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11-23-2009, 06:34 AM   #1
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Vivitar 100-300mm F5 (keep or switch to consumer 70-300?)



Anyone else has this lens? Some info about the lens:

On the front it's written: Vivitar 100-300mm 1:5 Close Focusing Auto Zoom

62mm filter size. lens is (18cm) lens and heavy (maybe 800g). Focus throw is around 100 degree. Min. range is 2 meter but it has a close focus setting where you can get close up to around 20cm. Aperture is 5-22 (no half clicks).

Metering is just like Pentax M lens, aka stopped down but it's opened to max aperture for focusing (which is F5). This is actually the most interesting point from this lens for me. I'm using a chinese split-focusing-screen and by aperture 5.6 it becomes half black. I want/need the max aperture to be less than 5.6 so I can manual focus with the split screen. Other cheap manual tele lenses I found has at least 5.6 max aperture at the longest focal.

Image quality is good enough for me, I think it's comparable to the common 70-300mm consumer tele zooms. Cant really compare because I dont have any of those. Sharpness is very good IMHO, although it has somewhat muted color / lack contrast as most of old lenses. CA is there if you look closely.

It tends to overexposed 2/3 stop with my *ist DS. Since DS has no exposure compensation in M mode, using this lens is rather awkward for me. My taking picture procedure is as follow: focus, push AE-L button to meter, slide the dial two times to compensate 2/3 stop, and finally click the shutter.

The combination of DS and this lens is front heavy so it gives a lot of stress / strain on my left hand. Plus, I like to take portrait orientation often and it even gives more strain to my hand. Especially when I try to push the AE-L button on the back side of camera with my right thumb, which loosen the grip of my right hand and increase the weight I have to keep with my left hand.


Manual focusing for lens this heavy and focal this long is somewhat harder than I thought. If the subject fills or almost fill the the frame then it's not that hard but it's much harder when the subject is smaller and even harder when it's moving slightly >.<

I intend to use this lens for candid and snapshot, but the weight and umm the difficulty of manual focusing made me want to switch to consumer zooms like Tamron or Sigma 70-300mm. Of course DA 55-300mm would be better but it's a bit to expensive for me (in Korea it's around $500 new and no one selling used ones, probably because it's too good lol). I could get a used Sigma 70-300mm for around $200 (Tamron one is a little cheaper).

Here's some image samples, they're have been post-processed, but only to increase contrast and maybe a little sharpening. Tell me, should I keep this lens, or buy Tamron / Sigma 70-300mm? Would I lose IQ or actually gain better IQ? I wouldn't have to use manual focus but how fast / accurate the AF of those consumer lenses? Normally I dont really mind manual focusing, but Im planning to buy a second body and would like to have one specially for candid and snapshot and the other for things that I can take picture slowly with manual lens (and can be more creative with composition too). The Sigma / Tamron has max aperture 5.6 while this lens has max aperture 5. The difference is negligible except for manual focusing, yes? No?

All comments are welcome. TIA.

These ones taken during sunny days, ISO 800, either F5 or F8, various shutter speeds from 1/250 to 1/1000










This one is taken very close to sunset, not much available light, I've taken a lot of pictures but only this one I really like, others mostly blur due to shake and or not properly focused because it's dark and it's F5.
ISO 800, F5 1/40


11-23-2009, 06:48 AM   #2
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To my eyes these images look spectacular, I don't see any reasons for you to switch if you are getting consistent results with manual focus.
11-23-2009, 07:23 AM   #3
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Thank you, pcarfan!
Although I have been thinking to buy another lens to replace this for a while already, what really have pushed me is your thread about the cheap AF lenses. Really, the images there are very good IMO, and they're much move convenient to use, AF and smaller and lighter too.

So, my query is, to umm get similar decent quality but with more convenience. And also, I wonder if I could get higher keeper rate. If you ask me, since I use the Vivitar mostly for candid, the keeper rate is quite low, although once the focus and exposure is correct, the quality is good.
You have FA 80-320mm and I think those tigers look awesome. What do you think about the AF of that lens? Do you have high keeper rate using that lens?
11-23-2009, 07:46 AM   #4
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I got that lens very recently and I took it out only for that one outing. The AF itself is spot on and very fast with my K-7. But, I have to shoot at F8 for sharpness (as per my pixel peeping), so that is what I did, and therefore had to boost iso and it needs bright light.

