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03-13-2009, 10:42 PM   #1
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Question about Vivitar Komine

I've read a few parts of the big Vivitar 28 / Pentax 31 thread. The thread talks a lot about the various manufacturers of the Vivitar lenses.

So I have a question. Does anyone know anything about Komine the company?
  • What's the history of the company & how did it come about?
  • What is it about their manufacturing philosophy and processes that resulted in their products being so highly regarded?
  • Is the company still around?
It seems to that there is a technical part to manufacturing & designing a lens. But there is also a part that is an art form.

I know a little bit about Kiron and Cosina but an internet search has yielded very little info about Komine.

The reason my curiousity is piqued is because I've recently handled a Vivitar 28/2 made by Komine. It's a cute l'il thing. At F2.0 it is definitely fast.

Thanks!

03-15-2009, 06:36 PM   #2
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Komine...

...manufactured the Series One Version Three 70-210 Vivitar Zoom, which was the overall best zoom of that lineup, esp. if you got the one with the A setting on the aperture ring. It was a superb zoom and the Series 1 vers. 3 still fetches over $100 USD on ebay; pristine ones will go for more.
03-16-2009, 04:40 PM   #3
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Can you identify ALL the Komine manufactured Vivitar lenses by the serial number on the front of the lens?

I've read about the significant numbers on the sought after Vivitars, and wondered if the lenses across the Vivitar range are similarly identifiable?

Last edited by Lloydy; 03-16-2009 at 04:41 PM. Reason: SP
03-16-2009, 04:49 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
Can you identify ALL the Komine manufactured Vivitar lenses by the serial number on the front of the lens?

I've read about the significant numbers on the sought after Vivitars, and wondered if the lenses across the Vivitar range are similarly identifiable?
Yes, that is the prevailing notion:
Vivitar Lens Manufactuers on Cameraquest.com
  • First two digits: manufacturer code
  • Third digit: year of production
  • Fourth/fifth digit: the week of production.

Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-16-2009 at 07:07 PM.
03-16-2009, 05:25 PM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
Can you identify ALL the Komine manufactured Vivitar lenses by the serial number on the front of the lens? I've read about the significant numbers on the sought after Vivitars, and wondered if the lenses across the Vivitar range are similarly identifiable?
QuoteQuote:
Yes, that is the prevailing notion:
Vivitar Lens Manufactuers
First two digits: manufacturer code
Third digit: year of production
Fourth/fifth digit: the week of production.
Well, only if you're talking about Vivitar lenses that might have been manufactured between about 1970 to 1990. From the CameraQuest web site:

QuoteQuote:
A former Vivitar executive provided this info. Vivitar used this lens numbering coding system from about 1970 to 1990, for ALL their 35mm lenses. As personnel changed with the sale of the company, older lens suppliers probably continued this number system for an undetermined time after 1990, however the newer lens suppliers did NOT use it.
03-16-2009, 09:26 PM   #6
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Komine made several of the well-regarded Vivitar Series One lenses, such as the 90mm f2.5 macro. They also made some "regular" Vivitars such as the 135mm f2.8 and 200mm f3.5. I have never seen a Komine-branded lens.

Vivitar said they designed the lenses and had them built by various manufacturers. It's not exactly clear how much Vivitar contributed. I have a few lenses with similar-looking coatings, made by Komine, Kiron and Tokina, but I have others that look different.
03-17-2009, 10:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Komine made several of the well-regarded Vivitar Series One lenses, such as the 90mm f2.5 macro. They also made some "regular" Vivitars such as the 135mm f2.8 and 200mm f3.5. I have never seen a Komine-branded lens.
Judging by the serial numbers, I believe that I have a few Komine-built Vivitar lenses -
VS1 28-90/2.8-3.5 Macro Focusing 284nnnnn
VS1 70-210/2.8-4 Macro Focusing Zoom [V.3] 284nnnnn and 285nnnnn
VS1 135/2.3 Auto Telephoto 288nnnn
Vivitar 135/2.8 Auto Telephoto Close Focusing 288nnnnn
VS1 200/3 Auto Telephoto 287nnnn

However, I didn't think that Komine made the VS1 90/2.5 Macro - at least, my two copies (both 377nnnnn) would seem to have been made by Tokina. (This would also be supported by the "fact" that Tokina's own 90/2.5 Macro seems to be optically identical to the VS1 90/2.5 Macro, even down to both having seemingly optically identical 1:1 macro adapters.)

