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LENS PORN: Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount
Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount



This is an early 1970s lens. It closely resembles that from Vivitar, who outsources the manufacture of its lenses to other makers.


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Specs


Focal Range: 85 - 205 mm

Minimum Focusing Distance: 8 feet / 2.5 meters

Focusing: 100% Manual

Aperture Run: f/4 - f/22

Macro Mode: n/a

Filter Thread Diameter: 58 mm

Built in hood

Made in Japan


My theory: This lens is a photocopy of the Vivitar 85-205mm f/4 (Version 4 Fixed Mount). All serial numbers of this lens began with 22... which is attributed to the manufacturer Kino Precision or Kiron. Another dead giveaway clue is that this Braun 85-205mm was 'Made in Japan'.

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

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Summary


Pros

It is light enough for handheld shooting, which is probably what it was designed for

Classic design

Separate rings for zoom and focus (one-touch push-pull usually suffer from zoom creep)

Built-in retractable metal lens hood

No built-in tripod collar, but the designers were thoughtful enough to include a rubber grip in its place, for a comfortable handheld shooting.

It was Vivitar's most selling lens and very common... thus can sell very cheap nowadays.

Constant maximum aperture at f/4... if you would buy new lenses of that caliber today, it should cost you at least an arm and a leg.



Neutral

The size is outdated. In the mid 1970s onward, zooms of that range usually come at half the size/weight.



Cons

It has no tripod mount, considering its length.

Minimum Focusing Distance

No macro mode


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Conclusion

Reading on forums, this lens was Vivitar's most selling lens ever. Which only says how popular it was. Also, this means that you can easily find this lens in the flea market for super bargain price.

Given that it was made in the early 1970s, telephoto zoom lenses of that time were commonly huge and had no Macro Mode. But for whatever this lens lacks in build or design, it sufficiently makes up in terms of optical quality.


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Further Reading

My Flickr photo album for the Braun (Vivitar 85-205mm f/4)





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Samples


Technical Note: I haven't shot alot of samples with this lens. My copy had a chipped glass at the edge of the front element. I haven't noticed any loss in contrast at 85mm, but at 205mm it may or may not have effect.

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount

Braun (Vivitar) 85-205mm f/4 in Nikon Mount



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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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