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Notes on disassembling Vivitar 400mm f5.6
Posted By: marcusBMG, 09-26-2013, 12:02 PM

Disassembly and Maintenance of Vivitar (Tokina) 400mm f5.6 lens.

I have recently needed to fix up one of these lenses - its main sections were loose and there was some cleaning to do. It's an easy lens to fix relatively speaking, no real need for any special tools like a lens spanner (one of these might be useful for the focus group). the main problem might be if a grub screw (the little itty bitty slotted ones that live in a little hole and work by pressing against an interior surface. AKA set screws.) is stuck/stripped. Old hands have been known to use a soldering iron held against the lens to loosen these...

FYI there are (AFAIK) three main versions of Viv 400mm f5.6, this table summarises (only!) what I know: UPDATE after corresponding wwith David (dme) we now think that the standard formula is 8 elements for the tokina made Viv.

All have built in hood and tripod mount or bush.


LENS:Komine?Tokina 5 elementTokina 8 elementPreset f5.6 (Olympus, Tokina, ?others)
Serial #28XXXXX?37XXXXX37XXXXXTokina - 37XXX; Olympus (?rare) 06XXX or 6XXX
Aperture:f5.6 - f32f5.6 - f22f5.6 - f22f5.6 - f?
Iris:?8 blade8 blade??
Optics:5 in 5 groups5 in 5 groups8 in 8 groups5 in 5 groups
Filter size:77mm77mm77mm72mm
Focus:internalinternalinternal?
Close Focus:?4m/13' 4m/13' ?
Focus throw:330 degrees120 degrees120 degrees?
Weight:1.2kg1.4kg1.4kg?
Length:28cm24cm24cm?
Info:Specs, test pics.?1978 review cited.?
The specific version here is the Tokina 5 8 element. Picture 1 shows the essential parts.

Disassembly.

TOOLS: JIS or phillips 00/0, small jewellers/flat head screwdriver for grub screws (must be right size for the holes), larger flathead screwdriver.

1. The front end is detached by loosening grub screw (A), pic 1. This allows the whole end to unscrew. The back surface of the second element is now accessible for cleaning. The interior surfaces of the front two elements can be accessed by unscrewing the name plate (I use a piece of plastic pipe - or something similar - that's the right diameter with handymans double sided sticky tape - the thick draught proofing kind - stuck around the rim), and dropping out the objective element.
2. How to remove the mount end is not immediately apparent. The key is screw (C) that exposes an access hole in the tripod mount. Rotate the TM to access 4 x JIS crosshead screws and remove these, the whole end now detaches (these screws are relatively large, you will probably be fine with a correctly sized phillips screwdriver). It is not necessary to disassemble the mount itself. Picture 2 shows the lens with mount end and front end removed. The helicoid is partially revealed and you can now access the rear elements that are mounted in a tube. On my lens the tube section containing the rear-most element was unscrewable by hand, it is however slotted for a lens spanner.
3. To further disasssemble (to access the iris etc) the distance ring (4) needs to be removed to access three more JIS screws. This is done by loosening 3 grub screws (B) one of which is ringed in pic 1. Pic 3 shows this done and you can see one of the JIS screws I needed to tighten to stop the lens rattling.

Pic 4 shows the TX mount with plate removed. As mentioned above this was in fact not necessary.

Reassembly is a simple reversal of the above. In terms of infinity focus adjustment, that, as far as I can tell, would be achieved by loosening 3 grub screws one of which is circled in picture 3, and rotating this ring, which has the focus stops on. As far as I can tell you would have to go through the ringmarole of taking the front end on and off repeatedly to check the focus. Once satisfied adjust the position of the distance ring to match.

If you have any comments or more info PM me.


Cleaning a vivitar (komine) 400mm f5.6.

This lens isn't too dissimilar to the tokina made ones. I had a PK mount one for a year or so that needed cleaning (fungus).
The front end elements can be cleaned just by removing the nameplate. There is a single grub screw that looks like it should allow the unscrewing of the whole front end, but considerable effort with a couple of strap wrenches didn't begin to shift mine. The nameplate was also stiff, but some acetone and elbow grease did the trick. There are three spaced elements and two spacer rings. Take care removing them and, particularly, replacing: very easy to jam one at an angle, or fail to seat something properly all the way in.

The rear end was what concerned me. I had found this post on photrio.com forum:

Mating Tele Parts.. | Photrio.com Photography Forums

The poster, Peter K, had failed to get his lens back together again. The method is certainly the right one, this is how the lens is put together. Accessing the rear elements, fixing any looseness in the joint near the helicoid (which is what Peter K was doing), lubricating the aperture ring, all require taking off the rear end like this.

