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08-14-2008, 02:14 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Vivitar 28mm As FA31mm Replacement?

Everyone wants a fast lens with the beautiful image of the FA31 but not everyone can afford that lens. Is there some lost glass from the past that can replace the FA31, at lower cost?

The first option is the FA35 f/2.0, and there are several threads around the net comparing the lenses.

But I thought I'd try to find something even cheaper and started my search with Vivitar, since I've been more than happy with their older products. There was a time that they branded some very nice glass. But it's confusing for sure deciphering their many different products.

So, I went out to eBay and purchased four different 28mm manual focus lenses. I chose this focal length as it becomes the perfect normal on APS-C sensors. This field of view is perfect for street scenes, candids, group portraiture, landscapes and more.

Here are the lenses:

1. Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 [Tokina made, M42 mount]
2. Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle 28mm f/2.8 [Tokina made, TX mount]
3. Vivitar Close Focus Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 [manufacturer unknown, K-mount]
3. Vivitar Wide Angle MC 28mm f/2.8 [Komine made, K-mount]

My aim is to test all four of these side by side. So far I'm in receipt of the last one but expect all within a week.

Being in Europe these four lenses cost me a total of 230... shipping can be brutal. (I did get two useless pieces of glass in the bundle.) Here's where you come in. Anyone want to donate to the cause? My blog has a PayPal button for this purpose. You can be sure that I'm not trying to make any money here... just defray costs.

I would also like to baseline the Vivitars against a typical Pentax brand lens, aside from the FA31 (which I do not own). Perhaps the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f/2 or SMC Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8. But as I'm over budget I'm unable to obtain more lenses... for now.

This thread will grow as lenses arrive. Number 2 is here already and has been displayed in the thread Anyone Use TX Mount Lenses?.

Soon we will find the FA31 killer... or will we?

08-14-2008, 02:43 PM   #2
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one good non-Pentax alternative is the Sigma 28 1.8. a while back i read something on dpreview where someone made the comment that they missed their 28 after selling the FA31. don't remember who this is, but still a comment that i remember. there's also the Zeiss primes lenses that float around ~20 to 35mm and those cost more so not exactly a "killer".

i'm a bit miffed that you spent 230 euros on some old 28mm's when that money could get you an FA35. however, it does seem to be a very noble cause and i'm certainly interested to see which is best, it is confusing with all the Vivitar 28's and there's no Mark Roberts page to help sort them out like the 70-210.

i find it entertaining how everybody wants to knock off the FA31 :P ... although i really like mine, i haven't been using it much, but i know that when i need the versatility and quality, i have no doubts using it.

good luck robin
08-14-2008, 03:13 PM   #3
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I have the f2.8 28mm close focus, and it can be stunning...

I am just editing some images from a 2 day trip to the stormy English coast, so I'll post one in a few minutes showing the lens

cheers

Dave
08-14-2008, 03:27 PM   #4
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This will be interesing, I'm keen to hear about the Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 as I want to get one.

08-14-2008, 03:47 PM   #5
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I have the F2.0 close focus, made by Komine (serial no. 28xxxxx).

I got it just as a cheap fast lens, for the odd occasion when the kit is not fast enough for natural light photos. 30 from a local camera shop - passed off as a Pentax mount, but it's actually a Ricoh mount, with the "P" setting where the F16 position would normally be.

I have found that at F2.0, it's not that good (wicked PF), which rather defeats the object of getting it in the first place; but it's OK at F2.8, and appears to be very good at F4 or smaller. However, I have no experience of any other, more expensive prime, to compare it with.

Although it's a MF lens, for any reasonably distant subject, the infinity setting on the lens is spot on, which makes focussing easy. It also tends to underexpose a bit on the K100D, but that might have something to with with the fact that it defaults to center-weighted rather than matrix metering with a manual lens.

I look forward to seeing your conclusions in due course.

Aidan
08-14-2008, 04:02 PM   #6
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Vivitar Wide Angle lens

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
1. Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 [Tokina made, M42 mount]
2. Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle 28mm f/2.8 [Tokina made, TX mount]
3. Vivitar Close Focus Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 [manufacturer unknown, K-mount]
3. Vivitar Wide Angle MC 28mm f/2.8 [Komine made, K-mount]
At one time in the past I owned a K-mount Vivitar Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 (Kiron). Members of the Yahoo Vivitar Group raved about the lens and before I ahd a chance to really use it I accepted an offer and sold it off. As I recall it was in the $75 range then.
08-14-2008, 04:33 PM   #7
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a pic from viv 28mm f2.8 close focus

this lens is rapidly becoming my favourite
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08-14-2008, 04:35 PM   #8
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the above post has lost an awful lot of detail in the compression/uploading...the original file is tack sharp.

