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Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5

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15 80,007 Sun July 15, 2018
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100% of reviewers $90.36 9.07
Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5

Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5
Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5
Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5

The historic and innovative first version of the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm went on sale in 1974, and was a significant step forward in the capabilities of a third party zoom, especially its close focus mode. Made by Kino Optical (Kiron) - 22xxxx serials. The third number in the serial indicates the year of manufacture: 4=1974, 5=1975, 6= ....0=1980, 1=1981.
Can be found in all the mounts of the era including PK and M42. But this was pre-PKA so doesn't exist in PKA. Replaced c. 1981 by the Tokina made 37xxxx version.
Early versions don't have VMC "Vivitar Multi Coating" on the nameplate, and there were small structural revisions over the production period - see this thread.
This lens camera-wiki page.

Focal Length (mm) 70-210mm
Aperture Maximum 3.5
Aperture range 3.5-22, half clicks.
iris: 6 blades
field of view 43-12deg (full frame ie 35mm)
Optical construction (elements / groups) 15/10
Minimum focus distance- normal: 2m/6.5'
Focus throw: approx 180 deg.
magnification ratio 1:2.2
filter diameter (mm) 67
"length( mm at infinity)" 157.5
maximum diameter (mm) 77.8
"weight (g)" 879

Switching into macro mode - see pic:
  1. Slide the zoom focus ring towards the mount to the 210mm position.
  2. press the selector switch lock button and turn the macro selector switch counter-clockwise.

The macro mode works by:
"...moving elements that change the position of the optical centre of the lens. As you slide the zoom ring away from the camera body (towards the 70mm end of the zoom movement), the lens-to-film (sensor) distance increases allowing you to achieve a higher magnification. As you slide it towards the camera body, the lens-to-film/sensor distance is reduced and the magnification decreased.
For optimum results in macro operation, turn the zoom focus ring to the right so that the macro focus reference mark is opposite the macro index line.
If your picture does not require a fixed magnification, slide the zoom focus ring .. until the subject is in focus. If you wish a larger image size move the camera+lens closer to your subject...
" - user manual.

In effect the macro is at the 70mm focal length. The following table provides magnification information at the various positions along the len barrel and is indexed in terms of the focal length scale for easy reference.

lens set at macro mode: working distance magnification
70mm 77.5mm 1 : 2.2
85mm 210mm 1 : 3.5
105mm 620mm 1 : 6.5
135mm 1.5m 1 : 11

Review and test chart results by Benjamin Govert - Vintage Lens Reviews.
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:

Add Review of Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5
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New Member

Registered: July, 2018
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: July 15, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp, optical reach, macro, bokeh
Cons: heavy, heavy, heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A5000, Sony A7, Canon 6D   

It has everything that I need for a telephoto lens. It is very sharp and it has macro function, which works very well if one knows how to use it. The macro function works well by the following the instruction. Basically, one needs to put the focus ring at 210mm end, push the white button, and rotate the ring where the white button is located clockwise. By clockwise rotation, "Macro" will align with the red line, and that's when you can start to enjoy the fantastic macro experience. Telephoto function is excellent too. I used it to picture the moon, and order menu on the wall of a cookie store across the street. The first version is reported to be heaviest among all 70-210 S1 lenses. But it also has the best optical quality and largest magnification (1:2.2). Since the primary use for this lens is not for travel (while you can, I wouldn't carry a 2lb lens when hiking), the weight is totally acceptable.
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2015
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 872
Lens Review Date: June 9, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $25.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, well regarded, has a "macro" and interesting!
Cons: Weight, sloppy zoom action, no "A" setting.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I bought this lens from the usual auction with some trepidation. The seller (a charity) had not posted an image of the lens without caps and just described it as in good condition. A previous purchase of this lens in Canon FD mount with much the same images shown was full of fungus and would not provide any images worth looking at because of the fungus.
What the images did show was a paper band around the zoom/focus ring pointing out how to select macro properly, so I took a chance on it being in good condition.
It turns out to be a later version (s/n 229........) with VMC.

