Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

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Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

I found a 24mm f/2 Vivitar lens in canon FD breech mount and it got my interest. Basically because the brightest 24mm I have is an f/4 and I'm wondering if this lens might give me better results for doing a night sky time lapse. I could stop down to f/2.8 and it would be one stop brighter than my current lens.

The other advantage is that my Nikon Z lens is focus by wire which is much harder to use for focusing on stars.

Thanks,

Jones

3dpan
3dpan Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

JonesLongShot wrote:

I found a 24mm f/2 Vivitar lens in canon FD breech mount and it got my interest. Basically because the brightest 24mm I have is an f/4 and I'm wondering if this lens might give me better results for doing a night sky time lapse. I could stop down to f/2.8 and it would be one stop brighter than my current lens.

The other advantage is that my Nikon Z lens is focus by wire which is much harder to use for focusing on stars.

Thanks,

Jones

Which camera do you plan on using ?

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 9,030
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

Of course. I have the Kiron version, as was discussed here a year and a half ago and way back in 2017, here was my quick review on my A7RII, as opposed to on APS-C. I rate it an "A" for IQ on both APS-C and FF, although it doesn't play quite as well with a focal reducer on APS-C. I think MFT would be pushing it a bit too hard wide open...

It has some softness at f/2 (all old fast lenses are soft wide open, and this has the usual SA glow and lowish contrast), but it sharpens up nicely stopped down, and by f/2.8 it's doing better than most old 24mm do at f/4. The Kiron version does have notorious problems with oil on the iris blades and stuck-open aperture due to the spring stretching over time; my quick fix of shortening the spring has fixed mine since 2010. I paid $40 for my very clean copy in 2010, and I'd say it's worth more for a FF body against other current options, but I'd be hesitant to spend much over $100 for one with a working aperture.

BTW, there's also a Komine version which is significantly different.

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OP Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

3dpan wrote:

JonesLongShot wrote:

I found a 24mm f/2 Vivitar lens in canon FD breech mount and it got my interest. Basically because the brightest 24mm I have is an f/4 and I'm wondering if this lens might give me better results for doing a night sky time lapse. I could stop down to f/2.8 and it would be one stop brighter than my current lens.

The other advantage is that my Nikon Z lens is focus by wire which is much harder to use for focusing on stars.

Thanks,

Jones

Which camera do you plan on using ?

I will be using it on a Nikon Z6 II.

OP Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

ProfHankD wrote:

Of course. I have the Kiron version, as was discussed here a year and a half ago and way back in 2017, here was my quick review on my A7RII, as opposed to on APS-C. I rate it an "A" for IQ on both APS-C and FF, although it doesn't play quite as well with a focal reducer on APS-C. I think MFT would be pushing it a bit too hard wide open...

It has some softness at f/2 (all old fast lenses are soft wide open, and this has the usual SA glow and lowish contrast), but it sharpens up nicely stopped down, and by f/2.8 it's doing better than most old 24mm do at f/4. The Kiron version does have notorious problems with oil on the iris blades and stuck-open aperture due to the spring stretching over time; my quick fix of shortening the spring has fixed mine since 2010. I paid $40 for my very clean copy in 2010, and I'd say it's worth more for a FF body against other current options, but I'd be hesitant to spend much over $100 for one with a working aperture.

BTW, there's also a Komine version which is significantly different.

Thanks for the information. It sounds like this might make a decent purchase but the question now is how to tell if it is a Kiron or a Komine? Maybe a internet search will give me that information.

I should be able to grab this one for less than $100 although I hate spending even that much on old Vivitars.

3dpan
3dpan Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

JonesLongShot wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

Of course. I have the Kiron version, as was discussed here a year and a half ago and way back in 2017, here was my quick review on my A7RII, as opposed to on APS-C. I rate it an "A" for IQ on both APS-C and FF, although it doesn't play quite as well with a focal reducer on APS-C. I think MFT would be pushing it a bit too hard wide open...

