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300mm Mirror Lenses
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many excellent shots in here all--the classic card are great!

...........been considering a mirror for > 10 years--this thread tipped the scales. A Tamron 500mm showed for the right price in my travels: I now own one. Sharpness is not a concern but, of course, fast enough shutter speeds & good technique are vital. All of these were shot RAW & PPed to my current liking--I even removed some of the ring effect (which I sometimes like btw) from a couple of these. The biker shot below is handheld @ 1/320th so it is pushing the limits, though I find the shot acceptable. jt


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Focusthrow wrote:
Many excellent shots in here all--the classic card are great!

...........been considering a mirror for > 10 years--this thread tipped the scales. A Tamron 500mm showed for the right price in my travels: I now own one. Sharpness is not a concern but, of course, fast enough shutter speeds & good technique are vital. All of these were shot RAW & PPed to my current liking--I even removed some of the ring effect (which I sometimes like btw) from a couple of these. The biker shot below is handheld @ 1/320th so it is pushing the limits, though I find the shot acceptable.


Tamron 500 and 350 are both highly regarded. Looks good, and good job with focusing, especially at low shutter speed relative to the focal length.


PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have found that the focusing with my new camera, Sony A7 II is easier. After adjusting the diopter for my bad eyesight, I see the difference in how the images come into clear and sharp focus. This has reinforced my earlier statement about how critical focusing is with these mirrors. I've taken the Makinon out again and am more successful with it but it is still very difficult. I also found that the big Maksutov 3M-6A works better at closer distances than I had earlier thought.

Today in a moment of weakness, I accidentally won an auction for a Rubinar 5.6/500. I'm eager to see how well it compares to the big Mak.

The Ohnar focusing really well with the A7 II. However, I have learned that vignetting can be a big problem. In some even lighting it isn't much of a problem but with a bright background, it gets bad.

A friend bought a Spiratone 5.6/300. I'm eager to give it a try and compare to the Ohnar. The Spiratone has been a highly regarded mirror but prices kept it out of my range - same with SP-350. I'll report my findings.


PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been obsessed with these mirror lenses but next time out (Saturday), I'll bring my big Meyer 4/300 as a change of pace.

On this day two weekends ago, the weather was dreary, rainy, and dim. The birds weren't very active, instead, trying to keep warm and keep their young or eggs warm in the nests. It was a challenge for the Ohnar and I needed to up the ISO to 1600.











The following with blue sky and warm.







PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Like 1 small


PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I especially like the third of your latest set, Woodrim.
Imagining it with the white bird as the only one in the frame,
I think it would have been even more dramatic & moody than it already is.

This entire thread has been very interesting, indeed.
It's got me wanting to get my pristine Soligor CD 500/f8 mirror lens
out for a test-drive. Might also be interesting to couple it to the matched
2x teleconverter it shipped with! Exclamation
Unfortunately, we're stuck in a rut of lingering near-winter weather
here in Michigan: cold, overcast, etc. Not really conducive to
motivating a person to get out and about.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very oriental! Like 1 small


PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodrim wrote:
Focusthrow wrote:
Many excellent shots in here all--the classic card are great!

...........been considering a mirror for > 10 years--this thread tipped the scales. A Tamron 500mm showed for the right price in my travels: I now own one. Sharpness is not a concern but, of course, fast enough shutter speeds & good technique are vital. All of these were shot RAW & PPed to my current liking--I even removed some of the ring effect (which I sometimes like btw) from a couple of these. The biker shot below is handheld @ 1/320th so it is pushing the limits, though I find the shot acceptable.


Tamron 500 and 350 are both highly regarded. Looks good, and good job with focusing, especially at low shutter speed relative to the focal length.


I focused those shots with my D700 which makes precise focus challenging on a 500mm f/8 lens, so thank you for the complement. I look forward to getting the lens on my Fuji XE-1, where focus will be relatively easy due to focus magnification in the viewfinder. Agreed, the Tamron mirror is well regarded--hopefully, I’ll get enough time with it to produce some nice work. I really like its colors & sharpness, along with the manual focus ergonomics. Looking forward to Winter leaving New England. jt


PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woodrim:
Those are some beautiful birding shots. I love the 2 where the bird is suspended in air, hovering down for a nest landing. It was a nice idea to start a thread for mirrors. jt


PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the kind words. With our flower season upon us, I will try to include more from the Makinon. I will also expand on my Maksutov 500mm thread and add images from Rubinar 5.6/500 to allow for comparison.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Mirror lenses Reply with quote

Used a Yashica 500 mirror many, many years ago. I was impressed but these are rare animals.
I did pickup a russian Mac but it was so darn heavy, sold that.
I have owned a Samyang-something or other 500 f8 but just couldn't get a sharp image. Maybe my shooting skills but not likely. Sol dthat.

I just recently picked up a batch of lenses including a Celestron 300, Celestron 500 and Promaster 500. I will be testing shortly and will pass on my thoughts.

None of these will replace my new "fav" camera, a Sony rx10V3, which, at 300 and 500mm (equivalent) is super sharp without any of the drawbacks.

