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Dan Fromm
04-13-2006, 06:35 AM
As a person that has taken wildlife photography for a number of years, I would never recommend a beginner start out with a mirror, they, because they are so light, lead to very bad technique, besides lacking in the quality department, if I were to ever use another mirror it would be a version of them that is called the "Solid Cat" mirror lens, then you get away with out the problems associated with a normal mirror lens, but that said, the 500mm f/8 presets are a far better choice, and often times I see the old 800mm f/8 lenses on ebay that go for very reasonable prices, I picked one up for $250 and it is actually very good quality, but you have to use stop down metering and if you don't have a good tripod, forget it, just won't work.

DaveDave, don't forget the Questar 700/8. Four (4) pounds, large, sharp, focuses to 1:4, unfortunately not cheap. And like all long lenses it punishes the least unsteadiness severely.

Cheers,

Dan

David A. Goldfarb
04-13-2006, 07:08 AM
I've owned a couple of mirror lenses, which I sold when I could afford the FD 600/4.5. The biggest problems they had were low contrast relative to a refracting lens and double-line bokeh in situations that are pretty common in bird photography--water bird wading in reeds, bird in a tree surrounded by branches. A light 500mm lens is attractive for flight shots against a blue sky (bad bokeh not being an issue), but f:8 is on the slow side for that purpose.

Dan Fromm
04-13-2006, 08:53 AM
David, t/11, which is what the Q700 really does, is slower still.

donbga
04-13-2006, 09:55 AM
I've owned a couple of mirror lenses, which I sold when I could afford the FD 600/4.5. The biggest problems they had were low contrast relative to a refracting lens and double-line bokeh in situations that are pretty common in bird photography--water bird wading in reeds, bird in a tree surrounded by branches. A light 500mm lens is attractive for flight shots against a blue sky (bad bokeh not being an issue), but f:8 is on the slow side for that purpose.
I'll add my 2 cents about the Cats. The two that I've used seemed to meter slightly slower than the nominal maximum f stop. Not to mention that shooting wide open allows almost no depth of field. Kodachrome 200 pushed to 400 usually resulted in lower contrast images with these lenses as well as other 400 speed films. Modern emulsions are much better than those I used at the time but you will still be shooting on the razors edge if you want supper fine grained images.

As I said before (actually Dave said it), the Tamron 300 mm maual focus f 2.8 with a high quality 1.4 or 2x tele converter will give you the most bang for your buck if you are working on a tight budget.

Also FWIW, the bar is set so high now (and has been for decades) for nature/wild life imagery that the weekend photographer will be hard pressed to produce or make photographs that rival the best professional work.

But it's still fun trying. Just be mindful of the subject and their environment. I've seen some very obnoxious photohraphers in the field, especially at places like Sanibel Is., FL.

3Dfan
09-14-2008, 10:45 PM
If you already have a good spotting scope, it may be possible to use it as a lens. There are many models that can use a T-mount.

darinwc
02-26-2009, 09:53 PM
Don Bryant: "Also FWIW, the bar is set so high now (and has been for decades) for nature/wild life imagery that the weekend photographer will be hard pressed to produce or make photographs that rival the best professional work."

I think you hit the nail on the head there. A pro can spend the money (and time) to follow lions around in africa for a month.
I can only spend $200 on a sub-standard lens and an hour in the park trying to catch the deer.

darinwc
02-26-2009, 09:57 PM
If you already have a good spotting scope, it may be possible to use it as a lens. There are many models that can use a T-mount.

I looked at a bunch of scopes on ebay but it seemed they were all about f/8 or slower. Also it was hard to know what brands were good, they all looked like cheap plastic.

Anscojohn
02-26-2009, 11:05 PM
What are peoples thoughts on teleconvertors ??

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Teleconverters work. Buy the best you can afford. For a longish lens "on the cheap" the 300 mm 4.5 Tair telephoto with the Russian Fotosniper outfit is a remarkable good image maker. It is a M42, but a simple adapter will allow you to mount it on your telextender. In such a configuration, the spring-loaded aperture must be stopped down by the user hitting a lever under the lens.