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Vivitar Series 1 135mm F2.3 VMC on A7R II
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:57 pm    Post subject: Vivitar Series 1 135mm F2.3 VMC on A7R II Reply with quote

The lens:



The resolution at wide open at the center is pretty decent for such fast lens at its age. The color seems less saturated as the Rollei 135/2.8 I have tried. CA is not well-controlled, similar to many Vivitar S1 lens at its time. The build-in lens hood is too short to protect the big front element from stray light. A long hood is recommended.

Here are few samples, click to enlarge:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like one of those, its a classy classic vivitar but they bid up too high for me typically.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1


PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Marcus, that's a lens I'd love to own. If it's as good as the 28 / 1.9 in that series of Vivitar's then it's a great lens.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the 135/2.3. It's perhaps my favorite VS1 lens. And not even because it's the best. It's definitely not. It's relatively sharp but as OP mentioned, CA abounds wide open. I wouldn't even necessarily say it has "great" IQ, but it's good. It's charming. For me the lens just has something about it that works. But my experience is that it's a bit finicky. And my greatest struggle is the flare for sure. I love shooting with strong back-lighting and that just kills this lens (contrast plummets).


PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank You Dog

The VMC coating on my copy seems not very efficient. I believe the early non-VMC version, which goes about $50 to $100 in the us, should perform similarly on situation without a bright light source on the frame.

After trying this lens, I wold love to have a 28/1.9 too in case I can get one within my budget. Wink


PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

calvin83 wrote:
Thank You Dog

The VMC coating on my copy seems not very efficient. I believe the early non-VMC version, which goes about $50 to $100 in the us, should perform similarly on situation without a bright light source on the frame.

After trying this lens, I wold love to have a 28/1.9 too in case I can get one within my budget. Wink


Quite a capable lens! The 1.9/28mm is a very capable indeed too, I have it too (somewhere...) Wink


PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a love-hate relationship with a lot of Series 1 lenses.
To hold and operate they are usually very impressive, but to take a good picture with them is not always easy.

I used to have a 35-85/2.8 that occasionally took spectacular pictures, but mostly not. Probably due to the use glass surface on the front (flare, ghosts etc). I felt most of them never really reached the optical quality of a Nikkor for example (exceptions are lenses like the 90/2.5).


Last edited by caspert79 on Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:19 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

caspert79 wrote:
I have a love-hate relation shit with a lot of Series 1 lenses.
To hold and operate they are usually very impressive, but to take a good picture with them is not always easy.

I used to have a 35-85/2.8 that occasionally took spectacular pictures, but mostly not. Probably due to the use glass surface on the front (flare, ghosts etc). I felt most of them never really reached the optical quality of a Nikkor for example (exceptions are lenses like the 90/2.5).


Same for me in a few cases but not in others. The S1 70-210 and the 28-90 were both excellent, although the 70-210 was heavy in use and its trombone action didn't help this.
The 2.3/135 and 3/200 were both disappointments to me, and did not give the kinds of images that their reputations indicated.
Of all of these I have only kept the 28-90 by Komine which is always reliable.
Tom


PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love that last shot!

I've had and tried a lot of the Vivitar Series 1 lenses, got some great shots out of them too, but somehow i always ended up selling them again. That says it all i think.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love my 135mm f2.3--shoot it on Nikon Fx, where colors are dead on & sharpness is excellent. Wide open, mine is very sharp to the extreme edges--out @ infinity it drops off though. Usually, Ca is easily removed in PP. I guess the hood could be a bit longer without causing mechanical vignetting, but I've always found the hood good enough. According to my serial#, it's one of the first 100 to roll out--think it was 1972--no coatings on these. And it is mint condition. I simply love the lens. JT

I've also shot it on Nikon Dx and Fuji Dx where, although very nice, it is not as good as the Nikon Fx body.


Last edited by Focusthrow on Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:56 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The retail price of this lens is similar to many first party 135/2.8 at the mid 1970s. I think it does give pretty good performance for such price. BTW, the MFD of this lens is 0.9 meter only which is pretty close for a 135mm.


PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

calvin83 wrote:
The retail price of this lens is similar to many first party 135/2.8 at the mid 1970s. I think it does give pretty good performance for such price. BTW, the MFD of this lens is 0.9 meter only which is pretty close for a 135mm.


Yes close-focus is excellent, though bettered by the other Komine-made Vivitar: the 135mm f/2.8 1:2 macro. Also, as alluded to earlier, close focus is where sharpness is best. One can get some stunning up-close shots with beautiful subject isolation with this little gem. JT


PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloydy wrote:
I'm with Marcus, that's a lens I'd love to own. If it's as good as the 28 / 1.9 in that series of Vivitar's then it's a great lens.


Don't buy one without trying it first. I had a mint, unused looking one that was incredibly bad, indicating QC on these was not good.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Lloydy wrote:
I'm with Marcus, that's a lens I'd love to own. If it's as good as the 28 / 1.9 in that series of Vivitar's then it's a great lens.


