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04-10-2010, 12:01 PM   #1
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Pentax A 70-210mm vs Vivitar S1 70-210mm

Hello!
I bought a Pentax A 70-210 and a 70-210 Vivitar serie1 model 2 (Tokina) on the ebay.Which lens should I expect best sharpness from?
/Sverker

04-10-2010, 08:55 PM   #2
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The answer to this question is best found within your own tests.

Sample variation in each lens, plus any drops or hard knocks each individual lens may have experienced over the years will have modified the results of any consensus we as a group may be able to come to, enough to go either way, even with a heavy crowd favorite, if there is one.


Grab your camera, your best tripod, on a clear and sunny day with lots of light, and do all the standard tricks to retain or obtain a lens' best image quality.

-Stop it down. This one applies to people that will use the lens stopped down, but I find my own style of photography lends itself to using most lenses near or at maximum apertures most of the time, so when I'm putting a new lens through the paces, I will shoot at both wide apertures and narrow (f/8 or f/11 is about as small as I ever go).
-Mirror lock up/self timer on the camera/remote release. Enabling this will reduce any camera-induced movement at the moment of exposure.
-Lowest ISO/ASA film possible for your intended use, for best detail retention. Use JPG mode if you want to be lazy and make sure your settings (go into M mode and go to a stable WB preset) don't change between images.

Then enjoy! Most telephotos are quite good, and I doubt you'll notice too much difference (unless one has been damaged in a drop or accident).
04-10-2010, 08:56 PM   #3
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Personally I would go with the Pentax, if it's an A series then it has the SMC coatings which the Vivitar probably won't have. But I would recommend looking up some reviews of both lenses (check the PentaxForums review database for starters) and see what you can learn from there.
04-11-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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All I can say is this - when I had my Series 1 7-210 I found it to be amazingly sharp for a zoom lens.

04-12-2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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Hi Zeeke,

I would expect that the A70-210 would come out on top, but I've never used a v2 Series One. I did pick up a v4 made by Cosina for next to nothing hoping that it might perform close to the A, but my first use showed it's not in the same class, and it now sits in the drawer gathering dust, while the A 70-210 still gets the call on occasion.

From published resolution/contrast tests, the v2 is very comparable to the much sought after v3 Komine until you get to 210mm where the 2nd version Tokina seems to fall down considerably, while the Pentax is pretty consistent throughout the range. In addition, the Pentax would be a lot easier to use considering the "A" capability which the v2 S1 does not have.

I'd also think that the Pentax would be a better value, as the Viv S1 70-210s of all versions have seemed to benefit price-wise from the almost legendary status of the Komine V3s. The Pentax is so common that it seems to be regularly dismissed, but it's really a great lens in its class (medium fast constant aperture zoom).

As Fixcinater suggested, test the lenses side-by-side rigorously, then decide for yourself. Your eyes will tell you which lens is better, and nobody else's opinions should make any difference.

Scott
04-12-2010, 12:55 PM   #6
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Taking test pictures of brick walls is all well and good, but I suggest you take loads of real life pictures with both lenses, in similar conditions, and decide which produces the images you prefer looking at. contrast, saturation, colour cast is just as important as sharpness. The A setting might make you prefer using the Pentax, or not. It's really a personal call.

I had the 70-210 V1, which gave me the best saturation results of all my lenses save the FA 50 macro. but I still sold it to buy a FA 100-300 because of AF and autoexposure. The FA is pretty good by itself, even though on paper it's not as good as the Viv. But the Viv, being MF, manual exposure, and 1 kg in weight, was not as nice to use.
04-12-2010, 03:12 PM   #7
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I have the Viv S1.V1 70-210/3.5, and the Tak-A 70-200/4, as well as the FA100-300. I think the Viv is a wee bit sharper than the Tak, but those three lenses usually live on different bodies -- the Viv on a M42 Chinon-Argus CR-3E, the Tak on a PK ZX-M, and the FA on my K20D. The FA is naturally the easiest to use, but it is not in question here, so I won't blather on about its sterling qualities, nor about long primes.

