The Ultimate Vivitar 28mm F2.8 Review!

Although the Vivitar 28mm f2.8 is a vintage, manual lens that has been around for many years we still see a steady number of people reaching our every month asking for a Vivitar 28mm f2.8 review. Due to this, we have decided to publish our own review of the lens that has stood the test of time and still holds an excellent reputation within the Canon owners community.

Now, as this is a vintage lens, chances are that you will have to pick up an FD to EF lens mount adaptor if your camera of choice is from the Canon EOS range. Thankfully, there are plenty of them on the market that has decent reputations and they are all relatively cheap. Our go-to FD to EF adaptor is the Fotasy FD to EF adaptor (Click here to check for product prices and availability) due to its excellent build quality and popularity. That said, if you are on a tight budget then the Paddsun FD to EF adaptor (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is around a third of the price but it does have a controversial reputation within the community.

Now, as this is a vintage lens, there are plenty of them in circulation but their condition can vary wildly, especially if you are picking them up in a local second-hand store. If you are wanting to get the Vivitar 28mm f2.8 for as cheap as possible, we would always check the price of second hand or refurbished versions on Amazon (Click here to check for product prices and availability).

Click Here To Check For Current Prices On The Vivitar 28mm f2.8!

Performance And Functionality

Autumn Landscape
Being an excellent quality wide angle lens that has a fixed focal length of 28mm it is no surprise that the lens remains popular with the vintage community today. The Vivitar 28mm is a prime lens offering no zoom capability at all and it is based around the old school manual focus system that allows you to capture some excellent vintage style landscape photographs like the one shown above captured using the lens.

Now, as we touched on earlier in the article, the condition of the lens when you pick it up is going to have a large effect on its performance as well as how much of its original functionality it keeps. Although we will go into the build quality in more detail later in the article, Vivitar made a very robust lens and much of its functionality remains on the lenses today.

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One thing that we would like to point out is that the manual focus ring on the lens can be a common area for faults due to rust and dirty building up along the runners. If you are planning to pick the lens up in a second-hand store, be sure to check you can easily rotate the focus ring without any undue effort. That said, many photography stores offer lens cleaning services where they will strip the lens down and clean it for you allowing you to deal with this issue anyway. Other common issues when picking up these lenses is fungus or oil build up on the lens blades so try and have a quick look for any signs of this before purchasing from a store.

Anyway, if you do get your hands on a fully functioning Vivitar 28mm f2.8 then it really is a great little vintage lens. The manual focus ring is very smooth to rotate allowing you to quickly and easily adapt the focus level of the lens to your situation and it also has a nice level of resistance to prevent any accidental over rotation.

The snappy f/2.8 aperture on the lens also offers some excellent low light performance too. This can help you capture some unique light or variable light landscape photographs with the lens as shown in the photograph below taken using the lens.

Vivtar Sunset

Build Quality

As we have mentioned earlier, the build quality of the lens when originally made is excellent! This has ensured that plenty of the Vivitar 28mm lenses have stood the test of time and are still fully serviceable today. The metal lens mounts on it have tended to hold their shapes well and allow a quick and seamless attachment to your FD to EF lens adaptor of choice.

The glass used in the forward lens element is also solid and has held up well to regular wear and tear with many of the lenses still in circulation not showing any damage or scratches at all. One thing that we would like to point out is that depending on your location, the changing of the seasons over the years can sometimes open up tiny little gaps in the lenses seals allowing small amounts of dust particles to get in.

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If there are any dust particles in your lens that are having an effect on the image quality that you are able to capture when using the lens then the first and cheapest way to try and deal with it is a simple air blower (Click here to check for product prices and availability). Although some people will simply blow through a straw, this can result in doing more harm than good as saliva can be blown into the lens and dry on the back of the front lens element so always use an air blower.

A second option that can be a little more expensive is to have the lens strip cleaned by a professional, some photography stores will offer this service for free if you are purchasing the lens from them. We would always recommend using a reputable retailer though who have already checked the lens over before selling it to ensure that it is working without issue.

Our Verdict

That concludes our Vivitar 28mm f2.8 review, as with many of the vintage lenses that remain popular today, back in its day the lens was excellent and a popular go-to choice for landscape photography. Its present-day performance will depend on the quality of the lens you are able to get your hands on so be sure to get it from a reputable retailer.

Provided you are able to get your hands on a servicable Vivitar 28mm f2.8 then we feel that it will make an excellent addition to your camera accessories and allow you to capture images like the one above as well as the other examples in the article.

Click Here To Read Independent Third Party Reviews Of This Product!

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The video below offers an additional third-party, independent review for the Vivitar 28mm f2.8 to offer our readers an independent opinion of the product.

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Image Licensing

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Will Jackson – The Antiquary 2 –