Mirror lenses and BIF?

Started Dec 7, 2012 | Questions thread
BigBarney Senior Member • Posts: 2,722
Wrong tool for the job?

bloodycape wrote:

I been doing a little reading on this but I am getting mixed answers here. Would a mirror lens, say like a 300mm or 400mm F8 mirror lens work for BIF, or would it be better to get something else in the same price, like the Only 40-150mm or Panny 45-200mm. Thanks

I have been taking photographs with interchangeable lens cameras for nearly 50 years and have only ever created one 'keeper ' for a BIF (Bird in flight). That was back in the days of film, when a griffon vulture checked me out at about an altitude of 10 metres above the ground and was disappointed to find that I was still alive and kicking. I was shooting then with just a standard 50mm lens as it was all I could afford. It was a large bird, so I did not need a telephoto lens.

Since then I have owned just one mirror lens a Soligor 500mm f8 with an M42 screw thread mount. I still have this lens and have mounted it to a m43 camera via an adapter. If I was interested in BIF photography (which I am not) there are several reasons why I would prefer to shoot with a fast telephoto optical lens than a mirror lens, including:

  • mirror lenses often have very poor contrast - mine certainly does.
  • mirror lenses can be very heavy, but this may not matter if you are shooting from a tripod.
  • a maximum aperture around f8 is a long way from ideal.
  • the DOF (depth of focus) with a fixed aperture mirror lens is surprisingly narrow, so accurate focus may be an issue.
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