I’m sure like most people with a camera from the Sony A7 range and a appetite for manual focus lenses, I have been looking for the perfect ‘walkaround’ do it all lens. I’ve used a lot of manual lenses over the last few years on a Sony NEX 5N (now sold), A6000 and Sony A7. One of the issues with the 5N and A6000 was that most manual focus walkaround zoom lenses – designed for standard 35mm cameras – lost their wide end on those crop sensors. Sony’s A7 full frame sensor gives manual lens enthuasiasts the true focal range of old lenses back and makes the options available a lot more viable for most shooters.
However, most people don’t rate old zooms very highly and the better ones tend to offer a short focal range, not great for a true walkaround, or don’t start that wide. There is a third way, offering modern aspherical and low dispersion elements whilst retaining manual focus and aperture rings: step forward early Nikon and Pentax mount lenses. This offers a range of lenses starting at 24mm and ending at various points between 100-200mm. The lens that I picked up last year – the Tamron SP 24-135mm f3.5-5.6 AD IF Aspherical offers a lot of technology, a great range, focuses down to 0.4m (maximum magnification of 1:3.3 @135mm) and is reasonably compact (530g, 81x79mm extending when zoomed).
The optical construction consists of 14 elements in 10 groups including four hybrid asphericals and one AD (Anomalous Dispersion) element. The filter size is 72mm and the lens should come with a dedicated petal-type hood and soft case. I got my mint and boxed copy for just £90 on eBay, which I believe offers great value.
Now, the range is great, it offers a decent macro option and has plenty of modern optical technology and it’s cheap to buy, so is it any good?
I think so. I haven’t done any lens testing – who knows, maybe one day I will – but others have (crop sensor) – full frame test here) and it does OK. All I have to go by are the images I have shot with the lens – and I’ve been impressed with a lot of them. You can see my full Flickr gallery below.