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04-24-2008, 07:19 PM   #1
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Some really old Vivitar lenses..

I was poking around in my parents' attic today and happened upon a camera case which contained two old lenses. My dad was into photography when he was younger and forgot he had left them up there. I am wondering if it is possible to use these with my K10D. I know I would have to get a special mount, but I am not sure it is even possible to use them.

One is a Vivitar Wide-Angle 28mm f2.5 and the other is a Vivitar Tele 200mm f3.5. I have no idea what kind of mount they have right now and my dad couldn't seem to remember. They are both probably from the late 60s, early 70s. They are in perfect condition though and if they are decent lenses I would love to put them back to use. Thanks for any help you can give me!

Oh I should probably mention these are both manual lenses.


Last edited by ADKphoto; 04-24-2008 at 07:30 PM.
04-24-2008, 07:33 PM   #2
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Are they for a Pentax camera? Do they have a screw mount? If so, you can get an adapter to use them. There are a lot of people on this site that use the old M42 screw mount lenses, and love them.
04-24-2008, 07:34 PM   #3
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If you could post a picture of the lens mount that could go a long ways to identifying it. Another option would be to post what text is written on the lens (ie. P/K would be Pentax K mount, FD is a type of Canon mount, I believe OM is Olympus). Another possibility is that if the lens mount is threaded then given the age of the lenses it is an M42 universal mount and you can get adaptors pretty easily to put them on Pentax or most other modern SLRs.
04-24-2008, 07:44 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ADKphoto Quote
One is a Vivitar Wide-Angle 28mm f2.5 and the other is a Vivitar Tele 200mm f3.5. I have no idea what kind of mount they have right now and my dad couldn't seem to remember. They are both probably from the late 60s, early 70s. They are in perfect condition though and if they are decent lenses I would love to put them back to use. Thanks for any help you can give me!
Well, they might be either fixed mount or the could be TX interchangeable mounts as Vivitar did make both in TX and fixed versions. The TX would have a block marked O<-->L near the rear to allow switching mounts. An original brochure for the lenses can be found at:

Vivitar TX Lenses Brochure Cover - Peter D'Aprix | Photographer

04-24-2008, 07:47 PM   #5
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Well there is nothing like that written on the lenses themselves. On the telephoto there is a silver piece that screws on which has the letters KE stamped on it. The lens mount is threaded, so that would make it an M42 for sure? What should I expect using these old lenses with my modern digital SLR? Worth the trouble?
04-24-2008, 07:48 PM   #6
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Old lenses

You said that they're both manual lenses. Back in the sixties, Vivitar sold a lot of t-mount lenses. The limitation of the t-mount system was that there could be no aperture automation, so all t-mount lenses are manual. Usually they are what was known as "preset" lenses.

In preset lenses, there are two aperture rings. One has the usual markings and the detents for the various aperture stops. The other ring is free-wheeling. In use, you set the first ring to the aperture you wished to use (remember, not ttl meters then) and rotated the other so that the aperture was wide open. Focus. Just before shooting, rotate the free-wheeling ring to stop the lens down to the preset aperture (hence the name).

Back to the t-mount system. This was a system in which the lenses had a universal threaded mount that is similar, but not the same as the Pentax or M42 screw mount. You would purchase the lens and then select an adapter for your brand of camera. The t-mount adapter simply unscrews and is easily replaced with one for a different camera.

Fortunately for you, if these are t-mount lenses, adapters are still available. They show up on ebay all the time. A good camera store can probably order one. They are still used on those $100 500mm mirror lenses, so they're still being made.

There was a later variant, called the T-4 system, which added aperture automation. These did not simply unscrew. T-4 adapters are no longer made, as far as I know, but they still come up on ebay from time to time. I've seen T-4 adapters for Pentax K-mount, but they are extremely rare. T-4 adapters for M42 mount are fairly common. The giveaway for a T-4 lens is that the aperture ring has markings in both directions, even though it only goes one way. IOW, the markings will be something like 11 8 5.6 4 2.8 4 5.6 8 11.

As someone else suggested, a close-up photo of the mount would help enormously. Any markings on the lens, particularly near the mount, would also be helpful.

Is the mount threaded or bayonet? If its threaded, its probably an M42 (Pentax) mount. If its bayonet, it could be almost anything.
04-24-2008, 08:07 PM   #7
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OK here are some pictures.

This is the telephoto:



And here is the adapter that was with it. It looks like a Pentax mount but it is significantly smaller.


And here is the wide angle:


Thanks

Last edited by ADKphoto; 04-25-2008 at 05:09 AM.
04-25-2008, 05:48 AM   #8
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any ideas?

04-25-2008, 06:33 AM   #9
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Lens Mount Photos - various makers

To help with this identification, here is a link to Rick Oleson's Lens Mount Identification Guide:

SLR Lens Mount Identification Guide

Last edited by monochrome; 04-25-2008 at 06:39 AM. Reason: Adding Infomration
04-25-2008, 07:15 AM   #10
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Old lenses

That first one, the telephoto, looks like a t-mount, without an adapter to me. I'm almost sure of it. The M42 thread is 42mm x 1.0. The t-mount is 42mm x 0.75. M42 only has three of four threads, while the t-mount has five or six.

Also, a t-mount lens is shorter than a complete lens. This is to allow for the thickness of the adapter. Remember, you can't use a t-mount lens without an adapter.

The adapter you show doesn't look like a Pentax k-mount. IIRC, the KE designation is for Exacta, but I may be wrong.

If you want to use them on a modern camera, such as a Pentax dslr, t-mount adapters are available for both M42 and k-mount. You will, of course, have to use stop-down metering and they won't autofocus. Vivitar made some very good lenses, notably the Series I models, but these are not Series I lenses.

Some people enjoy shooting old lenses on dslr's. Others think its more trouble than its worth. Its up to you. If you want to give it a try, adapters are cheap. I picked up a t-mount to K-mount adapter on eBay for about $10, delivered.
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