It has some softness at f/2 (all old fast lenses are soft wide open, and this has the usual SA glow and lowish contrast), but it sharpens up nicely stopped down, and by f/2.8 it's doing better than most old 24mm do at f/4. The Kiron version does have notorious problems with oil on the iris blades and stuck-open aperture due to the spring stretching over time; my quick fix of shortening the spring has fixed mine since 2010. I paid $40 for my very clean copy in 2010, and I'd say it's worth more for a FF body against other current options, but I'd be hesitant to spend much over $100 for one with a working aperture.

BTW, there's also a Komine version which is significantly different.

Thanks for the information. It sounds like this might make a decent purchase but the question now is how to tell if it is a Kiron or a Komine? Maybe a internet search will give me that information.

I should be able to grab this one for less than $100 although I hate spending even that much on old Vivitars.

The serial number,

Beginning 22 = Kiron

Beginning 28 = Komine

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 9,030
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

JonesLongShot wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

Of course. I have the Kiron version, as was discussed here a year and a half ago and way back in 2017, here was my quick review on my A7RII, as opposed to on APS-C. I rate it an "A" for IQ on both APS-C and FF, although it doesn't play quite as well with a focal reducer on APS-C. I think MFT would be pushing it a bit too hard wide open...

It has some softness at f/2 (all old fast lenses are soft wide open, and this has the usual SA glow and lowish contrast), but it sharpens up nicely stopped down, and by f/2.8 it's doing better than most old 24mm do at f/4. The Kiron version does have notorious problems with oil on the iris blades and stuck-open aperture due to the spring stretching over time; my quick fix of shortening the spring has fixed mine since 2010. I paid $40 for my very clean copy in 2010, and I'd say it's worth more for a FF body against other current options, but I'd be hesitant to spend much over $100 for one with a working aperture.

BTW, there's also a Komine version which is significantly different.

Thanks for the information.

That's what many of us are here for.

It sounds like this might make a decent purchase but the question now is how to tell if it is a Kiron or a Komine? Maybe a internet search will give me that information.

Kiron == Kino Precision. Here's a serial number list .

I should be able to grab this one for less than $100 although I hate spending even that much on old Vivitars.

Personally, I hate spending more than $25 on a lens including shipping. However, fast lenses and ultra-wide lenses both tend to draw higher prices, and a 24mm f/2 checks both boxes. I thought it was worth the risk without knowing details about its performance at $40 in 2010, and probably would have happily paid $60 then knowing what I know about it now... and $60 then is about $100 now because demand has shot up as mirrorless cameras proliferate.

As for Vivitar, well, in these mirrorless days we get to run fair side-by-side tests on lenses of all brands and... well... brand-associated pricing is a lot more consistent than lens quality. For example, the exact same 3rd-party lens in Nikon F mount is usually more expensive than in Canon FL/FD/FDn or Minolta SR/MC/MD. With over 250 lenses in many brands, I see very poor correlation between IQ and brand or IQ and price. I'm not saying this Kiron Vivitar 24mm f/2 is one of the best lenses, but I do think it competes disturbingly well with higher-priced 24mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/3.5 lenses from some name brands.

Back in the 1970s, it was pretty common among the photographers I worked with to be continually apologizing for only having been able to afford "Spira-cr*p" -- but in side-by-side testing now, most of my Spiratone lenses have actually been very good performers. I do have an 18mm f/3.5 Spiratone that deserves a low reputation, but my 135mm f/1.8 is quite good and my tiny 300mm f/5.6 mirror lens is arguably the first 300mm mirror to be optically worth having.

BTW, I think the poor correlation between brand or price and IQ continues with modern lenses. For example, I think Tamron's latest designed-explicitly-for-FE lenses literally outperform their closest, more pricey, Sony competition; I'm talking about the 28-200mm vs. Sony's 24-240mm and the 150-500mm vs. Sony's really excellent 200-600mm. I think of Laowa as sort-of the modern Spiratone in the best sense: relatively cheap, but really innovative optics that perform quite well doing things the more-respected brands haven't yet figured out how to do; there isn't any name-brand competition for my Laowa 10-18mm FF lens.

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OP Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?
1

3dpan wrote:

The serial number,

Beginning 22 = Kiron

Beginning 28 = Komine

Thanks, I had forgotten about the serial number list.

