I had purchased the OM-10 camera because of the interesting looking lens that it was attached to – I was purchasing it online, and the dealer only had a blurry picture and just mentioned it was a Vivitar 55mm. However, I could make out from the picture that it had a deep front element well, which indicated that it was a close-focus lens. Research indicated that it was most probably the Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 macro. I could not be sure of the condition of the lens, but I took a chance.

I was lucky this time, the lens was in pretty good condition, minor scratches, glass elements were fine though there is a tiny, tiny scratch on the front element. Scratches can cause flaring when photographing in bright sunlight, but not in this case. The front element is so deeply recessed, it’s like having a hood, there’s no chance of flare. Besides, I always use a polarizer for outdoor sunlight photography.

The Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 is a is a true classic. It’s a real 1:1 macro lens, made as an answer to the Zuiko 50mm f/3.5 and other OEM lenses – but this was even better, it can go to 1:1 without any other accessories, while the Olympus Zuiko 50mm macro has a magnification of 1:2 and needs the OM extension tube to go to 1:1.  The Vivitar 55mm lens can focus as close as 6 inches.

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, this Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 was not cheap by ANY standards – it retailed for $275 back when an OM-1 with a 50mm lens could be purchased for about $150. It was as expensive as any OEM lens. These days, it’s pretty hard to find, but usually retails for between $50-75 if you’re lucky. Ebay has one now and then, but the prices fluctuate quite a bit, since there are a lot of knowledgeable macro photographers out there who would recognize this lens’ true value. For me, it more than qualifies as a ‘cheap awesome lens’.

The Vivitar 55mm lens was built by Komine (serial number starts with 28xxxxx) for Vivitar and resembles the Kino Precision made Panagor 90mm f/2.8 1:1 macro and Panagor 55mm f/2.8 1:1 macro a great deal, down to the filter diameter of 62mm. I guess thats because Kino Precision made a similar 90mm macro lens for Vivitar. (Vivitar lenses made by Kino have a serial number starting with 22xxxxx).

Here’s the roll I shot with the OM-1 and the Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 macro. I will get a lot more use from this lens when I finally get a Digital SLR. That’ll probably be another few months at least.

Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro
Vivitar 55mm macro

Photographed with an OM-1, Vivitar 55mm f/2.8, Fuji Superia 400 film, Polarizer

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