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Minolta RF Rokkor 500mm/F8 used on APS-C / MFT / FF sensor
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 8:21 am    Post subject: Minolta RF Rokkor 500mm/F8 used on APS-C / MFT / FF sensor Reply with quote

I was requested to show same examples of this lens. This lens was produced by Minolta in the 1980's and was also available as Leica RF 500/8 for the Leica-R system. Camera NEX-C3 (16MP) RAW. Resized in LR6 without any further manipulation. The field of view is similar to 750mm on FF. I have the lens since the 80's in my collection as I bought it for my X-500 at that time. Primarily for wild life shooting.
As usual you can click on the pictures to get also larger views (not for crops).

1/1. Rose outside my window approx. 10 meters away. No sun (cloudy and rather windy weather today). Tripod used. Focus on the red flower in the middle:



1/2. Crop 100% of the above picture without further manipulation. No sharpening at all:



2/1. Lamp on the street maybe some 15m away. Same conditions as before:



2/2. Crop 100% from the middle of the picture:



2/3. Crop 100% from the bottom edge:



3/1. Finally an indoor shot against the light from outside, i.e. very difficult light conditions to check purple fringing. Shot at minimum distance of approx. 4m:



3/2. Crop from above:



The floor is yours to comment on the quality of the lens.
I would say that it is not bad at all and I will most probably keep it for many more years to come.


Last edited by tb_a on Wed May 13, 2015 2:57 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the autofocus version which I think is the same optically as the MF ? Whatever, it's a great lens although I very rarely use it. I have taken some film shots with it on a Minolta 7000i and a few using a manual adapter on my Sony A6000.
It's a sharp lens, and very good in all respects - but - to use it manually the throw of the focus ring is short, a lot shorter than the Tamron and Canon 500 mirror lenses, which makes it a bit difficult to nail focus.


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloydy wrote:
I have the autofocus version which I think is the same optically as the MF ?


It is the same. Definitely. On my MF (MD) version the focus ring is very broad, the rubber ring over 4 cm. So it's rather easy to focus.
I think also that this is rather a great lens. Wink


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not familiar with the focus throw on the Canon, but on the Tamron it's almost 360 degrees. Maybe like 357 or something. So if it's a little shorter, that's not so bad. The big Sigma 600's throw is a little shorter than the Tamron's but still pretty generous, I feel. Just as a comparison, I bought and quickly returned a Samyang 800mm f/8. This lens is capable of taking excellent photos if you get a good copy. Unfortunately I didn't, which is why I returned it. But to exacerbate matters, the focusing throw on that lens was only 90 degrees! Yow! It was not fun to use at all.


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lloydy,

Obviously I misunderstood you a little bit. Therefore now the second try: The movement for focusing is approx. 180 degrees on my lens between minimum and maximum focus distance. I think that's what you meant. However, I don't have a problem with that as on the other hand it makes you a little bit faster for manual focusing. Somehow I am used to it and didn't try any other mirror lens for comparison. Maybe that is why I can live with it more easily....


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In direct comparison to complete the session about the Minolta mirror lens now 3 variations of the rose bush.
Weather changed to less wind and direct sunshine from the left side. Method as before.

1/1. Panasonic Lumix GF-1 (MFT sensor) FOV equ. 1000mm:



1/2. 100% crop:



2/1. Sony A850 (FF sensor) adapted with Minolta M/A converter 2X, FOV equ. 1000mm



2/2. 100% crop:



3/1. Same but adatped with glass-less adapter (infinity not possible), FOV original 500mm as designed.



3/2. 100% crop:



Besides that the color settings have been obvious different on the Panasonic, it is more recommendable to use the lens without converter. However, even with the converter the result seems to be O.K. for normal use.
I have to admit that it was not easy to focus accurately with the "traditional" SLR camera. The Panasonic was somehow more easy and out of the three the Sony was best. But my Ricoh (not used yet) beats all of them by far! That is now more clear for me than before this test. So at least for me it made some sense. If it makes sense for somebody else, remains to be seen......


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To give you a better idea how the normal perspective is looking I've just added a normal 50mm lens shot. Nothing spectacular. Just to complete the overall impression of the tele shots (exposure setting for the rose bush):



So change the blooming flower in the middle to a bird and imagine the results as shown before. Unfortunately there was no bird available for my tests. Sad


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the Sony AF version and in my experience it was considerably sharper. Well it wasn't a sharp lens by any means but still, I had better results.