Don't buy one without trying it first. I had a mint, unused looking one that was incredibly bad, indicating QC on these was not good.


Uggghhh! So sorry to hear this. Combined from several forums, I'm > 15,000 posts, easily--1st I've heard of one of these being bad. jt


PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, with all the excellent, inexpensive 135mm lenses out there, why would anyone buy the Vivitar Series 1 135mm? The answer is clear: f/2.3. In that light, all pics which follow are shot wide open, aka., f /2.3. These are NOT crops. jt


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Friends


PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These are all excellent Focusthrow .
My copy - while looking mint - performed nothing like yours.
It also was quite poor at distances approaching infinity.
I also suspect that there could have been variations in quality with this lens.
Try it first is good advice
Tom


PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Lloydy wrote:
I'm with Marcus, that's a lens I'd love to own. If it's as good as the 28 / 1.9 in that series of Vivitar's then it's a great lens.


Don't buy one without trying it first. I had a mint, unused looking one that was incredibly bad, indicating QC on these was not good.


Thanks & interesting comments.

I’ve transacted > a couple hundred lenses--learned much, though I’m no expert. My awareness of faulty lenses is understood from firsthand experience, which is why I always feel bad when learning of it happening to other people. It makes sense, IMO, particularly when dealing with decades-old lenses, to conclude most lenses are ruined by abusive users, then sold in places like Ebay (not always intentionally). The ignorance which abounds in the minds of many lens sellers is perplexing. But, when discussing glass made by the manufacturers issues are mostly rare, with primes failing far less commonly than zooms, especially wide angle zooms.

This is a solidly made lens, one which could take a significant fall & not show any external damage, although sustaining internal damage: true of so many lenses of this era. Because most lenses dealt with in this forum are decades-old, it is even more logical to conclude neglect from abusive users, not production flaws.

There is something else worth mentioning. There are individuals who cry faulty lens when, in reality, the correct diagnosis is faulty brain. I can’t say how many times someone complains about a lens (not in this forum), head-strongly asserting it’s bad. However, when we get the person to cough up samples, more often than not, it’s revealed to be user error. Many people have no idea of the mutual interdependence of ISO, shutter speed & aperture, let alone comprehension of a focal plane, or even how distance-to-subject expands & contracts the focal plane. In some picture-taking scenarios, for example, the focal plane is so thin that breathing can move the subject in & out of focus. Of course, in a forum of this caliber, where most users are seasoned users of photographic gear, these people are rare. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning IMO. And I agree with you: with any purchase, even a new one, whenever possible, try it out first. Best jt


PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Dog

Great rendering from that lens..i did a shoot out last week between that vivitar a super tak 135 2.5 and the sonnar 135.

The vivitar has such a nice unique way of rendering the image .I didn't get it though as i already have about 4 135's Like Dog


PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Focusthrow wrote:
There is something else worth mentioning. There are individuals who cry faulty lens when, in reality, the correct diagnosis is faulty brain. I can’t say how many times someone complains about a lens (not in this forum), head-strongly asserting it’s bad. However, when we get the person to cough up samples, more often than not, it’s revealed to be user error. Many people have no idea of the mutual interdependence of ISO, shutter speed & aperture, let alone comprehension of a focal plane, or even how distance-to-subject expands & contracts the focal plane. In some picture-taking scenarios, for example, the focal plane is so thin that breathing can move the subject in & out of focus. Of course, in a forum of this caliber, where most users are seasoned users of photographic gear, these people are rare. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning IMO. And I agree with you: with any purchase, even a new one, whenever possible, try it out first. Best jt


I couldn't agree more with this comment. I can attest to one specific instance where I was convinced that a lens I'd just bought was no good. But I persevered and learned that my technique was poor. Once I realized that, I disciplined myself and the lens's images improved drastically. I have seen many instances where people claimed there was something wrong with their lens -- usually an AF one -- or their AF camera (like a P&S one). But when I examined their photos, it was plainly obvious that they weren't paying attention to where the camera or lens was focusing. In other words, there was almost always some area in the photo that was in sharp focus -- just not the desired area. So the lens or the camera got the blame. Sheesh.

When buying a lens from someone like an eBay seller, I try to get assurance from the seller that, if I'm not happy with the lens, I can return it. This hasn't been a problem with me. I can think of only one instance where I returned a lens because of its poor performance.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've already heard loads of insults, mostly from woodrim, that it must have been something wrong with me not the lens, well, that's a load of crap, that lens was faulty, no buts, ifs or other provisos.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where's the faulty lens now?


PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sold on ebay for spares/repairs a long time ago.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's one lens I was tempted to get but never thought worth the price or the hassle of finding a good copy. I am very happy with the Samyang 135/f2 which by all accounts is much better and readily available. I ended up with the Vivitar 135 CF which has the advantage of being a 1:2 macro lens to complement my Samyang.