The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 24-48mm f3.5-8 (13A) is a very wide angle to normal zoom lens, notable for its very compact and lightweight design. Unusually for a wide angle lens, the front of the lens does not accept filters, instead the optional lens hood had a 77mm filter thread.
|List Price when new||¥64,000|
|Angle of view||84-48°|
|Optical Construction (Groups / Elements)||9 / 10|
|Minimum Focus||23.6″ (0.6m)|
|Maximum Macro Magnification ratio||Unknown|
|Filter Size||77mm – can only be mounted in hood|
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 24-48mm f3.5-8 (13A) did not come with a lens hood, which was an optional extra. This is surprising because the lens does not accept filters. Whilst the front of the lens appears to be threaded, these are actually baffles designed to reduce reflections and filters cannot be threaded onto these. The lens hood (Bayonet type #27FH) is now incredibly rare, but, if found, can accept 77mm filters.
Tamron played to the strengths of this lens and advertised it specifically as a ‘compact’ super-wide zoom, emphasising its light weight and portability. With regards to its optical qualities, Tamron don’t give away any details in the advertising literature, but they do declare that the ‘lens incorporates a new type of optical system designed to minimise flare’ (common to wide angle lenses) to provide higher contrast levels across its zoom range.
Further to this, another new (or the same new…) optical system is ‘designed to compensate for distortion found with conventional super-wide angle lenses’ with the result that the lens ‘provides outstanding optical quality throughout the focusing range’.
Background and availability
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 24-48mm f3.5-8 (13A) has a strong reputation for even sharpness and contrast across the frame and quite a few people have successfully used it with digital cameras. It has the distinction of being one of the ‘favourite’ lenses of the seemingly defunct adaptall-2.org who liked that the lens is compact, lightweight and according to them ‘provides superior optical performance compared to many similar OEM lenses of the era’. Certainly this is a respected performer on digital, although the lens is only really a wide angle lens on full-frame cameras, given the 1.5x crop of Sony APS-C cameras make it a 36-72mm lens in full frame terms. However, if you find 24mm on a crop sensor wide enough it does make a good match for mirrorless camera systems given its diminuitive size.
If used with a full frame camera you can expect good results, including edge and corner sharpness as a lot of people have posted sample pictures taken and one reviewer compared it to a Canon 24-105 f4L and the Tamron competed very well – especially at the wide end.
Whilst the lens is supposedly quite rare, I have seem plenty on Ebay for sale and I have actually acquired 6 of these lenses, some of which I have sold / am selling on, another which is now being used by my brother. All of them showed the build quality of Tamron SP Adaptall lenses, as they all focused and zoomed smoothly and they all stopped down correctly. The one major issue with this lens is mentioned above: no filter thread on the front ring of the lens means you’ll need the original hood to use filters (and 77mm filters if found). I have managed to acquire 2 original lens hood (one mint and boxed with original leather case) but this took an awful lot of searching and they were not cheap. If found the lens hood really makes the lens look and feel special.
Expect to pay anywhere from £45-80 for a decent copy and perhaps nearer £100 for a mint sample with original box – maybe more if it comes with the original hood (and they very rarely do).
Performance and handling
This is a lovely lens to use and matches up well to the Sony Mirrorless camera systems (I’ve used it a lot with the Sony 5N and Sony A6000) because it is light and compact – although the heft of the Adaptall to Nex adaptor does add a fair bit of bulk. The focus and zoom rings have been smooth on all six copies which says a lot about the build quality of this lens (and the Adaptall SP range in general I think) and the front element does not rotate so the use of filters (if you can find that elusive lens hood) is easy.
The only issue I have with using this lens – as with a lot of lenses used with adaptors – is that it will focus past infinity so you can’t just rely on setting the lens to infinity and firing away. I do find that magnified view and focus peaking is enough to get very sharp photos from this lens set to the correct infinity. Flare can be an issue with this lens, so some kind of lens hood is recommended, although it can look quite nice (if you are into that sort of thing).
My only grumble with this lens relates to using it on a APS-C camera, as I’m sure I would love the extra width using this lens on a full frame camera. If I could justify the cost of the Sony A7 I am certain this lens would rarely be off of that camera.