Thursday, November 17, 2016

Vivitar 35mm f2.8 - Lens Photography Test

Another find; A Vivitar 35mm vintage SLR lens (52mm equivalent on the Samsung NX1), this time in a display case of old cameras and lenses at a used record and DVD shop in Tempe, AZ.  The price $14.99 !!   The lens was a Nikon mount, so I picked up an adapter on Amazon for about $15. You can see it in the photo below.

Note: On this Nikon mount lens were two protruding guide channels that I had to grind down flat to the mating surface in order to attach the adapter.

I found out this this lens was manufactured by a little known company Japanese company.  Notice the first two digits on the serial number "28" in the photo below - That's a clue.  I went to the following link:  and discovered the manufacturer was Kimone Co. Ltd.  For an interesting look at this obscure company follow this link:

One 'mechanical' interest of note with this lens is that the aperture ring on this lens does not index from stop-to-stop.  It's smooth.  I assume something broke, but actually that's a cool feature now if I use it with when making videos.  I can adjust the aperture while filming to create an effect.

Ok, onto the test photo shots.  I took the NX1 out in downtown Phoenix, Arizona with this lens about 15-minutes before sunset to test it in low angle light and 'dusk' with no direct sun. 

Note: All the following photos were taken in the manual-mode, with f-stops ranging between f2.8 and 5.6.  The images were not re-touched or edited (as-shot) with JPEG compression form the NX1

One of the things I noticed with this lens is that it suffers from obvious 'perspective distortion' that you can see in the photo below.

This next photo was taken without a flash through a window of an art gallery.  This image is soft and the colors are muted yet warm feeling (f2.8, ISO 400, 1/125sec)

This photograph was taken of a mural on a side of a building was taken after the sun went down (f2.8, ISO 400, 1/60sec)

The photo below was taken from the 10th floor of a high-rise showing a SE view of downtown Phoenix  (f5.6, ISO 100, 1/125sec)

Last light high-up a tree. I like the light and texture of this photo.(f2.8, ISO100, 1/125sec)

 View of Third Avenue, looking south from Roosevelt Street (f4, ISO 400, 1/60sec)

A good photo to assess color, artificial light and reflection (f4, ISO 400, 1/60sec)

First impressions:  Wow, what a find! Nice lens with an 'analog' feel. Natural texture to the images and warm colors.Compact lens despite the addition of an adapter.  No fungus (lens spotting) seen in these photos and no scratches on the lens - Good! 

One problem to report.  The focus was really off from the calibrated markings.  Possibly due to the adapter changing the focus point on the sensor. Therefore when setting the focus manually, I had to find just where the out-of-focus points begin by rotating the lens both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Then estimate the middle point between the two.  That's ok if you have time, but forget taking this lens out on a shoot where something is moving.  These old SLR lenses are all manual on modern digital interchangeable lens cameras.

Next time I'll go out in full light and see what the lens can do with a Bokeh effect.

For more information and other photographer's images that have used this lens, follow this link: