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Cosina ( Vivitar ) 28-210mm f3.5-5.6 Macro Review RSS Feed

Cosina ( Vivitar ) 28-210mm f3.5-5.6 Macro

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6 36,385 Mon November 22, 2021
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $27.67 8.67
Cosina ( Vivitar ) 28-210mm f3.5-5.6 Macro

Cosina ( Vivitar ) 28-210mm f3.5-5.6 Macro
Cosina ( Vivitar ) 28-210mm f3.5-5.6 Macro

Marketed as a Cosina, but also as a vivitar. The latter can can be found with both smooth and dimpled rubber grips (pics), in other respects the lenses seem to be the same. The dimpled rubber grip version is easily confused with the Kobori made Vivitar 28-200mm listed here. Can be found typically with PKA mount but also PKM mount, and also sold as other marques eg Phoenix.

Construction: 14 elements in 12 groups
Maximum Aperture: 3.5 at 28mm rising to 5.6 at 210mm
Minimum focal length: 28mm
Maximum focal length: 210mm
Maximum Diameter: 75mm
Length: 122mm minimum, 168mm maximum
Weight: 540 gm
Zoom Type: 1 touch; 28mm closest, 210mm pushed out
Macro is a closer focus available only at 210mm. Maximum magnification 0.25 / 1:4 cfd 1.09m/3.58'
Minimum Focus Distance: 2.5 m/8.2' (Yes, really!)

The lens is not parfocal. And NOTE that this lens seems to have problems adapting to mirrorless cameras. There seems to be high sensitivity particularly at 28mm end to the precision of the adapter. Any discrepancy from exact registration distance causes focus range to be lost. Thread here.
Mount Type: Pentax KA
Price History:

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Senior Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 213
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2021 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $3.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharpness, Focal range, Handling
Cons: CA, Lens Creep,
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax ist*DS   

At 1/2 off, the Thrift Store's price was $3.
It was in great condition, but I didn't notice a problem with the Aperture lever till I got home. The lever was loose on the inside and wasn't affecting the Aperture. Somehow the collar with the Aperture lever wasn't mounted on the inside. The lens doesn't look like it's been used much. I wonder if it came from the factory like this? It was easy to put it where it should be.

The lens was a joy to use. Other lenses with similar ranges were disappointing. This is a strong performer over all. It's IQ is so good that I'll dismiss its flaws.

Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2014
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,754

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 7, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $40.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, color rendition, limited distortion
Cons: Useless indoors due to long minimum focus distance
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-30   

My lens is the Vivitar label version with PK-A RK-P Mount. No issues are caused by the Ricoh pin on my K-s2 or K-30 and all controls work smoothly.

I’ve had several wide angle to true telephoto “super zooms” over the past thirty years and have been highly dissatisfied with the results from all but this one.

Distortion, which was a huge issue in the older Sigma, Tamron and Pentax 28-200 ish lenses is surprisingly well controlled in this lens. Sharpness, contrast and color rendition are very good at 28mm and hold or get better as it is zoomed toward 210mm. The performance at 210mm is nearly excellent. Some slight purple fringing is present, though not obtrusive. Sharpness is actually good wide open and very good at f5.6 (8) and f8 (11). Distortion is nearly non-existent and contrast is very good too. Better, in fact than many newer lenses.

The macro mode at 210mm is quite useful for outdoor flower and detail images, with a fairly pleasing bokeh too.

Typical of older lenses, my copy has some internal dust which doesn’t seem to degrade contrast very much, however a few chunky pieces of crud are present in the third or fourth element group. The card produces some small, dark ghosts which must be cloned out in PP.

If you can find a clean copy of this lens and you like vintage glass, buy it.
Forum Member

Registered: May, 2018
Location: NYC
Posts: 79
Lens Review Date: July 31, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: useful focal range, sharp, little CA, bokeh, price
Cons: build quality, limited macro, vignetting
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A7III   

I got this lens from a sidewalk seller who is a photographer, therefore the condition was pretty good (it had no haze or fungus).

