Komine


Fall comes pretty late to Montgomery County. The colors just seemed to peak just last week, a full 3 weeks after most of the Northeast had their glorious blazes. But then, we don’t have that many Maples here -just enough to set them off against the yellows and brown-golds and greens. We have lots of Sycamores, Pin and White Oak, Birches and Yellow Poplar that seem to hold on to their green a lot longer. Even now, there are a lot of trees that are still predominantly green, just starting to go yellow and red

These pictures were all taken around Gaithersburg, Rockville and Germantown. The woods around Robertson Park and Morris Park are especially beautiful this week. I was out these past 2 weekends with a few cameras. These pictures were all taken with my OM-2n. I used the Tokina RMC 70-210 f/3.5 and the Vivitar SERIES ONE 70-210mm f/3.5 Zoom lens

If the Tokina RMC 70-210mm Zoom appears to have the same specifications as the Vivitar SERIES ONE, it’s because they share the same design genes. Lens enthusiasts and fans of the Vivitar Series One lenses will recall that Vivitar had several versions of the Series One 70-210mm. Their first one was the Kino Precision made 70-210m lens (serial number 22xxxxx) that was built like a tank. Weighed 2 lbs and has a 67mm front element. The second version of the lens was made for Vivitar by Tokina (serial number 37xxxxx).

The Tokina made lens was smaller and lighter than the Kino version – just as sharp, and with a constant f/3.5 aperture like its predecessor, but with a 62mm front element. Vivitar went through their lens manufacturers real quickly in those days…. they then turned to Komine to produce the third version (Serial number 28xxxxx) and dropped Tokina. Tokina then produced the lens under its own name, the Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5 (with their special multicoated lens) which I was lucky enough to get my hands on. It’s a very beautiful lens, silky smooth operation and a pleasure to use.

On a side note: You’d think that Vivitar would have stayed with Komine, since the 3rd version of the 70-210mm Series One is considered by many to to be superior to the previous two – it had a f/2.8-4 aperture instead of the fixed f/3.5 but weighed as much as the Kino version (860gms) in spite of the smaller 62mm front element. Vivitar went on to make a 4th and 5th version of the Series One 70-210mm, turning to Cosina for the manufacture. Alas, the quality just wasn’t the same. If you’re in the market, I’d suggest that you look for the Kino, Tokina and Komine versions and give the Cosina versions a pass.

I love the older version Kino made Vivitar Series One, but it’s a bear to carry and I can barely hand-hold it. Besides, it looks disproportionately large on the small frame of my OM SLR bodies. I always worry about damage to the mount with such a big lens. I can see how why the later versions (especially the 2nd and 3rd versions made by Tokina and Komine) became so popular – they were smaller, even though they weighed just as much. The Tokina version weighs 790gms. Still very heavy by modern standards. Hey, it has 14 elements in 10 groups.

Check out Mark Roberts’ photography website for a comparison of the different Vivitar Series One 70-210mm lenses. He prefers the Komine Version (#3) but I think the Tokina has better contrast. The Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5, however does not have a Macro mode like it’s Vivitar Series One counterparts.


Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm

Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Tokina RMC 70-210mm
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5
Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5
Tokina RMC 70-210mm

Photographed with an OM2n, Tokina RMC 70-210mm f/3.5, Vivitar Series One 70-210mm f/3.5 with Fuji Superia 200 film. I used a polarizer in the sunlight. The exposures in low light were at 1/125 sec at f/5.6


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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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

Sunayana, Vasudev and I went back up to Cunningham Falls and Hunt Lake up in Frederick County on Sunday, March 25th. The falls are a short hike from the Lake, and we hiked up the shorter lower trail and returned by the tougher Cliff trail. We took a picnic lunch which we ate by Hunt Lake – it’s still early in the season, so there were very few people around, which was nice. I understand that it gets crowded during the summer.

Hunt creek is a clear, cold trout stream, which means that the water is of very high quality (The trout love the cold, in fact, they’d die if the stream temperature went above 68 degrees). The white sand beach out there is really fun. I had the OM-1 with a Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm lens, and a Quantaray 28mm f/2.8 that I received unexpectedly as part of a bundle of equipment I had purchased a while ago. I also had the Ricoh 500G Rangefinder.

A note on filters –
# I used a Hoya polarizer on the Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm, which got reid of the reflections and darkended the sky on the lake photographs, but the vignetting is apparent at the wide angle end. The 28-90mm Vivitar is a Komine made lens, and is a superb optic.
# Although the trees havent yet leafed out, the mosses growing on the rocks, and in the stream and the natural greenish gray rocks themselves are reflecting enough green light to cause a green tinge in the woodland photos with the Quantaray 28mm. I thought the Skylight 1a filter with its pale rose would be enough to counter the green tinge so early in the season, but I was wrong. It seems that a CC20 or CC30 filter is needed.

Ricoh 500G
Ricoh 500G

Photographed with a Ricoh 500G rangefinder, 1/250 second at f/16 on Fujicolor 200 HQ Super film


OM-1, 28-90mm at 90mm
OM-1, 28-90mm at 28mm

Photographed with an Olympus OM-1, Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.6 lens, 1/250 second at f/11 on Fujicolor 200 HQ Super film and Hoya Polarizer. Note the vignetting due to the Polarizer on the shots at 28mm.


OM-1, Quantaray 28mm f/2.8
OM-1, Quantaray 28mm f/2.8
OM-1, Quantaray 28mm f/2.8
OM-1, Quantaray 28mm f/2.8

Photographed with an Olympus OM-1, Quantaray 28mm f/2.8 lens at 1/250 second at f/16 (exposed for middle range) with Skylight 1A filter on Fujicolor 200 HQ Super film. An f/11 aperture or wider would have probably been better for capturing the details in the shadows.