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01-24-2014, 08:32 PM   #1
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Is Vivitar 135 mm 2.8 M42 a radioactive lens ?

I want to buy it and I want a safe lens. A guy from a local store , said that this lens contains Thorium and that it is radioactive , thats why it gives such colors and sharpness. Is this lens better than Pentacon 135 mm 2.8 , 6 blades version ? I know the 15 blades is better than this Vivitar , but is very expensive. I really want a very sharp wide open lens , good colors , without thorium.Also the Vivitar that I want to buy , has slight scratches on the lens. I tooked some pictures and they don't appear in them.Thank you and please tell me if Vivitar 135 2.8 and Pentacon 135 2.8 6 blades or 15 blades, contains Thorium or any other radioactive coating.

01-24-2014, 08:44 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheOldestVampire Quote
I want to buy it and I want a safe lens. A guy from a local store , said that this lens contains Thorium and that it is radioactive , thats why it gives such colors and sharpness. Is this lens better than Pentacon 135 mm 2.8 , 6 blades version ? I know the 15 blades is better than this Vivitar , but is very expensive. I really want a very sharp wide open lens , good colors , without thorium.Also the Vivitar that I want to buy , has slight scratches on the lens. I tooked some pictures and they don't appear in them.Thank you and please tell me if Vivitar 135 2.8 and Pentacon 135 2.8 6 blades or 15 blades, contains Thorium or any other radioactive coating.
A) "Radioactive" lenses are not dangerous to you any more than bananas are (also radioactive). This is way overblown -- such lenses are perfectly safe.

B) Anybody that tells you that thorium is the cause of good colors and sharpness is an idiot or a BS artist. (Not that it causes dull colors or unsharpness either.)

C) There are a million different Vivitar 135/2.8s. None have thorium that I know of, but there may be some -- at least I haven't seen any exhibit the type of yellowing that thorium usually causes.

D) Any of these old lenses are going to have noticeable aberrations, especially wide-open, on digital cameras. That said, most of them are decent and will be quite sharp stopped down a couple stops. Frankly it sounds like you're new to it all, so I'd stick with the cheapest options until you gain some experience. And don't get conned -- you shouldn't spend more than $20 or so at the most of any old Vivitar 135/2.8 in m42. The Pentacon 6 blade version shouldn't be all that much either. The Pentacon or Meyer-Optik 15-blade preset will typically be $80-$120, however...
01-24-2014, 10:02 PM   #3
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The guy at the store could be right, there were plenty of lenses with Thorium glass. Camerapedia has a list of commonly known ones.
Radioactive lenses - Camerapedia
Notice that most are of shorter focal lengths where the curvature of the surfaces made the properties of the Thorium beneficial. My guess is that a 135mm lens is unlikely to use it.
01-25-2014, 10:30 AM   #4
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I would think it highly unlikely that the Vivitar 135/2.8 is radioactive. As noted above, the thoriated glass was mostly used on fast lenses at shorter focal lengths. As for the Viv, I like my copy and can recommend it.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 01-25-2014 at 04:00 PM.
01-25-2014, 02:12 PM   #5
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If you buy it, you need one of these:



01-25-2014, 04:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
There are a million different Vivitar 135/2.8s
Not quite. I think most were made by a relatively small number of contract suppliers. Mine was made by Komine. A quick survey on eBay resulted in:

Komine (ser # 28...)
Tokina (ser # 37...)
Kino(Kiron) (ser # 22...)

...with most being Komine or Tokina made. These lenses are incredibly common and if radiation were present, you can be sure that it would be widely known.

I would suggest doing a Google search for "radioactive Vivitar". There at least one known "hot" lenses for the brand (28mm f/1.9), but no 135mm focal length that I was able to find.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-25-2014 at 04:33 PM.
01-25-2014, 04:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Not quite. I think most were made by a relatively small number of contract suppliers. Mine was made by Komine. A quick survey on eBay resulted in:

Komine (ser # 28...)
Tokina (ser # 37...)
Kino(Kiron) (ser # 22...)

...with most being Komine or Tokina made. These lenses are incredibly common and if radiation were present, you can be sure that it would be widely known.

I would suggest doing a Google search for "radioactive Vivitar". There at least one known "hot" lenses for the brand (28mm f/1.9), but no 135mm focal length that I was able to find.
Yes, but they've got earlier "bright band" models (at least two variants), presets even (although I think most of those are t-mounts). "Million" was an exaggeration, but I can think of at least 4 or 5 off the top of my head. The Komine one is very common, and it is pretty good...
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