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Tamron 24-135MM F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical (IF) Macro

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48 232489 Mar 15, 2012
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85% of reviewers $322.33
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Introducing in the third in our series of high power zoom lenses, following on the successes of the 28-200mm and the 28-300mm mega-zoom lenses. The new zoom lens from Tamron covers everything from the 24mm real wideangle that professionals and serious amateurs demand to 135mm telephoto suitable for portraits-all in one compact package. The first SP lens among Tamron's high power zoom lenses, the lens represents a new concept in high power zoom lenses, achieving outstanding performance characteristics worthy of the name SP (Super Performance).

Model 190D
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) 10/14
Angle of View 84-18
Type of Zooming Rotation
Diaphragm Blade Number 7
Minimum Aperture F/22
Minimum Focus 15.7in. (0.4m)
Macro Mag. Ratio 1:3.3
Filter Diameter 72
Weight 18.7oz. (530gm)
Diameter x Length 3.1 x 3.2in.
(78.5 x 80.6mm)
Accessory Lens hood
Mount Canon, Minolta, Nikon-D, Pentax


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Registered: Jan 17, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 293
Review Date: Mar 15, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: great range, very good performance at the wide end, sharpness, very low price
CA, flare

I got this lens for about $150, in Nikon mount. I have used it on both film (F100, F3) and digital crop camera (D7000).
I shoot fast primes, but I wanted a decent "walkaround" zoom that:
1) would cover both wide(ish) and tele end on both full frame and digital crop, wide end being more important
2) is full frame
3) has the aperture ring
4) is cheap.
This pretty much narrowed down my options to this Tamron and Nikon 28-105. What swayed me towards the Tamron were the extra 4mm on the wide end, and reviews that said those 4mm were actually good. The Tamron was also a bit cheaper, but that difference was too small to matter ($50).

For a slow-ish walkaround zoom, which means it's not used as a specialized lens and you don't do pixel-peeping, it represents an excellent option. CA and flare can/will be a problem. For the price you get A LOT.

It focuses close, not sure how close but its MFD must be under 20 inches (0.5m). It works fine at that distance, though it's no macro.

Sharpness: It's good wide open, but it's much, much better when stopped down one or two stops. I usually shoot it at f/8 and f/11 and it works great there. The way I shoot, especially with this lens, sharpness in the corners is rarely of critical importance so I can't say much about that except that I have never looked at an image and said to myself "OMG this lens sucks in the corners". Take that for what it's worth, but I have zero problems with the sharpness of this lens.

Distortion: I don't remember what studio reviews say, but distortion has never been a problem for me. If it's there, and I am sure it is, it's not bad at all and I doubt it's of the complex variety.

Vignetting: I'll admit to rarely noticing this problem unless it's very bad. I've shot many landscape shots on film and never noticed this problem in the skies.

CA: Problem #1 of this lens, I think it should have "CA" included in its long name. You have to be careful shooting with it. I stopped using it on days with strong contrast, because I have lenses that perform better in such conditions. I think CA are worse at the wide end than at the long, but won't put my money on this claim as wide end [24-50] is where I used it the most. Things improve if lens is stopped down, though the problem doesn't go away.

Flare: Well, yeah. Problem #2. Like I said, this lens doesn't appreciate the Sun, so be careful.

AF: Reviews say that AF is slow, which could be true. It's a walkaround lens and I don't shoot BIF/sport with it, so I don't care for its AF speed. It's certainly fast enough for my use, which includes small kids running around in unpredictable ways.

Build quality: The plastic around the barrel doesn't feel cheap at all, but the weight of the lens requires something more sturdy if you want to hope that your lens will survive a 3 foot fall on concrete.

Mar 15, 2012
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Registered: Jun 19, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Feb 28, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, Image Quality, Zoom Range
No complaints for the price, but this lens does have some heft to it - which I prefer - though I know others don't.

I don't remember what I paid for this lens, but I think it was around $230 used. I've had it in my kit for at least 2 years and have never even used it. I just wanted an AF zoom lens on hand in case I needed one. I use mostly prime lenses and manual focus (even if they are AF lenses) with my 5D bodies on a tripod.

Wanting a smaller and simpler kit for some upcoming travel I just acquired a mint condition Canon 17-40mm L. Testing the 17-40 against my prime lenses, I also thought it was finally time to see what the Tamron can do since I've been lugging it around all this time without knowing if it's any good or not. Well - this lens is a keeper - without question! You can read my just posted review of the Canon 17-40, but to cut to the chase - I'd pick this lens at the 24mm and 35mm focal lengths any day over my copy of the Canon 17-40 L. It is not as critically sharp in the center of the image as the Canon, but has much more even performance across the frame with very satisfactory sharpness overall. I sell prints of my work for a living - and at least for my own satisfaction - have to have lenses that perform well in the corners as well as in the center.

