Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

Started Apr 21, 2018 | Discussions
Alan WF
Alan WF Veteran Member • Posts: 3,566
Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
2

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. I'm looking forward to giving it a spin over the weekend.

Vivitar MC 19/3.8 with a Lens Turbo II and GM5

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 Anyone know when this lens was introduced by Vivitar and when it was withdrawn, to help me confirm the year of manufacture?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.
  2. 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 Again, anyone know when it was introduced by Cosina and when it was withdrawn?
  3. 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?

Thanks.

Regards,

Alan

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csiluk Senior Member • Posts: 1,508
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
1

I personally can't tell you to much about it, but here's a link to a few user reviews on the Pentax forum. They have hundreds of user reviews of legacy lenses. The first will take you to third party lens reviews and the second will take you to your specific lens. I hope you find them useful.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/

https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/vivitar-19mm-f-3-8.html

darg Contributing Member • Posts: 504
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
1

Thanks for the serial number link. I have the same version but for Nikon mount. Unfortunately my Pixco focal reducer doesn't fit on this one

I have used a couple of times on an EM10 and it seems to be great without FR. Enjoy it!

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,724
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
1

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?

Nope.

  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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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,817
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
1

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. I'm looking forward to giving it a spin over the weekend.

Vivitar MC 19/3.8 with a Lens Turbo II and GM5

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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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?

Thanks.

Regards,

Alan

I have one of these as well - tucked away somewhere - I also think that it is a neat little lens and seems to work reasonably well.  I bought it quite  while ago when I was trying to find as wide as possible lens in an slr mount.  I have just tried to find it so that I can compare serial  numbers - but it seems to have been “filed” outside my usual inventory shelving when I last used it.  Will have another look later.

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Tom Caldwell

Alan WF
OP Alan WF Veteran Member • Posts: 3,566
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

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.

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.

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.

Regards,

Alan

 Alan WF's gear list:Alan WF's gear list
Canon EOS M50 II Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 24mm F2.8 STM +14 more
Alan WF
OP Alan WF Veteran Member • Posts: 3,566
Vivitar 19/3.8 Serial Numbers

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.

I've managed to find 13 serial numbers or partial serial numbers for the Vivitar 19/3.8 using, mainly, Google image search. I find:

  • All begin with 9. This is widely believed to mean that they are all manufactured by Cosima. No surprise here.
  • The second digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9. From such a small sample, I'd hesitate to use the missing numbers to suggest a limited range of years (e.g., 1979 to 1987 or 1977 to 1985). A larger sample will help here.
  • 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.
  • 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?

If you have a Vivitar 19/3.8, please send me a DM with its serial number, mount type, and whether I should keep the serial number private. This will help me to make this interpretation more firm. If you are worried about sharing the full serial number, please just send me the first four digits. Thanks.

Regards,

Alan

 Alan WF's gear list:Alan WF's gear list
Canon EOS M50 II Canon EF-S 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM Canon EF-S 24mm F2.8 STM +14 more
darg Contributing Member • Posts: 504
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.

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.

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.

Regards,

Alan

I tried it on FF but vignetting is pretty strong so it ended up on mft as a step between my native 17/1.8 and a 24/2.8 Tokina. It’s really a great little lense. Mine has some wobble in the focus that I can’t fix buts it’s ok. Couldn’t find any instruction how to get to the focus mechanism in the front but haven’t really tried it yet. Cleaned only the rear elements up and fixed a stuck aperture clickball

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darg Contributing Member • Posts: 504
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Serial Numbers

Alan WF wrote:

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.

I've managed to find 13 serial numbers or partial serial numbers for the Vivitar 19/3.8 using, mainly, Google image search. I find:

  • All begin with 9. This is widely believed to mean that they are all manufactured by Cosima. No surprise here.
  • The second digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9. From such a small sample, I'd hesitate to use the missing numbers to suggest a limited range of years (e.g., 1979 to 1987 or 1977 to 1985). A larger sample will help here.
  • 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.
  • 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?

