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02-08-2013, 06:27 AM   #1

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K135/2.5 vs Vivitar Series 1 135mm/f2.3


I plan to get 135mm and so far the plan is to get Pentax SMC K135/f2.5 (58mm thread version, non Bayonet). However, I was offered VS1 135mm f2.3 M42 for a very good price (around $150) and while I am interested, I am unable to find significant reviews of that lens.

Any idea how is VS1 135mm/f2.3 and how it compares to Pentax version both in IQ and size.


02-08-2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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There is some information here:

The later Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1:2.5 135mm, part number 43812, is pretty much the same as the K135/2.5, possibly a slight evolution in coatings for the K and somehow heavier.

I have no experience with the Vivitar Series one, but two other Vivitar 135mm lenses I tried were almost as sharp as the K135/2.5. They were the common Komine-built 135/2.8 in M42 mount and the Tokina-built 135/2.5 in a TX mount. The TX system is harder to get mounts for, maybe not worth it for you in India. The Pentax was better at flare resistance, theKomine was OK and the Tokina not that good.

The price for the Series 1 sounds like it's worth trying yourself. A 72mm filter sounds too big for me, for not-quite-1/3-stop better than the Pentax.
02-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #3
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Vivitar was a superb lens designer that outsourced its manufacturing to various contract spec. lens houses, until late in its corporate existence it became simply a badge and patent house owned by a financial investor.

The following table is from Mark Roberts' Pentax Equipment pages and reposts information gathered in the late 90's by various Pentax enthusiasts. One can perhaps assume that the Serial # of your M42 Vivitar Series 1 lens would follow the numbering convention. IIRC the Perkin Elmer (Catadioptric or mirror lenses) Kiron and Komine manufactured lenses were the ones to look for. That's certainly true of the specific zooms referenced and of the S1 105/2.5 Macro. Hope this is helpful to you.

The 1st two digits (or first one digit, in the case of 6 or 9) designate the manufacturer:
6 Olympus
9 Cosina
13 Schneider Optik
22 Kino Precision (Kiron)
25 Ozone Optical
28 Komine Co. Ltd
32 Makinon
33 Asanuma (Tokina)
37 Tokina
42 Bauer
44 Perkin Elmer (US)
47 Chinon
51 Tokyo Trading
56 Kyoe Schoji
75 Hoya Optical
81 Polar
The next three digits designate the year and week of manufacture. One digit for the year and two digits (01 through 52) for the week. Obviously, designating the year with a single digit doesn't allow you to differentiate between, say, 1978 and 1988, so you have to infer the decade of manufacture from other evidence (such as when, where and how you acquired the lens, what documentation came with it and the physical appearance of the lens). The remaining digits indicate the manufacturing serial number.

Last edited by monochrome; 02-08-2013 at 01:00 PM.

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