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Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine) Review RSS Feed

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine)

Sharpness 
 9.4
Aberrations 
 7.9
Bokeh 
 8.8
Handling 
 8.7
Value 
 10.0
Reviews Views Date of last review
16 62,829 Sat March 19, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $110.27 8.94
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine)

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine)
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Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine)
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Description:
This is the vaunted version three of Vivitar's Series One 70-210mm lenses. Can be found in PK and PKA mounts (and M42 and other mounts). Made by komine (28xxxxx serials).
This lens offers a relatively strong macro capability to 1:2.5 ratio at 210mm. There is an internal cam mechanism that automatically shifts you to 100mm focal length from 70mm when close focussing past 1.6m. Conversely, if focussed closer than 1.6m the zoom is stopped at 100mm. At M-R on the distance scale you are at the CFD and max macro ratio is achieved at 210mm, no change in focus. See scan of original user manual here

Focal range: 70-210mm
Aperture: f2.8-4 to f22 (+A position with PKA)
Iris: 9 blades
Focus/zoom sleeve.
Focus throw: ~ 160 deg to 1.6m, ~300 deg to cfd 0.8m
Filter: 62mm.
Weight: 860g/30oz
Optics: 14 elements in 10 groups.
Macro - 1:2.5 at 210mm.
CFD: 1.6m/5.1' at 70mm; 0.8m/2.7' at 100-210mm
CWD: ~ 30cm/2'.

Pic: L to R VS1 (kiron); VS1 (Tokina); VS1 (komine); Kiron zoomlock.

Mark Roberts' vivitar page.
Comparative review of this lens and 3 other classic 70-210mm TP's by Amateur Photography magazine, 1985 (scan, pdf).
Review and test chart results by Benjamin Govert - Vintage Lens Reviews.

Sticky iris issues due to lubricant degradation with age are not uncommon with this lens - this thread describes how to diy clean.
Mount Type: Pentax KA
Price History:



Add Review of Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine)
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Junior Member

Registered: March, 2016
Posts: 41

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Form & function
Cons: Optically older design
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax k10d   

Great lens, bought mine cheapish years ago and looking forward to trying it
with the K3ii.
It's an older design so no asph elements and some purple fringe
which isn't perfect for wildlife photos but it's a great lens anyway.
Best of the old Vivitar 70-210 offerings.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2014
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 890

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 28, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: S-H-A-R-P! Macro/Close Focus function. Contrast and Color. Fast. Excellent build quality.
Cons: Large and a bit heavy. Reverse Zoom action. Purple Fringe
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K500   

I was fortunate enough to find a pristine "A" variant of this great lens from a fellow Pentaxian. As an extremely happy owner of a Komine "A" version of the Series 1 28-90mm lens, I just had to snap up a copy of the venerable v3 Series 1 70-210 lens. The reviews already provided very accurately reflect my experience with this lens. It is extremely sharp and very well suited to APS-C cameras as any softness at the edges seem to fall outside the sensor area and really are not a factor. Color rendition and contrast is very good -- not quite Pentax SMC-level, but very good, none-the-less. Macro function is quite useful, but engaging Macro mode will take some getting used to as it is not intuitive. Zoom is also reversed as compared to most other lenses as with this lens "Pull" zooms in / "Push" zooms out.

The really surprising aspect of this lens for me is not how sharp it is (it is very sharp), but the level of purple fringing in high contrast areas I've seen with this lens -- and as mentioned and shown in previous reviews here. As highly regarded as this lens is, even in the digital realm, I was surprised to see the problem at this level. Not an insurmountable problem as it can be corrected relatively easily in post-processing -- just an observation and surprise. Every lens has its trade-offs and I can live with having to remove purple fringing if needed via PP in order to get the speed and sharpness this lens delivers.

