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Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro Review RSS Feed

Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro

Sharpness 
 9.5
Aberrations 
 9.1
Bokeh 
 9.4
Handling 
 9.3
Value 
 9.5
Reviews Views Date of last review
18 81,753 Tue December 4, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $85.29 9.22
Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro

Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro
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Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro
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Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro
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Description:
S/N: 28xxxxxx (Komine made)
Mount: K-mount
Aperture range: 2.8-16
Optical construction: 5 elements in 4 groups
Weight: 312 g
Length: 80-135 mm
Filter size: 62 mm
Lens coating: MC (multi coated)
Minimum focusing distance: about 5 cm /2"
Magnification: 1:1

Note: this komine made lenses was also marketed by Elicar, Panagor, Soligor, Quantaray, Rokunar, Sears...
The 55mm f3 is earlier version of 55mm f2.8
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:



Add Review of Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro
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amateur dirt farmer / mod

Registered: December, 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Posts: 15,256
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $102.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp, color rendition, build quality
Cons: flare, bulky
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-3   

this is an all-metal, all-manual, film-era macro lens - and with its focal length of 55mm, it's not too-long or too-short, but a nice middling length. I have to admit to my fetish for 55mm lenses, so this one was a must-have when I found it on eBay for about $100 - my copy is in great shape, only physical fault is the focus ring grip has lost its adhesive and will spin if you are not serious about gripping it...

anyway, being a macro, the focus ring has a long-throw for accuracy and has great feel to it, but you can get tired of the nearly 670* of spin the focus ring has - yes, it will travel nearly-twice around to get from infinity to less-than-a-foot minimum focusing distance - this is a 1:1 macro...

I find only two negatives in the month I shot with the 55 Macro: first, the weight is a bit much, making my K-3 a bit ponderous for daily use; and, second, the lens' coatings just are not up to harsh/direct light and you'll see ghosting/flare/loss of contrast, but not surprising, given the lens' age...

but, if you want all the sharpness you can find in an older macro lens - this is it:

rusty by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr


pens by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

plus smooth bokeh:

breakfast table... by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

fresh eggs by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr


and a couple more of my favorites:

sunset through asters by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

sunrise by Pepperberry Farm, on Flickr

and the rest of the album:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pepperberryfarm/albums/72157700353572515/page1
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2016
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: July 24, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp centre wide open, build quality, bokeh, true 1:1
Cons: soft edges till f5.6, flare resistance not great, can be difficult to use at 1:1
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    Camera Used: Sony A7s, Sony a6500   

This lens produces very sharp images on both the Sony A7s and a6500, especially in the centre. The edges aren't as good, but for macro work shot at f8 and smaller that's not a problem as the lens is sharp across the frame at that aperture. It's a versatile lens as it can be used as both a macro and a standard walk-around lens. It's bulky but pretty light.

My biggest gripe is usability at 1:1. At that magnification the front of the lens is so close to the subject that it's really only good for static objects. I might actually prefer shooting this lens at 1:2 because of that.

Check out my review of the lens with lots of image samples at http://www.theweekendlens.com/vivitar-55-f28-macro.html
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Thach, Alabama
Posts: 169

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, well built, very sharp, not too expensive.
Cons: No A setting, manual focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K10D, KX, K7   

If you see one for sale Get it. You will never regret buying it.
   
Junior Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 27
Lens Review Date: September 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: 1:1, sharp, no CA, great build quality, f2.8
Cons: bigger then many other 50mm macro lenses
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: lx, k2, kx, gh3   

Like the lens for its ability to make 1:1 macro pictures without using an extension tube. Most 50mm macro lenses only reach 1:2. As a result the Vivitar is a bit bigger but it's still compact, no need for a hood either.

At f2.8 the corners are not as sharp as the center of the frame, f4 is better and by f5.6 you get great sharpness allover. For most macro work one will use a smaller aperture anyway. No problems to use f2.8 though, while just a little softer there are no CA's at all and contrast is already good. I consider the f2.8 as a nice bonus, since many 50mm macro lenses start at f3.5 or even f4. The Vivitar at f4 is just as good (better in most cases) and the f2.8 gives you a brighter viewfinder on top.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2014
Location: Blue Mountains NSW
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 26, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: It's sharp with a great solid feel, good resistance on the focusing ring
Cons: Short for full frame but I have a crop sensor
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

I am getting some great macros from this lens lately and like it more now than when I bought it new 30 years ago, getting good macro shots on film was hard and 55mm is a bit short for bugs but with a crop sensor camera it works well, although I still find 90mm easier for flightly insects. It is nice to use in every way and it is at least a match for my modern macro for colour, bokeh and it's probably a bit sharper. I didn't even know grasshoppers had hair until I got a K3 and my Vivitar hooked up.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/114016155@N04/15506187424/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/114016155@N04/16338255991/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/114016155@N04/15750211183/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/114016155@N04/16151877837/
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: July 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great macrolens (1:1)
Cons: short working distance
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: EOS M   

Best lens I ever bought, short working distance though.Very light and short.
The position of the frontlens is quite deep so no hood is necessary.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/frdtrvr/14644832134/
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 791

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 13, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $139.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build, Optics, Results
Cons: Weight
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-01   

I have the Rokunar PK version of this classic 1:1 macro lens. It is labeled V-HQ and looks nearly identical to the Vivitar / Panagor.

