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12-10-2012, 03:58 PM   #1
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Vivitar 500mm Mirror Lens

This is my Vivitar 500mm Mirror Lens with a 2X Doubler attached to my Pentax K100D.

I found this Lens on Ebay and just could not pass up on the price. Have never used a Mirror Lens, so I thought that it would be a nice Lens to add to my camera gear.

Since then I have taken this "out there" and tried to get used to using this Lens. So far, I'm not really happy with it. Since the AV Setting can't be changed from f/4, it makes no difference what kind of light there is around you. I have shot pictures in bright sun and still there is no change. Even tried using my PSPX4 Software to brighten them up, but have had limited result. It also came with 3 different filters that can be attached. The Filters really did not help at all.

If anyone out there has had better results with this type of Lens, please leave a comment. It would be greatly appreciated. I seem to like this Lens, but having a bit of trouble using it. Thanks ahead of time.

IMCorker2

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12-10-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by IMCorker2 Quote
Since the AV Setting can't be changed from f/4,
I think you mean f/8? But no, it cannot be changed. Realistically you probably have to shoot close to that to get enough depth of focus anyway.

There are a couple of mirror lenses (very expensive ones) that people seem to be OK with but in general the regular 500mm f/8 ones do not produce very good results. You can get better with practice but that is true of any long lens. They are fine for surveillance or just to prove you saw something but beyond that they are a challenge.

To get decent results you need a sturdy tripod, very bright light and a steady hand on the focus ring.

As far as exposure is concerned you will have to meter manually by adjusting the shutter speed and ISO since there are no electrical connections. Not familiar with the K100D but on newer cameras this is accomplished by using Manual mode and the green button to 'stop down' to get a meter reading. You might also have to change a setting in the menu to allow non-"A" setting lenses. Not sure about this on the K100D but you have to set it on newer cameras.

With the 2x doubler you are also losing another 2 stops of light so that hurts even more.
12-10-2012, 04:38 PM   #3
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Is your camera setup for manual focus non-A type lenses?

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/110657-how-use-meter...k-x-k-7-a.html

You also may need to scrape the paint/coating off the T2 adapter over the contacts. For now you could try putting some foil over them to see if it makes a difference on the metering.
12-10-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Mirror lenses are what they are, but you can get some decent results.

First thing - take that 2x TC off and shoot without it. These lenses are pretty slow to begin with @f8 - the TC is cutting the available light by 2 stops plus degrading the image quality.

The lens has no aperture adjustment, but when you mount it the camera will automatically be in Av mode which is normal. Without the TC the aperture is stuck at f8 and should set the shutter speed on its own for the proper exposure. If not, as said above, hit the green button before pressing the shutter button.

Try it without the TC and on a tripod then let us know how you make out.

12-10-2012, 11:29 PM   #5
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That Vivitar is not very good on contrast. Sharpness is OK but the contrast makes it look bad. The conditions where you might use a long lens often introduce every other issue: atmospheric disturbance, pollution, camera movement, subject movement, etc. The TC isn't great either and puts you at f16, making the viewfinder pretty dark so focus is hard. I'd lose the TC and try to control as much as you can for other issues. If you had more pixels I'd just crop to achieve the same angle of view as using the TC.

I took a decent shot recently with a better mirror lens and TC combination, the Tamron 55BB and 01F TC, in almost ideal conditions. So it's not impossible but really helps to have better optics.

12-11-2012, 12:37 AM   #6
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There's also something about Av mode not metering properly if the lens is stopped down past some f-stop. This is due to the nature of the ground glass. As suggest before try it without the TC.
12-11-2012, 01:14 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Mirror lenses need a hood -- it will make a big difference in IQ. You can get a screw-on metal one on ebay for like $12. (Get one that is 3-4 inches long.) Lose the 2x converter for now.

You will never get fantastic results with that lens, but that will give you your best shot.
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