Vivitar Series 1 70-210 macro lens

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by kristina_kirkland, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. My boyfriends dad gave me this lens sometime last year, we all assumed it would fit my new Cannon digital SLR, but not so much. So now I am looking to get an older 35mm and am wondering what kind I should get? Which cameras will this lens fit? I have done some digging and have found through the serial number that it is a Komine, the first two digits are 28. I tried to research Komine, and have come to a fuzzy dead end, so I was hoping I could get some help here. I have read great things about this lens and am eager to use it, and excited to get back to a 35mm. So I was just wondering if anyone would know what kind of bodies this lens will fit onto.
  2. Never heard of Komine. Komine might have been a subcontractor manufacturing lenses for Vivitar but that has nothing to do with what camera it fits. Vivitar Series 1 lenses were very popular in the 1970s and were made in mounts for each of the major camera brands -- Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Minolta, etc. Do you know what mount this is? Is might or might not say Nikon, Canon, etc. somewhere on it. If it's Nikon, it will fit on any Nikon SLR made since 1959 up through the current digital models, but might not have full metering on the latest models and obviously won't have autofocus. If it's Canon, it's most likely the Canon FD mounted that preceded the EOS mount used on later Canon film cameras and current digital cameras. The Nikon mount would look like a regular bayonet, possibly with the Nikon prong on the side that coupled to earlier Nikon meters. If it's Canon FD there would be ring that turns on the lens to secure it to the camera. If so, you could use it on a Canon F1 or Canon AE-1 or any other Canon FD mount body. Vivitar Series 1 lenses were Vivitar's top of the line, not as sharp or well built as a Nikon or Canon lens but comparable to a Sigma or Tamron today.
  3. Kristina- if it says for Canon, as Craig mentioned, it is for Canon FD system. Cameras like the F-1,FTb, A-1, AE-1, T90, T70 and many others would all work with this lens. They are wonderful cameras but all film based and all, with one rare exception, manual focused. The Komine Viv S1 zoom is one of the best made and I used one for many years with great results. You can find out more about these lenses here:
    Good luck getting an FD system together and drop over to the FD forum here on Photonet for more information on Canon FD cameras, lenses and accessories.
  4. here are some photos of lensmounts scroll down
    rely on advice as to which model to buy
    film slr's are very inexpensive. and their use can be very rewarding
    color print film is inexpensive and the one hour labs do ok.
    ONLY watch out for old cameras that use mercury batteries that you can no longer buy.
    take some photos and post them here.
  5. I still have one of those lenses in Olympus mount. It's a sharp optic, and a pleasure to use. The "Macro" part is not its best point, IMO. Famous photographer-poet Sonja Bullaty used one on her Nikons.
  6. I have that same Vivitar Series 1 in Nikon mount, the 70-210mm f/2.8-4. It's not a "macro" lens but is a very good manual focus zoom with true continuous close up focusing capability from approximately 100-210mm. No need to switch to a special "macro mode". Very useful design for that era. A bit soft, lacking in contrast and saturation wide open but very good stopped down to f/5.6. I've used it on both my 35mm film Nikon SLRs and Nikon D2H dSLR.
    We'd need to know which mount your sample is. If Canon FD, it won't fit the EOS mount. Vivitar made these in most popular manual focus camera mounts: Canon FD, Nikon F, Minolta, Pentax K, etc.
    Komine was just one of several manufacturers which built lenses to Vivitar's specifications for the Series 1 lenses. There are a few specialty websites with more info, but Kristina appears to have found at least some of that info. There were several variants in the approx 70-210mm focal range.
    Here's a site with pretty good info and illustrations for most variants of that lens:
  7. Series 1 was the "premium" lens line for Vivitar. I've had series 1 lenses. They tended to be heavy, but well made and good optically. They made some interesting ones, including an "autofocus" lens for Minolta which you could autofocus by pressing a button on the lens for a non-autofocus camera. Odd, but it kinda sorta worked. And like any Series 1 lens, it took good pictures.
  8. If it is a Canon mount lens you have two options, one with the male bayonet on the lens, and the other with it on the body and a locking collar on the lens (FD or "breech-lock"). If it is the latter, you might want to look at a used older Canon F-1 (not F-1N) or an FTb, both of which were excellent cameras and can be found on Fleabay for not that much. If it is the former, an AE-1 is always a good choice.
    Vivitar's Series One lenses were considered their flagship lenses and were generally very good performers. The 70-210 series one was a very good lens. It came in single coated and multi-coated versions. The single coated one had some flare issues. But mechanically, there were made to a much higher standard than most lenses today. Which means little or no plastic.
  9. Canon FD mount lenses, including third party lenses, will fit virtually all Canon FD mount bodies. The older breechlock lenses with rotating locking collars and the later pushbutton release lenses are both compatible with every Canon FD body I used, including the F1, TX, FTbn, AE-1, A1, T70, T50, and others.
    Regarding coatings, every sample I've seen of the Vivitar Series 1 zooms, including those in the approximate focal range of 70-210mm, was labeled "VMC", indicating all were multi-coated. The only Vivitar lenses I can recall having seen that lacked the VMC designation were older primes including some T-mount lenses. Years ago a former Vivitar representative was a member of a photo hobbyist e-mail list to which I subscribed. Some of his information has been included into some other websites, although over the years some of those sites have disappeared or moved. I don't recall whether the large site once maintained by Robert Monaghan is still active, but it was a very good resource for this type of information.
    While most of the Vivitar Series 1 lenses had the reassuring heft of metal they weren't necessarily any more trouble-free than a well made lens that incorporates polycarbonates or other plastics. I've had to disassemble and repair several older metal lenses, including Canon brand lenses and a couple of Series 1 zooms, to clean oil from the iris blades, and to fix balky aperture, focus and zoom rings. Metal isn't a reliable indicator of an inherently superior lens, altho' I'd be willing to admit they're easier to disassemble and reassemble in full working order than lenses containing electronics.
  10. Actually Lex, when the original Series 1 70-210 came out in '75 (I think) it was single coated. I know because my best friend in high school shelled out the then exorbitant for a HS student $200 for the lens. He lamented because a few months later Vivitar started offering it in both single and multicoated versions and eventually dropped the single coated version. If I recall correctly, the multi-coated version was about $20 more.
  11. just snagged a series 1 70-210, slapped an fd to eos adapter onto it - now I'm enjoying a Mark II and macro - I'll try it next week without the eos adapter on my canon 35mm T90 far...nice glass indeed!

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