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Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8 Review RSS Feed

Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8

Reviews Views Date of last review
9 47,144 Thu December 22, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
89% of reviewers $30.84 7.11
Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8

Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8
Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8
Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8
Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8
Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8

This and similar t-mount ultra telephoto lenses were (and are) available under a variety of reseller marques from the 1960's on: Paragon, Access, Beroflex, Sirius, Praotor, Kimunor, Expert, Seimar, Photax, Opteka, Prinz-galaxy, Five Star ... et al. Pics 1 to 3 are of more modern versions, lighter, shorter in length, 67mm filter. Pic 5 shows two common older styles, the one attributed to paragon was lacking a nameplate (and its original tripod mount screw) and is in fact slightly shorter than the sunagor.
All 4 element "wundertute" long tube/telescope design, similar to the 400mm f6.3's. Preset aperture, and swappable t-mount means this can be adapted to most dslr's. T-mounts for pentax K have no aperture lever/connection or contacts so stop down aperture priority is the mode of choice. See also this thread on Pentax (K-r) behaviour with non-conducting mounts like t-mounts.

Note that a common fault afflicting old examples of these lenses is haze/whitening on the rear element An example is shown in pic 4 (rear element exposed by removal of mount end, on all the ones I've seen this simply unscrews at the tripod mount)) - looks worse than it is due to use of flash, held up to the light the element has about 10% lack of clarity. Tech point: the larger older lenses unscrew readily into sections for easy cleaning and refurb, the newer ones don't (they all split at the tripod mount).

Still being made actually - advertised as Opteka/Samyang/ at around a $hundred (pic 3).

model Praetor Sunagor "modern"
Optics 4 elements / 3 groups 4 elements / 3 groups 4 elements / 3 groups
Filter thread 67mm 72mm 67mm
Aperture 2 ring preset f8 - 32 2 ring preset f8 - 32 2 ring preset f8 - 32
Iris 13 blades 13 blades 13 blades
Focus ~300 deg throw ~300 deg throw ~ 300 deg throw
CFD 12m stated 12m, measured just under 11m to lens front 10m
Length with M42 mount Min 42cm/16.4"; max 43.6cm/17.2" Min 42.3cm, max 44cm Min 33.5cm Max 34.9cm
Weight ~ 0.9kg ~ 0.85kg 0.62kg
tripod collar yes yes yes
Hood no no no

Field of view on Pentax DSLR (apsc) = 2.68 deg.
At 12m distance, coverage is 56cm x 37cm according to this calculator.

Specs for "modern" type lens were of a Super Albinar branded lens. These specs for a new Opteka 500mm, culled off the web.
Groups/Elements: 4/4
Minimum Focus Distance: 10m/33 ft.
Focus Modes: Manual focus
Aperture: f/8.0 - f/32.0
Filter Size: 67mm
Dimensions (D x L): 2.8 x 11.7 in./ 7.1cm x 29.7cm
Weight: 0.64kg/22.6 oz.
Model: MF 500mm f:8 Preset Lens
Made in Japan (don't believe it - China!)
Video review of this lens by C. Oneil here
Mount Type: Third-party (adapter required)
Price History:

Add Review of Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-9 of 9

Registered: December, 2016
Location: London
Posts: 1,079
Review Date: December 22, 2016 Recommended | Price: $12.39 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Surprisingly sharp, especially stopped down
Cons: Heavy and a bit awkward
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D50   

The one I have is branded "Dufay" but appears to be identical to the others with 72mm filter mount described here. I got it a few months ago for 10 ($12.49) in a branch of a British pawn shop / money lending shop chain. Their photographic equipment is usually badly overpriced, but this time I got lucky. When I compared it to a cheap mirror lens I'd previously used I was surprised how much better it was; clearer, sharper (especially stopped down), and much more contrasty. It's a bit of a pig to carry around; I use a Hama tripod case and put it over a shoulder. One important point - I've added a longish hood, made up of a 35mm long metal hood that had a 78mm screw thread at the end, to which I've added a deep rubber hood taking the total length to about 90mm. Between them the hoods and the case cost a little more than the lens itself, but I think they were a good investment. I've generally found that I need to adjust contrast a little for best results, but much less than with a mirror lens. One thing I've noticed is that long lenses like this really make any dust or smudges on the sensor stand out - since taking these pictures I've cleaned my camera, and I'm waiting for nice weather to see how well it worked. In London at this time of year that may be a long wait...

A helicopter over Hyde Park, London

The Albert Memorial, London - I've inset a picture taken with a zoom set to 55mm at approximately the same distance

The December 2016 "supermoon", 1/500th F16. Contrast adjusted slightly, otherwise unmodified.