I strongly recommend this lens as it has truly earned its place in the list of Cult Classic Lenses!! If you can find it (especially an "A" version) -- snap it up!!
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2014
Posts: 11

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $98.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Rich Color, Amazing Bokeh, Useful Macro, Build Quality
Cons: A little bit heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K20D, Canon 60D   

I got this lens 3 years ago and love it very much. 4 pictures in the following link were taken by this lens on Pentax K20D.

http://www.mitbbs.com/article_t/PhotoGear/35095093.html

I also made a comparison among

Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm f/2.8-3.8 Version at filter size 72mm
This lens: Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4.0 Macro, filter size 62mm, version 3
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L I

at the focal 70mm with various apertures and found this lens is the best in this comparison. The comparison is in the following link,and the order in that post is as listed above in this post.

http://www.mitbbs.com/article_t0/PhotoGear/35093145.html
   
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2013
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 31

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 13, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, handling, versatility, useful close-up, build quality
Cons: Loses some sharpness at 205-210mm, noticeable CA
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I've been enjoying this lens (version 3 with "A" setting) for about three months. For all this time, it has been the most extensively used lens on my K30. I really like the image quality, very smooth operation of the zoom and focusing. and pleasant handling. The lens feels very solid and comfortable in my (relatively large) hands, and not too big. The weight adds extra stability during shooting, but does not feel like a burden. I haven't noticed any zoom creep. The sharpness is very good at max. aperture or stopped down to f5.6 or 8 in the entire range of focal lengths between 70-200 mm. The close range focusing, available in the focal length range between 100-210 mm, adds to the lens versatility. Have used this lens with the "catch-in-focus" function, works fine, although careful manual focusing generally produces sharper images.

There are three relatively minor problems with my copy of this lens, all manageable once the user is aware of them:
1) Purple fringing in the high-contrast areas of the image can be substantial. In almost all cases it can be effectively removed in post-processing (I do it in LR4).
2) The sharpness deteriorates a bit at the telephoto end of the focal length scale, between about 205-210 mm, compared to the sharpness at 200 mm. This effect is most noticeable for distant objects - I've checked this by photographing the Moon and distant buildings. Seems to be no difference in sharpness for the objects at about 10 m or closer.
3) Aperture information exchange with the camera works well and is reliable, but not exactly accurate. The camera does not recognize the change of effective aperture with zooming (obviously, a mismatch between modern and 30 year old technology). I use this lens mainly with Av or Tav exposure mode, and have to set the exposure compensation between -1.0 and -1.7 to get a correct exposure. This is not a major problem once the user is aware of this behavior, in particular shooting RAW.

All in all, a very good lens and an excellent value.
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 13

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $110.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Build quality, relatively fast, sharp
Cons: Lacks the features of the Newer lenses
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

Komine version 3 with A setting. I think this is the best of the older manual focus zoom lenses that you can get for Pentax. Although a bit heavy as expected, it is compact for it's speed and zoom range. It doesn't extend when you zoom out like so many lenses do which to me is a very positive feature. It works very well for closeups with the macro being at it's maximum magnification at 210mm where it should be. You can use an achromatic closeup lens like the Canon 500d or the Nikon 5t or the Marumi (which comes in +3 or +5) to increase the magnification of the macro feature. Some people say the Tamron adaptall 19 ah is better. I don't have the 19 ah to make a comparison but I do have a number of adaptall lenses and I don't really like the PK a mount. It is finicky and needs to be jiggled quite often in order to make electrical contact (and it costs about $100 for a used one). The Vivitar however never has this problem. Mechanically the zoom and focus is very smooth so it is easy to focus. The only other zoom I have which I use very often is the DA 55-300mm which is a very different lens and it doesn't focus close at all. When I first got this lens the colors seemed washed out but it was my fault as I had ignored the fact that it came with a cheap UV filter. I took off the filter and the colors were quite good. You can get the lens on e-bay for between $100 and $150 which is quite a bargain. I would definitely hold out for one with the A setting which is very useful on this lens. I also have this same lens in the Nikon ais mount which works very well except no image stabilization so you need to use a tripod. On the Nikon mount one(D7000) I seem to get better flash shots than with the Pentax mount one on the K5 although I use it with the K5 more often.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 2,223

