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Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2

Sharpness 
 7.9
Aberrations 
 7.3
Bokeh 
 8.1
Handling 
 8.4
Value 
 8.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
14 94,207 Tue May 19, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
86% of reviewers $79.17 8.14
Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2

Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2
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Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2
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Description:
Vivitar 28mm wide angle lenses were made primarily by Kino Optical (Kiron), and Komine. There is a plethora of different versions see link below. These Kiron versions have serials 22xxxxx, the Komines have 28xxxxx serial numbers. This review page is specifically for the Kiron made f2 versions (and see also Kiron 28mm f2 reviews here ). It is available in both PK and M42 mounts. Note that these Kiron ones are known to to be prone to suffer from oily/sticky iris blades (repair article here).

The F2, 49mm filter "close focus" komine version is listed here.
Other Komine versions here.
F2.8 "close focus" komine version listed here.
Kiron f2.8 versions, later versions by Tokina (37xxxxx) and Cosina (9xxxxxx) need/have a separate listing.
T4/TX tokina made (37xxxx) 28mm listed here.


Construction; 8 elements in 8 groups
Filter Diameter: 55mm
Aperture: f2 - f16, half clicks, with DOF scale on barrel
Iris: 6 blades
CFD: 0.3m / 12"
Focus throw: ~ 120 deg rotation
Length: 5cms.
Weight: 284g / 10oz
FOV: 66 Degrees (Horizontal) on full frame.

There are a large number of Vivitar 28mm variants, listed in this blog. The pictured lens is # K13 in the list. The nameplates are the quick means of distinguishing the variants of the kiron made f2's:
K11:- Vivitar 28MM 1:2 WIDE-ANGLE NO. 22xxxxxx 55MM
K12:- Vivitar 28MM 1:2 AUTO WIDE-ANGLE No. 22xxxxxx 55MM
K13:- Vivitar 28MM 1:2 MC WIDE-ANGLE NO. 22xxxxxx 55MM
Reviewer Barabas notes: "The earlier version has a much longer focus throw (3/4 turn instead of 1/4 turn) and a rotating front. The K11 is an exact copy of the Kiron 28mm f2.0. Comparing the two lenses by their appearance, the front and rear elements of the K12 are wider then those of the K11, so it is not just the coating that differs."
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:



Add Review of Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2
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Junior Member

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 46
Lens Review Date: May 19, 2020 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $84.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: centre sharpness, build quality
Cons: edge softness, no close focus, no "A" setting, flare
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 5    Camera Used: Pentax K-S1, Samsung NX30   

I bought this lens by mistake. I wanted the close focus version and this one isn't. I realized it only after receiving the lens. It has minimum focus distance of 12" vs 9" of the close focus version. The magnification is disappointing.

The lens is in mint condition and beautifully made. Focusing and aperture rings are smooth. Unfortunately, it's not an "A" lens, which limits its usability on Pentax cameras. Works better on mirrorless ones.

Optically it's strange razor sharp in the centre at F2.8 and up but very soft on the edges at any aperture. On my Samsung NX30, the edge softness is even worse than on the Pentax K-S1. I have no idea why. If it performs like this on APSC, I imagine the corner softness on full frame must be abysmal. The coating of the lens isn't very good, and flares are strong.

The most interesting characteristic of this lens is bokeh it's wild! Sometimes it's quite nice like an impressionistic painting, and sometimes it looks like boiling vegetable soup.

This lens is basically a one trick pony. I can recommend it with caution to those who like weird bokeh and colourful flower photos. I certainly don't recommend it as a general purpose wide angle! There are far better options.

UPDATE: As a portrait lens on APSC, this lens doesn't work either. At close distance, distortions are too strong. On full-length portraits, only the centre of the figure is sharp while the face and legs are soft. Changed my rating to "Not recommended".






   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Posts: 159

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $17.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Long and smooth focus ring, IQ
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I got an absolute steal of a price for this lens. At US $16.94 I can't really fault this lens, everything works as intended, the aperture blades are great, the glass is perfect and overall, it's museum quality.

F-stop comparison Center-ish:



Top right corner:


for 17$ this is quite unbelievable.

PS! I know about the flare of this lens...it was actually one of the reasons I bought this.

I will add some more sample images, once I get out more with this.

