Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F/3.5 [VMC] Macro [I]

Telephoto zoom lens • Film era • Discontinued



MACRO A lens with better close-up focusing capabilities in comparison with traditional lenses. Not a macro lens though.

Model history (2)

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F/3.5 [VMC] Macro [I] (s/n 22xxxxxx)Push/pullA15 - 102m⌀67 1973 
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F/3.5 VMC Macro [II] (s/n 37xxxxxx)Push/pullA14 - 101.2m⌀62 1978 

Features highlight



Production details:
Production status: Discontinued
Original name:Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm 1:3.5 MACRO FOCUSING AUTO ZOOM
Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm 1:3.5 MACRO FOCUSING AUTO ZOOM VMC
Optical design:
Focal length range:70mm - 210mm [3X zoom ratio]
Speed range:F/3.5 across the focal length range
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Canon FD [42mm]
Contax/Yashica [45.5mm]
Konica AR [40.5mm]
M42 [45.5mm]
Minolta SR [43.5mm]
Nikon F [46.5mm]
Olympus OM [46mm]
Pentax K [45.5mm]
Diagonal angle of view:34.3° @ 70mm - 11.8° @ 210mm
Lens construction:15 elements in 10 groups
Diaphragm mechanism:
Diaphragm type:Automatic
Aperture control:<No data>
Number of blades:6 (six)
On Nikon D APS-C [1.53x] cameras:
35mm equivalent focal length range:107.1mm - 321.3mm (in terms of field of view)
35mm equivalent speed range:F/5.4 (in terms of depth of field)
Diagonal angle of view:22.8° @ 70mm - 7.7° @ 210mm
On Pentax K APS-C [1.53x] cameras:
35mm equivalent focal length range:107.1mm - 321.3mm (in terms of field of view)
35mm equivalent speed range:F/5.4 (in terms of depth of field)
Diagonal angle of view:22.8° @ 70mm - 7.7° @ 210mm
Zoom mechanism:Manual
Zoom control:Combined zoom/focusing ring
Zoom type:Push/pull (210mm → 70mm)
Zooming method:<No data>
Closest focusing distance:2m
0.292m [MACRO]
Maximum magnification:1:2.2 [MACRO @ 70mm] at the closest focusing distance
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Combined zoom/focusing ring
Physical characteristics:
Weight:879g (mount not specified)
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀77.8×157.5mm (mount not specified)
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Filters:Screw-type 67mm
Lens hood:<No data>
Teleconverters:<No data>
Sources of data:
1. Manufacturer's technical data.
2. Vivitar Series 1 booklet (August 1976).

Manufacturer description #1

Conventional zoom lenses have normally been focused by moving the front group of elements only. The close focusing capabilities and the reproduction ratio of a lens are severely limited by the degradation of the image introduced by focusing only the front element. The closer such a lens is made to focus, the more apparent the degradation. A simple corrector lens could be used to compensate for aberrations in close focusing, but its effect would be limited to one specific focal length only. Before the advent of the 70-210mm Series 1 lens, there were acceptable zoom lenses but none had a macro focusing capability.

A novel solution to the close focusing zoom problem was suggested by the fact that the zooming elements in a zoom lens are designed to move with respect to each other. A computer simulation established that these same moving elements could be used for close focusing, provided they were made to move in proper relationship to one another and in a different manner for the "zoom" action. The result is a patented zoom lens that corrects aberrations at close focus, optimizes performance in the normal zoom range, and is both focused and zoomed with one simple control. This lens shows very fine resolution and contrast throghout its working range. It consistently produces photographic images that are indistinguishable from those taken with fixed focal length lenses. The Series 1 70-210 is surprisingly compact and light for a zoom lens with an f3.5 maximum aperture. Macro focusing capabilities permit a 1:2.2 (approximately half-life size) reproduction ratio at its close focus position.

Manufacturer description #2

There was a time when professionals considered a zoom an amateur's lens. It simply did not have the resolution, versatility, and ruggedness they demanded.

The introduction of the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f3.5 radically changed their thinking about zoom lenses. Here was a lens that could rival the performance of fixed focal length lenses and at the same time offer unique macro focusing.

To accomplish the very high design objectives it was necessary to incorporate 15 lens elements in the 70-210 zoom lens.

The final design and exact positioning of each element was a mind-boggling challenge. It required the service of one of the world's most sophisticated computer banks to deal with the incredible number of variables. The designers insisted that aberrations be minimized at all the focal lengths in the zooming range... including close focus.

The word spread quickly through the world of professional photography. At last a zoom lens that corrects aberrations at close focus, optimizes performance in the normal zoom range, and both focuses and zooms with one simple control. In a short time, the 70-210mm became a standard against which all other zoom lenses are measured. Compare it to the lenses you presently use an you'll make it your standard too.

Manufacturer description #3

This is the original automatic zoom lens for 35mm SLR cameras that also provides macro focusing capability. A unique mechanical design permits both zooming and focusing with the same control. Although this lens has a large maximum aperture, it is surprisingly short and light. These seemingly contradictory features were reconciled by the extremely sophisticated computer programs with which the designers worked. Most significant of all in practical picture taking situations is the high performance, accomplished by a novel approach to zoom optical design. This was another computer suggested departure from conventional zoom lens configuration. The quality of performance thus produced was previously unavailable in zoom lenses and compares favorably to the finest original equipment telephoto lenses. The versatility of macro focusing combined with a three-to-one telephoto zoom make this a remarkable all-purpose lens, particularly for the photographer who does not care to compromise on performance. A specially anodized finish on the lens mount and deeply checkered vynil non-slip grips provide for absolutely positive focusing.

From the Popular Science magazine (January 1974)

Available since mid-1973, the 70-210mm f3.5, first macro-focusing automatic zoom lens for 35mm single-lens reflex cameras, delivers impressively high performance throughout its focal-length and focusing ranges, comparing favorably with top-drawer nonzoom telephoto and macro lenses.

From the editor

Made by Kino Precision.


  • 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.).

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Priscilip Lesley
Priscilip Lesley
3 years ago

the Series 1 Kino 70-210 is a beast to handle and was so expensive to manufacture and retail, they couldn’t afford to configure a tripod collar or add one.

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35mm full frame

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


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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".

Modified M42 mount

The mount has been modified by the manufacturer to allow exposure metering at full aperture.

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/3.5 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.

Rotary zoom

The change of focal length is achieved by turning the zoom ring.

Push/pull zooming allows for faster change of focal length, however conventional method based on the rotation of the zoom ring provides more accurate and smooth zooming.

Push/pull zoom

The change of focal length and the manual focusing is achieved by one and the same ring. The change of focal length happens when the photographer moves the ring towards the mount or backwards and the rotation of the ring leads to change of focus.

Push/pull zooming allows for faster change of focal length, however conventional method based on the rotation of the zoom ring provides more accurate and smooth zooming.

Zoom lock

The lens features a zoom lock to keep the zoom ring fixed. This function is convenient for carrying a camera with the lens on a strap because it prevents the lens from extending.

Zoom clutch

To set the manual zoom mode, pull the zoom ring towards the camera side until the words "POWER ZOOM" disappear.