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Archive 2010 · Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro = Sweetness

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro = Sweetness

Recently picked up a Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 macro from Ebay for about $240 (Nikon).


The lens serial # starts with "22" so I'm thinking it might be a Kiron build, but who knows. I can't find much information on the lens, as most searches for "Vivitar 100mm" come up with the f/3.5 version. You search for "Vivitar f/2.8 macro" and you come up with the 105mm links. Anyways:

Construction - seems to be high grade plastic but solid - higher than Nikon's consumer-grade lenses. The version I got from Ebay was truly mint condition. I mean, it looks brand-spanking new.

The lens includes a built-in hood with felt lining (did I mention this thing looks brand-new?). Apertures go from f/2.8 to f/32 in what appears to be 1/2 stops.

Operation - It requires almost two complete rotations to get to 1:1 macro mode. The focus feel is very good - I'd have to rate it above my Rok 85 and my 105 AIS f/2.5. I like the long focus throw also - makes MF easy, in both macro and normal ranges.

Working distance - This is the information I could never find. I don't give a crap about any other number but working distance. With the hood extended, it seems to be around 7 in or so from subject to hood(I'm eyeballing it). Retract the hood (the front element is about 1/3" recessed into the barrel) and you probably gain about 1 in for a total of roughly 8in" working distance, which is about typical of 100mm class macros.

Image quality - To be expected - it's a prime, it's a macro. I haven't had much time at all to test its portrait / normal qualities, but so far early tests show it to have some hard edges on bokeh highlights. Probably not as bad as 50mm f/1.8 AF-D type bokeh, but I don't see this replacing my 105 f/2.5 AIS for portraits.

Macro quality is of course excellent. Two very quick examples - I'm new at macro and this is one-handed (the other holding a SB800 in wireless mode).

(I know, an intentionally blurry photo to show IQ? But I like the softness. Slight color tweaking in NX2, resized and saved for web).

(A bit sharper image, though with a tripod or better hand-holding (maybe with two hands) I could get it sharper).

Jul 06, 2010 at 04:58 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro = Sweetness

I like the 2nd.

As far as I know, the Vivitar 100mm f2.8 macro is the same one as the Vivitar Series 1 105mm f2.5 Macro. Both are Kiron made and are believed to be the same as the kiron 105/2.8 macro.

Jul 06, 2010 at 06:08 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro = Sweetness

Well- my friend, your 22 serial number means its made by Kino (aka Kiron). This come from the Who made that Vivitar Lens, data. The third digit is the year of manafacture, so an 8 could mean 78,88 or even 98. These numbers are used for circa 1970 to 1990 Vivitar lenses.

Jul 06, 2010 at 06:12 PM

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