Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

Started Apr 21, 2018 | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,593
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Serial Numbers

Alan WF wrote:

More usefully, I've found mount designations of: "PK-A/R" (4 lenses), "N/AI-S" (5 lenses), "Y/C" (1 lens), "M/MD" (2 lenses), and "C/FD" (2 lenses). Following up a suggestion by Hank, since MD, AI-s, and PK-A were introduced in 1977, 1982, and 1983, this means that at least some of these lenses were manufactured after 1983.

Furthermore, I've not found earlier designations such as "M/MC", "N/AI", or "PK", which suggests that none of the lenses for which I have mount designations were manufactured before those dates.

Finally, this page:

has magazine articles from 1989, 1994, and 1996. Unfortunately, they only seem to available in hard copy, which is not very practical.

So, I think we're looking at a lens from sometime after 1983 and probably into the 1990s.

That would make my copy probably 1989 and possibly 1999. That's credible, but 1999 is very late for an MD lens. The AF mount came out in 1985 and was wildly successful, so real Minolta MD body production ended in 1984. Then again, Seagull might have kept making clones for a L O N G time, including under the Phoenix brand (and Phoenix lenses in MD mount definitely were being sold new until quite recently).

That said, I've seen no lenses for Canon EF mount, which was introduced in 1987. The flange focal distance for EF is less than that of Nikon F and Pentax K, so I'd guess the lens could have been made to be compatible. If this lens was being sold in the late 1980s and early 1990s, why was there no EF mount version? Perhaps EF was seen as a high-end mount and not a suitable target for cheap lenses like this? Has anyone seen an EF version of this lens?

I wouldn't expect one: this isn't an autofocus lens and nearly all EF lenses autofocus. Not all Minolta AF lenses autofocus, but most do, so that would be credible too.

  • The third and fourth digits are 01, 05, 07, 08, 10, and 11. This looks like a month number rather than a week number. Again, the missing numbers might not be significant in such a small sample. A large sample will help here too.

I now have third and fourth digits of 01, 03, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, and 11. So, 02, 04, 09, and 12 are missing. Again, the missing digits could be the result of a small sample.

Supposedly, the numbering scheme became inconsistent around when they changed hands in 1990... and I would call using month numbers instead of weeks inconsistent.

  • The last four digits range from 0038 to 5670. This might be a monthly index number. Twice the mean of the last four numbers (which is an estimate of the upper limit under reasonable assumptions) is 5319. So, I'd guess that Cosina manufactured about 6000 per month or about 200 per day. Is that reasonable?


I think we're looking at tens of thousands of these lenses, but probably not hundreds of thousands.

Sure.  Why not?  This wasn't a very pricey lens as ultrawides go.

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