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Vivitar Series 1 35-85 f2.8 by Kiron/Kino
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:55 pm    Post subject: Vivitar Series 1 35-85 f2.8 by Kiron/Kino Reply with quote

This is an interesting lens.
Mine comes in the original Nikon F mount, pre-AI.
Firstly it is big, and heavy.
Secondly it has a mixed reputation in online reviews.
Thirdly it is VarioFocal, meaning it has to be re-focused for every zoom change.
With all that, it has its charms.

Mine came as a lens/front cap for a camera, as the owner said it was fungus infested. Interestingly there was no fungus and the lens performs quite nicely.
Here is the lens, followed by some sample shots.
Forgive the bamboo, it was just too pretty not to take multiple images.
Tom

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#1 Flapjacks


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Last edited by Oldhand on Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:22 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks pretty industrial with the F2 Smile


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kansalliskala wrote:
Looks pretty industrial with the F2 Smile


Hahaha - yes it is indeed not a lightweight and even with the F2 it seems heavy.
I am not sure that folks who are used to the lightweight lenses of today would enjoy this lens.
On my Nikon D700 it weighs in at 2kg or around 4-1/2 pounds.
Tom


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few more images from this very nice lens:

@85mm
#1


@35mm
#2 Native Dahlia


@85mm
#3


Last edited by Oldhand on Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:21 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Like 1


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure the S1 zooms contain anything light.

My 24-48mm RIP, and 70-210mm from 1979 are both heavy particular when used on my OM2n.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slalom wrote:
Not sure the S1 zooms contain anything light.

My 24-48mm RIP, and 70-210mm from 1979 are both heavy particular when used on my OM2n.


Yes you are probably right about that.
here is a series of monochromes that I shot yesterday.
Tom
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#1


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1


PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like everyone else, we are stuck at home during this pandemic.
It is raining and the mosquitoes are ferocious.
And clearly I am running out of subject matter to photograph.
Nevertheless, here are a few more from what's left of our garden.
Cheers
Tom


#1


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#3


PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to add some observations about this lens in use.
The fact that it comes from Kiron/Kino means that it will be very well made, and this lens is no exception.
It is robust, made from quality materials and operates very smoothly.
It is very big for what it is, some might say huge.
This is no doubt because of its maximum aperture of f2.8, which is constant throughout the zooming range.
It is heavy, and even attached to the Nikon D700 it doesn't balance well, so may be too big for some people.
Wide open, it has a softer look to its images which are quite appealing to my eye. (check out the image of the flapjacks above). Stopped down, even a little, and things firm up as far as sharpness goes.
It is stronger at the 85mm end of its range than it is at 35mm, and yet it can be very sharp at its widest focal length, from f4 onwards. Check the image above of the backlit leaves on the native dahlia.
For its time this must have been quite a wonderful lens, and it can still hold its own with results that please, even today.
This lens comes in vanilla Nikon F mount, and this fixes its time of release.
It is worth noting that Vivitar sourced a different lens from Komine, the Series 1, 28 to 90mm which is smaller, lighter and better optically.
The Komine version also comes in Nikon F mount, but its AI configuration, making it later than the Kiron.
The Komine zoom, sometimes referred to as the "stovepipe", does not hold a constant maximum aperture, but ranges from f2.8 to f3.5.
It does, however, behave like a true zoom, with only minor adjustments needed to focus at each focal length.
Apart from having a wider zoom range, wider at 28mm and longer at 90mm, it is optically more refined and a lot easier to use.
Having said all that, I think that the Kiron/Kino 35 to 85 is a wonderful part of photographic history, and well worth adding to a collection for what it brought to the photographic community of its day.
Cheers
Tom


PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Tom, I largely agree with your sentiments. I've known about this lens since the early 80s and I've always been curious about it. Well, I finally did something about it. I picked one up a few years ago, also in Nikon mount. Mine has to be a later year model than yours, though, because the aperture ring has the AI tab. I wonder if that's the only difference. Probably is.

