This lens randomly came across our desk one day, and as soon as it did, we knew we had to take it out for a spin. This is our full write-up on the Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto Macro lens.
What is the Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto Macro Lens?
The Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto Macro lens is a fixed focal length lens. It has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, which is reasonably fast for a macro lens.
The focusing distance and macro capabilities are what make this lens remarkable. The minimum focusing distance of the lens is 22cm. And it is a true 1:1 macro lens, which means things that measure 1mm in real life will appear as 1mm on a 35mm frame.
This particular lens has a M42 screw mount, which fits cameras such as the Pentax Spotmatic 1000, Fujica ST605N, and others with a screw mount. You will recognise this mount quite clearly as the lenses screw onto the camera, whereas most other mounts will rotate a small number of degrees and click into place.
Sample Images from the Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Auto Macro Lens
We took this lens out for some test shots using the Zenit EM 35mm film camera, and a roll of Kentmere Pan 400 film.
I was quite impressed with the results. There were a few photographs where the shutter speed was a little too slow for the handheld images I was taking, but other than that, the lens produced some wonderfully clear and sharp shots.
It was exciting to rethink some of the normal photographs I would take with film cameras, and focus on the smaller parts of subjects. I realised that there was a lot around me that would look really interesting as a macro photograph.
The two images above are of the same object. The first image shows the hockey stick at a normal focusing distance. The small circle at the top of the image is what is shown in the second image. The second image was taken with the minimum focusing distance on the lens.
These two images are of a signed cricket ball (signed by Shabnim Ismail, if anyone was wondering.) The lens was able to get really close to the stitching of the cricket ball and show the intimate details of the texture.
I think the texture of the images was also highlighted by using the black and white film.
Here is another close-up shot of the pages of a book. You can see here that whilst the lens is very sharp in the middle of the frame, some of this sharpness is lost towards the edges of the frame.
We also took the lens out for some shots outside of our office. The images on the left are the objects shown in the images on the right. You can see here just how closely this lens can focus!
The lens also retained a really good quality when not used with the macro focusing distance.
Another plus point of this lens is that it is not very heavy. It was a great addition to the heavy Zenit camera, for example. It made the camera feel more manageable as the lens was not adding to the weight of the camera massively.
Overall, I really enjoyed using this lens, and would really recommend it for anyone looking to change their perspective a little.
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