Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tamron 85-210 f4.5 Telezoom Lens Review

Tamron 85-210mm Vintage Telephoto Zoom Lens

At some point in my life when I didnt have any telephoto for my Nikon D200, I got this lens as a stopgap till I bought a 70-200 f2.8 or a 80-200 f2.8. Since I bought an 80-200 f2.8 a little while ago, I havent been using this lens at all. Planning to sell it soon. 

The lens has ‘FOR NIKON’ written on the mount side. I just mounted the lens and viola. Right after a few pictures I realized this is a damn good lens. Even though it was in storage and hadn’t been used much in the last decade, the optics were clean and mostly dust-free.   


This particular model of lenses were made by Tamron between in the 70s and 80s, luckily in Japan, so the optical and build quality are both very good compared to other lenses. My particular seems to be from the late 80s. As this is a completely manual lens I had to feed in the focal length and aperture in my D200 in the non CPU lens data to get accurate metering. Thanks to the range finder like function on the D200, the lens will confirm focus with stop down metering, inspite of the fact that it does not have any electronic communication exchange. 

The shots are a tad better after I did that. It is considerably sharper in daylight but there isn’t much corner to corner sharpness as I have observed. There is also the flare issue. Owing to its older design and technology there is a bit of flare when shooting subjects with sun behind them. The built in lens hood is also a bit handy.  

 The stylish typographic logo on the lens hood 

These lenses are available on ebay and elsewhere between $35-$200 depending on the condition.  This lens and its many variants are available many different mounts like Canon FD, Pentax, Contax, Pentax/Practica/M42, Miranda Bayonet, Nikon F, Olympus OM, Rollei SL 35, Topcon RE Series etc. 

  • Model Name: Z-210
  • Mount: Adaputoru
  • Focal length: 85-210mm
  • Open F value: 4.5
  • Lens construction: 12 elements in 9 groups
  • Minimum aperture: 22
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.5m
  • Filter diameter: 55mm
  • Zoom system: rotary/inetranl zoom (does not protrude when zooming)
  • Weight: 670g
  • Maximum diameter X overall length: 65mm x 151mm

Though the exterior of my version is not in mint condition, owing to its metal construction the lens is in very good condition. The build quality is excellent with polished and coated aluminum. The manual aperture is from f4.5 f22. I am sure the lens optics are properly coated as the color rendition and contrast are amazing. Unfortunately there is no macro mode on this one which is a big letdown, but at the given price you can’t complain. This lens is excellent for candids. This can be almost compared to the legendary Minolta Beercan 70-210 f4 in terms of build, weight and optical quality. Oh yes it weighs a ton.


This lens has a very sublime rendering with a little bit of blooming effect in certain lighting conditions. This in essence is an excellent quality of a portrait lens which will give subjects a kind of aura around them. I have shot many  portrait portfolios with this lens and all my clients are very very happy with the pictures.  

For film makers

This is also a great lens for DSLR film makers. Since this is s a full frame lens its can used on cameras like 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, Sony A7s, a7R and  a7, Nikon D800, D750 and also on cameras like Panasonic GH2 and GH3 etc. The colors are very filmic and nostalgic. Given the price this is the cheapest film lens with an excellent focal range from 85mm to 210mm.

If you want more information on adaptall lenses go to this site. 

Given the price this should be an excellent value lens. If you haven’t got anything better at the budget you can happily buy this lens.

Happy Clicking...

Here is another article about old lenses, this may seem contradictory, but bear with me a bit

Hey would you like to read the story of how I lost and found my beloved Sony a200 DSLR?? yeah there's a review too ;)
Here you go:

While you are at it, you could see the Nikon D200 Review 2015 as
--Viisshnu Vardhan--


mahasiswa teladan said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.

thank you :)

Viisshnu said...

Gracie :)

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