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A good mirror within a budget?
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:50 pm    Post subject: A good mirror within a budget? Reply with quote

Hi there,

Not sure I will make it in time for the next supermoon here in LA (between Jan 1st and 2nd), but I can try.

What could be a decent mirror lens within $100?
I saw a Tokina 500mm f8 for $120 if it's worth I can stretch the budget.
Or a Samyang in T-Mount for Minolta.
I'll mount it on an X-T2.

Thanks for any help!

Best


PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the Tamron 500mm Adaptall and it was certainly better than the other cheapie 500mm I used to have.

But the Tamron has been moving up in price so harder to snag under $150 though I see it just under $200 from time to time.

I don't use it much because of the bad bokeh for normal telephoto.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Budget mirror lenses tend not to be great, but the best of them may be the Tamron 500/8. I haven't tested these, but from memory the Tokina was less impressive and I haven't heard anything positive about the new Korean mirror lenses. I'd go Tamron, or the Canon FD 500/8 or the Nikon F or the Minolta RF but those tend to be more expensive and not necessarily any better. These are all old lenses of course, so their condition will influence price and perhaps performance.


PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck!

Tokina now, Tamron later.

Tripod?


PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yes, I'm checking and the Tamron is around $200.

@ visualopsins: Thanks! So you think Tokina should be ok? Definitely tripod, I have a decent Manfrotto that will come handy in this situation.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Tokina 500 RMC that I got a while back to check out. I thought it was a decent lens. IMHO they are really underrated.

some samples here:

http://forum.mflenses.com/tokina-rmc-500mm-f8-reflex-on-a7ii-t77843,highlight,%2Btokina+%2B500mm+%2Bf8.html


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a Canon FD, a Minolta AF ( same optics as the manual focua version I believe ) and a Tamron 55B. I use the Tamron most, it's a very good lens.

I think the Minolta is probably the sharpest, and there's little to choose between the Canon and the Tamron, there's little to choose between any of them until you get into serious pixel peeping. I find the Tamron the easiest to focus and use. Which really became noticeable when I also had a Samyang for a while - it was sharp enough, but the focus ring has a very short throw. I did measure them all at the time but I can't remember how many degrees each turned, but I know the Samyang was so short compared to the other manual focus mirror lenses ( and the Minolta used manually ) that it was hard to focus accurately on my Sony NEX5, although it might be better on the A6000 with a viewfinder.

I bought the Tamron about two years ago for £90 ( UK ) but the prices have risen a bit now.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Tamron 55BB will be nice if you want one focus close, otherwise a Minolta one is also nice Click here to see on Ebay .


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have several other mirrors as well but since the OP was after an inexpensive lens I commented on the Tokina. I also have Rubinar 300 4.5, 500 5.6 and 1000 F10 They are very large and heavy by comparison and a bit hard to use though they do perform well. I also have the Minolta AF which is good. and finally a Celestron 5 inch (1250MM IIRC). The differences between them are really not that great. Contrast on mirror lenses is generally terrible. Sharpness varies a bit but none seem like razors.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

- Most budget 500/8 are junk

- Extremly hard to focus, low contrast .> even if capable of good resolution almost never looks fine

- No problems with curvature, edges etc.

For budget lens you need to do pixel peeping. And I mean pixel peeping on the appearance of the lens. "F:8" or "F8"? May mean all the difference.

I think mine looks like article 292197921103 but of course it is in T2 mount and I didnt pay 120 bucks for it


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have 3 mirror lenses at 500/8.
The sharpest with best contrast would be the Zeiss Mirotar (definitely not budget-priced), followed closely by the Olympus Reflex (also not budget-priced), followed by the Tokina RMC (definitely budget-priced).
In my opinion the Tokina is very good value-for-money. The focus ring moves easily, and with almost 360 degrees throw makes fine tuning a breeze.
Do not underestimate the importance of a sturdy tripod and any other vibration reducing techniques.

PS, I was watching Tokina prices on eBay recently and $100 would be the mid-range, down to about $80, with $120 being tops.
Mine was as-new, boxed and all the extras for $100.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think buerokratiehasser's comments are specifically aimed at mirrors. I haven't tried the tokina, it seems like its probably similar performance to the tamron which is +1 from me. I've got pretty decent moon shots with mine.

