Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm Macro Zoom

The cult classic lens

Page topics: Specs - Compatibility - Resolution - Serial #'s - Sample Photos

Introduction

The five versions of the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 Zoom

Variants 1-5 (left to right) of the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 Macro Zoom
Image copyright © Frederick Wasti

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Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 — Basic Data

Lens Version


Version 1[1]

Version 2[1]

Version 3[2]

Version 4[3]

Version 5[4]
(Q-DOS)

Manufacturer

Kiron Tokina Komine Cosina Cosina

Maximum Aperture

f/3.5 f/3.5 f/2.8-4.0 f/2.8-4.0 f/2.8-4.0

"A" Aperture Setting (Pentax-specific)

No[1] No[1] Some[2] Yes  Yes 

Optical Construction

15 elements
10 groups
14 elements
10 groups
14 elements
10 groups
14 elements
11 groups
14 elements
11 groups

Filter Thread

67mm  62mm  62mm  58mm or 62mm[5] 58mm 

Maximum Magnification Ratio (macro)

1:2.2 1:4 1:2.5 1:2.5 1:2.5

Weight

879g 710g 860g 670g 670g

Note 1: Pentax-specific: Be aware that early versions do not have an "A" aperture setting and require "green button" stop-down metering with Pentax DSLR's.

Note 2: Pentax-specific: The presence of the of the "A" setting is one of the things makes version 3 so desirable today, but Vivitar/Komine only added this feature part way through the production run so not all version 3 lenses have it: Be sure to check before buying.

Note 3: Version 4 was also made in a hideous gold plated variation. Optically and mechanically identical to the standard version 4, but with a finish intended, apparently, to appeal to gangsta rappers and pimps. It might be worth seeking out if you have the equally ghastly gold plated Pentax LX. ;-)

Note 4: Version 5, the "Q-DOS" is for 3-D photography (but otherwise identical to version 4).
See this web site for more information.

Note 5: The Cosina-made 4th version of this lens was made with both 58mm and 62mm filter threads. The 62mm version is the more recent and is still sometimes found new, usually on eBay auctions. Exercise caution if you consider buying one of these lenses without seeing it: Some sellers would like you to confuse the Cosina (62mm filter) v4 with the much-sought-after version 3 made by Komine.
The less desirable versions of this lens are the ones that have "Vivitar" molded into the focus/zoom grip.

The 58mm and 62mm thread variants of "version 4" may even be entirely different designs. I'm looking into this possibility and if it proves to be the case it will be added to the table as "version 6". Remember: The first three versions are the ones sought for their optical quality.

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Camera/Lens Compatibility

  • Pentax: All digital SLR's compatible with all these lenses. Older lenses will require the semi-automated "green button" stop-down metering.
  • Nikon: All cameras will permit these lenses to be mounted, but some will not meter at all with them. Generally, it's the high-end, pro (expensive) Nikons that do permit metering. Check your owner's manual for details.
  • Canon: Canon changed their lens mount completely in the 1980's — None of these lenses will work on any digital SLR.
  • Minolta/Sony: Minolta (now Sony) changed their lens mount completely in the 1980's — None of these lenses will work on any digital SLR.
  • Olympus: Olympus changed their lens mount completely for their digital SLR's — None of these lenses will work on any digital SLR.

  Adapters

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Lens Tests by MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY Magazine

RESOLUTION (lpm)

  Version 1 Version 2 Version 3
  Aperture Center Corner Center Corner Center Corner
  At 70mm
  f/2.8 (3.5) 44 35 48 38 49 39
  f/8 62 44 60 48 69 62
  At 210mm
  f/3.5 (4.0) 39 25 44 35 45 40
  f/8 55 31 55 39 56 45

CONTRAST (at 30 lpm)

  Version 1 Version 2 Version 3
  Aperture Center Corner Center Corner Center Corner
  At 70mm
  f/2.8 (3.5) 43 28 55 45 53 25
  f/8 58 32 67 54 70 44
  At 210mm
  f/3.5 (4.0) 27 16 38 26 58 29
  f/8 52 27 40 34 66 43

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Deciphering Vivitar Serial Numbers

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Sample Photos — Taken with Version 3 of the 70-210 Series 1

Pentax ist-D, Vivitar 70-210 Series 1, ISO 400 Pentax ist-D, Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 with Sigma achromatic close-up diopter, ISO 400 Pentax ist-D, Vivitar 70-210 Series 1, ISO 400
Pentax ist-D, Vivitar 70-210 Series 1, ISO 400 Pentax MZ-S, Vivitar 70-210 Series 1, Kodak E100SW

Click any thumbnail image to see a larger version

More on Third-Party Lenses

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Copyright © Mark Roberts

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