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04-07-2011, 08:54 AM   #1
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Anybody else got a Spiratone Minitel 500mm f:8 mirror lens?

Hey all.

Snagged a Spiratone Minitel 500mm f:8 mirror lens for a song off Craigslist awhile back. I had a Kalimar 500mm I wasn't thrilled with, but after taking some test shots with the newly-acquired Spiratone, it seems noticeably sharper with better contrast than the Kalimar. I may play with this one for awhile.

Just wondering if anyone else used one of these & what their impressions were. From what little I've read about these, they were made by Kenko.

I plan on picking up a Tamron 500mm mirror at some point, but right now, the prices on those seem kind of high. Wonder how much better the Tamron is compared to the Spiratone?

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

04-07-2011, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I have a Spiratone mirror lens. Can't remember off the top of my head if it says Minitel. It is, by far, the best doorstop I have ever owned.
04-07-2011, 08:43 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
Hey all.

I plan on picking up a Tamron 500mm mirror at some point, but right now, the prices on those seem kind of high. Wonder how much better the Tamron is compared to the Spiratone?

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)
Yes, the price on the Tamron 500mm mirror lens seem high but I don't think it will ever get any cheaper. I bought one last year and the prices seem to have more or less doubled since then. I've even seen a 55B with a minor fungus problem sell for more than what I paid for mine. I think you should just suck it up and buy one now, if you really want one. Trying to move up in terms of IQ as you are doing now may end up costing even more in the long run.

Thanks,
04-07-2011, 09:09 PM   #4
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It only took me a few minutes to clean my 55BB of fungus. It's not a bad way to be super-cheap. It's a lot better than a Vivitar/Samyang I had, which was not quite good enough to really use. Look at the lens clubs for Tamron samples.

A 500mm mirror can be a specialty item, particularily if you don't like the donut bokeh or aren't good at manual focus.

04-08-2011, 04:56 AM   #5
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There's an idiot on eBay right now trying to sell one for 2 grand. Plus $99 shipping.
04-08-2011, 02:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MPrince Quote
I have a Spiratone mirror lens. Can't remember off the top of my head if it says Minitel. It is, by far, the best doorstop I have ever owned.
I owned one in the 70s, and it was too light for a doorstep as well.
03-04-2012, 07:10 PM   #7
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are u still looking for the spiratone 500 mm? i have one for sale.
John
03-04-2012, 08:23 PM   #8
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I have the Tamron 500mm F8 (55BB), the Bower (Samyang) 500mm F6.3 and the Sigma 600mm F8 mirror lenses.

By far the Tamron is the sharpest with the best contrast. The Sigma is the worse (I may have a bad copy on this one).

You can find a Tamron for about $200 on eBay and on KEH. One thing that is mandatory for all mirror lenses to work their best, is to use a long hood to improve contrast. There is a very noticeable difference.

03-05-2012, 06:00 AM   #9
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Wasn't looking for a Spiratone. I had one & gave it away awhile back. After shooting a few more shots with my particular copy, it became apparent that it was crap. It was so lousy I wouldn't feel right selling it.

I'm MUCH happier with my Tair 3M-5CA. The Tamrons are also nice.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)
11-28-2012, 05:44 PM   #10
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I also have a Spiratone Minitel 500mm f:8 mirror lens, I inherited mine. Don't know much about it, also curious. I made an introduction post about it today. Have you found out anything about it?
I thought it was a macro or closeup lens, as my brother marked "Macro" on the side. But I was told in another forum it was a telephoto lens. I guess it depends on how close your subject is. I am
curious now to put it on my Nikon D3200 I just got , having just seen some adaptor rings on the web.
11-28-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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I got a 55BB from KEH for only about $130 or less, can't remember exactly. Excellent condition, but no hood, and it came in a Soligor case that was obviously for another mirror lens (also had a couple of ND rear filters). I bought a generic metal hood -- a huge one -- from ebay for $11. It is decently sharp. I had studied reviews of a lot of 500 mirrors and got the impression that the only ones worth bothering with are the adaptalls and some of the russian models -- the 3m-5a-mc seems to be the most favored.
11-29-2012, 08:33 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
There's an idiot on eBay right now trying to sell one for 2 grand. Plus $99 shipping.
He's only an idiot if he doesn't get it. IIRC, there are a few idiots on the other side of BIN.
11-29-2012, 08:53 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
One thing that is mandatory for all mirror lenses to work their best, is to use a long hood to improve contrast. There is a very noticeable difference.
+10 Thanks for that. Another tip is to work with brightly lit subjects of low contrast.

I've owned the Spiratone Mini-tel 8/500 and Sigma Ultra-tel 8/500 (same as Spiratone Ultra-tel 8/500).

The Mini-tel was okay, not bad. The best feature is being so compact for a 500mm lens. It is half the length of the Sigma, though both weigh about the same.

The longer Sigma, having a more 'unfolded' light path, has better IQ. Much better than before I cleaned the haze from rear element group. Actually I cleaned all the elements -- these are real easy to work on, just don't touch the mirrors with anything other than a blast of air...

From what I've seen, the Tamron SP (both versions) has better IQ than the Sigma, but not by much. Again, the Tamron is much smaller, half the length, about the same size as the Mini-tel. Similar results from Vivitar mirror, and some of the Russians. If I were to buy another mirror lens () I will buy the Tamron SP, the first version. For now I'm happy with the Sigma. As happy as anyone can be with a mirror lens, I guess.
03-26-2017, 04:53 PM   #14
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I know this is a very ancient thread, but the Spiratone 500/8 Minitel was made by Tomioka, AKA Yashica and is optically a 500mm f/8 Yashinon DX. This was reported in detail in the September 1978 issue of Popular Photography.

http://www.subclub.org/spiratone800mmf8.pdf
03-31-2017, 03:25 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have a Spriatone f8 500mm Ultratel. It's clearly Sigma-made down to the Sigma logo on it. The Ultratel is far longer than later more compact 500 mirrors, like the Minitel, though shorter and lighter than a glass and metal standard 500mm of its time. I haven't shot a lot of pictures with it, partly because the first K-Tmount adapter I got didn't seat firmly in the camera. But I have a better adapter now, so I'm going to try it for some waterfowl photography this spring. I got this 500 mirror just to have one really long telephoto.

The first post in this thread at photonet shows a great picture of mostly mirror lenses, including both the Spiratone Ultratel and Minitel. As you can see, my Ultratel has a long neck, meaning that I don't have to worry about the lens hitting the the pesky built-in flash housing on either my K110D or K10D:
500mm lenses - a cautionary tale of an obsession? | Photo.net Photography Forums

Here's a link to some pix shot with a Spiratone f8 500mm mirror lens, but the poster doesn't say if its the Ultratel or Minitel model:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/christinelind/sets/72157600267
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