I had the same issue with my Nikon d60...my 18-55mm did auto focus but
my 55-200mm only manual focused, i thought it might have been my camera
as i heard that not all lenses are compatible with my d60 but it turned
out to be the focussing motor or something that was damaged, it was
making a very funny noise when it tried to auto focus with it,like a
screeching sound..if this is the case you should get it repaired and
looked at, also check on the lens if it says it is a AF lens,if so make sure th switch on the side of the lens is switched on AF not MF. hope it helps
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Actually what I found to solve the problem was to first set the lens in "MF" and practice taking a picture manually to see if that would work. When I did this, I discovered that the fine tuning portion of the lens was somehow stuck mechanically. I heard a loud click as I turned it. That was all it took to fix the focusing mechanism on the lens. Then I set to "AF" and Voila, the camera worked just fine.
Your AF module needs to be replaced. Or maybe the mirror part that bounces light to the AF module.
Another possible issue is light. The AF sensors need a certain amount to light to be able to see if its in focus. Some lenses don't allow that much light to pass, so the sensors can't focus the lens. Try a lens that passes more light, like the 50mm f/1.8 or point your lens at a very bright scene.
If increasing the light level doesn't solve it, it needs repair. You might check Ebay for a "parts" Rebel to have spare parts for your good one.
try cleaning the contacts on the bottom of the lens, where it mounts to the camera body. This is a simple step to take and one that I try to remember to do frequently when I am switching back and forth between lenses frequently. get a magnifing glass and look closely at the contacts on both the lens and body. I have 5 canon bodies and the 75-300 IS lens is one of my favorites. It is ALWAYS mounted on either an XTI or XSI and within arms reach at all times. I have a hook and hang it from the headrest of the passenger seat when driving so that it is always ready at a moments notice. I have never had a problem with that lens.
On the back of the camera to the Right of the LCD there is a up-down-left-right-center switch. push the up one. (Labeled ISO) then use the same selector switch to select the ISO you want and then press the shutter half way down. If you are shooting in a low light situation, the auto focus sometimes will not work. Change the switch on the lens from AF to MF and focus manually.
if it is an auto focus lens that works on one eos camera, it should work on almost all of them. the only known exception is that some high end extenders will not fit the eos1dmarkII as it protrudes into the opening too far. but a good rule is that if it fits without any obstruction issues, it should work. try cleaning contacts on the lens and camera body. if that doesn't fix it, talk to Tamron. you can use it manually, but will not be as easy and you would get less predictable results.
my suggestion is to always go with lens from camera maker.
sounds like there is an issue with the tamron lens. not the camera. good luck mark