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Thread: Mirror Lenses?

  1. #1
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    Mirror Lenses?

    I'm looking for a lens in the 400mm - 600mm area for taking action shots. I've seen the mirror lenses advertised, such as this one:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=3868914846

    Are they good for fast action? Or are they better for still life like nature shots?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Techno Junkie peted56's Avatar
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    Re: Mirror Lenses?

    I have not used one but here is a couple of things to keep in mind.

    A cheap lens will not be as good as an expensive lens.

    The F stop maximum setting will determine how fast the action can be, F4 or better in good light should allow for a reasonably fast shutter speed, you can of course compensate for lower light with a higher ISO setting if your camera allows it.

    The cheap mirror lenses that I have looked at are manual focus, they can alsio distort a little in unfocused areas with "rings" from the mirror.

  3. #3
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    Re: Mirror Lenses?

    The one I posted about doesn't appear to be that cheap! But it is an F8?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    sharpen your image JK_Photo's Avatar
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    Re: Mirror Lenses?

    Mirror lenses have one fixed aperture. That's all you get.
    They will produce highly blurred background with the distinctive rings produced by blurred highlights in the background.
    They are a good, inexpensive alternative for a long tele if you can live with the limits of only one aperture.
    This shot was taken with a 500mm mirror lens (Tamron).

    The Minolta lens was not cheap because it is Minolta. Try to find a Tamron or a Tokina; maybe a Sigma if they have one.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mirror Lenses?-goose.jpg  
    Jon

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  5. #5
    Techno Junkie peted56's Avatar
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    Re: Mirror Lenses?

    I was giving general guidelines, okay.

  6. #6
    Erstwhile Vagabond armed with camera Lionheart's Avatar
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    Ring shaped highlights in the bokeh

    The unique thing with mirror lenses is that the highlights in the bokeh show up like blurred circles. It's not a bad thing, but it can be very distracting. I had a Tamron 500mm mirror f8 that was surprisingly sharp and light that I loved to use as my long lens before it got stolen almost 3 years ago, and I would use one again if I was shooting film. Most mirrors are manual focus only (does any one else make an AF mirror? I think only Minolta does although I'm not sure about that-f8 is pretty dark for AF, especially on my Canon DSLR's.) and on the smaller, darker view finders of the DSLR's, that gets challenging especially since most mirrors are f8. If I had a full frame DSLR like the 1Ds, I might think about getting one again.
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  7. #7
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Ring shaped highlights in the bokeh

    My Minolta V100 APS SLR has an AF 400mm mirror lens in the range.
    Fixed, f8, and the AF on the miniolta is very slow.
    Also suffers from vignetting.
    But I've got some great shots with it that I wouldn't get any other way.
    Pretty cheap at 300 when you consider the price of a Canon EF 400mm
    PAul

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  8. #8
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    Re: Mirror Lenses?

    From the ones I've handled mirror lenses would not be good for action shots. At f/8 you would need a lot of sunlight and super fast film, then the grain would limit enlargement size.
    One advantage mirrors have to teles is a better macro rating and shorter minimum focusing distance.
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  9. #9
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Mirror Lenses?

    I don't think I've ever seen anything other than a manual focus mirror lens. The doughnut-shaped highlights in the background get really distracting - they can look really cool once in awhile but it can be really overused.

    Seen way too many shots with a fisheye lens that really aren't very exciting other than the fisheye effect? A mirror lens can turn into the same scenario. The link you posted doesn't work anymore, so I'm not sure what brand of camera you've got. Tokina had a good AF 400 f5.6 that usually sells for the low $200's used, as long as it's made in the mount you need. I've used it and should have bought it when a friend of mine sold his. Here's one at KEH for Nikon mount. For some reason they list "film only" but I've used it on my Fuji DSLR and it worked just fine.

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