Might you be referring to the Vivitar 90/2.8 Macro?

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Vivitar said they designed the lenses and had them built by various manufacturers. It's not exactly clear how much Vivitar contributed. I have a few lenses with similar-looking coatings, made by Komine, Kiron and Tokina, but I have others that look different.
It is my understanding that Vivitar may never have actually built a lens, but instead contracted out all of its production. It does seem, at least from early Vivitar "folklore", that Vivitar also contracted out some of the designing, separate from some of the manufacturing, at least at one time.
03-17-2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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I recently picked ud two Vivitar zooms, a 80-200 f4 and a 28-200 f3.5. Both one touch manual focus.

the numbers are -
(28-200) 77701147
(80-200) 77509459

I don't expect they are anything special, I paid very little for them and they seem to be "OK" lenses.
But there's no trace of those serial numbers in any information I've found so far, in fact there's no information about the 28-200 at all.

Any ideas?


Last edited by Lloydy; 03-17-2009 at 03:47 PM. Reason: sp
03-17-2009, 03:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
<snip> I have never seen a Komine-branded lens.<snip>
I was always under the impression that the Kiron lenses were the "name" brand for Komine Lens Co. I once (or twice) heard that the Komine Lens Co. was a part of Tokina.
03-17-2009, 10:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by calicojack Quote
I was always under the impression that the Kiron lenses were the "name" brand for Komine Lens Co. I once (or twice) heard that the Komine Lens Co. was a part of Tokina.
AFAIK Kiron was a manufacturer Kino Precisions Industries' own brand. Komine was another manufacturer which I think was not affiliated with Tokina.

edit: according to the wise people over at mflenses.com Komine is a manufacturer called Nittoh Kogaku.

Last edited by ovim; 03-17-2009 at 10:40 PM. Reason: more info
03-18-2009, 06:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ovim Quote
AFAIK Kiron was a manufacturer Kino Precisions Industries' own brand. Komine was another manufacturer which I think was not affiliated with Tokina.

edit: according to the wise people over at mflenses.com Komine is a manufacturer called Nittoh Kogaku.
Thanks everyone for your responses so far. FWIW I have seen the other comments about Komine on other websites.

I think Kiron became part of Nikon but I don't know what happened to Komine. People really have a high regard for lenses built by Komine, though. They must have been doing something right.
03-18-2009, 01:09 PM   #12
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If Komine indeed is Nittoh Kogaku, nothing happened to them. They are still making lenses and other optical thingys. Nittoh Kogaku
03-18-2009, 01:31 PM   #13
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That Camera Quest link was quite interesting, thanks! It seems that the "mystery Vivitar" I previously asked about really is a Cosina as I thought.
03-18-2009, 01:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lloydy Quote
I recently picked ud two Vivitar zooms, a 80-200 f4 and a 28-200 f3.5. Both one touch manual focus.

the numbers are -
(28-200) 77701147
(80-200) 77509459

I don't expect they are anything special, I paid very little for them and they seem to be "OK" lenses.
But there's no trace of those serial numbers in any information I've found so far, in fact there's no information about the 28-200 at all.

Any ideas?
I thought I read somewhere that 77 was Kobori. I can't find the original item I read but googling Kobori might help.

QuoteOriginally posted by fwcetus Quote

However, I didn't think that Komine made the VS1 90/2.5 Macro - at least, my two copies (both 377nnnnn) would seem to have been made by Tokina. (This would also be supported by the "fact" that Tokina's own 90/2.5 Macro seems to be optically identical to the VS1 90/2.5 Macro, even down to both having seemingly optically identical 1:1 macro adapters.)

Might you be referring to the Vivitar 90/2.8 Macro?
Yes, I was trying to type "2.8" but knew about the 2.5 model - crossed some wires there.
03-18-2009, 06:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Yes, I was trying to type "2.8" but knew about the 2.5 model - crossed some wires there.
Understood. The Vivitar 90/2.8 Macro doesn't earn the rave reports as does the VS1 90/2.5 Macro, but it does have a loyal following of very satisfied users.
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