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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
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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

MountLaunch Year
T1957
Adapt-A-Matic1968
Adaptall1973
Adaptall-21979

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, and 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-EOS-adapter. Moreover, some third party supplier have spotted the opportunity and provide adapters that directly link Tamron Adaptall lenses to digital camera mounts (click here for 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.

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 table below lists 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.

Headline Specifications of Tamron Adaptall Lenses
 
Wideangle Mount
Type
(AD/AD2)
Lens
ID
(#)
Production
Period
(years)
Filter
Type
(size)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Ebay
Price
(USD)
Used
Offers
(ebay)
Tamron SP 17mm f/3.5 Ad2 51B 1979-1984 no 70 x 43 mm 270 g 100-250 check
Tamron 24mm f/2.5 Ad1 CW-24 1976-1979 55 65 x 38 mm 220 g 20-80 check
Tamron 24mm f/2.5 Ad2 01B 1979-1987 55 65 x 38 mm 230 g 30-90 check
Tamron SP 24-48mm f/3.5-3.8 Ad2 13A 1980-1987 no 65 x 61 mm 346 g 50-150 check
Tamron 28mm f/2.5 Ad2 02B 1979-1992 49 65 x 33 mm 180 g 30-60 check
Tamron 28mm f/2.8 Ad1 CW-28 1976-1979 52 65 x 42 mm 240 g 10-40 check
Standard Mount
Type
(AD/AD2)
Lens
ID
(#)
Production
Period
(years)
Filter
Type
(size)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Ebay
Price
(USD)
Used
Offers
(ebay)
Tamron 28-50mm f/3.5-4.5 Ad2 07A 1980-1982 58 65 x 46 mm 297 g 10-40 check
Tamron 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Ad2 44A 1986-1988 62 69 x 70 mm 361 g 20-50 check
Tamron SP 28-80mm f/3.5-4.2 Ad2 27A 1983-1987 67 70 x 82 mm 480 g 20-50 check
Tamron SP 28-135mm f/4-4.5 Ad2 28A 1983-1988 67 70 x 106 mm 710 g 30-60 check
Tamron 35-70mm f/3.5 Ad2 17A 1982-1987 58 66 x 51 mm 330 g 20-40 check
Tamron 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 Ad2 09A 1980-1983 58 65 x 57 mm 322 g 20-40 check
Tamron 35-80mm f/2.8-3.5 Ad1 QZ-35M 1978-1980 62 67 x 81 mm 520 g 20-80 check
Tamron SP 35-80mm f/2.8-3.8 Ad2 01A 1979-1985 62 65 x 72 mm 386 g 50-250 check
Tamron 35-135mm f/3.5-4.2 Ad2 22A 1982-1985 67 72 x 105 mm 625 g 20-60 check
Tamron 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5 Ad2 40A 1985-1996 58 65 x 96 mm 547 g 20-60 check
Tamron SP 35-210mm f/3.5-4.2 Ad2 26A 1983-1987 67 73 x 121 mm 875 g 20-80 check
Tamron 38-100mm f/3.5 (SZ-38) Ad1 SZ-38 1973-1976 72 75 x 125 mm 750 g 20-50 check
Tamron 38-100mm f/3.5 (CZ-38M) Ad1 CZ-38M 1976-1978 67 71 x 110 mm 725 g 20-50 check
Tele-photo zooms Mount
Type
(AD/AD2)
Lens
ID
(#)
Production
Period
(years)
Filter
Type
(size)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Ebay
Price
(USD)
Used
Offers
(ebay)
Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4 Ad2 23A 1983-2000 62 68 x 162 mm 870 g 20-60 check
Tamron SP 70-150mm f/2.8 SOFT Ad2 51A 1979-1983 62 68 x 147 mm 760 g 250-500 check
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (CZ-715) Ad1 CZ-150 1976-1978 52 65 x 117 mm 465 g 10-40 check
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (CZ-150) Ad1 QZ-150M 1978-1980 52 65 x 125 mm 550 g 10-40 check
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (02A) Ad2 02A 1979-1980 52 65 x 125 mm 585 g 20-40 check
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.5 (20A) Ad2 20A 1980-1984 49 65 x 99 mm 459 g 20-40 check
Tamron 70-150mm f/3.8 Ad1 CZ-715 1976-1978 52 65 x 117 mm 465 g 20-60 check
Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5 Ad2 19AH 1984-1999 62 71 x 150 mm 860 g 30-90 check
Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5-4 Ad2 52A 1979-1984 58 65 x 165 mm 750 g 20-80 check
Tamron 70-210mm f/3.8-4 Ad2 46A 1986-1988 58 66 x 139 mm 580 g 20-40 check
Tamron 70-220mm f/3.8 Ad1 Z-220 1973-1976 62 71 x 180 mm 1050 g 10-40 check
Tamron 70-350mm f/4.5 Ad1 CZ-735 1976-1979 82 90 x 274 mm 1820 g 40-150 check
Tamron 70-350mm f/4.5 Ad2 05A 1979-1984 82 90 x 274 mm 2170 g 50-200 check
Tamron 75-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (04A) Ad2 04A 1979-1982 62 72 x 179 mm 870 g 20-40 check
Tamron 75-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (104A) Ad2 104A 1981-1984 62 71 x 172 mm 856 g 20-40 check
Tamron SP 80-200mm f/2.8 Ad2 30A 1985-1992 77 82 x 174 mm 1359 g 200-600 check
Tamron 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (03A) Ad2 03A 1979-1982 58 65 x 147 mm 610 g 20-80 check
Tamron 80-210mm f/3.8-4 (103A) Ad2 103A 1981-1987 58 65 x 138 mm 634 g 20-80 check
Tamron 80-250mm f/3.8 Ad1 Z-250 1973-1976 72 79 x 201 mm 1280 g 20-50 check
Tamron 80-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (CZ-825) Ad1 CZ-825 1976-1978 62 71 x 180 mm 950 g 20-50 check
Tamron 80-250mm f/3.8-4.5 (QZ-250M) Ad1 QZ-250M 1978-1980 62 71 x 180 mm 880 g 20-50 check
Tamron 85-210mm f/4.5 (Z-210) Ad1 Z-210 1973-1976 55 65 x 151 mm 670 g 10-40 check
Tamron 85-210mm f/4.5 (CZ-210M) Ad1 CZ-210M 1976-1978 55 65 x 145 mm 640 g 10-40 check
Tamron 85-210mm f/4.5 (QZ-210M) Ad1 QZ-210M 1978-1980 55 65 x 145 mm 640 g 10-40 check
Tamron SP 200-500mm f/5.6 Ad2 31A 1984-1992 95 105 x 361 mm 2724 g 250-500 check
Tamron 200-500mm f/6.9 (Z-500) Ad1 Z-500 1974-1976 82 90 x 370 mm 2740 g 40-150 check
Tamron 200-500mm f/6.9 (QZ-500) Ad1 CZ-500 1976-1979 82 90 x 370 mm 2796 g 40-150 check
Tamron 200-500mm f/6.9 Ad2 06A 1979-1984 82 90 x 370 mm 2770 g 50-200 check
Tele-photo primes Mount
Type
(AD/AD2)
Lens
ID
(#)
Production
Period
(years)
Filter
Type
(size)
Lens
Dimensions
(dia x len)
Lens
Weight
(net)
Ebay
Price
(USD)
Used
Offers
(ebay)
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 Ad2 52B 1979-1988 49 65 x 66 mm 420 g 50-200 check
Tamron 105mm f/2.5 Ad1 CT-105 1976-1979 52 65 x 52 mm 275 g 50-100 check
Tamron 135mm f/2.5 Ad2 03B 1979-1984 58 65 x 80 mm 410 g 20-80 check
Tamron 135mm f/2.8 Ad1 CT-135 1976-1979 55 65 x 77 mm 375 g 30-80 check
Tamron SP 180mm f/2.5 LD-IF Ad2 63B 1988-1992 77 82 x 120 mm 800 g 300-500 check
Tamron 200mm f/3.5 Ad1 CT-200 1976-1979 62 69 x 115 mm 520 g 40-90 check
Tamron 200mm f/3.5 Ad2 04B 1979-1984 58 68 x 108 mm 540 g 40-80 check
Tamron SP 300mm f/2.8 LD Ad2 107B 1983-1984 112 118 x 199 mm 2071 g 500-1000 check
Tamron SP 300mm f/2.8 LD-IF (60B) Ad2 60B 1984-1992 112 118 x 211 mm 2096 g 500-1000 check
Tamron SP 300mm f/2.8 LD-IF (360B) Ad2 360B 1993-2006 112 118 x 208 mm 2269 g 500-1000 check
Tamron 300mm f/5.6 Ad1 CT-300 1976-1979 58 67 x 161 mm 580 g 20-80 check
Tamron SP 300mm f/5.6 Ad2 54B 1979-1984 58 65 x 164 mm 610 g 20-80 check
Tamron SP 350mm f/5.6 Ad2 06B 1981-1985 82 86 x 75 mm 577 g 250-500 check
Tamron SP 400mm f/4 LD-IF Ad2 65B 1988-1995 112 118 x 293 mm 2270 g 400-800 check
Tamron SP 500mm f/8 (55B) Ad2 55B 1979-1983 82 84 x 87 mm 575 g 50-200 check
Tamron SP 500mm f/8 (55BB) Ad2 55BB 1983-2006 82 84 x 87 mm 595 g 50-200 check

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 for the FD mount, but not for the EF/EOS mount. However, 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. Alternatively, there are third party solutions for adapters that directly link the EOS camera and the Adaptall lens. 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 cost-benefit ratio, so that the answer to the question which Adaptall lens is best depends very much on ones imaging needs and financial budget.

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.