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02-26-2019, 05:43 AM   #1
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Mirror, Mirror ( in the lens ) eek ? ! ?

in my younger days, I was interested in those extreme telephoto lenses promising long range photography with small light lenses

then my dad made me read about those ‘ catdiotropic ’ or ‘reflective ' lens which use a set of mirrors set in the lens itself to collect the image and focus it on the film [ sensor ]

which helped me to understand the concept of " the impossible dream "

_______________________

however LBA struck once again

and I have coming to me a Tamron SP 500 1:8 TELE MACRO BBAR MC *82 *30.5 5 55BB ( production 1983 - 2006 )

Tamron SP Adaptall-2 500mm F/8 Model 55BB

Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 500mm f/8 Mirror (55BB) Lens Reviews - Tamron Adaptall Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

_____________________________________

so that is one of my " dirty little secrets "

is any one else willing to come into the light, admit to " dabbling " with such " creatures " and help me figure out how to use these things successfully?

these are a couple of resources that I have found and read:

Mirror…Mirror…A guide to choosing and using mirror lenses Part 1 – Wayne Grundy's PhotoTech Blog

Mirror Lenses - how good? Tamron 500/8 SP vs Canon 500/4.5L

anyone know of any others, not limited to testing the Tamron but also including hints on technique and handling of mirror lenses as well ?
______________________________________________________________________________________


I know that I am not the only person who has been tempted by the promise of these things

Thanks


Last edited by aslyfox; 02-26-2019 at 09:27 AM.
02-26-2019, 06:55 AM   #2
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I've no doubt your mother(or Grandmother)told you as a lad ,if something seems too good to be true then it probably is.
My limited experience with a cheap 500mm mirror lens bore this out,infinitesimal depth of field,"interesting"(ie painful)bokeh,completely indifferent results and rapidly sold on at a small loss to be chalked up to "experience"!
I trust your experience is more worthwhile!
02-26-2019, 07:09 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Some have better reputations than others. I believe the Tamron you're getting is a 'Better' one.
I used a Sigma 600mm f8 for a couple of years. As mentioned, be careful with focus. I always had to add some contrast and sharpening. My colors were cooler on the Sigma. I never did have many problems with 'Donuts' in the OOF areas, maybe my shooting style.
Good luck with it.
02-26-2019, 07:31 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by timb64 Quote
I've no doubt your mother(or Grandmother)told you as a lad ,if something seems too good to be true then it probably is.
My limited experience with a cheap 500mm mirror lens bore this out,infinitesimal depth of field,"interesting"(ie painful)bokeh,completely indifferent results and rapidly sold on at a small loss to be chalked up to "experience"!
I trust your experience is more worthwhile!
Yep, I have been told that

Sometimes, however, the price is low enough to justify taking the risk

IMHO, YMMV

I do not intend on using this lens as an " every day " lens

Time will tell

02-26-2019, 08:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
is any one else willing to come into the light, admit to " dabbling " with such " creatures " and help me figure out how to use these things successfully?
Yes. Play with the lens, learn its quirks. Learn to take photos to the lens' strengths. Most importantly, don't expect a lens to be something
it is not. If you expect it to produce results comparable to a traditional all glass 500mm, you will likely be disappointed. If you accept it as
a relatively small & light extreme telephoto that you can have with you almost anytime, you can have fun with it.
02-26-2019, 09:05 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
and I have coming to me a Tamron SP 500 1:8 TELE MACRO BBAR MC *82 *30.5 5 55BB [ production 1983 - 2006 )
Given that the Tamron 500/8 is not a "cheap mirror", your experience will likely be pretty good. As noted above, learn the quirks and enjoy the pluses. Share your results on the Adaptall-2 Club thread!

Adaptall Mount Club (Tamron). - PentaxForums.com


Steve
02-26-2019, 09:24 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Everyone complains about donut bokeh. But if you compose a shot with some distance between subject and background, the donuts become less prominent or disappear altogether. For example, a bird in a tree might be surrounded by nearby OOF branches and these can be kind of ugly, double-lines things. But the same bird on a deck railing would look fine.

You won't have any purple fringing. The Tamron has better contrast than other mirror lenses but that's just barely OK compared to regular lenses. There is some vignetting which is more obvious when you crank up the contrast in processing. My subject is usually bang in the center anyway because I have a split screen for focusing.

It's a useful lens for the right shot.
02-26-2019, 09:57 AM   #8
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Mirror lenses can be nice in that you're able to actually carry around a half-decent 500mm lens as an extra lens in your bag and it doesn't weigh much (although still a bit bulky). But "half-decent" should be taken literally -- definitely a lot of limitations, but not a lot of choices to make either with a fixed aperture. If you can separate your subject from background by a good distance, you can actually get creamy bokeh as Just1MoreDave said. Good for moon shots also if that's your thing. Use a hood -- makes a big difference with a mirror (lack of contrast is one of the limitations). The Tamron is definitely one of the better ones.

