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Tamron Adaptall Lenses

In the mid-1970s, Tamron launched a new line of interchangeable mount third party lenses that it appropriately named Adaptall. The universal lens bodies connected via a bayonet to one side of an Adaptall adapter, whose other side had a camera-specific fitting. The connection enabled auto diaphragm and full aperture metering. This system was easier to handle and more solid than the company's earlier Adapt-A-Matic mount. Like other universal fittings, Tamron's Adaptall made it possible for professional and enthusiast photographers with cameras from two or more manufacturers to use their Tamron lenses on different bodies with the help of inexpensive adapters. Also, switching camera brands became much easier and cheaper, since with the Tamron system only the Adaptall-mounts and not the entire bag of lenses had to be replaced. Moreover, the system provided substantial benefits for Tamron's retail partners, who did not have to stock every individual lens in different mounts, but only had to keep one copy of the expensive lens and an assortment of cheap mount adapters in store. On the downside, the mount adapters as individual pieces of solid metal had their own manufacturing tolerances that could potentially lead to a slight de-centering of the lens with adverse effects on imaging performance.

Adaptall mount
The Tamron Adaptall mount

Adaptall Custom adapters were available for virtually all camera mounts of the 1970s and 1980s, including Canon FD, Minolta MD, Konica AR, Contax/Yashica, Olympus OM, Nikon AI, M42, Pentax K, Fujica FT, Topcon RE, Mamiya SX, Rollei, and Praktica. There are two versions of the Adaptall mount. The original adapter, as introduced in 1973, and a slightly modified Adaptall-2, which was marketed from 1979. Both versions have the same physical lens fitting, but only Adaptall-2 mounts transmit the lenses' maximum aperture to the camera. For some mounts, the additional functionality of Adaptall-2 makes no difference, so that Adaptall and Adaptall-2 units can be used interchangeably. However, some complex lens to camera fittings, notably Canon FD, Minolta MD, and Konica AR, require information on the maximum aperture of the lens in order to control the aperture correctly. With the original Adaptall mount, owners of "complex mount" cameras needed to use an adapter specific to the maximum aperture of the lens and, thus, had to buy several adapters if they wanted to use Tamron lenses with differing maximum openings (e.g. f/2.8, f/3.5, f/3.8). For a third group of camera systems, the introduction of Adaptall-2 brought some other benefits. For Contax/Yashica, there was no longer a need to set the maximum aperture, and the latter was also displayed in the viewfinder. For Olympus OM, the new adapter gained a depth-of-field preview lever.

Timeline of Tamron interchangeable mounts

Taiseh Optical (which became Tamron in 1970) entered the market for camera lenses in 1957, when it introduced the T-mount. The latter was named after the first letter of the company's name.

Tamron Mount Chronology
Mount Launch Year
T1957
Adapt-A-Matic1968
Adaptall1973
Adaptall-21979

The T-mount permitted any of the company's lenses to be coupled to virtually every 35mm camera via an adapter. Subsequent universal mounts from Tamron – Adapt-A-Matic, Adaptall, and Adaptall-2 – improved handling convenience and aperture coupling.

Most of the camera mounts for which Adaptall adapters existed are no longer used in the era of digital photography. The exceptions are the Nikon F and Pentax K bayonets. Yet, Adaptall lenses can still be used on newer camera systems through a combination of adapters, for example lens plus Adaptall-M42-mount plus M42 to Sony-E adapter. Moreover, some third party supplier have spotted the opportunity and provide adapters that directly link Tamron Adaptall lenses to digital camera mounts (click herefor the respective offer of Fotodiox on amazon). However, these adapter-combinations or adapters-to-digital-mounts do not offer aperture coupling, so that the lenses have to be operated in stop-down mode.

Adaptall for EOS
A (rare) Adaptall-2 mount for Canon EOS[Uwe K.]

The introduction of the Adaptall-2 mount coincided with a cosmetic update of Tamron's existing lenses, as well as the introduction of its new premium SP-line. These "Super Performance" lenses aimed to provide photographers with imaging quality similar to lenses from original equipment manufacturers, but at reduced costs. Tamron's marketing strategy was, thus, similar to the one pursued by Vivitar with its Series 1 lenses. Indeed, the SP-lenses quickly gained a reputation for consistent above-average performance and cemented Tamron's position as a third party supplier.

Within the SP-line, several lenses featured low dispersion optical elements and carried the corresponding LD acronym in the lens name. These LD-lenses provided particularly good imaging quality and competed against the top-level lenses from Canon, Nikon, Minolta and others in the market for professional photo gear. These optics continue to be highly regarded and command relatively high prices in the used market.

