Vivitar Series 1 35-85 F2.8 Auto-Variable-Focus lens.

This is an Obscure Lens. It is not "quite a zoom", it is variable focal length. It does not compensate focus as you change focal length, so- change focal length at any distance except infinity and you need to re-focus. The aperture is constant, max aperture is F2.8. The lens is multi-coated. Less elements and simpler than a zoom.

Not a cult lens. Best described as a curiosity of optical design. This lens came out in the mid 1970s, was an expensive lens.

Wide-Open, 85mm.



At F4,



12 elements in 9 groups, the multi-coated optics do well on the Nikon Df. This example is a pre-Ai lens, picked up in mint condition for $95. The SN puts it at one of the first made, well below 1000. The lens was later brought out in Ai mount. It is available in most popular SLR mounds of the day.
At F2.8 again.



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Sydney, NSW, Australia
Real Name
Thanks for reminding me of this “Obscure” lens Brian. I have a Canon FD mount version. Bought in the 1970s and yes, expensive for the time. Will resurrect it and try it out on my M10/Visoflex EVF and LUMIX GX85. Maybe even get around to using film on one of my Canon FN1/AE/A1 bodies. I think this was the era when Vivitar and the Series 1 lenses were considered a quality product. I also have a Series 1 f2.5 90mm Macro lens and the Perkin-Elmer developed 600mm f8 Solid Catadioptric Series 1 mirror lens, also bought in the 70’s.
The Series 1 Vivitar lenses of this generation were first-rate. One rumor on the 70~210/3.5 was that Nikon made it for Vivitar, it was that good.
These days- the Zooms of this era are cheap. I picked up a Nikkor 80~200/4.5 in near-mint for $25 or so, and a Vivitar 70~210/3.5 for the same.


Scott Depot, WV, USA
Real Name
At one time I had many Vivitar lenses. It was widely told that the Series 1 lenses were top notch, and that Komine lenses (SN beginning in 28) were the ones to find. A couple of my Vivitar lenses were "meh", but a few were perfectly acceptable in IQ. The ones labeled as "Close Focus" seemed to command much higher prices.

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