You said supermoon. There are different ways of getting the moon to fill a reasonable amount of the frame. A telescope is one: just need a means of attaching a camera. However my own digiscoping experiments have been disappointing, although my opticron HR66 is nominally a top of line (old model) its not good enough, soft, lots of fringing when subject to the scrutiny of 20MPx.
Do you need the convenience/portability of the mirrors? The generic 500mm f8 "wundertutes" actually are competitive with many mirrors stopped down to f11 - if you get a good one! Pot luck (and check for haze on the the rear elements)! Personally I would prefer a good 400mm or 300mm + 1.4x tc. I have tried numerous 2x tc's but have in the end never been more than unconvinced as to the gain, and more usually disappointed. A tair 300mm f4.5 + 1.4xtc should be fine. My novoflex t-noflexar 400mm does pretty well with my kenko 1.4x - I think I have some moon shots taken with this combo kicking around somewhere....
Use two tripods with these long lens set ups - one to support the front end, sand bags are good too. remote shutter release of course, does your Fuji have electronic shutter?
it's all good fun... Smile


PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll just chime in and second what most folks are stating. Go for the Tamron, either 55B or 55BB, if you can find one within your budget. The Tokina will probably not disappoint, especially with its long focusing throw. Both Tamrons have an almost 360 degree focusing throw, which makes focusing much easier. Even at 360 degrees, focusing can be touchy.

Another lens to consider, which sometimes appears at close to your budget price is the Sigma 600mm f/8. Quality is, unfortunately, variable with this lens. I've owned two copies -- one of which was exceptionally sharp and the other which is just okay.

A couple folks have commented on the unsatisfactory contrast with a mirror lens. My position on that is, if it is a sharp lens, then generally it also has good to excellent contrast. I have LOTS of photos I can show you to demonstrate this.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, my comment was about mirror lenses in general. The really good ones may be sharper. Still lower contrast is said to apply to the whole design.

It is true that a good Wundertüte will probably provide crispier pictures and, perhaps, more fun, especially against a $120 mirror. Also, good Tüte easier to find than good noname mirror.

HOWEVER, you should not underestimate just how light a mirror lens is. It is about the size of a standard zoom. When going for a walk you can casually throw it into your bag. A 500/8 wundertüte is definitely not casual and also attracts mobs.

Re sharpness/contrast: Contrasty lenses look sharp. But you can have low contrast with adaequate resolution. It does not look sharp but details can be made out. It is the amplitude of the MTF against the lpmm where it drops to zero.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know from the amplitude of the MTF. All I know is, when I've correctly focused a good mirror, there is lots of detail in the image. Here are a couple of examples that I shot with my Sigma 600 (the good one). These are duplicates of slides. The first shot is Kodachrome 64, the second one is Fujichrome 100. I've posted these images before, but they are illustrative of the lens's capabilities.

Because of the tremendous amount of reflections of sunlight off the water, this image came out looking like I shot it with B&W film, but it's a Kodachrome slide.



Here's a 100% crop:


An SCCA Sports 2000 race car:


And a 100% crop:


A shot of the moon a few days past full, shot with my NEX 7 and Tamron 55BB 500mm f/8:


Here is a pair of images that I've put together, comparing my Tamron 55BB with my Century 500mm f/5.6, shot at f/8. The Century is a very sharp lens with good contrast. As you can see, the Tamron gives up very little in terms of contrast.


PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might consider the Yashica reflex 500mm f/8 as well.
It's a very good performer and you should be able to find one in your budget.
An even better option would be a Yashica ML 500mm f/8, but these are in a higher price range.

I do not have a Tokina RMC but from all I've read this shoud be a very decent lens indeed.

It's a pity you live in the US. I have 3 Tamron 500mm lenses and I payed less then 100 Euro for each.
2 of them are like mint in the box. But it would be too expensive to ship one of those to your adress.

I would definitely stay away from that Samyang or other cheap catadioptric-lenses. Buying one of those would only be a waste of your money.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the valuable information.
I decided to wait a little more and go with the Tamron.
cooltouch: The shot with the Century looks great. I like the Tamron's too, thanks for posting.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Member BigDawg old posts deserve reviving here! Especially since nobody mentioned that Vivitar.

http://forum.mflenses.com/mirror-lens-perkin-elmer-680mm-f-12-compact-telephoto-t25153.html

http://forum.mflenses.com/vivitar-600mm-solid-cat-lens-a-few-quick-photos-t34847.html


PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
Member BigDawg old posts deserve reviving here! Especially since nobody mentioned that Vivitar.

http://forum.mflenses.com/mirror-lens-perkin-elmer-680mm-f-12-compact-telephoto-t25153.html

http://forum.mflenses.com/vivitar-600mm-solid-cat-lens-a-few-quick-photos-t34847.html


Great samples. Now within my budget though, the Vivitar runs around $350-$400


PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cgustav wrote:
Thank you all for the valuable information.
I decided to wait a little more and go with the Tamron.
cooltouch: The shot with the Century looks great. I like the Tamron's too, thanks for posting.



Here's an interesting blog on using the Tamron to photograph the moon. Should inspire you.

http://mirrorlens.blogspot.co.nz/

Cheers,