Quanteray and/or Vivitar lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Changeling1, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Has anyone used either of these two brands of lenses for 35mm? Specifically a Quanteray 28mm 2.8 and a Vivitar 70-150 mm zoom. How would these lenses compare to Rokkor or Zuiko lenses of the same variety?
    Would these two aftermarket lenses be considered poor, fair, or good? Would one even bother using these lenses? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I used alot of the Vivitar lenses for many years, and found their quality to be good, actually vivitar has made many good lenses over the years and have been the manufacture for many of the big camera company lenses, all the same cavets apply, try it out if you can, inspect it closely, I am not a fan of Quanteray, but know others that have used them without a complaint.

    Dave
     
  3. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I would have more confidence in Vivitar (especially if their Series 1 line) than Quanteray. And I believe that much of the quality difference between 1st tier and 2nd tier lenses is build quality and phyical reliability. But I would have to believe that the Rokkor or Zuiko lenses are better both physically and optically. Especially in the Zuiko or the MC and early MD Rokkor's (not so sure about the later Rokkor's - but just an opinion).
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Vivitar Series 1 lenses were often pretty good. As I recall, some of the standouts were an 80-200 zoom, 90mm macro, and the Solid Catadioptric lenses, as well as one fast 450mm catadioptric lens that was something like f:4.5, which was unusual for a mirror lens.

    Quantaray I think was made originally by Sigma and was always a budget line, not highly regarded.

    Bob Monaghan has a good website about third-party lenses for 35mm. Google "Monaghan" and "third-party" or "cult classics" and you should turn it up.
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    To the best of my knowledge, Sigma makes the Quantaray lenses for Ritz camera. I have one and the quality seems fine to me, but I mostly shoot 120 and 4x5, so my estimation for 35mm may not be up to your specs.

    - Randy
     
  7. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    For what it's worth neither Quantaray OR Vivitar were manufacturing lenses. they were/are marketing/importing companies. Vivitar had the good fortune in the past to hook up with Kino optics and come up with with some really great products, mainly the Series l lenses.
    Quantaray is a price point profitable lens series that is meant to provide a retailer with maximum profit from minimum investment. Most retailers were able to provide incentives to the sales staff for this line. The lenses generally meant to occupy space in the hall closet and performed that function very well.
     
  9. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Vivitar has manufactured lenses on and off over the many years that 35mm cameras have been around, they are currently designing and running their own manufacturing companies in a couple of the low wage Asian countries.

    In addition over the years, Vivitar as well as Tamron, Sigma and Kiron have manufactured lenses for the big companies to suplement areas in product lines that Canon as well as others did not want to produce.

    But again, Vivitar has been and continues to manufacter certain lenses in their own lines as well as others.

    You might want to read through the extensive lens information that Bob offers at the link above that I posted.

    Dave
     
  10. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    While just a photographer, and not a lens designer, I've been around long enough to notice that 'price point lenses' fall apart long before the best lenses. After all, there is a reason they hit a price point ! In the years I enjoyed toiling in a fine, professional camera shop...and hanging out in Steve Grimes' repair shop ... seeing which lenses came back in pieces, and seeing what they looked like on a repair table.... I formed my OWN opinions.

    You aren't guaranteed the best lens by paying the highest price. But you are guaranteed that a bargain lens will not last as long as a fine one, and optical goodness is directly related to the mechanical construction.

    My 50 year old Summicron gives great results, is tight as a drum. My 135 Sonnar is 67 years old, and gives first rate results. And looks new.

    Quanteray is a 'store brand' lens, a standard, inexpensive design that can be bought in quantity to sell at high profit by the large shops able to take advantage of this.

    From time to time, Vivitar made good lenses, that approached Nikon quality until the mechanics failed. Mainly, Vivitar has been a short-term bargain lens.

    Compared to the generally first rate Minolta and Olympus products, there really isn't any comparison.

    To survive in the market, everyone but Leica ( and Contax ) had to make a 'bargain line'. But buying a first rate lens from a cameramaker has always been the best value.

    Today, when the prices for superb quality Minolta or Olympus lenses are so low, why even think about putting a second or third rate ( or worse ) lens on your camera.

    Time is far more important than money. Run out of money, make somemore. Run out of time, and what ?

    The OLD fashioned advice was "spend as much as you can afford on as little as you need". It is still the only way to go.

    .
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    In the above reference to Bob Monaghans site he notes that Vivitar was "many manufacturers". They were a marketing co. not a maker.
    He also note that you couuld buy the same lens with different mfrs. names on them and have the identical lens.
     
  12. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Yes, he does John, there are also many referances to Vivitar actually manufacturing their own lenses as well..

    Dave
     
  13. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Oh, Dave.

    We were both around when Ponder & Best were selling Vivitar brand lenses, Allied Impex Corp was selling Soligor brand lenses, and no one had heard of Ritz Camera. I'm sure we both read the same stores in MP and PP about how Ponder & Best, later renamed Vivitar Corp., hired the best lens designers they could and then farmed out manufacturing to a variety of firms, mainly in Japan but including Perkin-Elmer in CT.

    I think my memory's going -- I have a sense that I used to know things I don't know now, but how to test it? Could you be forgetting too? I hope not.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  14. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Dan,

    Not a point of contention with me at all, really when it comes down to it, I don't care one way or another, but I do know for a fact that vivitar has manufactured their own lenses, but as with anything else in photography, if one person says something, someone is always going to have a counter offer to that statement, but again, I don't care one way or another.

