As promised, I took the Kiron-made Vivitar 20-210mm f/3.5 Series 1 (version 1) to try and test its bee-shooting performance against the Zomb-E Series and the Tokina AT-X 35-200mm f/3.5-4.5. Of course, it is about 20 degrees colder in Dallas today than yesterday, and the bees are all napping, so that will have to wait for another day.

I did walk around for about 30 minutes with the Vivitar, though, took or made 115 shots, and got a great workout to the arms: that Vivi is a beast of a lens, another 2″ longer than the Tokina, and about twice as big overall as the Zomb-E.

In other words, the Series 1 is definitely not a walkaround lens.

One thing that is fun, though, is the brilliant operation of this real beauty of a lens.

The closest focus distance—in normal operations—is just shy of 2 meters at all focal lengths. Pull it all the way in, press a little button, spin the ring, and you’re in macro mode, with the circle of confusion about 2 meters away. Zoom out, and the circle of confusion moves towards you. At the 70mm position, you’re at ~1:2 at about 4 inches.

So the lens offers continuous focus from 4″ to infinity, albeit with a slight hiccough at the 2 meter mark, and zooms from 1:2 to 210mm.


I know I’m grossly oversimplifying the mechanics here, but it’s still quite the performer: among the sharpest lenses I own, for sure, with great saturation and contrast, and creamy-dreamy bokeh.

I’ll need to do some intensive strength training if I want to take this lens on any half-day photowalks… Or I could just keep taking it on half hour afternoon jaunts, and I’ll have some serious guns in no time!

Nice. And yet another great bargain at ~$35.

D7000. Vivitar 70-210mm f/3.5 Series 1 (Kiron version). ISO800 (to contend with the overcast afternoon), 1/250, f/8.

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