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LENS PORN: Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 (Manual Superzoom by Kobori)

Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 (Kobori)
This version made by Kobori


It was mentioned somewhere that Vivitar produced the first ever superzoom lens that ranges from a wide 28mm up to a telephoto 200mm range. (I've yet to find that source again for verification.) Vivitar made two versions of these, one made by Cosina, and the other by Kobori (I have both of them). 

I haven't used the lens very much. But my first impression is that the Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 (made by Kobori) seems to have a good build and appears to have a nice cosmetic appearance. The copy that I have was in Canon FD mount then I converted it to a Nikon mount. It was in mint condition and even smelled so minty! (A bit like woody burnt rubber scent.)

My only complaints about the build quality are the 1) short focus throw, 45 degrees, and 2) minimum focusing distance of 2.5 meters. There is a macro at 200mm, but images in the macro become soft and glowing.

The glass says it's multicoated and shows multiple colors when under the light. Based on the very few times I've used this lens before selling it, the images seem to suffer so much from loss of contrast when shooting in sunny outdoor, even at f/22 (or is it just my copy?). While indoor, the images appear to be pleasing, has good color saturation and contrast. Therefore, the multicoating does not seem to be effective when shooting outdoor.

As an owner of both the Cosina and Kobori versions, how do I differentiate between the two? They look very identical to each other so you can hardly tell.

1) The Cosina's serial number is right above the aperture ring, at the rear side of the lens. The Kobori's serial is on the name ring.

2) Cosina serial starts with '09...', Kobori serial starts with '77...'.

3) Cosina is 28-210mm f/3.5-5.6, Kobori is 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3.

4) Cosina has softer and warmer yellowish images but better contrast even outdoor. Kobori performs poorly outdoor and has cooler greenish images.

5) The Cosina was considered to be the inferior between the two (based on reviews). However, I seem to like the Cosina much better, even if my copy had scratches at the front glass.



This lens looks like a good video lens if you can find it cheaper than a defective Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens. But it is not a 'must-have' lens. Vivitar has got better ones out there made by well respected manufacturers like Komine and Kino Precision. I have the Vivitar 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5 which was a great lens but unfortunately in Pentax K mount. Good thing I can now look forward to a Vivitar 28-85mm f/2.8-3.8 in Nikon mount in a week or two! =)


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SPECS

Vivitar MC 28-200mm
f/3.5-5.3

Made around early 1980s
by Kobori

Focal Range:
28mm to 200mm

Minimum Focusing Distance
2.5 meters with macro at 200mm

Focus Throw
45 degrees

Filter Thread Diameter
72mm

Aperture Run
f/3.5 - f/22 (at 28mm)
f/5.6 - f/32 (at 200mm)

Made in Japan










Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 (Kobori)


The original Canon FD mount

Converted to Nikon mount. (I don't want to use image-degrading adapters!)







Side by side of the Cosina and Kobori


















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Samples


The photos were unedited, except the outdoor photos were boosted for contrast.










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Links

Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-5.3 (Kobori)

Review in Pentax Forums

Vivitar 28-200mm Thread



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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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