A subjective look at Cosina AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 MC @ Canon EOS 5D. Part 1 — Introduction

For information on history of Cosina please refer to the article dedicated to Cosina Voigtlander Ultron 40mm F/2 Aspherical SL II.

Approximately from the late 1990s and up to 2006 Cosina produced autofocus lenses for SLR cameras with Canon EF, Nikon F, Minolta A and Pentax K mounts. Almost a complete list of these models is given below:

Lens Name Also known as
Cosina AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 MC Phoenix, Promaster, Soligor, Vitacon, Vivitar Series 1, Voigtlander
Cosina AF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 MC Exakta, Soligor, Vitacon, Vivitar
Cosina AF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 MC Macro Phoenix, Vivitar, Voigtlander
Cosina AF 28-105mm F/2.8-3.8 MC Exakta, Phoenix, Soligor, Vivitar, Voigtlander
Cosina AF 28-200mm F/3.5-5.6 MC ?
Cosina AF 28-210mm F/3.5-5.6 MC Exakta, Phoenix, Soligor, Tokina, Vitacon, Vivitar
Cosina AF 28-210mm F/4.2-6.5 Aspherical IF Phoenix, Promaster, Soligor, Vitacon, Vivitar, Voigtlander
Cosina AF 28-300mm F/4-6.3 MC Exakta, Phoenix, Soligor, Vivitar
Cosina AF 70-210mm F/2.8-4 MC Macro Vivitar
Cosina AF 70-210mm F/4.5-5.6 MC Vivitar
Cosina AF 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6 MC Phoenix, Vivitar Series 1, Voigtlander
Cosina AF 100mm F/3.5 MC Macro Phoenix, Promaster, Samyang, Soligor, Vitacon, Vivitar, Voigtlander Macro-Dynar
Cosina AF 100-300mm F/5.6-6.7 MC Promaster, Soligor, Vivitar
Cosina AF 100-300mm F/5.6-6.7 MC Macro Phoenix, Promaster, Vitacon, Vivitar, Voigtlander
Cosina AF 100-400mm F/4.5-6.7 MC Phoenix, Promaster, Soligor, Vivitar Series 1

According to the impressions of photographers, there’s nothing special in these lenses and some of them even were considered the worst in their class (sic!). However there were some exceptions. For example, Cosina AF 100mm F/3.5 MC Macro, which was known for its mediocre build quality, was at the same time very successful optically, that’s why Pentax Corporation developed its own smc Pentax-FA 100mm F/3.5 Macro on the basis of Cosina’s lens. As for the Cosina AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 MC, it also has it’s own advantages which will be described in this review.

But first of all we have to research the numerous counterparts of this lens which were produced by various independent manufacturers. A full list of such counterparts is given in the table below:

Parameter Cosina AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 MC Tamron AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 A10 Tokina 193 AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 (aka Quantaray)
Produced for mounts: Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Minolta/Sony A Canon EF, Nikon F, Minolta/Sony A Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Minolta/Sony A
Number of aperture blades: 8 8 6
Optical design: 13 elements in 11 groups, including 1 low-dispersion element
Closest focusing distance, m: 0.5 0.5 0.4
Internal focusing: No Yes Yes
The focusing ring rotates during autofocus: Yes Yes Yes
Filter size, mm: 77 77 77
Type of the lens hood: Round Petal Petal
Discontinued: Yes Yes Yes

It should be also noted that Tokina 193 AF 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 had predecessors: 235 AF 20-35mm F/3.5-4.5 and 235 AF 20-35mm F/3.5-4.5 II, which differ mainly by the higher build quality (metallic barrel instead of plastic one of model 19-35).

There was also Minolta AF 20-35mm F/3.5-4.5, in respect of which there is a strong suspicion that it was based on the same optical design.

Moreover, in former times Cosina 19-35mm F/3.5-4.5 MC was produced as a manual focus lens for the most common manual focus mounts of 1980s. However, this earlier version had different optical formula.

In order not to confuse you with all these lenses, let’s leave them out of the scope of this review.

Design and Features. Autofocus >>

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