Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

Started Apr 21, 2018 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,592
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

Alan WF wrote:

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).

Yes, I read your very useful review before buying. Thank you. I'll not be too bothered if it really is only as good as a kit zoom; I'm mainly looking for a nice MF experience, and plenty of excellent photos are taken with kit zooms.

I certainly can understand and empathize with that.

The problem is that old ultrawide lenses tend to have IQ issues and/or cost a lot. The 19/3.8 is adorably small (it looks like a Cosina) and doesn't cost much, but does have IQ issues. Even a FF ultrawide just isn't that wide on MFT + focal reducer. There's also the issue that zoom is really much more useful for ultrawides than for longer focal lengths (because it provides a greater choice of perspectives).

So, as much as I love cheap old manual lenses, for my FF Sonys, the ultrawide I use most often now is a modern Sigma 12-24mm (which I bought used for $275). Before that, it was a Sigma 8-16mm on APS-C... and before that, it was a Sigma 10-20mm on APS-C. In fact, I can see it's nearly time to upgrade to a new ultrawide zoom -- either the Sony 12-24mm G or the newly-announced Laowa 10-18mm (yeah, the Laowa if it's good). It's a real pitty you can't put either of those on MFT; perhaps Laowa will make something similar especially for MFT? I guess the Lumix 7-14mm f/4 would be the closest available native MFT... but 7mm isn't all that wide on MFT.

Lightness and compactness is important for me. The Vivitar 19/3.5 is about 180 g, and most of the competition is at 300 g or more. The only other similarly light lens I could find is the OM 21mm f/3.5, but it's not as wide, is considerably more expensive, and would be more painful to adapt to my FD-MFT focal reducer.

Well, I think you're on the right track there in that there really aren't many 19mm-ish old manual lenses anywhere near this small. Then again, the Lumix 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 pancake kit zoom is way smaller than the 19mm + FR.

If you really want a tiny manual lens, there is the Pentax-110 18mm f/2.8. The catch is that it doesn't have an aperture -- that was in the body. Otherwise, it's actually not a terrible optic; I rated mine a "C" on APS-C, but that's because IQ really falls off by the corners of APS-C. I'd expect it to be fine on MFT. Does the bubble bokeh thing (which I don't like, but many folks do).

So, I figured I'd see if the Vivitar 19/3.8 was adequate for my needs first. If is not good enough, I might end up with the Tamron 17/3.5 at 270 g.

It probably is good enough as long as you don't mind 2-3% distortion.

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