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Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5 Review RSS Feed

Vivitar Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5

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6 40,295 Sun December 15, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $33.40 8.33
Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5

Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5
Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5
Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5
Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5
Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5

According to online info, the original version of this lens was produced for vivitar (and soligor) in 1973 by tokina. This first version has a tripod mount built in.
The more compact second version (?late seventies) in the pics lacks this.
See also the Tokina 100-300mm f5 reviews.
Swappable TX mount. TX mounts were made in PK, M42 and other camera mounts of the era (but not PKA).
PDFof a TX mount user manual here. And this page on shows the difference between T4 (=1st version) and TX (=2nd version) mounts.
NOTE that there is also a 67mm filter ring version, 12 elements in 9 groups, 1.2kg, see specs for soligor nameplate lens here. This is probably an earlier version - the original from what I call the tokina "heavy metal" series of the late 1970's - see the 2 ring 70-210mm, 75-260mm etc.

From manual:

Optical construction: 13 elements/ 9 groups;
Filter diameter: 62mm;
weight: 804g (28.4oz);
Length: 164mm /6.5" at infinity;
max diameter: 68mm;
Focus throw:
Mini Focus distance from film plane: 2m at tele; 43cm at close-focus: Max. Magnification: 1:3.5 ;
FOV: 8-24 degree full frame;
Max. Aperture: f5; Mini. Aperture: f22;
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Vivitar  Auto TX Close-Focusing zoom----- 100-300mm F5
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Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2017
Posts: 681
Review Date: December 15, 2019 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Close focus, built-in hood, good mechanisms
Cons: CAs, Soft on edges of focus
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-3   

I have the P/K version of this lens, which I acquired from an auction site. I am disposed to want to like lenses I get inexpensively, but I have difficulty with this one. Some of my difficulty, no doubt, comes from the odd operation of this as compared to my usual 60-300 Tamron Adaptall lens. However, I noticed a distinct lack of sharpness and multi-colored CA in my photos, neither of which seemed to resolve in closing the lens down a bit. The first two photos below are unedited - the third is a cropped and edited version of the second.
New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: London, UK
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 14, 2016 Recommended | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, colour rendition, excellent build quality, close focus
Cons: Purple fringing (easy to fix though)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony Alpha 7 R II   

Lens actually Very sharp given its price (this is a LONG zoom!)
Quite a bit of chromatic aberration, but well behaved so easily fixed.
I was lucky to get a near-mint copy on eBay, and it feels Really good to handle: smooth, solid, firm. Quite long & somewhat heavy of course, but nothing compared to modern (AF) lenses of similar length. So actually very handy, given its specs.
The ability to close focus (about 30 cm?) is a great bonus - and you get very nice bokeh too!
The focus is pretty quick (about 180degree full rotation), which is nice for moving subjects. But on static subjects you may wish a bit more rotation, to facilitate precise focus.
Some flare but nothing extreme - the build in hood helps, but it's a bit short.
Overall a really nice lens. Very pleased.

View image in gallery[/center]
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 30

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 12, 2014 Recommended | Price: $23.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good contrast, internal zoom, close focus, built-in hood, f/5
Cons: Big & heavy, not super sharp
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: Sony A7, A7RII   

This is an update of my original review after trying it again on an A7RII instead of an A7...

I certainly didn't need another 100-300mm manual-focus zoom, but this is an interesting Tokina-made lens and was very cheap.

The image quality is surprising. Contrast is very good, even at 300mm. Resolution is good enough, but not great; at 300mm there are plenty of lenses that are softer wide open, and wide open is f/5 here. Vignetting is significant, but gradual enough to usually go unnoticed even on full frame. There is very little visible-light CA, although it varies across the zoom and focus range, but there often are quite obvious brightly-colored fringes from PF. Overall it is far less color artifacting than most old 300mm+ lenses. Bokeh are a bit inconsistent, with some nisen bokeh and some very smooth -- you can see this in the older reviews.

Mechanically, the lens is way better than expected. The pull-out hood is very effective and the gently-detented aperture ring should please both those who like click stops and those who prefer it smooth. I generally prefer one-touch zoom/focus for manual zooms, but this lens zooms internally with very little focus shift, so the two separate controls are actually fine. Close-focus mode is easy to enter and leave, but is at the 100mm end of the zoom range. Close focus is quite good; here's a sample unprocessed JPEG:

Unfortunately, one tends to hold the lens where the zoom/close-up ring is rather than by the focus ring, and that's too close to the camera body to give a steady grip. Even with IBIS, I found I needed close to 1/f shutter speeds in order to ensure freedom from motion artifacts.

Overall, this is a pretty reasonable lens if you want a manual lens for wildlife photography. It's pretty good at 300mm and has a decent macro mode with a good working distance. However, it's not clearly better than the average modern autofocus zoom that goes to 300mm.
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 19
Review Date: October 21, 2013 Recommended | Price: $29.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Macro, Cheap, Tele-zoom, Great IQ for the price
Cons: Slow, heavy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Another lens I just bought because it was cheap and in very nice condition. Good high quality feel.
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 13

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 23, 2013 Recommended | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast for a 300mm, macro feature, sharp
Cons: Hard to find adapters, no PK A adapter available
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

This is an older lens. My copy looks like it never has been used. TX adapters are not very common. I have a PK adapter which I bought first on a whim and later I bought this lens. I think the lens is made by Tokina. It stays the same length when zooming. The macro feature works only at 100mm but works very well. It is fairly sharp. I don't think a PK A adapter is available in a TX mount so you have to stop down to meter it. Supposedly a Nikon ai mount is available but I have never seen one on ebay although you occasionally see the older Nikon mount. Of course that mount is useless. You do see TX adapters in the Pentax screw mount quite a bit. F5 is fast for a 100-300mm zoom as most only go to F5.6. It is a constant f5. Since I bought a Pentax 55-300mm, I hardly ever use this lens. This is probably the best zoom in a TX mount. The build quality is very good and the focus and zoom is very smooth.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: SG
Posts: 29

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 10, 2011 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: flexible range 100-300mm at f5 constant, and close focus at 20cm from lens front
Cons: 800g is on the heavy side for traveling,just lighter than my 400mm prime
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I got this lens and has been using it with Takumar 2x A TC and Vivitar 2x MC TC, very good for what it suppose to do. birding, nature shots and shot at a distance.

I sold my pentax M 200mm f4 with 2x TC after I got this lens and a vivitar TC;
and then I sold this vivitar 100-300 f5 after I got a Tokina 400mm f5.6 (1.2kg, 4m mini focus distance)

With this lens, you don't need a 400mm f5.6 for birding or a 90mm f2.8 macro for small bugs; as this vivitar does everything a nature photographer needs, zoom far and also can focus close.

Good for birding, at f8, still perform well with teleconvertor; but be careful about CA when shooting toward bright source.

It has a rotate zoom ring, stop at each zoom mark precisely, unlike typical 80-200 zoom with push and pull like design;
it is internal focus, lens doesn't extend very much with its smooth focus ring, 2 figure can spin it quickly.

Built-in hood;

In morning, ISO 800 for use in cloudy day, and ISO1600-3000 if you use with 2x TC.

shot with 2x TC at 100mm, f8

shot with 2x TC at close focus mark

shot with 2x TC at 300mm, on K-x, that is 900mm equvilent, ISO 1600, 1/500, it is sharp,

I like the CA effect. at 300mm with TC.

without TC, just the lens itself at 300mm, it is very good color rendering; you need a good split screen on DSLR to focus at f8 precisely, or just use live view to focus.

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