Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

Started Apr 21, 2018 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,471
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

Alan WF wrote:

I just got a Vivitar MC 19/3.8 in FD mount. It's a handsome little lens, and about a 28-mm equivalent on my GM5 and focal reducer.

It is a cute little lens, isn't it. Unfortunately, it's really not better than a kit zoom on APS-C (whcih is basically what you're seeing as MFT + focal reducer). It's better on FF, but gentle vignetting and LOTS of field curvature keep it in the "B" range. The giant 20mm that came before it is better optically and might even be better built.

I've got a few of questions.

  1. Anyone know when this lens was introduced by Vivitar and when it was withdrawn, to help me confirm the year of manufacture? The serial number starts "99", which I think means manufactured by Cosina (first 9) in 1979 or 1989 (second 9). Now, 1979 was more or less peak FD, but I guess the changeover to EF wasn't yet complete by 1989. So, while I favor 1979, I can't rule out 1989.

Basically, 99 means it probably doesn't follow Vivitar's older numbering scheme.

My Minolta MD mount copy's serial number is "99102xxx" which could mean "9" Cosina, "9" 1979/1989, "10" for 10th week of manufacture.

I suppose 1979 is most likely. MD started in 1977 and was replaced by AF in 1985, but I can't imagine they were making >2000 per week in 1989.

BTW, my 20mm has a serial number that starts "220" so we'll guess Kino 1970?

  1. Lots of places say this was also sold as the Cosina 20/3.8. Again, anyone know when it was introduced by Cosina and when it was withdrawn?


  1. Lots of places also say it has 9 elements in 8 groups, and it's clearly a retro focal design, but I can't find an optical diagram anywhere online. Any pointers?

Pentax forums doesn't have one either.

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