500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

Started Nov 16, 2012 | Discussions
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digit Contributing Member • Posts: 594
500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

OK, not my lens.  My nieghor is getting into photography.  He's only 14 so he's starting with a T3i and the kit 18 -55mm lens.

He is asking me to look at a vivitar 500mm f6.3 mirror lens and the 500mm f8 telephoto lens

http://www.vivitar.com/products/105/lenses-and-accessories/352/500mr-f63

http://www.vivitar.com/products/105/lenses-and-accessories/1076/500mm-preset

I don't have any expertise with either of these lens.  I know they are a far cry form quality but for a kid learning photography and since they are manual, a good way for him to learn the essentuals.

If he were to get one, which one would you perfer if anyone has experience with these.

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Emphyrio2 Regular Member • Posts: 472
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

Hello Digit,

I have a 500mm f6.3 Canon mount Pro-Optic that I purchased from Adorama for about $150. I am very pleased with this lens.  The lens is totally manual and lacks image stabilization, but it has insane reach and high image quality for the price.  I remember reading that a cropped image from a cheap 70-300 zoom would have better quality than an un-cropped image from a 500 mm mirror lens.  I found the opposite to be true.  I have attached a few sample images, all of which are hand held shots.  I like to shoot with this lens at ISO 1600, to get a fast shutter speed.  Manual focus can be very fun when you get the hang of it.  An argument can be made that a young aspiring photographer can benefit from experience with manual focus.  I recommend this lens.  The Vivitar might be just as good, but I don't have any experience with it.  Also, I recommend the f6.3 over the f8 because it is less extreme.  It has a bigger aperture for more light gathering and still has plenty of reach.

JAH

Female Northern Cardinal

Bunny rabbit on my street

Brown Thrasher

Male Northern Cardinal

digit OP Contributing Member • Posts: 594
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

Those are some very impressive photos from that type of lens even with the donuts (which I don't pixel pep at anyways in a photo).  Thanks for the fast reply and examples.

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Focus - Click - Repeat,
http://jbtty.dyndns.org/photo
There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are. Ernst Haas

PK24X36NOW Senior Member • Posts: 1,570
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

digit wrote:

OK, not my lens. My nieghor is getting into photography. He's only 14 so he's starting with a T3i and the kit 18 -55mm lens.

He is asking me to look at a vivitar 500mm f6.3 mirror lens and the 500mm f8 telephoto lens

http://www.vivitar.com/products/105/lenses-and-accessories/352/500mr-f63

http://www.vivitar.com/products/105/lenses-and-accessories/1076/500mm-preset

I don't have any expertise with either of these lens. I know they are a far cry form quality but for a kid learning photography and since they are manual, a good way for him to learn the essentuals.

If he were to get one, which one would you perfer if anyone has experience with these.

-- hide signature --

Focus - Click - Repeat,
http://jbtty.dyndns.org/photo
There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are. Ernst Haas

For a kid learning photography, I'd suggest the mirror lens. That "T-mount" lens is going to require stop-down metering (i.e., metering with the lens stopped down to the actual shooting aperture (read: DARK) as opposed to wide open with electronic or mechanical coupling "correcting" the metering to account for the aperture selected that will be used at the moment of exposure). That convoluted procedure is probably going to frustrate the poor kid. In addition, since that lens is long and undoubtedly extremely front heavy (that big front element being most of the weight), it will be a bear to handle and will probably need support gear that costs more than the lens itself in order to have any chance at decent results.

photonius Veteran Member • Posts: 6,490
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

digit wrote:

OK, not my lens. My nieghor is getting into photography. He's only 14 so he's starting with a T3i and the kit 18 -55mm lens.

He is asking me to look at a vivitar 500mm f6.3 mirror lens and the 500mm f8 telephoto lens

http://www.vivitar.com/products/105/lenses-and-accessories/352/500mr-f63

http://www.vivitar.com/products/105/lenses-and-accessories/1076/500mm-preset

I don't have any expertise with either of these lens. I know they are a far cry form quality but for a kid learning photography and since they are manual, a good way for him to learn the essentuals.

If he were to get one, which one would you perfer if anyone has experience with these.

For your information, these vivitar lenses are the same as pro-optic, rokinon, bower, Samyang, (and many other names). All made by Samyang

http://www.samyang.co.uk/

so you can also search for these names and find reviews, prices.

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Jim Bracegirdle Regular Member • Posts: 203
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

Hello digit,

I'm very late with my answer, but for what it's worth here is my experience with 500mm f/8 Kimunor.

Going by your link my lens is a twin brother to the Vivitar 500mm f/8 preset. I found the minimum focus distance of 33 feet bothered me so I use the 12mm and the 20mm Kenko extension tubes together and this makes me much happier when shooting garden birds. I have a branch tied in the flight line to the feeder and I focus on that. I use a Canon 40D with an adapter to marry to the 500mm. I have found that f/8 is just as good as f/11 because with the 1.6 crop I don't have to worry about edge sharpness as we are only using the premium centre of the lens. It is an oldie with four elements but with my bean bag it has proven a winner. Forget about flight shots, as I say it is fine for pre focussing on a landing spot and you don't even have to keep your eye to the finder at all if you are mounted to the fence or tripod. The moon shots are also superb, but of course without the extension tubes so you can get infinity.  Made in Japan in the 70's and 80's. A good buy for a kid just starting. My mirror lens ventures were very very disappointing with the big bulky Vivitar. I thought I would like it because of the closer focussing distance but the donut B/Grounds and the softness of the image were too much of a downer.

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Jim

djarvis8 New Member • Posts: 1
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

The picture of the bird looks really nice.  Did you use some sort of post-processing to get rid of the donuts?

PSCL1 Senior Member • Posts: 3,088
Re: 500mm Mirror f6.3 or a 500 f8 fixed telephoto lens

To the OP:  IDK either of these lenses but I do own a 500mm f-eight Vivitar mirror lens which is what I would recommend to a kid.  It is quite tiny and you can have a lot of fun with it, even if you get bored with out-of-focus donuts.  The 500 f8 glass teles are just too long and the preset mechanisms awkward to handle, unless you use a tripod. Furthermore, the 500 6.3 mirror lens is bulkier and harder to handle than the 500 f8 mirror lens.  I think a 500 f8 glass tele will produce sharper images than either an f6.3 or f8 mirror lens, however, esp. on a tripod. But does this youth have the patience to use a tripod?

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victorian squid
victorian squid Veteran Member • Posts: 3,390
The "kid" is 18 now

PSCL1 wrote:

To the OP: IDK either of these lenses but I do own a 500mm f-eight Vivitar mirror lens which is what I would recommend to a kid. It is quite tiny and you can have a lot of fun with it, even if you get bored with out-of-focus donuts. The 500 f8 glass teles are just too long and the preset mechanisms awkward to handle, unless you use a tripod. Furthermore, the 500 6.3 mirror lens is bulkier and harder to handle than the 500 f8 mirror lens. I think a 500 f8 glass tele will produce sharper images than either an f6.3 or f8 mirror lens, however, esp. on a tripod. But does this youth have the patience to use a tripod?

And could be in college for all we know. If nobody noticed - this is a very old thread.

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RichRMA Senior Member • Posts: 4,073
Neither?

While it is possible to get the occasional good image with a manual-focus mirror lens, the focusing is SO critical, that doing it manually is very hard, especially if the subject is relatively close. With the resolution of modern sensors, you pretty much need a tripod to really nail focus on a subject and the subject needs to be rock-steady. However, if you have a camera that can shoot 8-10fps, and if you are good at doing proximity pre-focusing, it might allow you to produce shots of non-still subject.

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