The company began as Ponder & Best way back in 1938 when they imported German manufactured photo equipment and sold them in the United States. It was Max Ponder and John Best who founded the company with Max heading the sales division and John overlooking the operations of the company. The end of the Second World War (WWII) saw the entry of Japan into the world’s industrialized sector with many innovative products. They turned the electronic, optical, home appliances and all other sectors on its head.
This was an opportunity to Max and John and they started importing photographic equipment and cameras from Japan which had a good market in the United States. They introduced many brands into the market with some later taking the lead in the market among all other existing brands.
Brands Mamiya / Sekor 35mm cameras, Kobena 8mm movie cameras, Sankyo / Komura wide angle and telephoto adaptor lens and also photographic equipment to develop and print captured images were all in the range of products that the Ponder & Best company imported. They were specializing in most of these products with lens distribution and sales their specialty.
In the meantime they commissioned experienced and qualified lens designers and approached reputed Japanese optical lens manufacturers and introduced their own range of optical lens under the “Vivitar” brand in 1960. This saw a complete change in their company strategy, from a lens distributor they were thrust into lens manufacture.
Through Ponder & Best’s marketing strategy of carefully positioning their limited range of lenses and building an exclusive dealer network, Vivitar came to be recognized as a good quality optical lens available at reasonable prices. Dealers came to understand that they could offer their discerning clientele good value for money whilst their margins were more attractive selling Vivitar rather than other more reputed brands. Customers who were mostly professional users came to trust Vivitar’s quality lens against those of the more popular brands. This propelled Vivitar forward and since then they have not looked back.
After the deaths of Max Ponder and John Best the company went into some problems regarding the ownership where it changed hands a few times but in November 2006 the company was purchased by Syntax Brillian Corporation a public company for US $ 26 million. Then on August 21, 2008, the latter who held the brand name and intellectual property rights under control sold the company without Vivitar’s equipment, accounts receivable, available facilities or other assets for an undisclosed amount to Sakar International, a private consumer electronics manufacturer, based in Edison, New Jersey.
Since the take over Sakar International have introduced Vivitar digital cameras in the price range of US $ 70 to $ 300 and have also brought in some camera accessories. In January 2009, Sakar International released three new Vivitar branded cameras, with a digital SLR lens series. These were the first of many as disclosed by them at that time and since then have introduced many innovative products under the Vivitar brand.
Another product line that they are now manufacturing under the Vivitar brand are camera carrying cases or camera backpacks as they are referred to, which are gaining popularity due to its innovative designs.