Relatively new to photography. I have a Nikon D5500. I was looking for a portrait lens, but someone local is selling this Vivitar 28mm 1:2.8 lens for $25. I have a Vivitar tripod and I like it a lot and it was cheap yet has the features of an expensive tripod.

For that price I would get this lens but I wanted to know if this is a decent lens, and what kind of things are typical to shoot with it? Is this a good price for this lens? Is it good for portraits or is this a macro lens?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does the ad say that the lens is for Nikon or for another camera? that can be a deal breaker if its actually for another camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – thebtm
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ true, i will ask \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 23:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ They said 1:2:8, is it really supposed to say 1:2.8 or 1:2,8? Update actually is it is 1:2.8 that does make a lot more sense!! 2.8 aperture i assume, I am only guessing \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 23:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user7783780 please slow down and do a little research before rushing into a purchase. You will save yourself hassle later. You cannot buy any lens and expect it to work on your Nikon. You need to limit yourself to lenses with a Nikon F-mount. I would advise forgetting adapters for now. A lens has a filter thread and a mount; do NOT confuse the two. Define your needs first (i.e. portraiture), and then choose what to buy. Don't buy a lens just because it's branded the same as your tripod! Learn the effect of different focal lengths, and learn what a macro lens is. Reading is what you need! \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm clearly not rushing into anything if I am asking questions on the internet and doing research before the purchase. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 19:42

3 Answers 3


TL;DR: You can mount this lens on a Nikon DSLR only with a "speedbooster" lens adapter.

seller says fits canon 49mm. won't fit my camera since I have nikon D5500 which I think is 52mm

The "⌀49mm" means the lens takes 49mm filters (the circle with the line through it is the diameter symbol).

I'm not sure what the seller refers to by "Canon 49mm" (or by Nikon 52mm). However, if the lens is a Canon mount, it is probably a Canon FD mount (which was made obsolete by the Canon EF mount when they introduced their EOS cameras).

Assuming the lens is made for a Canon mount, it will not mount on a Nikon body without a "speedbooster" adapter. This is because the registration distance (also sometimes known as flange focal distance, such as at Wikipedia) of Canon's FD mount FFD is 42.0mm, and Nikon's F-mount FFD is 46.5mm. This means that compared to the Canon FD body, a Nikon body is 4.5mm too thick. And a bayonet mount adapter will add even more distance between the body and lens. If you mount a lens too far away from the sensor/film plane, you lose the ability to focus on distant subjects.

If you wanted to mount this lens to a Nikon F-mount DSLR (again, assuming this one is made for Canon mount), you'd need a so-called "speedbooster" (it's a mount adapter that has a refocusing element in it, to allow the Vivitar lens to focus to infinity when mounted further from the body than the designed FFD). For example, Fotodiox sells such an adapter for around $35 USD.

Related questions for further reading and explanation:

Is Vivitar 28mm 1:2.8 lens a good lens, and what kind of things can I use it for?

This is considered wide angle lens when mounted on a full-frame body; On your D5500, this is considered a more-or-less normal focal length / field of view (having the same angle of view as a 35mm lens mounted on a full frame body).

For its price, it's apparently a decent little lens:

However, because you need to add a corrective lens element (the speedbooster) when mounted on Nikon bodies, the optical quality will likely be somewhat reduced. You can minimize this loss of optical performance by using a higher quality speedbooster. However, there are not very many options on the market for Canon FD lens to Nikon F-mount body adapters. The adapters will probably cost more than the lens.

In general, as a Nikon body owner, you will have to get used to having fewer lens choices (as far as adapting other brand lenses to Nikon) than any other mainstream market camera brand. Unfortunately, that's just part of the Nikon system experience.

Note: I originally assumed this lens was a Minolta MC/MD mount lens because of the "MC" text on the lens; as @osullic helpfully pointed out, "MC" stands for Multi-coated, meaning the lens has a multi-coat antireflective coating on at least one of the lens elements to prevent glare and lens reflections.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The "MC" does NOT indicate it is a Minolta mount lens. "MC" here (as it often does) stands for "multi-coated". \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 1:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @osullic :facepalm: Indeed. I'm pretty sure I knew that at one time. I have edited my answer to reflect that. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 1:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a helpful and comprehensive post which has answered most of my questions. Thank you. Upvote accept. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Speedboosters" are focal reducers. They have a conversion factor ~0.7x. There are no focal reducers for DSLRs. The corrective element for lenses with FFD less than the camera body are usually ~1.4x. They are teleconverters. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Feb 25, 2020 at 0:22

Just my 2 cents.

  • That lens looks like is a manual lens. I have a Vivitar Series 1, that was a pretty good lens, Vivitar's top of the line back in the days. But now is really quite difficult to have a sharp focus manually. Especially if you want to use a wide aperture.

  • The 28 mm focal length is most likely covered if you have the kit lens.

  • For Portrait are many, many styles, but normally you want a long focal lens, not a wide lens, around 50 to 85 mm.

  • With a wide lens having a nice bokeh is out of the question among other things.

For these 4 reasons, I would not buy it.

Focus on getting a specialized lens that suits your needs for photography, not just because you find something cheap.

You comented:

would like to get good or decent quality inexpensive lenses

It is a lot better that you consider buying a 50mm 1.8 lens. Save those $50 so you have now to save a bit less.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is your 4 cents ;) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 19:46

For buying used lenses, especially ones made by 3rd Party manufacturers, it's always best to do your homework. A Lens that is designed for Canon or Nikon can only work on the designed manufacturer without an adapter; which an adapter can cost hundreds of dollars defeating the purpose of getting the cheap lens. It's also good to find out as much details about the lens you are looking at and how others have reviewed the lens.

Sometimes it is best to just save your money for another lens that will complete the task you are trying to do. Try reading other photography sites before jumping into a lens you might regret down the road. A simple google search of any lens with enough information will cause you to find all kinds of stuff on that lens.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes I'm reading a lot.. would like to get good or decent quality inexpensive lenses (<$50) to experiment before getting hundred dollar lenses \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 0:03

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