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Vivitar Series 1 "Bokina" (tokina) 90mm F2.5 Macro Review RSS Feed

Vivitar Series 1 "Bokina" (tokina) 90mm F2.5 Macro

Sharpness 
 9.9
Aberrations 
 9.2
Bokeh 
 10.0
Handling 
 9.2
Value 
 9.3
Reviews Views Date of last review
11 81,056 Thu June 28, 2018
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $229.38 9.36
Vivitar Series 1 "Bokina" (tokina) 90mm F2.5 Macro
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Description:
This well regarded Tokina made (serials 37xxxxx) macro lens is distinct from the similar but Komine made (28xxxxx) ones. Can be found in P-KM, M42 and even PKA mount.
There is also a dedicated 3 element 1:1 adapter with a tripod mount.

See also the Tokina 90mm f2.5.

Optical Construction
Main Lens: 8 elements, 7 groups
Macro Adapter: 3 elements, 3 groups
Angle of Acceptance: 27 degrees
Aperture Range: f2.5 - f22
Min. Focusing Distance from Firm Plane: 39.2 cm (15.4" ) without adapter; 35.3 cm (13.9" ) with adapter
Maximum Repoduction Ratio: 1:2 without adapter; 1:1 with adapter
Weight: Main Lens: 654g (23.3 oz); Macro Adapter: 285 g (10.2 oz)
Length: 9.0 cm (3.5" ) without adapter; 13.9 cm (5.5" ) with adapter
Diameter: 70mm (2.75" )
Filter: 58mm
Lens Cap Size: 70mm

There is a comprehensive discussion of this lens and the tokina on the Making not Taking blog.

Review by Phillip Reeve
Mount Type: Pentax K
Price History:



Add Review of Vivitar Series 1 "Bokina" (tokina) 90mm F2.5 Macro
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New Member

Registered: June, 2018
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: June 28, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Light, very sharp, beautiful bokeh
Cons: Macro 1:2 only, too expensive
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    Camera Used: A7   

Excellent lens, well build, light, very sharp and with nice smooth bokeh. Good for macro, also excellent for portraits. Optional extension tube is bulky, but it has glass inside and is especially made for the lens. Results were good too.


This is a great lens, but it has become a legend and prices are reaching indecent levels. Have nothing else to say against this Vivitar, but I think it's not that much better than the much more affordable Tamron 90mm f/2,5 macro. It's lighter, it may have slightly better bokeh but I'm not sure. Unfortunately, I didn't have both lenses at the same time. Sold the Vivitar and was not deceived by the Tamron.


Go for it if you can/want to afford the best of the best, otherwise there are lots of very good and cheaper macro lenses.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 2,151
Lens Review Date: January 14, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, nice bokeh
Cons: Lower contrast, dull colors, heavy, no tripod collar
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 8    Camera Used: K3ii   

I am very familiar with this lens. I used it with a Nikon camera years ago. This summer I purchased a Pentax version of this lens and tried it out on my K5iis and K3ii cameras.

I found this lens to be quite sharp, and of course it's bokeh was excellent.

However, this Bokina lens is clearly showing its' age. These days it is easily surpassed by more modern lenses.

Compared with the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR (which I own), I found that this old Vivitar lens had lower contrast and somewhat duller colors. Also, the Bokina lens is heavy and does not have a tripod collar. It does not bother me at all that the Vivitar lens does not have auto-focus.

I ended up selling the Bokina and keeping my SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR.

Again, while the famous Bokina lens is good, it is clearly overshadowed by the modern Pentax macros.
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 258
Lens Review Date: March 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $133.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, AWESOME BOKEH, great smooth defocus, good mechanics
Cons: heavy, rare, flares(needs hood)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K30, Nex 5r   

This is just great lens. Not only for macro, it is awesome for portrait too.

Here some samples.







So no wonder people call it bokina
   
Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: February 5, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Very Sharp, Beautiful Rendering
Cons: Some purple fringing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

This is the best manual macro lens. It's very sharp and have special great bokeh. On sunny days must use hood!
   
New Member

Registered: December, 2012
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: December 31, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp! Great bokeh, color and IQ! Very good for macro and portrait!
Cons: None!!!
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

It's incredible lens!I I use it more often for a portrait, and each time it pleases me more and more. It is good for macro, it is good for a portrait, it is good for studio and outdoor shooting!

p.s. I am sorry for my awful English.

MACRO:






PORTRAITS:








Check my other photos - http://500px.com/lifetension
   
Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2009
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 2,030
Lens Review Date: June 18, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $272.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Bokeh, Handling, Color, IQ
Cons: Heavy, would be nice if it were an "A", some PF
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

The legendary Bokina, a standard for any macro lens to compare to.
So amazing it has its own knickname and reams of web pages dedicated to examples of the performace.
First, a few minor complaints; It's heavy, no auto-aperture and occasionally shows some purple fringing.
The weight can be easily overlooked; This is a hefty, solid metal and glass lens, a substantial optical instrument built to last.
And, the stunning performance far outweighs any minor issues. The resolution is eyeball-searing, in fact the word "sharp" will take on a whole new meaning once you use it. It may be matched by lenses costing hundreds more, but without the bokeh, at any price.
The bokeh is absolutely outstanding, smoother and more dreamlike then any other lens I've ever seen. The transition from elements that are in sharp focus to OOF is amazing, seamless and true.
Another aspect of this lens is how well it renders textures. This can be attributed to micro-contrast, sharpness, color rendition and lack of aberrations. Whatever the reason, photographs taken with the Bokina have a tactile, 3D "feel" like no other.
The focusing is slow and sure, as a good macro must be. A split-prism VF is nearly mandatory to get the best results, at least with my old eyeballs!
I haven't tried the matching 1:1 adapter yet, but will soon. For some samples of the lens alone on a K10D and K-7, go here;
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/20870-rbefly/albums/5268-bokina-first-day/
If you find a clean one, buy it!
Ron
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2010
Posts: 759
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Bokeh, Build
Cons: Flare resistance
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9   

Itís hard to believe that such a legendary lens has so few reviews. This is unquestionable one of the best lenses ever made, period, and I think the best 90-105mm lens ever made. The Vivitar 105mm Series 1 lens is better known probably because it is more available (people with this lens donít tend to give it up). The 90mm f2.5 Series 1 lens was indeed built by Tokina, and after Vivitar stopped selling it, Tokina make it as the Tokina AT-X 90mm macro (same optics). It is also worth noting that Vivitar claimed that they used glass with a high index of refraction in it, and this lens certainly is a big block of glass. When its design was patented, it was actually patented as an f2 lens. This lens was one of the best Modern Photography ever testedóit resolved 98 lpm in the center and corners at f2.5 (!), and scored a 4.6 (!) on photodo. Not only does it have the highest reputation for sharpness, but it has the highest reputation for bokeh (hence the nickname the Bokina). The 1:1 adaptor is a great idea, if you want no optical compromises, as it is a 3 element corrector set designed to correct aberrations in the macro range, so you should get better performance all around than a 1:1 design like most others in this range that have to have a little more compromise. I must admit I donít usually go beyond 1:2 anyway, so Iíve not actually used it yet, but it has a rotating tripod mount, a nice touch. Other comparison tests Iíve seen posted genreally give this lens the crown in this focal range for macro lenses, and it has held its own against the Voightlander 125mm.

My own usage has born out these findings, sharpness is fantastic from wide open, and the bokeh really is fantastic (better than the Tamron 90mm f2.8, which I also have). Overall it has the best bokeh of any lens Iíve used, including the Pentax K50 f1.2. The only caveat here is the 8 blades are not rounded and produce hexagons for spectacular highlights stopped-down, unlike the new Pentax and the Tamron. Aberrations are extremely well controlled (not non-existent, itís not an APO lens, but its pretty darn close), better than the Tamron again. Colors and contrast are good, but the VMC is not as good as Pentaxís SMC, so you must use a good hood with this lens when you canóreally the only drawback to this lens is that it is rather prone to flare.

The build quality on this lens is fantastic, better than even my Takumars. It is the best built lens I have, an incredibly solid hunk of steel. It is certainly heaver than its competitors, but the build (and, arguably, the optics) is better.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: May, 2009
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Posts: 6,513
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: superb IQ, superb Bokeh, superb macro and portrait lens, no CA, no PF
Cons: heavy (especially with the 1:1 macro adapter)

the so-called legendary BOKINA macro. a PRO Grade class lens.

I got this lens and it's dedicated macro 1:1 extender adapter for a bargain price at an annual camera show. my eyes lit up and grabbed it once I saw it.

the optics have no scratches. metal finish and focus ring is in great condition with no scuffs and a very minimal sign of wear which is only isolated on the tripod collar area (obviously due to macro use). my only 2 complaints so far is that it is a C/FD mount which would require an adapter inorder to be used on any modern day dslr (including Pentax mount) and it needs to undergo professional internal cleaning due to some fungus and dust. these 2 conditions made the lens quite a bargain and has affected it's market value considerably. deductions made for professional cleaning and adapter costs. with those 2 problems solved, I would estimate the market value of the lens + it's macro extender and mount adapter to cost at around $350-$450, basing from it's legendary status / cult favorite and extreme rarity at the used market, solid metal construction, smooth and full functionality and awesome cosmetic condition.