The build of this lens is unmatched... and the photo quality is brilliant with a high "keeper rate."

Very easy to use and focus because of the large focus ring and massive range of adjustment.

Self-hooded lens is nice too. Simply add a high-quality 62mm filter and you are good to go.

The only wish-list for this lens would be to get an auto-aperture version.

Can produce a beautiful softness when shot wide-open, but depends on composition.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: March 10, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: focus ring, sharpness, colors, bokeh, price
Cons: none
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Fuji XE-1   

This is my first lens review on the Pentax forums. I don't shoot Pentax, but I frequent these reviews for alt glass. Here goes!

I have the Panagor 55mm f/2.8, which I assume is just a rebranded Vivitar 55/2.8. The best part about this lens is its focus ring: it's super smooth, silky and a joy to use. The focus ring reminds me a lot of the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 lens, which is one of my favorite manual lenses.
That being said, the lens yields super sharp images with great bokeh, well controlled CA and aberrations are minimal. It's overall IQ is just awesome. This will be one of the last lenses I sell, unless someone offers me triple the price for some crazy reason. I've used dozens and dozens of manual lenses, a half dozen macro lenses, and this one is near the top of my all time favorites.
   
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 94

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Good quality, sharp, colours, bokeh
Cons: Very fine focus adjustment - takes time; difficult to clean
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

My first macro lens so I don't have anything to compare it to, but it seems like a quality bit of kit. I bought it for quite a lot more than I normally pay for vintage manual lenses, based purely on the reviews here! It even came with a nice (and mint) leatherette pouch. Classy and Kitsch all in one. .

Focusing at 1:1 is a nightmare without LV, and even then it's difficult. Depth of field is incredibly shallow and even tiny adjustments in the angle of the lens to the subject will throw everything out. This is one you have to work hard at, but my first attempts have thrown up one or two pleasing (to me) shots.

Having taken it apart to clean dust from the inside I can vouch for the fact it is well made. Even from the outside you can tell this, and mine looks as fresh as the day it left the factory. The focusing is so fine and takes so long it is far easier to move the whole lens, or the subject, something I often do with manual lenses anyway. With the front element buried deep in the barrel there is little chance of damaging it, although it is quite hard to clean so best not get it dirty.

If you can get it in focus, it's sharp. Bokeh is excellent as you would expect. Colours are rich and accurate, the best of all my lenses - usually I use a CP filter but this lens hardly needs it. For non-macro use it's great, better than many 50mm primes, and it would make a versatile walk-about lens were it not for the ultra-fine focusing.

Some samples from my first attempts around the house and garden: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1630revello/sets/72157637924317655/

Example of colour - no enhancements


Peppercorns 1:1


Micro cobwebs 1:1









With extension tube




   
New Member

Registered: August, 2013
Posts: 5
Lens Review Date: August 7, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $75.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, well built, price, 1:1
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

One of the nicest of the many macro's i've owned. I have to say that most macro's are pretty good in term of optical performance. The Vivitar is a very good performer for distant subjects as well. The handling is great: smooth and precise macro focusing and very smooth aperture control in half stops. And it doesn't need a hood. Great value for money!

A couple of examples:
http://www.fotothing.com/photos/152/1525d92e42d04ef96ad4de15d082edb7_995.jpg

http://www.fotothing.com/photos/49b/49bf7d478252158148d72c818040af06_c26.jpg

And does bokeh get much better than this?

http://www.fotothing.com/photos/54a/54a8cd4df0c4f234d3a016afdec98e88_467.jpg
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 805
Lens Review Date: May 11, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast enough, brilliant macro and portrait performance, a joy to use
Cons: 1:1 means getting in very close. Rare.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I'm using it for my Single in May (2011) challenge, and it has just knocked my socks off.

It is very sharp, and very easy to focus (things just snap into focus).
Even sharp enough at F2.8 for low light portrait shots
Colour, contrast and bokeh are all decent.
Occasionally you will get a shot with a blue colour shift, but this is more the camera's doing.

The front lens is deeply recessed, so no lens hood is needed.
It's really a 9.5, but I'm giving it 10 because it is such a joy to use.

