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Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8 Review RSS Feed

Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8

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12 72,817 Wed September 7, 2022
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
92% of reviewers $34.71 9.00
Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8

Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8
Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8
Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8
Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8

There are several versions of vivitar 35-70mm zooms.
This page for the fast one touch zoom. 28xxx serial = komine. Normally found with PKM mount, M42 and other mounts of the era, PKA mount ones do exist however (pic 4) but seem to be rare - overlap between the introduction of PKA mount in 1985 and the production of this lens was probably short.
There is also a very similar looking constant f3.5 aperture version (pic 3 cfd mount), also komine made: Vivitar 35-70mm 1:3.5 MC ZOOM, 58mm filter thread, no "macro" mode.
A later 35-70mm, f3.5-4.8, has 9xxxx serials = made by cosina (needs own review page). There is also a two ring cosina made version: "macro focusing zoom" 55mm filter, f3.5-4.5.

Filter diameter: 55mm
Focus throw: ~ 330° (180° at 35-40mm)
Min. focus distance: 0.35m (macro focus 40-70mm); 0.7m (35-40mm);
Max Macro 1:4 (70mm)
Aperture: f2.8/3.8 - f22, half stop clicks;
iris: 6 blades;
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-12 of 12
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 14
Review Date: September 7, 2022 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp lens at 35mm f 5.6-8/ sharp at 70mm
Cons: some very few CAs
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: pentax k-5 k-x k200 k-s1 Fuji x-t100 x-e1   

What a very nice lens ! . NOT MACRO, but CLOSE-UP!

optical design very similar to REVUENON, and similar to Cosinon and Tokina 3.5/35-70

++ very good sharpness at 70 mm

+++ BUT EXTREME SHARPNESS AT 35 mm - wow !!! - what a resolution ! - the results are comparable to the extremely expensive SIGMA 1.2/35, which is really well correted,

++ very good correction of CAs because 2 achromatic elements

+/++ nice bokeh

+/++ agreable color rendition

o/+ some flare against the light becuse of small coating

65 LP/mm = 130 black an white lines/mm at 70 mm - this seems to be a semi-professional value, but 90 LP/mm = 180 black and white lines at 35 mm with f 5.6-8 - this is a professional value !


I've developped a self made test pin wall of approx. 40 x 60 cm (16 x 24 " inches) with f.e. graphic pictures of very fine structures and fine small lines (EAN-codes turned in different directions etc.). So sharpness is clearly visible - and CAs in the edges / on the border of the image of each tested lens.

Some books or big Siemens stars - as often to see in lens tests - are not suffficient for the proof of the quality of a lens for macro shootings f.e..And test images with dark parts, sky or water in the corners say nothing ! Many normal vintage lenses are as well usefull for an interesting trip into the macro world as special macro lenses - sold very expensive.

Otherwise the ratings of PENTAX products are generally lower than those of the popular professional brands (the sponsoring of some brands must be enormous !). Test on 20, 24 or 25 MP sensors with Pentax lenses are unpopular - test institutes have preferred 10 oder 16 MP test - a claer disadvantage for PENTAX in rating of resolution - compared with SONY f.e..

And online tradings with a rating of 4.5 stars are because of the mass of fakes usual and don't represent the real quality of modern expensive lenses. And an exterior golden ring on the housing doesn't express nothing about the optical quality ! Even the construction with fluorite or ED / SD glass elements equlibrates often only the lower quality of in the same time integrated plastic elements therein ! That's why you'll find especially in some modern wide angle constructions so strong CAs in the corners, which must be corrected by PhSh after shooting inspite of the enormous high prices ! Therefore old manual PENTAX and third party lenses of glass elements are so precious.

