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09-05-2007, 06:14 AM   #1
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Vivitar Vivitar Series 1 70-210 (62mm) or Pentax 50-200?

I have the option of buying a mint Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f2.8-4, 62mm (3rd version 28... serial number) lens for under ca$100. I have a K100d with the kit 18-55 lens and am looking for a longer telephoto lens. The reviews of the Vivitar are great but it is manual and doesn't have an A setting on the aperture ring.

The alternative is the Pentax 50 - 200 zoom lens which sells for about ca$230 after tax, is autofocus but reputed to be a soft lens. How would I have to meter with the Vivitar...do I have to use M on the camera and push AE-L after setting "Use aptr ring" in the menus?

The real question I suppose is, is the extra inconvenience and weight of the Vivitar worth the extra quality i'd be getting? The telephoto shots I'd be taking would be deliberate and take longer setup, I suppose autofocus may not be such a problem in those circumstances... I'm realy wondering about the slower metering thing.

Also, there is the extra $130 I'd be saving for a used 50 or 35mm Pentax prime


Last edited by DMH; 09-05-2007 at 06:20 AM.
09-05-2007, 06:35 AM   #2
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The Vivitar is an excellent lens, quite a bit better optically IMO than the Pentax, if the manual focusing, stop down metering, and having to set the focal length manually for SR do not bother you.

I have owned two copys of the 50-200 and neither would be what I call particulary sharp lenses, but not particulary soft either. It is a good lens and would give you all the other conviencenies of a auto lens.

Personally, I would pick the Vivitar. The manual metering and focusing do not bother me, and the edge in optical quaility and speed is well worth it. Plus as you said, you can get a good prime with the money you saved
09-05-2007, 10:29 AM   #3
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not too sure about the Version 3 of this lens, but having packed up my K10 and all my autofocus stuff for a trip, I went out with my *istD and Version 1 of this lens (F3.5 constant apature)

Taken from about 3 feet using the macro setting (note version 1 of the lens has a switch for normal / close focus)

Not bad for a 25+ year old lens.

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 01-14-2008 at 10:11 AM.
09-05-2007, 12:02 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by DMH Quote
I have the option of buying a mint Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f2.8-4, 62mm (3rd version 28... serial number) lens for under ca$100. I have a K100d with the kit 18-55 lens and am looking for a longer telephoto lens. The reviews of the Vivitar are great but it is manual and doesn't have an A setting on the aperture ring.
I've owned this lens and had it for quite a while. It is very very good. But your information is conflicting. You said the serial number started with a '28' which would indicate the lens was built by Komine. The filter size and aperture range is consistent with that same lens. So are you totally sure the lens does not have the "A" setting? As far as I am aware the non A lenses were earlier versions (I've had 3 over the years version 1,3 and 4). It is possible that there were some early versions of this lens without the "A" setting. So if you are sure that's the case then if it were me I'd most likely pass on this lens. $100 is about the max it's worth on today's market.

If it is indeed the 3rd version of this lens with the "A" setting, then at $100 it is a steal. Sharp, fast, solid and most likely the best 70-210 built by anyone of that era*. It's very heavy at almost 2 Lbs. That makes for a fairly heavy kit to carry around.
I've replaced my "A" version Series 1 with a DA 50-200.

* one thing about this lens that is a weakness in my opinion, was that the colours look flat compared to an SMC Pentax lens. It seemed more so on digital than when I used it on film. It's good but the warmth and depth of colour rendition from the Vivitar are not up to the same level as a Pentax lens.

As for the DA 50-200mm It's not the sharpest lens in the world but it's a very good lens none the less. Given all the extra capabilities that an auto focus "A" series lens offers I think it's well worth the extra money to have the DA.

Just a note as to value. I sold both my Vivitar Series 1's this year. The "A" version (3) sold for $212.70 USD and the "M" version (1) sold for $47.00. optically both lenses are very similar but it would seem that few buyers will pay much for a non A lens these days unless it is something super special.

