Telephoto Zoom Vs Mirrored

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by SisterSpirit, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. SisterSpirit

    SisterSpirit TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I'm new here and was wondering if you all could give me some advice?

    I am trying to decide between a mirrored reflex 500mm lens and a telephoto 420-800mm zoom lens to do some wildlife (particularly birds) photography...

    Can u tell me which you think would be better and why?

    I really appreciate it...

    Laurie
     
  2. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have an older 500mm Vivitar mirror. I've owned this lens for nearly 20 years and might have used it 5 times. I found the fixed aperture very limiting and I personally do not like the 'donut' shape of the out of focus elements. On the plus side though these type of lenses are very light weight and mechanically simple thus relatively inexpensive.
     
  3. SisterSpirit

    SisterSpirit TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for responding. Any and all information is needed here. I have never had the opportunity to use a mirrored lens before.

    So I guess what I am looking for is which lens would be better in a low light, such a forest area, and from a long distance, situation (a telephoto 420-800mm zoom or the mirrored 500mm)??

    Any suggestions?
     
  4. Patrice

    Patrice No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A mirror lense will not do well in low light. Depending on which one you buy it's likely fixed at f8 or f11. However a fast f2.8 or so in long zoom or long prime is VERY expensive.
     
  5. SisterSpirit

    SisterSpirit TPF Noob!

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    That's what I needed to know.
    THANK You, you have been very helpful!! :)
     
  6. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    All of the 420-800mm zooms I've seen have a minimum aperture of f/8.3 at the short end and f/16 at the long end. That's VERY poor low-light performance. They also tend to be cheaply made, and could break fairly easily. It's an unfortunate truth that a good lens isn't cheap, and a cheap lens isn't good.
     
  7. SaSi

    SaSi TPF Noob!

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    And then there's the Sigma 300-800/5.6 which is the exact opposite. Very good, very bright, very heavy, very crisp, very long, very expensive.

    You get 7kg or so of lens and spend $7000. That's a fair price.

    I would agree with the limitations of the mirror lenses. A good alternative would be the Sigma 80-400/4.5-5.6 with Image Stabilization. It will become 600mm with a 1.4x extender which produces acceptable photos. Depending on your camera make, there are native alternatives. For example, if you have a Canon camera, the Canon 100-400 zoom lens is similar in range, a bit better in performance and holds its value better than the Sigma.

    Any longer lenses than that neeed special training and experience, so it's good to start with something that is more manageable to get experience and then you decide if you need something more than that.
     

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