500mm/F8.0 Mirror Lens for 150EUR

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500mm/F8.0 Mirror Lens for 150EUR

Postby Thomas » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:18 pm

Just closed a deal on eBay with a seller that promised to take the used lens back within 14 days of closing. So I gave it a try, although I otherwise would not buy used camera equipment on eBay.
The lens had very good reviews, though you have to cope with the disadvantages that are inherent to this type of lens construction: fixed aperture (F8.0), bad bokeh (doghnut shape). It also has no AF and no IS.

The advantages:
Can focus to 1.7m (1:3,3)
Weighs only 600g
Is only 96mm long
Is dead cheap (used)

See a review and comparison to the Canon 500mm/f4.5L (!!) @ www.bobatkins.com
Image

Now I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery and will keep you posted with e review and some sample shots.
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Postby Thomas » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:11 pm

Oh boy, no automatic shutter :cry:
Manual mode does not work :cry: :cry:
Seems the adaptall does not signal something useful to the D80-body. I would have been content to use aperture-priority mode and fix the lens automatically to f8.
But that is disappointing...

Does anybody know how to fool the D80 into believing there is a fixed aperture lens sitting on the mount?

Here're some (clickable) shots:
@30m
Image

@1.7m
Image

B.t.w.: I think light and short is good for carrying, but when handholding cam+lens, it means that your shake is not well damped :(
So I'd assume that holding a heavy 170-500mm zoom of 1.7kg will steady your shot more than this lens.
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Postby Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:06 pm

Finally the sun is back again. And I took the chance to shoot around our garden with the lens. There was the inevitable problem of mis-exposure, as no automatic works, but with a peek at the exposure-diagrams it was quite easy to find the right exposure.
All shots were taken freehand and mostly at ISO800.

And this is how this unbelievable small tele-lens looks on the D80-body (clickable pic!):
Image
See for yourself, what you can do with cuddly little super-tele here
I just droped almost every photo that I made in to give you an impression of the "hit-rate".
As you can see: focussing is also sometimes a challenge. And finding the object! I was just chasing a butterfly which sat down just 2m away from me in a bush. I focussed the lens at that distance, but it took me so long to find the butterfly in the viewfinder that it was already gone..

Fascinating that the lens extends just <1cm to focus from infinity to 1.7m :shock:

But I still think that I'll give it back...
Or is anybody else interested?
Last edited by Thomas on Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thomas » Sat Jul 21, 2007 1:34 pm

Well: here is a(nother) professional test of this lens.
In short: It can be quite sharp, but only if nothing moves :wink:
Or you have to crank up the ISO to 1600 when you can do shots like this:
Image

>>B.t.w.: ISO 1600 on a D80 can look quite nice...<<
Last edited by Thomas on Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby beren23 » Sat Jul 21, 2007 3:08 pm

Thanks for the info, I was curious to hear about results with a lens of this kind :-)

I don't like the idea of a single, fixed aperture (unavoidable with this type of lens), and F/8 (F/11 in practice because of the second mirror) does not help to get steady shots at the already difficult length of 500mm nor does it make this lens desirable for low light conditions. :(

Also, I believe that you loose most of the compactness advantage of this lens if you must carry a tripod everywhere anyway. :roll:

Given the price of the lens the above can easily be forgiven, but the thing I dislike most is bokeh, those doughnut shaped out of focus areas are not only (IMHO) unpleasant to watch, but also distracting from the main subject and almost disquieting, I knew about this undesirable effect in bokeh with this type of lens, but that example shot of the red flowers will most likely make me forget about getting a mirror lens for good.

Bye!
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Postby Thomas » Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:36 pm

Well beren23, I'm in a little discussion with Klaus Schroiff as to whether his calculation of f11 was ok. Some maths told me that it really is a f8 lens. But that is still open to debate.
I was thinking about a standard tele lens/zoom but was not too content with what the market has to offer:
The only stabilized lenses for Nikon are the Nikkor 80-400 VR and the Sigma 80-400 OS. Both were tested by Klaus and both showed weaknesses at 400mm wide open. Plus they were in the 950-1400EUR range which is at the moment too much for a speciality lens for me.
The other non-stabilized lenses are not to bad, a little cheaper (around 600EUR) and start at F5.6. But still, you almost have the same probs if you don't use a tripod: You need ultra-fast shutter speeds and high ISO plus wide open aperture are required to get stable shots. Not that much different from the Tamron mirror...
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TC-20E II Teleconverter

Postby Bob Andersson » Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:28 pm

Hi Tom,

I still have a mirror lens for my retired Olympus OM-2. It had the advantage that when not on the camera it could be used as a spotting scope. :)

Now for the big question which, I guess, has implications for most lens systems. Given a limited budget, would you recommend a mirror lens or use of something like the TC-20E II Teleconverter?

As I see it, a teleconverter will introduce some softness into the image but if you can retain vibration reduction/image stabilisation (with the right lens) then, unless you are using a tripod, you might still be better off than if you used a mirror lens.

Bob.
Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
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Re: TC-20E II Teleconverter

Postby beren23 » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:15 am

Bob Andersson wrote:As I see it, a teleconverter will introduce some softness into the image but if you can retain vibration reduction/image stabilisation (with the right lens) then, unless you are using a tripod, you might still be better off than if you used a mirror lens.Bob.


Good question, it's something I want to know more about, it seems logical that a teleconverter, appart from enhancing the image size you get, it also "enhances" the lens weak points.

Is it true, as I've heard (I may be about to say a great nonsense), that multipliers make your shots lose practical resolution? It is plain that the image size and real pixels are going to stay the same, but it helps little to have a six, eight o ten MPs sensor if the lens project an image with the quality of, say, a 3 or 4 MPs shot.

For example, I've read that the 18-55mm Canon kit lens produces quite good results with the older Canon 350D but not so good with the 400D because the optical quality is not up to the 10 MP sensor of the 400D, it seems logical to think that using, say, a 1.5x multiplier with this lens would make the loss of quality 1.5x more dramatic. Am I right?

I guess that this is not a very big issue for smaller prints but it may be dramatic for A4 or A3 hardcopies.

Thanks.
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Teleconverters

Postby Bob Andersson » Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:22 am

beren23 wrote:I may be about to say a great nonsense


I don't think so! SLRGear.com produces Blur Index plots using DxO Labs technology. For those unfamiliar with the SLRGear reviews if you click on the Blur Index plot to the right of the text review a browser window opens which allows you to see the plot change as you move the sliders for f number and, where appropriate, zoom.

Have a look at their review of the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM which, from the review, is "one of the sharpest and most distortion-free that Canon makes". At f/2 through f/16 this lens is pin sharp and only loses this sharpness at f/22 and f/32 due to diffraction. This lens costs around £650 in the UK if you shop around.

Compare this with the SLRGear review of the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM which pricewise, at £250, is more in the comfort zone. The Blur Index plot shows that this lens only gets near the EF 135mm f/2L by stopping down to f/5.6. Shoot at f/2 and the lens can't match the size of the camera sensor pixels.

Given that a teleconverter is going to soften an image and also, unless you override the camera, mostly work the lens at its biggest aperture it is my guess that, especially with a tripod, Tom's choice of a mirror lens is the correct one unless you are already fortunate enough to own a pin sharp lens to put in front of it.

Gordon uses a different testing methodology so it would be interesting to hear his views on this. I wonder if CameraLabs has considered testing Nikon/Canon teleconverters? Difficult to do well as, regardless of the sharpness of the lens in front, teleconverter performance varies with the focal length of that primary lens.

Bob.
Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
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Postby Thomas » Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:49 am

You can make up your own mind with some lenses tested by Klaus Schroiff with TCs:
Canon EF 300mm f/4 USM L IS + 1.4x
Nikkor AF-S 300mm f/4D + 1.4x
Sigma AF 120-300mm f/2.8 EX HSM APO + 1.4x

It is clear that you lose resolution, but not in the range of 40% (with a 1.4x tele-converter). And you lose 1 stop with a 1.4x converter.
So the conclusion for is: A very sharp 350mm lens of at least f5.6 + a 1.4x converter is at least as good as a 500mm mirror lens. Plus you get all the other benefits like nice bokeh, IS, non-fixed aperture.
BUT adding the $$$ and the weight for such a lens plus teleconverter, this is not really a apples to apples comparison.
-------------------
P.S.: If you use a 1.7x converter the loss in resolution is probably like using two 1.4x converters and you lose 1.5 f-stops. The benefit: you only need a 300mm to make a 510mm lens out of it...
Last edited by Thomas on Wed Aug 08, 2007 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Teleconverters

Postby Bob Andersson » Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:15 pm

I guess the only other question is "are you more likely to put a teleconverter or a mirror lens in the bag?"

Given that using focal lengths upwards of 300mm on a cropped sensor really demands a tripod even with image stabilisation it is probably true to say that if you are carrying the tripod then it is no big deal to pack the mirror lens. Another nail in the teleconverter coffin :?:

Bob.
Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.
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Postby Thomas » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:43 pm

I'd love to try a 400mm with IS as I believe that is the only real advantage against a mirror-lens and I would hope that it works handheld.
Ken Rockwell says that @300mm 1/60sec and @400mm 1/250sec is safe to handheld a Nikkor 80-400mm VR. But 1/250sec is not that big bargain that you'd hope for.

Currently I'm thinking of getting a monopod to make it easier to carry it arround, but after some prelim testing I'm not convinced either. You still shake a lot in many directions :(
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Hand-holding

Postby Bob Andersson » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:54 pm

Thomas wrote:Ken Rockwell says that @300mm 1/60sec and @400mm 1/250sec is safe to handheld a Nikkor 80-400mm VR


Oh dear, I'm getting those headaches again :?. Why would going from 300mm to 400mm require reducing the exposure by a factor of four?

Bob.
Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.
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Postby Thomas » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:01 pm

Well, maybe Nikon's VR is not working optimally at 400mm :?
Or Ken was not his usual scientific self :wink:
His other values were: @80mm 1/15sec. @150mm 1/30sec, @200mm 1/15sec. This is also kind of counter-intuitive...
Last edited by Thomas on Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hand-holding

Postby Bob Andersson » Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:09 pm

I've figured it out. Perhaps he needed a stiff drink prior to producing the longest results. 8)

Bob.
Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.
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