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Panagor Macro PMC 90mm F2.8

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12 98,086 Sat December 19, 2015
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $111.96 9.75
Panagor Macro PMC 90mm F2.8

Panagor Macro PMC 90mm F2.8
Panagor Macro PMC 90mm F2.8

Classic 90mm macro lens.

1:1 macro without accessories
510 grams
Focus ring rotates about 990
Filter size: 62 mm
Lens coating: MC (multicoated)
Minimum focusing distance from front element: 14.5 cm (5.7 in.)

This lens was made by Komine (not Kiron as frequenty stated) in the early 1980s. It was made in various popular mounts including M42. (Note Pentax introduced the "A" function about 1983 I believe). It was also branded as:

Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 and f2.8 MC 1.1 (Ser nos. 28xxxxxx) review here.
(Not the Vivitar Tokina/Bokina Series 1, 37xxxxx)
Panagor 90mm f/2.8 1:1 PMC
Admiral-Panagor 90mm f 2.8 1:1 (Admiral, a Swiss reseller)
Rokunar 90mm f/2.5 1:1
Elicar 90mm f/2.5 1:1 PMC (A few rare white bodies noted in K and Nikon mounts)
Elicar 90mm f/2.5 1:1.25 PMC review here.
Soligor 90mm f2.5 1.1
Spiratone 90mm f2.5 1:1 "Proexitel'
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

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Junior Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 27
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $80.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: plenty sharp, colors, build quality, 1:1
Cons: none that I can think of
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Since I sold the legendary Tokina AT-X 90/2.5 after using this Panagor I should at least write a review for it I thought. So why do I like it better then the Bokina?

The Bokina is a great lens, just like the Vivitar series1 90/2.5 which is basically the same, but for my taste it was giving too much of everything. Too much sharpness, too much dense/ silky bokeh, too much color (oversaturated). The bokeh of the Bokina is painterly for sure, and that sets it apart from other lenses, but I felt it is so explicit that its quality sometimes pushes backgrounds forward. Hard to describe but for my feeling I loose some sensation of depth because of it. Many will disagree though...

The Panagor I like especially for its colors. They are very, very nice, not too saturated but tending slightly towards pastel. Searching for photo's made by the Panagor on Flickr I notice that the colors strike me very often, while photo's made with the Bokina often emphasize on that silky smooth bokeh that it's famous for. Is the bokeh of the Panagor really so much different that you could guess -just by looking at a photo- which lens had been used? I don't think so... it is a very capable macrolens and can totally recommend it.

-sharp from f2.8, corners bit behind but sharp allover from f4. No saw-tooth aperture at f4, unlike the Bokina.
-CA's as good as absent
-beautiful colors
-1:1 without any extension ring
-great build quality
-hood not needed (recessed front)


A photo made on cloudy day, nothing special but shows nice bokeh;
New Member

Registered: July, 2011
Posts: 23

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 26, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10

I am very happy with this lens
Senior Member

Registered: August, 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 233

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 29, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $160.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely good build quality. Excellent Image Quality.
Cons: Does not come in version with "A" Setting
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

I owned the Elicar dental version of this lens.

When I first examined this lens (while handling it before seeing the images it produced), I was a little disappointed. The build quality was great, but it seemed to essentially be a 90mm lens attached to an extension tube (which is basically what it is). However after having used it, I have to say that this is a really excellent macro lens. The build quality is superb. The markings on the barrel clearly and easily indicate the magnification. The focus is super smooth and solid. It is a bit heavy, but you expect that with all metal construction.

Originally, because I knew that the bottom half of the lens was essentially an extension tube, I thought it would loose a lot of light at higher magnifications, but I was pleasantly surprised, this lens is brighter and sharper than a new Tamron 90mm Di in side to side comparison test (although only marginally so). But what is great about this lens is that it has a much longer minimum focus throw than the Tamron (and almost all modern 100mm macros) because those change focal lengths as they go to 1:1. As a result this lens can do 1:1 at about 1 foot distance something most modern macros cannot do! Images are sharp enough, even wide open and the lens grip just feels great in the hand.

The only real disappointment is that I don't think they ever made these with an "A" setting (at least none that I have ever seen). As a result, using a flash with it is a bit of guesswork, still do-able but more difficult.
New Member

Registered: November, 2010
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: October 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, quality build
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

I primarily use this lens with a Dine manual macro ring flash. Since both the lens and flash are manual, I find the proper exposure by taking test shots and adjusting accordingly. It takes excellent insect photos. I have used the lens by itself, or with auto extension tubes to get even more magnification. I have also experimented with using it on my bellows, but that is strictly an indoor activity with static subjects. The shot of the spiral notebook was taken with the bellows and is several times life size.

