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.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
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.
I like the second and third from the left:
One of the only lenses I could afford NEW and thought it was money well spent
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.
One of the lenses that I bought back in the 1970s was a Vivitar Series 1 35-85 variable focus lens. It isn't a true zoom, as you must refocus as you change the focal length.
It's a very heavy lens, but fast at f/2.8 through the zoom range.
There is noticeable barrel distortion at the wide end. A nice lens. It can flare, because of that huge front element.
I shot this around 1980. The original is on K25, and I've converted it to black and white.
I have 35-70 Canon Zoom that I use with my F-1 and is excelent
I have the Series 1 70-210 f3.5 zoom the second version made by Tokina in Canon FD fitting, the Image quality is wonderful, and the I.Q will give most of the Camera manufacturers marque lenses a run for their money,, which was what the Series 1 range were designed to do, indeed I have the Canon FD 20-210 lens but the S1 is better, the build quality is first class, the only drawback is because they have all metal barrels they are quite heavy.
Left to right:
Vivitar Series 1 (Kiron model), f/3.5
Vivitar Series 1 (Tokina model), f/3.5
Vivitar Series 1 (Komine model), f/2.8-4
Kiron 70-210. f/4 with Zoom-lock
Regarding Viv S-1 glass. There are numerous (8) Series 1, 70-210 lenses. However, for the sake of discussion, we will deal with the first three. The following editions are nothing to seriously consider, so we will concentrate on the first three editions, which are the good one's. The 4th & 5th editions are also 2.8-4 variable aperture model's, but lacking in construction quality (Cosina built). Due to the fact that the third one is a variable aperture lens, (2.8-4) it will be somewhat sharper than a fixed aperture lenses. It is much easier to design and build a quality variable aperture lens.
The first edition was designed by Vivitar (Ellis Betensky of NASA Optics fame), had a hand in it, and it was built by Kiron. (67mm filter) It is a professional caliber lens, with a 1:2 macro feature built into it. It was the first zoom, designed with the aid of computers, that truly rivaled the OEM lenses of the time. That was in "76."
The second edition (my personal favorite) was built by Tokina, per, Vivitars specs. It too, is a fixed 3.5 aperture, but smaller, lighter and sharper. (62mm filter size). I really like it because of the fixed 3.5 aperture which is nice for focusing in dim light and long range flash work. However, not a true macro, 1:4 life size.
The third edition was made by Komine, and like the first two, is very well built. It is a 2.8-4 variable aperture lens, and the sharpest of the bunch. It has 1:2.5 life size macro from 100-210mm's, with a working distance of about two feet. Which can be quite useful. Can you see a discernible difference in slides taken with either one of them? No! Don't get caught up in bench tests. Any of the first three editions will give you professional-publishable images. I really like this lens, and over time, has become my favorite of the line.
Personally, I recommend the second or third edition of the line. I have and use all three of the first editions, and can highly recommend any one of them. Superb optics and construction.
Also, the Kiron 70-210 f/4, is a splendid performer.
QLP (Kiron Kid & MrVivSeries1)
Generally speaking, the Vivitar Series 1 lenses are good, particularly the 135/2.3. Another good pair of zooms are the Vivitar Series 1 28-105/2.8-4 and 70-210/2.8-4 (my brother own both).