02-26-2019, 10:32 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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I've got the 55BB as well and I've gotten results I'm happy with. You can see some of them here, here, and here. I know I'm never likely to own anything as long that isn't a mirror, so there it is. I also know it's easier (and cheaper!) for me to get a great macro kit than a great tele kit. For the price I paid for it, I can live with the wacky donut bokeh.

Last edited by Thagomizer; 02-26-2019 at 10:41 AM.
02-26-2019, 11:32 AM   #10
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I've attached a 2x TC and a 1.4x TC to my 55BB. I used it mostly for moon shots (so far). F/8 is very slow, obviously, and the TCs don't help, so I usually get the best shots without using a TC. However, the weather has been really bad since I got the lens, so I haven't done much more with it.
02-26-2019, 11:40 AM - 3 Likes   #11
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The Tamron catadioptric mirror lenses are among the better examples. @csa has one and has taken some lovely shots with it (hand-held, if I remember correctly).

I have a few Soviet mirror lenses, one of which is the ЗМ-5СА 8/500. A well adjusted copy such as mine is capable of taking very good photos when used to its strengths. Focusing is critical on all of these lenses - you really need to use magnified Live View on a DSLR, or magnify the image in the EVF on a mirrorless camera, in order to nail accurate focus consistently. That makes hand-held work more of a challenge. Plus, the donut-shaped out-of-focus highlights rarely add anything positive to a photo, though I've seen a few where they provided some novelty effect.

EDIT: The photo below was a quick snap taken in the garden a couple of years ago (if I remember correctly), with the ЗМ-5СА 8/500 on my A7 MkII. The fur is showing plenty of detail in this accurately-focused example. Note the distinctive out-of-focus highlights at the top of the frame, though...
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
ILCE-7M2  Photo 

Last edited by BigMackCam; 02-26-2019 at 02:54 PM.
02-26-2019, 12:05 PM   #12
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I've had (and used) my Tamron 500mm mirror since they were current ... it still gives perfectly acceptable pictures


The nice thing about the Tamron is that it will work well with the 01F 2x converter fitted. f/16 admittedly, but if you really need the reach it'll do it.


The focus is nice and slow, so not too difficult to get it spot on and the fitted tripod mount makes for a nicely balanced rig on a tripod ... unlike many "cheaper" iterations of the design which really are little more than gimmicks!
02-26-2019, 12:33 PM   #13
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I use a Meade ETX 90 1250mm F13.8 Mirror lens, mainly for moon shots but it's actually really nice. I need to get a new tmount adapter though. It's just a nice telescope by itself too so that's a plus.

02-26-2019, 01:47 PM - 2 Likes   #14
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Congratulations - the Tamron is a good performer (relatively). I tried a couple of Samyangs and struggled with them but the Tamron really is quite fun to use.
I find in the K-1 that the focus confirm (and even catch in focus) worked pretty well but even better to use tripod, Liveview and manually focus with magnifier.

However most of the time I have been shooting hand held - brace as much as you can and have ISO up a bit to get a decent shutter speed. Although you still need decent light to shoot like this.
I believe the following examples were all shot hand held:


02-26-2019, 02:23 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Thanks BigMackCam for the cat photo with the Cat lens. One of those accidentally ironies that pop up occasionally.

When I was doing lots of remote bush work in the eighties, I carried a Tokina 500mm mirror lens to get decent shots of birds in trees. I thought it was very good, and it was significantly lighter and smaller than the Tamron (and about two-thirds the price if I remember). I used it quite a bit and loved it, and of course it was really robust for working out of a Landcruiser - no moving parts to break or dislodge. I had it for ten years, eventually lost out to the tropical climate when fungus attacked the mirror.

Last year I was lucky enough to find a mint-condition Tamron 55B with attached 2x teleconverter in my local camera shop, so I bought it and attached to my K-70. I got some great shots the first day, which I posted in the "Latest acquisitions" thread elsewhere in PF. I can see detail in the photos that my naked eye cannot perceive. I use it regularly, but the incredible precision demanded by digital sensors means that motion of either photographer or subject is hard to avoid unless I go to ISO 800 or above. In summary, I really value having the lens in my kit, it is sharp enough and easy to handle. It serves its primary purpose very well - 500mm on a APS-C sensor is a very strong telephoto when I don't have anything else that practically matches the focal length. It's important just to remember the optical physics of the long focal length.

I never had the Tokina to test beside the Tamron, but I recall a comparison test in an Australian camera magazine that put the Tamron as best, Tokina just behind and ahead of Sigma, and Makinon/Hanimex a noticeable trailer in the pack.

If you acknowledge the limitations of shallow DoF, donut OOF, sensitivity to movement (mainly due to very narrow view angle, not an inherent failure) and a murky viewfinder, then you adapt and get great shots. I won't be selling mine, but I mostly use the teleconverter on my other Tamrons (1000mm F16 is very hard to manage).

Last edited by Gary H Perth; 02-26-2019 at 02:44 PM. Reason: delete stray word
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