I still have some samples taken with it.





Some full-size, all hand-held. (a few at ISO higher than 800, even in daylight you have to raise the ISO quite high)







P.S.
now I noticed, the full-size pictures weren't actually uploaded Sad


PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RTI wrote:
I had the Sony AF version and in my experience it was considerably sharper. Well it wasn't a sharp lens by any means but still, I had better results.(


1. That may be your personal impression. I would rather like to see DIRECTLY COMPARABLE pictures. RAW without any PP and sharpening like mine and also at a 100% view. I think then your pictures wouldn't look much different as the lens is actually the same, i.e. optically identical and Minolta delivered usually always the same quality because of their rather good QMS. Of course that applies only to the last 2 pics of the second post taken with the same camera and not to all samples.

2. It is very subjective and individually different what somebody understand to have a "sharp" picture. Some folks tend to oversharpen their pictures and I do usually no sharpening at all. Same is true for the contrast applied afterwards. So that is from my point of view mainly a matter of taste.
I was to the contrary rather impressed that even the bar-code on the bottom of the lamp-picture was readable although you wouldn't even see any bar-code at all with your normal eyes and not even the focus was on the bar-code but on the outer metal bar. However, if you do some PP it may look far sharper to you, maybe not for me....

3. You have to understand that when you look at a 100% view on a standard monitor (1920x1080/28") like mine the total picture size would be approximately 200x130 cms and when printed at 100% only 64.0 x 42.7 cm according to my photo printer, based on a 24MP 24x36mm sensor. This would be too large for my printer anyway and I still prefer to buy very large prints from the shop as I do not need such large prints that often. However, if watched on my smart phone (1920/1200/5.5") it looks totally different and VERY SHARP even the one with converter. However, as I do not know how (in terms of monitor used) you are viewing those pictures I cannot judge anything from your point of view.
So the "unsharp" 100% view on a rather large monitor is only for pixel peeping purposes and is not able to give you any impression of the final picture, unless you scale the output on paper to 2x1,3 METERS (in my case). If you would have a monitor in that size you would hardly view the picture from only 50-100 cm distance what normally people on their PC-monitors do, because from that distance you would not be able to see even the whole picture. Who would produce such billboard posters using a "toy camera" like our digital cameras actually are? For such large prints you need at least a middle format camera and I would recommend to use film instead of digital to have a much higher resolution. You can take it for granted that all prints of the shown pictures from my test look pretty good and sharp on "normal" prints up to 60x40 cms. In direct comparison I would nevertheless go for the A850 picture without converter.
In other words if you check the pictures on your monitor the size on the monitor of the 100% view of the total picture should not be above 60x40 cms to give you a rather good impression of the final output.

I do hope this clarifies why it doesn't make sense to compare apples with eggs.


PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="tb_a"]
RTI wrote:


I do hope this clarifies why it doesn't make sense to compare apples with eggs.


Hi,
I'm well aware of these things. My intentions wasn't to say that "my lens" is better than yours, just in my experience mine seemed sharper. I'll try to upload full-size and 100% crops later, if anyone is still interested. There was no sharpness applied in my samples. And BTW the lens performed considerably better on a Full-frame sensor camera (sony A850) than on APS-C (a77).


PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pics RTI!
hopefully Oldhand still has his minolta mirror as i'd like to try it out. looks very good.
Smile


PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some 100% for comparison and pixel-peep (pictures were taken handhold, so there might still be some movement...)




PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today I've tried again to shoot with my RF Rokkor 500mm on the Ricoh GXR-M without Tripod. I must say that it is nearly impossible (at least for me) to get really sharp pictures without being blurred due to camera shake. I definitely know that the lens can do better. As usual no PP or sharpening. Here is my best shot out of many trials.

