Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 macro Canon FD review

Photos of the lens are shot with a Canon 7D, the sample photos are with a Fujifilm X-E1 (APS-C sized sensor).

This Vivitar lens is was made by Komine and was also sold under the names of  Elicar, Panagor, Quantaray and Rokunar. It’s a 1:1 macro lens with a focus length of 55mm. It is a great alternative to the usual 50mm standard due to its slightly longer focal length and macro capabilities, making it very versatile for street- portrait and macro photography. The optics consist of five elements in four groups and the lens itself is made entirely of metal and glass, including the metal slide-on cap. It is a full manual lens.




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The focus ring is smooth, though quite heavy. But it is an older lens, so this can vary from copy to copy. It is quite a heavy lens at a little over 340g.

The aperture, which ranges from f/2.8 to f/16, has clicks at every half-stop and can be locked at the back of the lens, making the diaphragm close down when you turn the aperture ring rather than the aperture lever at the back. This makes the aperture work for FD as well as FL mounts.

It is a lovely lens to handle, the longer distances have quite a short focus throw making it suitable for street photography, but the shorter the focus distance the longer the throw. It is very nice to focus it for macro photos.

Vivitar 55mm mounted on Fujifilm X-E1

As you can see on the top right corner of this photo, there is some slight chromatic abberation in the corners (this photo was cropped), but this was shot at f/2.8. It is fairly sharp and the CA goes away quite quickly after f/4.

Vivitar 55mm mounted on Fujifilm X-E1

This photo perfect illustrates the flaring- or rather the lack thereof. The front element is deeply recessed in the lens providing a permanent sun hood. This photo was shot at f/4.




The pictures above display the macro capabilities of the lens at the minimum focus distance, a few centimetres away from the front of the lens (the lens was almost touching the bottom side of the ruler). Again sharp with smooth bokeh. Bokeh in general is smooth but somewhat busy at portrait lengths.

All in all, this lens is a wonderful lens if you can find it for the right price. It is made for for Canon FD, Minolta MD and Pentax mounts.

Thank you for reading. If you want more reviews like these, please help my by supporting this page through my support page.

– Robin 🙂

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