Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tamron SP 24-48mm f3.5-3.8 Adaptall-2

Big Tree - Canon T2i & Tamron SP 24-48mm f3.5-3.8. Embiggen.

Picked up this lens at the photo show couple weeks ago for peanuts. In overall good condition but is missing the most important accessory -- the hood. This lens is horrible with flare, despite the BBAR MC coating. The hood may help a bit. The lens itself is very well made as most SP series in the Adaptall system is. Very heavy for a smallish lens and feels very dense. This lens could almost be considered a constant aperture lens: f3.5-3.8, a 1/3 stop?

This 24-48mm lens performs OK on the 550D with a high density sensor. Not bitingly sharp, especially at the wide end, but it's not too shabby either. Edges (on 1.6x crop body) is quite respectable. In fact, the "edge" is almost as good as the center at f5.6-f8. Haven't tried it on full frame yet, but I would expect it to be pretty good.

At small aperture in a clear day at 24mm setting, this lens, like many wide angle lenses, makes the sky look very blue without a polarizing filter, but looks like one was used. I quite like that "Velvia" blue, although it looks very fake. This is even more pronounced when developed with the Landscape setting. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it.

Keep in mind that most zooms are not very good in the early days. It's obvious that Tamron put quite a bit of effort into designing this lens. A nice wide angle range on full frame.

Oh yeah, it has infrared markings for 24mm and 48mm. I would expect one for 35mm setting too, but no. The amount of IR compensation between 24mm and 48mm is quite large. One reason I don't like using zoom for IR pictures.

Will have an update when I get around to use it on the 5D.


  1. Tamron SP 24-48mm F/3.5-3.8 Model 13A: A very wide angle to normal zoom lens which is notable for being extremely compact yet offering very good optical performance. Overall this lens provides better than average optical performance compared to many similar OEM lenses of the era. Optical performance is somewhat optimized for the wider angle settings, which is the primary reason why you would buy this type of zoom lens. This lens offers better than average optical performance at 24mm across the entire film plane, is very slightly soft across the film plane until F/5.6 at 35mm, and is very slightly soft until F/8 in the corners at 48mm. Optimal aperture is F/8 at 24mm and F/11 between 35mm and 48m. Tamron's SP 24-48 is definitely one of our favorite lenses and is a splendid example of Tamron's frequent genius for compact optical design.

  2. If Tamron lenses are equal to Nikon in term of sharpness, then a 24-48 plus a 60-300 is muchmore practicle than carrying a 24,50,105,135 and 200!If this is terue, let me know so I will switch immediately.

  3. Looks like a great lens. Been looking at it myself lately, do you find the minimum focusing distance to even be a limitation the occasions that you are in close? (You seem to favour mid-distant shots)

    1. I owned this lens only briefly and didn't use it much and I don't even remember how close it can focus. Sorry.

  4. I am indifferent with the finding that this is not so sharp, glare/ghosting can easily affect IQ. No where does above state it is sharper then Nikkor, in fact they compared it to the Minolta 24-50/4. However a good sample with a good adapter mount and in daylight around f8 is very sharp. I doubt anyone could easily tell between many manual lenses in this range at f8 in daylight. Nikkor 28-45, 25-50, or 28-50. Pentax 24-50. Tokina 25-50. Vivitar 24-48. Minolta 24-50. Canon 28-50. Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron produced some inexpensive consumer grade lenses in 28-50. Historically the Nikkor 28-45 was the first wide angle zoom and the bar was set and followed....Who can verify which is sharpest? A German photo magazine in 1984 tested some of these and found the Tamron best....that helps qualify the comment on about better than average performance and makes it a conservative comment.