Last week I bought a Miranda Sensomat RE 35mm camera for my collection, and it came with several lenses including a Tamron BBar Multi C 28mm f/2.8 wide angle lens. I had actually been on the look out for one of these lenses for quite a while to use on my Nex 6, so I was glad to pick one up bundled with the camera. For the impatient the sample images are here
This lens is fitted with an ‘adaptall’ mount, which was a system Tamron introduced in the 1970’s as a way of making their 3rd party lenses available for users of any camera. The lens has a generic mount and then adapters were made to enable the lens to fit a variety of different cameras. In that way, Tamron could argue that the money you spent on their lenses would not be wasted if you moved to a different camera system – you simply bought a different mount adapter and carried on using the lenses. I would suspect by the number of Tamron adaptall lenses available second hand on eBay, the system must have been fairly successful.
In the 1970’s Tamron had quite a good reputation for lens design and manufacture. Their best lenses were reputed to be at least on par with the camera manufacturer’s own lenses and in many cases better. This particular lens is one of the first adaptall lenses made and therefore seems to have been manufactured sometime in the early 1970’s. The BBar in the lens name refers to the multi-coating applied to the lens which was Tamron’s best reflection reduction technology at the time; I’ll see how that performs later in the sample pictures I’ve taken.
The first thing I needed to do in order to use the lens on my Nex 6 was buy an adaptall mount adapter because I didn’t have one. I decided the best unit to buy would be an adaptall to M42 adapter because I can then fit the lens on the Nex with my M42 to Nex adapter, or I could fit it to any of my M42 fit 35mm cameras if required. I could also use my Camdiox focal reducer with an M42 to Eos adapter, which is how i use my takumar series of lenses when I want to shorten their focal length back to the designed length.
So I found an adaptall to M42 adapter on ebay for £14 and waited to try the lens out. When I received it and fitted it to the lens I discovered a small problem. The mount fits the lens ok, and the M42 mount fits into my Nex to M42 adapter ok, but there is a small protrusion on the bottom the the adaptall adapter which fouls on the M42 mount (see the pictures above for clarification). This means that once the lens is mounted on the camera I can’t adjust the aperture – I need to slightly unscrew the lens, adjust the aperture and then re-tighten the lens. I can think of two solutions to this
- add a small amount of tape to the M42 adapter so when the lens is tightened down the protusion doesn’t foul on the mount
- file a small semi-circle off the mount so the protrusion doesn’t foul the mount.
I adopted the first solution temporarily until I carry out the second.
The lens has a 5 blade aperture and an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/16 and also has an AE setting, although on the Nex that won’t work. There is an Auto/Manual switch which I left to Manual, and a very useful close focus setting of about 9 inches (0.25 M).
To try the lens out and get some sample images I took a trip out to Barrow-on-Soar in Leicestershire and took some pictures around the village, church and canal. These are shown below, along with a couple I had already taken in Stevenage.
I think the lens has performed reasonably well and although the multi-coating has not really helped in conditions when the sun was shining directly into the lens (which will invariably lead to internal reflections), in all other conditions it’s done pretty well.
Full sized versions of these pictures are here – navigate with the arrow keys.
All these images were processed using Lightroom 5 using my normal post-process steps.