It is in good condition except for the zoom where altering the focal length just feels sloppy to me, sometimes loose, sometimes it grabs.
I have only taken a few images but can see that it is quite sharp but it does exhibit CA at wider apertures.

It is a great buy at this price if you like manual lenses and don't mind green button metering.
Here is an image of it on my K-5, with a hood I added. Check out the paper band on the zoom ring, I would have thought that would have disappeared long ago.
(Taken with a Nikon P&S, apologies for that but it was handy).
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2014
Posts: 1,233
Lens Review Date: March 8, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $90.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Bright Sharp
Cons: Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: k-30   

Bought this lens off of fleabay . Had to covert it from Minolta to Kmount.But I am glad I did ,this lens is making me a believer in Kino Precision Lenses
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Posts: 6
Lens Review Date: April 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: an excellent lens
Cons: nothing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    Camera Used: mz-5,mz-50,sfx.,z20p etc   

very good contrast, sharpness and color rendition

suitable for macro photos with macro ring, very nice pictures with it.

much less expensive than a 2,8/70-210

nearly no CA's stopped down a few
New Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: September 25, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $45.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Versatility
Cons: Heavy, could stress camera mount.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

I just want to begin by saying, I despise zoom lenses! That being said, I love this lens.
My journey began with a Pentax 135mm f/3.5. It's a nice lens, but slow. The fastest 135mm I could find was an f/2.8 (maybe I just don't know where to look). However, frustration set in when I discovered that faster doesn't = sharper. I didn't feel like sacrificing sharpness for light.

I came across this lens and was attracted to the fact that it is a 70-210mm with fixed aperture at 3.5 (i liked that it dies not get darker as you zoom in) even though I've heard that the 2.8-4 variable aperture series 3 is sharper. What the hell, I don't like Zoom lenses anyway, and i didn't see a series 3 available. I was also curious to check out the macro on this lens.

I really like it. I've put my Pentax 135mm f/3.5 prime on the shelf. Yes, the prime is lighter and much easier to carry around, but this is much more versatile and I don't really carry my camera around.

Most of my shooting is in a studio or on set, so weight and bulk doesn't bother me. And let's face it, this is mainly an outdoor lens, so even with a 2x-1 teleconverter on it, I get plenty of light in this f/3.5.

When I say versatile, I mean that, between the macro and the 2x-1 teleconverter, I can shoot everything 3" - 300' in front of my lens.

No, I wouldn't carry this lens all by itself. And no, I wouldn't want it to be the only lens in my arsenal (I have Pentax 50mm f/1.4 and Vivitar 28mm f/2.4 as well), but you could.

If you absolutely have to own a Zoom, this one is worth it.
Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Berlin
Posts: 33
Lens Review Date: March 9, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Colours, Sharpness, constant 3,5
Cons: very heavy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

This is a nice lens but it is so big and heavy so I don't use it very often. IQ-wise it's pretty good although it's better at the short end and loses a bit near 210mm. Still I like it better than the popular DA 55-300 because it offers better resolution and is quite a bit faster. The macro-capability is a nice feature and actually not as difficult to operate as some people suggest. You just need to pull the zoom all the way back and rotate the switch. The bokeh can get a bit busy but for a zoom it's not bad.

Pit Stop von 1 of them auf Flickr
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Location: France
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: January 21, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $116.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Possibility macro, good sharpness, excellent color and superb bokeh, quality of construction.
Cons: zoom creep on my copy.
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I am very pleased with this purchase, the results are very good even wide open. I'm sure the photos would be even better with a lens hood.
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 3,758
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharpness, contrast, bokeh, build quality

I'm rating this lens 9/10 mostly in terms of IQ vs. price. As far as I'm concerned, the only downsides are size and weight, which, however, don't make it extremely hard to handle.

