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400mm Lenses
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Antoine wrote:
I know vintage lenses are often not CA corrected. For 400-500 mm, I have very compact solutions:
- Minolta 500mm f/8 RF : no CA as mirror lens 635 grams
- Minolta 200mm f/2.8 (700 g) + MD 2* 300 S (210g) e.g. 910g in total for a 400mm f5.6 with CA


Since the 2* 300 S picks the centre of the picture (plus I have a APS-C), would be interesting to know how this performs against more "professional" solutions (any input Stephan?) and also how the mirror performs against normal lenses

Interesting question in fact. I must admit that i'm probably not the right person to answer since i'm not really into large tele lenses. Nevertheless i can share my limited experience.

Good (!) mirror lenses in the 500mm range are in fact a valid alternativ to large APO teles if one does distant landscapes without foreground. Even though most mirror lenses do have some CAs, these CAs are in the range of vintage (1975-1985) L / ED / APO glass. The best 500mm mirror i have is the Nikkor 8/500mm "new" from 1985 which focuses down to 1.5m. The Tamron 8/500mm comes close, but has a bit less contrast. Also the Minolta RF 8/500mm comes close to the Nikkor - a bit more CA and vignetting, but less fiddly to focus than the Nikkor.

Cheap "third party" 400 ... 500mm lenses are often surprisingly useful for animal photography since they can be really sharp in the center, and bokeh is much better than with any 500mm RF lens, of course. I would include "converter" solutions here, but my experience is limited; the only converter i regularly use is the Sony AL 1.4x APO converter together with the Minolta 2.8/200 APO and 2.8/300 APO lenses.

Meaningful tests in the 400mm range are quite cumbersome, in fact:

1) Tripod and related oscillations
2) rare days with clear view
3) usually it's windy on clear days => you can litteraly see air vortexes coming down the mountains (!!) => no reliable testing
4) mechanical troubles with adapters
5) focusing problems (e. g. the Nikkor RF 8/500mm "new" is nearly impossible to focus precisely, coz focusing is much too steep)

That's why i never published tests in the 400 - 1000mm range, even though i have done some.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Stephan. Very good advice (donut / bokey, low CA/high CA).

These are difficult to use without a tripod...I just try to push the ISO.

I took a picture through the window (may affect the quality plus I downsized it to 840 kbytes) two days ago.[/url]

PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE - I think for now I have solved my 400mm lens issue and search. I'll still use the Novoflex on occasion (when I feel strong) because it's a pretty good lens. The Osawa I bought is okay stopped down, is extremely light, and has internal focusing, but even stopped down it doesn't match the Novo wide open at f/5.6. However, I must give the Osawa another try with a tripod. The lack of weight actually makes it harder to steady.

A couple from the Osawa...

Same turtle with Meyer and cropped...

My solution turned out to be a lens I already had. I've been back to the swamp twice now with my Meyer Orestegor 4/300. I had stopped using it a few years ago because of its size and weight, but it's a little easier to lug around than the Novo. Still, a tripod is best. I was out to the swamp yesterday with the Meyer and while it was difficult to steady handheld and hard to get exact focus when bobbing around, I did get some good shots. I took some wide open and some a little stopped down, but of course, I have no record. It's pretty good from wide open and focusing is more critical than stopping down. Here are some from the Meyer, cropped for 400mm reach...

I have also just purchased a Maksutov 3M-6A 6.3/500mm Mirror which should get me right into the nest. Hoping it is sharp enough.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent work there Woodrim!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the SIGMA f5.6/400mm CAT lens...

Not that shappy for a CAT lens actually... Wink

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent results (for a cat).