LBA repurchase Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro from Kiron

Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro from Kiron
I don't know what the heck happened that led me to sell my Lester A Dine before together with a matching ring light. I sold it to G_money in forum and he recently sold it again in marketplace. We all sold it perhaps for a different reason.

My LBA goes really in circle and I recently couldn't resist to make up my mistakes before I ended up with a great find in Marketplace from another wonderful member for the Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 1:1 macro that is also made from Kiron with serial number starting #22.

Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro from Kiron

Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro from Kiron

Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro from Kiron

As far as I can tell, they are very similar in appearance. The one thing that I like the Vivitar over the Lester A Dine lies in the absence of the dentist instruction on the lens barrel. There were few things that I was not impressed in my first handling with the Lester A Dine and I will re-examine the Vivitar given that I have learned from my mistakes -- all lens has its strong and weak points and even the famous lens has a weak spot and it is up to the user to abuse or use it to its strength. The lester A dine or the vivitar are great for macro use and it should be used as such. If I want a macro lens that can double up handily for portrait and event, I would highly recommend the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 or the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 alternatives. Both will fit the bill of doubling up as portrait and event lens other than its core virtues in macro.

I have been naive in macro photography and I do it all wrong especially in getting close to 1:1 distance without aid of tripod, railing and the essential need of enough lighting such as using an external flash to open up the DOF. As a result of my poor setup, the narrow thin DOF is what drive me the craziest and that is really NOT the problem of the lens but the problems that I encountered mostly come from me and my poor setup. Another noted problem is some purple fringing on high contrast shot when I use it for an event. It is also a mood point as the lens is meant for close up and macro and the long focus throw make it not quite suitable lens for other purposes unless I don't mind the long focus turn in shooting.

I will hopefully report back the 2nd time of ownership with this macro lens



IndianaDinos said...

Hi Hin,

Very very fine lens ... I bought its Kiron counterpart (the now famous 105/2.8 Macro) about two weeks ago, and i just had the time for a few shots before the cloudy and rainy weather arrived :-( ...

street_vision said...

You know, I think I have the Kiron version of that lens. I will have to check it out when I get home, but as I recall, the images from it are pretty good.

Vincent Cheng said...

Hi Hin,

Since you have had both the Vivitar 100mm 2.8 and the Lester A Dine 105mm, can you plEASE confirm the color output of these two lens are exactly the same? I really like the color output of the 105mm, and I just purchased a 100mm 2.8 and will receive it Friday.



Hin Man said...

@Vincent, I no longer have the Lester A Dine as I sold it already. As far as I can tell, they are the same optically.

Vincent said...

Hi Hin,

Sorry for being unclear, but can you compare the color output of your previous show by Lester A dine with this 100mm in similar lighting? I know it may not be easy, but
I have come acrossed this interesting old test report to compare the Kiron 105mm 2.8 with Vivitar 100mm 2.8

and seems like these two lens are not the same and optically the 100mm is superior. Too bad they didn't mention the serial # on the Vivitar lens so I can't be sure the 100mm they tested is made by Kiron as well

The upper chart on the report is sharpness, and the lower chart is contrast. The horizontal line is from the middle of the lens to the edge.

On the bottom of the page you can see their optical quality score and mechanical (build?) quality score

Here is my German translation with Google's help, if there is any German speaking fiends here, please let me know if I got it wrong :)

Vivitar 100mm 2.8 Macro
- Such a macro lens!The open aperture and the aperture 5.6 was measured in infinity. The values show that on the lens is infinitely good and therefore it can be used as telephoto lens.
At f11 was measured with the macro ratio of 1:2. Even then sharpness are excellent and brilliance. It is a very good macro lens, which also brings good results in tele ends.
- Color : Natural
- IQ value (less is better): Open aperture-2.8; Tele- 1.8, Macro-1.6; Overall 2.1

But on the Kiron 105mm 2.8, their comment is less favorable, as reflected on their charts:

- At full aperture the lens is only to adjust. The sharpness in this area only moderate. In tele end at aperture 8 is still good. When macro at 1:2 and f/8, however, is good. It is a lens that, bring mainly used in short-end macro range, good to very good results

- Color - On the warm side
- IQ value (less is better): Open aperture-5; Tele- 3, Macro-1.8; Overall 3

I was confused too as all the people are saying the 105mm is the same as the 100mm. So, if you can confirm the Lester A dine 105mm is indeed warmer than your 100mm, it can be an evidence that 100mm is different and better :)

Hin Man said...

Thank you for the valuable inputs. I can be wrong about this as I hear from others mentioning about similar optics among the various incarnations. The color in the Lester A Dine 105mm f/2.8 is amazing when I used it on flowers and I don't recall seeing warm color that make the pictures non-natural. The caveats that I found mostly happens in finding CA/purple fringing when I used it on an event shooting on a singing performer wearing a white head in sunset outdoor lighting.

I only have one shooting using the Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 with Pentax K-x. The color and bokeh is beautiful but I really can't quantify which one is better as I used different cameras. One thing that I hope is not finding CA/purple fringing in the 100mm as easy as I found in Lester 105mm.

Vincent said...

From the old German report, Vivitar 100mm was better than the Kiron 105mm in wide open aperture and in tele-end.

Michael has compared the Kiron 105mm with the Tamron 90mm 2.5 (52BB) on his blog, and his result matches the report

Since I have the same Tamron 52BB, I would do a comparison test too with the Vivitar 100mm this weekend and see if it has the same weakness as the Kiron ones. :)

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