At first, I was put off by its weight, although I appreciated its IQ and construction from the beginning. It also took me some time to understand how to put it in the very useful Macro mode. Initially, it seemed too difficult to operate, because the lens tends to de-stabilize the camera. I was worried it might put too much pressure on the mount. But then I found a way of using my left hand to support both the lens and the camera while using the other hand for zooming and focusing. By no means a lens for traveling...

This being said, the lens excels in any other respect. I heard other versions are sharper, but I absolutely satisfied with the (exceptional) sharpness of my copy (version 1, made by Kiron). Sharp wide open at all apertures. Haven't noticed any CA. Contrast is superb. Very pleasing bokeh. (Various online comparisons make this version the winner for bokeh--and, for me, whatever superiority in sharpness the other versions have--which isn't apparent in pics posted on flickr--is fully compensated by the quality of the bokeh.) In Macro mode, the bokeh is really nice. The Macro mode is interesting, since it allows a transition from a position permitting focusing at a couple of meters or more to 1:2.2 macro. I suppose it can make an interesting portrait lens in the Macro lens, with some very interesting and pleasing bokeh. I'm going to test it in this capacity very soon.

To sum up: if this were a modern lens with AF--perhaps some 200 grams lighter--it would cost 10-15 times as much. It's so good. (I got mine as part of a deal including many other lenses; but it currently goes for about $60-90.)
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 29

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $33.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Constant f/3.5, good IQ, macro, internal zoom/macro, price
Cons: Huge and heavy, focus turns filter mount

Thanks to ebay, I now own 3 of these. The first was a Minolta MC mount that cost $28 including shipping and a bunch of other camera stuff. After being impressed by that copy (despite using it with a glass adapter), I bought the second and third as M42 mounts costing $29 and $41 including shipping. This lens is usually more expensive, so I got more than one M42 so I could pick the best.

Actually, all three lenses are in good shape with fairly clean optics. There was significant surface dirt on two of the three, but they're all clean enough now. Oddly, the cleanest of the three has a stuck-on-Auto Auto/Man switch and the aperture ring works, but is hard to turn; the other two copies are fully functional.

Mechanically, the lens is big, heavy, feels quite solid, and works smoothly. Focus rotates the filter thread (bad for polarizers), but, impressively, zoom and macro functions don't change the length of the lens. The push-pull coarse focus in macro mode takes a little getting used to, but works very well. In fact, that's the case with handling of the lens in general. The weight of the lens actually makes it easy to hand-hold steady, and a tripod mount isn't needed... although this is definitely a lens to which you attach a camera, not the reverse.

The IQ from this lens is quite good. It is a touch soft wide open, and it never gets super crisp at the edges (even for APS-C), but IQ is acceptable or better at all apertures, all focal lengths, and even in macro mode. In fact, IQ seems better at macro than at infinity. All three copies produce very similar IQ. My observations also are consistent with comments here including Modern Photography's test results.

Here are two very simple quick photos showing bokeh at f/3.5:

The first image was shot using a glass adapter with a Minolta mount, the second with a glassless M42. Generally, the out-of-focus image properties of this lens are as complex as its optical formula suggests. However, overall, close focus bokeh are pleasing, as seen above. Unfortunately, at more normal distances point light sources behind the focus point often have bright ring artifacts (things in front of the focus point look better). Without the glass adapter, the M42 versions seem slightly crisper, but the bokeh are certainly no better than with the glass adapter.

In summary, for its time, this really is an outstanding zoom. When I put this lens on an old SLR the view through the viewfinder is impressive. This lens is worthy of its reputation. However, on a DSLR, a lot of modern zooms are competitive with it except for the fast aperture and the excellent macro mode... and then you'd also get autofocus and it would be easier to carry. On the other hand, you can't touch the macro/zoom IQ for less than $150, and a modern lens with this combination of IQ and f/3.5 or better speed is in the $500+ range. I originally rated it an 8, but I now think this performance at a cost under $150 warrants a 9.
Inactive Account

Registered: September, 2008
Location: CA
Posts: 14
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: F 3.5! fast, Build quality like a tank, Bokeh
Cons: Heavy and Big. No 'A'

If it has a 'A' setting. then I should give it a '10' instead of '9'.
Macro mode enlarges up to 1:2.2 and the image is really good.
Yes. it is very heavy. How much? You may want to have a hand strap.
However, once you take several pictures, it will be just happy and surprise!

