Vivitar vs Cannon zoom lenses for an A1 : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I have a Cannon A-1 and I recently purchased Vivitar 28-70mm zoom lens (F3.5 to F22). I have used that lens very little so far, but I find it much less comfortable to use than either of my original Cannon lenses (a fixed 50mm and a 70-210mm F4 to F32 zoom): I find it more difficult to focus using the Vivitar lens, and the colors seem to be visibly less sharp than with the Cannon lenses. Is it just me?

Has anybody used this Vivitar zoom, and do you recommend it? Did Cannon make a similar FD zoom lens and do you recommend I try to find one?

Any recommendation or personal experience would be appreciated.



-- Stephane Burnet (, January 17, 2002



As a rule wide angle lenses are more difficult to focus than telephotos when using an SLR camera. Same rule applies to wide zooms compared to tele zooms. When comparing lenses for sharpness and color quality, use color slide film and mount the camera on a tripod. Your Vivitar lens may not be as good as your Canon lens. Or, maybe you or the photo lab had a bad day. I have no experience with either of your lenses. My favorite zoom lens is a Canon 35-70 f2.8-3.5. Big, heavy and usually expensive.


-- Bill Salati (, January 17, 2002.

C-A-N-O-N not 'cannon'

There's more info Please see the URLs I listed in response to "FD LENS QUESTIONS..SEVERAL QUESTIONS," just below your post in the forum. Especially note the one about third party lenses (such as Vivitar).

A pretty exhaustive listing of all the lenses Canon made to fit your camera (FL, FD, & New FD) is at their "Camera Museum" site:

From that site, their closest approximations to your Vivitar would be these:

-- New FD28-50mm f/3.5

-- New FD28-55mm f/3.5-4.5

-- New FD28-85mm f/4

-- New FD35-70mm f/2.8-3.5

-- New FD35-70mm f/3.5-4.5

-- New FD35-70mm f/4

-- New FD35-105mm f/3.5

-- New FD35-105mm f/3.5-4.5

Although they made zooms in the old FD and even older FL series, I would not recommend going there. A good zoom is tough to design and Canon's optical formulations really took off in the 80's as they brought new computers into the process.

Vivitar's "Series I" glass from about the same time, zooms included, impressed quite a few users, actually.


-- Robert Segal (, January 17, 2002.

[Please excuse the slop at the beginning of my second line, above.]

-- Robert Segal (, January 17, 2002.

Hello Stephane,

I haven't used that Vivitar lens before.

Poor lens performance can be attributed to several factors: damage to the lens, lens not working properly, poor build quality (poor focusing/sticking elements) or design constraints made in order to keep the lens cheap, inadequate shielding from lens flare by the photographer, dirty elements (hazed over), etc.

There are some good and bad zoom lenses in both Canon and the 3rd party offerings. Do some research and you can find which lenses to avoid--there was a discussion a while back on Javier Henderson's FD mail list on these mid range (28-70mm) lenses. If you subscribe to the list, you can look through the archives.

Canon FD mail list:

Yahoo-based FD mail list:

Take care,

-- Joshua Martin (, January 18, 2002.

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