Vivitar series 1...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by BimmerJake, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    just ordered a lens for the nikon. it's a 70-210 f3.5 vivitar series 1 AI. i had read that there were five version, version one through three having exceptional optics and the latter two not so much. so, looking over my order i noticed that the one coming my way is 67mm which i now understand to be the first version. considering i only paid $17 i figure there's a piece to this puzzle that's missing. is this lens really a turd? if it is i'm fine with that, i wasn't expecting much for $17, and really it was an impulse buy.

    chime in if you have experience.

    thanks guys, you're the best.
     
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  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    A friend had that lens in Minolta mount. It was big, heavy; and really sharp.
     
  3. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    heavy indeed, i think i read it's just over 2 lbs.!!
     
  4. Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    If this lens has a serial number beginning with "22" or "37", you have a great lens, provided it wasn't screwed up by a previous owner. Version 1, which is the one I have, was made by Kiron back in the mid to late '70s, I think. The serial number for this lens starts with "22", and the filter size is 67mm. Version 2 was made by Tokina and it is also supposed be a real good lens. The serial number starts with "37" and I think that the filter size is 62mm.
     
  5. Phil Woodney

    Phil Woodney Member

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    I first used one of these on my Nikons at work in the mid '70's and was so impressed that I now own one in M42 and one in Konica. Only drawback is that they are heavy. Now that I'm getting old, I'm considering drilling holes in 'em to reduce weight. :smile:
     
  6. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    I've got a Series 1 zoom, 100-300mm, f:5. Serial number begins with 37. I love it. It is mated to an old Nikon F body, along with a sports finder. It is a heavy lens, but sometimes a bazooka is what you need.
     
  7. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    The list of makers.

    Who made this Vivitar?
    Dang! It won't upload my file.
    Goggle the question "Who..............Vivitar" to find out which company made your V. lens.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I had the S1 70-210 f3.5 unfortunately it was stolen back in the early 80's but as others say it was an outstanding lens, I replaced it with the f2.8 model which I still have and that's equally as good.

    Ian
     
  9. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    well, i can't confirm until it arrives, but here's what i know (assuming that keh.com's description was accurate).

    it's f/3.5 which narrows it down to either version 1 or 2 (the others are f/2.8)
    it has a 67mm filter ring, if this is accurate it points to version 1

    version 1 was manufactured by kiron (this is also assuming the info online is accurate), it's a 15 element/10 group, 2 lb beast.

    when it arrives i'll confirm all the assumptions :smile:
     
  10. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    When in doubt..............go analog.

    Wrote out the list.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Marc Akemann

    Marc Akemann Subscriber

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    I'm not a real fan of zoom lenses, however, I do have the first version (67mm filter size, serial #22642xxx) 70-210mm f3.5 with a Nikon non-AI mount. It's still like new and the focus/zoom ring doesn't slide on it's own when the lens is aimed up or down. I like heavy equipment so the weight of this lens doesn't bother me. It is a very sharp lens. I use it on a Nikon F2 Photomic. According to my U.S. Postal Service scale the lens by itself (no caps, filters, etc.) weighs 2 pounds, 1.4 ounces.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2009
  12. mfophotos

    mfophotos Member

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    I had the same lens maybe 8 or 9 years ago in a Nikon mount. My only problem with it was that the zoom would creep. However, optics were great, and yeah it's heavy. Filmsprocket likes those heavy lenses, so I am going to give him a lead-lined lens case someday... :D
     
  13. dbonamo

    dbonamo Member

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    First one I had was for Canon FD Mount used on my T90 20 years ago, loved it. A few months back I got another for my Nikon system, first generation. It's heavy but for 35.00 it is great lens.

    Might want to check this site out if you have not already http://www.robertstech.com/vivitar.htm
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    At $17 you will either use and enjoy it or it will be a good paper weight.

    I think you will enjoy it.

    If you are not happy with it, then sell it on eBay with that standard "rare", "minty", and "I do not know Jack Shyt about photography" with a starting price of $100. :wink:

    Steve
     
  16. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    While on the topic of Vivitar zooms.

    I have a Series 1 35-85 2.5 and 75-205 3.8 in OM mount, both were made by Kiron. Do anyone know anything about these lenses. What is so special about their Kiron manufacture?
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Vivitar lenses are quite variable.

    When the US based design team began Vivitar they'd come together originally to design for NASA but then began designing consumer lenses, the first was the 600mm Catadioptic S1 lens. Presumably they were very advanced with computerised design because in a very short period of time they produced a range of S1 lenses that rivalled and equalled the major camera companies lenses in terms of optical and build quality.

