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11-18-2009, 03:46 PM   #1
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Yet another mirror lens curiosity

I have been fiddling around with the thought of acquiring a mirror lens, in the 500mm.
Any thoughts as to what brand is good aside from the always expensive Tamron 55BB?
There are so many brands around that it just makes me dizzy trying to google them all and comparing them.
In any case, non of the reviews I have come across tells about a brand that produces good results apart from the Tamron.
I have read about the Sigma 600mm but non has been conclusive and it is also one lens that is hard to come by.
Any thoughts?
Don't say just get a regular glass lens as this is better than the mirror lenses, but this not about regular glass lens inquiry or thread.
Anyone here have real experiences with mirror lenses and particular brands?

11-18-2009, 05:01 PM   #2
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Have you checked the Mirror Lens Club thread in this forum? Nothing in the way of direct hea-to-head comparisons, but quite a few samples from a variety of lenses, and some comments from people who have used more than one. But frankly, I don't know that there is any conclusive postive answer to your question to be found there - any lens that looks like it might potentially be as good is likely to be harder to find and more expensive still. Although actually, the Tamron isn't *that* obscure. When searching Ebay, be sure not to limit consideration to Pentax mounts, because even if the lens is currently configured for Canon or something else, all it takes is the right Adatpall adapter to get it to fit Pentax.

But my limited experience - supplemented by dozens of comments from others - is that even more so than with other lenses, the difference betwene success and failure with mirror lenses is less about the lens and more about the technique. It's amazing how many people completely write off even excellent mirror lenses like the Tamron because their initial attempts failed due to missed focus, camera shake, or whatever.
11-18-2009, 05:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
Any thoughts?
If you want a real mirror lens curiosity, get a Katoptar. It's a German lens that has three unique characteristics:

- It is built only with mirrors and doesn't contain any refractive glass element, contrary to ordinary "mirror" lenses used in photography, which contain glass elements.

- It's an obstructionless mirror lens with a "Z-folded" light path, instead of the usual coaxial disposition, where the light reflected from the secondary mirror passes through a hole in the center of the primary one. The consequence is that there is no "donut" bokeh on the Katoptar.

- The aperture can be adjusted by the means of a traditional iris diaphragm, allowing depth of field control.

The main drawback is that this lens is quite rare and also much sought after by the collectors, leading to high prices.

If you want to see how a Katoptar looks like, there is one on eBay right now and there is also a page on Dr. Klaus Schmitt's website.

Cheers!

Abbazz
11-19-2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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I've owned the Sigma 600mm f8, Tamron 55B and the Tokina 500mm f8. The Tokina is very close to the tamron in IQ and is usually less expensive (if you can find one). The Sigma is close to the Tokina in IQ. I still have a 500mm russian lens that is decent (sort of a cross of the tokina and sigma in IQ). I decided to keep the russian lens and attach a Bower 5x eyepiece to it to use it as a 2500mm spotting scope.


Last edited by ivoire; 11-19-2009 at 12:35 PM.
11-19-2009, 03:41 PM   #5
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Abbazz,
Very interesting lens. Basicly a small folded refractor telescope.
I've seen examples with very long focal lengths in a short housing.
Need to dig my 80 X 900 out of the closet.
11-19-2009, 04:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote
If you want a real mirror lens curiosity, get a Katoptar. It's a German lens that has three unique characteristics:

If you want to see how a Katoptar looks like, there is one on eBay right now and there is also a page on Dr. Klaus Schmitt's website.

Cheers!

Abbazz
Looks a lot like the Telespect, maybe it is an early version of the Telespect. The model name of this ebay kapotar is TS 500.
11-19-2009, 05:32 PM   #7
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I will have-a-look-see at the mirror lens club as I haven't been visiting that part of the forum.
I was actually looking at other mounts but, it would seem too that adapters aren't really that available for Pentax.
Olympus has adapters and Pentax lenses to be mounted on other cameras..but alas not other lenses to be mounted on Pentax cameras except if they came in M-42 or t-mounts.
11-19-2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivoire Quote
I've owned the Sigma 600mm f8, Tamron 55B and the Tokina 500mm f8. The Tokina is very close to the tamron in IQ and is usually less expensive (if you can find one). The Sigma is close to the Tokina in IQ. I still have a 500mm russian lens that is decent (sort of a cross of the tokina and sigma in IQ). I decided to keep the russian lens and attach a Bower 5x eyepiece to it to use it as a 2500mm spotting scope.
A Tokina mirror lens just sold recently at ebay for quite a lot too..close to $200.
I guess there are a lot of lenses that are now expensive for Pentax..even the old ones!