First, some obligatory images of my cat. @F2












Got out a little, here's some more shots:







   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 1,285

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 9, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp wide open
Cons: lens flare
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: pentax k-30   

I am very impressed with this Lens over all. It is a very good Landscape Lens and not too shabby for indoor use, as I abhor the use of flash. If you buy one you may need to rebuild it as i the grease tends to get on the aperture blades and on the lens elements. So it usually needs a CLA right off the bat. But after you do this you will be rewarded with a good Lens. I think the guy before me gave a super negative review cause he didn't realize that the elements were full of a film of oil, there by impacting the image quality. here are a few pictures [
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 2,461
Lens Review Date: October 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: f2, price
Cons: not so sharp, low contrast at f2, f2.8
Sharpness: 5    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 9    Value: 7    Camera Used: k-5, k-01, nex-6, A7, A7r   

I had two copied of this lens by some confusion, I wanted to have Kiron and komine versions each but ended up with both Kiron versions, one was like new in the box and one I purchased from the forum here.

Both were super clean copies, and looked identical. However, optically they were slightly different. Although, both had relatively weak contrast till f4, one piece was poorer than another.

I already have plenty of 28mm lenses including K28/f3.5, M28/f3.5, M28/f2.8, Zuiko 28/f2.8, and superb Sigma 30/f2.8. Hence, the only reason for me to get this lens was to use at wide open. Unfortunately, sharpness at wide open is mediocre, there is some glow and doesn't serve the purpose. Note that I am comparing both the copies against some of the more reputed lenses mentioned above so my bar was already high. However, you may be satisfied if you are not too critical about the sharpness or the contrast.

Overall, Performance is on par once stopped down but If you are buying for f2 or f2.8 use, I personally suggest to look somewhere else.
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 15
Lens Review Date: October 16, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Fast, solid, weighty, nice handling.
Cons: Corners lag far behind centre, even at f8 on an APS-C camera
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: Samsung GX20, Pentax K-x   

I bought this lens (K12 in the Vivitar 28mm Bestiary) to be used as a fast normal prime on APS-C cameras, and I am very pleased with it. My copy is in superb condition, with few signs of previous use. Central sharpness is outstanding, even wide open, and so it snaps into focus. In the centre, at F2, sharpness is superior to my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 zoom, and my Tamron 02B 28mm f2.5 prime (the prime lens that I previously used for available light shooting indoors and at night with this focal length), when the Tamrons are used at their maximum apertures, though the Tamrons display better contrast and fewer aberrations overall.

The corners, even on an APS-C camera, lag far behind the centre. At F8, and viewed on a monitor, the same view shot with the Tamron 17-50mm and the Vivitar 28mm f2 K12 look very similar in terms of colour, but peep at the pixels, and the K12 has a definite edge in the centre, whilst the Tamron is superior in the corners.

I really like the long focus throw; it helps nail the focus.

The rotating front element is strange in a prime, but:
  • If you were shooting in a situation where you wanted to use a polariser, you are probably not going to stray far from the hyperfocal distance
  • I'm not planning to use this lens in broad daylight out of doors anyway. If I'm carrying primes, the K12 is much larger than the Komine-made Vivitar 28mm f2.8 Close Focus, which I'm very happy with.
For the uses to which I have put the K12, family snaps indoors with the lens wide open, the bokeh is fine. It looks like the in-focus bits, but out of focus.

Overall, 9 out of 10; I am docking a point for the relatively poor corner performance.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2007
Location: So Cal
Posts: 2,080
Lens Review Date: September 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp across the field when stopped down
Cons: field curvature problems on ff, at f/5.6 and wider
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 5    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: K10d, 36mp Sony a7R   

i have three copies of the k12 version, as it is defined in the link above.

i have tested well over half a dozen 28mm legacy primes on the a7r, always shooting the same landscape scene at the same aperture... since any lens can be mounted to the a7r, those 28mm tested lenses included minolta, pentax, canon fdn, etc.

for stopped down landscape shots, the two best lenses out of all those are this vivitar/kiron(22xxxxxx), and the smc pentax-m 28mm f/3.5, with the pentax having a very slight edge.

the pentax is nearly a stop darker in the corners, as measured by imatest, but by f/8, the vignetting is nearly equal between the two.

on the 36mp full frame sony a7r, this vivitar/kiron lens has field curvature issues, to one degree or another, up to at least f/5.6, but it's pretty cleaned up across the frame by f/8.

field curvature will be less of an issue on the crop sensor pentax cameras, but the increased pixel density of the 24mp k3(over the a7r), could reveal issues as well.

you can see comparison photos between this lens and the other 28mm legacy primes at:
28mm lens comparison testing, on the Sony a7R
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 27
Lens Review Date: August 24, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: super sharp
Cons: aperture can be oily
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: M43   

Tested both the multicoated (K11) and the earlier single coated (K12) version. The earlier version has a much longer focus throw (3/4 turn instead of 1/4 turn) and a rotating front. The K11 is an exact copy of the Kiron 28mm f2.0. Comparing the two lenses by their appearance, the front and rear elements of the K12 are wider then those of the K11, so it is not just the coating that differs.

