Which Reflex Nikkor?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cmo, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. cmo

    cmo Member

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    For a while I used a Tamron SP 8/500. It is compact, lightweight and easy to use from a tripod (which I use anyhow). Compared to the huge Novoflex follow-focus telephoto lenses and all those nice modern expensive telephoto lenses that are even bigger and heavier this small gadget is a pleasure to carry, and for what I do it's a great concept... and I admit that I like the look:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Tamron has a reputation to be a better-than-average mirror lens. But though it has a built-in hood it does not like backlighting situations... and I love backlighting. I can take shots like these with an old 4.5/80-200 Nikkor-C hands down, but with the Tamron I could only see 24 x 36 mm of glare in the viewfinder:

    [​IMG]

    (All made with Nikon F2, Kodak Ektar 100, scanned from 1-hour-lab prints)

    Reflex Nikkors might be better... and most probably they are better than all those el-cheapo mirror lenses on ebay.

    There were several versions of the 500mm Reflex Nikkor. The last version is still pretty expensive. Is it worth the extra money compared to its ancestors? Is anyone here who can share some experience with the various versions? How are these lenses in backlighting situations?
     
  2. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    These indeed look good for a mirror lens. I usually avoid Tamron but looks like there are always exceptions. Nice work.

    btw: the Ektar suits these subjects well.
     
  3. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    cmo,

    I don't have a reflex-Nikkor, but I really want the latest 500/8. According to Nikon, they went out of their way to ensure that the donut bokeh remains circular across the entire frame, instead of turning into crescents near the edges. Also, the latest version is capable of focusing VERY close. Not owning one, I can't comment on its resistance to flare and/or ghosting. I have to say though, that you do amazing work with the lens you already have. I especially love the last photo.
     
  4. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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  5. JLP

    JLP Subscriber

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    I sold my 500mm Nikon a few years ago, don't know what version it was but i had it for at least 25 years so it must have been an early version. The lens was sharp but had terrible Bokeh as mentioned above. I do regret selling as i did not get that much for the lens, i think around 200$

    Nice images CMO, i like the second and the third. Very nice colors from the Ektar.
     
  6. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    There was also a 500/4 Reflex Nikkor at one time. I remember seeing a 600/8 Sigma mirror lens which was suposed to be decent. I have no mirror lenses but the ones I would be interested include the 500/8 Canon, the 500/8 Minolta and the 800mm Minolta. The old Vivitar Solid Cat lenses are also interesting. Years ago a friend has the Tamron. He put it on a tripod and shot out of a window. The lens didn't seem to be very sharp but I figured out that the tripod was set up right near an air conditioning unit and the vibration was causing the problem. I have a 90/2.5 Tamron SP (52BB) which is very sharp and has excellent out of focus rendition so some Tamrons are quite good.
     
  7. Phalbert

    Phalbert Member

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    Hi Dynachrome! You wrote a 500 F4 Nikkor? Did you mean F 5,0? Do you know anything more about it? There was a 500 F4 Sigma in the late 60's. There is one for sale in the net for € 1500, but it is not supposed to be very good.
     
  8. cmo

    cmo Member

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    That was the other lens I wanted to ask for :smile:

    Did you use that for 'terrestric' photography, too? Something like landscapes on a clear and cold morning?
     
  9. cmo

    cmo Member

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    That was probably one of the earliest Reflex Nikkors:

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/telephotos/50cmf5/index.htm

    At f8 and 500mm DOF is as thin as a sheet of paper... but at f5.6 :blink: And there is no such thing as stopping down to f16...

    I remember there was a few single mirror lenses that could be stopped down and had a normal bokeh, but they had a reputation to be as useless at f8 as on f16, due to a siginficant lack of sharpness and contrast.

    http://www.fotowiesenberg.flagencal.de/obj_telespect500mm/obj_telespect500mm_en.html

    724px-TS_500_E_Katoptaron_Arsenal.jpg

    I saw that the patent is available online. If one of you is a better engineer go ahead and make that work :D
     
  10. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    No, I usually use a medium format camera for landscapes.

