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Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom Vintage Lens Review - Performance

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Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom Vintage Lens Performance

At 28mm, central sharpness is very good from f/3.5 to f/11 and then at f/16 and f/22 results can be described as good. The edges are good at f/3.5, very good at f/5.6 and f/8, good at f/11 but only fair at f/16 and f/22.

At 50mm, the centre is very good from f/4.2 to f/11 and good at f/16 and f/22. The edges are good at f/4.2, very good at f/5.6 and f/8, good at f/11 and just fair at f/16 and f/22.

At 100mm, the centre is very good from f/4.8 to f/8, but only fair from f/11 to f/22. The edges are fair at f/4.8, good at f/5.6 and f/8 and fair from f/11 to f/22.

At 200mm we have the exact aperture values and the centre is fair at f/5.3, good at f/8.5 and f/12.1, but just fair at f/17.1, f/24.3 and f/34.4. The edges are soft at f/5.3 and f/8.5, fair at f/12.1 and f/17.1 and soft at f/24.3 and f/34.4.

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Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Pentax K-1 using Imatest.


CA (Chromatic Aberration) is well controlled centrally at 28mm, in fact, almost entirely banished. The edges though do show colour fringing. There is a similar pattern at 50mm. At 100mm the centre is still very well controlled and the edges show some fringing, but nothing too excessive. At 200mm the centre is still reasonable, but the edges fall off a cliff and there is a large amount of colour fringing. Software can help to mitigate some or all of the CA seen, something that was not possible in the era this lens was originally sold.

Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Pentax K-1 using Imatest.

 

Distortion measures good results for a zoom lens, starting with -1.5% barrelling at 28mm and thereafter moving into pincushion. This measures +2.1% at 50mm, +2.3% at 100mm and +2.0% at 200mm.

Bokeh, the quality and smooth gradation of the out of focus areas in images, is really nice, very smooth and shows no sign of ragged edges or artefacts.

Flare is not seen in generally front and side lit subjects, but backlit situations reveal a mass of cascading artefacts amongst a general, low contrast haze. The lens does not like light shining into it in this way and needs a good lens hood and careful avoidance of backlight.

Vignetting is controlled reasonably well. At 28mm we start with -2.1 stops at open aperture, reducing thereafter to around -1.2 stops throughout the aperture range. At 50mm we have -1 stop wide open, reducing to -0.7 stops and then to -0.5 stops from f/16 onwards. At 100mm we have -1.5 stops wide open and thereafter -1 stop throughout. At 200mm we see -1.2 stops wide open and this reduces to -0.6 stops throughout.

Overall, the results are pretty good and with careful choices of zoom and aperture settings, some very sharp images can be produced. In common with many lenses, sharpness falls off as we zoom in, very much so at the edges, but there is still potential for creative shooting even in the rather softer images at 200mm.


Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom Sample Photos

 

Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 Macro Focusing Zoom Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


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Comments


3 Sep 2019 11:07PM
Your lens was made in 1987 (Serial number 777...) not the early 1980s. Vivitar sold the Kobori-made 1:4 macro 28-200 f/3.5-5.3 in 1986 and 1987 (maybe 1988 too).
3 Sep 2019 11:34PM
Many thanks for the information balazer!
6bq5 8
5 Sep 2019 3:59AM
How cool is that?! Grin I used one of these for a good number of years back in the late 80ís all the way up to the mid 90ís. It felt like a powerhouse of a lens back then. I still have that lens! The push-pull zoom is all worn now and the barrel slides back and forth very loosely. There is no damping left. Mine is native K-mount. Yes, it is decently sharp at f/8 for the most part. Itís fun to use a trip down memory lane.

Now you just have to review the FA Limited trio lenses on your K-1!! Grin

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