Vivitar Series 1 200mm f3.0 Lens Review

I was so happy when I got this lens, I heard a lot about it's quality. Not easy to get many perfect Nikon lens available on the used lens market ,but hard to find the most famous Vivitar lenses. Perhaps they are sold in smaller amount or owner want to keep them ? Don't know the reason,but that is true this lens available on Ebay with right mount only twice a year.It has quality build , all parts made from glass and metal. Compare with it's age not too heavy , easy to focusing and produce crisp, sharp images even at wide open. It has great resolution and color rendering. This lens part of the American history like Carl Zeiss Jena Olympic Sonar 180mm f2.8 the German history. Close focusing ability is legendary 1.2 m ! This is same distance than many 135m lens has. An excellent macro performer with extension tube, bigger working distance is very important in macro photography to get more light and not trouble the target subject.

Fact Sheet

Vendor name Type Product year
Series 1
Focal Min(mm) Focal Max(mm) Focus Min(cm)
 120 !
Aperture Max Aperture Min. Barrel length(mm)
3.0  22  116
Elements In Group Diaphragm action Weight (g)
Filter Size (mm) Push on diameter (mm) Angular field
 72  80  


User Comments

200 mm f3.0 Vivitar Series 1 Tele This is a slightly upsized version of the legendary "Olympic Sonnar" 180/2.8 that Zeiss developed for the 1936 Olympics. A very good performing lens, quite a lot better than the Nikkor 200/4.


I had the Vivitar 200mm f:3 for many years, and it was a really sweet lens. I used it for macro a lot; with a tube you could really get in there. Very solid build. I hated to sell it, but it was a screw mount, and I went to the Pentax K mount.

(Walt Schumacher)

One of these faster Vivitar lenses to have cult status now is the 200mm f/3 Series I lens. You can see that this lens sold for $334 in 1974, equivalent to $1,161 in today's 1998 inflated dollarettes. Half a stop slower 200mm lenses sold for a third as much, so this was a pricey lens!

Nearly as fast as a very expensive pro f/2.8 lens, this lens is relatively small (4.6 inches) and compact on the camera. You can hand-hold it nicely, although it is fairly heavy at 29 ounces. But the lens is very sharp and delivers superb results. The f/3 aperture is odd and slightly slower than an f/2.8, but hardly noticeably so even on slide film. Unlike many telephoto lenses, this 200mm will close focus to 4 feet, yielding a 1:4 reproduction ratio on film! Unlike many 200mm f/2.8 telephotos, it also uses smaller standard 72mm filters.

(Robert Monaghan) 


Comments (4)
Vivitar 200mm f3 (Komine)
4Monday, 06 June 2016 09:09
Recently purchased for 115€. Really smoooth fucusing and a pleasureful piece of quality in your hand. Some CA @f/3 - but still crisp and detailed.
Vivitar 200mm F3
3Sunday, 20 February 2011 19:56

Purchased my Canon FD mount 200mm F3 back in 1976)for ÂŁ69.00 - Its still used every couple of months on my Canon AV & AT1 for wild life shoots and is same condition as day one: Sharp, smooth focusing; but always been heavy due the lumps of glass. Do not ask about selling it; as both my sons have ideas for the 200mm F3 & 135mm F2.3


Vivitar 200mm f3
2Saturday, 23 October 2010 16:17
Fantastic bokeh (to be expected @ 200mm) - nice weight, incredible construction, very close focusing, can be sharp wide open but needs steady hand especially in low light, no vignetting, smoooooth focusing...

200mm F3
1Tuesday, 31 August 2010 02:32
Recently purchased mint for $150. Superb. Images sharp wide open. CA visible until f8 on D700 :0(

Will be converting to ai soon...

Add your comment

Your name: