Tamron 70-210mm F/3.8-4 Model 46A: This lens is the final
version of Tamron's affordable short telephoto to medium telephoto lens line
which started with the 80-210 model 03A and later the 80-210 model 103A. This
lens provides a slightly larger 3X zoom range yet otherwise offers no
improvement on the already above average optical performance of the previous
model 103A. Optical performance, like the 80-210 model 103A which this lens
replaced, is above average. Even the macro performance for a lens of this type
is above average. Images are very slightly soft in the corners with the
aperture wide open at all zoom settings, with sharpness across the entire film
plane improving to very good at F/5.6 and smaller apertures at all zoom
settings. Overall size and weight are very similar to the model 103A lens,
which is amazing since this lens is a 70-210 versus the older model 103A
While both the earlier model 103A 80-210 and this later model 46A
70-210 have very similar optical performance, there are some notable
differences between the two lenses. First, the model 46A features a plastic
zoom/focus collar with an integral knurled plastic diamond grip. The earlier
model 103A had a rubber grip surface atop a metal barrel. Second, the model 46A
barrel lacks the depth-of-field scales found on the earlier model 103A. Thus
this lens falls into the same cosmetic class as Tamron's Adaptall-2 28-70 model
44A which also featured and all plastic focus collar and grip. In an era where
camera manufacturers were rapidly switching to autofocus cameras, Tamron at
least tried to offer the general public a couple of lenses which optically were
very good yet featured price savings through the use of plastic wherever
possible. Unfortunately both lenses looked and felt a bit cheap externally, but
still featured very good optics as well as very solid internal construction.
Needless to say, this cost savings approach just didn't fly with consumers and
both of these very good lenses were discontinued after a few years.
So the question remains as to which lens is better, the earlier
80-210 model 103A or the later 70-210 model 46A? If you want the slightly extra
zoom range of the true 3:1 zoom ratio 70-210 and will mainly use your lens on a
programmed or shutter priority mode camera, then buy the 70-210 if the plastic
zoom/focus grip isn't an issue. If you mainly shoot using aperture priority
mode with your camera and are knowledgeable about setting aperture and
depth-of-field using the lens's depth-of-field scales, or if you must have an
all metal lens with rubber grips, then choose the earlier 80-210 model 103A.
Optical performance with either lens is sure to please since the optical
performance of both lenses is very similar.
||f/3.8~4 22, AE
|Angle of View
(Groups / Elements)
|9 / 12
|Min. Focus from Film
|Macro Mag. Ratio [w/2X
||20 oz. (580g)
||Screw-in type #84FH, optional.
||Accepts SP 2X tele-converter
|** We have NOT verified if this
lens can indeed accept the SP 2X tele-converter.