As teacher of photography of a private school I've profited of the opportunity to test so many different lenses.
New Member

Registered: May, 2020
Posts: 1
Review Date: March 19, 2021 Recommended | Price: $85.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: very fast for a zoom, sharp
Cons: vignetting wide open
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Very good value lens, overall great performance and very fast zoom for its time. I enjoy using this on my digital mirrorless as well
Review Date: March 15, 2019 Recommended | Price: $13.00 | Rating: N/A 


Have just bought one from Cash Converters in the UK for $7 plus postage which comes to about $13
So based on the reviews can't go far wrong as they say it is in full working condition.
Will report back once in my hands.
New Member

Registered: September, 2018
Posts: 3

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: September 7, 2018 Recommended | Price: $25.80 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, bokeh, subtle colour handling.
Cons: Push-pull zoom with twist focus needs familiarity.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A6000   


I got this for £20 inc p&p from EBay - a bit of a blind 'punt' (I hadn't found this site and its reviews at the time). I tried it first on my ME Super and it was OK - I didn't get to shooting any film. Loaded on the Sony A6000 its focal length equivalency is 52.5 - 105. It's become something of a 'go-to' on that body.


Wide open things can be a little soft off the centre. As you close the aperture things get better. At higher f stops it can deliver sharpness that is hard to distinguish from many modern lenses. This is 30 odd years old: I was amazed at how good it can be. It won’t beat the latest Zeiss, but can offer surprisingly competitive performance to lenses from some modern third party manufacturers.

Colour & Contrast

The performance is solid with a subtle, delicate character that was lovely in daylight shots.


Less than you might expect from a 1980’s zoom lens. I’ve been outside in bright sunlight shooting into the light and it performed well.


This is always open to individual tastes. It’s not ‘in your face’ like my Helios 44, but I love it. There’s more detail than you get with with most modern lenses, especially with high contrast / bright backgrounds. This sits under a sort of ‘watercolour wash’. Low contrast distant areas sit under a simple soft blur. It also has a lovely gradation into bokeh - enthuse, enthuse, enthuse.


This is a ‘Marmite’ one. It’s push-pull to zoom and twist to focus on the same knurled ring. The lens is fully closed at 70mm, the barrel extends to zoom out to 35mm – nicely retro. My lens has a smooth operation (If this was sticky it would drive me nuts). The f stop ring is on the body end of the lens and has discernible clicks.

The size isn’t particularly conspicuous but at 400g (old school metal & glass) it’s no plastic lightweight. It’s stumpy, which helps minimize the forward weight drag. I was comfortable during and after an hour’s hand shooting with a Sony A6000 (body weight 344g with battery & media card).

It gets marked down though – my neighbour’s a keen photographer – tried it and loathed the zoom/focus mechanism.


Capable of performance way above its price point, a very impressive performance from a classic zoom lens. It adds to that some subtle and likeable character. For the price I paid, I’d say it was an absolute bargain.


All taken with this lens on a Sony A6000 body.

New Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: The Worlds Only Portable City - Complete with Carrying Handle
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 6, 2018 Recommended | Price: $9.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Value if value only means low price, this is a double value
Cons: stray light
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: DMC-GX8   

It was on ebay with a camera body for $9 Buy It Now, I thought that was too cheap and so, I'll just take it...looks clean why not?
Chance decision and only after I just tinkered around with it in low light weeks later, did I discover a ..."WTheck ".... moment?

For the price, if it is the Komine version and it's clean without haze or separation? There simply is no better value and these perform as well as any lens on a m4/ if value means low cost plus valued results to you? This one proves you can kill two birds with one stone...

Well built little stub-nose like zoom with a 55mm filter size, absolutely must have a shade unless you want low contrast, color cast, and false meter readings of course?