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 17, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $165.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: This lens has a wide range of focal lenght and good macro - IQ is very good.
Cons: A bit heavy, however, it goes with the quality
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This review is for the Komine (version 3). I also have the Kiron (ver.1) and I love it. The quality is great although is heavier. This lens is excellent because of the range and relatively fast at f2.8 at 70mm and 4 at f210. I also have the Tamron SP Adaptall 70-210 f3.5, the rival of this lens. Some people says that the Tamron beat the Komine. But after having used it, I give them a tie.
Here are some pics:


Komatsu by Palenquero, on Flickr



Amtrak by Palenquero, on Flickr



VivSeries170-210-f2.8-4-Dana1-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


VivSeries170-210-f2.8-4-Dana2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


VivSeries170-210-f2.8-4-Dana4-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr



VivSeries170-210-f2.8-4-Dana7-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


VivSeries170-210-f2.8-4-Dana12-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr


VivSeries170-210-f2.8-4-Dana14-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr



VivitarS1-70-200mmf2.8-4-Dana2-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr



VivitarDana4-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr



VivitarDana7-1 by Palenquero, on Flickr
   
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 34

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 13, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very well built and very sharp.
Cons: None.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

This is the third edition of the Vivitar Series 1, 70-210 line and was made by Komine, and like the first two, is very well built. It is a 2.8-4 variable aperture lens, and the sharpest of the bunch. It has 1:2.5 life size macro from 100-210mm's, with a working distance of about two feet. Which can be quite useful. It is very well built and very sharp. Any of the first three editions will give you professional-publishable images. I really like this lens, and over time, has become my favorite of the line.


Vivitar S-1 70-210 (Komine model) lens. Portra 400 film, no post processing.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 574

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 13, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $15.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Auto-aperture, great color, very sharp, reasonably fast for this focal length range. One touch zoom and focus is also useful.
Cons: No AF. VERY bad fringing/CA unless stopped down to f/6.3 or so. Very heavy, no tripod mount.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

Picked this up from a thrift store of all places (hence the $15 cost!).

The auto-aperture is very, very useful on my K-5, and this is definitely one of the better "Series 1" lenses. It's REALLY heavy, but it's quite fast and having f/4 at 210mm for a reasonable price is a huge bonus. Photos taken with this lens are impressively sharp with vibrant colors, and focusing is very easy thanks to a focus ring that's very smooth, making fine focusing a breeze. The focus ring also acts as a push-pull zoom.

The lens is branded as a macro zoom, and it's reasonably okay for that purpose. Hand-holding is difficult due to the size and weight of the lens, though, but a stop or two higher ISO can usually compensate for this if you don't have a tripod.

The only big issue I have with this lens is that it produces some VERY bad blue/purple fringing in bright light when not stopped down. I shot a photo of a person sitting in front of a bright window at f/4.5 and the fringing was extremely obvious even on my camera's LCD. I tried again after stopping the lens down to f/6.3 and the fringing mostly disappeared. It was not noticeable at all by f/8.

All in all despite the CA issue, this is a great lens for the cost, even if you aren't lucky enough to find it for cheap in a thrift store or a pawn shop. Having the ability to shoot at f/4 at 210mm or f/2.8 at 70mm for under $100 (or even under $75) is a great thing and this lens will let you do it easily if you're willing to deal with the weight or the lack of AF.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 477

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 17, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $65.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, versatile, built like a tank
Cons: purple fringing, flare control could be better, large, heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

First off, some information currently missing from the lens description at the top of this section: the lens name in the headline should spell out that it's a "Series 1". Version 3 of this lens was made by Komine and can be identified by a serial number starting with 28. Some, but not all, have the 'A' setting allowing for aperture control on a Pentax camera body. It has 14 elements in 10 groups, weighs a healthy 860g and does 1:2.5 macro.

I lucked out getting this beauty with 'A' setting at a bargain price in almost pristine condition. This lens hangs with the best of primes in the sharpness department. I do observe some fringing on my K-x at the long end, wide open and under extreme conditions - see the example crop below. The other property that keeps this lens from being a perfect 10 is that flare control is not great, but this can usually be dealt with in post-processing. All in all though, I have no reservations recommending it. Get it if you can!



