There is not much to find out about this lens in the net (as you can see here) and I have never seen anybody else using it, which really is a shame since it is a fine zoom lens, very good on film and very nice on a digital APS-C DSLR (even though the equivalent focal length is not that thrilling any more then).
I liked that lens (I have to use past tense, because I sold the lens some time ago) a lot on my Nikon film bodies and it was nice on my EOS 350D. On a digital fullframe cam (such as my EOS 5D) it is not that good any more, still useable but it shows the typical drawbacks of a zoom lens with that focal range (35 to 200, wide angle to medium long tele): weak corners and visible distortion.
It’s built is very nice, as with all Soligor “C/D” lenses which used to be some kind of top series similar to the “Series 1” by Vivitar or the “AT-X” by Tokina.
It’s no bokeh king and sharpnesswise it’s good but not extraordinary, but the contrast it renders is pretty nice and it has no real “no-go” flaw. And if we consider the extensive zoom range and allow for some compromises this is a lens that we could easily call “recommendable”.
This Tokina was one of the first manual focus zoom lenses I got and I kept it for quite a while, because I really liked it. I have sold in meanwhile together with the Nikon EM. I just needed to get rid of some of my gear. Someday it gets too much. 😉
Anyway, this Tokina lens is not a fast one (f/4-5.3) but it’s well built and doing without the fastest apertures probably was a very wise decision by the lens makers. This lens surprises with its image quality.
Of course, you cannot expect the same quality as with Zeiss or Leica zooms but if you consider the price you can find it for, it’s amazing.
But since the same things do not need to be written twice, I’d like to point you at a nice experience report on this lens on a well-made website: “Lens Porn!” If you follow this link, you’ll find several wonderful photos that were taken with this Tokina.
Trying to catch up. The holiday season was not really helpful in writing this blog. LOL
This week’s lens is the “Vivitar Series 1 2.8-3.8/28-105 VMC Macro Focusing Zoom”. What a name!
Vivitar put several rather fast zoom lenses on the market that were built by different manufacturers. Especially those lenses made by Kiron or Komine are said to be excellent. I can confirm that and add that those made by Tokina are also very good! “Series 1” lenses were the high-end line of Vivitar, the same way that the “L” labels the top lenses of Canon. So most experts claim that a “Series 1” lens made by Kiron must be the top-of-the-pops. My 28-105 apparently was built by Cosina which is not the worst manufacturer either. Zeiss has their modern ZE lenses built there as well.
With a max aperture of 2.8-3.8 these zoom lenses are some of the fastest universal-zooms around. Apart from the 28-105 there also was a 2.8-3.8/28-90, a 2.8/35-80 and a non-Series 1 2.8-3.8/28-85. The 28-90 is said to be the best model, but I also like my 28-105 a lot.
Here you can find an ongoing discussion about which version might be the best one.
OK, my 28-105 not really a beauty, it’s not downright ugly, but the looks is not all that counts anyway, right? My Flickr-friend Alf Sigaro also owns that lens and also seems to like it. OK, what about it?
– Surprisingly sharp even wide open
– Contrasty (stopped down) and nice color rendition (for a zoom)
– Beautiful bokeh (for a zoom that is very surprising)
– Useful focal range 28-105 on fullframe with a neat f/2.8-3.8
– Solid build
– Heavy copared to today’s zoom lenses (which is not really a “con” for me, personally, though) 😉
– Push pull zoom (you have to get used to it, it can be a good thing, but somtimes it is annoying)
– It’s a varifocus lens, so you have to re-adjust the focus after zooming (bad for filming)
– Some vignetting wide open at 28mm (but hey, it’s a zoom lens after all)
– contrast wide opened