Some sample macro shots:







And a "portrait" shot:

Pied Cormorant in a tree


Jack.
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 274
Lens Review Date: December 30, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $112.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, roughly 82mm on crop sensor, image and build quality.
Cons: Must be patient and must be close at 1:1

I picked up a Vivitar 55 f2.8 with a 1:1 macro capability for $110 on flebay a few weeks ago. It is used but might as well be NOS as it is perfect. It even came with two filters. This lens is amazing and I would recommend it very highly. It has a solid old-school build quality a very smooth and well damped range of motion. I took it to the conservatory at the St. Paul Zoo and was able to use it as my only lens with great shots of family and quick transitions to macro for flower / fern shots etc... With the lighting on the particular day I was there, a slower lens may have been a problem if I stuck to my MO and shot flash free. I cannot recommend this lens highly enough. The images are crisp and sharp and at 100% crop they still look great. I would like to see more distance between the lens and subject at 1:1, but it would be unfair to fault the lens on this. If you find one that is in great shape it would be worth every penny, and a shame to pass up if you need a true macro for your bag that can also stand in as a semi-fast 50.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 509
Lens Review Date: December 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $101.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast, 1:1 Macro, easy to focus, rich colors
Cons: None really, if it was AF it would never leave my camera

First off, my lens is the older version M42 (screwmount) variety. I purchased it online, sight unseen, based on the reviews it recieved on this forum. I was hopeful, that the praise the lens recieved , would hold true for an older version. I have not been disappointed.

This lens is very well built. It is heavier than a manual 50mm pentax prime, but has the same quality, solid feel. It does have a 62mm filter thread, and thus requires a larger filter. It balances well on my K-x, and is short enough, that it fits nicely in my day pack for easy portability.
I like that it has the Macro ratio inprinted right on the barrel of the lens for reference.

The first lens element is recessed so far back in the barrel that I haven't needed to use a lens hood yet. It seems that children are more at ease when I use this lens. Perhaps, this is because the glass is smaller and rather hidden.

The colors seem rich to my eyes. I've had to increase the saturation in some outdoor shots, but very few. Occasionally there is a very slight blue cast in low light situations, but, it was very easily corrected in editing.

This lens is super sharp in my opinion. However, I don't have any modern primes to compare it to. I do have a manual Tamron 90 macro. Both are very sharp, but, in my opinion, the Tamron results seem, just by the smallest amount, smoother and a little more full bodied. However, the Tamron weighs more and is only 1:2 macro.

Response time is very quick with this lens. I find the shutter action responsive and smooth. It is very easy to focus and has a precise focus ability. I can focus faster with this lens, in low light, than with the Tamron 90mm macro. I have caught some fast bug shots with this lens. Since, it is so sharp, close up crops, of the action turn out very nicely. It goes from near to far very smoothly and quickly.

I bought this lens as an affordable 1:1 Macro, but it has turned out to be so much more. I can use it for low light indoor shots, outdoor landscape and as a close up lens. The only time it gets left home, is if I know the extra t ime to change the adapter and lens would create problems. If you run across this old classic and need a macro, I feel it would be a good choice.

   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: madrid
Posts: 833
Lens Review Date: December 4, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build quality, good IQ, can be found cheap,1:1 macro.
Cons: none

Got mine in a shop with one year guarantee..it's an old lens but mine was mint condition (outside looks as well as the optics. No dust inside the lens, not a tiny bit, you could expect it being an old lens).
Prices vary, mine was on the high end because there's not much second hand market in Spain and it was purchased in a store..(it can be found cheaper on ebay but with the uncertainty of it's condition).

-Handling and focusing: the lens extends to about the twice of it's size, the focusing ring does two turns before extending to the 1:1 macro value, it's smooth to focus and it's precise.It has marks indicating the macro value from 1:20 to 1:1. It's metal built and has a great feel.
-Aperture and image quality: the lens is fast (a lot faster compared pentax's 50 mm macro f 4..), and the IQ is good, being capable of very sharp images if you put the time and sometimes a tripod.There's no big leap between the different aperture settings which go from 2,8 to 16 with 9 stops in between. 2,8 is a big enough aperture to play with the depth of field if you are shooting the lens as a normal 55 mm.
-Bokeh is fine, which is important being a macro lens.

Keep in mind that this wasn't a cheap lens back in it's time, and if you find one in good condition at a good price it's a bargain you should consider.
Overall its a good macro lens for still objects, you'll have trouble with moving ones because of it's focal length, if you plan to shoot bugs and other moving subjects you might want to buy a 100 mm one.
Manual lens so be patient! ( it has no A position so you'll have to use the green button or adjust the settings on the fly.)
After 2 months owning it i've found myself using it more and more, partly because i'm really into photographing small parts of machines i break apart, and partly because it has a great fell that compels me to use it non macro photos.


Images, other information sources/reviews:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=vivitar%2055mm%201:2,8%20macro#page=0
http://www.flickr.com/groups/365610@N21/discuss/72157604860578430/
http://olympuszuiko.wordpress.com/2007/07/14/vivitar-55mm-f28-a-true-classic/

Five not-the-usual-flower,unedited,macro shots:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/noestoyaquicayendo/sets/72157625216284295/
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2009
Posts: 134
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: beautiful colours; very sharp
Cons: nope

this is a must have! easy to focus and also very versatile

examples:










Add Review of Vivitar (komine) 55mm f2.8 (f3 - early version); 1:1 macro



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