I tested the Tamron at 24/35/135mm and the results were solid all the way. So now I have a great FF walk around setup that I know will deliver images that I won't be afraid to make large prints of. I don't do much hand held work - but maybe this will even cause me to loosen up a bit? I wonder where I put those camera straps?

Compared to my best prime lenses the Tamron 24-135 is an 8 in terms of image quality. For value I'd give this lens a 12 if possible. Overall I'm giving it a 9 for very solid performance and incredible value. We all know that QC varies - even with very expensive lenses, but if you can get a good copy of the Tamron SP 24-135mm (and I've had very good luck with Tamron lenses) then I think you will be thrilled with the price to performance ratio of this lens with a very desirable zoom range.


Feb 28, 2012
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Registered: Mar 9, 2007
Location: China
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 30, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, good build quality, internal focus, no lens creep, portable and cheap.
Zoom ring a bit tight. Focusing speed a little slow and noisy (comparing to AF-S). Focus ring rotates during AF. Distortion between 55 and 70mm.

Zoom range is excellent for FX sensor (I use D700). Not ideal for DX cropped sensor.

The best walkaround travel zoom in its price range (in the used market).

Wide open center sharpness was quite good across the whole zoom range. Stop down will improve both center and corner performance to excellent.

Optically better than Nikkor 24-120 AF-D and AF-S old version. The new Nikkor 24-120 F4 VR may be the best in its class but it's way too overpriced!

No lens creep at all. The zoom lock is basically useless (good news for me). AF accuracy is pretty good. Macro mode is good enough.

Highly recommended!

Jan 30, 2012
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Mark Price
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Registered: Dec 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 351
Review Date: Dec 28, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: SHARP!!! Excellent focal range. VERY good build. Inexpensive
Slight CA in high contrast shooting.

I needed a walkaround zoom for my D700, but I simply refused to pay $1000+ for the 24-120 f/4 simply to take vacation shots. I've also owned a couple different copies of the 28-105, which was a good lens as well. But after reading the reviews of this lens, and subsequently finding one, I took a chance.

I'm glad I did, and I've been nothing but impressed with the performance of this lens. It's sharp across the frame, with the exception of the corners. The colors are vibrant and nicely saturated. The distortion isn't as bad as I expected (but not as good as the Nikon 28-105). It's also an older lens that doesn't have VR, or VC, or OS, or whatever Tamron calls their vibration control mechanism. However, I've found that I can shoot at 135mm wide open and still get great shots. I believe the nice heft of the lens strikes a wonderful balance on the D700, and I'm able to hold the camera steady.

It just feels good in my hands. I've tried several lenses that fell in the same general focal range:

*28-105 (twice)
*24-120VR (the older version)
*24-85 AF-S

None of these lenses combine the sharpness, focal range, build quality, and balance that the Tamron provides. And while I haven't directly compared it to the 24-120/4, I'm satisfied to the point that the Nikon lens simply doesn't interest me. And I've still got a few bucks left in my pocket.

***EDIT (5/20/2016)
I've picked up a Df and found that this lens partners with it quite well. The excellent low-light performance of the camera allows me to ramp up the shutter speed, thus eliminating most camera shake. For such a relatively inexpensive lens, it certainly delivers quality photos. I'm still as excited about it today as I was 4+ years ago.

Dec 28, 2011
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Registered: Nov 28, 2008
Location: Germany
Posts: 306
Review Date: Nov 21, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: Cheap, Range
Build quality, Bokeh, Softness, Zoom kreep

This is the first lens I returned the day I got it.

After reading many positive reviews about the
sharpness and range I decided to give it a try.

To my disappointment the sharpness was only
good in the center. And the rest of the frame
had a distinct fuzzy rendering. Especially in the
out of focus areas. All on 5D2.

I previously owned a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8,
a 90mm Tamron and a 180mm Tamron Macro.

All of these lenses were good or great, in
both image quality and build quality (regardless
of being a bit plasticly). The 28-135mm feels very
light but also very fragile/flimsy in comparison.
The front element plastic ring with the imprinted
lens specs on it came off on the first day. Zoom
creep was an problem as well.

The only good thing about this lens in my opinion
is it's range and cheap price.