The main reason those manual zooms live on film bodies, the Viv+Argus usually set on a tripod, is that SR works automagically with the FA, so that's what I use for walkabout handhelds. Because of the Viv's weight, in situations where I might be tempted to haul it around on the K20D, I might as well go whole-hog and schlep my Lil'Bigma 175-500. IMHO the Viv and the Tak are just better suited to 135/FF film bodies.
04-12-2010, 04:05 PM   #8
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I will also put a vote on the pentax, I have owned one since I got into photography and have never looked back. It is very well built and produces great images even though it is a bit on the heavy side, but don't let that take away from this amazing lens.

04-19-2010, 04:36 AM   #9
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i am facing the same delima too ... not that i own the lens but see the chance of picking either one from net sale.

I have a Sun 80-200 f4.5 which amazes me for the image it produces ... not particularly sharp nor contrasty, but some basic pp would produce very 3-dimensional images not matched by my newer lens (DAs and FAs zoom).

Could it be the lens formula of that age (aka one-touch zoom/focus design) that produces such effect? Given that Sun lenses are rebadged and pretty generic, i don't think the IQ is attributed to their design/manufacturing abilities.

I would be more that happy shooting with the Sun zoom but one of its glass element shows an orange fringe and is showing its adverse effect in larger apertures at the longer ranges.

So, I would hope similar zoom design from the same era would produce the same 3D IQ which I lust for.

The seller of a Pentax-a 70-210 is nice enough to provide test shots at f4 and f8, and the lens don't seem particularly sharp (sample variance? front/back focus issue?)

Does anyone using the one-touch zoom share my observation on the IQ or is it just my imagination.
04-19-2010, 06:01 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by badbrother Quote

The seller of a Pentax-a 70-210 is nice enough to provide test shots at f4 and f8, and the lens don't seem particularly sharp (sample variance? front/back focus issue?)
Here are the test shots

Would owner of this lens care to comment on the sharpness at 70mm at f4 and f5.6.?

Also the contrast ... at 70mm wide open, the white shows the "haze/glow" effect. What is the proper term for this (is this the same as ghosting or halo effect)?

I have experienced such "glow" on previous lens test, usually found in faster lens from the film era (f2.8 and faster). Please see if my understanding of the possible causes is correct:

1. focusing issue, say slight front focusing (i have experienced this with my newer FA zoom). This should be accompanied by a weakness in sharpness;
2. Optical deterioration of the glass and/or coating.
3. Weaker contrast at full aperture , an intrinsic character of the lens, reflecting a short-coming in the lens's design/coating ( but i am confused if weaker contrast necessarily means the white haze/glow spilling over).

Thanks
04-24-2010, 12:24 AM   #11
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Hey badbrother,
I have owned a couple copies of both the Pentax-A 70-210 and Vivitar 70-210 ver. 2 (by Tokina). What I can tell you is that they do vary from copy to copy as far as quality goes. I had a copy of the Vivitar that I recently sold that I really liked and it was very sharp but ultimately I sold it to keep the Pentax-A because it is just easier to use with the A settings. I like the built-in lens hood and the image quality was very comparable. Both of my copies of the Vivitar (version 2) showed a very warm tone to all the images... almost like it was always shot through a warming filter but I never really noticed until I compared it side-by-side with other lenses of the same subject.

You can check out my thread where I compare the 2 copies I had side-by-side along with a few other zooms in the same focal range here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/96435-my-bigge...core-date.html

I hope that helps you!
04-24-2010, 07:57 AM   #12
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by JP_Seattle Quote
Hey badbrother,
I have owned a couple copies of both the Pentax-A 70-210 and Vivitar 70-210 ver. 2 (by Tokina). What I can tell you is that they do vary from copy to copy as far as quality goes. I had a copy of the Vivitar that I recently sold that I really liked and it was very sharp but ultimately I sold it to keep the Pentax-A because it is just easier to use with the A settings. I like the built-in lens hood and the image quality was very comparable. Both of my copies of the Vivitar (version 2) showed a very warm tone to all the images... almost like it was always shot through a warming filter but I never really noticed until I compared it side-by-side with other lenses of the same subject.

You can check out my thread where I compare the 2 copies I had side-by-side along with a few other zooms in the same focal range here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/96435-my-bigge...core-date.html

I hope that helps you!
Hi!
After testing the two i came to the same conclusion, equal sharpness but Vivitar has more contrast and warmer colors.Kept the A 70-210 and sold the Vivitar.
/Sverker
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