- 3 screws are hidden under the rubber grip. (Viv-kom pic 2 below). No need to remove the mount etc (at least not with PK).
- Once the scrwes are removed the rear end now pulls off. Ease it away gently so you can see the spring that needs to be unhooked (pic 3).
- Once the spring is off and the rear end pulled off completely the rear optical group can be easily accessed - it unscrews as a unit. I didn't need to go any further with mine, the fungus etc was on the external surfaces. If you need to clean/lube the aperture ring I think that is accessed by removing the rubber grip and the loosening some grub screws.
Pics 4 , 5 show the slot, and the button that engages with it, that Peter K had such difficulty with.
- Now Peter K is going to hate this, but I simply didn't have a problem. Paper clip to re-engage the wee spring, the rear end eased back on, line up the screw holes (I had white dots of eraser fluid marking the spots), little bit of wiggling and flicking of the aperture lever, slight click, voila, all set! Replacing the screws was a little fiddly due to the necessity of holding the rubber back at the same time.


























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Last edited by marcusBMG; 04-16-2021 at 10:06 AM.
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01-06-2016, 11:23 AM   #2
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Does the one grub screw also allow for the Komine front end to unscrew? Or is mine just stuck or fused
01-06-2016, 11:30 AM   #3
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Komine made 400mm is a different lens, may have completely different structure. You'll just have to examine it closely and try to figure it out
01-08-2016, 07:39 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
Komine made 400mm is a different lens, may have completely different structure. You'll just have to examine it closely and try to figure it out
Yes I did as stated. It simply will not unscrew. Different, but similar to the Tokina in that it also has the one grub screw at the same point as the Tokina. I have two of the Tokinas also but just acquired the Komine. The Komine is a much better build for sure but I wish I could get at the back of the first element. It would be perfect!

01-09-2016, 06:56 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by K Bill Quote
Different, but similar to the Tokina in that it also has the one grub screw at the same point as the Tokina.
Does imply that it should uncrew then. Try warming the lens on a radiator for 10 mins then use eg a strap wrench
01-08-2020, 03:43 PM   #6
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Sorry to the admins for reviving a long closed thread, but I need to THANK YOU for this great tutorial.
I have two problems with a recently arrived Vivitar 400mm (Tokina).

First is a bent TX mount plate, which I think I can remove and bend flat, then reinstall (even though it is punched through at one of the screws.
Secondly is a wobble between the focus ring and the rear of the lens, which (I think) I may be able to fix by loosening the focus ring and checking the screws noted in your Photo Three.

I have been looking over the lens and somewhat intimidated by the tiniest screws I may have ever seen, but with your heating tips, etc, I think (I hope) I can get it open and restore to usability again.
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01-08-2020, 03:55 PM   #7
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My tutorial addresses wobble in that area - the lens I had was the same.
The plate is not an important part of the mount. I would be concerned about the screws with the implication that previous owner has been messing with the lens....
01-10-2020, 10:14 PM   #8
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Thank you, again, Marcus. I hope I can salvage this one as I don't see anything for sale for even double the $30 that I paid. Most are in the $100 range.

01-11-2020, 07:45 AM   #9
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Good luck.

These v1 viv's are less common than the later v2 without the tripod mount. IME there's actually no real difference in performance. The 400mm f6.3's made by tokina (also found as TX/T4 viv's as well as soligors etc) are IME just as sharp but a bit slower and longer CFD.
For something a bit different look for a "nestar"
01-12-2020, 02:22 AM   #10
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Thank you for the additional information.

I've also found this resource which is very interesting (to me). It has parts diagrams for many older Vivitar lenses. The 400mm f5.6 is not included, but the 300mm f5.6 is. In addition to parts manuals, there are owner's manuals, spec sheets, data sheets, lens diagrams, etc.

I thought I'd post the link here to help anyone else that comes this way, working on these Vivitar lenses. There's also more about Kiron lenses (Kino) and Soligor lenses as well as advertising from the 1970s & 80s.

Here's the link to the fixed length lens Vivitar portion of the website: Page 97

Click on "Kiron manuals etc" link on the left to explore the other information.
04-16-2021, 10:00 AM - 1 Like   #11
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I have now added description for the komine 400mm f5.6.


Last edited by marcusBMG; 1 Day Ago at 12:24 PM.
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