Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?

Started Jan 3, 2006 | Discussions
Mosser
Forum MemberPosts: 64
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Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?
Jan 3, 2006

Jessops are knocking out the last few Centon 500mm F8 mirror lenses for £37 at the moment brand new with a 7 year warranty,

I just picked myself one up in Jessops in Bath, and it is quite heavy, solid metal, and has a very smooth focusing action,

Can anyone give any hints or tips on how to use it ?, i assume i have to put the camera into manual mode and tell it somehow that it is F8, would 1/500 sec exposure be about right for this lens ?, and i am pretty sure its going to be a tripod only as on my 350D with a 1.6x sensor, it turns into an 800mm lens !!!, i cant see me handholding this ever and getting a decent shot,

I realise that this isnt going to be a top quality lens for the price, and the pictures might not be too good as its cheap, but i thought that at that price i couldnt turn it down !

Any hints or tips are welcome, i've very new to SLR's, thanks !

Marvin42
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Re: Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?
In reply to Mosser, Jan 3, 2006

I have a 500mm mirror and think to sell it at ebay. I took some testshots and nothing else.
My Exacta 500mm Mirrorlens is the worst lens I bougth.
Look at a Example (tripod mounted with cable trigger):

Greetings Marvin

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Tapani Linnaluoto
Regular MemberPosts: 134
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Re: Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?
In reply to Mosser, Jan 3, 2006

Mosser wrote:

Can anyone give any hints or tips on how to use it ?, i assume i
have to put the camera into manual mode and tell it somehow that it
is F8, would 1/500 sec exposure be about right for this lens ?, and
i am pretty sure its going to be a tripod only as on my 350D with a
1.6x sensor, it turns into an 800mm lens !!!, i cant see me
handholding this ever and getting a decent shot,

You can use any of the Av, P, Tv and M modes. Because the camera meters the light through the lens, it doesn't need to know the lens aperture, it just meters the light and calculates the exposure time accordingly (in Av and P modes, which probably act the same). It's called stop-down (or stopped-down) metering.

You might need some practice with manual focusing. It's not easy with the 350D viewfinder.

Tripod is probably necessary.

Don't expect spectacular image quality out of it, experiment with it, and most importantly, have fun!

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Gautam Majumdar
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Re: Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?
In reply to Mosser, Jan 3, 2006

You can use Av as automatic exposure mode. You can also use M mode but will probably need a handheld exposure meter to get the shutter speed right. Expect donut shaped bokeh because of the very nature of the mirror lenses.
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Gautam

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Mosser
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Re: Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?
In reply to Mosser, Jan 3, 2006

Thanks,

I bought it mainly to just play with, at that price i couldnt say no really, they seem to be selling used on ebay for about £50 so i dont think i will make a loss if i do sell it !,

I will give it a try tomorrow in the daylight and see what i can do with it !

Cheers

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b.c.
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hi Mosser - mirror lens info & Tamron mirror samples
In reply to Mosser, Jan 5, 2006

at the price you mention, probably fun just to play around with but you might not want to expect much.

I have an old manual focus Tamron Adaptall2 SP 350mm f/5.6 mirror lens (also a matched 2x convertor) and have only used it a little on my 20D, but bought probably 20+ yrs ago for use on then a Canon A-1 and later on EOS film bodies. like you I found it for cheap new on clearance and thought "what the heck".

here are some basic tips and info for you

  • basically you will meter using "stopped down" metering mode. because the mirror is fixed aperture there's no aperture to set or stop down to, of course. on my 20D I just set it to Av mode. the display shows "00" because of course there are no electrical signals from this old MF lens to the camera. I can't recall, but I may have dialed in some +ve exp compensation when using it - I vaguely recall that shots tended to be under-exposed using this lens in stopped down mode...

