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02-07-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
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Does Komine still manufacture lenses?

I have been browsing through this forum on a regular basis and find it extremely helpful not only with Pentax equipments, but photography in general as well. However, this is my very first post on the forum.

I’m new to DSLR, (SLR and photography for that matter) and wanted to improve my composition skills. From what I’ve read so far, using a prime lens is the best way to hone such skills by forcing the photographer to move around and get a different perspective, as opposed to zooming in and out from one spot with a zoom lens. I shoot mostly landscapes so I thought an old 28mm third-party lens on my K-x is a good start. From what I’ve come across on the internet, the Komine version 28mm f2.8 CF/WA Vivitars with “A” setting (which by the way I was lucky enough to win a copy on eBay) is perhaps one of the most sought of after due its built and image quality.

There is, of course, the Pentax-A of the same focal length and max aperture but it’s nearly twice the cost of the Vivitar. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Komine branded lens? Would anyone know if they still manufacture lens for Vivitar or any other brand? Does an AF version of the CF/WA even exists? I tried to Google “Komine” but the results I get, at least the top two is an Auto center in Japan or a village in the vicinity around Timbuktu?.....Regards to all!!

02-08-2011, 12:25 AM   #2
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To the best of my knowledge Komine is history. They were possibly bought out by another company. just guessing here. They made a series of lenses for various marketers and resellers such as Vivitar, Panagor, Soligor, Elicar, Rokunor and perhaps a few more. They made a series of good macros that a few really still like today. They were the 55mm, 90mm 1.1s and a 135mm 'close focus' as well as a few others. Elicar sold a dental 35mm camera and 90mm lens package that was a posssible precurser to the Lester Dine dental packages (using Kiron lenses).

You might find your 28MM Vivitar also under a few of those brands too. These were from the 1980s and the lens coatings are claimed to be a bit dated and may be prone to flare

Here is a link to a real collector's white scientific Elicar/Komine macro set of macro lens and two matching stackable acromats that just sold for $749:

1.25x Elicar Super Macro 1:2.5/90mm f/2.5 Nikon AIS - eBay (item 280620898290 end time Jan-30-11 09:12:44 PST)

Text from the sale site:
While this can be considered a collectors item, it is also the macro photographer's dream lens.
For sale is an Elicar Super Macro 1:2.5/90mm lens in Nikon AIS mount. This lens is as new. The only macro lens ever made to focus from infinity to OVER LIFESIZE WITHOUT ACCESSORIES: it focuses to 1.25x. Includes hood and original pounches. Originally made for medical / dental photography.
Included are also 2 close-up achromats (shown on the right). These are optional lenses taylor-made for this objective to allow 1.25:1 - 2.5:1 magnification with the 1.25x achromat or up to 4:1 magnification with the additional 1.6x lens stacked.

Last edited by Phil1; 02-08-2011 at 12:52 AM.
02-08-2011, 12:31 AM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums, K57XR!

And congratulations on winning an excellent lens - it's sharp enough to really do justice to landscape photography. Actually, I think it rather beats the Pentax equivalent.

Regarding Komine, I have no knowledge of whether or not they still exist, but do remember that your lens is pretty old (well over 20 years, I should think). I must say, an AF version would be nice, but I'm pretty sure such an item doesn't exist. Also, I don't believe any Komine-branded lenses exist either. I know Kino broke away from supplying Vivitar and marketed lenses under the Kiron name (in about 1980), but I think they had legal battles, and there certainly aren't any Kiron lenses available now.

Anyway, for landscapes, assuming the horizon needs to be in focus, you're better off using hyperfocal focusing. Just remember that you have to be very conservative in ensuring that infinity is within the DOF - modern high-resolution APS-C sensors are more demanding than the DOF scales on older 35mm camera lenses would suggest.
02-08-2011, 12:37 AM - 1 Like   #4
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To make a long story short: yes, Komine still exists. But the company is called "Nittoh Kogaku" in Japanese.

History?NITTOH FOCUS?NITTOH KOGAKU K.K.

02-08-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
... From what I’ve read so far, using a prime lens is the best way to hone such skills by forcing the photographer to move around and get a different perspective, as opposed to zooming in and out from one spot with a zoom lens. I shoot mostly landscapes ...
What you have said, I believe, is a commonly held misapprehension of the situation (and does not pass closer examination).

The point is: a zoom lens will be of enormoous help in achieving a "tight framing" of your subject from whichever shooting position you take your shot.

on the other hand, "zooming with your feet" (as it is termed) will result in an entirely different composition because changing your position (relative to your subject) will necessarily result in a change in perspective and a consequent change in the composition itself.

Try it for yourself, and you will see that it is impossible to zoom with your feet and still get the same view. Put another way, there are many shots that are impossible to take with a prime lens (unless majorly cropped in PP, with resulting loss of IQ).

In effect, the use of a zoom lens allows you to replicate in camera the effect you would get by cropping the negative (or cropping digitally) in PP, but it is better than cropping the negative (or digital cropping) because you make full use of the whole negative (or sensor) resulting in better IQ.

