What do you think of KIRON lenses?

Discussion in 'Canon FD' started by john_eggleston, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. Im lookin at a Kiron 80-200 mm macro zoom lens not sure about the
  2. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    The brand IS Kiron for the most part they made some of the best third party lenses going.
  3. Some of the best third party lenses ever made. I've used the 80-200, the 28-210, the 28/2.0 and never seen a bad one. They also made some of the best Vivitar Series One lenses. Vivitar lenses with serial numbers beginning with 22 are made by Kiron. Prior to the Kiron name, their lenses were sold as Panagor.

    Check this link for more info: http://medfmt.8k.com/third/index.html
  4. I have never owned a Kiron lens, but they have a good reputation.
  5. Kino Precision introduced Kiron lenses in the U.S. in the early 1980s as a premium line of independently manufactured lenses. They were not inexpensive! Their ads bragged about precision machining, close tolerances, unconventional lubricants and in the case of FD mount versions, a bazillion itty bitty ball bearings in the diaphragm mechanism. I recall the original line being 24/2, 28/2, 28/2.8 and 80-200/4 zoom. There may have initially been a 28-80 varifocal also. They offered a reversing ring for macro use and a 2X "matched multiplier" for the zoom.

    Eventually, I think, Kino decided it was easier to make lenses for others than to continue their own marketing effort. New Kiron lenses disappeared from the market by the early 90s.

    I bought the 80-200/4 zoom and 28/2 early on. I've never had a gripe with the picture quality and now regret having sold off the 80-200.

    The unconventional lubricants seem to have been the cause of trouble for me. I had the 28/2 cleaned twice in the first 4 years. Grease in the helicoid broke down into oil and seeped onto the diaphragm blades. The lens has been fine in the dozen years since the second cleaning. On the zoom, the grease migrated onto the front group, clouding the edges. This also re-occurred and I sold the lens after the second cleaning.

    I have since bought a second 28/2 from a disenchanted owner. He has tried three of these lenses and experienced diphragm problems with all. This is a later lens with a black breech lock ring. As time passed, Kiron sought to reduce manufacturing costs. The diaphragm mechanism no longer has a bazillion itty bitty ball bearings. A quick cleaning should have this lens working fine. I've also bought a second 80-200/4. It suffers from a significant amount of fungus caused by poor storage and turns out to have been my one bad e-bay purchase!

    Summary: Kiron made some GREAT lenses. Advice: Look the lens over very carefully before you buy. Shine a small flashlight up through the lens and make sure the elements are crystal clear. Mount the lens on a camera and observe the diaphragm action CAREFULLY. Set the aperture to it's minimum and abserve it through the back of the camera with the shutter set at about 1/2 second. You should see a sharply defined edge. If it appears blurry, the lens will need servicing. Cycle the camera a good number of times. A contaminated mechanism may slow down with use, speed up with use or malfunction in cool temperatures. Maybe plan to have it cleaned and budget the purchase price accordingly.

    Also bear in mind that Kiron isn't the only manufacturer to have the occasional lens fail on a customer. Time and less than ideal storage conditions will affect any lens eventually.
  6. Eventually, I think, Kino decided it was easier to make lenses for others than to continue their own marketing effort. New Kiron lenses disappeared from the market by the early 90s.
    My understanding is that Kiron makes (or made) the Vivitar Series One lenses. When Kiron began marketing their own line Vivitar was upset that their manufacturer was competing with them. Vivitar said, "You can't do that!"< /p>
    I had a Kiron 105mm ƒ2.8 Micro (1:1). Wonderful sharpness. Warmer color rendition than my Nikkors. Sorry I sold it.
  7. Kiron made SOME of the older Vivitar Series 1 manual focus lenses, but not all of them.

    IMHO, Kiron made some great optics. I own two of the 28mm f2 lenses, one in Canon FD mount, one in Nikon AI mount. I've never had a problem with either one, and they are sharper than the AI Nikkor 28mm lens I've owned and subsequently sold.
  8. From previous reply; When Kiron began marketing their own line Vivitar was upset that their manufacturer was competing with them. Vivitar said, "You can't do that!"

    After the demise of Allied Impex Corp. (Soligor's importer) I think Ponder and Best (Vivitar) went to Tokina (an A.I.C. supplier) for more of it's lenses. This ocurred before Kino began their U.S. marketing of Kiron branded lenses. Perhaps Tokina was more aggressive in courting P&B.
    See cameraquest.com "Who Made That Vivitar Lens" for a bit more insight.
  9. I'd like to post an alternative view. In the late 1970's Kino Precision were flat out producing lenses for Vivitar, Nikon (the series E) and themselves, (Panagor in Europe, and were about to launch Kiron in the USA, then Europe). The market at the time was bouyant. Kino decided to give up the Vivitar production, it's quite noticeable that some Komine made Vivitar lenses were similar to earlier Kino made lenses and some Kiron lenses. By 1984, camera/lens sales had passed their peak, and Kino looked back to their Vivitar connections. Vivitar 'bought' the Kiron 105mm f/2.8 macro lens (absolutely superb) and sold it as the 100mm f/2.8 macro before introducing the (still Kino made) 105mm f/2.5 version in approx 1986. By 1987 Kino had decided to move out of the waning photographic market and concentrate on 'industrial products'. At the final year or so, they had even sub contracted some lens production to Tokina, the 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 and 70-210mm f/4-5.6 were in fact SD clones.
    Kiron lenses are reknown, amongst those who have discovered them, for their solid construction and superb optics.
    There were a number of versions of the 80-200, the early f/4, and the later f/4.5 versions, the 'posher (more expensive) version having a 'Zoomlock' facilty. I would second the comments about checking the diaphragm, but at least with these lenses they can be taken apart and repaired, giving you a 'lens for life'.
  10. The 24mm f2, 80-200mm f4.5 Macro and 2x 7 element converter are all AWFUL! Poor resolution and poor colour rendition.

    Canon FD 24mm f2.8, 200mm f2.8 and 2x-B are far superior!

    You can pick up Canon FD lenses in "bargain" condition that will outperform the vast majority of third party lenses.
  11. I was drawn to the Kiron 28 f2 because of Gary Reese's test showing NO distortion (in the sample he tested!). I was the one who sold the second or third one to come into my hands to Bill Salati. I could never find one that worked. Too bad; it is probably a great lens. I had to go to a Leica R 28 via an adapter to get what i was after, to the tune of a beat up lens, a rebuild, and a $90 adapter. In retrospect, I probably never would have seen significant distortion with an FD 28 f2.
  12. I've got a 28/2 for my Contax cameras and I've been nothing but pleased with it. The colors are natural and the distortion (there is always distortion with wide angle) is very pleasing and doesn't get barreled or cushioned... you horizons remain straight.

    For $100... it's an excellent wide angle lens. Really nice thing is that it's a 55mm thread, so it fits all of my filters.

    Now, if I can get the 105mm... I'd be pretty estatic about the whole situation.

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