11-19-2009, 05:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote
If you want a real mirror lens curiosity, get a Katoptar. It's a German lens that has three unique characteristics:

- It is built only with mirrors and doesn't contain any refractive glass element, contrary to ordinary "mirror" lenses used in photography, which contain glass elements.

- It's an obstructionless mirror lens with a "Z-folded" light path, instead of the usual coaxial disposition, where the light reflected from the secondary mirror passes through a hole in the center of the primary one. The consequence is that there is no "donut" bokeh on the Katoptar.

- The aperture can be adjusted by the means of a traditional iris diaphragm, allowing depth of field control.

The main drawback is that this lens is quite rare and also much sought after by the collectors, leading to high prices.

If you want to see how a Katoptar looks like, there is one on eBay right now and there is also a page on Dr. Klaus Schmitt's website.

Cheers!

Abbazz
If I could afford this lens, I would just go get myself the glass ones..DA* or APO lenses!
11-19-2009, 05:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
If I could afford this lens, I would just go get myself the glass ones..DA* or APO lenses!
They have 500mm and 600mm DA* lenses?

QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
I will have-a-look-see at the mirror lens club as I haven't been visiting that part of the forum.
I was actually looking at other mounts but, it would seem too that adapters aren't really that available for Pentax.
Olympus has adapters and Pentax lenses to be mounted on other cameras..but alas not other lenses to be mounted on Pentax cameras except if they came in M-42 or t-mounts.
While adapters aren't plentiful, there are a few around such as the Leitax.

http://www.leitax.com/
11-19-2009, 06:23 PM   #11
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I have the Tamron 55B and find it quite acceptable for my use (photographing overhead power line equipment, where bokeh is not an issue!). I also had a Tokina and did side-by-side tests with them. I thought that the Tamron had the edge in sharpness and contrast and gave better color rendition, but not by much. I bought these for around $100 each.

Mike
11-19-2009, 09:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
I was actually looking at other mounts but, it would seem too that adapters aren't really that available for Pentax.
Olympus has adapters and Pentax lenses to be mounted on other cameras..but alas not other lenses to be mounted on Pentax cameras except if they came in M-42 or t-mounts.
I was referring to the Tamron mirror lenses here these are their own generic "adaptall" mount, which with the proper adapter fits any camera. Think of it as just a flavor of t-mount. So if you buy a Tamron mirror for Canon or whatever, it's really an adaptall with a canon adapter. Remove that, sell it, take proceeds, and buy a Pentax adapter.
11-19-2009, 10:14 PM   #13
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The Tokina 500mm f8 was also sold as a Sears brand lens.
GP
11-20-2009, 08:30 AM   #14
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I have the 500 mm f/8 Opteka, one of the brandings of the modern mirrors being sold on the internet. I picked it up second hand on Ebay for $49 from a seller who didn't like it. A few of my first attempts were not good. It takes practice and a very steady hand to focus one. While the lens is very light, being a 500mm makes it very difficult to hand hold. On a monopod and using trap focus, I got some surprisingly good shots of my daughters crew team. I bought it this fall and the weather has been dismal and I still haven't been able to use it much in the conditions where it will perform best, which is in bright sunlight. The few sunny day test shots I took with it looked quite good.
11-20-2009, 03:26 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I was referring to the Tamron mirror lenses here these are their own generic "adaptall" mount, which with the proper adapter fits any camera. Think of it as just a flavor of t-mount. So if you buy a Tamron mirror for Canon or whatever, it's really an adaptall with a canon adapter. Remove that, sell it, take proceeds, and buy a Pentax adapter.
Oh yes, this one I know as I had experience with a Tamron adaptall when I was still shooting film with Nikon.
Tamron then wasn't really well known but I kept that lens and had very surprisng sharp photos with it.
Bought that lens cheap too as Tamron was looked upon as not a very good brand before.
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