The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm f2.8-3.8 (01A) is a short wide to telephoto zoom offering macro focusing at 80mm. It was launched as part of the original 1979 Adaptall-2 SP range, but was superseded by (but sold alongside for two years) the wider SP 28-80mm f3.5-4.2 (27A) – which was larger, heavier, slower and did not focus as closely.
|List Price when new||¥44,000|
|Angle of view||64-30°|
|Optical Construction (Groups / Elements)||8 / 9|
|Minimum Focus||10.6″ (0.27m)|
|Maximum Macro Magnification ratio||1:2.5|
Optional lens hood, push-on type #25FH.
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm f2.8-3.8 (01A) was advertised as a compact, fast and high performance lens offering a lot of versatility to the photographer. Tamron claimed that the ‘innovative optical system’ used ‘corrects astigmatism and chromatic aberration to a degree once thought impossible in a zoom lens’.
Background and availability
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 35-80mm f2.8-3.8 (01A) is regarded as a cult classic because it is sharp, contrasty and extremely useful as a macro lens at 80mm, offering superb performance for a zoom lens. It is quite sought after and not as readily available as the later (but less well regarded) SP 28-80mm, making it more expensive to purchase. The optional lens hood is also very tough to track down, and in my experience the lens is rarely, if ever, sold with the original hood. I managed to find an original hood, but that was the only copy of it I have ever seen for sale.
When available expect to pay between £30-80 for this lens depending on condition and probably more if it comes with the original hood. Mint copies seem to be very hard to find, with a lot of well-used lenses coming to market (perhaps a reflection of how good this lens is).
Performance and handling
I didn’t own this lens for long, but I used it a lot as a macro lens (before buying the SP 90mm f2.5 dedicated macro lens) and it was absolutely superb, giving little away to a dedicated macro lens (of which I have now used several). On the crop sensor of the NEX 5N the range was a little limited when it came to the wide angle – although the greater reach was more useful for insects. On a full frame camera – and given the exceptional performance of this lens in the corners and across the frame – this lens would probably make a lot more sense as a standard lens.
I did use another copy with my full frame Sony A7ii, but again, didn’t keep it for that long as I still had the 90mm f2.5.
The lens is very compact and suits a small mirrorless camera well, it is, like all of the SP line, beautifully built and handles very well in use. It comes highly recommended to full frame users, or crop sensors who want a more versatile alternative to a traditional macro lens.