Anyone Using the Vivitar 70-210mm?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by tjdean01, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    I know some people are using these "Series 1" Vivitar 70-210mm lenses because I saw some photos in the sample archives. Some are a constant f3.5 and some are f2.8-4. I prefer the 2.8-4 version because it's smaller and cheaper.

    Anyway, these lenses are supposed to be fairly decent and I think it would be a cheap way for me to have a super tele zoom for under $100. I can get in a couple different mounts too so it'd be pretty easy to find.

    Anyway, just wondering if anyone has it and how it is. I know it'd be huge on the camera but I wouldn't mind giving it a try.
  2. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
  3. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    I just recently threw my Series 1 70-210 that I inherited from my mom on my EM-5. It's a version 1, according to the link above.

    Your expectations are correct: it's big and it's heavy.

    I definitely have fun shooting it, and I'm sure that I'll put it on my camera from time to time, but it's hardly easy to recommend. An Olympus 40-150 for under $100 will be much easier to carry and use and will almost certainly give you more consistent and probably "better" results. But, I'm assuming you know all that, and you are interested in spite of all that, so I'll give you my impressions. :)

    Aside from the obvious handling concerns, it can also be tough to focus handheld, particularly if your subjects are people. And in fading light, it can be a bit of a challenge, too. And after fighting with the focus for a few minutes, you may find your shoulders aching, haha. But with some practice and good technique and some good luck, you may well enjoy it.

    The lens is sharp enough IMO, as long as you don't peep or crop too much. If you point it toward bright light sources, you'll notice some loss of contrast and some color shifts. Actually, now that I think about it, I think the lens produces lower contrast (than modern lenses) images in almost all circumstances, and that behavior is exaggerated by bright light sources. Not necessarily a bad thing....

    Actually, everything about this lens can either be fun… or frustrating, depending on your expectations.

    I see from your gear that you seem to appreciate the good-performing bargains in photography, and so, approaching this lens from that standpoint, I'd say that you would probably have some fun with it, because I'm guessing you know how to set your expectations for cheap/old gear. I'm with you on that.

    I think the bottom line is, I wouldn't approach this lens as something that is a good alternative to a modern tele-zoom. But as a cheap, fun diversion, it's pretty great.

    I haven't shared very many photos using this lens, but here is a small set on Flickr, if you want to have a looksie:

    Also, this post from the Adapted Lens Image Thread will explain the weird sky shots (Those are straight out of camera jpeg colors, BTW):

    If you decide to buy it, post up and let us know. Maybe we'll resurrect the sample images thread for this lens. :)

    But before you buy it, wait until dbuckle chimes in. :)
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  4. euler_spiz

    euler_spiz Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2013
    Cantabria, Spain
    Real Name:
    LP Hoyos
    I agree with mjrj completely. Be sure to look for the Kiron made versión, serial numbers starting with 22xxx. It's supposed to be the best of them.
  5. Jeff1:1

    Jeff1:1 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 2, 2013
    I have 1st version (f3.5) and a Fotodiox FD to m4/3 adapter. The lens is big & heavy vs E-M5, so the lens is holding the camera or camera is mounted on the lens. Given the weight and length, I wouldn't attach the E-M5 to a tripod, hand held only, no built-in tripod collar on lens. It's a push-pull varifocal zoom, the zoom & focus use same ring, so zoom first then focus. At f3.5 there is noticeable CA on object edges at 30%+ zoom on monitor. CA wasn't there or much less with same shots at f5.6 or f8. I can say I tried it and really don't intend to use again on E-M5. The 45-175mm Panasonic lens is made for the m4/3 bodies and Vivitar lens is made for robust film bodies.
    Images had that older lens look, different color palette, not better just different, like they were post processed in a film emulator w/o the grain.
  6. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Spend your $100 toward a modern M43 zoom, Don't be spending much money on a 70-210. Watch this site for 70-210 Series 1.. Seems like they often go for $10-20 and no name 70-210's rarely get bids.

    I have a Tokina f3.5 version that I bought in the1980's. It came out of retirement and was used for a while with my EPL1. I was able to focus it in magnify mode. No matter how well they compared with other lenses on film, they are somewhat heavy to use regularly with M43. If I were on a scenic road trip for a few weeks, I could carry lenses like this in my car and make time to shoot with it. Otherwise, it just gets used in the back yard and an occasional outing.

    Edit: Checked my link and it looks like a Kiron version that finally sold for $16.
  7. fluberman

    fluberman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 19, 2012
    Real Name:
    I had the third version (f2.8-4 by Komine, serial number start with 28) and used it with my 4/3 DSLRs. Sold it because it was too big and too heavy to be used in smaller bodies of m4/3. It was quite often so frustrating handling the camera, especially when zooming and focusing.
  8. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Interesting to me is that myself and a zillion other people were using these 30+ years ago and although they were "big and heavy," we never complained about it. Not once. We talked about the gorgeous images it shot and it was just an expectation that if you wanted a 70-210 that it would be sizable. I carried mine all over the world and never died... not once. Now people seem to think that it's foolish to ever think of using a lens this size. I suppose if you got into µ4/3's just to size down what you were carrying around then that's a reasonable thing, but they're beautiful lenses and fun to shoot with... so for the $30-40 that it costs to pick one up in great condition, I say go for it! The good news is that this lens will be usable on your next camera system as well... and probably the one after that. Can't say that for µ4/3 native glass.
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