I have never tried to use it as a normal 90mm lens, so I can't speak to that aspect of its performance. I have noticed some fringing when taking photos of silver coins with the flash, but nothing serious.

The lens is quite sharp even at f22. I am unable to detect much, if any, loss of sharpness from using the smallest aperture. Just about all of my shots are either f16 or f22 to get the maximum depth of field and the lens has never let me down. If the shot is fuzzy, it's because I missed the in-focus zone.

Since it is manual focus, I do the lean in focus method, and it works most of the time.

My model has the dental markings as I purchased it from a dental office. It is handy to use the scale when I want to take a photo at a particular magnification.
Inactive Account

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: September 27, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, real 1:1 macro
Cons: none so far
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

Found this lens by chance online after reading the positive reviews here, so decided to buy it. Got the lens 2 days now and while focusing and getting sharp images without using a tripod is difficult, it still works really well. Would surely recommend this lens if you can get it for less than $150

Sample image of a snail:

Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 48

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: crisp sharp images, true 1:1 macro, built like a brick @%*@ house
Cons: turns and turn and turn and get the point
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

wow ! stunning !!! value , build quality. old school but holy cow. it does require quite a few turns to focus all the way to 1:1 macro....hence, above cons comment.....Turn and turn...but the result is well worth the effort. The price is unbelievable !!! This photo was taken without tripod ( hand held ) on a windy day. opened up all the way...... CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.....

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,846

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, wonderful color reproduction, very easy to focus, true 1:1 macro
Cons: Not as contrasty as some lenses, but easily fixed in PP
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I've had the Panagor 90mm macro for a couple weeks now, and it's my first macro lens. Its sharpness is really impressive, and I love the colors it produces. I bought this lens used here on the forum marketplace.

For a macro novice, I've found it very easy to use with my K-r. It's a fully manual lens, but most of the time I use flash when shooting macro, so stop down metering isn't necessary. The manual focus ring is smooth and a joy to work with. It turns ... and turns ... and turns. This allows you to dial in just the right focus, and when your depth of field is a millimeter or two, you need all the help you can get! Plus, since it's a manual focus lens, you can use 'Catch in Focus' which is a life saver when shooting macro.

The lens is all metal and very well made.

A few "cons":
-It will not focus on anything farther away than 10-15 ft. So, you can't take this out and use it as a telephoto lens.
-It does not have the greatest contrast of any lens I own, but this is so quickly and easily fixed in post processing that it's hardly worth mentioning.
-It doesn't have the SMC coating of a Pentax lens so it will flare if pointed into the light.

I don't believe these are deal breakers at all. In fact, I don't consider any of them real problems for a macro lens.

I'm including a few of my early shots with this lens as examples of what it can do for even a newb to macro lenses. I heartily recommend it, as it produces very high quality images and less than half the cost of its newer macro competitors.

honeybee by loco's photos, on Flickr

A perfect world? by loco's photos, on Flickr

Greta's close up by loco's photos, on Flickr

apples in bowl by loco's photos, on Flickr

wet apple by loco's photos, on Flickr
New Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Champagne Ardennes, France
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 16, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Quality of build, macro 1:1, IQ, price
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Superb metal built quality, optic seems to be great (same as Pentax macro lenses for half price).

Focusing ring is nice to use - great colours

I made these test shots with this lens and the SMC100 M4 (a great lens) : Image quality is very is similar, but the Panagor seems to be better in terms of C.A.

Panagor 90 2,8 Maco PMC : no noticeable C.A.

Pentax SMC M100 f4 Macro : Some minor C.A. appears on the edge of the leaf.
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Springe
Posts: 3,493

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 1, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding IQ, very well build
Cons: no real ones

I agree with the other review: this lens is a pure pleasure to use.
Some shots taken with this lens:
For macro shots I am using a focusing rail which makes focussing easier and more convenient than turning the focussing ring forever
I have not discovered any real weakness yet - well, at least within the design parameters. It was not designed to be an "A" lens, therefore I guess you can't complain about the missing "A".
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2009
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,292

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 19, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Super value and a very good older lens

Note: The picture above may well be a later edition (f2.8) of the basic lens. Looking closely at the enlarged picture, it does not have an 'A' mode position next to f22. My Elicar copy has an 'A' mode and goes to f32. There are slight variances in the barrel engraving and the aperture adjusting ring is black plastic rather than a metallic color. I read somewhere that it was common to change published specs slightly on branded lenses. It also has 8 aperture blades. The earlier issues went to f/22 and many of the later "A" function copies went to F/32.

