Vivitar 35mm f/3.5 Compatible T System

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The Vivitar 35mm f/3.5 Compatible T System lens is a T mount preset lens distributed by Ponder & Best (later Vivitar) in the 1960s. Ponder and Best designated the family to which this lens belongs as the "Compatible T System". With only one exception, the Compatible T System family consisted of prime lenses, including mostly long telephoto lenses. The only non-telephotos were this lens and a 35mm f/2.8 lens. This lens included a screw-on metal lens cap. The lens is marked "Made in Japan". Based on information from Bill Swinyard, the Ponder and Best product manager from 1968-1971, the manufacturer is believed to be Tokyo Optical Equipment Manufacturing, aka Tokyo Koki, which later became known as Tokina Optical Equipment Co, Ltd.[1] There is still some doubt and other sources of confirmation of Tokina as the manufacturer are being researched.

The lens can be used on most modern DSLRs with an appropriate T or T2 adapter. Full frame users should be careful that the camera mirror clears the rear element of the lens, which extends quite far out the back of the lens. When set to infinity focus, the rear element can extend beyond the back of the T mount on some mount adapters.


Version 1 (mid 1960s) - The earliest version of the lens had a metal focus ring with alternating flats and longitudinal ridges. It was badged as a Vivitar. This version is rare. Unlike other lenses in the Compatible T System family, no P&B badged variant has yet been documented.

Version 2 (late 1960s) - The final version of the lens had a metal focus ring with longitudinal ridges only and a Vivitar badge (pictured on this page). This is version was distributed for approximately five years and is the version most commonly found today.


  • Badging: Vivitar
  • Manufacturer: Tokina (likely but uncertain)
  • Manufacture Date: ca 1965?
  • Focal Length: 35mm
  • Aperture Range: f/3.5 - f/22
  • Diaphragm Type: Preset
  • Diaphragm Blades: 12
  • Filter Diameter: 46mm
  • Minimum Focus: 0.76 m (2.5 ft)
  • Mounts: T Mount
  • Elements: 5
  • Groups: 5
  • Weight: 177 g (6.25 oz)
  • Accessories: screw-on metal lens cap
  • Example Serial Numbers: 220797 (v2), 220885 (v2)
  • Original Stock Number(s): 20-1009



  1. personal correspondence between Bill Swinyard and Steve Rainwater, 21 Feb, 2012