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08-15-2011, 12:19 AM   #1
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Vivitar or Tokina 19-35 mm?

I've read the database reviews. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference between these two -- although the Vivitar is not the same version as the review.

I keep putting this project of finding a wide zoom off; partly due to lack of time & having other things to do, partly due to not being able to decide what I should get, partly due to some of the lenses I was watching being sold before I decided to buy, while looking for advice here & elsewhere. I do tend to research things to death before buying, probably wasting a lot of time.

Currently the 2 options I'm considering are:
Tokina AF 19-35mm f3.5-4.5
Vivitar Promaster 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 Series 1

The Vivitar is new in box; the Tokina is about $40 more & used in excellent condition.
I wonder about the quality of Vivitar, as I've had a couple of other Vivitar products that weren't the best quality (small cameras, & yes, I know that is a different thing). And given a very low price, I wonder if it's a case of 'get what you pay for' which isn't much. Also its various incarnations, Phoenix/Promaster/whatever are a bit confusing, as I've got the impression the quality isn't always consistent.
The Tokina vendor says it's a "quite heavy" lens & can be a bit "unbalanced" on a K1000. ???? According to the specs these 2 are about the same weight anyway, & the reviews suggest they are 'lightweight'.
And, yes, I have looked for a bunch of the many other lenses people have recommended in response to questions like this... that just adds to the confusion... I think I've got it narrowed down & then a bunch of other possibilities are suggested.
I wind up wasting a lot of time hunting around online, then give it up for a while. I was hoping to find something before the summer is over.
So, does anyone have any advice about these specific 2 lenses?
Thank you for any help!


08-15-2011, 01:35 AM   #2
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The Vivitar is a Cosina made lens. It's ok, but is cheaply made and feels it. Mine wouldn't open up to max aperture, only as far as f5.6. It was definitely soft in the corners, but the majority of the frame was acceptably sharp.

It's not a heavy lens but it is Pretty big. 77mm filter thread, vignettes with P series filters unless you do a fair bit of hacking about to the filter holder.

Worth buying cheap secondhand, but that's it.

Some shots:











08-15-2011, 03:55 AM   #3
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Back in the film era I researched the market for a 19-35 lens and ended up with a Tokina after deciding it was the better value for money lens even though it cost a bit more than other cheap alternatives. It was an excellent lens and I never regretted the purchase.

Crappy scan off film below (taken with an over-exposing Pentax K2-DMD):
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Last edited by Spock; 08-15-2011 at 04:01 AM.
08-15-2011, 06:15 AM   #4
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I don't know which is better but I have and enjoy the Tokina. I think I recall that the Tokina was the better of the two. While it's big, it's light
Here is one I really like from this lens.



And I have a few more on my flickr site:
Flickr: blackcloudbrew's stuff tagged with tokina1935

08-15-2011, 06:24 AM   #5
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The Tok's pretty damn good. 19mm is slightly optimistic, though - I believe it was reissued as the 20-35mm later on. I'd believe that, as the extreme edges fall off rapidly. Some samples:





08-15-2011, 08:45 AM   #6
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Yes, I'll give you that on the 19mm end. Wasn't the Tokina dubed the plastic fantastic at one point? I think that's what interested me in it to begin with.
08-15-2011, 11:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for the quick replies. I have ordered the Tokina. Wheeeeee!
I can't believe how long I've been screwing around trying to figure out what to get.
Fingers crossed & hoping it will be nice.
08-15-2011, 02:09 PM   #8
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I bought the Tokina for my daughter and have handled the Vivitar/Promaster. Despite conventional wisdom on the topic, I have my doubts that they are the same lens. The specs are similar, but the build is not. The Tokina is robust with a very positive feel. The Viv/Promaster...not so much.

As for weight...I have often felt a little guilty about gifting the Tokina (paired with a Tamron 28-200) to my daughter with her K10D back in 2007. It is so much more of a burden than the Pentax 18-55 kit. Better performance at the wide end, but a burden, none-the-less. All that being said, the Tokina has proven to be tough and has traveled on extensive tours to Antarctica, India, Thailand, a full-month's float through the Grand Canyon, and most recently a tour of China.

Highly recommended, particularly if you need FF to swap onto your film camera!


Steve

08-16-2011, 06:12 AM   #9
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Yeah, should've mentioned the build quality.

As steve and BCB have pointed out, the Tok is solid. Very, very well made for a supposedly "budget" lens. Feels solid.

The lens mount is metal, as is the barrel...but, ingeniously, in my opinion, the filter ring is plastic. In my mind this is great, as the force it takes to actually crack plastic is much, MUCH great than what it takes to bend or dent or warp brass or aluminium. Trust me on this.

The front element is non-rotating...but that doesn't matter at all with this lens. The front element isn't actually attached to the filter ring. It's in its own barrel that moves within the outer barrel (where the filter ring is,) which makes the filters non-rotating.

The focusing ring, for use on a non-AF camera, is surprising smooth and well-damped. Sure, there's a bit of ratcheting from the drive system, naturally, but it's consisent, very smooth, and it's not so loose you have to tense your fingers to cramping point to do fine adjustments, like I have to do with many low-end AF lens. Half the time I keep forgetting it's actually an AF lens.

It's a nice lens, shame about the edges, but meh - either crop it, or zoom in just a fraction. Really, I do believe that it really is a 20-35mm lens, not a true 19. In fact, the 20-35mm version looks exactly the same on the outside as the 19-35mm (and I do remember seeing both lenses' formulas and they were identical,) which leads me to believe Tokina merely corrected their overconfidence and rebadged the 19 as a 20, rather than make a whole new lens.

It's still pretty damn good. I bought it brand new and it was the best $50 I spent.
08-16-2011, 10:30 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
...very smooth, and it's not so loose you have to tense your fingers to cramping point to do fine adjustments, like I have to do with many low-end AF lens. Half the time I keep forgetting it's actually an AF lens.
Ohhh... duh. That's why 2 of my current lenses are so hair-trigger focus; they are AF.
What's "FF"??
08-16-2011, 02:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alliecat Quote
What's "FF"??
"FF" = Covers the full frame for 35mm film or full-frame dSLR (other than Pentax-brand )). Non-FF lenses (e.g. most Pentax-DA series) are designed for the smaller APS-C format and will vignette if used on a 35mm film body.


Steve
08-17-2011, 11:15 AM   #12
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Thanks!
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