With my K10D
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Ontario, California
Posts: 1,629

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 1, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $36.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, warm image tone, fast, can be used for defense
Cons: heavy and large enough to have its own gravitational pull

Yes, it is heavy. Really heavy. And it's big.

But if you can look past those two minor "issues"* it is an unbelievably good lens. I doubt a better zoom in this range can be had for ten times the price I paid. The constant f3.5 is really fast for a zoom in this range as well.

* I don't consider these two items to be issues, but rather inherent side effects of the superior design of this lens.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Lévis, Canada (Québec)
Posts: 144

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 6, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fast, affordable, solid, nice bokeh.
Cons: Big and heavy, one ring for focus/zoom, others.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 6    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-5, K-7, K10D   

Bought this lens used to add to my old film camera kit (K1000). A mixed blessing.

First of all, the range is excellent for many applications and the lens is quite fast. Given the low price, it's quite a sound offer.

On the other hand, many samples of this lens suffer from "lens separation" (the coating on the lens starts to give off and leaves "spots" on the inner/outer surface of some lens elements). Mine does as well...

As a result, sharpness is difficult to rate, since it's probably softer than a lens in good shape. My sample is soft wide open but gets quite sharp from F4-F5.6 up to F11. Sharpness is rather average at the smallest apertures.

The contrast is also average, being the first victim of the "lens separation" issue. Light position is also a very important factor since images become misty when the lens is turned towards the sun, thanks again to the "lens separation" issue. A deep lens hood is strongly recommended, especially since this lens is very, very sensitive to flare.

I guess a good sample would have average to high contrast and would be quite sharp wide open, and would get to excellent levels once stopped down.

The lens shows little vignetting wide open and distortion is quite under control. Even on film, the distortion is quite okay, although the vignetting is much higher at the longer focal lengths.

Lateral CAs are not too pronounced for such a lens (film-era) and purple fringing is not as worst as I would've expected, showing only very rarely and only in high contrast situations (like the light of the sun reflecting off some metallic object). Longitudinal CAs are also visible but are rather low for such an old piece of glass. Good performance, here.

Bokeh is quite surprising: buttery wide open and still good when stopped down, especially at the longer focal lengths, where it really shines.

The lens is very macro capable too (almost 1:2) and seems to perform better at close distances (perhaps again because of the issue mentioned above).

But my main complains would be the lack of two separate rings, one for focusing, one for zooming. Some might like it, but I don't. A tripod collar would've been nice too.

The lens is also prone to zoom creep, which can be very annoying when doing macro work with the lens placed above the subject, for the zoom ring "falls down", increasing focal length in the process.

Overall, this zoom still remains a keeper (provided you find a good sample), thanks to its solid construction, nice bokeh, and fast, constant aperture. But if you think the little flaws (one ring for zoom/focus, lack of tripod collar, zoom creeping) I mentioned can be a problem for you, check for something else or be sure you don't pay too much and that your sample doesn't suffer from "lens separation". Lots of bangs for the buck, though.
New Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Nottingham, UK
Posts: 6

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 3, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, build quality, ease of use
Cons: Heavy, no tripod collar

Not much to add to the previous two posters, except to say I'm really happy with this lens. Use it with a monopod and you've a terrific fast telephoto zoom for a tenth of the price of a newer version. It's the lens that convinced me M42 mount is where my LBA is to be satisfied.