If you have a Vivitar 19/3.8, please send me a DM with its serial number, mount type, and whether I should keep the serial number private. This will help me to make this interpretation more firm. If you are worried about sharing the full serial number, please just send me the first four digits. Thanks.

Regards,

Alan

Out of my head mine starts with 9903. I can check later the complete number and post it.

mount is Nikon.

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,724
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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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,817
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

ProfHankD wrote:

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.

But the Panasonic 7-14mm is a pretty good lens and is light and compact.

There is another way - by using the Sigma DC 8-16mm f4.5-5.6 and focal reducting it with Metabones Ultra.  This gives <6-11mm with an extra stop of light all round, rectalinear and auto focus.

Its main issues are that that it is larger (quite large) and the 3:2 crop capture is necessary to avoid the fixed hood petals vignetting.  And of course Laowa make a MF tiny wide prime lens for M4/3 of good repute.

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.

RJ make a manual iris Auto-110 to M4/3 adapter.  There is a slight light leak where the adapter lever connects to the iris (but I think that it has minimal effect if any on captures).  Furthermore the lever action is light and not damped at all.  Nevertheless it is a useful addition to the Auto-110 toolkit.

The three kit “plastic” bodies Auto-110 lenses are indeed tiny but I am not over impressed by their perfomance myself.  The 70/2.8 is quite another matter and is a very compact, good quality metal bodied lens for its specifications.

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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Tom Caldwell

Alan WF
OP Alan WF Veteran Member • Posts: 3,566
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
1

I tried it on FF but vignetting is pretty strong so it ended up on mft as a step between my native 17/1.8 and a 24/2.8 Tokina. It’s really a great little lense. Mine has some wobble in the focus that I can’t fix buts it’s ok. Couldn’t find any instruction how to get to the focus mechanism in the front but haven’t really tried it yet. Cleaned only the rear elements up and fixed a stuck aperture clickball

Mine seems mechanically sound. There's a slight rattle of something light, so perhaps something in the aperture mechanism ,but that's all. I'm not really interested in it as 20/3.8, since I already use a 28/2.8 with a focal reducer to give me a faster and probably cleaner 20/2. My interest is using it as a 14/2.7.

Regards,

Alan

 Alan WF's gear list:Alan WF's gear list
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Alan WF
OP Alan WF Veteran Member • Posts: 3,566
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information

I guess the Lumix 7-14mm f/4 would be the closest available native MFT... but 7mm isn't all that wide on MFT.

But the Panasonic 7-14mm is a pretty good lens and is light and compact.

The closest native equivalent to the 19/3.8 on a focal reducer (giving a 14/2.7) is the Panasonic 14/2.5 pancake, and I'm sure it is sharper, has better contrast, and is less susceptible to flare. It's perfect for someone who wants a light, modern lens with AF, no aperture ring, and focus-by-wire MF.

Regards,

Alan

 Alan WF's gear list:Alan WF's gear list
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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,817
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Serial Numbers

Alan WF wrote:

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.

I've managed to find 13 serial numbers or partial serial numbers for the Vivitar 19/3.8 using, mainly, Google image search. I find:

  • All begin with 9. This is widely believed to mean that they are all manufactured by Cosima. No surprise here.
  • The second digits are 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9. From such a small sample, I'd hesitate to use the missing numbers to suggest a limited range of years (e.g., 1979 to 1987 or 1977 to 1985). A larger sample will help here.
  • 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.
  • 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 don’t think that they are that common - based on your index number the last four digits might be simply a consecutive build count number ie: something like 5319+ units made in total - that would seem a reasonable “6,000” production run as a commercial guess.

6,000 per month over a few years and they might be found “everywhere”.

If you have a Vivitar 19/3.8, please send me a DM with its serial number, mount type, and whether I should keep the serial number private.

