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Image quality of Tamron 80-210 f/3.8-4, 70-210 f/3.8-4, and 70-210 f/3.5 SP?

H. Wu , Dec 13, 2004; 10:28 a.m.

I'm thinking about a zoom tele lens for landscape and possibly for portrait. I guess I can live with manual focus to save some money. There are 3 Tamron lenses (used, with adapt-all mount) that look promising: 80-210 f/3.8-4 70-210 f/3.8-4 70-210 f/3.5 SP

Does anyone have experience with these lenses? How good is the image quality of each one of them? How do they compare to Canon 75-300 f/4-5.6? Btw, my budget is $200. Thank you.


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Paul - , Dec 13, 2004; 11:18 a.m.

Do the lenses come with, or do you have, the Tamron Adaptall mount for EOS? The adapters are very rare, and expensive (I've seen them go for $100) when used ones occasionally pop up.

Some people have used an Adaptall-M42 adapter plus added an M42-EOS adapter to mount Adaptall lenses on Canon bodies.

Mark Houlder , Dec 13, 2004; 11:32 a.m.

i have used the 70-210 3.8/4 and have the 70-210/3.5; i've used them both on manual bodies only.

the variable aperture version is two-touch, and is very sharp with good contrast. it also focuses down to about 15cm (or somesuch very close distance), up to 1:2 lifesize. 58mm filter size.

i haven't actually used the 3.5 yet; i bought it because i prefer one-touch for this range, and the fixed aperture appealed to me. it's slightly shorter but fatter than the 3.8/4, and doesn't focus as close (down to 1:4 if i remember correctly). 62mm filter size.

both models have integrated lens hoods (of different designs) and handle well. as i say i haven't got any shots with the 3.5 yet, though i've heard it's just as sharp as the 3.8/4 but with less nice bokeh, if that matters to you.

incidentally the 35-80 2.8/3.8 is also very good, and also focuses down to 1:2.5 IIRC

Rob Murray , Dec 13, 2004; 06:04 p.m.

Unless you have the very expensive discontinue Tamron adapter for EOS, no sense trying to use the lenses...The 100-300 USM or the 75-300 USM will do fine for you with out the hassles of trying to stick a manual focus lens on an EOS body.

Andrew Robertson , Dec 13, 2004; 07:25 p.m.

REALLY scraping the bottom of the barrel, eh?

Why not get an inexpensive, quality Canon lens? The Canon 50mm f/1.8 II and you are a perfect match. It's only $70.

Ryan Joseph , Dec 13, 2004; 09:39 p.m.


How will a 50 help Wu. He is looking for a TELEPHOTO lens. Wu, the Canon 80-200 F4.5-4.5 zooms are a very good value for the money, and are small and light. At the short end they are very sharp (and slow) so backround blur would be a problem. On the long end if you stop down to F11 you will get great pictures. As always, tripods help IMMENSLY with these types of lenses.

Mark Houlder , Dec 13, 2004; 09:58 p.m.

btw for my recently purchased 70-210/3.5, used price, mint and boxed, was GBP 60 + p&p. the vari-aperture model goes for quite a bit less.

Andrew Robertson , Dec 13, 2004; 10:25 p.m.

A fixed prime would help Wu a LOT if he doesn't already own one.

H. Wu , Dec 14, 2004; 02:07 a.m.

Thanks all for your suggestions. Actually I do have a 50 f/1.8 (beside the 28-80 kit lens), and really love it...

I was asking about these Tamrons because I saw them on B&H catelog, which fell into my budget. As a beginner and definitely an amateur later, it's hard for me to justify a bigger budget, particularly for a tele, which I probably don't use that much...

From the review on this site, Canon 80-200 sounds pretty bad (as good as my kit lens, I guess). How does it really compare to a 75-300 in terms of image quality? The latter (non-IS) is still within my budget.

Andrew Robertson , Dec 14, 2004; 10:48 p.m.

I haven't used the 75-300 or 90-300 lenses, but I have owned the 100-300 USM and it's a decent lens. It isn't really too much more than the 75-300, and is a whole lot nicer to use.

Otherwise get the EF 135mm f/2.8 SF lens. I recently sold my 70-200 f/4L because I used the 135 f/2.8 instead 97% of the time. It really is an absolute gem, and shouldn't be left out of consideration.

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