according to all owners and people who have handled the lens of whom includes myself, the lens is very sharp wide open and possibly the sharpest, if not one of the sharpest and best macro lenses out there and has an incredible bokeh which is widely sought after even today. it is said that the lens could rival or even beat the best modern day macros in terms of IQ and overall resolution (sharpness, contrast, color, detail). this lens rivals and trumps even the "L" lenses which are becoming nothing more like overrated metal constructed expensive lenses.

the lens is a superb short telephoto portrait lens and the best thing about it is that it has a minimum focusing distance of 35cm-40cm only with a magnification ratio of 1:2 (w/o extender) and 1:1 ratio (w/ extender) which makes it ideal for close-up portraits and macros. the macro feature of this lens is outstanding due to it's sharpness wide open and superbly awesome bokeh rendering from wide portrait shots to magnified macro shots. its f2.5 aperture speed is a 1/3 or 1/2 stop faster than most available macro lens or no present day counterpart. such aperture speed is advantageous for brighter, faster, shallow DOF images. I'm also impressed by it's lack of CA/PF.

the telephoto use is great but could pose a problem for those who are heavily dependent with auto-focus. because it is a manual focus lens, it would be convenient to have a split-prism focusing screen and a 1.36x eyepiece for a much faster, easier, and precise telephoto and macro focusing. also some people might find the lens a bit long and heavy as well, most especially with the 1:1 macro adapter installed.

I would had given this a score of 11/10 if I only have it at P/KA mount. PK/A version which allows metering and A-aperture control and the 90mm focal length coverage.

my only gripes with having the C/FD mount Vivitar is my inability to use the A-Aperture control, loss of light, and the extended focal length caused by the FD/K adapter's correction lenses magnification and very slight IQ degradation. the added focal length magnification produced by the FD/K mount adapter is just too much for my type of intended photography for such a focal length. I would had personally preferred to retain it's 90mm focal length coverage as opposed to the magnified results. mind you that the P/KA mount version, you wont have any of these issues.

here are the scores for each criteria of the lens:

IQ: 11
build: 10
sharpness: 10
contrast: 9.5
detail: 9.5
bokeh: 11

added revision:

I loved this lens so much that I went looking for another one for the K-mount. finally I got one which now works for what it is intended for at 90mm and as a 90mm without the use of any adapters for the K-mount that would compromise achieving optimal IQ. I'm keeping the other one for m4/3 and mirrorless APS-C. the FD mount 90mm works flawlessly on both mounts with the use of a glassless adapter.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,071
Lens Review Date: April 6, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp wide open, beautiful bokeh, depth of focus, great build quality
Cons: Need for an adapter for 1:1 macro & resulting weight

This is a Tokina-made lens that is excellent for portrait photography and macro shots. It is extremely sharp, even wide open at f2.5. Bokeh and color rendition are out of this world good. I haven't noticed any CA or flares with this lens even in extreme sunlight. This lens compares favorable to the Panagor macro, Vivitar 105mm 2.5 macro and the Lester A Dine macro lenses. Some say it is superior in image quality to all three, however none of the other three require an adapter to reach 1:1 magnification.

My only qualms are the required adapter that makes it 1:1 and the resulting size and weight with the adapter. Installing and removing the adapter is a mild pain and takes about 10-20 seconds. With the adapter on, you lose infinite focus; you can't even focus beyond a foot or two.

The adapter fortunately is not hollow and actually includes additional lens elements so the image quality are certainly higher than if you were to use hollow adapters.

My copy had wobbly aperture and focus rings, hence the big discount at $120. I had to take it apart from the back and tighten down a few screws in order to fix it. To tighten focusing ring, you have to lift the rubber grip on the lettering side of the lens to reveal two tiny 1mm screws that you have to tighten.

This is a phenomenal lens, you can read a more detailed review here:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=13056277
   
Pentaxian

Registered: January, 2007
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 338
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2009 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very sharp, good colours
Cons: lack of build-in hood, quite big (with adapter)
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10   

Extremely sharp, very good colors - very natural. Nearly lack of any aberation. Great for close-up shots like flowers and bugs an at the same time very good for portraits. Nice bokeh - even more than nice - beautiful. I had FA 100/2.8 Macro and it was great for macro but not so good for portraits, bokeh was not so nice.
It is very sensitive to light, need deep hood. With attached 1:1 adapter focus is only in short distance of few centimeters.

It is excellent portrait lens


and closeup/macro lens


Few shots from this lens can be seen here
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Florida Gulfer
Posts: 3,055
Lens Review Date: June 20, 2008 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $240.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Awesome Boken, Great IQ, Quality of the lens.
Cons: Little Heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

I've only had the lens for a few weeks but the Macro shots are out of this world, If you ever get a chance to use one you will be hooked on it. It's probably the best 90mm macro out there.
Add Review of Vivitar Series 1 "Bokina" (tokina) 90mm F2.5 Macro



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