Any Vivitar love out there?

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by williamtk1974, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. The reason I'm asking is because I'm thinking about getting a 35mm lens for my Spotmatic. Looks like a good many 35mm lenses came in that f1:2.8 range, and most of them aren't all that expensive. I noticed that Vivitar lenses in this size can be had for less than $40. They're not the only ones in that price range, but they seem common.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thank you,
  2. SCL


    Do a Google search - there's lots of online reviews. The Vivitar 35/2.8 (Komine or Tokina manufacturer) was commonly available and supposed to be a good lens of the era.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Back in the day - Vivitars were popular and regarded as quite good - I was working in a Camera shop at the time, sold quite a few. Suggest you check online - complete Spotmatic kits with body, multiple lenses and accessories are selling for a pittance.
  4. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    The 1970s Vivitar lenses (under Ponder & Best ownership) are generally well made and good performers. They were supplied by a number of respected Japanese manufacturers, which can be identified by the serial number:

    Vivitar serial numbers - - The free camera encyclopedia

    If you have SLRs with different mounts, you might consider the Vivitar T4 or TX lenses, which were made by Tokina. I have the Soligor brand version of the 35/2.8 T4, and it's a good lens.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
  5. I've found the single focal length Vivitars with dedicated mounts to be excellent performers.
  6. BUT, the current Vivitars share only the name. They are no better than any of the other inexpensive Korean lenses. (some history at Vivitar - Wikipedia)
  7. A word of caution, some very nice fast F/2.0 24mm, 28mm and 35mm lenses by Vivitar unfortunately in my experience suffer far more than most with sticky oiled up apertures. Their F/2.8 lenses less so.
  8. I used to have a Vivitar macro lens for my first SLR camera, a Yashica Electro X, and it was a decent lens. That was a long time ago don't know much about them today.
  9. I recently sold a Vivitar 135mm f2.8 non-ai that I'd bought a few months ago for less than lunch later that day. I shot half a roll of 35mm b&w with it using all apertures and scenes and it passed all tests with flying colors. Mind you, it likely was a somewhat older one, certainly not even close to new.
  10. I have a few Vivitar. They are OK.
  11. Totally agree. I also believe (even at a certain time) Vivitar offered lenses of different quality and generally low quality. However, after more than half a century, some great lenses may become real bad while some not so good lenses are still not bad at all. So it is not reliable to compare the lenses just by their brands anymore. There was a time that I was excited to take pictures with an Argus C3 or a Kodak Pony, but now I only use the most comfortable camera. But if for some reason I use a Spotmatic, I would prefer to use a Pentax lens with it. This is somehow similar to when you wear black pants you would rather wear a black shirt than a yellow shirt.
  12. P&B Vivitar was my 3rd party lens of choice when I was starting out, and they worked just fine.
    I would not hesitate buying a P&B Vivitar lens.
    But, given the low used prices today, I would first look for a Pentax SMC lens.

    BTW, the T4 system was a way to effectively get a breach lock lens, on a screw mount camera.
    I did that before switching to a Nikkormat, with a bayonet mount.

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