This lens was made by Komine not Kiron as frequenty stated in the early 1980s. It was made in various popular mounts including M42. (Note Pentax introed the "A" function about 1983 I believe). It was also branded as:
Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 1.1 (Ser no. 28XXXXXX)
Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 1:1 MC (Not the Vivitar Tokina/Bokina Series 1) (SER No 28XXXXXX)
Panagor 90mm f/2.8 1:1 PMC
Admiral-Panagor 90mm f 2.8 1:1 (Admiral, a Swiss reseller)
Rokunar 90mm f/2.5 1:1
Elicar 90mm f/2.5 1:1 PMC (A few rare white bodies noted in K and Nikon mounts)
Elicar 90mm f/2.5 1:1.25 PMC (
Soligor 90mm f2.5 1.1
Spiratone 90mm f2.5 1:1 "Proexitel'
Ozeck or Super Ozeck Note: The Ozeck brand was used by the UK Comet Group and branded about five or six Komine built lenses such as the 28mm Close Focus and the 135 mm Close Focus both well regarded lenses. The Ozeck brand is more prominent in the EU market. It is possible the 90mm macro was also in the Ozeck line up.
The Vivitar, Panagor and Elicar brands may have special medical or dental focus notations on the barrel as the top illustration does.
The Elicar copy was also packaged with an Elicar MS1 35 mm film SLR with ring flash for the dental/medical trade. I'm not sure who made the camera but suspect Ricoh. (On an edit I read that the Elicar camera was a Yashica which would give a camera/lens assy. a Yashica/Contax mount, unconfirmed). I believe it was a precursor kit to the Lester Dine-Kiron medical packages. I have just picked up an Elicar branded copy with a PK/R (Ricoh) mount. It is labeled Elicar V-HQ MACRO MC f2.5 #907397. The mounting flange has two gold contacts well radiused that retract when the aperture is off the 'A' position. It is engraved in red PK/R on the base bayonet mounting flange. The aperture ring has detents at 1/2 stops except between f22 and f32. This particular lens functions well in the A mode or as a full manual on my K20D without any pin modification or dreaded Ricoh lock-up to the camera body. My copy has no original Ricoh lock pin. I have seen pics of one PK/R Elicar with the dreaded lock up pin in the mounting flange (easily removed). It had the A mode and went to f32. I owned a straight Panagor K mount copy with the A mode years ago and was very happy with the lens, very sharp. It was also good as a portrait lens. It was smallish and worked well for flower shots and the 1:1 capability without adapters was very handy in the field. The lens is only 3 5/8 long collapsed and about 7" fully extended at 1:1. I have to add it is well made and a bit heavy considering it's all metal when compared to modern plastic lenses. This lens is a great knock around field lens. It is built like a tank and relatively low value and takes great hand-held field pictures in low light. It was a favorite hike-around with me and was almost a permanent lens on my old LX body. I can add it has a flat field of focus and was great for flat art/document copy. One slight negative is the mounting flange tolerances on my copy are not as tight as my genuine Pentax lenses. There is a very miniscule wobble that is harmless but just not as good as genuine. That is the best information I can scratch up on this older interesting and good lens. If you can add or correct anything, feel free.

Below is a much more experienced opinion with additional information from macro specialist and member
I can confirm that this lens was manufactured by Komine. It has two siblings in the 55mm and 135 (also the rare Vivitar 135 "Close Focus" 1.2) focal lengths. While the branded Elicar and Vivitar versions are the most common, it was also released under the Soligor and Panagor brand names. It bares no relation to the Vivitar S1 90mm or Tokina 90mm ("Bokina") as optical formula is quite different - no fixed rear correction lens element. Elicar V-HQ Macro was marketed heavily towards the science and medical (dental) industries during the early 80's.

This is an excellent lens. I have this Elicar version along with its little brother Elicar V-HQ 55mm Macro. Both are very VERY sharp lenses. What I really love about these two is the build quality. It's a very inspiring design. Very solid and heavy. (But not an ultra heavy build like the Kiron). Nice firm rotation. 90mm does more than a 360 degree turn to reach 1:1. The lovely green multi-coating renders a cool colour cast. A little soft at f/2.5, but becomes really sharp at f/4, even at infinity. Weakness: It's an older multi-coating; which makes it a little prone to flare. This (of course) isn't much of an issue with macro work - and on the upside is usually well controlled by it's very recessed front element. There is substantial amount of light fall off in macro mode. What's surprising is how well it excels as a telephoto lens. On film this was my favorite lens and focal length. It produced my best nature images. The bokeh at macro level is really something. Has a habit of producing a busy (but not harsh) bokeh. It's more a more painterly / pastel effect - which I find quite attractive. But it can do the buttery smooth thing as well. Did I mention that it is very sharp?

