Vivitar 70-210mm 1:4.5 MC Macro Focusing Zoom Lens (f/4.5)

Review of the Vivitar 70-210mm 1:4.5 MC Macro Focusing Zoom Lens (f/4.5).

Overall Rating:

The age of this made-in-Japan lens is approximately 39 years (give or take 4 years). It is has no low dispersion glass elements as the lens was made to be an inexpensive option, and no aspherical elements as, one, this is a telephoto lens and, two, this was manufactured before the time of aspherical elements. Were it manufactured today then it certainly would have low dispersion glass. It was manufactured by Kobori Japan.

The "macro" function can only be entered at a focal length of 210mm and achieves a magnification ratio of approx. 0.25×. With a focus throw of only 60°, it is easy to go too far in either direction when focusing.

sunflowers (detail)
macro (1:4) shot of sunflower (detail)
the Vivitar 70-210mm 1:4.5 MC Macro Focusing Zoom Lens (captured with Nikon 1 V3 camera)
the Vivitar 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-210mm f/4.5 and 35-200mm f/3.0-4.5 compared (captured with Nikon 1 V3 camera)

If those flowers look good then take a look at how well the little Nikon Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II performs. Consider that the Nikkor is a lens without a macro function AND is working with a smaller format (DX format versus full-frame).


First the good news — focus breathing is not a problem, so feel free to use a depth of field calculator. This lens has moderate vignetting (at f=210mm in particular) and color fringing. The image starts to dull due to diffraction at around f/8. This lens is good for photographing architecture because distortion is well-controlled.

Color fringing detail at 2-to-1:

color fringing detail, center f=70mm/4.5
color fringing detail, corner f=70mm/4.5
color fringing detail, center f=100mm/4.5
color fringing detail, corner f=100mm/4.5
color fringing detail, center f=210mm/4.5
color fringing detail, corner f=210mm/4.5
Flaring & Ghosting

The lens exhibits high flaring and ghosting.

flaring and ghosting at f=70mm/22

This lens has lots of LoCA. There is so much LoCA that it can be used as a focusing aid. This hurts both the bokeh and color fringing score of this lens. The bokeh is otherwise fine.

bokeh at f=70mm/4.5
bokeh at f=100mm/4.5
bokeh at f=210mm/4.5

Infrared photography shows no infrared hot-spots. This is probably due to the non-rounded, six-bladed diaphragm.

infrared at f=70mm/22


This lens is very compact for a f=70-210mm. For example, it is far lighter and smaller than the Nikon Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Ai lens. Because it is all metal, it is rather heavy at approximately 500 grams or one pound.

The size at f=70mm is no different than the size at f=210mm. It does not have internal focusing because it changes size as it is focused. The zoom does creep VERY SLOWLY as the lens is pointed up or down.

The 52mm filter threads DO ROTATE making use of a polarizer or graduated filter a challenge. If you set the focus and then need to screw a filter on be very careful not to modify the focus.

MC stands for multicoated.


Focal length 70-210mm
Maximum aperture f/4.5
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens construction 8 elements in 12 groups
Angle of view 34.3°-11.8°
Minimum focus distance 1.6 m/5.2 ft; macro: 1.1 m/3.6 ft (from focal plane)
Maximum reproduction ratio Approximately 1:4 (0.25×)
No. of diaphragm blades 6 (not rounded)
Filter-attachment size ø52mm
Diameter x length Approximately 63.5 x 144.5 mm/2.5 x 5.7 in.
Weight 507 g/17.9 oz.
Price Unknown


Find the manual here: Vivitar Lens Manuals


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