Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?

Started Aug 28, 2010 | Discussions
steveo99
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Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
Aug 28, 2010

I just noticed this 13mm lens at B&H, which appears to have slightly different specs and price (but virtually the same FF angle of view) than the Bower 14mm, which I believe to be the Samyang. Does anyone know the scoop on this 13?

Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 $449.00
Elements/Groups: 16/13

  1. 113.8° Angle of View

  2. Aspherical Lens / Reduced Flare/Ghosting

  3. Super Spectra Lens Coating

  4. 12" (30.5cm) Minimum Focusing Distance

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/711897-REG/Vivitar_VIV13MMN_Series_1_13mm_f_2_8.html

+++

Bower 14mm f/2.8 $426.00
Elements/Groups: 14/12

  1. 92.5° Angle of View (APS-C)

  2. 114° Angle of View (Full Frame)

  3. 14 Elements/12 Groups Construction

  4. Two Aspherical & Two ED Lens Elements

  5. Close Focusing Down to 11" (0.28 m)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/698926-REG/Bower_SLY14MMF2_8N_14mm_f_2_8_Ultra_Wide.html

steveo99
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to steveo99, Aug 30, 2010

Does anyone know about this 13?

Thanks

steveo99 wrote:

I just noticed this 13mm lens at B&H, which appears to have slightly different specs and price (but virtually the same FF angle of view) than the Bower 14mm, which I believe to be the Samyang. Does anyone know the scoop on this 13?

Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 $449.00
Elements/Groups: 16/13

  1. 113.8° Angle of View

  2. Aspherical Lens / Reduced Flare/Ghosting

  3. Super Spectra Lens Coating

  4. 12" (30.5cm) Minimum Focusing Distance

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/711897-REG/Vivitar_VIV13MMN_Series_1_13mm_f_2_8.html

+++

Bower 14mm f/2.8 $426.00
Elements/Groups: 14/12

  1. 92.5° Angle of View (APS-C)

  2. 114° Angle of View (Full Frame)

  3. 14 Elements/12 Groups Construction

  4. Two Aspherical & Two ED Lens Elements

  5. Close Focusing Down to 11" (0.28 m)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/698926-REG/Bower_SLY14MMF2_8N_14mm_f_2_8_Ultra_Wide.html

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marco1974
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to steveo99, Aug 30, 2010

They look VERY similar to me. My guess is that it is most probably the very same lens, only marketed differently.

The real focal length is probably somewhere in between (say, 13.5mm), and Vivitar and Bower (and Samyang) made different choices as to what to print on the lens barrel and box The reported angles of view are most likely calculated, rather than measured, so I wouldn't put much faith in those either.

By the way, you might have missed my recent mini-review of the Samyang version: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&thread=36169192
It's a GREAT little lens, well worth 2-3 times the retail price, IMHO.

Marco.

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steveo99
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to marco1974, Aug 30, 2010

Hi Marco-

Thanks for the link to that thread. Glad to hear some good feedback on it. Which brand/version did you buy, just out of curiosity?

I would tend to agree and assume that they are probably the same lens rebranded, BUT the fact that they claim different elements & groups is very puzzling:
Vivitar 13mm: Elements/Groups: 16/13
Bower 14mm: Elements/Groups: 14/12

Anyone else know what's up here?

Thanks-
Steve

marco1974 wrote:

They look VERY similar to me. My guess is that it is most probably the very same lens, only marketed differently.

The real focal length is probably somewhere in between (say, 13.5mm), and Vivitar and Bower (and Samyang) made different choices as to what to print on the lens barrel and box The reported angles of view are most likely calculated, rather than measured, so I wouldn't put much faith in those either.

By the way, you might have missed my recent mini-review of the Samyang version: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1030&thread=36169192
It's a GREAT little lens, well worth 2-3 times the retail price, IMHO.

Marco.

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marco1974
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to steveo99, Aug 31, 2010

Thanks for the link to that thread. Glad to hear some good feedback on it. Which brand/version did you buy, just out of curiosity?

The Samyang UMC version.

I would tend to agree and assume that they are probably the same lens rebranded, BUT the fact that they claim different elements & groups is very puzzling:
Vivitar 13mm: Elements/Groups: 16/13
Bower 14mm: Elements/Groups: 14/12

I hadn't noticed that. I don't know... it may still be possible that it's just a misprint. Otherwise, it might be a variation on the theme by Vivitar (but somehow I doubt it).

Marco.

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glanglois
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to steveo99, Sep 1, 2010

B&H have noted that the Bower and Vivitar are NOT the same lens. The element/group info on their site is correct.

Some firm (Acme Photo Stuff of China, I suppose) does the manufacturing for multiple brand names and distribution channels. In this case, though, the Vivitar is distinct.

I would like to see some careful reviews, a la photozone. The Samyang seems to suffer some serious distortion for architectural purposes - my application of choice.

