telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Started Apr 10, 2014 | User reviews
mjkshots
mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x
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Hi, I just ran a series of test shots regarding telephoto / super telephoto lenses indoors in low light, slow shutter speeds. this test was ran on subjects that were stationary. The focus speed of the lenses used while conducting my test was irelevent though I tried to get each image as crisp as I could using the lens's auto-focus system when availible. Note With the fd lenses the I.Q. is not its true I.Q. I used a Albinar FD-EOS (GLASS ELEMENT) INFINITY FOCUS ADAPTER/CONVERTER ($35) I find this is an amazing product for the price it's a must if you own old manual lenses that are collecting dust! A relitivly sharp eye is a must with manual focus lenses and it takes some time, technique and skill to get a crisp shot with a manual focus lens. I would like everyone to know I did this test for fun and to show what I personally achived with each lens, to compare some aspects of each lens, price, size, I.Q. build, and perfomance, all of the gear I have tested is well used and nothing is brand new anymore, could everything be cleaned, calibrated and refined for better a I.Q? yup! but this is now, so heres some of my thougts and some images.

The camera body I used to shoot all of the photos was a canon 1D MARK II BODY.

-CAMERA SET TO MANUAL

-ISO 400

-Evaluative metering,

-all lenses wide open.

-awb

-standard parameters

-color matrix- 1standard

-no flashes/STROBES

The images I shot were taken inside of my house using open blinds on 3 windows alowing the foggy days light to shine on the subjects, also one overhead (10'cellings) light fixture W/ two soft white 3000k halogen bulbs for a bit of extra light(not much).

The focus point I amied for in each shot of the light switch was the top left screw on th light switch. The focus area I aimed for on the plant was a leaf about front and center.

approx. distance from the subject.
-approx 33' away using the fd 500mm lenses
-approx 27'using the ef canon 500mm sigma apo 500mm canon ef 400mm w/ canon 1.4x attached 35-350mm w/ 1.4x attached
-approx 21' away using the 400mm and 35-350mm 5.6 lenses

Each shot was taken using a tripod and a timed remote switch ( tc-80n3 ) set to 3 seconds after the subject was in focus, the camera/tripod/lens was perfectly still, I did not apply the mirror lock-up on my camera.

I tried framing the subjects the same, but with each tripod foot being at differant heights and each lens being slightly different in lengths and focal lengths the images when compared side by side are not identical. but you can see the similarities.

First thing for me and for most others out there is the price. Lenses are not cheap as most know, back in the day I used my standard lens and attached a tele-converter to the front filter mount that I bought used for under $10 because I was broke and could barely affored to develop my images. while This technique worked well for me for years, I moved on...this test is to help others find the right lens at the right price, I wish I could help those looking in the $10-17k lens price range to make there choice, but as for now this is my highest end gear, some day I hope I will be able to test the latest and greatiest gear and when I do I wil do more tests

L- R SPIRATONE F8, 400MM 5.6L, 500MM 4.5L, SIGMA APO 500MM, FD 500MM F4.5L BELOW 35-350MM 3.5-5.6L

lenses listed from price high to low (AVERAGE ONLINE PRICES I FOUND) used in this test.

Canon ef 500mm f/4.5L discontinued, used average price $3600 great lens! heavy yet compact enough to carry around and hand hold shoot for a solid couple of hours before becoming completely exhausted

Canon ef 500mm f/4.5L

shadow hawk canon ef 500mm f4.5L

This is the fastest and most powerful lens I own, if I didn't own one I'd be working hard and saving for one though it is a bit heavy and hard to shoot handheld for long periods of time it is worth lugging it around and the payoff is great!

canon fd 500mm f/4.5L discontinued, used, average price $1600

lighter and smaller than the ef version, tack sharp (even with the albinar glass adapter) love this lens Ive been amping to get a conversion kit for it, and started working on my own in the mean time nothing perfect yet.

canon fd 500mm f/4.5L a little beat up (a lot) still sharp as a razor! I cant wait to convert it!

tagged hawk canon fd 500mm f4.5l lens albinar fd-eos converter

manualy focusing is a bit more work and challanging than shooting with the newer auto focus systems but the glass on this lens is so great! and it seems to work good with the Albinar adapter I must say.

sigma APO 500mm F/4.5 discontinued, used, average price $1500

BIG Bang for your buck! auto focus! 500mm! and fast F4.5! but the apo lenses freeze a lot of cameras, this lens's technology wont allow the camera to stop down the aperture, but it works 100% the original 1d and 1ds, I assume all earlier eos film bodies and digital bodies like the 10d, d30 and 60 should work fine as well. WITH THE REAR 30.5MM FILTERS YOU CAN GET N.D. NEUTRAL DENSITY FILTERS, THUS GET SOME SLOWER SHUTTER SPEEDS AND HIGHER YOU ISO IF WANTED, AND SHOOT IN BRIGHTER LIGHT.

