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Vivitar v3800N

Posted by Bengt Köhler Sandberg 2014-07-15

Vivitar v3800N

Made by Cosina, can still be bought new and think this is still being made.
Usually sold with a lens and can come with a 28-70mm or a 50mm f1.7.

Two related and very similar cameras are the Cosina C1s and Voigtländer VSL 43.

Technical info

Lens mount: Pentax K (PK)
Shutter: 1/2000s to 1s + B
Light meter: Through the lens, center weighted (ISO 25 - 3200)
Battery: Two 1.5v SR44 or equivalent
Flash: Flash hot shoe + PC sync connection (sync 1/125 sec)
Weight: 450g

Depth of field button
Multi exposure ability

Takes standard 135 film
24×36 mm negative size.

Vivitar v3800N


It has a good viewfinder which is big and bright.
Compare brightness with the best and this is little darker but it's still good.
Finding focus is easy and it works great.

Right side have light meter info, three led lights with + o -.
The + and - are red and the middle
o is green so it's very easy to read.

Focus aid:
Split screen and Microprism

Shutter type:

Focal plane
Vertical metal blade.

All mechanical.

Build quality:

Metal body and rubber around the parts that you grip and handle the camera.
Top, bottom and much of the buttons and levers are plastic.
And some of these parts are very plasticky and would probably not take much physical abuse.

I find this to be quite the good looking camera.

This is a little mixed bag.
The parts you usually grip when you operate the camera is quite nice and solid.
But then there are some very plastic parts that feel like a toy.
The film rewind knob and the bottom plate are for example very plasticky.

Very noisy and the shutter and mirror have a very clunky / mechanical sound.


A simple all manual camera only but one with some extra features.
It's nothing fancy but have what you might need for most use.
So for this type of camera I would say that this one is very usable.

This don't have a mirror lock unfortunaly but the mirror goes up first when you use the self-timer which is the next best thing.
The mirror and shutter do make some noticeable vibrations and much of that is in the mirror.
So this feature can be very useful for longer exposures.

It also feel fairly good in your hands but it's also a small camera and has not much space over.
I have quite normal hands and it works well but could see that someone with big hand would find it a little too cramped.
Button and dials are well placed but first thought that the shutter button was a bit too close to the shutter speed dial.
But have no problem with this after some use.


Can be a great one for those that's looking for a camera like this.

Read some customer reviews on this and it seems to be a somewhat popular among people that's taking a photo class.
Something this can be very suited for, can also be bought new and are not very
expensive compared to many other new SLRs.

It do however have its fair share of very plasticky parts.
But you do still get metal body and mount.

Thumbs up:
1/2000s shutter
Reliable all mechanical metal shutter
Size and weight

Thumbs down:

Some very platicky parts

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