VMC Vivitar Series 1 Macro Focusing 28-90 MM1: 2.8-3.5. Review from the reader Radozhiva

Overview of VMC Vivitar Series 1 Macro Focusing 28-90 MM1: 2.8-3.5 for Nikon cameras (Non-AI) specially for Radozhiva, prepared Eshmakov Rodion.

View of the lens with a Nikon F-Canon EF adapter.

View of the lens with a Nikon F-Canon EF adapter.

Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 is a universal reporting zoom lens of a professional line ("Series 1"), developed in 1983 by Komine (optics of various manufacturers were produced under the brand "Vivitar"). Some lenses of this line are still appreciated by photographers and amateurs for their good optical quality, for example: Vivitar Series 1 90 / 2.5 (Tokina), 70-210 / 3.5 I (Kiron), 70-210 / 2.8-4 (Komine), etc. In the same way, this lens has extremely attractive characteristics - a convenient range of focal lengths (especially for full-frame cameras) and a high aperture. But is it enough optical quality to deserve to stand next to the "celebrities" of the Series 1 line?
Lens specifications

Detailed description here и here
Optical design: 14 elements in 12 groups (type of circuit);
Focal length: 28-90 mm, variable;
Zoom ratio: 3.2x;
Field of view angle (on a full-frame camera): 27-75 °;
Aperture: 6 blades;
Type of focus: manual;
Minimum focusing distance: 23 cm (28 mm);
The maximum macro scale: 1: 3.3 (on 28 mm and a full-frame camera);
Weight: 680 g;
Features: multilayer enlightenment VMC;
Camera Mount: Nikon F mount, non-AI

Design Features Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5

Like any reportable high-aperture zoom, the Vivitar 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 has impressive dimensions and weight: it looks more like a class 200 / 3.5 lens. Build quality is very good, the body is metal, the lens has survived to our days in health - probably, instead of a 5 year warranty, the manufacturer could safely give 25 years :).

The lenses have a multi-colored branded multilayer coating VMC, the manufacturer claims the presence of tantalum (additive Ta2O5) and lanthanum (additive La2O3) among the glasses used, the former being in the front group of lenses. If lanthanum doesn’t surprise anyone, then tantalum really sounds exotic. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the facets of each of the lenses are manually coated with matte black paint. And it sounds very believable: I could not notice the brilliant ends of the lenses.

View of the lens from the front of the lens with a 28 mm FR.

View of the lens from the front of the lens with a 28 mm FR.

The lens is made in the form-factor of a zoom-trombone ("push & pull"), i.e. has a single-ring control of the focal length and focusing distance: by pulling the wide rubberized focus ring towards you, you can set the FR 28 mm, and by pushing away - 90 mm. The focusing ring is rotated within 90 °, which is very modest and can be inconvenient when trying to focus accurately. Changing the PA and focusing noticeably change the length of the lens.

On the case, you can see the distance scale for focal lengths of 50 mm (white) and 90 mm (green), the depth of field index is missing. It should be noted that the infinity label does not coincide with the actual focus at infinity for any FR - there is a noticeable flight over infinity. Although this may be a defect in the adapter, in my experience, not a single zoom has an exact infinity mark: for non-parfocal lenses it “floats” and cannot be set unambiguously. This drawback has serious consequences - when shooting you can not quickly set the focus on hard stop. Putting your mark makes sense.

The lens at the short end in the focus position "to infinity".

The lens at the short end in the focus position "to infinity".

The view of the lens when the FR is installed is 90 mm and focuses to “infinity”.

The view of the lens when the FR is installed is 90 mm and focuses to “infinity”.

When focusing, the lens lengthens by another ~ 1.5 cm, while the lens block of the lens does not rotate. However, the rear lens in the process of changing the RF and focusing moves progressively, which can lead to suction of dust into the camera (“vacuum cleaner effect”).

The rear lens when focusing "to infinity" and the FR 28 mm.

The rear lens when focusing "to infinity" and the FR 28 mm.

The rear lens when focusing "to infinity" and FR ~ 50 mm.

The rear lens when focusing "to infinity" and FR ~ 50 mm.

My specimen does not spontaneously extend the trunk, but if you put the lens in the 90 mm position with the front end down, it quickly "folds" to around 28 mm.

The optics of the Vivitar 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 are somewhat yellow - this is noticeable if you look at the white sheet through the lens.

View of the lumen from the front of the lens with a FR 28 mm and an open diaphragm.

View of the lumen from the front of the lens with a FR 28 mm and an open diaphragm.

The Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 has, unfortunately, only 6 aperture blades. Therefore, closing the diaphragm entails the formation of hexagonal nuts in the bokeh immediately with F / 4.

