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02-02-2010, 05:39 AM   #1
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Tokina vs Vivitar S1 vs Pentax-M

I am looking for a 200mm lens, and figure that I could just get a zoom instead of a prime. I have been doing a bit of a read around and it sounds like Tokina are the ones who first took zooms seriously (they are also responsible for the Vivitar S1 version 2). But then I am thinking that maybe the Pentax-M 80-200mm is also a contender.

If you had a choice, which would you go for: a Tokina f4 70-210mm, a Vivitar S1 f3.5 or a Pentax-M 80-200mm f4.5? The maximum aperture is not going to be relevant, as I will be using this for landscapes, and shooting around f11/f16. I am looking for contrast, colour and sharpness. I am also concerned about having a fixed mount, which is why I am not looking at a Tamron.

My other alternative would be to hold out for a 200mm M series prime: are these a lot better than the above zooms?

Thanks.

02-02-2010, 05:51 AM   #2
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In that list? Clearly the Vivitar series 1. I would go for either the version 1 (f3,5, 1:1,2 macro) made by Kiron, or the version 3 made by Komine (slightly sharper, usually comes with the A setting, smaller). I owned the version 1 for some time, and part of me still regrets selling it. These lenses are excellent. Their only "flaw" is some purple fringing, and a different colour cast than Pentax lenses. But they are great.
02-02-2010, 05:57 AM   #3
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Thanks, I was thinking the version 2 for price reasons: I understand that version 3 is better optically, but comes in at a massive premium. Also, version 2 is made by Tokina, the Nikon splinter group, now owned by Pentax. Then I was thinking that maybe the Tokina zooms (non Vivitar labelled) are probably equally good, but cheaper?

Then again, I figured that if flare is a problem, the Pentax with its dinky hood and SMC coating might make up for lack of sharpness with increased contrast. Given that I am going to be shooting on film, the sharpness of the lenses might be irrelevant as the film is not fine grained enough, but contrast, flare and colouration will make a difference.

I am very confused about all this. Maybe I should just buy the lot and become a collector. They all look fantastic.
02-02-2010, 10:03 AM   #4
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I have 3 different lenses that cover 200mm

the outright winner is a SIGMA APO 70-200F2.8 EX. but I think that is out of your price range.

In a rough range of $100 I have 2 options

A Vivitar Series 1 70-210 F3.5 version 1 K mount, and a takumar preset 200mm F3.5 M42 version

The vivitar I used for years, and is an excellent lens, the only drawbacks are the lack of a tripod mount, zoom creep due to the weight of the front element, and that the front element rotates during focusing. It has a 6 blade aperture which becomes hexagonal for small F stops.

Of these issues I can say that for your intended use front element rotation is a pain, because it means you need to pay close attention to your polarizing filter, but lack of a tripod mount is a real drawback. this lens weighs 1 kilo, 2.2 pounds, and is so heavy that it can distort the frame of an SLR. Many mid 1980's slrs suffered loss of power failures due to the weight of heavy zooms supported by the camera.

the preset Takumar is a very nice lens, and while it lacks the better coatings of later super taks and SMC taks is a pleasure to use. It is a relitively new addition to my lenses as I build up a M42 kit. One thing to consider with the takumar is it uses a 18 blade aperture, and has a round aperture at all F stops. This has a big impact on bokeh.

02-02-2010, 10:58 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
Thanks, I was thinking the version 2 for price reasons: I understand that version 3 is better optically, but comes in at a massive premium. Also, version 2 is made by Tokina, the Nikon splinter group, now owned by Pentax. Then I was thinking that maybe the Tokina zooms (non Vivitar labelled) are probably equally good, but cheaper?

Then again, I figured that if flare is a problem, the Pentax with its dinky hood and SMC coating might make up for lack of sharpness with increased contrast. Given that I am going to be shooting on film, the sharpness of the lenses might be irrelevant as the film is not fine grained enough, but contrast, flare and colouration will make a difference.

I am very confused about all this. Maybe I should just buy the lot and become a collector. They all look fantastic.
I have tried a few of these options but keep coming back to size. They are all too big and heavy for me. With that bias in mind, the Pentax-M is a very nice performer. Kiron makes several lenses in this category, and they aren't expensive. I like my 70-210mm f4 "zoomlock" model. I'm not sure exactly which Kiron lenses to look for, though.

Hinman has used at least a couple of the Vivitar Series 1 zooms and I remember him liking the Tokina version more than others. Most people seem to be looking for the Kirons instead.

If these lenses are all too small, I had a Soligor 80-200mm f3.5 C/D in M42 mount that was pretty good, but huge.

The Pentax-M 200mm f4 prime is a decent size by comparison to the above zooms and handles well but I ended up selling mine and using a Vivitar/Komine 200mm f3.5 instead. It's a bit better. These are very common on eBay in M42 mount, and with some searching can be had for the starting bid + shipping.

What I use most often is a SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm f4-5.6, which definitely wins the size battle. It is the only one of these that I would travel with. Manual focus isn't spectacular, AF is noisy, and it's more expensive than the other options, but it probably ties or wins on sharpness.