09-05-2007, 12:26 PM   #5
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I've read a lot of good things about these lenses. I'd like to get one one day when I can afford one. As for the metering, it really doesn't take all that long to do. Use "M" mode, change your aperture ring setting in-camera, turn the ring to what setting you want, focus/compose, press the AE-L button and press the shutter button. If you're going to use it wide open, I've had good luck just using "Av" mode and pressing the shutter button halfway like any other lens.
09-05-2007, 12:50 PM   #6
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DMH,
i had the same lens. it's considered the best of all 5 versions. the earlier models like ours did not have the A setting but the later ones did. i found that color and contrast were exceptional. i sold it to someone here for $95. i have the smcA70-210 and did not need it. you might want to ck out the 70-210 as i think it's a tad better. it usually sells on ebay for<$100.
09-05-2007, 12:54 PM   #7
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Hi Folks,

I've got (I think) a version 3 of this lens and it's actually an impressive lens that can hold its own even 25 years later. I would agree that the color or contrast of the lens is less than the Pentax's I've owned (maybe it's that magical SMC?).

At any rate, I was out in the rain a few weekends ago and took this lens along because I don't feel bad if it gets soaked. Figuring out the right exposure isn't so bad if you take a couple of test shots and then leave everything alone. I found this cold and wet dragonfly out there and shot him for awhile with the lens. It can be tough to manually focus this correctly when in macro mode, so I took plenty of shots I wasn't quite happy with. If you pursue the lens, consider putting a split-screen in your camera to assist with the focus.

Here's one of the best:


I was impressed with it, it's a nice lens to have around.
Take care and good luck.
09-05-2007, 01:15 PM   #8
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(nt)

Tagged for reference

09-06-2007, 07:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input

Sorry it's taken so long to reply but things have been a bit busy this week.

I found out from the seller that the lens in an FA mount and does have an A setting. I had looked at a photo while researching the lens on the net and that lens didn't have an A setting so I assumed...

Looks like I will be buying the lens this weekend and am looking forward to trying it. Thing is that the buyer and I seem to be equally busy so Sunday is the soonest I can try it.

Pity I didn't have it today when I was required to record the cornice of a 3 storey historic building from ground level. My 18 to 55 kit lens was a bit soft at the 55 extreme although they are record shots so we can copy it for a film shoot.

Thanks for taking the time to post the replies and photos. I'll post a few shots when I get the lens.
09-06-2007, 07:46 PM   #10
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I kinda thought that you'd find the lens has the A setting on closer inspection. This version with out the A setting was very rare and was dropped in favour of the one you're getting. Good for you, this is a great lens and will also allow you to reduce your exercise routine but 15 minutes a session. Good workout holding it up for an hour of shooting. great price and looking forward to seeing your shots and thoughts once it's gone for a test drive. BTW see if he has the case that some of these came with. Some had a padded bag but a few came with a very nice hard sided square case that was damn near bullet proof (mine had that case but I don't think it was too common).
09-07-2007, 04:02 AM   #11
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At least it's too small to become another clothing rack like my other workout equipment in the basement .

I notice there is a Pentax 80 - 200 manual focus zoom, I think f/4.5 or so on ebay but it sells for quite a low price. Is this reflective of it's quality?
09-07-2007, 04:53 AM   #12
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I've never owned this lens so can't really say. From the reviews here (lens database) and on Stan's site there don't seem to be many owners that are that excited about it and it's also a lot slower so there might not have been much popularity.
09-07-2007, 05:12 AM   #13
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Not sure if you already read this:

Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 Macro Zooms - Mark Roberts Photography
09-07-2007, 05:19 AM   #14
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Yes I did see it, very infornative.
09-07-2007, 06:20 AM   #15
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I have the Komine version too. Great lens. I paid a lot more than $100 for it on ebay.
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