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Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series E vs Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4

Weight: 19oz & 30.2oz
7 aperture blades
Filter Sizes: 52mm & 62mm

This isn't apples to apples. The Vivitar has more range and more size.

This is by no means an exhaustive fest, but a quick shootout of two lenses with cult followings.. The Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm comes in a lot of different versions, this one is a Komine version. Both lenses can be picked up for about $50 used. There is a nice data page here for the Vivitars.
These images were shot back to back on a tripod with remote release and fast enough shutter to stop slight motion (1/2000 to 1/500). White balance was set to daylight. Shot on a 24mp Sony A7. Mouse over to compare images.

A nice clear day for our test scene, visibility over thirty miles.

Both lenses wide open, the Nikon at f/3.5 and the Vivitar at 2.8

Corners wide open.

Moving on to f/4 in the center. The Vivitar improves slightly, I just left the Nikon at f/3.5 and it still smokes the Vivitar Series 1.


On to f/5.6

f/5.6 corners

I would think the Vivitar images were out of focus, except they were manually focused at 10x magnification.

Now at f/8

f/8 corners

Well at 70mm this is a true testament to the legendary Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series E. Perhaps this is a bad copy of the Vivitar or it improves at 150mm, the weakest focal length of the Nikon. Side by side it looks like the Vivitar 150mm is a bit tighter than the Nikon at 150mm. Purple fringing abounds on the Vivitar and red on the Nikon.

150mm f/4
f/4 corners

On to f/5.6


At f/8

Corners at f/8

Nikon 150mm f/8 vs Sony Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 at f/4

Corners of the Nikon and Sony Zeiss
In the end I'm surprised at how much better the petite Nikon 75-150mm f/3.5 Series E is when compared to the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4. I expected some subtle differences, perhaps I have a bad copy of the Vivitar, it's hard to say with lenses this old. Regardless I've been impressed by the Nikon 75-150mm time and time again, impossible to beat at the prices they go for.

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