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Lens Review: Fixed Focus AUTO Tamron 28mm f/2.8

AUTO Tamron f/2.8 28mm Nikon

Update: One of my readers, Rick Grogan was able to purchase this lens for .00. He says that “it was part of the Adapt-A-Matic range made from 1969 to 1971 and is built to the same grade as nikon/canon/carl zeiss etc”

When you leave a little boy in a room filled with different toys, there will be a tendency for that little boy to play with everything. But at some point that little boy will have a favorite toy as time passes. So thus comes my very first lens review of probably the best lens in my dad’s collection.

Tamron f/2.8 28mm

I’ve been searching for reviews of an old Tamron 28mm fixed focus lens on the Internet but could barely find anything worth a review. I read from Wikipedia that this lens has been discontinued in 2005 (that’s if I get my nomenclature right) and it is currently being sold in eBay with a Canon body adaptor. Apparently this lens is ADAPTALL compatible, making the Auto Tamron 28mm f/2.8 fit with a Canon EOS body given you have the ADAPTALL tube. The lens is very hard to find though. I currently have a set of two adaptors for Nikon bodies but they are for other lens brands. Read on for my review.


Out of the ten lenses in my collection, Tamron’s Auto lens has become my favorite for a variety of reasons. For one, it is one of the most compact lenses in the collection. It has a larger barrel than my Nikon D40’s kit lens but heavier because of its sturdy design: no flimsy plastic here. The lens is made of good ol’ circa 1980 steel.

The combination of a 28mm f/2.8 lens leaves you with a stunning array of option despite it being a fixed focus lens. For those of you who have used a “nifty fifty” 50mm f/1.8 from Canon or Nikon, the experience is very similar except that the 28mm Tamron gets you up close to 9” in focus and can accommodate group shots at a close distance. The


The lens’ autofocus will only work with a Nikon D80 and models above this such as, but not limited to, the Nikon D200 and D300. Autofocus will not kick in with a Nikon D40 or D40x. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No, of course not. The lens has a focus range of 9” to infinity which is very easy to manage in manual.

Depth of Field Shot

In terms of picture quality, Tamron truly emanates the quality of Nikon’s vibrant colors. Though Nikon is not known for sharpness IMO, the lens practically delivers some of the most crisp and colorful photos that ever came out of my camera. For portraits, shooting at f/2.8 delivers fantastic depth of field with the light bokeh looking like smaller dots compared to a “nifty fifty’s” larger ones. Group shots are as crisp as ever when shooting at f/4 or f/5.6.

Food shots

As for the lens’ disadvantages, it’s very hard to quantify. Definitely this is one of the heavier lenses in my collection but that’s because it is made of steel. I honestly can’t think of any downside save for the loose aperture adjustment dial which is really a function of the lens being rather old, than the lens itself.

Compact, robust and versatile, Tamron’s AUTO 28mm f/2.8 lens is a work of art that’s good for most shooting occassions.

Tamron f2.8 28mm

The AUTO Tamron 28mm f/2.8 lens is out of production. Thus I can’t strap a price tag onto it.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

16 replies on “Lens Review: Fixed Focus AUTO Tamron 28mm f/2.8”

Hi there,

Great post, this is the only site where I found solid info on this lens. I’ve recently bought an Auto Tamron 35mm 2.8 lens and like you, can’t really find any info on it. I have some photos of it on my blog, I’ll be posting a more intensive review soon.


Hi everyone – guess what, I picked up one of these 28mm auto tamron’s at an op shop for $5 (thats right five dollars) in virtually perfect condition with a hard leather case. It was part of the Adapt-A-Matic range made from 1969 to 1971 and is built to the same grade as nikon/canon/carl zeiss etc.The serial no. is #200373 which makes it an early production unit. cheers. PS mine’s going into the photographic display case.

rick that’s amazing!! do you have any more literature on this particular lens? i’ve been using this as my default lens for the past several months and yeah, it’s a beauty!

Sorry Jayvee,the only info I picked up is from a tamron lens enthusiast site (a link from the wikipedia website – at the bottom of the tamron page – worth checking out.

I have a very important question, I hope you keep checking this space.

what type of mount is this lens?, I have understood that it is of the old Canon FD, but I’m not sure it is.
I hope you can answer me. thanks

lovely review and super b sample spesially in out of focus areas . fantastic OOF character

i found one with “passed lable” in mint 9/10 cond. for 30$

i am owner of norita 80 1:2 too

I wonder if it is Adaptall comabtible. Can you use adaptall adapter or do those lenses have their own fit?

Martin, so sorry for this late reply. It got buried somewhere. It should be Adaptall compatible. I myself am using an adapter (it came with one from my dad but I have not asked him what it was). Tamron is brand specific.

Can it actually autofocus? Is this a native Nikon F mount version with a screwdriver autofocus? I would love to see the mount of your lens. I got myself one after reading your post but it’s not autofocus.

This lens is not adaptall compatible. It has his own unique adapter. I found one for Nikon after searching for a while. Autofocus doesn’t work either. The auto option has something to do with the aperture and the metering.

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