the lens is being sold at the auction, I urgently need to find out whether to buy it or not.)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There the adapter itself regulates the flange distance, therefore - there must be infinity, otherwise no one would have created Adaptall.

  • Petro

    good lens. He came to me last week. Included is a good carry case. Convenient to focus and zoom)
    The quality of the picture amazes me. Blur the background with a bang. I have not really tested the glass in the portraits, but I think it will be done soon!) Thank you Arkady for the review. Thanks to him, I settled on this cheap but high-quality glass!) Who will buy so buy immediately a new cover, otherwise these old Tamron's are uncomfortable)))

  • Petro

    And I also wanted to add. The lens hood (the one in the review and mine) must be present. I have. It is screwed to the thread of the filter or lens, a little inconvenient ... Sometimes the filter is unscrewed together with the hood.)

  • gulch

    Whom should the male ob'єktiv be assigned to - gulchuk [at] yandex.ua

  • Oleg

    Good day. I have a tamron 35-80 sp ad2 / And there is no adapter from it to Nikon and there is no money (even 20 ye are not present - it became very bad). But I can make it (adapter) - if you don’t fit the work, you don’t fit the wide part of the adapter

  • Roman

    Good afternoon, Arkady! I am the owner of Tamron SP 35-210 3,5-4,2 adaptall-2, (http://adaptall-2.org/lenses/26A.html) What does the position of the AE on the aperture scale mean ?, i.e. I close the aperture to 22 and then the AE position is red. In this case, nothing happens with the diaphragm, i.e. as it closed before 22 it remains. How to use the macro position? (There is such a thing, but all the same my glass only 1,6m focuses (so on a scale).
    Thank you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      AE - aperture lock for modern cameras. I won't tell you how to use the macro.

  • Roman

    Thank you Arkady!
    The Chinese adapter has a side, which presses the jump rope, i.e. you can set the diaphragm as standard and change it. And on the M42, too, the adapter has such a side (it blocks the pusher, I have 2 different adapters and both with a side). Maybe on Nikon's adapters everything is different ...
    On lenses with the AM switch, if you grind off the side and unlock the pusher, then the switch will cover the aperture to the specified value (at least so on my Tessara 50.2,8), it's very good and convenient to focus (I really appreciated this with Helius 44-2 ). There is a lack of such a switch on tamron, there are even thoughts on how to do it ...
    Have a nice shot!

  • Novel

    “… A great manual zoom telephoto lens with neither large nor small aperture”
    I do not agree with this. The average telephoto has a relative aperture of 4.5 at the short end (70-75mm) and 5.6 at the long (210-300mm).
    Therefore, 1: 3.8-4 is a very bright lens.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If you look at 2.8, then it is not light at all. Not light or dark.

  • Novel

    A TV set 1: 2.8 at the price of a subject can’t be bought well, therefore, we won’t talk about them.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      However, this does not make 80-210 light.

      • Novel

        Sori for persistence, I don't see above my statement that “it makes him light” :)
        Tell me, do you attribute ordinary televisions with 1: 4.5-5.6 to the dark already?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          The dark / light gradation is generally conditional. I attribute the range 3.2-5.6 to medium-aperture optics, given that most televisions have 5.6 at the long end, and this Tamron has 4.0, then we can say that it is lighter than some of its counterparts.

          • Denis

            That is, it is bright :)

  • Oleg

    Good afternoon. I would like to know your opinion about Tamron AF 70-300 4-5,6. Thank you

  • Oleg

    вот его фото.(тамрон)http://www.ebay.com/itm/TAMRON-ZOOM-LENS-AF-70-300-1-4-5-6-Minolta-AF-/120909783005

  • Denis

    Hello, Arkady! How glad I am that I came across this review) On ebee I “accidentally” won this lot at a ridiculous price ($ 28), and then began to doubt - there is very little information on the Internet. My version is also 103A for Pentax, I still think to make a purchase)

    • Denis

      Correctly done. I bought two of these :)

  • Alexander

    Tell me, pzhlst, whether the focusing is retained when zooming?
    Thank you.
    Regards, Alexander

  • Eugene

    What mount does he have?

    • Alexander

      Through the adapter Adaptall the mount can be any Nikon or Canon, and not only.

  • sergey

    I have been using this lens for 1 year now, I like the picture, sharpness and ease of focusing.

  • Maria

    Hi all!
    Today I received the long-awaited Tamron by mail (namely 80-210 f / 3.8-4 adaptall-2
    near the Canon EOS 1100D camera
    stupid question, but where to get the adapter and how much does it usually cost?
    Thank you! :)

  • Oleg

    The adapter is available firmenny.

  • Lech

    I got this in ex ++ with an adapter for 60 bucks. I rent for Nikon d610. great thing! definitely recommend.

  • anonym

    actually the front element rotates when focusing

  • Oleg

    Should I take Tamron Adaptall SP 80-210 on the Nikon D3100 for 3900 rubles as a telezoom? Can autofocus lenses up to 15k give the same image quality?

    • KalekseyG

      The Tamron described in this review is very good, SP theoretically should be even better, especially for such a price, but you need to be able to and love the manuals, I would take

    • Nicholas

      Not worth it. The lens is good though. But on a junior crop like 3100, they can only shoot from a tripod through live view. Unfortunately, viewfinders are now actually designed for sighting only, not manual focus. On a mirrorless or SLT with EVI, such a lens is justified; It is also good on the older crop, if you replace the FE and put an enlarging eyecup. But on the younger crop, with a door peephole instead of an OVI, it is very difficult to work with manuals other than through live view. And with such focal lengths through live view without a tripod, the pleasure is much lower than average. A tripod - goodbye, efficiency. There remains the option of using it not as a universal telezoom, but as a telezoom for a staged portrait. But for this purpose fixes like 85/2 and 135 / 2,8 will be better.

  • Ilya

    That is strange. The review has some advantages, and Arkady, in personal correspondence, advised not to mess with old zooms.
    Such a lens (03A) went to me for 16 bucks. Of the minuses: whether it’s a fungus or a dot sticking up, but it does not particularly affect the quality. At least for the money he is no worse than a Sonevsky whale.

  • Konstantin

    I bought model 500A for about 46 UAH, the frame was bent a bit, and so on the four.
    At 7000, Nikon did not like it; loosening is difficult to get into the focus of the edge with greenery, but on Nikon D70 it is excellent, here are a few photos from it.
    http://rasfokus.ru/photos/photo2218648.html
    http://rasfokus.ru/photos/photo2219057.html
    http://rasfokus.ru/photos/photo2234303.html

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