    I have, however, used the 1000mm for surveillance work.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/6026207555/
     

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  11. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Oops! The old lens was the 500/5 Reflex Nikkor. I think it was made for speed and not for sharpness. The question for anyone who does not have unlimited resources is not whether a reflex lens is "good." It's whether the reflex lens will deliver a better final result compared to using a shorter lens and enlarging more or using a shorter lens with a teleconverter.
     
  12. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Dynachrome;

    For your Tamron Type 52B or 52BB 8/500mm Mirror lens, have you tried it with the Tamron Type 28FH Lens Hood for the 52B/52BB? No, it will not help where you are shooting into the sun, but it will certainly help with light coming from the sides.
     
  13. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Ralph, I think you are talking about the problem I had with the Tamron. In fact I used the built-in hood. Making it longer could be a solution... I think I received an email about a similar matter this morning, probably that is all about lens hoods :smile:
     
  14. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    A Thesis on Reflex " Mirror " Lenses.

    Note: From all of my research, the Canon's & Minolta's were NEVER as sharp as the
    Old Nikkor's.
    If you're shooting Minolta AF, then get the Minolta AF 500 lens, it's supposed to be pretty
    good in that mount. And an AF Reflex lens is nothing short of amazing.
    Otherwise use the Nikon on a Nikon or adapt it to a Canon, which is what I do.

    My first use of a Nikkor 500 mm f 8.0 Mirror lens, was as a Rental.
    I didn't know enough at the time, but this particular lens had the same sharpness
    as a Tamron 300 mm f 2.8 lens. Both were " ED " Sharp !
    A friend had a Tamron 500, which was good, but did not compare.
    I later learned that as Nikon tried to make the Reflex lens, smaller, it lost that
    " special sharpness ". I don't know about what ever current 500 mm Mirror lens,
    that Nikon may have, but I won't buy without a test shoot, so this precludes me
    getting a 500 mm Reflex Nikkor by eBay.

    I own an 800 mm Vivitar Solid Cat, it's good, but not great. I had a 600 mm Vivitar
    Solid Cat, which was better than the 800 mm. I sold when I got the Tamron 300 mm
    f 2.8, because with the 2.0 Tele converter the now 600 mm f 5.6 was sharper, than
    the 600 mm f 8.0 Vivitar. Now that I use AF, I wish I had the 600 mm back.
    Again NO eBay for me, as these seem to be Chinese Knock-Offs.

    Vivitar did have a 450 mm Series One lens & Tamron had a 350 mm f 5.6 Mirror lens
    out at one time. At least with the Vivitar 450 mm you might be able to tell if it's a
    Chinese knock-off, by the focusing grip. The Tamron's do come up used occasionally,
    but people don't like them, because of the lack of depth of field.

    Finally, I think that Soligor had a zoom Mirror lens. I've never heard anything good
    about it.

    Finally, I have a Nikkor 1,000 mm f 11.0 Reflex lens. I used to use it principally,
    when I shot the Long Beach Grand Prix. I would use it at the last turn, before the
    hairpin, shooting from the street above, around a 1/4 mile away & did pretty well
    with it, of course on a tripod. I used to awe the gate keepers, when I started to
    set-up to shoot, as they all told me, that I was too far away.
    Then when I pulled out the lens, & they looked through it, they understood.
    I used to relish the fact that I was the only one, that could get that shot from that
    position !
    One year I tried the 1.4 extender recommended for it, but the image fell apart &
    the image was unusable.

    Finally, the best way to shoot action with these lenses is by Zone Focusing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2012
  15. DaveO

    DaveO Member

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    Reflex Nikkor

    The Nikkor 500mm was an f/5. I bought one a long time ago at a camera show. I hardly ever use it as it is very big and heavy. I also have an older 500mm f/8 that I bought used. It only focuses to around 15 feet or so.

    DaveO