As for the 35-85's performance, I was reading an article over at the camerawiki site on this lens and they have this to say about it (emphasis mine):

"For this lens, the resulting design involved five concentric sleeves that were moved by a series of nested cams. The complexity of the design required that each lens [element] be individually calibrated by an engineer during the production process. This may explain the varying results achieved by modern users of the lenses, some of which may have gone out of adjustment to some degree over the last 30 years."

They also offer a quote from The Lens Book (1994): "An old lens, like the 1970s-vintage Vivitar Series One 35-85mm f/2.8, may actually outperform some modern zooms of similar focal length, especially if they are of the variable-aperture type''.

So I'm thinking that it is quite likely that the 35-85s that are delivering just so-so performance are probably in need of internal element calibration or collimation.

My favorite S1 zoom remains the 28-90. I used mine a ton back in the 80s and early 90s, shooting slide film. It is, by the way, regarded as a varifocal lens, requiring refocusing after zooming. This aspect never bothered me much though, since with all of my push-pull zooms I always refocus after zooming anyway, so it really didn't matter. I have two copies of this lens now, one in Nikon mount and one in Canon. I also have Pentax and Minolta systems and I'm kicking around the notion of buying one or two more so I can use it with these cameras.


PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cooltouch wrote:


"For this lens, the resulting design involved five concentric sleeves that were moved by a series of nested cams. The complexity of the design required that each lens [element] be individually calibrated by an engineer during the production process. This may explain the varying results achieved by modern users of the lenses, some of which may have gone out of adjustment to some degree over the last 30 years."

They also offer a quote from The Lens Book (1994): "An old lens, like the 1970s-vintage Vivitar Series One 35-85mm f/2.8, may actually outperform some modern zooms of similar focal length, especially if they are of the variable-aperture type''.

So I'm thinking that it is quite likely that the 35-85s that are delivering just so-so performance are probably in need of internal element calibration or collimation.

My favorite S1 zoom remains the 28-90. I used mine a ton back in the 80s and early 90s, shooting slide film. It is, by the way, regarded as a varifocal lens, requiring refocusing after zooming. This aspect never bothered me much though, since with all of my push-pull zooms I always refocus after zooming anyway, so it really didn't matter. I have two copies of this lens now, one in Nikon mount and one in Canon. I also have Pentax and Minolta systems and I'm kicking around the notion of buying one or two more so I can use it with these cameras.


Thank you for the information on the lens Michael.
I wasn't aware of its complexity, but by watching it in operation one can see the effect of the cams working.
Yes the Komine is varifocal, but it stays much closer to the focusing point than the Kiron lens when zooming.
I agree with you on the Komine, wonderful lens.
Tom


PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had two of these lenses, the first was bad and I sold it quickly, the second was OK and I kept it a while.
Here's some pic's taken on my Sony A6000, all wide open, ISO250 and slight processing - no sharpening except the standard JPEG conversion.

I've since sold the second copy, ( I got offered 3x what I paid for it ) and never tried it on my A7II. I decided it wasn't as good as the Vivitar S1 28 - 90 / 2.8 3.8 or my beloved 24 - 48 / 3.8 , both Komine. And I don't think its as good as the Tamron 01A 35 - 80 / 2.8 3.8 - but I've got that recently and only used it on the A7II.

I wish I'd still got it, it's a lens I wanted to like, and very nearly did.







PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any 50mm examples? The 35mm & 85mm each have a character unlike a zoom more like a prime. I wonder the look at 50mm. Smile


PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
Are there any 50mm examples? The 35mm & 85mm each have a character unlike a zoom more like a prime. I wonder the look at 50mm. Smile

Yes, this one would have been around that
Tom

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice. Thanks! (looks like 50mm performs best. suspect 70mm is even better)


PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Oldhand"]Like everyone else, we are stuck at home during this pandemic.
It is raining and the mosquitoes are ferocious.
And clearly I am running out of subject matter to photograph.
Nevertheless, here are a few more from what's left of our garden.
Cheers
Tom

Those are nice shots. My 35-85 has probably been in one of my boxes for over 15 years.
It is one of the big/chunky lenses but I like it. There is also a matching hood which makes
this lens even more handsome on the Nikon F. The bokeh of the images sometimes has
bubble like.

Enjoy the lens.