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08-02-2008, 07:57 AM   #1
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Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f3.5 problem

Hi all.

Looking for thoughts and advice.

I picked up a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f3.5 lens on ebay, for 27 (S/N 22118854). Seemed a decent price for a lens in "good condition". Initial test shot late last night was good, was feeling well pleased.

However, I took it to the park today for a proper test session on my K100DS. It would seem it has major focal issues - it loses infinity focus below 135mm. Above 135, it has the full focal range i think (certainly to infinity, and slightly beyond). But below 135 it becomes increasingly macro - I got a lovely shot of blades of grass less than 3 inches from the lens!

I am fairly sure this sounds like something "inside" has either broken or been fiddled with, but my experience is fairly limited therefore I'd value second opinions. In a similar vein, zooming in is notably easier prior to 135 and notably stiffer thereafter (but zooming out is more consistent).

Am also curious as to value for a broken lens, cost of repair, etc.

08-02-2008, 09:21 AM   #2
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MrA, I've owned 2 of these - the Vivitar S1 70-210 Ver 1. Never had any problems with either.

It almost sounds like someone took it apart (for cleaning maybe) and got one (or more) of the lens elements reversed. I had a different type lens serviced and the cost was around $75 USD, just to give you a ballpark figure.

If further testing proves out what your initial tests show maybe you can return it??? Good luck.
08-02-2008, 09:49 AM   #3
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Thanks ChipB.

I am indeed pondering a return, or at least a reduction on the price. I mean, it works at 210mm, but if an element is reversed, I'm not actually seeing what I should be seeing (ie its not really 210mm, or at least not at the expected quality, although I can't actually tell).

Either way, it needs someone to look at it which means spending money. Or, keeping it as a compromised lens - but its a bit bulky/heavy for me to be happy making it more specialist in terms of usage. Worst part is, it's the first version and made by Kiron, which I read is one of the more desirable examples.

Does anyone know if there drawings of the inner workings of these lenses published anywhere? Or is it one for Vivitar tech support archive?
08-02-2008, 11:53 AM   #4
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oh that variant of the vivitar Series 1 70-210/3.5 has a macro swtich that extends the barrel somewhat for close focusing ability. Rotate the macro ring back to its neutral setting and this might just be your problem solved!

08-02-2008, 12:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
Worst part is, it's the first version and made by Kiron, which I read is one of the more desirable examples.

I was under the impression that the version 3 f2/8-/4 made by Komine was the one to buy.
The Kiron to get is the Series 1 105mm macro
08-02-2008, 01:32 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
oh that variant of the vivitar Series 1 70-210/3.5 has a macro swtich that extends the barrel somewhat for close focusing ability. Rotate the macro ring back to its neutral setting and this might just be your problem solved!
Bingo. How foolish do I feel.

Seriously though, I'd not seen that setup before. There's a separate ring which you have to twist, between the aperture ring and the one-touch focus-zoom ring, which just looks like a fixed piece. I was thinking the macro button would let the focal ring itself twist further (and was broken, since it didn't). But no, in fact you have the same rotation to the focal ring, gaining one end of the scale in effect but losing at the other. As you say, physically extending the barrel.

Whoever had it last on a camera had left it in macro mode.

Fantastic. Easy when you know how. Well, it's dark now, but I know what I'm doing tomorrow!!



QuoteQuote:
I was under the impression that the version 3 f2/8-/4 made by Komine was the one to buy.
You may be right, my memory's far from perfect.

Last edited by MrA; 08-02-2008 at 02:00 PM.
08-03-2008, 07:02 AM   #7
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Just a follow-up, to say thanks, and that now we've resolved this, I thought a few images from this morning's casual test session might be appreciated. All were at about f4.5-5.6.

Flag (210mm)


Wet city street in the sunshine (no prizes for guessing the city I'm afraid). 70mm


Same scene, 210mm


Then at the park. Ducks on the pond. 210mm


Heron. 210mm (seems soft, aperture probably, or slight misfocus)
08-03-2008, 08:36 AM   #8
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The best Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 is the Komine f/2.8-4.0 version which are not sold very often. The people that sell the 70-210 on ebay usually don't show good enough photo's to see if it's the Komine. So Good Luck

08-03-2008, 09:45 AM   #9
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In this case I knew I was getting the 1st version, because they quoted a 67mm filter thread (though as you say, not much more info than that). I count myself lucky to have this one though, student budget and all!
08-03-2008, 10:29 AM   #10
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I've got one of the ORIGINAL ones...make by Kiron...!

Dear MrA in the UK...

Dave "The PIPE" Here....and while I'm STILL trying to save up money to get myself a new Sigma 135-400 telephoto lens that I could use on BOTH my old, 1980 vintage "film burner" K1000SE (complete with the BROWN vinyl cladding on the body, and a combination split-image center/prismatic "ring" focusing target in the viewfinder)...AND my own K100D digital, purchased just over a year ago, I've already tried using MY own Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm zoom telephoto lens on my K100D, which gets "boosted" up to roughly a 105-315mm unit on the K100D from the usual APS-C "crop factor" that such a digital camera main sensor creates.