Do not use any kind of filters, use a shade, and hair tie those adapter gaps shut ? Then discover this lens, I'm sure you're going to find pleasing results and want to keep it if you shoot micro four thirds
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 63

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: July 12, 2017 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, colors, bokeh, price
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3   

This is the first non-Pentax lens I have (other than an ancient JC Penney one that came with my K1000 many years ago. I got this Vivtar lens along with a Superprogram camera and another Vivitar lens (Series 1 70-210). All in mint condition, along with a case, manuals, and flash, for under $60. I am thrilled. I haven't been able to use the other lens yet on a DSLR (need to remove the aperture shield), but I am loving this little zoom. It's as sharp and the bokeh is just as good as any prime lens. And there's something very nice about the colors and contrast. I've seen some other reviews saying this isn't a useful zoom range on DSLR, but I disagree. It's like having a more or less normal prime and two short telephoto primes, all in one well-built, fun lens. I've never used a push-pull zoom before but found it easy to get used to. I've only had this lens for a day, but I think I'll use it a lot.
Forum Member

Registered: January, 2015
Posts: 71

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 2, 2015 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness wide open, "A" setting, pretty fast
Cons: Push/pull zoom tough to get used to, metering is off
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-50   

As far as vintage zooms in this range go, this is about as good as I've seen in the way of optical performance. My first copy looked near mint but was soft at all settings no matter what I tried. I had enough courage to buy a 2nd copy (based on all the positive feedback here) and struck gold this time. Wide open is very usable, and a stop down is nice and sharp with no CA. Even the APS-C corners are sharp across the zoom range by f/11. I have had several well regarded Pentax primes that I cannot not say this for.

Handheld at 70mm, f/5.3, ISO 800 with light PP

I have other push/pull zooms, but this one has been tougher to get used to than most. It tends to stick at 70mm and 35mm, then when you pull it with enough force to dislodge it you inevitably overshoot your target. More finicky than would be ideal, and I'm guessing the action was much nicer when new and/or with fresh lubrication. Another gripe; the "A" setting reads f/2.8 as the max aperture regardless of whether I am at 35mm or 70mm. Through experimentation I've found that f/2.8 is always wide open and f/4 is always a stop down from that (and so on), so 70mm and f/4 is really about f/5.3. Metering is off by almost a stop at 70mm due to this issue.

Edit: I compared this lens head to head with a Kiron 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 (PKA) and the Vivitar was considerably sharper with less CA at all settings. No contest, to the point where I am wondering if I have a bad copy of the Kiron.

Edit #2: Compared to the Pentax-F 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 this lens shows modestly (but noticeably) better sharpness at all settings. The contrast and color of the Vivitar really set it apart....better wide open in this regard than the SMC-F at f/8!

Edit #3: Compared it to the Tokina SZ-X 28-70mm f/2.8-4.3....the Vivitar is modestly sharper at open apertures and they are about equal by f/8. The Vivitar has slightly better contrast and saturation and open apertures (splitting hairs) and it is equal by f/8.

I'm going to try doing some portraits (of people, not dogs) wide open at about 60mm next.
New Member

Registered: April, 2014
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: May 14, 2014 Recommended | Price: $55.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact and solid, sharp, good focus and zoom action
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax ME Super   

If you find one in good shape, get it! Great image quality --- sharp, with smooth transition to out of focus areas. Small but solid --- real metal and glass from the Golden Age!

Forum Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 94

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: February 11, 2014 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, well built, versatile
Cons: None at the price
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Just scouting for cheap lenses on fleabay and saw this at a charity auction but with no details and no time left to enquire, so I took a punt. Turned out it has a OM mount and I can't find an adapter so I took my angle grinder to an old extension tube mount and eventually got a decent fit, with the help of some tape to seal the gaps

Now I have a versatile macro lens (about 10mm extension) and possibly the sharpest lens I have at around f/4. This is my second Vivitar lens (the other a very expensive by comparison macro) and I am impressed. I can't really put it through it's paces until I can find some way of adapting a PK mount to replace the OM one (it's got a complicated auto-aperture mechanism to bypass) but it's definitely a keeper.

Wide open it is soft as might be expected, but stop down one or two and it's as good as anything I have (admittedly I only buy cheap lenses) and it focuses very accurately on my K200D, with nice colours and tonal range. Bokeh is pleasant, with 7 very slightly curved blades.