Full picture:



Crop of that at 100% view:




Same scenery with the 50mm Rokkor from the same distance to show the huge difference:



Again crop of that:



Next time I will take the tripod with me for another test. I am rather sure that the result will be far better with tripod. 750mm FOV are not recommended free hand. It's too frustrating when most of the pictures look blurred and unsharp. I know that it can be somehow optimized during PP but as a matter of principle I am avoiding to do that. Maybe that's coming from the old film times when this wasn't possible at all. So either a picture was good or bad. No chance to do anything about it. I still see it like that. Wink


PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either there's something wrong with that lens or there is a technique issue. Those results are very soft and lacking in both micro and macro contrast. Perhaps there is a shake issue? The exposures are off too, overexposed, particularly the shots of the rose, which will have a negative effect on contrast.


PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Either there's something wrong with that lens or there is a technique issue. Those results are very soft and lacking in both micro and macro contrast. Perhaps there is a shake issue? The exposures are off too, overexposed, particularly the shots of the rose, which will have a negative effect on contrast.


Ian,

I don't think that there is something wrong with the lens. If you re-read my last post then you will see that I am speaking about camera shake as the most possible cause. My 2nd guess is that the pictures are simply out of focus which is only visible at 100% view and nowhere else. That means that you most probably wouldn't even see it when printed on paper up to A4 or 30x20cms, maybe even larger.

If you are referring to the pictures of the rose in the beginnig, then there are also some other reasons as explained at least partly there. The wind factor plays also some role there. It is relatively clear that plain RAW files just converted to TIFF/JPG without any manipulation produce less sexy pictures when viewed at 100% of the size with a standards computer monitor, than the pictures from most other folks here, which are mostly manipulated and sharpened and what so ever and relatively seldom shown at 100% view. As this is the lens section and not the forum "my best photo shop picture of the day" I am refraining from such manipulations and therefore my pictures are looking automatically "lousy" compared to the pictures of some others. Just to make clear if we are at all speaking about the same subject. My pictures are not even exposure corrected. Just plain. Bear also in mind that a lens is delivering on each and every sensor and camera different results. So it's always the result of the lens and the camera used and not from the lens alone like in the old film days where the film just had influence on the grain, colors and contrast and the camera didn't play really any important role.

Furthermore I can tell you that it is no fun at all to use a MF 500mm mirror lens on a tiny mirrorless camera with electronic viewfinder. That means that if you want to get the 100% right focus you have also to be a little bit lucky. You just can't see it. The situation is a totally different one compared to the use on a good old SLR camera with a bright optical viewfinder and optimized with a optical magnifier where I don't have such troubles. In this respect the Minolta lens is additionally a little bit difficult as every fraction of a millimeter movement of the focus ring can push you out of focus.

However, I think with a little bit more exercise that will also improve. And I will post some better examples later on where I used my portable tripod.


PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, since I'm he only one who also posted pictures here, the 100% crop didn't have any PP to them... And all the pictures were taken handheld, in fact I didn't use that lens on a tripod at all. You just have to watch your shutter speed...


PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My point was merely that images with shake and overexposure don't show us the performance of the lens but rather they illustrate the difficulties posed in using this lens. In order to assess the sharpness, you need to look at images free of shake, and that means a tripod or a high shutter speed, the rule of thumb being twice the focal length of the lens to avoid shake. In order to assess contrast, the exposure has to be accurate.


PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RTI wrote:
Well, since I'm he only one who also posted pictures here, the 100% crop didn't have any PP to them... And all the pictures were taken handheld, in fact I didn't use that lens on a tripod at all. You just have to watch your shutter speed...


I was not referring to this thread but to the Sub-Forum "Manual Focus Lenses" in general. To show very nice pictures, the "Galleries" section is more appropriate (at least in my humble opinion).


iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
My point was merely that images with shake and overexposure don't show us the performance of the lens but rather they illustrate the difficulties posed in using this lens. In order to assess the sharpness, you need to look at images free of shake, and that means a tripod or a high shutter speed, the rule of thumb being twice the focal length of the lens to avoid shake. In order to assess contrast, the exposure has to be accurate.