The tables below list the main specifications of all the Adaptall and Adaptall-2 lenses that were released. It should be noted that Tamron specified the measurements of the Adaptall and Adaptall-2 lenses without any mount adapter, so that the lens in the operational state will be a bit longer and heavier. Tamron discontinued the last lenses in its Adaptall-2 manual focus line in 2006, giving way to fixed mount autofocus lenses.

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Tamron Adaptall Lenses
#  Lens
Designation
Focus
System
(type)
Lens
Construction
(elmts/groups)
Close
Focus
(m)
Filter
Type
(size)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Used
Price
(USD)
Current
Offers
(USD)
1
 
Tamron 24mm f/2.5MF10 / 90.205565 x 38 mm220 g20-80ebay.com
2
 
Tamron 28mm f/2.8MF7 / 70.255265 x 42 mm240 g10-40ebay.com
3
 
Tamron 35-80mm f/2.8-3.5MF13 / 131.306267 x 81 mm520 g20-80ebay.com
4
 
Tamron 38-100mm f/3.5 (SZ-38)MF13 / 131.507275 x 125 mm750 g20-50ebay.com
5
 
Tamron 38-100mm f/3.5 (CZ-38M)MF13 / 101.506771 x 110 mm725 g20-50ebay.com
6
 
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (CZ-150)MF12 / 101.505265 x 117 mm465 g10-40ebay.com
7
 
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (QZ-150m)MF12 / 101.505265 x 125 mm550 g10-40ebay.com
8
 
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.8MF13 / 111.505265 x 117 mm465 g20-60ebay.com
9
 
Tamron 70-220mm f/3.8MF14 / 112.506271 x 180 mm1,050 g10-40ebay.com
10
 
Tamron 70-350mm f/4.5MF15 / 132.508290 x 274 mm1,820 g40-150ebay.com
11
 
Tamron 80-250mm f/3.8MF13 / 112.007279 x 201 mm1,280 g20-50ebay.com
12
 
Tamron 80-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (CZ-825)MF13 / 101.506271 x 180 mm950 g20-50ebay.com
13
 
Tamron 80-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (QZ-250M)MF13 / 101.506271 x 180 mm880 g20-50ebay.com
14
 
Tamron 85-210mm f/4.5 (Z-210)MF12 / 91.505565 x 151 mm670 g10-40ebay.com
15
 
Tamron 85-210mm f/4.5 (CZ-210M)MF12 / 92.005565 x 145 mm640 g10-40ebay.com
16
 
Tamron 85-210mm f/4.5 (QZ-210M)MF12 / 92.005565 x 145 mm640 g10-40ebay.com
17
 
Tamron 105mm f/2.5MF4 / 41.305265 x 52 mm275 g50-100ebay.com
18
 
Tamron 135mm f/2.8MF4 / 41.505565 x 77 mm375 g30-80ebay.com
19
 
Tamron 200mm f/3.5MF4 / 32.506269 x 115 mm520 g40-90ebay.com
20
 
Tamron 200-500mm f/6.9 (Z-500)MF14 / 83.008290 x 370 mm2,740 g40-150ebay.com
21
 
Tamron 200-500mm f/6.9 (CZ-500)MF14 / 83.008290 x 370 mm2,796 g40-150ebay.com
22
 
Tamron 300mm f/5.6MF4 / 42.505867 x 161 mm580 g20-80ebay.com
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Tamron Adaptall-2 Lenses
#  Lens
Designation
Focus
System
(type)
Lens
Construction
(elmts/groups)
Close
Focus
(m)
Filter
Type
(size)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Used
Price
(USD)
Current
Offers
(USD)
1
 
Tamron SP 17mm f/3.5 (51B)MF12 / 100.25n70 x 43 mm270 g100-250ebay.com
2
 
Tamron SP 17mm f/3.5 (151B)MF12 / 100.258271 x 48 mm267 g100-250ebay.com
3
 
Tamron 24mm f/2.5 (01B)MF10 / 90.255565 x 38 mm230 g30-90ebay.com
4
 
Tamron 24mm f/2.5 (01BB)MF10 / 90.255568 x 43 mm227 g30-90ebay.com
5
 
Tamron SP 24-48mm f/3.5-3.8MF10 / 90.60n65 x 61 mm346 g50-150ebay.com
6
 
Tamron 28mm f/2.5MF7 / 70.254965 x 33 mm180 g30-60ebay.com
7
 
Tamron 28-50mm f/3.5-4.5MF9 / 90.255865 x 46 mm297 g10-40ebay.com
8
 
Tamron 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5MF8 / 80.306269 x 70 mm361 g20-50ebay.com
9
 
Tamron SP 28-80mm f/3.5-4.2MF9 / 80.366770 x 82 mm480 g20-50ebay.com
10
 
Tamron SP 28-135mm f/4-4.5MF17 / 100.266770 x 106 mm710 g30-60ebay.com
11
 
Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 ASPH.MF16 / 142.107275 x 79 mm516 g20-80ebay.com
12
 
Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 LD IFMF16 / 140.807275 x 79 mm502 g50-100ebay.com
13
 
Tamron 35-70mm f/3.5MF7 / 70.255866 x 51 mm330 g20-40ebay.com
14
 
Tamron 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5MF7 / 70.255865 x 57 mm322 g20-40ebay.com
15
 
Tamron SP 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8MF9 / 80.276265 x 72 mm386 g50-250ebay.com
16
 
Tamron 35-135mm f/3.5-4.2MF14 / 121.806772 x 105 mm625 g20-60ebay.com
17
 
Tamron 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5MF15 / 131.505865 x 96 mm547 g20-60ebay.com
18
 
Tamron SP 35-210mm f/3.5-4.2MF16 / 120.306773 x 121 mm875 g20-80ebay.com
19
 
Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4MF15 / 111.906268 x 162 mm870 g20-60ebay.com
20
 
Tamron SP 70-150mm f/2.8 SOFTMF14 / 100.986268 x 147 mm760 g250-500ebay.com
21
 
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (02A)MF13 / 111.505265 x 125 mm585 g20-40ebay.com
22
 
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (20A)MF13 / 100.704965 x 99 mm459 g20-40ebay.com
23
 
Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5MF15 / 110.856271 x 150 mm860 g30-90ebay.com
24
 
Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5-4MF16 / 150.755865 x 165 mm750 g20-80ebay.com
25
 
Tamron 70-210mm f/3.8-4MF12 / 90.905866 x 139 mm580 g20-40ebay.com
26
 
Tamron 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (58A)MF13 / 91.105269 x 79 mm349 g20-50ebay.com
27
 
Tamron 70-210mm f/4-5.6 (158A)MF13 / 91.105269 x 79 mm340 g20-80ebay.com
28
 
Tamron 70-350mm f/4.5MF15 / 132.508290 x 274 mm2,170 g50-200ebay.com
29
 
Tamron 75-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (04A)MF13 / 111.206272 x 179 mm870 g20-40ebay.com
30
 
Tamron 75-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (104A)MF13 / 101.206271 x 172 mm856 g20-40ebay.com
31
 
Tamron SP 80-200mm f/2.8MF16 / 121.507782 x 174 mm1,359 g200-600ebay.com
32
 
Tamron 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (03A)MF12 / 100.905865 x 147 mm610 g20-80ebay.com
33
 
Tamron 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (103A)MF13 / 100.905865 x 138 mm634 g20-80ebay.com
34
 
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 Macro (52B)MF8 / 60.394965 x 66 mm420 g50-200ebay.com
35
 
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 Macro (52BB)MF8 / 60.395565 x 66 mm420 g50-200ebay.com
36
 
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 MacroMF10 / 90.295568 x 102 mm426 g50-200ebay.com
37
 
Tamron 135mm f/2.5MF4 / 41.205865 x 80 mm410 g20-80ebay.com
38
 
Tamron SP 180mm f/2.5 LD-IFMF10 / 71.207782 x 120 mm800 g300-500ebay.com
39
 
Tamron 200mm f/3.5MF5 / 51.705868 x 108 mm540 g40-80ebay.com
40
 
Tamron SP 200-500mm f/5.6MF14 / 102.5095105 x 361 mm2,724 g250-500ebay.com
41
 
Tamron 200-500mm f/6.9MF14 / 83.008290 x 370 mm2,770 g50-200ebay.com
42
 
Tamron SP 300mm f/2.8 LDMF7 / 63.00112118 x 199 mm2,071 g500-1,000ebay.com
43
 
Tamron SP 300mm f/2.8 LD-IF (60B)MF10 / 72.50112118 x 211 mm2,096 g500-1,000ebay.com
44
 
Tamron SP 300mm f/2.8 LD-IF (360B)MF10 / 72.50112118 x 208 mm2,269 g500-1,000ebay.com
45
 
Tamron SP 300mm f/5.6MF6 / 51.405865 x 164 mm610 g20-80ebay.com
46
 
Tamron SP 350mm f/5.6MF7 / 41.108286 x 75 mm577 g250-500ebay.com
47
 
Tamron SP 400mm f/4 LD-IFMF10 / 73.00112118 x 293 mm2,270 g400-800ebay.com
48
 
Tamron SP 500mm f/8 (55B)MF7 / 41.708284 x 87 mm575 g50-200ebay.com
49
 
Tamron SP 500mm f/8 (55BB)MF7 / 41.708284 x 87 mm595 g50-200ebay.com

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Joseph A. and Chris E. for transmitting information on several of the Adaptall lenses listed above.

Tamron Adaptall FAQ

In order to mount or unmount an Adaptall Custom fitting, it is necessary to open the lens to maximum aperture. Then, during mounting, one aligns the green dots, puts the extending tabs into corresponding slots on the aperture ring, and turns the adapter clockwise. To unlock, one presses the silver release lever, holds the lens firmly, and turns the adapter counterclockwise. – Below is some further information on some additional aspects of the lens system.