    Dave
     
  15. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    dfcardwell hit the nail on the head. The glass was wonderful but the aluminum mounts did not last long. I had several of them over the years to fill in focal length gaps in my Nikon lenses. They were cheap, did the job but could not stand up to a daily use grind. My opinion. Charlie...........
     
  16. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Vivitar has never manufactured their own lenses. They do however, design them. If you really want me to, I'll post a short history on them....

    However, many of the older Viv S-1 lenses, equalled or exceeded the OEM lenses of their day, and are still very good optically.

    Kiron Kid
     

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  17. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I've got an old Quantaray 135/2.8 in my desk at work that I use for new employee pictures for our newsletters, etc. This came with some odds and ends that I had to accept to buy a package of things from eBay many years back.. The lens is absolutely amazing. I'm sure it's a fluke but its color and clarity are first rate. Back in the 70's, I had a Quantaray 24/2.8 that also was very good and I was recently looking at some old Kodachromes that reminded me of the solid performance of that old glass. Vivitar stuff is certainly a mixed bag and I'm sure the Quantarays are chancy, too. The 2 I've used were excellent but considering the market they were aimed at, I wouldn't expect too much but you might be pleasantly surprised as I was in my limited sampling. Many years back, a friend had a Series 1 80-210 that surprised me with its results and the one that I bought wasn't nearly as good and was quickly sold. The only good thing about the lens is that it kept me sworn off zooms for a number of years after that! I've currently got a 35-85 Series 1 that I had read some good things about but frankly, my example is nothing very special optically and I can't recall the last time it was even on a camera.
     
  18. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Quantaray makes junk lenses. When I worked in camera repair I saw lots of two year old zoom lenses that played like a slinky. Not sure what you want for optics, but the bokeh on these things is dreadful.

    Vivitar is a hold-your-nose bit better.

    I'd see if you can fit a Tamron into your price-range.
     
  19. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I beg to differ. I own and use, many of the older "non"-Cosina made Vivitar Series 1 lenses. They are well made, and perform as well as most OEM glass.

    Kiron Kid
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2008
  20. Elox

    Elox Member

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    Like everyone else, the old Vivitar had several levels of lenses. The older S1 lenses (NOT the current lenses) were designed to compete with the better OEM lenses and did. Today, Vivitar seems to be producing average consumer lenses at average consumer prices.

    The 70-150 seemed to be a love-hate lens. Way back when, Modern Photo gave it a good review and I have a friend who has one and loves it, but he gets great, sharp results. The one sample I tried was terrible and I couldn't get sharp results no matter what I tried.

    BTW, you might want to check out http://medfmt.8k.com/third/index.html for more third-party lens info and discussions. The Cult Classic and Third Party Mfgrs are particularly interesting.
     
  21. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Yes, I was refering to the Vivitar lenses on the shelf today, not the series 1 lenses. The S1 lenses do have a solid reputation, though I wouldn't choose them over an OEM lens in most cases.
     
  22. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    The Vivitar 70-150, was made by Kiron (Kino Precision Industries) and is usually very good. Kiron also made the Nikon E series 75-150, for Nikon, and it is highly coveted by Nikonians. I once did a side by side shoot with the Nikon E 75-150 version, and the Kiron 70-150 version, and the results were identical. Plus, the Kiron version doesn't get the horrendous zoom creep that the Nikon is known for.

    Kiron Kid
     
  23. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    When my son became interested in photography I purchased a Vivitar 70-150 for $10 from an "as is" box at the camera store after running a short test roll through it. It was in very good condition and the glass was perfect. I recalled its reputation, and having sold a number of them. Contrast isn't terribly high, but overall performance is most certainly serviceable. About 6 months later my son found a 135 f:2.8 MC Rokkor in mint condition for $40 and fell in love with that, so the 70-150 hasn't seen much service lately.

    Lee
     
  24. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Lee

    If you come across a "Kiron" branded version, grab it. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how good it is. The attached snap was made with my Kiron version of the 70-150, on Neopan 400CN film (chromogenic C-41 process).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2008
  25. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Thanks everyone for all the information. I agree with Lee on the Rokkor glass. I shot hundreds of actor heashots with a 135mm Rokkor X 2.8. I did the 3/4 shots with a Rokkor X 55mm 1.2, with excellent (sharp) results. I like the all-manual SRT-102 I used these lenses with. Side by side, the OM-2 is about half the size/weight of the SRT-102!

    But....The OM-2 was my first SLR (circa 1977) which was stolen in San Diego when it was only about a year old. Now, thanks to the auction site I've purchased not one OM-2, but TWO! One has arrived with the Zuiko 1.8 50mm and a Quantaray 28mm and the other (sent via USPS ) hasn't arrived yet but includes the Vivitar 70-150. That camera also comes with a Zuiko 50mm and 28mm. The OM-2 that has arrived is in EX condition and the built-in meter works likes new. It was that nifty OTF metering, along with compact size, that made me go for the OM-2 in the first place so for old-times-sakes, I wanted to include a working OM-2 (as opposed to the OM-1) to "the collection". Watching the auctions, the Zuiko zooms are going pretty cheap also although I've always preferred using fixed length lenses.

    Not having an OM-2 in hand for nearly 28 years, I must say it's even more impressive today for it's compact, almost jewel-like qualities.

    So, just for today, I'll be thankful for the "D" revolution for making all the old classic cameras so widely available and affordable.