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Jon Rty
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to glanglois, Sep 1, 2010

It does, but in today's world a photoshop lens-correction profile is all it takes to get straight lines. You loose a wee bit of resolution and FOV, but the Samyang got both a plenty to begin with, so it shouldn't be a problem.

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steveo99
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to glanglois, Sep 7, 2010

Has anyone had any experience with the Vivitar 13?

glanglois wrote:

B&H have noted that the Bower and Vivitar are NOT the same lens. The element/group info on their site is correct.

Some firm (Acme Photo Stuff of China, I suppose) does the manufacturing for multiple brand names and distribution channels. In this case, though, the Vivitar is distinct.

I would like to see some careful reviews, a la photozone. The Samyang seems to suffer some serious distortion for architectural purposes - my application of choice.

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ZoneV
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to glanglois, Sep 9, 2010

Yes, the distortion of the Samyang 14 mm is awful, some pictures with architecture or sea need correction.
At the moment I use it mostly without correction afterwards.

It would be very interessting, how the Vivitar 13 mm performs!

It looks to me to similar - so I think it is the same as the Samyang. If that Vivitar lens has´t the distortion it would be clear that it is not the same.

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JonathanFV
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to ZoneV, 9 months ago

I know this is a really old thread, but I don't want to create an other one.

So, did anybody get their hands on the Vivitar? I was wondering how is the distortion on it. If anybody could tell me, I'd be very thankful.

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jimbopdx
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to JonathanFV, 3 weeks ago

Responding to the question about actually using the Vivitar 13mm 2.8 lens... I've had one now for about a month and have done 3 architectural photography shoots in which I used the lens for special situations.  FYI, for most of my shooting I was using the new Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 wide angle zoom, which is a fantastic lens.  But once in a while I just need that wider angle of view that the Vivitar provides.  (It is so much wider than the Tamron at 15mm, I have to think that the Vivitar is a true 13mm lens, not a re-branded 14mm lens.)

It is true that the Vivitar produces substantial distortion of the "mustache" variety, which is very difficult to correct with the standard "barrel distortion" sliders in Lightroom, etc. because it curves both in and out.  But I've found that PTLens, which is a dedicated distortion correction application -- and does its job very, very well -- has a correction profile for the Bower/Samyang family of 14mm lenses which works just fine with the Vivitar.

The Vivitar produces good, sharp images, both center and edges.  It has well-controlled flare.  Chromatic aberration is minimal to non-existant, and I have not been able to detect any noticeable vignetting.  Overall very fine performance except for that nasty distortion.  I can't say the images are as fantastically sharp as the Tamron 15-30 (or its competitor, the Nikon 14-24, which I've also used) as I haven't compared them with identical subject matter, but the Vivitar can produce professional results IF you use PTLens distortion correction.  Without the distortion correction, the Vivitar cannot be used for most critical architectural work.

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msowsun
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to jimbopdx, 3 weeks ago

I belive it to be the same lens, as does Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivitar

"Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 (rebadged Samyang 14mm f/2.8, released in 2010)"

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JonathanFV
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to jimbopdx, 3 weeks ago

Thank you very much to both of you guys for your answers! I don't have PTLens, but the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is corrected with Lensfun (lens correction database for Linux), so it should be good to use with a full-frame camera. But not as a tilt-shift with an APS-C sensor, thought, as the distortion pattern would be too irregular once shifted.

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jimbopdx
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Re: Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 v. Bower 14mm f/2.8 ?
In reply to msowsun, 2 weeks ago

msowsun wrote:

I belive it to be the same lens, as does Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivitar

"Vivitar Series 1 13mm f/2.8 (rebadged Samyang 14mm f/2.8, released in 2010)"

Yes, I saw that too.  It's likely true, based on the official specs published by Vivitar and Samyang on their respective websites.  (There are some problems with the specs as published on some on-line retail sites, which has led to some incorrect comparisons on this and other review sites.)

Both Vivitar and Samyang claim 115.7 degree angle of view (full frame).  Both describe the lens as 14 elements with 2 ED elements.  Both give the minimum focus distance as 0.9 feet.  The only quantitative difference is that Vivitar reports 12 lens groups while Samyang reports 10, which could simply be a difference in how "group" is interpreted.

The major difference in the descriptions is in the nominal focal length: Vivitar claims 13mm, Samyang 14mm.

If you compare the Nikon 14mm 2.8, it claims an angle of view of 114 degrees.  The now-discontinued Sigma 14mm lens had a spec of 114 degrees angle of view too.  So, with an angle of view of 115.7 (per both Vivitar and Samyang) the Samyang/Vivitar might reasonably be claimed to be a tight 13mm lens -- or a generous 14mm lens.

I can say that the actual field of view of the Vivitar is meaningfully wider than the 110 degree nominal maximum field of view of the Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 lens, so it provides a valuable wider option.  If you're shooting with the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens, the difference in angle of view might not be worth the time to change lenses to put on the Vivitar... then again, the Vivitar is selling for very attractive prices on eBay these days, so maybe worth a try.

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