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Old Aug 24, 2009, 4:44 AM   #1
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Default Vivitar 400mm F6.3 Modification

For owners of the Vivitar or similar but identical lenses (Soligor, Spiratone etc):

Probably my first purchase on Ebay was a Vivitar 400mm F6.3. In excellent condition. Tokina made. Quite cheap. However, I could never get acceptable photos with this lens. After seeing a post on another web site with the author getting excellent photos from a similar lens but usually stopped down somewhat (F11), I decided to sort out a problem. This lens has a T4 to M42 mount. The mount has a spring loaded wheel to stop the lens down. However it must be held in the stop down ("manual") position. A bit difficult to do while manual focussing, hand holding the camera/lens etc.
So google found:
http://gabriel.mp3-tech.org/blog/ind...y090320-154132

Did the simple mod of inserting a plastic wedge into the T4 mount and now dial aperture prior to composing and focussing. Results are much better! Obviously I was always shooting wide open before, either intentionally or by accident and consequently quite soft images resulted.
Will post some photos later.
bb2
At F11, 1/1000, ISO 400, uncropped:


Late afternoon sun, with some fill flash: ISO 800, F11, 1/180sec:

Last edited by beachboy2; Aug 25, 2009 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Extra photo
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 10:00 AM   #2
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I have the TX version of this lens but in f/5.6 and using a PK adapter. This makes it the same as a Pentax M lens as far as the step down process goes. Mine does quite well with the sun behind me but CA creeps in with the sun in front. They (this type of lens) can do quite well, especially considering the cost is so low. I'm into collecting them right now and so far only have the TX one. Looking for a T-4 in 5.6, another in 6.3 and the fixed mount in 6.3. All Tokina made. Not to mention the newer versins without the tripod mount. LOL more of them out there than you'd think.

Very good photo there. I did the same with my screw mount lenses till I figured out the Auto Manual button was there for as reason. Then I started focusing in wide open then stepping down to my desired f/stop and shooting in A-mode. Camera seems to find the correct shutter speed fine then. These long T4's and TX's love good light. Have you gone here for a look into the history of T4's and TX's?
http://www.vermontel.net/~wsalati/Ca...t4_for_two.htm

And a quick look at my TX. I still need to repair the lens mount locking mechanism. Was broken when I got it.
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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Oh yeah...with my TX to M42 adapters the M to auto switch stays in the M mode by itself with out you having to hold it there. May be a glitch in my adapters but it does stay there. Makes it a lot easier that way. If yours doesn't then the fix on that web site is a good one. Thanks for the URL as I'm always looking for them.
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 11:02 AM   #4
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I think its much better with the mod. Getting some quite good photos. With correct exposure and focus, lens is much better than I expected! Contrast is very good.
Another win for Tokina!
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 7:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
I think its much better with the mod. Getting some quite good photos. With correct exposure and focus, lens is much better than I expected! Contrast is very good.
Another win for Tokina!
bb2
LOL There are a lot more out there! Folks just seem to prefer the all auto stuff and miss out on these good vintage lens.
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 8:02 PM   #6
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drop me a line..
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