  • anyhow, being a manual focus and long focal length lens, you will likely find it difficult to focus. more so with the f/8 aperture. mine at shorter focal length and 1stop brighter is already difficult to focus on my 20D, I find. it was a lot easier to focus on my old EOS film bodies with their better-for-MF focusing screens.

  • and although relatively compact, you may find it difficult to hold steady! or maybe I'm just now spoiled by my IS lenses... anyhow, luckily my 350mm has a built-in tripod mount

  • for out-of-focus background, you will get donut shaped OOF highlights. some people say this is a disadvantage of mirror lenses, but personally I like the effect!

I have suspicions about the image quality of a Centon brand lens compared to my Tamron, which had a half-decent reputation.

anyhow, have fun! (p.s. sounds like you're from Bath, UK? I visited there this past summer for the 1st time and really enjoyed the town!)

here are a few samples shot with my 20D and Tamron 350 f/5.6 mirror, all handheld.

1/600 f/5.6 iso200. one of the nice things about the Tamron 350 is that it focusses really close, down to 1:1 magnification (this shot isn't that close, however - but just to mention it)

1/500s f/5.6 iso400

1/800 f/5.6 iso400

1/6400 f/5.6 iso400

Mosser wrote:

Jessops are knocking out the last few Centon 500mm F8 mirror lenses
for £37 at the moment brand new with a 7 year warranty,

I just picked myself one up in Jessops in Bath, and it is quite
heavy, solid metal, and has a very smooth focusing action,

Can anyone give any hints or tips on how to use it ?, i assume i
have to put the camera into manual mode and tell it somehow that it
is F8, would 1/500 sec exposure be about right for this lens ?, and
i am pretty sure its going to be a tripod only as on my 350D with a
1.6x sensor, it turns into an 800mm lens !!!, i cant see me
handholding this ever and getting a decent shot,

I realise that this isnt going to be a top quality lens for the
price, and the pictures might not be too good as its cheap, but i
thought that at that price i couldnt turn it down !

Any hints or tips are welcome, i've very new to SLR's, thanks !

 b.c.'s gear list:b.c.'s gear list
Canon PowerShot S95 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Canon EOS 6D Epson Stylus Photo R2000
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Mosser
Forum MemberPosts: 64
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Re: hi Mosser - mirror lens info & Tamron mirror samples
In reply to b.c., Jan 15, 2006

Thanks BC,

Those tips will be very useful to me,

Your right about the image quality of the centon, it isnt a patch on your Tamron, my images seem to be drab and grainy, but focusing seems ok, it isnt too difficult really, I can handhold it at ISO1600 and 1/250 and the shots are ok, but not the sort of thing you would show around really,

It was a bargain, and i am not going to sell it, its nice to play with a MF lens !, all of mine till now have been AF,

Bath is a wonderful town to photograph, there is so many things to see, I am actually from Warminster which is about 15 miles away, but it is our local shopping centre as we live a bit out in the sticks here !!

cheers
--
350D
17-85 IS USM
kit 18-55 lens
Centon 500mm mirror lens
crappy Quentis £6 tripod
Sandisk 2gig cf Extreme II

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dougsmit
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Re: Centon 500mm mirror lens for £37 ?
In reply to Mosser, Jan 16, 2006

I have no experience with Centon but my Sigma mirror can be hand held with extreme care and good light. Images will have no depth of field and many examples of 'bad' mirrors really show an inability to focus the thing. Mirrors focus very close compared to other lenses and the depth of field is less than zero when you get close. Mine delivers a lower contrast image so you might want to shoot RAW or bump up the contrast parameter a bit.

The question to ask is whether you get images from the mirror that are better than what you can get in any other way. I could not afford a 600mm f/4L, could not handhold it and could not set up the tripod fast and quietly enough to shoot a quick to disappear shot. How many shots will you need to take to make the purchase worthwhile?

1 - (10 feet braced against windowframe not cropped):

2 - 9:
http://www.pbase.com/dougsmit/sigma600

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