But they are still fun to experiment with.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Mirror lenses Reply with quote

beeton wrote:
Used a Yashica 500 mirror many, many years ago. I was impressed but these are rare animals.
I did pickup a russian Mac but it was so darn heavy, sold that.
I have owned a Samyang-something or other 500 f8 but just couldn't get a sharp image. Maybe my shooting skills but not likely. Sol dthat.

I just recently picked up a batch of lenses including a Celestron 300, Celestron 500 and Promaster 500. I will be testing shortly and will pass on my thoughts.

None of these will replace my new "fav" camera, a Sony rx10V3, which, at 300 and 500mm (equivalent) is super sharp without any of the drawbacks.

But they are still fun to experiment with.


The rx10V3 looks to be a wonderful camera. I dislike the small sensor P&S for a number of reasons but this camera probably performs much better. I would hope so for the price. No doubt that the lens is sharp. Typically, the P&S cameras can't manage shallow DoF but 220mm at f/4 can probably do pretty well.

I'll be curious to see your Celestron 300mm shots. I came close to buying one when I was looking for my Ohnar.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Mirror lenses Reply with quote

woodrim wrote:
I'll be curious to see your Celestron 300mm shots. I came close to buying one when I was looking for my Ohnar.


I have that, not great really...


PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Mirror lenses Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
woodrim wrote:
I'll be curious to see your Celestron 300mm shots. I came close to buying one when I was looking for my Ohnar.


I have that, not great really...


I know. And I remember you saying it wasn't great. Forgive me but I also wonder about your focusing (don't be offended). I have discovered how critical focusing is to the mirror lenses. I recently changed to a Sonny A7 II and found the focusing to be much better for my eye. Two of my mirror lenses now perform better.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Mirror lenses Reply with quote

woodrim wrote:
kds315* wrote:
woodrim wrote:
I'll be curious to see your Celestron 300mm shots. I came close to buying one when I was looking for my Ohnar.


I have that, not great really...


I know. And I remember you saying it wasn't great. Forgive me but I also wonder about your focusing (don't be offended). I have discovered how critical focusing is to the mirror lenses. I recently changed to a Sonny A7 II and found the focusing to be much better for my eye. Two of my mirror lenses now perform better.


Well, my GH4 magnifies well and also has a very sensitive focus peaking which I have activated. If the lens is sharp enough though. And I am used to working with very fast lenses wide open.... Wink


PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, can't emphasize enough the precision with which focus has to be applied with these lenses. As much as I prefer colors,contrast and sharpness (not to mention high ISO performance) on my NikonD700, the viewfinder will not really allow this kind of precision. The colors on my Fuji can be funky @ times, but the focus magnification really is a treat. jt


PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not the best light: overcast (which can be good for evenness of lighting) but the Sun was on the other side of the bird, causing a backlit subject. This forced me to pull from the shadows to get some detail.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who won the ebay auction for an Ohnar? $232.40


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just picked up a Chinon 300/5.6 and it seems to perform well, I'll post a few pics if I get time to use it before it hits my eBay shop. I also picked an 1100mm f/10.5 MTO at the same time, and it's a serious beast of a lens! Why it's called an MTO 1000 is beyond me.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having done a great deal of reading about the 300mm mirrors, I learned that Spiratone has been one of the more highly regarded. Some say the Soligor is the same lens and if the price is any indication, perhaps so. Recently, I saw a Spiratone at auction (many today are at buy-it-now), so I suggested it to a local friend. He won the auction and I recently got to try out the Spiratone. Initially, I didn't see much difference in comparison to my Ohnar. It seemed the Spiratone may have performed a tad better at close distance, which probably makes sense since it has a shorter close focusing ability. I thought the Ohnar did better at distance but I also wondered if I hadn't focused as well.

Yesterday, I got another chance to make comparisons. Again, the Spiratone may have a slight edge on close while the Ohnar a slight edge on distance. The differences, if both were focused to the same accuracy, can only be seen upon 100%-200% examination. This surprised me because of all that has been reported about the Spiratone. And since the Ohnar seems to be the same lens as several other brand names, it seems there are more good 300mm mirrors than most people realize.

I have thought for some time that many of the bad reports about mirrors may be more about focusing accuracy than the quality of the lens. To quote Focusthrow from his recent comment: "Yep, can't emphasize enough the precision with which focus has to be applied with these lenses.", I believe more than ever that this is the case. Anyone using an optical viewfinder will likely have the greatest challenge. The best results will come from cameras with excellent focusing aids. I've been using a mirrorless and recently upgraded to a full frame mirrorless. Focus peaking is not enough, magnification is essential for consistent accuracy. In most cases, one level of magnification has been enough for me but in certain cases, the second level is needed.