Overall I'm very pleased, and thoroughly recommend these lenses - they're pretty good if you can work with their limitations.
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 9
Review Date: December 6, 2015 Recommended | Price: $18.50 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Range, Decent Sharpness, Inexpensive
Cons: 1. Shooting @ F8 takes patience and a good tripod 2. Looks and feels like a sniper scope...
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 10   

This is the Samyang 500mm "k mount" (similar to these models) great combo with a 2x converter...perfect for moon shots. For the price range I find it a steal of a deal!
Inactive Account

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: April 11, 2015 Recommended | Price: $50.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Bought and paid for decades ago, high mag.
Cons: Manual only, no modern features
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: Nikon D5100   

An eagle nest near here got me digging in the drawer for every piece of glass I own. My Canon Vixia HF G20 can squeak out 20:1 zoom at HD using its 2x zoom setting, but was struggling to get me close enough. My strongest telephoto for my Nikons was 300 mm. $10k and up pro wildlife lenses are out of reach for now. But down in a forgotten drawer was my old Quantaray 500mm f8. And I do have Nikon T-mount adapters on hand to use the cameras on microscopes and telescopes, so ....

I've never had much luck with this lens on my earlier cameras. The f8 optics are too dim to work with the pentaprism rangefinders on the older SLRs. Half of the center split screen was almost always black, and I never really got great focus with it.

But based on the reviews here, I dusted it off and tried it on my Nikon D5100. This humble lens has finally found a camera it really works well with. The D5100 has proven to be my go-to camera for microscopy due to the screen and video options. You flip the lever that raises the mirror and activates the screen in real time, then punch the + button a few times to zoom in. This lets you focus perfectly.

The D5100 will not meter with this relic on it, but a few test shots get the exposure right in the M setting. But once set up and on a good tripod, the lens is quite serviceable for stills and excellent for HD video. In fact, the camera works out exposure for video automatically, in spite of the manual aperture.

The only modification to the image above is the automatic compression applied during upload.
Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2012
Location: North Wales
Posts: 2,867
Review Date: December 11, 2014 Not Recommended | Price: $20.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: cheapest ultra telephoto
Cons: handling, slow, long cfd, propensity for hazed rear element (early vintage examples)..
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 7    Handling: 5    Value: 8    Camera Used: pentax K-r, lumix G1   

I acquired a Praotor II branded example very cheaply, with a view to making a comparison with my tamron 500mm mirror. It was suffering from the common complaint of haze on the rear element, note that this typically does not clean off. Fortunately a neighbour has a gem polishing set up so a few minutes buffing with some jewellers rouge did the trick.With these "moddings" it is difficult to say how representative the IQ of this lens is. I can say that it shows similar characteristics to the shorter focal length "wundertutes": decent sharpness, dull contrast, susceptible to PF.

TBH I am more enamoured both with the tamron 500mm mirrors and the 400mm f6.3's. I find this long tube (max length of this one 44cm/17.3" - an early one, later and current models are shorter) to be particularly user unfriendly, very difficult to eliminate shake without a high shutter and a good solid tripod set up, unlike the tamrons where I can often make do with a fence post, bean bag etc etc (and even hand hold if the light is good enough to get 1/500th, 1/1000 +). This observation is also commented upon in the video review linked to above in the description. I would advise users serious about trying to get the best out of these to consider the sort of mounting set up I use with my tamron 31A: macro rail with two solid points of contact supporting the lens to damp the "bendy ruler/seesaw" oscillation tendencies. OTOH maybe you gun happy Americans are more used than I am to hold long thin objects steady...

Focusing at f8 through an optical VF is a hit and miss affair IME, and although this does have the advantage of a variable aperture, in practice in use it's f8 and sometimes f11, rarely any higher (diffraction reducing IQ) so the priority is on decent IQ at open or near open apertures. And although I have struggled to get decent comparison pics during these dull winter days my clear impression is that the tamron 500mm has comfortably better IQ f8 vs f8. In fact, more test shots at f8 post haze cleaning have been disappointing.

This test pic of the castle was taken before I refurbished the rear element. f8, 800asa, 1/1600.

Doesn't look too bad resized but the 100% crop was not as good as the tammy, or as good as I think it should be, which I attribute at least partly to the haze.

UPDATE. I have had the opportunity to check out a couple of better examples of these 500mm lenses, including an almost LNIB Prinz-galaxy. Performance was distinctly better but without altering my overall assessment which is that overall I don't recommend these. Reasons:
1. Upscaled pics from the better 400mm 5.6's/6.3's typically match or better pics from these so 500mm is no advantage.
2. Tamron (and ?tokina) mirrors better resolution.
3. f8 is too slow, too dim with OVF.
3. CFD 10-12m is too long. 6-8m for 400mm lenses much better, and focus to just a couple of m with the mirrors.
4. Propensity to haze on the rear element (early models).

