The Ultimate Vivitar 28mm F/2.8 Review!

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Vintage camera lenses are definitely making a come back amongst the photography community and we are seeing more and more people reaching out every month and asking a number of questions about a ton of different vintage lens options. When it comes to vintage lenses, few brands hold the reputation of Vivitar and their lens ranges as they were truly built to last and last they have. Due to there being so many vintage Vivitar lens options in a fully serviceable condition out there, we are seeing more and more people reaching out and asking about the various lenses from the Vivitar range that are worth adding to their collection of camera accessories.

There is no doubt in our mind that one of the better lenses from the Vivitar range is the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens that has proven to be a very popular option amongst the photographs looking to add a decent, vintage camera lens to their collection. We have lost count of the number of people that we have seen reaching out about the lens over the last few months so we have decided to dedicate this article to our ultimate Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 review.

Due to being such a popular vintage lens option and one of the best out there, it can be a pain to find them in local photography stores. That said though, online vendors usually have the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 available due to so many people having access to the seller accounts on there. Although you can sometimes find the lens on market stalls or thrift stores, we would always recommend that our readers check out the various online market places to see if they can get their hands on the lens quickly.

One of the main issues with these vintage lenses is that there are so many of them in a state of disrepair so you never know if you are wasting your money by picking it up in a thrift store. Many of the online retailers will offer you a refurbished guarantee for the lens if you purchase it from them so you have some peace of mind that the lens will last. In addition to this, these online vendors usually give the lens a full clean and service prior to selling them too so you know you are getting a Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 in solid working order.

Although there are a few decent vintage wide angle lenses on the market right now, we are now going to be taking a more detailed look at the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 to try and explain to our readers why they really should be giving this lens a fair shot. With it often being found for less than $50, sometimes less than $30 on the various online market places, the lens offers excellent image quality provided you get a serviceable lens that has been well maintained.

Performance And Functionality

Although the actual technology in the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 is pretty dated by the standards of modern camera lenses, Vivitar did a great job of putting some solid technology into their lenses and definitely designed them to offer some of the best performance and functionality that you would get. Although it is a prime lens with no zoom capability, the 28mm focal length is ideal for all wide angle photography niches and with the f/2.8 aperture, it can particularly shine when it comes to landscape photography. That said though, even though the lens does have a focal length that is suited for wide angle photography, you can use it for a number of different situations.

Due to the age of the lens, some of them are a little bit more susceptible to suffering from chromatic aberration but some people like this as it can add to the vintage look of some of the photographs that you capture with the lens. Other than this, the actual image quality of the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 tends to hold up well with minimal abnormalities no matter what camera body you use it with. The nine inch minimum focusing distance on the lens also adds to the versatility of it and allows you to use it in more niches than some of the more modern wide angle camera lenses too.

All in all, Vivitar did an excellent job of putting the lens together and it is easy to see why it was so popular back when it was originally release and why it is still very popular amongst the vintage lens using community. As we touched on above, it can be difficult to get the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 in local photography stores due to it being such a popular option and people usually picking it up as soon as they are available.

User Interface And Control System

The lens is one hundred percent manual and offers you zero auto focus capability but this is all part and parcel of using a manual focus lens. The vast majority of the lenses have ages well with a solid little manual focus ring on them that is still easy to rotate and tweak the focus of the lens with minimal effort. One common problem that we see reported is that the focus rings on the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 are faulty when in actual fact, there is just a build up of dirt below them prevent it from rotating correctly, you are able to easily clean this out with a decent cheap cleaning kit and correct the issue most of the time.

The manual aperture selectors on the majority of the lenses have ages well and are still in perfect working order due to the simple design of them making it very simple to use. That said though, the outer grip has fallen off a number of the lenses but the actual control leaver on the lenses usually works flawlessly.

Build Quality And Design

The Vivitar lens range has always been built to last and this is why they are one of the more popular vintage lens options going by a long shot. The body of the lens is heavy when compared to a more modern lens but this is due to them not having access to the modern plastic polymers that the more recent lenses use to keep their weight down while also keeping the lenses tough and robust.

The lens elements were originally made from the highest possible quality Japanese glass but over the years, many of the lens elements in the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 have been replaced due to refurbishment. That said though, the original glass offers excellent image quality that is particularly sharp for the time period and lenses with the original glass for their lens elements often retail at a slightly higher price point than those without.

That said though, the vast majority of the refurbished lenses out there that have had to have their forward lens element replaced for whatever reason usually offer you some great glass. If you do purchase your Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 from a reputable vendor then you will usually get some form of paperwork to show the type of glass that has been used for the replacement. We have even seen a few of these refurbishments replace the original lens element with German Schott glass too that is arguable some of the best glass available.

The lens mounts on the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 is cast metal and they have almost all held their shape well allowing you to quickly and easily mount or unmount the lens from your camera body of choice with ease. Another positive of the cast metal lens mount on the Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 is that if there is any damage to the mount, it is very easy to see so if you are picking your lens up from a local thrift store, you should easily be able to see any damage done. If you do notice any damage on the lens mount then avoid it as the actual mount of the lens is one of the few things on it that you are unable to replace.


That brings our ultimate Vivitar 28mm f2.8 review to an end and the lens really can make a solid addition to anyone’s collection of camera accessories. There is no doubt in our mind that it is one of, if not the best vintage wide angle lens available on the market right now that has aged very well. We would not recommend that you pay more than $50 for the lens in this day and age though and we have seen a number of photography stores adding a markup to the lenses as they know that they are popular but we don’t feel that it is worth more than $50.