A full user's manual for this lens can be downloaded in .pdf format from

Registered: March, 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Posts: 7,145
Lens Review Date: July 7, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $60.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Build quality, creamy focus, constant f3,5, sharpness
Cons: Can cause AWB struggle in some (vey specific) situations

I bought this lens from eBay. I wanted a nice zoom, didn't have the money to afford a K20D, Sigma 17-70 AND a zoom lens all at the same time. This lens usually sells for much more than what I paid, but I won't complain.

Build quality is amazing. This lens was made in 1978, and is perfect except for some very slight brassing on an edge. No zoom creep even after all this time, front coating perfect, focus ring operates smooth as butter (much, much better than an autofocus lens!), the macro switch is fluid and never gets stuck, the aperture ring works surprinsingly smoothly.

Image quality is impressive. There are various reports on the web about this legendary lens. Most will show that the Kiron version is slightly less sharp in the corners, but with an APS sensor this is no issue, I find it sharp across the whole image. Bokeh is wonderful, smooth and creamy. With an f3,5 max aperture, at 210 mm, subject isolation is easy. The contrast and colours are beautiful, I always notice this len's colours immediately when reviewing pictures.

The lens is visibly less sharp at f3,5, but just one half stop less and it gets as good as you'd want. Sharpness stays constant (to my eyes) until at least f8. At f8 my K20D sometimes starts under or overexposing, but it does this with my four manual lenses, so I will not blame the lens. Chromatic aberrations are visible at f3,5, less so at f4, and gone beyond that. It's the only IQ flaw I can point at.

The lens does create an issue with auto white balance, when the main part of the image is a sunlit body of water, or other bluish subject. It then creates a slight purple cast, that my other lenses do not show. Using the correct WB setting solves the problem (apparently the camera selects day fluorescent as the WB setting when this happens).

Manual focus is a breeze, and the focus ring rotates 180 degrees so your focus will be accurate. I'm not using a split screen, the K20D tells me when I'm focused.

Macro mode gives you 1:2,2 enlargment, and superb images.

I'm looking at autofocus offerings on the market, and I find nothing that compares with this lens without being willing to spend a thousand dollars. And all I would gain is a half-stop and autofocus (since the camera meters at the press of a single button even with manual lenses).

As you can probably tell, I love this lens. It has the best price/quality ratio I have ever seen for a lens. It's got that special something that makes me want to keep it even if I replace it with an AF tele zoom.

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 15,858
Lens Review Date: March 18, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $350.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: fast, constant apature, sharp, true one ring zoom
Cons: suffers zoom creep, no tripod mount, heavy

Overall this is an excellent lens, even considering the negatives.

The $350 price indicated is the price I paid in canadian dollars in 1981 when I bought the lens. The version I have has a "macro switch" which sets the lens to 70mm and quick focus is achieved by moving the zoom collar in and out, fine focus by turning the collar.

Biggest negative is not really the weight but the combination of weight and lack of tripod mount. This puts a lot of stress out on the body and body mount, and on many film SLRs caused temporary loss of power due to distortion of the camera frame.

Lens creep also made it difficult to use on a copy stand when oriented vertically.

Focus is quickly and easily achieved with a 180 degree rotation of the focusing collar from minimum to infinity. this is a big enough range to allow fine focus control, but small enough to allow for rapid aquisition of focus. It should be noted that the front group rotates with focus, requiring readjustment of polarizing or graduated ND filters after focusing.

The slip on metal front lens cap has a tendancy to fall off when carrying the lens, and there is no lens hood.

Note that for mounting on a pentax DSLR it requires modification of the protective shield around the apature activation lever.

in terms of apature accuracy, and metering on a DSLR,

-the lens seems to have a slight -1/2 stop metering error wide open on an *istD, which changes linearly to correct exposure when stopped down fully to F22. This is consistent at both maximum and minimum focal length.

- On a K10D the lens meters correctly wide open, and moves to over exposing by 2 stops by F22 (minimum apature)
Add Review of Vivitar Series 1 (Version 1 - Kiron 22xxxx) 70-210mm f/3.5

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