Mirror lenses for eclipse

Started Aug 13, 2012 | Discussions thread
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dodgyexposure
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Mirror lenses for eclipse
Aug 13, 2012

I am going to be viewing the total solar eclipse in November, so am looking for a lens to put on my 600D to take some photos of it.

I have done some test shots of the moon with an old FD 500mm reflex lens with an adapter, and I think that 500mm should be about right as a focal length (i.e. allowing enough space around the moon to see the corona during totality).

I don't have a 500mm refractive lens, and am not looking at spending thousands of dollars to get one at this time (currently, I don't shoot wildlife or birds).

Hence my interest in mirror lenses. I understand that they have optical defects (sharpness, donut bokeh) and limitations (fixed aperture), but most of those are no problem for astrophotography (excepting sharpness, which was acceptable from the FD lens I tested on a moon shot). I'm not interested in a mirror lens as a telephoto lens for general use, but they are so cheap that it makes sense to get one as a small telescope to put on the front of my camera.

My question is essentially this - there are a bunch of cheap mirror lenses for sale on (e.g.) B&H - e.g. Samyang, Rokinon, Vivitar, Bower - they all look very similar (I assume that at least some of them are the same lens rebadged) - and there is little comparative information online. Is there any difference in quality between them? Can anyone with direct experience help?

Alternatively, is there a cheap way of getting to 500mm with better IQ, apart from sticking a 2x extender on a 55-250 (at about 4x the price of the mirrors?).

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Cheers,
Damien

 dodgyexposure's gear list:dodgyexposure's gear list
Sony RX100 Olympus Tough TG-2 Canon EOS 600D Canon EOS 6D Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +6 more
Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5)
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