Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Shootin’ an early Vivitar

At the start of the year I purchased a collection of photo equipment from the widow of a photography enthusiast who had passed away.  In the collection was an as-new-in-box Vivitar 200mm f3.5 telephoto lens in T mount with M39 (Leica) and M42 (Pentax) screw mount adapters.   Interestingly it also came with a 200mm Komura viewfinder for use on screw mound Leicas.  I have no idea how accurate focusing was achieved with this set up as it certainly is not rangefinder compatible.

 It’s a really early Vivitar lens, probably dating from the early-mid 1960’s, and has pre-set aperture.  Unlike most lenses which automatically stop down to the selected aperture, and then return to full aperture for a bright view finder; this one you have to turn a second ring to preset the desired aperture before you shoot.

Shot at f3.5

Though like new, the problem with the lens whenI got it was that it was in several pieces with an element sitting in a plastic bag!  I got my repair guy to put it back together and then tried it out with the NEX.   It is a reasonably sharp lens, and peak performance is around f8-f11.  Like many lenses of this era, it has a large number of aperture blades (16) and it produces a very smooth bokeh when stopped down.  

Also a characteristic of this era is that when shot wide open (at f3.5) it has significant purple fringing (or chromatic aberrations) which are when color shadows occur at harsh contrast transitions.  This can be clearly seen in the below crop.

100% crop

A more annoying issue with the lens, also characteristic of the era, is that the minimum focus is a distant 3.5 metres, making it almost impossible to use inside, and quite annoying out in the field too.
Overall, an interesting classic lens to try out on a NEX.

Shot at f8

No comments:

Post a Comment