I just don't see how anyone could consider buying them all and collecting. I would never be able to do that.
02-02-2010, 11:20 AM   #6
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Whats the relative performance of the M 80-200mm vs the Tokina 70-210mm or Vivitar S1 Tokina f3.5? I note the M zoom is only 555g on Bojidar Dimitrov's site, whereas the Tokina is 720g. This makes the M zoom only a fraction heavier than the M 200mm prime, which weighs 405g.

I had a A series 80-200mm f4.7-5.6 for a short while. I was amazed at how light it was, and it also focusses very close too. Unfortunately, it looked like there was some kind of separation going on inside the glass and it did not want to find infinity focus on my ME Super body.

Last edited by whojammyflip; 02-02-2010 at 11:29 AM.
02-02-2010, 11:35 AM   #7
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I would buy one of these Vivitars (Komine) here: PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 200mm f/3.5 Auto Telephoto m42 mount

The lens is a great performer and can still be bought for under $50, depending upon the condition. I, and others here at the forum, think it outperforms the Pentax M 200 prime, though the Pentax is lighter. See here for a discussion on this--note pics removed to save space: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/52678-pentax-2...omparison.html

Using the M-42 adapter can be as simple as you wish. I modify my adapter so that it is always on the M-42 lens and so it is used like a bayonet mount. I believe there are copies of this Viv lens in K-mount, though they be rare.
02-02-2010, 12:23 PM   #8
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what about the SMC Pentax-A 70-210mm F4? It's usually around $100 depending on condition, has SMC coatings, a small pull-out hood, and 'A' contacts. Does decent close-ups too. I believe it is approximately the same size as the 'M' zoom.

02-02-2010, 12:25 PM   #9
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I would consider the A series zoom too, but I guess I don't need the additional contacts and they cost more. Is the optical quality that different? I am using this on film too, so I am limited by the resolution of something like Reala.

I am beginning to think the Vivitar 200mm is a better idea than the zooms, but dislike the idea of the M42 mount. I am concerned by flare though, having looked at the discussion of the M versus the Vivitar, it looked to me like the Vivitar suffers from only having a single coating, whereas the SMC coating looks like the mutt's nuts, as usual.
02-02-2010, 12:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
I would consider the A series zoom too, but I guess I don't need the additional contacts and they cost more. Is the optical quality that different? I am using this on film too, so I am limited by the resolution of something like Reala.

I am beginning to think the Vivitar 200mm is a better idea than the zooms, but dislike the idea of the M42 mount. I am concerned by flare though, having looked at the discussion of the M versus the Vivitar, it looked to me like the Vivitar suffers from only having a single coating, whereas the SMC coating looks like the mutt's nuts, as usual.
that is one thing to consider.

Pentax coatings, even as I mention above on very old preset Takumars out perform many later even multi coated third party lenses.

Pentas was, and I think even to this day the best at lens coatings.
02-02-2010, 12:46 PM   #11
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I have just found a pretty awesome list of 3rd party lenses:
http://web.archive.org/web/20060508222338/medfmt.8k.com/third/table1.txt

I've put it in M$ Excel and reordered according to price. There are some unusual names coming out: Rokunar, Upsilon... working my way through using google!
02-02-2010, 12:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
I have just found a pretty awesome list of 3rd party lenses:
http://web.archive.org/web/20060508222338/medfmt.8k.com/third/table1.txt

I've put it in M$ Excel and reordered according to price. There are some unusual names coming out: Rokunar, Upsilon... working my way through using google!
if you want it, there is a 200mm F3.3 for free (you pay shipping) in the market place right now.
02-02-2010, 01:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by arpaagent Quote
what about the SMC Pentax-A 70-210mm F4? It's usually around $100 depending on condition, has SMC coatings, a small pull-out hood, and 'A' contacts. Does decent close-ups too. I believe it is approximately the same size as the 'M' zoom.
I'll second the A70-210/4. It's sharp and gives you close focusing at 70mm. This lens is quite possibly the best bang for buck lens out there. Excellent grade lenses seem to go for up to @ $150 USD, but you should be able to find a good user grade for $70-100. They are much more common than most of the alternatives, and there's always a few available.

Scott
02-02-2010, 02:29 PM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
Tokina, the Nikon splinter group, now owned by Pentax.
that is just not true. Takina is its own brand, not owned by Pentax, nothing of the sort. they do collaborate with Pentax, though.

Regarding the Vivitar lenses, vivitar made all the optical designs and asked other brands to manufacture the lenses. As long as the companies had good quality control, Vivitar got great lenses. The first three versions fit that bill.

Version 2 is the least interesting to me, because it lacks the macro of version 1 and the A setting of version 3. But it might be cheaper. ANY of those three will be good.

Another, relatively inexpensive option, is to get a Pentax F 70-210. Good lens, good colours, AF, decent price (around 100$). The Vivitars are better at contrast, saturation, and sharpness, however. Not many lenses in this range are better. Not many lenses have a cult following
02-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #15
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Wo, I apologise for my rash statement and any offence caused. A quick scan reveals this is a sensitive topic!
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/38669-structure-hoya-c...ut-tokina.html
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