Sunday, September 21, 2008

On Test: Vivitar 28mm 1:2.8 Auto Wide-Angle [T01]

This is the second lens test in the continuing series Looking For The Perfect Normal. On the tripod today is the Vivitar 28mm 1:2.8 Auto Wide-Angle (designated T01 in my numbering scheme). This is distinctive in having the interchangeable TX mount, devised by Soligor and Vivitar in 1976 as a successor to their T-4 mount system. My copy came with the TX-to-K-mount adapter that is required to use such lenses on Pentax bodies. Read Using A Manual Lens On A Pentax Digital SLR for usage instructions.

The T01 is constructed of metal and is quite dense for its small size; sources have it at 204g. The aperture dial goes from f/2.8 to f/16 in five clicks. It is notable for having such measures both to the left and the right of the central point. For the K-mount you turn the dial to the right but for other mounts it would be the other way around.

Vivitar T01 front

From web sources I have determined that this lens has 7 elements in 7 groups. Similar to other progressive Vivitar optical designs, it utilises floating elements to provide internal focusing. This means the lens does not change size when focusing. Furthermore, the front element does not rotate, so it's easy to use a polarising filter. Though it is not marked as "close focus" it has a minimum distance of about 25cm (10"). The filter size is 52mm and cap size 57mm. When released in 1977 it listed for $159. Today it goes for less, when you can find it.

Vivitar T01 barrel

The focus grip is well damped and smooth. But the aperture dial is difficult to get one's fingers around and has indistinct detente positions. My copy is in good condition but did not come with a front cap. The only signs of use are brassing on the knurled parts of the barrel. From its serial number it was made by Tokina.

I fitted it with a generic metal wide-angle hood, a must to reduce glare. Testing proceeded the same way as the M01. I made slight adjustments for differences in exposure, to make it somewhat easier to compare the shots. You can click through each thumbnail to see 100% images in my Flickr account.

Minimum Focus Distance

T01 minimum f/2.8
T01 minimum f/4
T01 minimum f/8
T01 minimum f/16

At Two Feet

T01 24in f/2.8
T01 24in f/4
T01 24in f/8
T01 24in f/16

At Infinity

T01 infinity f/2.8
T01 infinity f/4
T01 infinity f/16
T01 infinity f/16


Even at f/2.8 the images are quite usable, very good in fact. At f/4 more contrast is evident, as well as higher saturation. Unsurprisingly, best performance comes at f/8. Trap focus works fine as does the viewfinder focus indicator. Glare was not noticeable.

Finally, a random "real world" shot processed using my normal workflow. The colour rendition and sharpness are excellent, even under harsh flash. This lens works as advertised and is a bargain for something 30 years old.




Anonymous said...

You really did a very comprehensive testing here and your example images are very tasteful in pentaxforums

robin said...

This is now -- and for some time has been -- designated the T92. Visit the Vivitar Bestiary for full information.

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