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02-20-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
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New Arrivals: Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42) (First of three)

In a recent flurry of LBA/CBA, I became the proud new owner of four lenses:
  • Auto Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42)
  • XR Rikenon 50/2 (2 copies) (Review Here)
  • Auto Mamiya/Sekor 55/1.8 (M42) (Review Here)
The Mamiya/Sekor and one the Rikenons came attached to camera bodies. The second Rikenon was purchased based on my positive impressions of the first with the intent that it would be paired with my other Ricoh body. The Vivitar was an impulse purchase fueled by Gus' (Igilligan) acquisition of a similar, though somewhat newer lens and his beautiful initial shots. (You can see his impressive work here.)

So, true to my normal pattern, I decided to share my impressions of all four lenses in three installments. First in line is the Vivitar...

Auto Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42)
I found this lens at Knight's Camera Repair here in Vancouver, USA along with two other similar models. This one stood out on account of the bright red lettering on the "meters" scale (the others had green). I was taken by its sturdy good looks and extra clean condition and gladly parted with $30 to make it mine.

According to the serial number, the lens was most likely manufactured by Komine in March, 1971. As you can see from the picture below, it bears a strong resemblance to lenses in the current Zeiss lineup.



The build quality is quite good and all controls feel precise and smooth, though the focus is a little stiff for my taste. The lens handles well enough on the K10D, but really feels at home on my film bodies of the same era (Singlex TLS and Mamiya 1000 DTL). The sun came out last weekend and I was able to get out and take a few shots. Nothing as nice as Gus', but still enough to get a feel for what the lens can do.

First is just a general shot of some bee hives:


Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42), K10D f/8 ISO 200

And a 100% crop of the same image:



Next, I tried to coax some flare, CA or Purple Fringing. This was the closest I got:


Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42), K10D f/8 ISO 200

As you can see, there is moderate red/cyan CA at the out-of-focus margins.

And finally, here an example of the worst bokeh I could generate:


Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42), K10D f/5.6 ISO 200

The bokeh is a little busy at worst, but is generally not too bad.

In Summary:
I am pretty impressed with this lens. It is very well-made and performs nicely. Both contrast and sharpness are very good (maybe even excellent) and it is resistant to both flare and CA (no PF either). The bokeh is so-so at moderate apertures, but may be better wide-open. (I will post a follow-up later with some wide aperture shots.)

If a person is interested in this focal length, the Vivitar 135/2.8 (M42) is a great value at this price point and is currently fairly common on the used market. Highly recommended.

Steve


Edit


As promised, here are a few wide open "bokeh shots":


(focus was on the far eye...I know, that is backward from convention, but I wanted to show a little near bokeh as well.)


The "ghosting" on the near blur is a little strange...



To be complete, I want to report that I was also able to invoke some purple fringing in a strongly backlit situation with a hard, dark edge.

End Edit


Last edited by stevebrot; 04-06-2009 at 01:55 PM.
02-20-2009, 10:50 PM   #2
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Interesting how your photos reminded me of ones on this page, from the DA55/1.4.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/51392-da-55mm-vs-fa43mm-8.html

I almost kept one of these Vivitars (newer version) but I was overrun with 135s. They are very nice, and the Vivitar/Komine 200/3.5 is a nice companion. Does this one take 55mm filters?

Interesting construction for beehives.
02-20-2009, 11:04 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve---this thread, along with Gus' shots, make clear the great value this lens offers. Yet another to throw in the wish list. Every time I see these kinds of threads I rejoice again in my decision to go with Pentax.

I look forward to the bokeh shots at wider apertures.
02-20-2009, 11:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Interesting how your photos reminded me of ones on this page, from the DA55/1.4.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/51392-da-55mm-vs-fa43mm-8.html

I almost kept one of these Vivitars (newer version) but I was overrun with 135s. They are very nice, and the Vivitar/Komine 200/3.5 is a nice companion. Does this one take 55mm filters?

Interesting construction for beehives.
Yes, the filter size is 55mm. The 200/3.5 would be nice, but the ones I have seen were priced a little high for my cheapskate person!

Steve

02-20-2009, 11:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
Thanks Steve---this thread, along with Gus' shots, make clear the great value this lens offers. Yet another to throw in the wish list. Every time I see these kinds of threads I rejoice again in my decision to go with Pentax.

I look forward to the bokeh shots at wider apertures.
There are several copies of this lens on eBay right now, including one that has a mislabeled title. Most look to be in pretty good condition if you are interested and are willing to risk a low-ball bid.