Price was $20 and was a Pentax K-Mount.
(Is this possibly a Pentax A type mount, since it has the six dots on the rear mount?).
This the same price I have paid for a couple of other manual 'superzooms' recently.
Due to lack of funds and a healthy interest in older manual lenses I can adapt to the Sony A7III full frame camera, I'm always on the lookout for lenses, specially M42 and Pentax mounts.

The other superzoom I had been using was an 80s(?) Rokinon 35-200mm f/3.8-5.3 with macro function (M42 mount)
This is also utilizes a slide zoom with a click ring to active macro mode (1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/7, 1/10).
The Rokinon (also sold under other brands) was not too bad to use - reasonably sharp at 200mm, not too bad in outdoor low light but much better in bright light. Colors and rendering somewhat vanilla. However its macro mode was actually pretty good, allowing close-ups with nice detail and rendering (oncee I got the hang of it). So I was content that it was an OK carry around lens when I just needed one lens to do everything. The advantage of cameras like the A7III is that you can crank the ISO on the camera without introducing lots of noise, so that if you are using a slow lens you can compensate that way.

When I saw the Vivitar I was in two minds about getting it but since it covered 28-210mm and was a K-mount, and the price was only $20 I decided to try it. I cleaned it up and it the glass was nice and clear even though it did not have a filter on it. It is slightly shorter than the Rokinon but a little wider (ø72 vs ø67) and also weighs less.
First impressions were that it performs very well across the focal range. Having the extra 10mm at the long end possibly helps gives distant images a slight advantage over a 200mm, in terms of room to move for sharpening.

Colors render up nicely, there is some good micro-contrast and bokeh is actually quite pretty.

I do like the large, smooth rubber ring on my version for holding the lens - it feels nice.
I can't say the aperture ring is the best I have used - compared to a nice Pentax or Takumar it feels cheap.
The push pull zoom is fine - there is a little zoom creep but my copy seems to not suffer much.
It does feel quite fragile when zooming in and out though - since you can only use the (limited 1x4) macro mode when zoomed to 210mm it seems to lock into place when using macro mode and if you forget and try pulling the zoom back from the 210mm position if feels like you might break the lens! I did this by mistake and heard a not very nice 'crunch' but the lens seems to be fine.

The lens focuses well, take very nicely rendered and sharp photos and has a very handy focal range. CA seems very minimal as does softness on the edges. Editing images in post can really bring some extra life to images taken with it.
It does have a little vignetting going on - more so at 28mm.
I got a both an adjustable rubber hood, and a plastic petal hood for it, but its a bit of a hassle adjust the rubber hood for every focal length you slide to. Still, its better than nothing. Lens flare shooting into sunlight was quite noticeable without a hood, go figure. The fact that the front of the lens is fairly exposed doesn't help.

That said, the Vivitar has replaced my Rokinon superzoom since its a much better lens in terms of rendering nice shots, has a wider focal length, is a bit lighter and shorter. The only issue is that limited macro and that you need to treat the lens carefully as not to feel like you are going to break it.

I would recommend it if you want to try a manual superzoom with an adaptor on a full frame digital camera, especially for $20.

FYI the serial number on my lens is 01020870 - Im not sure if that means its from August 1982 or not but according to the Vivitar database of serial numbers there was no '01' designation for an external manufacturer so my lens may actually be from the early 90s, and given the good condition of the lens that is more likely.

I'm sorry I can't post pics but I'm not a contributing member yet and have run out of space. However I have a few shots on my Instagram where I have tagged the lens.

EDIT: I don't think I've found any issues with using this on full frame as mentioned above.

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 891
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good range, cheap, A aperture.
Cons: 2.5 metre closest start at all but 210mm
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: K-5   

The lens is close in appearance and ability to both the Vivitar 28-200mm and Kenlock 28-200mm lenses I have. A low cost lens that can be found if you think you need one or see one cheap and want to try one. This review is coloured by it's low cost.
I have trouble finding focus at 28mm so rely on focus confirmation but that is the same for all the lenses due to maybe the 2.5 metre closest focussing at all FLs up to 210mm. But the range is handy if not wide enough and at the 210mm end you can focus closer.
Little CA with high contrast images.
Good enough IQ for snaps.
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 8
Lens Review Date: March 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $68.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp zoom lens
Cons: some very few CA's on extreme focus
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: MZ-5, MZ-10 istDS   

this classic glass metal construction without ED lenses seems to be much more better then modern plastic constructions.

very content with this lens for analogue and digital SLR.

highly recommended because of high contrast and nice colors.

