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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 
 7.7
Bokeh 
 8.8
Handling 
 8.2
Value 
 9.8
Reviews Views Date of last review
20 73,668 Sun December 29, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $102.64 8.90
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)
supersize

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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Site Supporter

Registered: August, 2009
Posts: 392
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp, well made
Cons: not f2.8, no autofocus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K7   

Admittedly heavy, but beautifully made. Hard to see how it could be lighter, whilst retaining the machining. I've profiled a variety of lenses using slanted edge testing, to get the MTF curves. No doubt this method could be improved, but there was a difference between this and my other lenses, albeit in the scheme of things, a small difference. For reference, I put the Pentax M 80-200mm. As these differences are small, if you take a shot without a tripod or if you have a beaten up copy, the advantage of this lens will be gone. A conclusion I am reaching, per the late Roger Hicks, if its good enough for you, its good enough. Spend more money on paper and film.

Here is the MTF profile for a shot taken at 5.6, at 210mm at 4m, using a K7. Tripod mounted, test target per requirements for using the software MTF Mapper, PEF output. Note these lines are for 20, 40, 80lp/mm (not the standard 10,20,40).

Shot at 5.6, Viv S1 70-210, version 3



And the Pentax M 80-200mm at 200mm, f11

   
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 45
Lens Review Date: September 19, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $133.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: good macro capability, sharpness and colours
Cons: huge, heavy and awkward, very strong purple fringing, difficult to focus manually
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 4    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 7    Camera Used: K-S1, Z-1P   

This is an early review after two days of use. I bought this A-mount lens in EX condition at keh.com, hence the high price. Gone are the good old days when it could be bought at a thrift store for $7. The internet has sprawled its tentacles everywhere, and everyone has become too clever.

The lens is in great shape unlike Ebay, KEH's "EX" truly means "excellent". It is a beautiful mechanical and optical device, everything is clean and smooth. However, it's HEAVY and very DIFFICULT to use on a small camera like K-S1. It's handles better on the bigger Z-1P.

I bought this lens specifically for macro photography, mostly for flowers. I like to shoot flowers, and my favourite "Botanical Lens" is the Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5. However, its magnification of 1:4 and 105mm focal length can be limiting. I chose the Vivitar after seeing some excellent flower shots on Flickr. It has higher magnification of 1:2.5 with the maximum at 200mm where it should be. Very handy to get a close up shot without stepping on somebody's flowerbed. The flower photos turn out gorgeous with rich colours, fine detail and smooth bokeh. I have yet to try this lens on people...

As a telephoto lens it's all but unusable. First of all, the focusing ring stops a little past infinity, and it's nearly impossible to get infinity focus without a tripod and live view. Focus confirmation doesn't help. Second, the shake reduction of my K-S1 is surprisingly inefficient with this lens. Even at 1/250s photos turn out blurry at the long end. It's a very awkward lens my left hand has to do three things at the same time: zoom, focus and hold the lens. Or should I give up coffee?

The general IQ is good for a 35 y.o. zoom but nothing special by modern standards. The colours are slightly cold and bluish. CA are atrocious! I haven't seen this much purple fringing since my first camera, Canon Powershot G5! Interestingly, the purple fringing is much stronger in JPEG than in RAW. With this lens, RAW shooting is a must!

So far, I DON'T recommend this lens for telephoto. It's good only for macro.

UPDATE. I've been using this lens extensively for 10 days and slowly getting a hang of it. Infinity focus at the long end is still a problem though. A few observations:

About sharpness. The centre is very sharp at all focal lengths and apertures. I mean Canon L-like sharp! The corners are a different story. There is a big drop in corner sharpness around 100mm, then it gradually improves to the long end and reaches maximum at 210mm. Not a problem for a still life or a portrait, and I don't think anyone would ever use this lens for landscapes.

Speaking of portraits, I did a quick portrait photoshoot and have mixed feelings about the results. Skin tones, bokeh and background separation are very nice. However, the slightly out of focus photos turned out the best. The ones in focus are a bit too sharp. Even wide open, the lens resolves every wrinkle, hair and pore! Great for forensic photography, but not very flattering to living people. Portraiture is certainly doable with this lens, but for an important photoshoot good makeup is a must. I'm getting more and more convinced that film is the proper medium for portraits.

My conclusion remains the same. I like the lens but can't give it more than 7 due to strong CA and poor usability.




Pentax K-S1




Pentax K-S1




Pentax Z-1P, Kodak Gold 200 film
   
New Member

Registered: February, 2019
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: August 24, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Extremely sharp all range, all aperture - Fast - Usefull range - solid - Good colors - Smooth zoom and focus - No zoom creep - Macro Ratio
Cons: CA especially wide open - Heavy - Minimum focus distance at 70mm - Rare and expensive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony a6000   

I think this is the best zoom lens have ever tried, include my modern kit lens.

It's as sharp as any prime lens of this period.

At 70mm or 210mm, wide open, the pictures are incredibily sharp. Close to F5.6/8, it becomes as sharp as a modern lens.

The colors are good and the bokeh is ok.

Only 2 problems : it is a heavy lens, but solid as a rock, and there is strong purple CA wide open. Close to F4/5.6 and it's almost gone

Another problem : It is a rare version and very expensive, The second Tokina version is far less expensive and good enough. But I can tell that this Komine is the best version.

I found a crazy man you was selling his copy for 7$ (!) only because there are few fungus inside, I cleaned it and now the condition is very good. But I think it's difficult to find a copy below 60-70$... if you are lucky
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2019
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $31.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very good condition and quality of build
Cons: Nat assessed yet.
Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony Nex-7   

Got this lens recently on eBay for 24 ($31) including postage as it was poorly advertised by the seller and only by chance did I realise what it was.

Once received found it that it was in excellnet condition once cleaned up a bit with no scratches or dents and very little sign of wear on the body or mount. Glass internally is very clean with very little dust and no fungus.

Have taken some images today but did find the focusing and zoom easy but a bit shaky as using a basic adapter on the Sony so focal lengths multiplied up by 1.6. Rather dull so shutter speeds slow for the light.

Currently have given it an 8 overall until I get used to it and get a focal reducer for the camera.
   
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: 38

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: 1,053

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: 484

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.
   
Moderator

Registered: August, 2009
Location: The British Isles
Posts: 2,400

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



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