Bit of a no-brainer if you see one going cheap. When the weather improves I shall post some outdoorsy macros but this will do for now.

35mm f/4 ISO200 1/90 - full res crop below.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 791

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 31, 2013 Recommended | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Fast, Good Colors
Cons: Push/Pull somewhat firm (but very smooth)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This is a great little lens... sharp, fast, with good colors. I have the auto-aperture version which is apparently pretty rare.

I wasn't expecting too much until I took the first few photos with it... they came out very sharp and I was pleasantly surprised... not many reviews out there. Great lens if you can find it.

The zoom action is different from many lenses... you extend the lens out for wide-angle and push it in to zoom. Simple once you use it a few times. Focus is smooth and aperture ring adjusts easily.

What it looks like:
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: High Desert, California
Posts: 231

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: November 16, 2011 Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Sharp, Very Well Built
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

I would rate this lens a 9 or better regardless but I feel it's necessary to give it a 10 to counter the first reviewer. JMHO but attempting a serious review of a lens in admittedly poor condition is both pointless and unfair no matter how many disclaimers applied. People looking at Vivitar lenses should know Vivitar does not manufacture any lenses. It is a brand name pasted on lenses made by a wide variety of companies. Generally and esp w/ older lenses the serial number provides a lot of info, for example serial numbers starting w/ "22" are made by Kiron, "28"s are made by Komine both premier Japanese lens makers from this era and both responsible for the most highly regarded versions of Vivitar's Series One lenses. This lens is made by Komine and my copy is in excellent shape. Despite some research, I have found out little about this lens's history but it does seem to be pretty uncommon. I've rarely seen examples up for sale and the odd focal range for an ASP-C sensor probably keeps the price low when it is for sale. Regardless, this is one of the sharpest lenses I've come across. My copy also came with a very nice padded case made for this lens. These examples were taken with this lens on a 6MP DS1 and should speak for themselves. If you like manual lenses and find one in good condition, buy it, you won't be disappointed

Review Date: May 10, 2011 Not Recommended | Price: $9.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: compact, currently inexpensive,
Cons: crazy lens flare, iffy build quality

Some disclaimers about my review:
1. My copy of this lens was purchased for $9 at BGN quality from KEH, so I know it's not the best example to rate (and my rating doesn't reflect the defects/damage that seem to be unique to my lens). The zoom mechanism on my copy was so sticky it would barely move when I first took it out of the box, and the aperture ring had taken a beating, probably because the push-pull zoom was so sticky that zooming required grabbing both ends of the lens and pulling HARD. With that in mind, take my number rating with a grain of salt - I couldn't decide what was most appropriate, considering that my copy isn't in great condition and that I'm not sure what issues are common to all copies and which are just happening with my gross one. However, the optics/glass, the focus ring, and the exterior surface seem like they are in great condition on my copy (with just a little dust and a TINY scratch on the lens front, but no fogging/fungus, and no notable damage to any part of the lens to make me think it was dropped or similarly abused), which makes me think the issues with this lens aren't ALL the result of mishandling by the previous owner... so I wouldn't suggest spending much money on one of these without trying it out first.
2. I am NO expert AT ALL, but I figured a non-expert review was better than nothing since this was the first review
3. I'll update this once I get some hi-res scans back from the couple of rolls of film I took with this lens on my K1000. Right now this only reflects what I can tell from my Mpix "thumbnail" scans (which are definitely not just thumbnails, as you know if you've used Mpix, but still don't have enough resolution to assess things like sharpness very well)

My problems with this lens:

-Scary lens flare. Of the first couple of rolls I shot with it on my K1000, some were concert photos, and some were just outdoor photos in the same concert setting, mostly in the evening / at night. I would expect some lens flare from concert lighting, obviously, but I wasn't prepared for the red halos that seemed to circle every single light source, including and especially those that were basically straight-on with the lens. Even bits of reflected light were causing it - e.g., one shot had three red halos from what I think were just three beer cans on the ground. Once I get my hi-res scans back, I'll update this with links to them so you can see what I mean. I've never seen anything like it. Because the flare/halo effect was happening most with small, focused light sources that were head-on with the lens, I don't think a hood would have helped, but if I find one for this lens, I'll try it. (I was using a UV filter - just a Hoya UV(0) for protection - which I at least assume wouldn't have made this worse, but correct me if I'm wrong and if that might have contributed.)

-Build quality may be an issue in some ways. Of course, my copy may well be ancient and may have been abused, but I'm still seeing an issue that surprises me in one of these old, largely-metal K-mount lenses. When operating this particular push-pull zoom, it's hard to avoid grabbing the mount end and putting pressure on the aperture ring. Unfortunately, the aperture ring isn't built to take it. When I got this lens, the aperture ring was quite "wiggly" - don't know how else to describe it, but it felt like it was not attached to the lens securely at all - and I'm afraid I'm somehow going to pull it apart from the lens one day, no matter how hard I try to hold the lens elsewhere (since there isn't even a centimeter of "elsewhere" on either side of the aperture ring). This would be less of an issue with a lens in better condition, since the push-pull mechanism was so sticky on my copy. I really do have to hold the mount and the front end and put a little effort behind it to pull it out to its full length, even now that I've gotten the zoom mechanism loosened up some. However, maybe this lens originally zoomed easily enough that you'd never need to hold the lens down there on the mount end to pull it out (although it's also hard to mount this lens without putting some strain on that area).

-I do not like the way the aperture ring on my copy feels when I adjust the aperture, either. Ew. It feels like it's sliding instead of clicking cleanly from stop to stop (although the blades still stop down nicely, so it's not a big deal) but I'm not factoring that into my rating since that might just be my copy.

Neither good nor bad but worth noting:
-Having never owned a Vivitar lens, or a third-party K-mount of any kind, or a push-pull zoom, and not being ultra-knowledgeable about lens construction, I also thought it was odd/interesting that you shorten the lens to zoom to 70mm and extend it to go to 35mm. Maybe everyone else thinks this is normal, but having only used modern Canon EOS zooms, I had no idea that this would be the case.
-Remember that the macro is 1:4... this really doesn't focus very close; don't buy it if you want anything close to a true macro lens.
-Not even the slightest bit of zoom creep, at least in my copy... but quite the opposite, in fact. Haha... mine was so stuck when I received it from KEH that it took me something like 20 minutes to figure out that it was indeed capable of zooming. I had to pull so hard that I thought I was going to send it flying across the room or rip it apart somehow. (and although my copy is obviously an exception, I suspect that these may be prone to acquiring that issue as they age)

Good things:
-Can be found at VERY low prices now
-Very compact (and not heavy, considering that it's an all-metal construction as far as I can tell). Since it shortens to zoom in, it's about the smallest 70mm lens I've ever seen. (But weirdly long at 35mm.) I don't have a ruler on hand to give you a better idea of size, but at 70mm it's not quite the length of my palm (and I have small female hands)
-Image quality seems reasonable except for the awful lens flare (but see disclaimers 2 and 3 ). It seems to be reasonably sharp, and I didn't notice any significant chromatic aberration, but I'll wait to get some higher-resolution scans before deciding for sure
-I really like the focus ring. Considering that the lens is small, the focus ring is quite wide and ergonomic, in my opinion. The whole part that turns is something like 1.75 inches, I'm guessing, with an actual grip portion that's over an inch wide and nicely textured, and it turns in a very smooth and pleasant way (and seems to keep doing that even when other things go wrong with old copies, if my copy is any evidence)
Add Review of Vivitar Macro Focusing Zoom 35-70mm F2.8-3.8

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