View of the lumen from the front of the lens with a FR 90 mm and an open diaphragm.

View of the lumen from the front of the lens with a FR 90 mm and an open diaphragm.

View of the lumen from the front of the lens with a 90 mm FR and a covered diaphragm.

View of the lumen from the front of the lens with a 90 mm FR and a covered diaphragm.

So, the Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 is large and heavy, but at the same time firmly and nicely tailored. Such an unpleasant nuance, as an overrun for infinity, can spoil a lot of landscape or architectural photographs from a habit. A movable rear lens will make digital camera owners more likely to think about cleaning the matrix, but a motionless front lens will allow you to safely use gradient and polarization filters.

Optical Properties of Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5

The lens has a high aperture and an excellent range of focal lengths, and combining this, of course, is a very difficult task for engineers. Nowadays, problems with the correction of aberrations are solved mainly by using aspherical components and special grades of glass. Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 does not have a single aspherical component (which is why it survived to this day, because hybrid aspherics would have degraded a long time ago), but it has special grades of glass, which, however, are not indicated by the manufacturer with big names.

At the short end (~ 28 mm DF) at F / 2.8, the lens exhibits satisfactory sharpness in the center of the frame and unsatisfactory at the edge. Vignetting is noticeable. The situation improves when aperture is set to F / 5.6 - this reduces achromatic aberrations (spherical and field), but has absolutely no effect on the color borders of the contours along the edge of the frame (strong transverse chromatism of violet-green tones). Further aperture makes sense only with the aim of increasing the depth of field. Naturally, the Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 has a noticeable distortion, especially at a wide angle. There are also vague suspicions about the significant curvature of the field of this lens.

At 28 mm, the lens pleases with such a capability as Macro Focusing: the MDF of the lens is 23 cm, which allows you to take photographs at a scale of 1: 3.3 (for comparison, the macro scale of Industar-61L / Z is 1: 3). In practice, this is quite convenient for shooting all sorts of insects in nature - the lens provides a fairly decent resolution in the center of the frame and, moreover, has a rather large DOF.

Shot at maximum macro scale

Shot at maximum macro scale

Among the shortcomings of the lens operation with short FRs, poor resistance to backlight can be attributed - the image contrast decreases noticeably, a lot of multi-colored glare appears. Under normal conditions, the contrast is very good. Colors also look natural.

Glare in backlight at RF <35 mm.

Backlight glare in FR

On the RF related to the television range, the lens behaves in a more predictable way. The most significant contribution to the picture is made by spherical aberrations and coma. On an open aperture, the lens is very soft, along the edge and completely soapy. Aperture at 1-2 steps dramatically improves the situation and returns sufficient sharpness. The lens immunity increases sharply after ~ 50 mm - a string of colored hares disappears, only 1-2 dull hares and a small veil remain.

Backlit behavior in the television range.

Backlit behavior in the television range.

Pretty high aperture F / 3.5 at the long end allows the Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 to pretend to be a portrait painter, in which, of course, softness and good bokeh help it. And for the universal zoom, it really is not bad, moreover, over the entire range of focal lengths. It is a pity that the diaphragm immediately turns it into a bucket of nuts.

28 mm lens bokeh

28 mm lens bokeh

50 mm lens bokeh

50 mm lens bokeh

90 mm lens bokeh

90 mm lens bokeh

The presence of as many as 14 elements in the optical circuit was not in vain for the lens: the light transmittance is rather low, and, for example, with equal apertures Vivitar is 1/3 step darker than the Helios-44 MS. However, even such an unpleasant feature leaves the lens an advantage of 1-1.5 steps over cheaper options.

Photos taken on camera Canon 600Ddeveloped from RAW to Canon DPP with minimal correction. Aberrations are not corrected.

conclusions

Well, the Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 really turned out to be a good lens: it combines a convenient range of focal lengths, high aperture and a very good drawing. An interesting feature is the ability to get macro photos. The optical quality is satisfactory, although it is difficult to compete with a wide-angle (even cheap) lens at the short end. Also at first focusing may seem problematic due to the small stroke of the ring. Although I am not a fan of zoom lenses, shooting on the Vivitar Series 1 28-90 / 2.8-3.5 left a positive impression.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here.

Add a comment: Stiv

 

 

Comments: 20, on the topic: VMC Vivitar Series 1 Macro Focusing 28-90 MM 1: 2.8-3.5. Review from the reader Radozhiva

  • Alexey

    Thanks for the review!
    Good examples and practical description.
    At one time, I was eyeing the universal zooms of this series, including 28-105mm f / 2.8-3.8.
    But the miracle did not happen. If the old fixes can still be interesting, then the old zooms, even from professional rulers, are not impressive.
    Bokeh seems to be good for zoom, but spherical aberrations creep in from everywhere, plus transverse chromaticity. There is no particular point in aperture optics if for working tasks it is necessary to cover the diaphragm by a couple of steps.
    In this case, the lens is completely manual. Those. you have to twist the zoom, zoom and aperture ring. Shooting with a flash will turn into that dance with tambourines and a lot of corrections.

