The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD (30A) is a fast tele-zoom lens that offers professional-grade build quality and performance. It features a push-pull one-touch focus and zoom design, a substantial detachable lens tripod collar and the front element is made from low dispersion glass.
|List Price when new||¥143,000|
|Angle of view||30-12°|
|Optical Construction (Groups / Elements)||12 / 16|
|Minimum Focus||59.1″ (1.5m)|
|Maximum Macro Magnification ratio||Unknown|
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD (30A) was originally sold with its tripod ring, but it is detachable so can be classed as an accessory. The lens takes a reversible lens hood (model 82FH).
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD (30A) was marketed as part of Tamron’s top tier of professional grade lenses, which were the only Tamron lenses (at the time) to feature Low Dispersion [LD] glass. The inclusion of LD glass is signified by the light green stripe on each lens. Just four lenses featured in this series: SP 80-200 f2.8 LD (30A); SP 180mm f2.5 LD IF (63B); Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 LD IF (60B) and the Tamron SP 400mm f4 LD IF (65B).
It is worth noting that the 80-200mm only includes one LD element, whilst the other lenses in the range each contain two. This exclusive range of four lenses was marketed together with the green stripe being used on each lens, but two distinctive styles split the smaller lenses from the large primes. The smaller lenses are black, whilst the large primes are olive green. However, the 300mm f2.8 lens had two different variants: an earlier – very rare – white version with a red stripe reminiscent of Canon L telephotos and a later version (360B) which was all-black and styled according to the range at the time. It was the 360B which was eventually adapted to the autofocus model.
Whilst the 80-200mm f2.8 was replaced with an autofocus 70-200mm f2.8, the 180mm f2.5 and 400mm f4 lenses were never updated – although Tamron do currently manufacture a 180mm f3.5 Macro lens. Tamron no longer makes prime lenses above 180mm, preferring it seems to concentrate on ever greater zoom range lenses – such as the recently released 16-300 and 150-600.
Background and availability
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD (30A) has a stellar reputation as being one of the finest lenses covering this focal length made during this era. One set of tests shows that performance is strong throughout the focal range and from wide open – indeed, the reviewer concludes that ’80mm focal length performance rivals the best of prime lenses’.
I have never found anything negative about this lens – from reviews on film or on digital – apart from the obvious issue of increased colour fringing with old lenses on digital sensors.
These lenses are not common on Ebay, but if you keep an eye out you will see several nice copies a year – make sure the tripod collar and hood are included as these only crop up infrequently. Expect to pay anything from £100-249 depending on condition of the lens – and how well it has been listed. I have seen some of these lenses go very cheaply considering just how good this lens is.
For me, this remains one of the last real bargains available in the Top tier of the Tamron Adaptall SP lens line.
Performance and Handling
The Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 80-200mm f2.8 LD (30A) is a lens with a big reputation and it has proved itself to be extremely capable. It is heavy, but that reflects the beautiful build quality – even the hood is metal – and the sheer amount of metal and glass that has gone into this lens to ensure prime quality results at every focal length.
It handles very well, the push-pull one-touch zoom design and fairly short focus throw meaning it is a fine lens for action – albeit the depth of field wide-open is razor fine, especially at the longer end of the zoom range. I generally get a lot of keepers with this lens and it makes an excellent lens for walks because it is fast enough for shaded woodlands, long enough (with the Sony A6000 crop factor) for nature and sharp across the frame making it very useful for landscape work (even with a full frame Sony A7ii).
The only flaw that I find a bit frustrating is the rather long (by modern standards) minimum focus distance of 1.5m. This doesn’t make the lens very useful for macro work, but it focuses closely enough for larger flowers, butterflies and dragonflies. It is sharp enough for substantial cropping which can mitigate this somewhat.
This is a lens that I’ve used quite a lot and I can say with some confidence that this lens is very sharp, even wide open, and is worth every penny I paid for it. I’ve been lucky enough in the past to use a Canon EF 70-200mm f4L and this lens is every inch as good – apart from controlling colour fringing which a lot of old lenses suffer from on digital sensors.
If you find a nice copy, buy it, you will not be disappointed.