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  1. #1

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    Mirror lens or regular lens

    How does a 500mm mirror lens compare to a regular 500mm lens?

    Jeff

  2. #2

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    The mirror lens creates little donuts for the unfocused background.
    "If your pictures aren't good enough,
    you're not close enough." -Robert Capa

  3. #3

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    And the donuts tasted yummy.

    A telephoto 500 mm has an variable aperture, while the 500 mm reflex lens has a fixed aperture.

    The reflex lens is usually lighter in weight, and shorter in length.

    Optically you should test, but I've experienced more sharpness with a telephoto style 500 then a reflex design.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  4. #4

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    Mirrors are typically much less expensive than their bigger aperture brothers in the same focal length and, after having both, the traditional lens beats the mirror hands down. Images made with mirrors are softer, have OOF donuts and contrast is noticeably less than a traditional lens.

    I doubt you will ever see a pro wildlife or sports photographer with a mirror.

    Mirrors are initially fun to play with but I tired of it quickly and it went to live elsewhere.

    -Fred

  5. #5

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    Doughnuts are more of a specular highlight issue. But out of focus lines will look doubled and this is often described as bad bokeh. Although in grass and foliage I find it in character. they are F8 usually so you change the shutter speed or use filters or different iso film. The mirror lens is Much lighter. the mirror lens is less contrasty But jumps into focus. The inside element is a replaceable glass and comes clear, yellow, orange, red and polaroid. I rather like my Sigma 600mm in Contax mount on safari as the decreased contrast softens the harsh shadows of the African sun.
    But I am an amateur.
    it cost 90 dollars and I like it better than my fixed zeiss lens
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Here's what the double line bokeh and donut shaped highlights look like from a Soligor compact 500mm/8.0 macro mirror lens (pay attention to the background)--



    Too bad, because this was such a compact little lens to carry around, and the close focus ability was a plus. Contrast was also lower than a refractive lens, but in this image of a great egret in full sun, I could have used even less contrast.

    Here's the smooth bokeh of a Canon FD 600/4.5 refractive lens--

    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7

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    Don't waste any money on cheap mirror lenses! They are optical not very good. A used rare (former East German) Carl Zeiss Jena 5,6/1000mm mirror lens in good condition is costing today approx. 3000 Euro's, without camera adapter. Advantage of this lens is, it works fine also on medium format cameras.

    Cheers

  8. #8

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    Thanks David, Yes the mirror lens is compact, but looks like the refractive lens takes better images. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Jeff

  9. #9
    AgX
    AgX is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowanw View Post
    The inside element is a replaceable glass and comes clear, yellow, orange, red and polaroid.
    I was puzzled by that but I assume you refer to an inserted filter and in the latter to a polarizing filter.


    Concerning Bokeh.
    At times the manufacturers marketed those lenses because of those rings. I personnally got my problems sometimes with those doubled lines.
    Anyway, this is a matter of taste and subject. By using a simple mask cut in shape as you like as additional aperture in front of the lens you can change the of out-of-focus image.

  10. #10

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    Yes the filters are inserted at the back but in addition to being filters they are an actual part of the lens' optical system and you must have one of them in.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

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