Steve
02-21-2009, 12:40 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
There are several copies of this lens on eBay right now, including one that has a mislabeled title. Most look to be in pretty good condition if you are interested and are willing to risk a low-ball bid.

Steve
I owe you another one---it's off to Ebay I go.......................................
02-21-2009, 02:22 PM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
Stevebrot:There are several copies of this lens on eBay right now, including one that has a mislabeled title. Most look to be in pretty good condition if you are interested and are willing to risk a low-ball bid.

Steve
I took your advice and won a very nice looking copy for a price less than the shipping cost--amazing! I am psyched to get the lens and start shooting. Thank you
02-21-2009, 02:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Yes, the filter size is 55mm. The 200/3.5 would be nice, but the ones I have seen were priced a little high for my cheapskate person!

Steve
It is one of those lenses that will sell for $50 one day and $5 the next. Mine was $18 after shipping. It has a dented filter ring, and like the 135, the ring is quite thick. I have bashed out similar dents in thinner rings but this one may need more force or different technique.

02-21-2009, 08:35 PM   #9
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Wide open bokeh shots...

I just edited a few wide-open bokeh shots into the original post...enjoy!
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/51785-new-arri...tml#post496984
Steve
02-21-2009, 11:25 PM   #10
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They look good--thanks for the update. Here is a 200mm 3.5 in our Marketplace:


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/50444-auto-vivi...-f3-5-m42.html

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 02-22-2009 at 01:01 PM. Reason: repair link
02-22-2009, 07:38 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
They look good--thanks for the update. Here is a 200mm 3.5 in our Marketplace:


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/50444-auto-vivi...-f3-5-m42.html
I saw that. I also saw one on eBay in apparently excellent condition that went for only $15.50 today!

(Vivitar 200mm F3.5 M42 ScrewMount K20D K10D K200D - eBay (item 120379196099 end time Feb-22-09 15:55:28 PST))

I will probably pass on the Vivitar 200/3.5 for now. I have a Pentax-M 200/4 that gets very little use as it is. I may change my mind if I get the meter working in my Mamiya 1000 DTL.

Steve
02-24-2009, 10:38 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
I saw that. I also saw one on eBay in apparently excellent condition that went for only $15.50 today!

(Vivitar 200mm F3.5 M42 ScrewMount K20D K10D K200D - eBay (item 120379196099 end time Feb-22-09 15:55:28 PST))

I will probably pass on the Vivitar 200/3.5 for now. I have a Pentax-M 200/4 that gets very little use as it is. I may change my mind if I get the meter working in my Mamiya 1000 DTL.

Steve

Schucks---I missed that one and was hunting down that lens. I am happy though--I found a good one. I sometimes think only certain people get access to some of the Ebay auctions--either this, or I need to learn to search there better.

Best of luck with the Mamiya needle.
02-25-2009, 08:54 PM   #13
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The Vivitar 200mm f/3.5 is a strange beast on eBay, like Just1moreDave said. I think I got mine for $25 shipped, or thereabouts. It's the M42 version, and it looked like it had never been mounted on a camera before, with the mount still shiny black with no marks. I rarely use it, which is a shame because it's a very nice lens.

I've often thought of getting one of these Vivitar 135s, although I'd like to try out the f/2.5 version.
02-25-2009, 11:39 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miserere Quote
The Vivitar 200mm f/3.5 is a strange beast on eBay, like Just1moreDave said. I think I got mine for $25 shipped, or thereabouts. It's the M42 version, and it looked like it had never been mounted on a camera before, with the mount still shiny black with no marks. I rarely use it, which is a shame because it's a very nice lens.

I've often thought of getting one of these Vivitar 135s, although I'd like to try out the f/2.5 version.
Well, my copy of the Vivitar 200/3.5 (M42) should be here in a couple of days. I paid about $35 including shipping. Let's hope it is as good as it looked in the pictures

Steve

(Yeh, yeh...I really don't need that lens...)
02-26-2009, 12:19 AM   #15
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Steve:

How are you able to adjust aperture settings for this lens on the K10d? Thanks.

EDIT: Please disregard--I have found the somewhat hidden manual switch behind the aperture ring--for a second I thought I had one of those lenses which could not be stopped down without hacking or jamming the pin--I feel much better now--off to shoot.

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 02-26-2009 at 12:31 AM.
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