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07-31-2015, 04:04 PM   #1
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Vivitar Series One 200mm f3.0

This is a mechanically well made M42 mount lens. It is a metal and glass lens with a smooth focusing action. The place this lens shines is where there is not very much light - as in the first picture which is a raw from a K200d with only levels set for processing. However, you don't want anything as bright as a simple blue sky to be in your picture. We'll let the second picture speak for itself.

Robin: "Holly cow Batman what happened to that picture of me?"
Batman: "Well chum, this appears to be the work of that arch fiend The Purple Fringe!"
Robin: "I've heard of him, but I didn't know he could be that bad."

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Last edited by HoustonBob; 07-31-2015 at 04:19 PM.
07-31-2015, 06:29 PM   #2
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honestly, I doubt my 200mm super tak would be any better..
08-03-2015, 01:25 PM   #3
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Tried taking a similar picture with a SMC Takumar 200 f4.0 today. Didn't see any of the purple fringing problems I saw with this lens.
08-03-2015, 06:32 PM   #4
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SMC Takumar 200 f4.0 is much sharper wide open, fringe is noticeable until 5.6

08-03-2015, 11:41 PM   #5
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Given my experience with this lens (and Nikon film camera) I need to speak up for this lens gem. This Vivitar Series 1 (VS1) lens was considered a professional lens and far better than the takumar 200 f/4 (on film in the 1980's and 1990's)--and that was my experience. I have the Takumar 200 f/4 and the VS1 200 f/3. And the VS1 was magical for intermediate distance large aperture portraits.

I have most of the highly thought of VS1 lenses (28 f/1.9, 90mm f/2.5, 200mm f/3 and 28-90 and 70-210 zooms) and the 200mm f/3 was my favorite.
I cannot say how it would do on digital, but none of my lenses on digital have the magic I found in two lenses on film--the VS1 200 f/3 and the (Alpa) 50 mm f/1.8 Kern Macro Switar.
08-04-2015, 08:06 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Given my experience with this lens (and Nikon film camera) I need to speak up for this lens gem. This Vivitar Series 1 (VS1) lens was considered a professional lens and far better than the takumar 200 f/4 (on film in the 1980's and 1990's)--and that was my experience. I have the Takumar 200 f/4 and the VS1 200 f/3. And the VS1 was magical for intermediate distance large aperture portraits.

I have most of the highly thought of VS1 lenses (28 f/1.9, 90mm f/2.5, 200mm f/3 and 28-90 and 70-210 zooms) and the 200mm f/3 was my favorite.
I cannot say how it would do on digital, but none of my lenses on digital have the magic I found in two lenses on film--the VS1 200 f/3 and the (Alpa) 50 mm f/1.8 Kern Macro Switar.
I thought that perhaps the problem I was having was with the off brand Skylight filter I had on the lens so I re-shot a picture very similar to the Robin picture in my original post. (The Robin picture is a central crop of about 1700 x 800 pixels from the 3672 x 2592 K200d frame.) Sadly removing the skylight filter didn't have much effect on the purple fringing. Because purple fringing comes from optical non linearity it is possible that the optical cement used to glue the lens elements together may have degraded over the years. I would think that this lens - on a full frame digital would be a beautiful large aperture portrait lens as that use would tend to avoid the areas where I am seeing problems on my copy. I shall take some film shots with my ES II and try to report back on them when I get the film developed.

The 200mm f3.0 was an expensive lens when it was new and I know it was highly regarded in the film era.

---------- Post added 08-04-15 at 10:54 AM ----------

I have re-examined the Robin picture carefully. I think that what I am seeing is combination of things. 1. The Vivitar 200 f3.0 I own does purple fringe - a different shot which I take to look for this problem does definitely show purple fringing. 2. A large part of what is visible in the Robin picture is what is generally known as green (or blue) fringing.

Green fringing is not an optical defect in a lens, or some sort of chromatic aberration. Green fringing is a result of the fact that the left part of a lens sees a slightly different view of an object and the background than the right part of the lens does. This effect is known as parallax. It is easily seen by humans since the left eye sees a slightly different view of an object than the right eye. Hold a finger up at arms length and alternate closing your eyes. When both eyes are open your brain selects the view of the your dominant eye and maps the view of the other eye onto the dominant eye's view. You will notice with both eyes open that the edge of your finger is blurred and mixed in with the background color. A large lens aperture will cause the same effect on a sensor (film or digital).

Part of why the Vivitar 200mm f3.0 is so nice for the right kind of shot is that because the diameter of the front element is about the same as the distance between a human's eyes, it renders objects on a sensor geometrically in a very similar way to how the brain renders objects from the view provided by the eyes - this causes recognition and appreciation to occur in the viewer; the pictures have a 'natural' look to them.

Last edited by HoustonBob; 08-04-2015 at 09:00 AM.
08-04-2015, 09:09 AM   #7
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The Viv 200/3 focuses about 4 feet closer than most 200 primes -- that was its gimmick if you will, and it shines in those distances of 4ft-10ft, and is a good candidate to put an extension tube on to get even closer. (Like several of the other "fast" Vivitar Series 1s, the results are not great wide-open so the speed advantage isn't really there.) For longer distance shots, almost any other 200mm would give you more pleasing results and maybe sharper too. (All copies act as described in terms of purple fringing and green/magenta LoCA bokeh fringing -- there is nothing wrong with that copy.) So I consider it a bit of specialty lens for closer distances, but not too close...

08-04-2015, 09:48 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
The Viv 200/3 focuses about 4 feet closer than most 200 primes -- that was its gimmick if you will, and it shines in those distances of 4ft-10ft, and is a good candidate to put an extension tube on to get even closer. (Like several of the other "fast" Vivitar Series 1s, the results are not great wide-open so the speed advantage isn't really there.) For longer distance shots, almost any other 200mm would give you more pleasing results and maybe sharper too. (All copies act as described in terms of purple fringing and green/magenta LoCA bokeh fringing -- there is nothing wrong with that copy.) So I consider it a bit of specialty lens for closer distances, but not too close...
Good info - thanks.
08-04-2015, 10:00 AM   #9
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You post reminded me that I still have a Vivitar 200 f3.5. Mine is obviously different from yours as it is not as fast as yours and I believe it is a Tokina made. I will have to take it out for a spin drive in the next little while....
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