OP Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

ProfHankD wrote:

JonesLongShot wrote:

Thanks for the information.

That's what many of us are here for.

It sounds like this might make a decent purchase but the question now is how to tell if it is a Kiron or a Komine? Maybe a internet search will give me that information.

Kiron == Kino Precision. Here's a serial number list .

I should be able to grab this one for less than $100 although I hate spending even that much on old Vivitars.

Personally, I hate spending more than $25 on a lens including shipping. However, fast lenses and ultra-wide lenses both tend to draw higher prices, and a 24mm f/2 checks both boxes. I thought it was worth the risk without knowing details about its performance at $40 in 2010, and probably would have happily paid $60 then knowing what I know about it now... and $60 then is about $100 now because demand has shot up as mirrorless cameras proliferate.

As for Vivitar, well, in these mirrorless days we get to run fair side-by-side tests on lenses of all brands and... well... brand-associated pricing is a lot more consistent than lens quality. For example, the exact same 3rd-party lens in Nikon F mount is usually more expensive than in Canon FL/FD/FDn or Minolta SR/MC/MD. With over 250 lenses in many brands, I see very poor correlation between IQ and brand or IQ and price. I'm not saying this Kiron Vivitar 24mm f/2 is one of the best lenses, but I do think it competes disturbingly well with higher-priced 24mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/3.5 lenses from some name brands.

Back in the 1970s, it was pretty common among the photographers I worked with to be continually apologizing for only having been able to afford "Spira-cr*p" -- but in side-by-side testing now, most of my Spiratone lenses have actually been very good performers. I do have an 18mm f/3.5 Spiratone that deserves a low reputation, but my 135mm f/1.8 is quite good and my tiny 300mm f/5.6 mirror lens is arguably the first 300mm mirror to be optically worth having.

BTW, I think the poor correlation between brand or price and IQ continues with modern lenses. For example, I think Tamron's latest designed-explicitly-for-FE lenses literally outperform their closest, more pricey, Sony competition; I'm talking about the 28-200mm vs. Sony's 24-240mm and the 150-500mm vs. Sony's really excellent 200-600mm. I think of Laowa as sort-of the modern Spiratone in the best sense: relatively cheap, but really innovative optics that perform quite well doing things the more-respected brands haven't yet figured out how to do; there isn't any name-brand competition for my Laowa 10-18mm FF lens.

Thanks again for the valuable insights.

When I first started shooting digital there was a general feeling that film era lenses were simply not up to the task. Only new lenses designed for digital would be able to give us the best out of our cameras. I remember being disappointed in the performance of some film era lenses I tried on my Nikon DSLRs. But so far I'm surprised at the performance of the same lenses on my mirrorless. At this point I don't know if there is actually a difference or if it is just my perception.

I'm glad to be able to use these lenses but now that mirrorless has given us the ability to mount nearly anything the prices for even modest lenses have gone nuts. I paid $12 for my Vivitar 135. I purchased my Canon FD 50 1/4 at a garage sale as part of a two camera set for $25. I sold the cameras and other lenses and kept the 50mm. I have a JC Penney 28mm f/2.8 that came along with an Olympus 50mm f/1.8 for a grand sum of $0. The Olympus is a fantastic lens for stitching on my Canon M6 but the JC Penney lens is an amazing example of something that should never have been made. There were bargains to be had pre-mirrorless.

I don't actually have a need for this 28mm f/2 lens other than getting a little bit more light for doing some night sky time lapses. But if it is in good shape I'll probably buy it. Turns out the seller is an hour away so I have to set that up.

3dpan
3dpan Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

JonesLongShot wrote:

I found a 24mm f/2 Vivitar lens in canon FD breech mount and it got my interest. Basically because the brightest 24mm I have is an f/4 and I'm wondering if this lens might give me better results for doing a night sky time lapse. I could stop down to f/2.8 and it would be one stop brighter than my current lens.

The other advantage is that my Nikon Z lens is focus by wire which is much harder to use for focusing on stars.

Thanks,

Jones

You may find this web page interesting, on "Cult Classics".
It includes a section on Vivitar Series 1 lenses.