135mm stopped down to f11 very sharp macro shootings with macro ring possible
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight, sharp, compact
Cons: Very long minimum focal distance. Build quality so so.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

This was so cheap that I had to give it a go. To start with, it seemed useless; it wouldn't focus to infinity. However, I was astonished at the size of the JPEGs it created with objects that were close enough to focus on, so after a couple of false starts, I found that by removing the mount assembly, I got access to a ring that moved the rear optical group nearer to or further from the camera. Through a process of trial and error, I managed to get infinity focus at 28mm, and the other focal lengths sorted themselves out as well.

The lens is mostly plastic. It seems that the macro settings are only supposed to be selectable at 200mm, but it is possible to force the zoom back with brute force when it shouldn't be; evidence of a certain flimsiness. Someone must have seen the need to disassemble this lens before I got hold of it to have messed up the infinity focus.

Excepting the macro mode, the full focus throw is only 90 degrees, but the lens is sharp enough and fast enough at 28mm for it to appear to snap in to focus. The lens suffers from zoom creep, but its compact size makes it easy to clamp the zoom with my fingers when I have it where I want it.

I find it very difficult to distinguish pictures taken with this lens from pictures taken with the Pentax P FA SMC 28-105mm f4-5.6 Powerzoom when pixel peeping. The JPEGs are the same size, the bokeh looks the same, the colours look the same. The Pentax contrast is slightly better, the fringes on out of focus highlights are slightly narrower on the Cosina. I usually prefer the Pentax picture, but not always.

The Cosina lens is sharp all the way to its maximum focal length, although contrast is slightly lacking compared with the Adaptall-2 70-210mm f3.8-4 model 46A at the long end. But the main advantage of the 46A is f4 versus f5.6, and the reduction in camera shake hand held. If I stop the 46A down to f5.6, it enjoys hardly any benefit at all. The additional motion blur makes the pictures barely distinguishable.

The maximum focal length is less than that of the 46A. It is also less than the Samyang 28-200 f4-5.6 at its 200mm focal length. Photodo tested the later Cosina 28-210mm AF, and found its maximum focal length was only 191mm. I can believe that of this one as well.

The Samyang 28-200 f4-56 is inches longer in terms of its minimum size, is much heavier, is much better built, and is nearly as sharp. But it's harder to focus, and most annoyingly, all high contrast edges have a pronounced blue fringe. The Samyang gives images resized to a laptop screen a pronounced blue cast, though this isn't apparent pixel peeping except at the high contrast edges. EDIT: I have now added the Tamron Adaptall 71A 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 Aspherical to my Adaptall collection, and find that this Cosina is faster and sharper than the 71A. Of the three, the Cosina, the Samyang and the Tamron, the Cosina wide open is both fastest and sharpest, the Tamron is second sharpest, but the Tamron appears to be slower than the Samyang.

The Cosina's Macro mode is scarcely worthy of the name; it's just that the lens focuses a little closer at 200mm.

I haven't been troubled by flare, though the Cosina's exposed 72mm front element suggests that I would be if I got the sun anywhere near the frame.

The major drawback of the Cosina is its 2.6 metre minimum focus distance when not in Macro mode. The lens is useless indoors as a consequence. But its performance as a walkabout lens on a fine day is impeccable.

I am unclear as to the relationship of this lens to the AF version also reviewed on this site. This lens is a one touch, the AF is a two touch zoom, the AF claims a minimum focal length of 1.8 metres whilst this lens has 2.6 metres not counting the additional close focus capability. Photodo found the Cosina AF lens to be markedly inferior to the Pentax PZ FA 28-105mm f4-5.6, whilst I find the manual lens to be almost the same. But the MF and AF Cosina weigh the same.

Anyway, highly recommended.
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