For comparison - I also own the Kiron 105mm, Tokina AT-X 90mm (Bokina), Vivitar S1 90mm, Pentax-FA 100mm, and Pentax-A* 200mm Macro. While all of these will out resolve the Elicar at the macro level - time and time again I find myself choosing the Elicar. Due in large part to it's design - It's a fantastic tool to handle and work with. Highly recommended. Easily worth twice the price.

More information:

A very rare all-white edition branded Elicar going to f32 with an apparant 'A' function. This example has an interesting screw-on matching hood adding about another 1 1/2" to the length. I understand only a few hundred were made in K mount:
More views of a white Elicar Nikon mount edition:

On a 2/11 edit, I had the chance to look at a Nikon mount Elicar 90MM a friend just picked up ($250). It seems that the production was late in the series. The color was an off-white ivory. It went to F32 and it was engraved on the barrel 1 to 1.25 so it has a bit more magnification that my 1 to 1 PK/R Elicar. There were no dental notations on it. Nice looking lens.

On another 2/11 edit I ran into a Fleabay sale of a Elicar Nikon mount set with auxillary matching lenses. All components were the off-ivory color and this set seems to be for the scientific market. Price was $749 in Japan. Quote from the sale description:
"While this can be considered a collectors item, it is also the macro photographer's dream lens.
For sale is an Elicar Super Macro 1:2.5/90mm lens in Nikon AIS mount. This lens is as new. The only macro lens ever made to focus from infinity to OVER LIFESIZE WITHOUT ACCESSORIES: it focuses to 1.25x. Includes hood and original pouches. Originaly made for medical / dental photography.
Included are also 2 close-up matching achromats (shown on the right). These are optional lenses taylor-made for this objective to allow 1.25:1 - 2.5:1 magnification with the 1.25x achromat or up to 4:1 magnification with the additional 1.6x lens stacked.

Review on a white 1.25 version:

Here is an additional site with coverage on Pentax mounts and good info on Ricoh mounts:

On Ricoh/Pentax pin issues:

Memo: Reportedly all Komine manufactured Vivitar lenses can be identified by the 28 in the serial number as: 28XXXXXX.

One more excellent site from Germany refered by Tumbleguts covering the variations and branding of this Komine 90mm macro lens:

A blog on this Komine lens FYI:

I ran across this explanation site of the Vivitar brand product manfacturers that might be helpful to some. This should answer anyone's questions on who and when it was made in the Vivitar line up:

Brand Quantaray (Ritz Camera chain) I noticed a Komine build 55MM macro on Fleabay in Nikon mount. It is possible Quanta-Ritz also branded the 90mm macro though I have not run across any to date.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Oxfordshire UK
Posts: 707

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 12, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: True 1:1 Macro. Truly accurate focusing
Cons: None

Although a long focus throw - about 990 degrees from fully retracted to fully out - i dont see this as a problem, because this is what will get you that accurate focus.

Its one of the top 2, possibly THE top sharpest lens i own. Sharp as a cuthroat.

Some examples
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 6,086

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 22, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $18.50 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 1:1 macro w/out accessories, excellent IQ
Cons: very long focus throw (great for macro but not for other uses), no A position

This lens is definitely better than me, but it is good enough to teach me something about macro. I saw some photos of it in another photographer's kit. Later on eBay, I saw a K1000SE with an poor photo of odd looking lens on it and a bad description. I took a chance that this was the lens. It came with a flash bracket, filters and other accessories that implied it had been used by a dentist. The price above is after selling the K1000SE. Its real value is probably $100-$150.

It has 8 aperture blades and a minimum aperture of f22. Minimum focus distance is a bit less than 14 inches. It's a K-mount lens, functionally equivalent to a Pentax-M.

A rough Pentax equivalent might be the Pentax-M 100mm f4. The Pentax only goes to 1:2 magnification, has 6 aperture blades and opens to f4, but it's 30% lighter and a little smaller. Extension tubes would help the Pentax. Anyway, I owned both and decided to sell the Pentax because the Panagor seemed more versatile.

I mention the long focus throw as a con. Partly this is a macro lens thing, partly my lack of macro experience and partly because the focus turns the opposite direction of the Pentax lenses. I am always getting close to something, turning the focus ring without success, then discovering I've turned it a long way in the wrong direction. Focus effort is a bit high. The focus, extreme sharpness and my other lens options mean I haven't tried the lens for portrait use.

An A lens would certainly make flash use much easier. I have not experimented with flash yet. Obviously the dentist could do it.

Construction is quite solid, the equivalent of a Pentax-M.

I'd say highly recommended if you're willing to work a bit harder. The drawbacks simply reflect the lens's design for a special purpose and the time it was built. Also remember my rating comes from someone who isn't very good at macro yet.
Add Review of Panagor Macro PMC 90mm F2.8

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