I don't know if the 5D2 is just a bit too demanding
for this lens, or if I am expecting too much or got
a bad sample. I don't know. But I know that I'd take
a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 over the sample I tried any

Nov 21, 2011
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Registered: Jun 25, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Nov 30, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very Sharp, nice focal length, a true work horse.
When used with a filter, has a tendency to flare. Due for an update.

Great all around lens. Has a tendency to flare when shooting with heavy back lighting.

Nov 30, 2010
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Registered: Aug 4, 2005
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1
Review Date: Oct 27, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $150.00

Pros: Sharp, sharp, sharp! Fairly solid, comes with lens hood as standard.
A bit largeish, lens creep.

The earlier review I wrote was for a Canon mount 24-135mm and that worked well on the 5D Mk I. This time, this review is for a Nikon mount. I can only say the same great things about this lens. it's sharp even wide open, it focuses fast on my D700 and only hunts in low light at the tele end (nothing new for most lenses, really). For the prices these go for these days, it's a steal!

Oct 27, 2009
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Registered: May 11, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, nice for close up work (flowers, etc.), as well as an every-day lens.
A bit more speed would be good.

I bought this lens back in my film/Minolta Maxum days, and I loved it for all general purpose, daily use. When I bought the first Sony Alpha (the A100) it was mainly due to my Minolta experience. And I continue to love this lens. Tamron does optical wonders for a sensible price. Because of my satisfaction, I just bought a Tamron 70-200 f2.8. Not much time on that one yet, but so far I'm very happy. Viva Tamron!!

May 11, 2009
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Registered: May 25, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 14, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, Sharp, Light and cheap

I bought this off ebay used for 90GBP about 3 months ago, I bought it to use on my Nikon D700 as a walk around / travel lens, it covers a pretty good range and the 24mm wide is a real bonus, I'd been very disappointed in the Nikon 24-120VR lens so I wasn't expecting a great deal more from Tamron but it was cheap so I thought I'd give it a try, well I was pretty amazed after testing this Tamron 24-135mm, it is sharp right through out the range, even wide open it performs very well, at 24mm even the edge are sharp and during tests it out performed my Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 from 24-35mm.

I also had a Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 which was very sharp but I sold it last week as it no longer seemed to get used.

Jan 14, 2009
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Registered: Apr 7, 2008
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1482
Review Date: Apr 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp when stopped down a bit. Good at the ends Good with Full Frame. hood well designed. good macro mode
Slow AF, it hunts with low light. A bit heavy for its size

After almost one year of use, I can provide some feedback about this lens.

I like the macro skills of this zoom and the sharpness provided when I stop it down(5,6 to 9).

It is a really good walk around lens either for full frame and for crop system.

I suffer a bit with the Irish weather and the ISO setting so I would love having f2.8 with this range but my pocket can't pay for it yet.

The hood supplied with the lens is well sorted and it provides a good service against flare and glass protection in some situations.

I also had the chance to use it with the 350D/digital rebel, with the 40D and the 5D and it works fine with all of them. (specially with the 5D)

What I do not like that much is how it hunts with low light and that the AF is a bit slow for my taste now.

I got it a bit soft and after calibration just showed what it was capable of.(good sharpness has been delivered from this copy)

Apr 9, 2008
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Registered: Aug 4, 2005
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1
Review Date: Mar 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, lightweight, compact size, flower-petal lens hood, internal focus
Slightly slow autofocus, colours a bit cool

For the price (about half that of the Canon 28-135mm IS USM and 1/3rd the 24-105mm IS USM L), optical quality, zoom range and features, it's a great value-for-money lens that produces very good results. I give it high marks because I consider the parameters of this lens and the target user market, not just straightaway comparing to much more expensive top-of-the-range lenses.

Sure, the apertures aren't that great, and the autofocus could be zippier, but otherwise, this lens is not only useful but gives results that are above average and very satisfactory, and one can't ask for more than that. And my test results were from a 5D, not the easiest of cameras to please where lenses are concerned!

The lens cap is a good design, and the lens hood as a standard accessory is a nice touch comapred to the Canons where lens hoods are optional! And the zoom lock ensures that lens creep is kept away for as long as possible (which is a welcomed feature after the less than satisfactory Tamron 28-105mm f2.8).

Mar 3, 2008
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Registered: Apr 20, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 11425
Review Date: Nov 6, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Sharpness, colour, contrast, build, versatility
A bit slow (aperture), but for this range I can't complain.

This is my second review of this lens because I now use it on a 5D and I want to echo some of the comments of other 5D users.

