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Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens

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4 27,746 Fri May 4, 2018
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100% of reviewers $228.33 8.00
Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens

Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens
Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens
Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens
Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens
Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens
Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 Zoom Lens

This super-telephoto zoom was made for Vivitar by Kobori and can be found in most mounts of the era: PK, OM, MD, CY, CFD etc.

Focal Lengths: 120mm-600mm
Minimum Focus: approx. 13' (3.9m)
Apertures: Maximum: f/5.6 (120mm), f/8 (600mm); minimum: f/32 (120mm)
Construction: 15 elements in 11 groups, multicoated.
8-bladed diaphragm.
Integral hood & tripod mount
Controls: Focus ring, zoom ring, aperture ring (with ADR), tripod collar lock with detents every 90
Indicators: Focal length and depth of field (120, 200, 300 & 600mm) focal distance (from 15'/4m), aperture (main & ADR scales, indices for 120 & 600mm)
Dimensions: Length: 11.5" (29.2cm); Diameter: 3.5" (8.9cm), excluding tripod collar;
Filter ring: 82mm
Weight: 4.75 lbs. (2150g)
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

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Registered: March, 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Posts: 7,783

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sturdy, very well made, focus is smooth, amazing focal length, good tripod foot
Cons: Purple fringing
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I found this rare lens used, in pristine condition.

Like many older lenses, it needs a simple modification on the aperture lever protection because of the KAF3 electronic contacts. Performed in 5 minutes with a dremel.

The lens comes with a beautiful hard case in excellent shape also. Even the clasp looks high-end:

The lens is a beast, at almost 5 pounds. It's longer than even the Pentax DFA 150-450mm. When mounted on the K-1 and extended to 600mm (with the built-in hood also extended) it's quite a sight (excuse the poor cell phone picture). At its shortest the lens is about 30cm long, I did not measure it fully elongated.

The lens has a solid tripod foot, with a wide metal ring which clicks at left and right 90. Some modern manufacturers would learn a trick or two from Vivitar.


Of course it's fully manual:

The zoom ring has a bit of resistance, with all that glass to move around, but the focus ring (located far to the front) is so easy to operate that I can literally move it with one finger. Even when holding the lens barrel, it's thus possible to focus:

The front element takes 82mm filters. The cap is a plastic screw-on, quite unusual.

Here is the Vivitar next to a few other tele lenses. From left to right,

Pentax DFA 100mm macro WR
Signa APO 400mm F5.6
Vivitar 120-600mm
Pentax DA 60-250mm

At their shortest focal lengths, focused at infinity, the differences are dramatic:

With each lens at its longest, with the hood in place when available, the differences are less important, mainly because the Sigma has internal focusing and the Pentax 60-250 has a very long hood...

I'll be testing the Vivitar optically when skies clear. I can already say that it shows some purple fringing, which is to be expected and is easy to correct. I can also say that using such a lens at 600mm is no easy trick. The electronic shutter on the K-1 and an IR remote are certainly useful. The K-1's tilting LCD is also very useful.
New Member

Registered: December, 2015
Location: Jeffreys Bay
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Works well with tele-extenders, very good range and IQ
Cons: VERY heavy, free hand shooting only in very bright conditions
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Canon 400D with adapter   

I live in sunny South Africa, and very bright days are quite plentiful.
I can't do more than 10 shots at a time handheld because of the weight.
When I use a tripod, it has to be standing on a soft surface, to prevent movement.
Used it on some moon shots successfully just resting on a chair back, on amazing settings!
Got better results than Sigma 150-500 F5-6.3 on a D90 Nikon
TV: 1/125
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: October 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp for this class, very well constructed, tight smooth focus control and zoom.
Cons: Obviously it's a beast. So precisely constructed it is subject to even mirror flip vibrations.....bring sand bags
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 10   

This is probably one of the tightest builds supplied to Vivitar ever......very precision like. There are probably loose samples out there but I have not seen one. Look out for; haze in the internal elements, using a very rock steady and heavy tripod with sand bags is advised if you shoot in the 300mm - 600mm range. It really surprised me, I expected severe fringing and only find it slight for a manual focus lens of any type from this era. For grins I used a 2x teleconverter from atop a bluff in Illinois near Grafton of a building near Earth City in Missouri (that's 1200mm and the equivalent of 1800mm on a 1.5 crop factor). It worked but imagine compacting miles and miles and miles of dust, pollution, and particles into a flat scene? I used a 1.5x to capture shots on tow barges along the Mississippi river and they were very detailed and crisp. I used it at 75 feet to capture hawks and was impressed. I think it easily outperforms the Sigma 170-500mm in IQ. If you get one you will appreciate the build quality, loathe the weight, and dread the "tuning fork" like reverberations even a mirror flip will create.....all that aside it produces remarkable IQ at the 400-600mm end. WATCH OUT for internal haze? Contrast is not a strong suit with these and even slight haze will affect the quality. Does much better on closer subjects, contrast wise, between 50 and 150 feet in distances..... sweet spot/peaks at about f8 75 feet in my opinion.
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Florida Gulfer
Posts: 3,057
Lens Review Date: November 4, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Range,IQ,
Cons: Weight, Length, PF
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

It's a much better lens than I thought it was going to be, But you need a tripod to really get great pictures from it. PF is to be expected with these old, long zoom lenses. But it is easy to fix on Photo Shop. There isn't any lens creep and it focuses and zooms very smooth but I did get a almost new copy that was stored for a long time.
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