Vivitar Series 1 450mm F/4.5 VMC Aspherical

Super telephoto prime lens • Film era • Discontinued


VMC The multi-layer coating is applied to the surface of lens elements. It boosts light transmission, ensures sharp and high contrast images, minimizes ghosting and flares.
ASPHERICAL The lens incorporates aspherical elements.

Features highlight



Production details
Production status: Discontinued
Original name:Vivitar Series 1 450mm 1:4.5 VMC
Optical design
Focal length:450mm
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Interchangeable mount (T)
Diagonal angle of view:5.5° (35mm full frame)
Lens construction:11 elements in 7 groups
Internal focusing (IF)
Closest focusing distance:3.5m
Maximum magnification:1:5.6 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Fixed
Aperture control:None
Number of blades:-
Physical characteristics
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀117×147mm
Weather sealing:Dust-proof and water-resistant barrel
Fluorine coating:-
Filters:Removable front filters are not accepted
Screw-type 35.5mm (rear)
Lens hood:Screw-type round
Teleconverters:Vivitar Series 1 2X Macro Matched Multiplier for 450mm F/4.5 VMC → 900mm F/9
Source of data
Scarce manufacturer's technical data + own research.

From the Popular Photography magazine (October 1982)

At Bauer, some Vivitar people showed us the first results of their cooperation with this (German) firm. Their first jointly made product is truly international. It is designed by an American, and parts of the lens will come from Taiwan, W. Germany, and Cincinnati, Oh.

It's made like no other lens that we know of. It is a glass/plastic hybrid with a front and rear window, along with an "O"-ring system of mounting the various 13 elements for a moisture-resistant sealed construction. The lens is a 450mm f/4.5 catadioptric with a plastic aspherical element. That's the main reason for the elaborate sealing measures: to prevent the plastic element's exposure to moisture.

What's more, the plastic barrel's exterior is rubber-coated from improved shock resistance. Focusing is internal, with the close limit being 3.5m for a reproduction ratio of 1:8. The near setting is reached by a 238-degree twist from infinity. With an aperture of f/4.5, the new mirror lens should cause no black-out of the focusing aids in most SLRs. Its rear-mounted filters are the 35.5mm threaded type.

Thanks to its unique construction of glass, plastic, and aluminum, the lens is compact and lightweight, measuring 105x148mm and weighing 1.2kg. It will be available in "T" mount with adapters from Vivitar for most popular SLR cameras. It will be the latest addition to Vivitar's Series 1 line of lenses, all of which feature something unique (in their judgement) to qualify for that designation.

From the Popular Photography magazine (January 1983)

Additional details are now available on the Vivitar Series 1 450mm f/4.5 mirror lens, first seen in our October issue. This multinational design uses a large, acrylic element with one aspheric surface to achieve its relatively high speed at a reasonable weight. Closest focus is 3.5m, giving 1:5.6 image magnification on film. With the seven-element 2X Matched Multiplier, the lens becomes a 900mm f/9, with 1:2.8 focusing capability.

An innovative Vivitar T-mount adapter has a click-stopped rotating adjustment to allow proper orientation on any SLR. The adapter is removed to permit the multiplier to be threaded on the rear of the lens, then it's reattached behind the multiplier. Available: February, 1983.

From the Modern Photography magazine

Just as incredible today is the hand-holdable Vivitar Series 1 450mm f/4.5 macro focusing mirror optic with a coated aspheric plastic element, first announced in 1982! The U.S.A. designed optic (by Opcon Associates under contract to Vivitar) with plastic element made by U.S. Precision in Cincinnati, then shipped to Taiwan for assembly with other parts made in Japan and Taiwan, should be reaching photo dealers just about now in actual production form - and it too appears to be well worth waiting for. Our early production lens is 5 3/4 in. long, 4 1/2 in diameter weighing some 3 1/2 lbs., has a water resistant gray, rubberish, easy-to-grip outer coating and a handy rear focusing ring providing focus to less than 12 feet.

While there have been many good [text omitted] and 600 f/8 mirror lenses, Vivitar is the first - and only handholdable one in that range - with an incredible f/4.5 aperture providing excellent finder brightness with no split-image range-finder blackout. You can virtually focus on an eyelash at 25 feet.

