Vivitar 400mm f/5.6 Lens Review

This lens looks good at first, but has some serious issues. Definitely not what one would expect from Vivitar. Image quality is rather poor: soft at f5,6 and slightly better at f8, acceptable sharpness at f11. Chromatic Aberrations (CA) are terrible: awful red fringing on almost all pictures (see samples), it is even visible in the "bokeh". The lens seems to have some kind of coating, but it is not very effective on the CA issues. I did not notice any haze or lack of contrast, so in that aspect the lens is fine. Handling is easier than one would think. The lens is not that long and can be hand held, although there is an adjustable tripod collar. Focusing is smooth and can be done pretty fast, after some practice. I would not recommend this lens unless you really need a telephoto and if you don't mind clearing the CA in post-processing. I'd say it would be worth maximum 25 euros, any higher than that and you can probably find something better, but for under 25 euros, it's acceptable. (I paid 10 euros)
(by Tom De Nies


Vivitar 400mm f/5.6 Vivitar 400mm f/5.6

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Fact Sheet

Vendor name Type Product year
Focal Min(mm) Focal Max(mm) Focus Min(cm)
Aperture Max Aperture Min. Barrel length(mm)
Elements In Group Diaphragm action Weight (g)
5 in 5 auto
Filter Size (mm) Push on diameter (mm) Angular field


Comments (5)
vivitar 400mm f5.6's
5Tuesday, 23 August 2016 20:26
see here for more info on the different versions of vivitar 400mm f5.6's:
There are two versions of this lens
4Sunday, 15 January 2012 22:41
There are two versions of this lens one says: Auto Telephoto Vivitar 400mm f5.6 - 67mm. The other one says Vivitar MC 400mm f5.6 and I believe it is 70 or 77mm the filter diameter. I have the first one (no Coating) and it is very rich in purple fringing, not really the best lens. I am looking for the second one to compare it. Paid $50
vivitar lens
3Saturday, 02 April 2011 08:01
does any body know why this lens fits on but wont operate with my pentax ist or z10 the diplay flickers Av and i cat click the shutter.
Vivitar 400mm
2Sunday, 14 November 2010 21:31
Got the same lens. I live in the Florida everglades, so as usual, if it's not the salt water, its the mildew.

I just got done taking the lens apart to clean it. The primary 77mm lens consists of two glued elements seperated by the tradional airspace, four elements total(semi-apo). Unusually the spacer is aluminum. That arrangment is better than most high dollar lenses, so I'm hoping I found a easy solution to the dollar expense of saltwater.

I shot the lens previously and didn't like the contrast, so I'm hoping I got the space installed correctly this time. Although it appears backward, it brings the two elements a smidgin closer together, that's usually the preferred design.

You never returned with your re-post. If you do, don't try to run those old lenses at high frame speed, they were never tested for it.
Vivitar 400mm f5.6
1Sunday, 03 October 2010 22:38
I have just got this lens and its in very good condition. So far, all I have heard is bad but im yet totest it out, to me the samples look ok, but i am using my iPhone, so no good image quality. Ill post again after use.

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