    Early S1 lenses were all of outstanding quality, they worked with & oversaw the quality standards, just as Zeiss does with companies making their lenses. The real milestone S1 lenses were the 600mm. the 28mm f1.9, the 70-210 zooom, and a 35-85mm Vari-focal f2.8.

    At some point the Vivitar brand changed, they began re-branding other lenses, only their own S1 designed lenses were comparable to the top 5 camera manufacturers own, and some say the quality dropped with S1 lenses.

    Ian
     
  18. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    Have one of those in FD mount with a 72mm filter mount. No creeping or fog. One of my fav's
     
  19. Pumal

    Pumal Member

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    I have one that I bought with a Minolta many years ago. 67mm S/N 22902785. Extraordinary; and I don't like Zooms. Macro capability ( for a Zoom) is very good.
     
  20. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    thanks for the clarification... i should get the sucker on friday or monday. as soon as i do i'll post the serial.

    i've actually never really used a zoom before, at the price i figured i would give it a shot :smile:
     
  21. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Well, this quality drop hadn't occurred by the time they released their 28-90 f/2.8-3.5 S1. I had one of those in Canon mount, and shot thousands of slides with it. It was a great lens. The only thing I didn't like about it was it vignetted slightly at 28mm at wider apertures. After switching to Nikon several years later, I picked up a 28-105 f/2.8-3.8 S1 and used it for a while. This lens appeared to be every bit as good as the 28-90, but I'll admit that I didn't shoot with it nearly as much. I didn't keep it for long -- must have sold it when I went through one of my equipment downsizing moods. I hate it when that happens.

    Best,
    Michael
     
  22. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    I have a Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4 macro lens in Nikon AI mount, with the serial numbers starting with "28...". It's a VERY sharp, (but very heavy) lens. It does have a problem with alittle oil on the aperature leaves, so sometimes the opening & closing can be alittle sluggish. It does make for an excellent portarit lens wide open, tho.

    One of these days I'm going to get around to either cleaning up the oil, or selling it "as-is".
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I used the word some people carefully because I've never found a problem with lens quality wth any of the S1 lenses.

    But Vivitar did dumb down when they started selling non S1 lenenses and the quality of these did vary very considerably, from good/almost up to S1 standard to quite average.

    The Vivitar S1 range hit Tamron and Soligor quite hard in the UK, Tamron fought back by intoducing the SP range equally as good as the S1 range.

    Soligor lost their dominant position in the UK as a 3rd party lens supplier & never recovered.

    Ian
     
  24. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    I am not all that familiar with the history of Vivitar, but I am somewhat familiar with what the company offered over the years. I became interested in photography in the early 80s, and by then Vivitar had essentially two lines of lenses -- the S1s and the "regular" ones.

    It appears that you're suggesting that the S1 lenses predated the others? If so, I wonder about this. I used to own one of the quite rare Vivitar "Professional" 135mm f/1.5 T-mount preset lenses. This lens dated back to the 60s, I suspect, and predated the S1s, or so I had always thought. Vivitar also marketed a number of preset T-mount refractor telephotos ranging in focal length from 400mm to 800mm. These were big, beefy, all-metal-and-glass optics (not even rubberized focusing barrels) that were marketed in the 60s and 70s, from what I understand.

    Over here in the States, the S1s were duking it out with Tamron's SP and Tokina's AT-X. Sigma was a latecomer, but they began offering a premium product as well, once AF started becoming popular. Soligor I think just ran out of steam and dwindled away. On the advice of a friend, I bought a Soligor 85-300 two-ring zoom back in the mid-80s, and was totally underwhelmed by its performance.

    My impression with Vivitar was that it seemed that the company just lost interest in competing once AF lenses emerged. Vivitar was either unable or unwilling to do all the design work involved in order to supply lenses in a widely varying array of AF mounts and technologies.

    Best,
    Michael
     
  25. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You are probably right Michael, I don't think Vivitar were sold in the UK until the S1 series, often lenses sold under different names too, as it's often a simple badge ring in the filter thread.

    There were a lot of names in US magazines we never saw in the UK, andI'd guess the other way round as well.

    Ian
     
  26. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    serial number 22948526 so it's a kiron. now i just have to get the hang of this beast. there's some marks around the edge of the lens, but i don't think they'll effect image quality.

    thanks again.