My model of the Vivitar is the "original" one, made by Kiron, that you can see at Mark Roberts' site at Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 Macro Zooms - Mark Roberts Photography ...in a photo there, right AT the top of the page, you'll see the FIVE different versions of the lens that were produced...and the one furthest left in that photo, with the distinctive STRAIGHT "lines" (NOT "parabolic arcs") showing, I believe, "depth of view" corrections, IS the exact same model as the one that I got a good many years ago from KEH.com here in the USA.

Some photos that I took with it (my shutterbug weakness IS for antique "aviation") were for my German buddy, Jens Klank, which you can see at his site at Luftfahrt Fotostrecken auf Biplanes.de - Die Oldtimer Community in Deutschland (that is, NOT the "last three" that were taken, AFTER a mishap a few years ago with that repro aircraft)...the lens that preceded it on my film burner, a fixed focal length Pentax-M f/4 200mm lens, took a photo that's here on PentaxForums.com, at User Photo Gallery - Machines and Vehicles ...and of ALL the photos my old film burner ever took of antique aircraft, THAT one of a Sopwith Camel reproduction doing about a 40 climbout on takeoff is one of the BEST ones I've ever remembered getting!!!!

I'll be heading out to where that Camel AND Avro live, Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, on the first full weekend of September this year, when my Radio Control flying acquaintances will also be there, for the entire weekend...AND since I don't YET have the cash to get the Sigma 135-400 lens, I'll just give the Vivitar Series One a chance to snag a few spectacular photos with my K100D. Of course, where everything will be MANUAL on that older lens, withOUT an "A" position on there, all metering will HAVE to be using the "AE-L" button in the usual manner (the fancier Pentax K10D digital SLR camera has a "green" button that does the same thing)...but still, having the "extra 105mm" focal length with the smaller sensor size (compared to a 35mm film frame's dimensions) while using the Vivitar on my K100D should help get a goodly number of nice photos.

Just HOPING that I can get the cash together for the Sigma 135-400 K-mount DG series lens by Holiday-time...but I AM eager to see HOW well the Vivitar and K100D work out at Old Rhinebeck in about a month!

A photo of my Vivitar lens exists at http://tech.ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/pentax_istd/photos/view/3e6c?b=2&m=f&o=0 ....I'm trying to get photos OF my gear up and viewable here through the Yahoo Pentax *istD forum, which IS also for the later K-series digitals.

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE!

Last edited by The PIPE; 08-09-2008 at 10:38 AM.
08-03-2008, 10:46 AM   #11
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Here is the one I bought, I made him an offer which was accepted and it is on it's way as I type. I would say its the V3 Komine one from the look of the focus grip and the Aperture.

As for a 135-400mm Sigma APO DG, just picked one of those up a few weeks ago off Ebay ... not too sure if I am keeping it to be honest.
08-03-2008, 11:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrA Quote
In this case I knew I was getting the 1st version, because they quoted a 67mm filter thread (though as you say, not much more info than that). I count myself lucky to have this one though, student budget and all!
For a long time my everyday kit was a Ricoh TLS, Ricoh 55mm 1.4, Vivitar 24mm 2.8 and the same Vivitar S1 70-210. I was never displeased with the results from the zoom as long as I did my part and used good technique. Enjoy the lens and keep your eyes open for the Vivitar 67mm clamp on lens hood that goes with the lens.
08-03-2008, 02:42 PM   #13
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Thats the best of the bunch Mike P. Someone talked me out of the 135-400mm Sigma APO DG. said it wasn't very good past 300mm. So I'm going with the SMCA* 300 and maybe a 55-300 for x-mas.

Last edited by Fl_Gulfer; 08-03-2008 at 02:48 PM.
08-03-2008, 03:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fl_Gulfer Quote
Thats the best of the bunch Mike P. Someone talked me out of the 135-400mm Sigma APO DG. said it wasn't very good past 300mm. So I'm going with the SMCA* 300 and maybe a 55-300 for x-mas.
Not too bad for $80 delivered I reckon

Yes, Im not too sure about the 135-400mm, the jury is still out on that one.
I may keep it until the DA*60-250mm is released and then sell it to put towards the Pentax lens. Have also thought about the 55-300mm but up until 300mm the Sigma seems as good and it cost me the same so the extra 100mm may come in handy some time....
08-03-2008, 08:38 PM   #15
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I caught the Vivitar bug early on too and ended off with the 2nd variant made by Tokina. Never did get the oppurtunity to get the 1st version.

I've ended up with too many overlapping telezooms in that range to justify it anymore.
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