... and here's how it still made for a pretty decent shot:

Hot Wheels by Ludger Solbach, on Flickr


Sneaking Up by Ludger Solbach, on Flickr
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Maryland (Right Outside Washington DC)
Posts: 2,902

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 12, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp!!!, Build Quality, 2.8
Cons: Prone to aberration mid~long on Digital Bodies

(Posted on other review of the line, didn't realize there was a separate one for the ver 3)

(Also, felt the need to post it here after looking at the rating on this thread, this lens absolutely blows away almost any other lens in its focal range, current or vintage, and thats a fact)

(This lens is a solid 9.5!)

Konime Version w/ A setting
---------------------------------------

Can't say enough about this lens, it is a great performer. I have noticed a mention or two about the color rendition of the images being off, THAT IS 100% INACCURATE, this lens produces spot on color, on every single shot taken with this lens. Other users of this lens compares the color accuracy compared to newer lenses that do not produce accurate color renditions on digital cameras.

The only downside of this lens is the aberration, typically when shooting on the long end, and not present when I use this lens to shoot film on my ME Super or Super Program. I give it a 9.5 rating, since there is no 1/2 increments on the ratings system, I will bump it to a 10.
   
Senior Moderator
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Location: The British Isles
Posts: 2,386

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 23, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, solid, one focus zoom
Cons: purple fringing

Great solid macro lens, the best of the Vivitar series 1.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2010
Location: HI
Posts: 166

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Range, price, sharpness, ease of use
Cons: weight, size

This lens arrived my mail box for a while already, and i never had a chance to test it outdoor for a pratical shooting until today. Actually the reason why i did not take it out for use is because of the length of this lens. It did not fit well in my camrea bag, and basically it takes another slot in my bag if i want to dock this lens.

It blows my mind out on the sharpness when the result is comparable to a Prime lens. There is no modern lens is comparable to this lens, especially the price and the quality. I dont see alot of macro lens offered in this range and it is a very good combination with my Lester Dine 105mm which is another great lens. The push-pull zoom function allows you to do everything in one hand, very handy when you need to shoot something that will fly away.

I did not experience any issue with the color fring or related issue yet, but i always shoot F10 or above when it comes to macro and whichi ths lens is designed for.

Get one and try it out if you see anyone is selling it for $150-200, it worths the money and you will like it.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2008
Location: Marion, IA
Posts: 15

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 20, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Sharpness, image rendering
Cons: extreme color fringing (purple/blue)

The extreme color fringing of my example would make me think twice about this lens. To put into perspective, a leaf at 70mm is almost entirely blue. At 210mm it might be half blue. The 210mm focal length is much better for fringing than 70mm. The fringing never really goes away, but is much better by f8 or so at 210mm.

Mine was the A version. The Vivitar 75-205mm f3.8 macro focusing zoom I had was almost as sharp but much more pleasing because the lack of color fringing. My personal opinion is that this version of this lens is overrated. The Tamron 70-300mm is very sharp at 300mm, but has extreme purple fringing. This is the same way.

I will say that the sharpness of this lens is comparable to my 200mm f3.5 Mamiya Sekor prime lens, which I consider very sharp. The sharpness of this lens is best at the 210mm end, and steadily decreases towards 70, which is still good. Typical for the 70-210mm zooms I have used. Since this has so much color fringing, I would buy a much cheaper 200mm prime instead with comparable speed.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2006
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 2,591

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 2, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: One touch focus/zoom, sharp and colorful, built like a tank
Cons: Not the lightest tool in the shed

I fell in love with the VIV S1's when I got my hands on the 105mm Macro. I researched on this one and found the various versions out there and waited until I could get my hands on this version. I do not use it that often, but when I do I am glad that I do.
   
Inactive Account

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Long Island, N.Y.
Posts: 1,124

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 15, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, Great range, Fast, One Touch zoom & focus
Cons: Heavy, PF in high contrast situations on DSLR
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I've owned this lens forever (early 80's I think). I've used it with several film bodies and now with my K10D, very successfully. The real biggest problem I have with this lens is that it doesn't feed the camera the focal length for shake reduction or exif data. Mine has the "A" setting so all of the exposure settings work fine. It's a great, vintage lens. It's just as solid as the day I originally bought it.
Add Review of Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F2.8-4 Version 3 (komine)



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