I have now somehow acquired six mirror lenses; two may be the same if what I've said about branding is true. Another is the Makinon 5.6/300 which is definitely not the same as Ohnar and its various other brand names, nor is it similar to Spiratone. One major difference with the Makinon is the focus scale where the last distance before infinity is Feet/Meter 50/15. The Ohnar and others are 100/30. I believe the difference has resulted in an even more difficult focus. I have found that with the Makinon, even letting o of the focus ring can move it ever-so-slightly and out of perfect focus. The degree of turn from in focus to out of focus is minuscule. The Makinon is capable of sharp images if you can defeat the focus challenge. However, it seems to be better suited for close up than distance shooting.

While this is not an exhaustive list, from my observations, I would say these are all the same 300mm lens: Ohnar, Super Paragon, Super Danubia, Super Travenon, Cambron, and maybe Hanimex. If anyone can list other brand names, please do so even if maybe not the same optics.

Spiratone may also be branded as Soligor and Seikanon.

In another class are Tamron SP 350 and Rubinar 4.5/300. There is also at least one Russian 5.6/300.

Any constructive comments welcome.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have that MTO 1000, it's a huge beast of a thing but a good performer.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodrim wrote:
Having done a great deal of reading about the 300mm mirrors, I learned that Spiratone has been one of the more highly regarded. Some say the Soligor is the same lens and if the price is any indication, perhaps so. Recently, I saw a Spiratone at auction (many today are at buy-it-now), so I suggested it to a local friend. He won the auction and I recently got to try out the Spiratone. Initially, I didn't see much difference in comparison to my Ohnar. It seemed the Spiratone may have performed a tad better at close distance, which probably makes sense since it has a shorter close focusing ability. I thought the Ohnar did better at distance but I also wondered if I hadn't focused as well.

Yesterday, I got another chance to make comparisons. Again, the Spiratone may have a slight edge on close while the Ohnar a slight edge on distance. The differences, if both were focused to the same accuracy, can only be seen upon 100%-200% examination. This surprised me because of all that has been reported about the Spiratone. And since the Ohnar seems to be the same lens as several other brand names, it seems there are more good 300mm mirrors than most people realize.

I have thought for some time that many of the bad reports about mirrors may be more about focusing accuracy than the quality of the lens. To quote Focusthrow from his recent comment: "Yep, can't emphasize enough the precision with which focus has to be applied with these lenses.", I believe more than ever that this is the case. Anyone using an optical viewfinder will likely have the greatest challenge. The best results will come from cameras with excellent focusing aids. I've been using a mirrorless and recently upgraded to a full frame mirrorless. Focus peaking is not enough, magnification is essential for consistent accuracy. In most cases, one level of magnification has been enough for me but in certain cases, the second level is needed.

I have now somehow acquired six mirror lenses; two may be the same if what I've said about branding is true. Another is the Makinon 5.6/300 which is definitely not the same as Ohnar and its various other brand names, nor is it similar to Spiratone. One major difference with the Makinon is the focus scale where the last distance before infinity is Feet/Meter 50/15. The Ohnar and others are 100/30. I believe the difference has resulted in an even more difficult focus. I have found that with the Makinon, even letting o of the focus ring can move it ever-so-slightly and out of perfect focus. The degree of turn from in focus to out of focus is minuscule. The Makinon is capable of sharp images if you can defeat the focus challenge. However, it seems to be better suited for close up than distance shooting.

While this is not an exhaustive list, from my observations, I would say these are all the same 300mm lens: Ohnar, Super Paragon, Super Danubia, Super Travenon, Cambron, and maybe Hanimex. If anyone can list other brand names, please do so even if maybe not the same optics.

Spiratone may also be branded as Soligor and Seikanon.

In another class are Tamron SP 350 and Rubinar 4.5/300. There is also at least one Russian 5.6/300.

Any constructive comments welcome.


I suppose my next statement is sort of constructive as it's based on experience.

The Hanimex 300 mirror lens is awful, possibly the only lens I've made a concerted effort to get a decent from, but failed. Like many Hanimex lenses, it uses beyond cheap construction and I still feel a tinge of guilt for when I sold it for far more than I paid for it. I'm still amazed that the buyer did not return it.

It is of course possible that Hanimex had more than one version of the lens, and I bagged the really bad one. This Chinon 300/5.6 I have is much better made and I will not feel any guilt for selling it on.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
I have that MTO 1000, it's a huge beast of a thing but a good performer.

This is a test shot with the beast, taken using a decent Manfrotto tripod, 10 sec self timer and Sony A7 II. The tripod was barely suitable to the task, and I had to use magnification to get an accurate focus on the excavator which was a yellow blob, about 3/4 of a mile away. The shoot is untouched apart from a bucket load of contrast.


PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's pretty good, at such distance atmospheric conditions play a role and clearly you didn't have the best light and atmospheric clarity, damn this awfully long winter!

Mine is sat awaiting the acquisition of a beefier tripod, it almost crushed by poor Velbon. I'm thinking of getting a secondhand theodolite tripod to mount it on.

I second the condemnation of Hanimex lenses.

The Makinon 300 mirror is a dog too, or rather, the one I had was, I suspect the front mirror was stuck on at a less than perfect alignment as one side of the frame was better than the other.