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05-01-2017, 09:30 AM   #1
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Vivitar f1.9 28mm lens

Been following Pentax gear on UK eBay, and noticed this lens. Is there any visible difference between f1.9 and f2, or is it a cunning marketing ploy ? I've looked at the previous thread concerning this lens, and while many people seem to be in favour of it, there is no mention of the actual difference between f1.9 and f2.

05-01-2017, 09:48 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilmfan Quote
Been following Pentax gear on UK eBay, and noticed this lens. Is there any visible difference between f1.9 and f2, or is it a cunning marketing ploy ? I've looked at the previous thread concerning this lens, and while many people seem to be in favour of it, there is no mention of the actual difference between f1.9 and f2.

I suspect that the VS1 28/1.9 is indeed f/1.9 in max aperture. However, at the same time, the difference between f/1.9 and f/2 is pretty small, and the main reason for Vivitar specifying f/1.9 for the lens might indeed be marketing. A couple of the other initial VS1 lenses were the 135/2.3 and the 200/3, both of which had odd max aperture figures.

[Pentax was unlikely to have been first with unusual specs for its first Limited lens, for example - the FA 43/1.9, unusual for both FL and aperture -- in fact, some might argue that the ol' K 30/2.8, with its oh-so-close-to-28 FL, was somewhat of a marketing move...]

[Just my two f-stops worth...]
05-01-2017, 09:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
the main reason for Vivitar specifying f/1.9 for the lens might indeed be marketing
Thanks, Fred, that's what I thunk. Can't afford it anyway (it's more than I paid for my K20D !). On my first-ever SLR (Praktica Nova 1) I had a Meritar f2.9 50mm lens, which I always felt was unusual - particularly since wide open it did not perform well !
05-01-2017, 10:08 AM   #4
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They seem to be different lenses (see Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2 Lens Reviews versus Vivitar Series 1 (Tokina 37xxxxx) 28mm F1.9 VMC Lens Reviews )

The f/1.9 does have an unusual design in which the front element moves slightly outward as the lens approaches minimum focus distance (MFD). And if the PF reviews are representative, the f/1.9 gets slightly better ratings. I've got an M42 version of the f/1.9 which I like but must admit is soft at the edges wide open.

Of course, Vivitar has been known to have multiple variants of there lenses depending on which lens maker they outsourced to so there may be variations in performance of different copies.

05-01-2017, 12:07 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
They seem to be different lenses

There are indeed a bunch of Vivitar 28mm lenses - Great Vivitar 28mm Bestiary
05-02-2017, 01:31 AM   #6
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Thanks, Fred - a most interesting read.
05-02-2017, 07:47 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Of course, Vivitar has been known to have multiple variants of there lenses depending on which lens maker they outsourced to so there may be variations in performance of different copies.

Actually, as far as I know, there is only one single Vivitar lens design that was made by two different manufacturers, the VS1 200/3.5 Auto Focus Telephoto, which was made (probably initially) by Komine (SN 28...) and (probably afterward) by Cosina (SN 09...). While there are indeed many other similar-spec;d pairs and groups of Vivitar lenses (as, for example, with the huge number of 28/2.8 versions), they are all distinctly different lenses (physically, mechanically, and/or optically, etc.). Or, while the Komine 28/2 CF and the Kiron 28/2 are both very nice lenses, they are very different lenses. But the two VS1 200/3.5 Auto Focus Telephoto versions are really the same lens design in practically all respects. [If I'm wrong, and there are other Vivitar "different maker twins" out there, I'd appreciate learning of them.]

05-02-2017, 08:43 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote
Actually, as far as I know, there is only one single Vivitar lens design that was made by two different manufacturers, the VS1 200/3.5 Auto Focus Telephoto, which was made (probably initially) by Komine (SN 28...) and (probably afterward) by Cosina (SN 09...). While there are indeed many other similar-spec;d pairs and groups of Vivitar lenses (as, for example, with the huge number of 28/2.8 versions), they are all distinctly different lenses (physically, mechanically, and/or optically, etc.). Or, while the Komine 28/2 CF and the Kiron 28/2 are both very nice lenses, they are very different lenses. But the two VS1 200/3.5 Auto Focus Telephoto versions are really the same lens design in practically all respects. [If I'm wrong, and there are other Vivitar "different maker twins" out there, I'd appreciate learning of them.]
Interesting! You are, no doubt, a better Vivitar taxonomist than I! Glancing through the PF lens database certainly shows that Vivitar used Komine, Cosina, Kiron, and Tokina at various times for various lenses.

As someone with an engineering and business background, I'd actually be surprised by the existence of exact twins because every contract manufacturer would have their own preferred materials, manufacturing tricks, paints, etc. that create slight differences in product properties that aren't strictly set by Vivitar's specification. Moreover, changing fashions or cost-ctting would push Vivitar to tweak the design each time the switch manufacturers.

Whether two lenses of the same focal length and aperture are twins hinges on how closely one looks at the exact wording of the name plate, serial number ranges, colors of lettering on the focus ring, number of aperture blades, etc.

But if all one has is a fuzzy eBay, Craigslist, or Goodwill photo, then many Vivitar lenses might look alike even if they are very different.

05-02-2017, 04:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Glancing through the PF lens database certainly shows that Vivitar used Komine, Cosina, Kiron, and Tokina at various times for various lenses.

See the Vivitar Lens Manufactuers serial numbers key for a considerably longer list, for the approximate two decades of circa 1970 to circa 1990.

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
As someone with an engineering and business background, I'd actually be surprised by the existence of exact twins because every contract manufacturer would have their own preferred materials, manufacturing tricks, paints, etc. that create slight differences in product properties that aren't strictly set by Vivitar's specification. Moreover, changing fashions or cost-ctting would push Vivitar to tweak the design each time the switch manufacturers.

Understood. In the case of the VS1 200/3.5 Auto Focus Telephoto, though, I have an actual copy of each version (Komine and Cosina), and they do seem virtually identical. [I do see just a bit of VMC color difference, however (which you can probably see in my side-by-side photo), but I'd be hard-pressed to point out any other significant difference.]

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Whether two lenses of the same focal length and aperture are twins hinges on how closely one looks at the exact wording of the name plate, serial number ranges, colors of lettering on the focus ring, number of aperture blades, etc. But if all one has is a fuzzy eBay, Craigslist, or Goodwill photo, then many Vivitar lenses might look alike even if they are very different.

This may be especially true with people using incorrect photos themselves, or with eBay "foisting" similar but not always correct "canned" photos and descriptions on sellers when listing.

Last edited by fwcetus; 05-02-2017 at 05:01 PM.
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