This "furphy" (in my opinion) is a hangover from the days when zooms were inferior to primes, but good zoom lenses -for many years now- have been equal (IQ wise) to primes at the corresponding focal lengths for all practical purposes.
02-08-2011, 11:18 PM   #6
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Phil1 – Thanks for the info. I will be looking into lens hood for the Vivitar. P.S. That Elicar is quite an “intimidating” looking lens.
M42man – I was fortunate enough to win the auction for that lens. It’s amazing that that particular Vivitar/Komine 28mm f2.8 CF/WA or the CF only both with “A” setting are somewhat rare even on ebay. It’s either nobody wants to sell theirs or I just didn’t have the correct search criteria. Thanks for the hyperfocal suggestion! I will definitely try that on my next outing.

Asahiflex – That’s was an interesting website. From one of the photos on that site, apparently there was a “Komin…ar” branded lens at one point.

Banjo – Thanks for the input. I agree 100%! Using a zoom lens to achieve the desired tight-framing of the subject is much preferable versus using a wide angle prime and PP, which consequently results in IQ degradation. One thing I’m trying to train myself out of is the “I can fix that in photoshop” attitude! I’d rather get the composition as right as possible from the beginning and use PP for dodging/burning. I shoot RAW+ by the way. As for a good zoom lens, make no mistake, the two lenses I have my eye on and probably my next purchase (for one of them) is either a DA* 16-50 or Tamron 17-50 f2.8 XR Di. A third choice would be the Sigma 17-50 EX DC.


Cheers!!!!
02-09-2011, 02:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
...Thanks for the hyperfocal suggestion! I will definitely try that on my next outing...


Cheers!!!!
Don't forget to be very conservative when setting the focus distance. In fact, I would recommend using the lens's DOF scale at 1 stop wider aperture than you've set. For instance, if you're operating at f11 (I wouldn't bother with f16, you'll lose resolution), I would adjust the focus distance such that infinity is aligned with the f8 marking.
02-09-2011, 02:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
To make a long story short: yes, Komine still exists. But the company is called "Nittoh Kogaku" in Japanese.

History?NITTOH FOCUS?NITTOH KOGAKU K.K.
Are you sure about that? I found this, which is why I ask.

02-09-2011, 04:07 PM   #9
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Mike I THINK Ashiflex means the Komine parent company has evolved and still exists. I don't THINK they have used the Komine name to market anything directly or indirectly since the mid-1980s or so. As pointed out the Kominar brand was marketed and you can find a few of those lenses around associated with Fujica and maybe a rare few more.

Just sorta guessing here. Maybe he can straighten us all out. The company history run down makes no mention of Komine or Kominar.

Last edited by Phil1; 02-09-2011 at 04:27 PM.
02-09-2011, 05:20 PM   #10
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The company was doing business in Tokyo as Komine, headed by President Komine, at the same time as Nitto Kogaku was doing business in Nagano. The site does mention Kominar lenses, so Nitto definitely made those. That doesn't answer the question of what happened to Komine. It may very well be that Nitto bought it and left it running as a subsidiary, then later killed the brand but kept on making products. The site doesn't say.
02-09-2011, 06:26 PM   #11
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But in any case have fun with your 28mm close focus!

And show us some shots.
02-09-2011, 09:29 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
And show us some shots
Yes, I sure will share some shots. I actually have two Komine 28mm copies. One is the (new to me) CF/WA with “A” setting and the other is full manual WA only. I’m tempted to put them head-to-head just to see if there will be any IQ difference. Cheers!!
02-10-2011, 02:24 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
Don't forget to be very conservative when setting the focus distance. In fact, I would recommend using the lens's DOF scale at 1 stop wider aperture than you've set. For instance, if you're operating at f11 (I wouldn't bother with f16, you'll lose resolution), I would adjust the focus distance such that infinity is aligned with the f8 marking.
IMHO a 1-stop adjustment is just adequate to compensate for the FF / APS-C difference. To be conservative here, use a 1.3-1.5 f-stop adjustment. So, with the aperture at f/11, set infinity to ~f/7, between the f/8-5.6 marks. This assumes that infinity sharpness is desired. If such is a *priority*, make a 2-stop adjustment: with an f/11 aperture, set infinity to the f/5.6 mark.
02-10-2011, 02:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
IMHO a 1-stop adjustment is just adequate to compensate for the FF / APS-C difference. To be conservative here, use a 1.3-1.5 f-stop adjustment. So, with the aperture at f/11, set infinity to ~f/7, between the f/8-5.6 marks. This assumes that infinity sharpness is desired. If such is a *priority*, make a 2-stop adjustment: with an f/11 aperture, set infinity to the f/5.6 mark.
Yes, I think that's very good advice, RR, sharp horizons are usually much more important than capturing detail in the extreme foreground.
02-12-2011, 10:58 AM   #15
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I steered to Kobori instead :)

A similar story it seems, as Kobori also made a series of Vivitar lenses plus a few Koboron models. I tested many mid-tele zooms a few months back and the winner was their 28-105 push-pull: solid, sharp and great contrast.

Anyone here know if Kobori was also merged with someone?
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