This lens is a perfect match with the 5D as a walk-around or travel combo. The range is perfect, the size and weight balances very nicely on a 5D, and the images are very good to excellent. This lenses strong point is on the wide end, and it shows this even more on the FF sensor, where it maintains very sharp corners (f8).

I loved this lens on my 20D, but I love it *much* more on my 5D. It is not as good as a prime or some of the Ls, but for an inexpensive all-in-one it simply can't be beat. It walks all over the Canon "kit" lenses and the "Super-Zooms" out there, and it can be had for a very good price these days!

Nov 6, 2007
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Registered: Nov 30, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 54
Review Date: Nov 6, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, zoom range, build quality
I would just love it to be faster

After my very favorable experience with the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, I thought I'd give this lens a shot...and boy am I happy I did. It is a perfect walk-around lens because of the useful zoom range. The build quality of this lens is very nice. It feels substantial in your hands and on your camera. The zoom is a bit tight, but that is nothing that one can't get used to after just a few minutes.

But when talking about a lens, the proof is in the photos, and this lens does not disappoint. Sharpness is great throughout the range. I haven't noticed any CA in the time I've been using this lens.

My only qualm is that it's relatively slow: f/3.5-5.6. I understand the give and take between price and max aperture, and here the trade off is pretty significant. Sure, it's on the slow side, but a lens of this quality, with this zoom range, and with such great performance coming in at or below $400 really is something special.

Nov 6, 2007
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Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4457
Review Date: Aug 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Focal range Color Contrast Sharpness Compact
Barrel & pincushion distortion

I originally purchased this lens as a compact walkaround for my Canon D60 and thought the results were very good, particularly for a lens with a near-6X focal range.

I subsequently used it with my 5D during a recent vacation. I must say, I'm pretty impressed with this lens. It gave good to excellent results under any and all conditions, including shooting indoors without flash and under mixed lighting at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200. On the full frame 5D it's proven to be one of my most versatile lenses. It was quite good wide open and very, very good to excellent at f/5.6, 8 and 11.

Color fidelity is on a par with lenses costing much, much more and contrast is more than acceptable. Focus was quick and accurate. I haven't experienced any serious problems with CA or any other major artifacts. Images are quite clean and sharp, though not up to L standards. In comparison to Canon's own 28-135 IS, I think the Tamron is the better buy. The extra 4mm at the wide end comes in very handy, and I thought the Canon 28-135 images were pretty soft.

The only noticeable and objectionable trait of the Tamron 24-135 is barrel and pincushion distortions, the latter at the long end beginning at about 55-70mm. Some building and interior shots made these distortions pretty obvious. I might send it in to Tamron to see if its distortion characteristics meet spec.

Other than that, I can't complain. I purchased the lens strictly for vacations and "snapshots," and it really does the job on any of my Canon-mount cameras. During this last vacation it was on my 5D 99% of the time.

Aug 30, 2007
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Kiron Kid
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Registered: Nov 19, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 820
Review Date: Jun 27, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, well built.
None that I can think of.

I hesitated for some time, before pulling the trigger on this purchase. My mistake. I promptly burned two rolls of fine grained film with it, and the results are VERY good. Upon glassing the negs, (10x loupe on light table) I found the negs to be very sharp and defined. Great color & contrast. I used it on the F100 body, and had no issues with focusing. Quite fast. It's not too heavy or awkward. It very well, will probably become my "go to" auto-focus lens.

Kiron Kid

Jun 27, 2007
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Registered: Oct 29, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 10369
Review Date: Apr 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, very sharp. Great color rendition
Noisy AF, Very minor CA

This was my second lens purchase. I learned my lesson with the Quantaray 70-300, and was not going to repeat the mistake. I purchased this and the Nikon 24-120 (original version) at the same time. In lens to lens competition the Tamron blew away the Nikon. This lens became the "always on the camera" lens with my N80. The Nikon became an RMA number.

With the Nikon D70 it is even better because of the crop factor. It becomes a very compact 200 MM lens. Along with the Tokina 12-24, I've got pretty much everything covered, except wildlife.

Pictures with this lens have gotten awards at the camera club, so it's not just me that claims this lens is sharp. Just as a test, I shot my tripod from across the room and magnified the pix on the monitor. This lens picked up a tiny mark on the nameplate I had to squint to see.

The rotating focus ring got me a few times, but I soon learned to move my fingers away from it.

This lens is proof that third-party lensmakers can and do get it right.

Apr 19, 2007
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Tamron 24-135MM F/3.5-5.6 AD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
48 232489 Mar 15, 2012
Recommended By Average Price
85% of reviewers $322.33
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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