Vivitar series 1 lens opinions

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bogeyes, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    I am hanging my nose over a very cheap Vivitar series 1 135mm f2.3 lens (less than £30). Its serial number suggest that it was manufactured by Komine. Have any of you out there used such a lens? Opinions please.
     
  2. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I think in general that the Series 1 lenses were the best that Vivitar made. I had a Series 1 macro lens once (either 90 or 105 mm, can't remember) which was excellent.

    Regards,

    David
     
  3. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser

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    It was considered a fine lens in its day ( late 70's ). Not sure how it will compare to more modern designs, but for that amount of money, its a good deal

    Dan
     
  4. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I had that exact lens about 1982 for my Nikon's. It was a brilliant lens, slightly heavy and the winding back and forth required a fair bit of screwing, it certainly will not go from infinity to close focus in 1/2 a twist.

    I think it used a 72mm filter thread.

    Somewhere, I have the original little booklet that came with it.

    Very nice lens and made quite a lot of good pictures for me it when I had it.

    The Vivitar Series 1 lenses and Sigma Series II were for me, the only aftermarket lenses I considered reasonably close quality wise compared to Nikkor. Especially when you consider they were under 1/2 the price of Nikkor lenses but weren't 1/2 the quality.

    I still run three Sigma lenses, 18 3.5, 24 2.8, 600 8 (mirror)

    Mick.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Get it. It's gorgeous, as are all first-series Series 1 primes. At that price I'd seriously consider buying it as a spare. The 200/3 is even nicer. Both focus incredibly close. I also have the 90/2.5 and 600/8, and used to have the 28/1.9 (a friend REALLY wanted it) and 800/11 (too slow, and too close to the 600/8). Actually the 35-85/2.8 Varifocal is astonishingly good too, though the 90-180/4.5 close-focus shows its age compared with primes and more modern designs (I have both those too...)

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  6. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I have a Kiron made Series 1 75-210 for my OM kit and it is really nice lens. I plan to get some for my Nikon and Minolta MCx kits.
     
  7. geauxpez

    geauxpez Member

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    I also have a Kiron made Series 1 for my OM, the 28-90 -- fantastic lens.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Were/are these the solid cats? I've always heard good things about these. They also had a fast mirror lens, like 450mm/f:4.5 if I remember, and I think it used plastic in some then-innovative way. Did you ever try that one?
     
  9. donbga

    donbga Member

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    I have a 76 to 210 for sale if anyone is interested.
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear David,

    Yes, they're solid cats. I used to have a 680/6.8 prototype too but gave it to a friend. He died and I believe another friend inherited it. The 450/4.5 was probably not available commercially (there are different views about this) and did I believe use plasric, but the 600/8 and 800/11 solid cats used glass, not plastic, for the light path.

    Cheers,

    roger
     
  11. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Bogeyes

    Over the last couple of decades, I've inadvertently become somewhat of an authority on Vivitar & Kiron glass. Please feel free to contact me about any Viv or Kiron lenses, and I'll give you the scoop on any of them. The Viv S-1, 135mm f/2.3 that you are asking about, is a very good one. Not great, but very good. And Komine produced some of the best Viv S-1 lenses ever made. I think that you'll be quite satisfied with it's results.

    Kiron Kidn ( MrVivSeries1)
     
  12. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    Thanks for the offer.
     
  13. wiggy

    wiggy Member

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    Perhaps someone here can shed some light on my favourite lens which I've had since 1976.

    It's marked up as a Vivitar Series 1 200mm but f2.8 rather than the f3.0 which seems to be usually mentioned.

    It was picked up in Japan in June 1976 and brought back for me by a family friend along with an AE1 body for the princely sum of £180.00 which seemed like a lot of money at the time.
     
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  15. kngharv

    kngharv Member

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    Dear Kiron:

    I was told that 450mm f/4.5 solid cat is one of the best mirror lens.

    But How's the 600mm f/8 solid cat compare with, for example, 500mm f/8 from Nikon and/or Tamron 500mm f/8 55bb ? do you have a such experience?

    The reason why I am looking at 600mm f/8 instead of 450mm f/4.5 is because 450mm f/4.5 is very rare and it commands a huge premium. 600mm f/8 is much more reaonsably priced and it does show up once a while in the used market. I would like to know how it fairs


    Thanks
     
  16. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    Are you sure it's a 200mm f/2.8 prime, or are you referring to the Series 1, 70-210 f/2.8-4 zoom?

    Kiron Kid
     
  17. Dawes71

    Dawes71 Member

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    So were all Series 1 lenses superior to the cheaper ranges or were they just using the reputation to sell poorer quality with the later models?
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The S1 lenses were equivalent in quality to the major camera manufacturers top lenses of the same focal length and spec. Some S1 lenses outperformed the Nikon/Canon/Pentax etc versions.

    The S1 lenes were quite different in terms of performance to the cheaper range.

    Ian
     
  19. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    What was the manufacturer’s suggested list price and/or the street price (in U.S. dollars) of the 70-210mm f/3.5 Vivitar Series I made my Kiron when it was first introduced in late 1970s?
     
  20. Wayne R. Scott

    Wayne R. Scott Member

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    Buy it. I have one and it does indeed focus quite close. 0.9 meters for my 135mm f2.3.

    Wayne
     
  21. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I prefr the third edition. Smaller, lighter and a tad sharper, and it too has macro. But, the first edition is no slouch. The attached snap was made with the first edition in macro mode.

    [​IMG]

    Kiron Kid
     
  22. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Vivitar Series 1

    Many of the non-Series 1 Vivitar lenses are also very good. My first 135 was a Vivitar f/2.8 model in Konica mount (28XXX...). The 90/2.8 Vivitar macro goes to 1:1 without any attachments and is very sharp. The Vivitar 135/2.8 Close Focusing goes to 1:2 and is also very sharp. The 135/2.3 is a nice lens but it focuses only to 3 feet. The 28/2.5 Fixed Mount is one of my favorites. If the 28/1.9 Series 1 is sharper, it's not much sharper. There was no 35mm Series 1 lens but there was the 35/1.9 Fixed Mount. The 55/2.8 Fixed Mount Vivitar also goes to 1:1 without attachments. The later Kino-made 100/2.8 Vivitar was also sold under the Kiron and Series 1 names. It also goes to 1:1 without attachments and is considered an excellent macro lens. I have quite a few Vivitar lenses in my collection and I enjoy using both the Series 1 and the regular ones.
     
  23. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Roger
    I agree with you on all except the 90-180, you must have a bad one. I recently got a 24-48 which seems good. Problem is if I packed all my Series 1s to travel South I would need a porter.
    Mark
     
  24. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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  25. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    One of the only lenses I could afford NEW and thought it was money well spent
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I don't know anything about that particular lens.

    I did have a Series 1 28-90 f/2.8-3.5. It came on my first F-1, which I got in a pawn shop.

    I didn't hate the lens...but I did not love it either. It vignetted badly at 28mm. It didn't seem terribly sharp either.

    I had my fun with it, it being my first and only zoom. then I put it on the shelf for years and did not miss it. I recently traded it on the APUG classifieds for 20 rolls of expired Kodak 120 film. I am much happier having the film than the lens. It will lead to much better pictures.

    I do have a 28mm f/1.9 in M-42 mount that I have not used yet. It is supposed to be good.....but then again, so is the 28-90, and it just seemed OK to me. With my Canon FD 28mm f/2.0, I have not felt the need to try it yet.

    I will likely never try another Series 1 lens.