Vivitar was founded in 1938 as ‘Ponder and Best’ by Max Ponder and John Best in Santa Monica, California. Max Ponder headed the sales department, while John Best ran the operations side of the company. Ponder and Best began by importing German-made photo equipment.
Ponder and Best were instrumental in the introduction of many brands into the American market, including Mamiya/Sekor 35mm cameras, Kobena 8mm movie cameras, Sankyo/Komura wide/tele adapter lenses and a full line of photographic darkroom equipment imported from many manufacturers throughout Japan and later Taiwan. Ponder and Best were the first to gain acceptance for lenses with interchangeable mounts allowing customers to use the same lens on different manufacturers' camera bodies.
Ponder and Best created the "Vivitar" brand to compete with major lens manufacturers. The company commissioned experienced lens designers and top-line Japanese optical lens manufacturers such as Kino Precision to produce their lens designs. By carefully positioning their limited product line with key photo retailers, they quickly built a reputation for good quality lenses at modest prices. As their reputation grew, many manufacturer’s deemed them as the go-to brand to carry their products.
Vivitar, which up until this point had always been based in Los Angeles, CA, opened branch offices in NYC and Chicago.
Vivitar set out to create high-quality lenses built to their own specifications and created the Vivitar Series 1 lenses. These high-quality state of the art lenses became famous and often outperformed the optics of camera manufacturers of the day.
In 1979 the corporate name was changed to Vivitar Corp and the company became multinational with subsidiaries in Japan, West Germany, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden.
With the success of the Series 1 line of lenses, Vivitar branched out and began selling a line of 35 mm Cameras including an SLR and the Vivitar 35ES/EE series of rangefinder cameras.
In 1997, President and CEO of Vivitar, Alex Wijnen, announced the company would be split into two divisions: the Photographics and Optics Division, and the Electronics and Digital Imaging Division.
Sakar International acquired Vivitar in August 2008 and quickly began to develop a line of digital cameras to bring to market.
Sakar International, in 2010, expanded into the Mobile Power and Accessories division which included: Bluetooth speakers, headphones, earphones, power banks and assorted chargers.
Vivitar celebrates 75th anniversary with a party at CES (International Consumer Electronics Show).
Vivitar rebrands launching at CES (International Consumer Electronics Show) targeting the millennial consumer who is looking for fun and affordable tech products.