I started this thread because I wanted to deal with the lens under different circumstances and in combination with different sensor and/or camera combinations. Of course that may also include more ugly pictures or negative examples. If I want to show my best pictures I will certainly do this not in the lens but in the gallery section.
On the flower pic's there is no camera shake because I've used a tripod. However, there was (as always for my region) a rather windy weather outside which may have led to movements of the leaves.
My last example showed the difficulties to use this lens without tripod.
My next pictures will show (hopefully) better results including tripod and without negative weather influences. Though, in general it's a very tricky lens not really easy to handle, as already explained (control of focus).
Unfortunately this lens does not allow perfect test shots comparable to my 35mm lens test as the rather high MFD makes this impossible in my humble home (indoor).
I am sure that I will manage to show you also the best possible sharpness of the lens. Maybe this will only be possible on one of my SLR cameras and not with a mirrorless one. Will see. Wink
I am well aware of the old rule of exposure times but with 750mm FOV on a crop camera this would not allow times below 1/1500 sec which is a little problematic with a max. aperture of F8 and rather high ISO settings would decrease the image quality additionally. So it was simply no good idea to try it free hand. That was the essence of my last posting.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, finally I managed to take also my portable tripod with me to look for storks and geese. Camera: Ricoh GXR-M.
Although it improves the picture quality I didn't manage to avoid the movement of the birds which also led to some more soft pictures sometimes. However, picture sizes for normal view or printing on sheets not bigger than A4 or 30x20cms appear in any case rather excellent. Only in pixel peeping mode at 100% view some problems like the softness caused by the movement of the animals are visible.
So in general I would not recommend to use a 500mm mirror lens on a crop sensor camera for the production of billboard posters of living animals if maximum sharpness is the final target.
The last picture of the watch of the church tower proves that without wind/shake/animal movement and with correct focus setting the lens is still able to produce very sharp pictures even in pixel peeping mode.
However, a mirror lens will ever be somehow a compromise. There are very good normal tele lenses around which are far better. But the price of such a lens will also be far higher. Several thousand Euros and a "sherpa" to carry it together with the heavy duty tripod would be most probably required. From my experience the cheaper tele lenses are rather below the quality of this mirror lens. In any case they are more bulky and heavy.

The outfit:



Example pictures as always (full view picture followed by 100% crop):












PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know Leica have 500/8, but I never know it's Minolta lens. If that's true, well I'm feeling lucky to have this lens too.
my sample, no PP, resize and crop only


and 100% cropped



PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IAZA's example shows the kind of sharpness I would expect from this lens, in line with that seen from it's 250mm little brother.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IAZA wrote:
I know Leica have 500/8, but I never know it's Minolta lens. If that's true, well I'm feeling lucky to have this lens too.
my sample, no PP, resize and crop only


Yes, the Leica one is just a re-branded Minolta lens. Leica did never produce such lenses. Same is true for some other Leica-R lenses out of the past cooperation between Minolta and Leica when they jointly developed R3 aka XE and R4 aka XD and also the RF cameras from that time (CL).


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that I find it quite difficult to get good results from my copy of this lens and focusing is the biggest issue for me. On my A7 the peaking can be quite misleading and the magnifying function is just too shaky at this focal length. Out of interest I just shot a few out of my window. Sun going down and just resized (to 3000 x 2000) OOC jpegs.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/1899864608/albums#page=2

I do see good results from this lens but I think I might try to see how it stacks up against crops from my Nikkor 300mm IF ED which seems a lot easier to use (perhaps because it is so heavy and thus steadier in the hand)


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
IAZA's example shows the kind of sharpness I would expect from this lens, in line with that seen from it's 250mm little brother.


Quite interesting. On my monitor they don't really appear to be sharper. However, they are coming from another camera. That's for sure (maybe NEX 5 or Olympus).
In the total picture view I would even say that some of my samples appearing to be the sharper ones. In pixel peeping mode there is at least no visible shake or movement blurring on IAZA's example. That's right. Would still be interesting to see a direct comparison but I would almost bet my eyes that in this case there wouldn't be any visible differences between those lenses.
Finally it's all about presentation size. For me it's still a rather good compromise as stated before.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On my monitor, IAZA's sample is sharp, but yours are still soft. The sharpest of your last set is the image of the clock face, but still it isn't as sharp as it should be. The crop of the goose shows there is something wrong, it's pretty soft, much like my Sigma APO 75-300 at the 300mm end, and I never use that lens above 250mm due to that softness.

Have you checked the cleanliness of your lens? It does look like there is some slight diffuse glow going on which you see when there is a fine coating of fungus present on one or more optical surfaces.