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Vivitar 2X MAcro Focusing Teleconverter for Nikon

van do , Jan 10, 2010; 11:47 p.m.

Hey, i just got an old Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Teleconverter to use on my nikon lenses. I have a AF-D 50mm prime, AF-D 70-210mm, AF-D 28-105mm and the 18-55 digital kit lens. I plan to use this on both digital and film but I do have a few questions. First, will this teleconverter work on all me lenses? Second, will there be a loss of image quality in my photos? Third, since this is a 2X converter the focal lenghts of lenses will double right? And last, will this teleconverter effect my aperture? Will i still be able to go down as low as f/1.8 when using the teleconverter?
-thanks, van!!

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Jerry Litynski , Jan 11, 2010; 12:01 a.m.

You will lose two f-stops with the converter...but unless you know the Vivitar is Ai or Ais for use, you are taking a risk putting it on a digital Nikon body. You would need a f1.2 lens to have f1.8 with the teleconverter on your camera.

The three lenses you listed do not go to f1.8....

van do , Jan 11, 2010; 12:09 a.m.

Thanks a bunch! i actually put it on my digital body and took a few pictures and they turned out fine. Is it okay for me to continue doing this? Also, when i use the teleconverter i have to use the aperture ring on my lens and for some reason i am able to stop down all the way to the lowest f/stop! Do you know why this is? And my 50mm does go to f1.8
-thanks!!

Tommy Lee , Jan 11, 2010; 01:07 a.m.

The Vivitar macro converter is one of the few neat things in the 80s. It is designed for the 50/1.8 Ai/Ais and turning it into a 100mm 1:1 capable macro lens. It has Ai tab so it will fit both D90 and D300. It is first a 2X teleconverter so it will degrade the image some. But if you use it from f4 and on down, you can get good result. The converter has a built-in extension tube controlled via a focus Helicord. With that, the 50/1.8 can magnify up to 1:1 macro. You can use it with the aperture dial set to f1.8 (f3.5 effective because of the 2X teleconvertion), but you won't get good result. You can think of this macro converter turning your 50/1.8 into a 100mm macro lens that has f3.5 focus viewing and a usable range of f8 to f16 (f4 to f8 in aperture dial). No, it won't replace a 100/2.8 micro nikkor but if you are not picky, you can get by with it for a while.

Your other lens will fit but the result will be less good then the 50/1.8

van do , Jan 11, 2010; 01:23 a.m.

Thanks, really helped!! But if it is designed for the 50/1.8 Ai/Ais will it still work fine with the AF-D version? Also, it seems like the only purpose this teleconverter serves for me is macro since i already have a bigger zoom lens?? Also, using it to turn my 70-210mm into a 420mm seems quite useful :)

Lex Jenkins , Jan 11, 2010; 01:32 a.m.

I had one of those Vivitar Macro Focusing 2x teleconverters for my old Canon FD system. Very useful doodad, one of Vivitar's best and easily equal to their Series 1 lenses. Best with fast normal lenses or, at most, a fast lens in the approx. 100mm focal length. I also tried it with a slowpoke 35mm f/3.5 prime and while the effective maximum aperture was very slow it was still usable in bright light, but the working distance at maximum magnification was very short.

I tried it with longer teles and zooms but it didn't work so well. The optical quality was okay but the magnification ring on the converter would bind with longer, heavier lenses. The moving barrels and elements in the converter would shift slightly under the strain. Best to reserve it for shorter primes.

van do , Jan 11, 2010; 01:44 a.m.

When you say "The moving barrels and elements in the converter would shift slightly under the strain" what do you mean? It seems like i'll probably use this converter mainly on the 50mm!
-thanks, van!!

Tommy Lee , Jan 11, 2010; 02:23 a.m.

AF-D version of the 50/1.8 will work just fine. You can use it with the 70-210 f4 too. But f4 being the minimum, like any 2X teleconverter, will turn your 70-210mm to f8 effective (also < 1/2 resolution). So if you stop it down two stops to gain some resolution back, you end up with f16. At f16, your back is against the wall.

On the bellow, with anything long and front heavy, it will put stress on the end. If you extend the focus helicord all the way out, it could bend slightly due to weight and binding the bellow in the process. For macro, best use a Nikon 5T diopter or a PN11A bellow for these heavy zoom.

Lex Jenkins , Jan 11, 2010; 09:19 a.m.

Van, the Vivitar Macro Focusing 2x teleconverter is an unusual device compared with other teleconverters and and extension tubes. Unlike those other devices, which use fixed, non-movable, rigid barrels, the Vivitar doodad has a "focusing" type helical. It's actually intended to facilitate accurate magnification, accompanied by a ratio scale on the barrel, but can be used for focusing if desired.

I don't know whether the helical uses brass or aluminum surfaces. That helical can be strained by long, heavy telephoto lenses and zooms and will bind. I doubt any real damage would result from experimenting with it, but wear or galling of the mating surfaces might occur if the ring is turned while under a heavy load. This should not be a problem with focal lengths up to a typical 100mm or so f/2.8 moderate telephoto.

If you'd like to extend the reach of your teles and zooms it's probably best to buy a rigid barrel teleconverter. There are plenty of those around.

Oskar Ojala , Jan 11, 2010; 04:20 p.m.

Pretty much what Tommy said. The Vivitar is a very interesting device, but should not be a substitute for long lenses., rather, it's a good extension for normal lenses especially when doing close-ups. Realistically I would forget about having an 420/8 lens using the Vivitar and the zoom; the quality is not like to be so good and the combination is a bit difficult to support properly.
I wouldn't worry about damaging anything; my Vivitar is of very high mechanical quality and I don't see any issues that could happen.


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