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05-30-2009, 04:27 PM   #1
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Softness With Tokina 500mm Mirror f8 ?

I have a mint Tokina 500mm f8, and it was good with film cameras but I can't get a SHARP image using my DS, my K10D (when I had it), or my K20D.

Is there something that I don't realize? I have shot it on a tripod, hand held with SR on/off. It maybe just that the depth of field is so short that it has to be perfect to be in focus ?

What have you guys experienced with a mirror lens.


05-30-2009, 05:30 PM   #2
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Do you still have a film camera to try it on? Your lens may not be performing properly any more. Mirrors (most) can be knocked out of alignment.

I find mirrors do as well with digital if not better. Mirrors have lower contrast than other lenses. This is easy to adjust in post processing on digital. Mirrors have very few color aberations. Digital likes that.

Could you be using a very small /wobbly tripod or misfocusing? Does your mirror have a rear mounted filter that is supposed to be used missing? Is the focus off or is it not sharp anywhere?
Good luck.


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05-30-2009, 05:51 PM   #3
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Hi Wll,

you might revive this thread,

About the downslide of digital IQ vs. film-IQ, maybe that's got to do with the smaller circle of confusion (0.2 vs. 0.3 AFAIR) on digital APS-C cams. I have found the Tokina 500 to have low resolution in the first place (compared to 'normal' optics) so you will not get away with less than perfect conditions (+1 for Barondla's concern for a bomb proof tripod and head) and less than nearly full crop of the picture file. Then I learned that the Tokina 500 is one of the better mirrors out there. Rollei used it for their line of lenses so it can't be too bad.

Best, Georg (the other)

Last edited by georgweb; 05-30-2009 at 05:57 PM.
05-30-2009, 06:24 PM   #4
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I have that lens and it has its quirks. It produces quite good images on my k20d, but technique is important. The dof is very thin and requires careful manual focus, good light and a sturdy tripod (I've never been able to get a decent pic handheld). I have several photos posted here:

Art by Michael Wolf - RedBubble

If you post a few pics with crops and exif data it will make it easier to offer a remedy, but based on your post i suspect its a dof/focus issue (which is common with mirror lenses).

Last edited by ivoire; 05-30-2009 at 06:37 PM.
05-30-2009, 10:15 PM   #5
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I've got a 8/500mm Russian 3M-5A mirror lens and It also needs some careful focusing (I've got a chinese split screen on my K100D) and a lot of light, but I've managed take pretty sharp pics hand held with it. This one was kind of a pointless shot but the sharpness is pretty good.

Link to full size here

This lens was highly recommended by the folks on forum but your tokina was also mentioned to be quite good.
05-31-2009, 09:33 AM   #6
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This is Much Better

Well I found out what I was doing, user error.

After reading varied post on a few forums, I was hand holding at way to slow a shutter speed. It is a cloudy day here in LA, so I boosted the ISO between 3200 and 4500 to get a good shutter speed and it worked. Also I may have not set the SR to 500mm on previous shots.

Here are a few small shots, I think I found the answer.

Sign was 3200 iso 1/350
Car Rim was 3200 iso 1/250
Basket ball Rim was 4500 iso 1/500

They were cropped and resized to a small image . no Photoshop or anything was done to alter images.


Last edited by wll; 05-31-2009 at 09:44 AM. Reason: I can't spell even with spell checker !

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