Mirror Lens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by iBats, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. iBats

    iBats TPF Noob!

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    So i hear mirror lenses are good if you dont have the money to spend on a telephoto lens? is this true? and what lenses would you recommend if so?
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Some mirror lenses are good, most are mediocre, and a select few are of outstanding optical quality. Most common these days are 500mm models; Adorama is selling a new 500mm f/6.3 model for a very affordable price. The brand is Pro-Optic, and it seems to be "okay". Nikon's older 500mm f/8 mirror lens models were quite good,and of reasonable size. Since a mirror lens is a manual focus lens (with the exception of the new SONY 500mm AF model) and it has only ONE aperture value, it is very possible,and easy, to fit a Nikon-mount mirror lens to a Canon body using a $20 adapter.

    The 500mm f/8 Reflex-Nikkor is one of the most commonly-available, best bang for buck mirror lenses. Do not overpay for these things! Many of the low-cost mirror lenses are worth little more than $100, the Reflex-Nikkor is more than $100,let's just say.

    The Vivitar Series 1 450mm "solid catadioptric" is of legendary quality,and is priced pretty high on eBay due to its rarity. If you ever get a chance to get one, it's one of the best made. Same with the Vivitar Series 1 600mm f/8 solid catadioptric--the 600/8 is made of three pounds of solid optical glass by Perkin-Elmer of NASA and space program fame. These two Vivitars are really quality lenses.

    Downside--doughnut bokeh. Slightly low contrast, but that can be punched up in post processing. Only one aperture, or Neutral Density filters, so ISO and shutter speed only way to control exposure. Best on bright days. For some subjects, a mirror lens is okay, but the doughnut bokeh makes many scenes look a bit odd. On the other hand, these lenses are shorter than all-glass lenses, and are easier to hand-hold at slower shutter speeds than big glass lenses.
     
  3. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup: Quite true

    It seems to me that the 500mm were always more common as 250mm is fairly short.

    But anyway, I have a 250 and I got it not for the price but for the fact that it is very easy to handhold which I thought would let me get some photos I would not get with a tripod mounted lens.

    I would not get one just because of the price. The bokeh is definitely different and you want to be sure you like it. A lot of people don't.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have seen one method to counter the doughnut shaped bokeh effect - and that is to shoot lowkey shots. That is to expose so that the background areas will be black (fully underexposed) and then use additional lighting (flash) to increase the lighting in the foreground areas - thus bringing the main subject into a proper exposure. The problem with this and a 500mm lens and the typical subjcts such lenses are used to shoot (often wildlife) is twofold:

    1) You need a background to be very distant (idealy) from your subject - a bird against the sky or an animal against a skyline for example. The idea being that by the time the flashlight reaches the background areas and reflects its too weak to boost to a level where you can get anything but black

    2) You need a lot of light - for a distance shot abetter beamer on a flash would be essential and you might even need to use two flash units to achive what you desire - baring in mind that you'r also making the flash fire at higher powers and thus going to drain the battery more and slow your recycling rate.

    As a final point you also have the limitation of using flash on an animal - that means that you should expect to get only a single shot. Some animals might not pay any attention to it and let you shoot for ages whilst others will bolt as soon as you press the shutter - you won't know till you do press the shutter though

    edit - ps incase I am getting termanology wrong with lowkey or you are not sure what I mean here is an example:
    IMG_0165 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    In this shots case the background was the sky (and on review a bit mor light could be added to the subject as well for a better overall effect).
     
  5. t00sl0w

    t00sl0w TPF Noob!

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    anyone have opinions on the bower lenses? i have considered thiers
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The Bower and the Pro-Optic appear to be the same lens, just sold under different labels. The Pro Optic seems to be about $159, the Bower $179. Popular Photography magazine reviewed the Pro Optic 500mm f/6.3 mirror lens a year ago. It is "okay"--not outstanding, but not too bad either. AND, it's f/6.3 instead of f/8 like most 500 mirrors. f/6.3 would be preferable.

    Bower's 85mm f/1.4 manual focus lens, ALSO sold as a Vivitar Series 1 85mm f/1.4 lens--same lens, different labels, made in Korea, actually produces some pretty nice images. I have seen loads of samples of the Bower/Vivitar 85/1.4, and it looks good, especially at wider apertures.
     
  7. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Ok, mirror lens lovers, how much do I get for a 250mm Minolta?
     
  8. t00sl0w

    t00sl0w TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the info derrel, the 85 is the one i was looking at....the only problem is the lack of a focus circle in the viewport on my camera.....
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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  10. iBats

    iBats TPF Noob!

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    wow thanks for all this info!

    i googled some images on the bokeh effect, and i think it would actually look pretty good if you had a cluster although on its own it looks a little funky.

    Other than that though i might consider getting one for the holiday's

    again thanks a bunch
     
  11. photograham

    photograham TPF Noob!

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    sounds like you got a good purchase to go make :)[​IMG]
     
  12. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    mirror lens? :raisedbrow:
     

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