From the Field & Stream magazine (April 1984)

Basically the 500mm f/8 is a sunshine lens for offhand use. But there are faster, shorter models - Sigma's 400mm f/5.6, and the soon-to-be-available Vivitar Series I 450mm f/4.5, for example. With these you could use slower, higher-resolution films in bright light. Loaded with ASA 400, you could operate when lower light levels would knock out a 500mm f/8.

From the editor

Made by Eugen Bauer.

This lens is unique not only because of its speed of F/4.5, but due to the aspherical plastic lens element adopted in the front group, plastic lens barrel, inner focusing, dedicated teleconverter, rotatable T mount adapter, etc. It is packed with a number of features that set it apart from previous mirror lenses.

ND-2X, ND-4X, K2 and 25A rear 35.5mm screw-type filters were part of the package.


  • Independent-brand lenses were made for 35mm film SLR cameras by companies that competed with the camera manufacturers. Some came from factories that made lenses under their own brand names (Angenieux, Kiron, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina). Many others were national and international marketing organizations (Kalimar, Panagor, Rokunar, Soligor, Starblitz) that bought lenses from anonymous manufacturers. One firm — Vivitar — actually designed its own lenses and accessories, which were then subcontracted to manufacturing firms. Still others were private labels, sold only by specific photo specialty shops (Cambron, Quantaray, Spiratone).
  • The actual manufacturer of a Vivitar lens can be identified by the first digits of the serial number: 6 - Olympus, 9 - Cosina, 13 - Schneider-Kreuznach, 19 - Sigma, 22 - Kino Precision Industries, 25 - Ozone Optical, 28 - Komine, 32 - Makina Optical, 33 - Asanuma, 37 - Tokina, 42 - Eugen Bauer, 44 - Perkin Elmer, 47 - Chinon, 51 - Tokyo Trading, 56 - Kyoe Shoji, 61 - Samyang, 75 - Hoya, 77 - Kobori, 81 - Polar. This numbering system, however, was used by Vivitar only between 1969 and 1991 (approx.).

Typical application


Slow full-frame super telephoto prime lens • Mirror/Reflex lens

Mirror/Reflex lens

A lens based on design principles used in large astronomical telescopes. It is a combination of mirror and lens elements. Incoming light is reflected twice on the mirror surfaces, resulting in compactness of the lens barrel and light weight relative to the focal length.

To adjust image brightness, neutral density or other filters are used, because lenses of this type are not equipped with diaphragms.

Sharpness of the focused image is unsurpassed because of the use of reflecting surfaces which do not cause any chromatic aberration.

Taken with this type of lens, the subjects in the out-of-focus range may appear as blurred rings or separate blurred lines.

Genres or subjects of photography (3):

Distant subjects • Distant landscapes with perspective compression effect • Wild nature

Recommended slowest shutter speed when shooting static subjects handheld:

1/500th of a second

Lenses with similar focal length and speed

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1 month ago

D-Filter-Designation misleading: ND 0.3 Not ND-3 if then ND.3
ND 3= 10 stops 1000x Kodak Filter for the Professional Photographer page 15 (Red A4 Informationbook) P-I 1 Kodak Stuttgart Germany
35.5mm filter
ND-3(2x) 1 Blende ND 0.3
ND-6(4x) 2 Blenden ND 0.6
K2 MittelGelb (K1 Hellgelb, K3 Dunkelgelb)
25A Rot has these also special coated. see their pdf preisliste/pricelist
35.5mm is right not 35 mm like elsewhere.

Table of contents
Pros and cons
Vivitar Series 1 series lenses (22)

Vivitar Series 1 series lenses

Vivitar Series 1 program was an international effort dedicated to designing and producing advanced-technology optical systems for the professional and advanced amateur in 35mm film photography. These lenses were designed by Vivitar specialists and produced by third-party manufacturers such as Cosina, Kino Precision, Komine and Tokina. Catadioptric lenses were developed and manufactured in the USA in collaboration with the reflex lens specialists of the Perkin-Elmer Corporation, a company with vast experience in satellite-deployed astronomical optics. As Vivitar decided not to aggressively pursue the AF technology, all Series 1 AF lenses not only were produced, but also designed by Sigma.

Copyright © 2012-2023 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2


Sorry, no additional information is available.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Fixed focus

There is no helicoid in this lens and everything is in focus from the closest focusing distance to infinity.

Internal focusing (IF)

Conventional lenses employ an all-group shifting system, in which all lens elements shift during focusing. The IF system, however, shifts only part of the optics during focusing. The advantages of the IF system are:

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/4.5 on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.