The results of my photo tests are surprising;
-the sharpness of the K12 surpasses that of the K11, especially from f5.6 to f16. There the K12 is super sharp edge to edge with a very good contrast. At lower apertures (f2.0-f4) the contrast of the K11 is better, probably due to the multi coating, and the K11 shows a bit less glow & less CA at f2.0. Within the glow (around highlights/ white objects) the K12 still is sharper.

The corner sharpness of the later (K11) version is slightly disappointing. It never gets as sharp as the center, while with the earlier version I'm simply impressed with the sharpness allover the frame. Starting at f4 the corner sharpness of the K12 is clearly better.

-The colours of the K12 are cold compared to the multicoated K11. Adding an UV filter will make them a bit warmer.

-The depth of field at longer distances is narrower with the K12, it has better bokeh. Using the same f number on the K11, more objects in the foreground/ background
seem to be in focus, while the focused area of the K12 really 'pops' out.

I ended up selling the later version, even when it was in a mint condition. By no means it is a bad lens and I don't think I had a bad copy, I simply prefer the older version. I'll test it against the Pentax K 28mm f3.5 later, very curious...
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2011
Location: Minahasa, North Celebes (Sulawesi)
Posts: 585
Lens Review Date: May 5, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Wide (enough on APS-C) and FAST!
Cons: Beware of copies with bad mechanism
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This is a review of the Kiron version. For six months now I have used this lens for my nighttime lens. It's wide and fast enough on my K20D to shoot indoors at dim light occasions. The wide open F2 thingy is what stands out in this lens. I have an Adaptall 24/2.5 01B, although the Tamron is wider, this lens performs noticeably better in low light, even at the same F2.5 setting. Wide open sharpness is not something to brag about, however when shooting in dim lights sharpness seems to be not that important anyway. I love the way this lens gives sort of 3D look on the object, it's just cool. Colors and contrast are a bit low compared to the SMC, but nothing to whine about.

This is a lens too good to miss, if you have a chance to get it.



   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2009
Location: East Bay Area, CA
Posts: 6,213

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 24, 2011 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: small, inexpensive
Cons:
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 6   

i am reviewing the Kiron version of the Vivitar 28/2, hopefully in the right thread.

The one I bought had issues that really made me question the longevity of vintage Kiron lenses. The aperture blades were completel stuck which required a thorough cleaning to free them. I have seen other Kirons with this exact problem yet never on any other older lenses i've used. Also, upon close inspection of the glass elements, i was able to see several bubbles/imperfections throughout. I concluded this was evidence of separation of the elements and surely not a good thing.

It is possible i just had a very bad specimen, but in my collection of Vivitar 28's, i really found the Komine and Tokina variants to be the best, so will likely avoid Kiron when given the choice. YMMV.

that said, here is a good pic i got from the lens

   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2007
Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Posts: 576
Lens Review Date: August 20, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Sharp, Fast, Good Colour, Contrast stopped down
Cons: Flare, Purple Fringing at large apertures, Corner Sharpness, Build Quality

This is an interesting lens. A fast wide-angle for 135 format and a normal for APS format. It is a good performer, sharp and contrasty when stopped down. Bokeh is a bit busy and wide open it is even funky to the degree that one can start using it for creative purposes. Build quality is mostly very good but the focussing isn't as smooth as many other lenses and that drags it down a bit.

It is a lens with a double nature. One the one hand it is a sharp and good lens for landscapes etc., and on the other it has the feel of a cheap DDR or Soviet lens with strange bokeh and interesting optical characteristics. All depending on how much you stop it down.

All this makes it a fun lens to use in certain situations. For people and creative use of bokeh this lens is nice. But if landscapes and other situations where optical perfection is sought after are the main purposes, I can say that this lens does not touch the sharpness and contrast of the K28/3.5. But then again not to many wide-angles do.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 351
Lens Review Date: February 10, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: value, color rendering, bokeh
Cons: very little at the price

I got a good deal on this lens as part of a package, and have been shooting with it for a little while to see what I think. The version I have is designated A01 on Robin Parmar's 28mm bestiary, as it has the auto-aperture setting. (which is very nice) This lens does exhibit some amount of flare, and very minimal corner softness and PF. Nothing at all unexpected for the vintage, however.

This picture was shot straight into the sun, I didn't do a great job of metering either.


The following image isn't terribly interesting, except to note that enough detail was captured for me to zoom in and see that the plane in the photo is a British Airways 747.