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 9,030
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

JonesLongShot wrote:

I don't actually have a need for this 28mm f/2 lens other than getting a little bit more light for doing some night sky time lapses. But if it is in good shape I'll probably buy it.

I assume that's a typo and you meant 24mm... there are Kiron and Komine 28mm f/2 Vivitars as well, with vaguely comparable but maybe slightly better performance.

Night sky shots wide open will do somewhat evil things to the stars near the corners, but that's not a big problem if you're doing star trails rather than wanting crisp points.

Turns out the seller is an hour away so I have to set that up.

Always better if you can test the lens before buying. I usually haven't had that luxury.

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OP Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

ProfHankD wrote:

JonesLongShot wrote:

I don't actually have a need for this 28mm f/2 lens other than getting a little bit more light for doing some night sky time lapses. But if it is in good shape I'll probably buy it.

I assume that's a typo and you meant 24mm... there are Kiron and Komine 28mm f/2 Vivitars as well, with vaguely comparable but maybe slightly better performance.

Yes that was a typo. I am looking at a 24mm f/2.

Night sky shots wide open will do somewhat evil things to the stars near the corners, but that's not a big problem if you're doing star trails rather than wanting crisp points.

Turns out the seller is an hour away so I have to set that up.

Always better if you can test the lens before buying. I usually haven't had that luxury.

OP Jones Longshot Regular Member • Posts: 342
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

JonesLongShot wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

JonesLongShot wrote:

I don't actually have a need for this 28mm f/2 lens other than getting a little bit more light for doing some night sky time lapses. But if it is in good shape I'll probably buy it.

I assume that's a typo and you meant 24mm... there are Kiron and Komine 28mm f/2 Vivitars as well, with vaguely comparable but maybe slightly better performance.

Yes that was a typo. I am looking at a 24mm f/2.

Night sky shots wide open will do somewhat evil things to the stars near the corners, but that's not a big problem if you're doing star trails rather than wanting crisp

I would not be using it wide open. My hope is that stopping down to f/2.8 will still be one stop brighter than the max f/4 I have in this focal length now. I'm also thinking of this as a tool for the specific purpose of night sky timelapse video. And HD video should be enough for this (for now). No printing.

Here is a short vid showing what I managed from my Nikon 24-70 f/4 S now.

Night Sky

I expect any decent astro photographer to cringe at this but the reality is it will be used as a short piece in a larger video and I don't expect much scrutiny. Yes I'm rationalizing that I don't need better. This is just not a focal length that would get used much be me.

points.

Turns out the seller is an hour away so I have to set that up.

Always better if you can test the lens before buying. I usually haven't had that luxury.

Bryan Conner
Bryan Conner Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

3dpan wrote:

JonesLongShot wrote:

I found a 24mm f/2 Vivitar lens in canon FD breech mount and it got my interest. Basically because the brightest 24mm I have is an f/4 and I'm wondering if this lens might give me better results for doing a night sky time lapse. I could stop down to f/2.8 and it would be one stop brighter than my current lens.

The other advantage is that my Nikon Z lens is focus by wire which is much harder to use for focusing on stars.

Thanks,

Jones

You may find this web page interesting, on "Cult Classics".
It includes a section on Vivitar Series 1 lenses.

Which web page?  Thanks.

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3dpan
3dpan Contributing Member • Posts: 716
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

Bryan Conner wrote:

3dpan wrote:

JonesLongShot wrote:

I found a 24mm f/2 Vivitar lens in canon FD breech mount and it got my interest. Basically because the brightest 24mm I have is an f/4 and I'm wondering if this lens might give me better results for doing a night sky time lapse. I could stop down to f/2.8 and it would be one stop brighter than my current lens.

The other advantage is that my Nikon Z lens is focus by wire which is much harder to use for focusing on stars.

Thanks,

Jones

You may find this web page interesting, on "Cult Classics".
It includes a section on Vivitar Series 1 lenses.

Which web page? Thanks.

Oops,
http://web.archive.org/web/20030415043752/medfmt.8k.com/third/cult.html

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Bryan Conner
Bryan Conner Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: Has anyone used a Vivitar 24mm f/2?

Thanks!

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