You should be discriminating and prefer one of the better 400mm lenses, or a tamron/tokina mirror (but not the shabbily performing opteka/samyang etc etc 500mm mirrors available new off Amazon/ebay etc).
Veteran Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 518
Review Date: November 16, 2014 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, relatively decent lens for 500mm
Cons: CA/PF, soft wide open near infinity

I have the Rokinon variant of this lens.
It can take some decent shots, however, it is not good in harsh lighting conditions (SoCal lighting), especially wide open at f/8
Even though its a slow lens, it can take some very nice shots, just take some time to stop it down a good bit for a decent DoF on landscapes, it'll also cure some PF.

I haven't had a chance to shoot the moon yet, but I do have a cheap Cimko 2x6e TC to add to this for those shots.
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 30
Review Date: October 23, 2011 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, ok IQ
Cons: Really hard to use
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

My lens claims to be a "Kimunor," but is otherwise identical to the Quantaray. Condition was honestly a bit funky, but only in that the T adapter was essentially pulled apart in the middle -- a condition that seems to be very common for this particular lens. Re-seating the back-half of the T adapter and tightening 3 set screws fixed it. In every other way, the lens was pristine.

This lens is actually lighter than the 400mm f/6.3 lenses I have. The image quality appears to be better too. Here's an unprocessed (except crop) example:

That was shot hand-held at 1/500s on APS-C. It's really not bad. Very simple optics work pretty well at small enough apertures....

There is an odd general glow to some images that have high contrast content, but it is not consistently present. Otherwise, there are surprisingly few aberrations.
Site Supporter

Registered: September, 2010
Location: MD
Posts: 1,029
Review Date: September 11, 2011 Recommended | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: cheap; quite decent for 500mm
Cons: purple fringing, needs light
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 9   

I got this lens thrown in w/ another, and so I was not expecting much. For what it's intended to do, however, it's not bad. It handles well enough, because there really isn't much to it. It's quite easy to use, because you just set the camera to Av mode, and it will take care of metering just fine. Set your desired preset f-stop, use the OPEN ring to focus, close down to the preset, shoot. It's possible to use it handheld, but you'll get better results on a tripod with a timed shutter release.
As for sharpness, it's quite acceptable for those distance shots. Shots of distant objects at 100% on this lens are much better than shots at 167% on my outstanding DAL 55-300. (Ie, at the comparable viewing size.)
Bottom line: Great value for 500mm.

UPDATE: 2/2014: After more use w/ this lens, I'm upgrading it a bit. It does take some fussing and luck to get a good pic, but it is doable. This pic was taken on an overcast day w/ dull light, but it was close to nearest focusing distance at 30feet.
I'm guessing it's the same lens as the Quantaray. Here's a nice Flickr set I found using this FiveStar 500.
Still a great value for a 500mm lens.

UPDATE: 2015.06: I acquired the similarly constructed and similarly inexpensive Spiratone Pluracoat 400mm f6.3. The Spiratone is about 3/4" shorter and a bit easier to focus w/ the f6.3. Results are similar to the 500mm, but in general the 500mm does a slightly better job.
Junior Member

Registered: November, 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 40
Review Date: May 24, 2011 Recommended | Price: $100.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Inexpensive, fairly good pictures.
Cons: Heavy, slow weak tripod mount, flexes so you must compensate

Inexpensive lense that takes surprisinly good pictures, but as it is f8 wide open you need lots of light, definitely need a tripod, but the mount flexes, so you have to aim low and release to achive target point where you want it to be. Focus is smooth and positive. Came with a "matched 2X converter" which I think deteriorate the picture quality, will try with a better quality doubler soon. Best thing about the converter is that the k-mount is held on by set screws as is the screw mount on the lense, so I removed the k-mount from the doubler and the screw mount on the lense and put the k-mount on the lense, eliminating the need for an adaptor.
All in all for the price it is surpisingly good, not great but good.
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2007
Location: Nowhere Land
Posts: 2,362
Review Date: February 24, 2010 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Can be found for very little expense, weighs less than two pounds so some handheld captures require less effort
Cons: It does not produce sharp images from many fast moving subjects; not the lens you would want for some sports, birds or aircraft in flight o

Most often you will find someone selling their old copy of the lens at times for somewhere around $50. For great shots of the moon you can get with this lens, it is well worth that. Even images of animals resting or slowly pacing at zoo exhibits for example, this lens does provide good images.
My copy was bought somewhere around 1986 perhaps and I am sure from either Montgomery Wards or Kmart. It originally came with a leather pouch and a lens hood that simply slide off and on. I wish I had kept the lens hood especially. This lens need a bit of contrast added to the images when shooting in sunlight. And it requires good sunlight for any sharpness with appropriate shutter speeds.
I would tell anyone that a reasonable copy of the lens found for under $60 would be a very good telephoto lens for landscapes, good sunlight conditions or not very fast moving subjects.

Add Review of Pre-set (Quantaray, Kimunor, Five Star, etc.) 500mm F8

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