Review: Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 MC

The Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 is a very fast wide angle lens produced for different mounts by Kino Precision under their own brand Kiron. A lens with identical specs was also manufactured by Kino Precision for Vivitar.

The lens feels balanced on the NEX-5T and handles very nice. Focus is a little stiff, but smooth and uniform. The Kiron’s effective focal length of 43 mm on APS-C is often praised to be even closer to the viewing characteristics of the human eye than typical 50 mm “normal” lenses. The fast f/2.0 maximum aperture should be seen as an emergency stop for regular shots, though, as there’s heavy blooming going on in contrasty situations. But this may also be an advantage, if you’re specifically looking for that soft and glowy performance many appreciate in vintage lenses.

For the Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 I’ve created lens correction profiles, which are available for download.


Condition of my copy

Optics: Excellent. No scratches and practically no dust.

Mechanics: Very good. Smooth but slightly stiff focus, aperture clean and fast. Oddly, the aperture ring ball bearing is missing about 8 of maybe 50 balls which poses no problem but makes the lens rattle when turned.

Exterior: Excellent. Only slight signs of use on the mount.


Optical performance on NEX-5N / 5T

f/2 is hazy and slightly soft with medium contrast. At f/2.8, the haze is nearly gone and contrast improves visibly while sharpness is still only acceptable. Corner performance makes a big leap forward at f/4 and the lens starts to sharpen up, reaching close to good levels in the center. The latter further improves to a solid “good” rating at f/5.6 and f/8. From f/11 on, diffraction softens the image again. It becomes really evident at f/16.

Chromatic aberrations are visible at f/2 but not too obtrusive due to the haze. Heavy red and cyan CAs become clear at f/2.8 and grow further as the lens is stopped down. All in all, one of the worse CA performances I have seen. Luckily, the CAs present in a form that is easy to correct in post processing.

Vignetting is about 1/2 stop at f/2 and is gone by f/2.8. The effective T-stop at f/2.0 is approximately T2.3 (-0.4 EV), which is okay. The lens also shows a medium barrel distortion of -1.2%.

In conclusion, this 28 mm f/2 performs very similar to the Kiron made Vivitar 24 mm f/2, especially CA-wise. Luckily, sharpness is slightly higher and distortion a little lower in the 28 mm. Minolta’s excellent MD 28mm f/2.8 is ahead of the Kiron 28 mm in terms of sharpness, corner performance and especially CAs at every aperture. It’s also much less prone to flare – another weakness of the Kiron lens. In exchange, the latter is one full f-stop faster. Don’t get me wrong – the 28 mm f/2 will still deliver good results. But it’s best suited for shots in dim lighting conditions, where the CAs are less likely to become evident and critical sharpness is not your key concern. Further, it doesn’t hurt to pair it with a generous lens hood.


Test charts

The following images are pixel-level crops from the test chart. They may appear scaled in your browser window. Click on them to view the crops in full size and cycle through them easily. For more info on the test setup, visit the details page.



Test chart overview

(Cropped areas marked in orange)



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/2.0



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/2.8



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/4.0



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/5.6



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/8.0



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/11



Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 @ f/16


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5 thoughts on “Review: Kiron 28 mm f/2.0 MC

  • Steve.

    I have one of these on a Canon FD mount. Do you think its worth getting a FD adaptor for my Sony A7? Or alternatively is it worth anything? It clean with no hazing and operates smoothly.

    • Benjamin Post author

      Hi Steve,

      if you use 28 mm from time to time and respect the Kirons’ shortcomings at f/2 and f/2.8, it’s still an interesting lens. I would get a cheap FD adapter and try it. Maybe get a fitting lens hood, too, to reduce flare and increase contrast.


  • Clive Glendinning

    These profiles have been extremely useful to me as have a large collection of vintage lenses which I have either modified or rejuvenated to use on my Canon 6D FF/ Canon T5 crop cameras!…………….It is especially interesting to see the different results these old lenses produce jumping between the formats!….The Kiron 28mm f2 has produced some exceptional Panoramas for me set at f8 or so!……These profiles might extend it’s capabilities somewhat!……Until this lens I had thought my Tamron 24mm f2.5 unbeatable!……..I admit to preferring Vivitar Series 1 over all of the others!…..They seem to give me the best results all round…….Just modified a Vivitar Series 1 28-90 FD to Canon mount and find very similar results to the Kiron!….Very Sharp! but noticeable CA, that if not perfectly focused can cause problems with removal!!….These old lenses definitely have a character all their own!

    Thanks once again for the profiles!…….(I have four of the lenses in your list!)