Vivitar Corporation was a manufacturer, distributor and marketer of photographic and optical equipment originally based in Oxnard, California. In November 2006, the corporation was purchased by public company Syntax-Brillian Corporation for US $26 million in stock and was operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary. [ [ Syntax-Brillian Press Release] ]

ale of Vivitar brand name

On August 21 2008, subsequent to its filing for bankruptcy, parent company Syntax-Brillian completed the sale of the Vivitar brand name and intellectual property to privately held consumer electronics maker [ Sakar International] based in Edison, New Jersey. Sakar did not purchase Vivitar’s equipment, facilities or accounts receivable. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. [ [ Sakar Acquires Vivitar Brand, Expanding Footprint in Camera Business] Reuters, August 25 2008]

Sakar plans to expand its current mass retail digital camera offerings which sell in the low-range market of $20 to $100 by using the Vivitar brand on digital cameras priced in the midprice range of $70 to $300. Additional Vivitar-branded products including camera accessories and digital photo frames are planned as well as potential licensing opportunities. [ [ Sakar acquires Vivitar brand and IP] , CNET news, August 25 2008]


The company's product line has included 35 mm SLR cameras, zoom lenses, flashes, binoculars, digital cameras, night vision products, point-and-shoot cameras, tripods, underwater cameras, and other photographic accessories.

Company history

Founded in 1938, as Ponder and Best by Max Ponder and John Best. Originally an importer of German made photo equipment they began to import cameras and photographic equipment from Japan after WWII. They were instrumental in the introduction of many brands into the US marketplace including Mamiya/Sekor 35mm cameras, Kobina 8mm movie cameras, Sankyo/Komura wide/tele adapter lenses and a full line of photographic darkroom equipment cobbled from many mom and pop manufacturers throughout Japan and later Taiwan. the company has a rich history and reputation in photographic equipment. Cigar smoking and with a heavy German accent, Max was the sales side of the company while John ran the operations side of the company. Together they were a formidable team. In the Early 1960's they created the "Vivitar" brand to compete with the major lens manufactures all of whom used the "ar" ending in their lens names. By carefully positioning their limited quantity of product with key photo retailers, they quickly built a reputation for good quality lenses at modest prices. The retailers found that they could make good margins while giving their customer good value. As their reputation grew many contract lens manufacturer sought them out to carry their products under the Vivitar brand. Ponder and Best were the first to gain acceptance for lenses with interchangeable mounts allowing customers to use the same lens on different manufacturers camera bodies. In the 1980's they introduced the Series I lens line. These computer designed state of the art lenses were well priced and often out performed the optics of most camera manufacturers of the day. In the mid 1970's they private labeled a new type of semi-professional flash unit from National/Panasonic called the Vivitar 260. While acclaimed for it's innovative design, it's down side was that it used expensive 9 volt batteries which died quickly. Max, recognizing the problem, flew to Japan and met with the manufacture and offered some improvements based on the feedback he received from customers. The improved flash was introduced as the Vivitar 283 and quickly became the number one semi-professional flash unit, outselling all it's competitors combined. This flash unit was in production for over 20 years, revived twice after being discontinued due to customer demand. It had a sister flash called the 285 which was a more effective design and had a removable sensor and zoom hood to cover different focal length lenses. After the deaths of Max and later John, the company lost it's edge drifting between different owners.

Vivitar lenses

Manual focus prime lenses

*Vivitar 17mm f/3.5
*Vivitar 19mm f/3.8
*Vivitar 20mm f/3.8
*Vivitar Auto 21mm f/3.8 T4
*Vivitar 24mm f/2
*Vivitar 24mm f/2.8 (made by Tokina)
*Vivitar Series 1 28mm f/1.9
*Vivitar 28mm f/2
*Vivitar 28mm f/2.5
*Vivitar Close Focus 28mm f/2.8
*Vivitar Auto 28mm f/2.8
*Vivitar 35mm f/1.9
*Vivitar 35mm f/2.8
*Vivitar 50mm f/1.7
*Vivitar 50mm f/1.8
*Vivitar 50mm f/1.9 (Japan)
*Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 Macro M42 Mount (made by Komine)
*Tele-Vivitar 85mm f/1.8 T
*Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 Macro M42 Mount (made by Komine)
*Vivitar 90mm f/2.8 Macro M42 Mount or Pentax K mount (made by Komine)
*Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro (made by Kiron)
*Vivitar Series 1 90mm f/2.5 macro (made by Tokina)
*Vivitar Series 1 105mm f/2.5 macro (made by Kiron)
*Vivitar 135mm f/1.5 professional
*Vivitar Series 1 135mm f/2.3
*Vivitar 135mm f/2.5
*Vivitar 135mm f/2.8
*Vivitar 200mm f/3.5
*Vivitar Series 1 200mm f/3
*Vivitar 300mm f/5.6 (made by Olympus)
*Vivitar 400mm f/5.6
*Vivitar 500mm f/8
*Vivitar 500mm f/6.3 T-mount (not mirror)
*Vivitar 600mm f/8 T-mount (not mirror)
*Vivitar 800mm f/11 solid cat

Manual focus zoom lenses

*Vivitar 17-28mm f/4-4.5
*Vivitar 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5
*Vivitar Series 1 24-48mm f3.5
*Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm f2.8-3.8
*Vivitar 28-200mm f/3.5-f5.3 Macro
*Vivitar 28-210mm f/3.5-5.6
*Vivitar 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5
*Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f2.8-3.5
*Vivitar Series 1 35-85mm f2.8 (Variable focus)
*Vivitar 35-200mm f/3-f4.5 Macro
*Vivitar 55-135mm f/3.5 TX
*Vivitar 70-150mm f/3.8
*Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4 [ Lens review]
*Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 [ Lens review]
*Vivitar 70-210mm f/4.5
*Vivitar 70-210mm f/4.5 Macro
*Vivitar 70-210 f/4-5.6
*Vivitar 75-205 f/3.8
*Vivitar 85-205 f/3.8
*Vivitar 90-230mm f/4.5 TX
*Vivitar 90-180mm F/4.5 Flat Field zoom (made by Kiron)
*Vivitar 75-300mm f/4.5-5.8
*Vivitar Series 1 120-600mm f8 [ Lens review]

Auto focus lenses

*Vivitar Series 1 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5
*Vivitar Series 1 28-70mm f/2.8
*Vivitar 28-70mm f/3.5-4.8
*Vivitar 28-80mm f3.5-5.6
*Vivitar 28-105mm f/2.8-4.0
*Vivitar Series 1 28-210mm f/4.2-6.5
*Vivitar 28-300mm f/4-6.3
*Vivitar 35-70mm f3.5-4.5
*Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f2.8
*Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f2.8-4
*Vivitar 70-210mm f4.5-5.6
*Vivitar 100mm f3.5 Macro
*Vivitar 100-300mm f5.6-6.7
*Vivitar 100-400mm f4.5-6.7


See also

* List of digital camera brands
* List of photographic equipment makers
* Kiron Lenses

External links

* [ Vivitar website]
* [ Archived website showing most recent products offered prior to sale of brand name on 7/21/2008]
* [ Sakar International website]
* [ Listing of Vivitar camera manuals]
* [ Listing of Vivitar Flash manuals]
* [ Vivitar's Excellent Series One Adventure]
* [ Vivitar 70-210 Series 1 Macro Zooms] : Enthusiast web site, historical information
* [ Vivitar Series 1 200mm f3.0]

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