Done.

This will help me to make this interpretation more firm. If you are worried about sharing the full serial number, please just send me the first four digits. Thanks.

Regards,

Alan

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Tom Caldwell

Alan WF
OP Alan WF Veteran Member • Posts: 3,566
Re: Vivitar 19/3.8 Information
1

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.

I should have said, "lightness and compactness are important to me, but not above ergonomics". So, for example, a while ago I decided not to swap my New FD 28/2.8 for a smaller and lighter Meike 28/2.8 because the former feels sooo right in my hands and the latter is probably just too damn small for effective manual aperture control and focus. Equally, I have considered Pentax 110 lenses, but I have not been convinced by the ergonomics and certainly not by the lack of aperture control.

As to the Panasonic 12-32/3.5-5.6, sure, it's fine optically, and almost fairy-like in its size and weight. I congratulate the engineers who made it for their achievement. But I touch it, and my fingers scream.

Anyway, back to the Vivitar 19/3.8. Interesting. Flawed. Fun. Frustrating. Creative. Yeah, definitely a keeper, albeit challenging keeper. I will write at more length when I get the chance.

Regards,

Alan

 Alan WF's gear list:Alan WF's gear list
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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 44,817
Strange about the Meike's

Alan WF wrote:

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.

I should have said, "lightness and compactness are important to me, but not above ergonomics". So, for example, a while ago I decided not to swap my New FD 28/2.8 for a smaller and lighter Meike 28/2.8 because the former feels sooo right in my hands and the latter is probably just too damn small for effective manual aperture control and focus. Equally, I have considered Pentax 110 lenses, but I have not been convinced by the ergonomics and certainly not by the lack of aperture control.

As to the Panasonic 12-32/3.5-5.6, sure, it's fine optically, and almost fairy-like in its size and weight. I congratulate the engineers who made it for their achievement. But I touch it, and my fingers scream.

Anyway, back to the Vivitar 19/3.8. Interesting. Flawed. Fun. Frustrating. Creative. Yeah, definitely a keeper, albeit challenging keeper. I will write at more length when I get the chance.

Regards,

Alan

I bought a Meike 35mm f1.7 in M4/3 and was so pleased with it that I have bought the 28mm f2.8 as well.  These seem well made little lenses and very affordable.

The 28/2.8 has just arrived - MF is very smooth and easy to operate, clickless aperture I can live with and it is very compact - graces the Panasonic GM5 very well.  I have hardly had it long enough to properly try it out yet.

Straight up - push fit cap is so loose I will have to make it tighter or it will disappear pretty soon.

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Tom Caldwell

Paulmorgan Veteran Member • Posts: 9,371
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. I'm looking forward to giving it a spin over the weekend.

Vivitar MC 19/3.8 with a Lens Turbo II and GM5

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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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?

Thanks.

Regards,

Alan

I`ve got one of these knocking around, not a bad lens, even on 35mm, there were better lenses at that time but as with everything the prices get hacked when you went quality edge to edge.

I stopped using mine for digital stills when I got a Sigma 19mm but its lovely for video when I`m using a tilt adapter.

SiFu
SiFu Veteran Member • Posts: 6,311
lens age..
1

Hello!

I do have a tiny bit of experience wirh Vivitars and their Series 1 lineup but never owned the 19mm in question - ironically, not even the old lens table has it listed...

http://web.archive.org/web/20030411153152/http://medfmt.8k.com:80/third/table1.txt

Very strange.

Best,

Alex

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SiFu
SiFu Veteran Member • Posts: 6,311
my closest guess...

Hello!

.. is a rebadged 20/3.8 that was introduced in 1970.

Best,

Alex

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SiFu
SiFu Veteran Member • Posts: 6,311
20mm age

Hello Hank!

I bought my first V20/3.8 in 1972 and all my resources (see one in a post below) also indicate 1970 as start of production for that lens.

Best,

Alex

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