Is the Tamron Adapt-A-Matic mount identical to the Adaptall mount?

No, Adapt-A-Matic mounts are not the same as Adaptall. Adapt-A-Matic is a threaded, interchangeable mount system that Tamron developed in 1968, and that was replaced by the Adaptall bayonet system. The Adapt-A-Matic mount attaches to the lens with a lock ring with internal 58mm threads.

What advantages did the Adaptall mount offer over the previous Adapt-A-Matic?

While the earlier Adapt-A-Matic lens mount also offered automatic diaphragm operation, it was more cumbersome to operate and diaphragm coupling not always reliable. The photographer had to mate a longish coupling pin with an internal lens auto-diaphragm rod. Also, the lens mount adapter itself consisted of two pieces which had to be attached carefully in order for the system to work properly.

Can I use an Adaptall-2 mount to attach a mid-1970s Adaptall ("without-2") lens to my camera?

Yes, Adaptall-2 mount adapters are backward compatible and will fit Adaptall lenses also. Indeed, the newer version is considered to be more solid and reliable.

What is the flange-focal distance for Adaptall and Adaptall-2 lenses?

The flange-focal distance for all of Tamron's interchangeable bayonet mount lenses (including Adapt-A-Matic) is 50.7mm.

Can Tamron Adaptall lenses be used on Canon EOS cameras?

Canon radically changed its lens attachment system in the mid-1980s when switching from the FD to the EF/EOS mount. Original Adaptall customs mounts are available both for the FD mount and for the EF/EOS mount, although the latter are very rare. Alternatively, there are adapters to use Nikon or Olympus lenses, which have a relatively long flange to focal distance, on EOS cameras. Hence, an Adaptall lens in combination with the Nikon or Olymus custom mount and a Nikon/EOS or Olympus/EOS adapter could be attached to an EOS camera. In any case, there is no aperture coupling and the Tamron lens will have to be used via stop-down metering.

Do Adaptall lenses fit Nikon digital cameras?

Nikon provides good backward compatibility, so that legacy Adaptall lenses in Nikon custom mount can often be used on modern cameras. However, some limitations apply. In particular, legacy F-mount lenses can be mounted on all cameras, but only the higher end Nikon bodies will meter with them (with other Nikon bodies, the lenses have to be used in stop-down mode). See the FAQ section of the Nikon lens compendium or this dpreview article for information on particular camera-lens combinations.

Is it possible to use Adaptall 2 lenses on Sony E-mount cameras?

Yes, while the E-mount is new and Tamron never produced an Adaptall custom mount for it, third party vendors, such as Fotodiox, provide these adapters for mirrorless camera systems. There is no aperture coupling or autofocus, though.

Did Tamron release an Adaptall mount for Leica's R-system?

Yes, there are indeed two Adaptall custom mounts for Leica R. One that could be used with the Leicaflex SL/SL2 and one that fitted the Leica R4, R4s, R5, R-E, R6, R6.2, R7, R8 and R9. The mounts provided automatic diaphragm and full aperture metering. All exposure modes of the listed cameras were supported, except for the R8/R9 where only the "m" and "A" modes worked properly.

Are there any notable differences between Adaptall Customs mounts for different camera systems?

Yes, there are some differences in design and operation. Tamron included a notice with its custom mounts that explained a number of limitations and particularities. Matt Denton has put a nice summary of these notices together at mattsclassiccameras.com.

Are there any special edition lenses in the Adaptall line?

Yes, the Tamron Adaptall-2 180mm f/2.5 LD (IF) was released to commemorate the company's 35th anniversary and carried a corresponding plate on the lens barrel.

What does the acronym BBAR stand for?

BBAR is an abbreviation for Broad Band Anti Reflection, the multi-coating Tamron used on its lenses.

Which is the best Tamron Adaptall 2 lens?

The SP "Super Performance" line of Adaptall-2 lenses offers very good imaging performance and the LD lenses within this series satisfy professional requirements. However, other lenses in the lineup might provide an even better benefit-cost ratio, so that the answer to the question which Adaptall lens is best depends very much on ones imaging needs and financial budget.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to Uwe K. for transmitting information on the Adaptall-2 Custom Mount for Canon EOS cameras.

Further Reading

A collection of test reports on different Adaptall lenses is available at adaptall-2.com. Moreover, if you are looking for bargains among third party legacy lenses, you might also want to check out the compendiums of Soligor and Vivitar lenses. If however you are willing to spend a little more, you might well be interested in the Leica R-lens catalog or the CONTAX Carl Zeiss catalog, which contain some truly exceptional optics that can be adapted to and used with a variety of camera mounts.

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