  • Arkady Shapoval

    Comments on this entry have been cleared. The reason is a flood with a transition to personalities.

  • Pokemon

    I wonder what the picture will be on the FF.
    I will not repeat myself (about the author’s BB camera settings and his remark that the lens is already yellow), but after the review there were thoughts about buying this lens.

  • Maugli

    This is better than having a sharp open lens with a 3,5-5,6 lens. It’s more convenient to focus, the wedges do not darken, this is important for reporting zoom.

    • Rodion

      Here you can throw a stone into the Vivitar garden - when you close the diaphragm, due to pronounced spherical aberration, the focus shifts noticeably. Therefore, working with a jump rope in this case on digital cameras is extremely harmful. And in manual mode, closing the diaphragm by setting the focus beforehand will not work because of the pump-action design - the pump loves to crawl itself (a little bit, but enough to ruin everything).

      • Maugli

        Then everything is bad. But I like the picture from him.

        • Rodion

          Nobody could have done better before :) Only "left" brands were able to produce high-aperture zooms in the early eighties. The race for 2.8 was a good PR move for Japanese companies, but in reality, the 2.8 was able to provide working only in the 90s due to the use of aspherics.
          Below is a good review on a similar lens from another factory (Kiron).

  • anonym

    I saw in this zoom my former Kiron 28-85mm f / 2.8-3.8. He was also sold under the Vivitar brand, from the same plant. In everything they are similar, except for the numbers, to the one in the review. I had it under the Pentax K bayonet. It was still an action to shoot.
    He was also weak on the short end and stupid on the long end. The design of the trombone is actually not very convenient, the short stroke of 90 degrees is not suitable for accurate focusing. And the movable block crawls back and forth only on the way - there is almost no point in catching the exact focus. And again, you need to cover the diaphragm by one stop, or even two, for the sake of a normal picture.
    And on the crop glass becomes extremely stupid due to large EGF. It’s a pity, I didn’t have a full frame then and I shot on Pentax K10D. And it would be so interesting to look, should have become more interesting.
    I sold it to one familiar enthusiast along with the camera. After dancing with such a glass, even fuss with Helios-40 will seem a fairy tale.

  • Good M

    How can you evaluate FILM optics without removing it either on FF or on film. Do you read what you write? I had a Pentax ... unfortunately ... blah blah blah. It's just that you boys are beyond good and evil ...

    • J

      This is my comment on Kiron above. And I, unexpectedly, shot them on a film camera, even on two: Pentax ME, which I borrowed for this song, and my Zenit-122K (with a K mount, of course). On the digital camera, he showed himself more interesting, the amateur film revealed his capabilities poorly - on the covered apertures, the resolution was very good. I would put it on the new K1 if I had it. But fortunately, I no longer have anything to do with the pentaxes

      • Good man

        Well, put on any other what does Pentax have to do with it?
        My chiron washed to nickor washed and aligned gives an excellent result. On full, he naturally does not star like new nano, but for a leisurely setting, Pts is even nothing.

  • 1Ds_mk3

    Rodion, have you tested this lens for radioactivity? Glass is something unusual with it.

    • Michael

      Thorium dioxide think?

    • Rodion

      Why?) It is written, tantalum glass. This element is not radioactive. Like lanthanum. Of the radioactive, only thorium was used, but that was more than 10 years before the release of this lens.

      • 1Ds_mk3

        For scientific purposes and for curiosity's sake. And then suddenly, in this Vivitara, a surprise lies like in Takumara ...

        • Outcast

          The surprise lies in the lens from Kino ... Aka Kiron ”a. What does thorium buddy have to do with it?

  • Stiv

    I read the review and how we are talking about another lens. ... This lens works great for me with a programmable adapter - Olympus OM to Canon EOS. Corrected the focus, everything fell into place. I don't see terrible edges, what soapiness, what stunning aberrations. I admit that the copy is different. This, I must admit, is my fourth, but I tried to search. It is now one of my favorite lenses. Very versatile, high-aperture, excellent drawing and excellent color rendering. Even in gray weather he sees color. Not friends, I completely disagree with the report of Comrade Arkady :), with great respect for him and his work.

    • B. R. P.

      This is a report by Comrade Rodion)

      • Stiv

        Ops !. What a nuisance. It looks like We will never hear the report of the “Head of the Transport Department” :) :) :).

        • Novel

          He has already spoken. His text is over.

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