08-14-2008, 04:50 PM   #9
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and another...

shot handheld, in the original you can individual grains of sand when viewed at 100%
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08-14-2008, 05:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i'm a bit miffed that you spent 230 euros on some old 28mm's when that money could get you an FA35.
He he. Well, it is four different lenses (plus two junkers) so that's about 55 euros each. And actually just one of them cost a significant amount, so it's not so bad. Oh, and I bought a DA35 Limited. Does that count?

QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
however, it does seem to be a very noble cause and i'm certainly interested to see which is best, it is confusing with all the Vivitar 28's and there's no Mark Roberts page to help sort them out like the 70-210.
I am not sure I have as much expertise but for some reason got it into my head to try.

QuoteOriginally posted by davebris33 Quote
I have the f2.8 28mm close focus, and it can be stunning...
I have seen some of the shots from this lens on the forum and look forward to yours.

QuoteOriginally posted by figmental1978 Quote
This will be interesing, I'm keen to hear about the Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 as I want to get one.
That was the expensive one.

QuoteOriginally posted by MrTea Quote
I have the F2.0 close focus, made by Komine (serial no. 28xxxxx).
I will have to see if mine is a Komine.

Though I do not own the FA31 I do have the FA43 and FA77, so I can use their rendering as a point of comparison.

QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
At one time in the past I owned a K-mount Vivitar Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 (Kiron).
This is a different lens than any of my four. Here's a list of all known variants. I will be clarifying and expanding this list. I've marked the ones I'll be getting.

TX mount:
* Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle 28mm f/2.8 [Tokina]

M42 mount:
* Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 [Tokina]
Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 [Komine]
Vivitar Close Focus Wide Angle 28mm f/2 [Komine]
Vivitar 28mm f/2.5

K-mount:
? Vivitar Auto Wide Angle Close Focus 28mm f/2.0 [Kiron]
? Vivitar Auto Wide Angle Close Focus 28mm f/2.0 [Komine]
Vivitar Close Focus 28mm f/2.8 [Komine]
* Vivitar Wide Angle MC 28mm f/2.8 [Komine]
Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 [Cosina]
08-14-2008, 05:21 PM   #11
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If you already have the DA 35mm macro, why bother looking at the FA 31?
In terms of FOV they are very close.

Unless of course the irreverent reasons are:
a) you don't mind plonking down the money
b) pride of ownership
c) you want to complete you FA Limited collection
d) you need a lens with aspherical construction
e) you need the wider aperture
f) you want to follow everybody and lust after the same thing
g) you need a lens with FF image circle (future proof)
h) you don't want a lens assembled in Vietnam
i) you want a different colour option (silver/black)

08-14-2008, 05:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
1. Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 [Tokina made, M42 mount]
2. Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle 28mm f/2.8 [Tokina made, TX mount]
3. Vivitar Close Focus Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 [manufacturer unknown, K-mount]
4. Vivitar Wide Angle MC 28mm f/2.8 [Komine made, K-mount]

TX mount:
* Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle 28mm f/2.8 [Tokina]

M42 mount:
* Vivitar Series 1 Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/1.9 [Tokina]
Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 [Komine]
Vivitar Close Focus Wide Angle 28mm f/2 [Komine]
Vivitar 28mm f/2.5

K-mount:
? Vivitar Auto Wide Angle Close Focus 28mm f/2.0 [Kiron]
? Vivitar Auto Wide Angle Close Focus 28mm f/2.0 [Komine]
Vivitar Close Focus 28mm f/2.8 [Komine]
* Vivitar Wide Angle MC 28mm f/2.8 [Komine]
Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 [Cosina]

I would like to offer use of a pair of my Vivitars for your comparison. It appears neither is on the list...

Vivitar (Kiron) Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 (not Close Focus)
Vivitar Korean made 28mm f/2.8 with auto aperture

Let me know if you'd like me to ship them over.
08-14-2008, 06:24 PM   #13
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Robin, is one of the ones you're getting This one?
08-15-2008, 07:40 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Robin, is one of the ones you're getting This one?
Just arrived today is that exact lens but f/2.0 instead of f/2.8.

Yes indeed, I think this one is kind of hard to find.
08-15-2008, 07:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TourDeForce Quote
I would like to offer use of a pair of my Vivitars for your comparison. It appears neither is on the list...

Vivitar (Kiron) Auto Wide Angle 28mm f/2.0 (not Close Focus)
Vivitar Korean made 28mm f/2.8 with auto aperture
Thanks for the offer! I was just reading your post in the close focus thread since it contains one of the few references to a lens that just arrived at my door:

"Many Vivitar 28/2s are advertised, but fewer than 1 in 20 are advertised as close focus, so I assume that the close focus version proudly states its capability in the etched letters. The CF model is regarded as a far superior lens, arguably worthy of the Series 1 name." - Paul Stregevsky

But back to your lenses...

Could you provide the exact front rim markings? I can then better compare to my list, which is becoming more definitive all the time.
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