The Ultimate Vivitar 24mm F2.8 Review!

This article may contain affiliate links that can result in commissions for purchases, full details in our privacy policy.

Everyone serious about the world of photography knows that sooner or later you have to upgrade your lenses if you’re going to take your photography to the next level.

Sure, the lens that your camera was likely bundled with when you first bought it probably does a halfway decent job of getting solid photos. That’s especially true if it is a lens paired with a modern DSLR.

However, the difference you’ll see when you have a third-party lens that is carefully crafted to maximize the quality, clarity, and visual definition of your photos is instantly recognizable – especially when you’re using a great piece of glass like the Vivitar 24mm F2.8.

Specifically engineered to be a lightning fast wide-angle lens that plays very nicely with Nikon cameras, you’re going to be able to use this lens set up with a bunch of different bodies to transform your photos almost immediately.

The kind of precision you’ll get out of this lens is second to none in the wide-angle arena, especially when you’re talking about lenses available at this price point. The Japanese glass found throughout this particular model is spectacular, letting in plenty of light but also guaranteeing that you do not end up distorting the subject of your photograph the way that some of the other wide-angle/macro lenses out there can.

This lens configuration – the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 – is built on the back of specific design principles that have been available long before DSLR cameras became the “new normal”. You get a tried and true, totally proven solution when you choose to attach this class to your favorite camera – and you’ll upgrade your photos immediately as soon as you make the switch, especially when you’re looking to get high definition close-up shots that really focus on details.

Sifting through all the different glass options on the market today when shopping for a new lens can be a real uphill battle. Not because there are so few quality options to pick and choose from but because there are so many, with pretty much every lens promising the moon and the stars when it comes to performance, build quality, and overall usability.

We can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is something really special about this lens, something that you’ll notice about the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 with the first few photos you take after you have attached it to your camera body.

The reputation of this class off the charts.

Let’s dig a little deeper into everything you’ll be able to get out of this lens configuration!

Performance And Functionality

As we highlighted above, this lens design is anything but new or cutting-edge.

In fact, compared to modern lens configurations the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 is downright antiquated – a lens designed for camera technology that existed well before DSLR cameras were as accessible or as affordable as they are right now, but a lens that was engineered to maximize the visual quality and fidelity you could get out of every shot.

Tracking down a brand-new, still in the box Vivitar 24mm F2.8 can be a bit of a challenge (unless you are purchasing from re-manufacturers that are using the same design but not using the same stock as the originals).

Thankfully though, finding fully refurbished glass in the camera lens world today is a whole lot easier than it ever used to be the past.

This means you’re going to be able to get your hands on a high-performance Vivitar 24mm F2.8 lens without too terribly much trouble, snapping one up at a very affordable price point and enjoying some of the best wide-angle and macro close-up shots your camera has ever taken as soon as you lock this in place.

Sure, a lot of the overall performance benefits you’ll get out of this lens are going to come down to how well the glass itself has been taking care of over the years and have carefully and meticulously it has been refreshed or brought back to life.

If you do find a manufacturer making brand-new Vivitar 24mm F2.8 lenses you’ll be able to expect extreme performance straight out of the box, though, all without having to spend a mountain of money along the way.

The manual focus ring is going to take a little bit of time to get used to (something that we highlight in just a second when we go over the control system of this lens), but once you get things down pat you’ll have a lot more control over the focus of your shots in a way that’s just not possible when you are strictly running autofocus (AF) on your camera.

The image quality you’ll get out the pictures you shoot with this lens is almost unbelievably sharp, especially for a piece of glass with a wide-angle configuration like this one. There isn’t going to be a lot of blurring (except for at the very extreme edges of your shots) and you’ll be able to get some pretty amazing photographs in lowlight conditions thanks to the aperture setting, too.

User Interface And Control System

The manual focus ring is the “meat and potatoes” of the control system of this lens and it’s going to be the only way that you zero in on the subject of your photograph.

The Vivitar 24mm F2.8 does not have AF capabilities built right in, but as long as the focus ring has been well-maintained and taken care of it has a buttery smooth action that rotates effortlessly (with just a hint of resistance to avoid over rotations).

As we made mention of a moment ago there’s definitely a little bit of a learning curve involved when you go from a strictly AF camera with AF lenses to one that is 100% manual control only.

Some amateur photographers really get a little bit nervous when they deal with manual only lens setups, but thankfully the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 makes it pretty easy to get over that trepidation as soon as you try it out for yourself a handful of times.

Another neat little feature of the manual control ring is that it has been texturized with little serrations cut into the ring perimeter. You’ll be able to get a great grip in any condition (rain or shine), will be able to find your focus even when working in cold weather or high winds, and you won’t have to worry about sweaty hands or wet hands slipping around when you’re trying to focus a photograph, either.

All in all, the control system is very straightforward and a dream to use with just a little bit of practice.

Build Quality And Design

The build quality and general design of the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 is a real testament to its popularity as well as its longevity, with this lens join one of the better reputations a “vintage” lens in the photography world today.

There aren’t too terribly many lens designs that stand the test of time the way that the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 has, and it’s only able to do so because of how well configured it was originally and how future forward it’s engineering was when it first rolled off of the assembly line.

The Japanese class contained within is brilliant, bright, and allows for maximum light exposure even in lowlight conditions and isn’t going to distort your images the way that some vintage glass may.

Instead you’re going to get a lens that works just as well today as it did when it was first made available and brand-new to the market, again something that a lot of “vintage” options cannot claim today.

As far as the lens body is concerned it’s pretty much your standard fare. High-quality metal (including steel and as well as other alloys) make up the bulk of the lens body, with high density plastics and synthetics rounding things out nicely.

This ends up producing a lens – a wide-angle lens – that is pretty solid, pretty stable, and yet pretty lightweight. It’s not going to throw off your balance all that much (especially if you are hooking this up to a modern DSLR with an adapter ring) and certainly isn’t going to wear out your body the way that a big telephoto lens might.

Final Verdict

All in all, there’s a lot to like when it comes to the Vivitar 24mm F2.8 – especially if you are in the market for a new wide-angle and macro style lens.

This lens as a top-tier reputation in the photography world because of the results it produces, the reliability and consistency it enjoys, and the overall performance that you get compared to the small amount of money you have to drop to add this top-tier lens to your arsenal.

Some folks are going to find the manual focus elements a little bit tough to fight, but most are going to get over that pretty quickly – learning how to use annual focus, snapping clear shots than ever before, and doing so faster than AF would have let them for.

The Vivitar 24mm F2.8 is a great lens with a great reputation and is worth its relatively affordable price tag for sure.