I didn't do a great job of focusing, and there's a bit of camera shake, but note the great color rendering and bokeh instead:


A few more samples:





In summary this lens weaknesses are minimal and easily worked around, and the strengths are really nice. Combine with the value, and I think this lens rates a solid 9.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 5,692
Lens Review Date: May 28, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, speed, size, value
Cons: Flare

I have two of these lenses right now. They are K12 and K13 on Robin Parmar's Vivitar version list. There are two non-cosmetic distinctions between these models. On the K12, the front element rotates when focusing, unusual for a prime lens. The K13 does not rotate. Also, the K13 is labeled "MC", like the lens in the review photo. Its lens coatings are an improvement over the K12 but I would definitely recommend a hood anyway. Otherwise performance is the same.

My above price was in 2007, not really relevant to today.

I've had many inexpensive 28mm lenses and this one is superb for sharpness. Maybe if you spend some real money it can be beat; I don't know. I had a Tokina version of the Vivitar Series 1 28mm f1.9 that was not even close. The lens can be used from f2 very easily, and images are very good even in the corners. A lot of vintage fast lenses have impressive labels but the fast apertures are not very useful. This lens is not like that. It gets better at f2.8 of course. Some good lenses can compete with it at f4 or smaller, but it doesn't lag enough to worry about.

The lens doesn't seem to have any glaring defects with bokeh. Colors are close enough to Pentax to not be an issue. Contrast is a little lower than with a good Pentax. I have a Pentax-F 28mm f2.8, and the Pentax is slightly ahead in image quality until flare is considered. This lens will flare a lot if you try hard, and the Pentax is very flare resistant.

Two points on the build: my K13 had an oily aperture, something to be careful of with this vintage of Kiron. I think it's an easy fix but if you don't like repairing lenses, make sure you can return it. Also, these lenses often have the extended light shield that won't mount on a modern Pentax. That's a fix within almost anyone's ability.

The 55mm filter thread is a little annoying because none of my other lenses use that thread. I use a 58mm step-up ring to use 58mm caps, filters and hoods. My current hood is about 21mm deep and could probably be deeper. I've used the lens with a Hoya R72 infrared filter and had no issues.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: January, 2008
Posts: 8,780
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $74.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: construction, speed, IQ... everything!
Cons: trying to find one

There are three variations of this Kiron-built Vivitar 28mm f/2 lens. Two are for k-mount: one says "WIDE-ANGLE" and the other "AUTO". The third is for M42 mount. This lens reportedly has 8 elements in 8 groups and 6 blades, weighing in at only 283g.

I have the Komine variant which is fast becoming a favourite. Rather than start a new entry I judged it best to discuss it here. If we had an entry for each Vivitar 28mm lens there would be at least 26! See this thread for details.

This lens extends a tiny bit when focusing, but the front element does not rotate. Minimum focus distance is 23cm. The filter size is 49mm. The construction is solid and it is a pleasure to use. It has a well-damped focus ring and a nice aperture dial that goes from f/2 to f/16 with semi-step click between all markings except f/11 and f/16.

I would not use this lens at f/16, so it may not be appropriate when huge DOF is needed for landscapes. The f/2 is usable and by f/2.8 this Vivitar is sharp as heck. Really, this is an incredible piece of glass! My purchase price of $74 included two junker lenses. I would readily spend $100 for this on its own.

My full test on this lens is on my blog.

EDIT: There are now over 30 known variants of manual focus Vivitar 28mm lenses. The Great Vivitar 28mm Bestiary provides a master catalogue.
   
Pentaxian
Moderator Emeritus

Registered: May, 2007
Location: Edmonton Alberta, Canada
Posts: 10,644

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $125.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp even fron wide open. Fast great colour
Cons: M series vs A series. Slight PF's

This is a very good lens. M series, so manual settings apply. Deserves a solid rating of 9+ (nothing is really a 10).

CA's are not an issue with the lens. although in harsh contrast (tree branches against the cloudy, bright sky) when wide open, this lens shows some very slight Purple Fringing (PF). Stop it down a notch or 2 and that is gone Correctable in PP when it happens.

This is a Kiron built lens and they have been known for excellent quality. This lens follows that and does not disappoint. Nice FOV on a DSLR (about 42mm) making it about the normal FOV.

Solid metal body. Built like the old Takumar's. But it's not terribly heavy (but more than the FA 28mm which is part plastic).

Has a very nice finish as well, much the same as the old M Pentax's. That's my lens in the Photo and considering this is a 30+ year old lens, it's held up well to constant use. On the rare occasion you will find one it is well worth having.

A good buy if you can find this somewhat rare lens.
Add Review of Vivitar (Kiron - serial 22xxxxx) 28mm f2



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