As far as keepers, the trickiest part of telephoto photography is the shutter speed. So, with a slow lens this is a tremendous disadvantage, and in poor light the number of keepers will be very low. In good light the keeper rate is very good. (With the Snow leopard, I was able to brace against a light post and was able to lower the shutter speed)

Comparing MF and AF for keepers is easy for me. I know with a MF lens, my keeper rate would be zero

The bokeh is a missed blessing. With some close up tests the bokeh is stunning and creamy, and yet in certain other instances it has harsh bokeh. I need to learn the lens more to use it's sweet spot here.....

The size, price and weight is spot on. Stopped down the IQ is good, but will need high iso and bright sunny days.

This cannot compete with my sigma 100-300 in any sense, but when I don't want to fill my camera bag with the sigma, I can just slide this lens there........

Test image with creamy bokeh



Last edited by pcarfan; 11-23-2009 at 07:54 AM.
11-23-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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The Vivitar 100-300 f5 is a rebadged Tokina

I own the Tokina version that I bought with my Pentax ME around 1978. It's been around the world a few times, but has survived and takes quite respectable images. It's very solid and built like a tank!

I have compared it with a few other 300mm lenses, including the Tamron 70-300 and Pentax M-300 f4. My feeling is that it is better than the Tamron, but not quite up to the Pentax.

To me, the lack of an "A" setting is more of a problem than the lack of autofocus, although I am starting to replace a lot of my manual focus lenses (particularly the longer ones) with auto focus as my eyes get older!

You are getting such good results, I would keep it for now.

Mike
11-23-2009, 10:38 AM   #6
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You seem to be happy with the results and the IQ of the lens and photos you posted look good. I don't think an inexpensive 70-300 will perform any better as far as IQ goes. I have the Sigma. It is a very good lens for the price. The Sigma or Tamron will give you auto focus and some extra reach on the short end of the zoom if you consider those things important. The Sigma is f/4 on the short end and f/5.6 on the longer end of the zoom and the close up/macro only works between 200-300 mm. I use it for sports and outdoors shooting and it performs quite well for such and inexpensive lens. It's not too heavy as it's mostly plastic and about 1/2 the weight of my Takumar 200/f4. I don't have the Tammy so I can't say much.
11-23-2009, 03:54 PM   #7
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Stringmike, thanks for the background history, I never knew it's a Tokina rebadged lens, googling this lens does not reveal a lot of info also. I've always liked Tokina, good to know that!

Yes, I'm quite happy with the IQ, but I guess as Pcarfan has his FA80-320 as a back up for his bulkier Sigma 100-300 F4, I'd really like a lighter (and a lazier aka AF) back up too, but I dont want to lose IQ

Anyway, I usually buy lens online but I think I will have to go directly this time and check out the options in the local market by myself. Thanks again, everyone!
12-13-2009, 03:34 PM   #8
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New to photography

Hi,
I'm a newbie to photography. I currently own a Vivitar FS-1 camera and a Vivitar 100-300mm F5 lense that my dad gave me a while back and is in great working condition. I recently started to pick up photography and was having a bit of a difficult time using a 35mm camera, making adjustments, and then waiting till I got the film developed to understand the results of my adjustments. As a result, I bought a Nikon D80 digital SLR. I was considering buying a zoom lense for it, but was wondering if I could use the Vivitar 100-300mm F5 lese that I already own. I didn't know how interchangable lenses are, or whether this lense would be too outdated to use with a current camera. Thanks in advance for your insights....
Suneel

12-13-2009, 07:26 PM   #9
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Pentax Lenses aren't compatible with Nikon cameras. If you got adapters for it, my Nikon D80 will be nearsighted.

There's plenty of good nikon mount lenses still floating around on ebay/used market so shop around and you might get something good for cheap!
12-14-2009, 02:28 AM   #10
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Vivitar FS-1 Camera? I never heard of it and I did a quick google search but found nothing. Can't tell what mount is used by that camera but most likely it won't fit your new Nikon D80. Even most old Nikon lenses won't fit! So I suggest you to just buy new zoom lens.
Hope this helps. Goodluck!
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