SIGMA APO 500MM F4.5

TARIK KHASHOGGI SIGMA 500MM F4.5 APO

CANON EF 400MM F/5.6L NEW $1,350, used, average price $1100

Best travel prime lens EVER! light, crisp, sharp, fast, silent, small, compact and SO powerful! i've babied this lens for a decade and it is still working like new! also most of my favorite shots were taken using this lens. i know a few people who are sold on this lens, check out some of josh gill's work with the 400mm f5.6L lens @ abovethereef.com

CANON EF 400MM F5.6L

NATHAN HEDGES 2012 CANON 400MM F5.6L @ISO 160 F5.6 1/320SEC

canon ef 35-350mm f3.5-5.6L discontinued, used, average price $1000

my most commonly used lens! sharp and very versicle, I LOVE THIS LENS!

CANON 35-350MM F3.5-5.6L

canon ef 35-350mm f3.5-5.6l shot @ 140mm f5 1/1600 sec

I have traveled a lot using this lens, it shows with the wear and tear, its my right had lens this image shows it works good even in the middle range.

spiratone fd 500mm f/8 fixed aperture mirror/reflex discontinued, used, average price $60

HEY $60 NEVER WENT FURTHER!

SPIRATONE 500MM F8 MIRROR

spiratone 500mm fixed f8 mirror lens f10 w/ albinar fd-eos adapter) @ iso 400 f10 1/1000 sec 1d mark II

lens attachments
Canon ef 1.4x discontinued, used, average price $200

A MUST HAVE TO EXTEND YOU LENS!

CANON 1.4X

albinar fd-eos adapter/converter, (glass element, infinity focus) new, average price $35

BEST BUY FOR USING FD LENSES ON A BUDGET!

ALBINAR FD-EOS CONVERTER ADAPTER

CANON FD 500MM F4.5L ALBINAR FD-EOS ADAPTER, VIVITAR 2X EXTENDER

AND FOR THE TEST SHOTS FROM TODAY...

Canon ef 500mm f4.5L lens

canon ef 500mm f4.5L @ iso 400 f 4.5 1/60sec

canon ef 500mm f4.5L @ iso 400 f 4.5 1/60sec

canon fd 500mm f/4.5L (615mm F/5.6 with albinar adapter/1.25x extender)

canon fd 500mm f4.5L @ iso 400 f 4.5 1/60sec with albinar fd-eos adapter

canon fd 500mm f4.5L @ iso 400 f 4.5 1/60sec with albinar fd-eos adapter

sigma APO 500mm F/4.5

sigma APO 500mm F/4.5 @ iso 400 f 4.5 1/60sec

sigma APO 500mm F/4.5 @ iso 400 f 4.5 1/60sec

CANON EF 400MM F/5.6L

CANON EF 400MM F5.6L ISO 400 1/40SEC

CANON EF 400MM F5.6L ISO 400 1/40SEC

CANON EF 400MM F/5.6L @560mm (F8) with canon 1.4x teleconverter

CANON EF 400MM (560MM)5.6L W/1.4X F8 ISO 400 1/20SEC

CANON EF 400MM (560MM)5.6L W/1.4X F8 ISO 400 1/60SEC

canon ef 35-350mm f3.5-5.6L @350mm

CANON EF 35-350MM F3.5-5.6L ISO 400 1/40SEC

CANON EF 35-350MM F3.5-5.6L ISO 400 1/60SEC

canon ef 35-350mm f3.5-5.6L @490mm (F8) with canon 1.4x teleconverter

CANON EF 35-350MM F3.5-5.6L ISO 400 F5.6 (F8) W/ 1.4X 1/40SEC

CANON EF 35-350MM F3.5-5.6L ISO 400 F5.6 (F8) W/ 1.4X 1/40SEC

spiratone fd 500mm f/8 fixed aperture mirror/reflex (615mm F/10 with albinar adapter/1.25x extender)

spiratone 500mm f/8 ISO 400 1/10SEC

spiratone 500mm f/8 ISO 400 1/40SEC

Well there you have it! 6 lenses tested under the same condition. I will update this thread with more sample images I have previously taken, and with future pics as well, my main reason for doing this test was to enjoy all these lenses before I sell them and to help compare them for others! I hope this helps someone out there

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

I just converted the Spiritone 500mm f8 mirror lens from fd mount to eos mount, I will post updated photos here soon, this means that the lens is true to its 500mm and f8 features, I will re-post to the thread soon, also I am still working on getting the canon 500mm f4.5l LENS converted, I need more practice on cheaper lenses before harming such a nice lens... will re-post soon.

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NancyP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,891
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Interesting. I have considered the 500mm f/4.5L, but decided against it, because I have the 400mm f/5.6L, and I have a hard time believing that I am going to like the heavier older lens more than the Tiny Titan, which has such good autofocus for birds in flight.

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Yup the 400mm 5.6l lens is amazingly fast sharp and light, I love shooting with mine. I have shot with it hand held a million times, even from a boat it's great! I have owned my 400mm 5.6 for almost 10 years now and have traveled all over with it, once I bought it I never thought about getting another lens... well I got the 500mm 4.5L to gain the much needed reach for subjects further in the distance and also to capture brighter images in lower light situations these reasons made the 500mm a must for me. I searched for years to get the right one for me, finally I found the canon ef 500 4.5L was the one that fit my needs and my budget, with it being lighter than the 400mm f2.8 500f4l is and got it for really cheap, this lens is a keeper, I don't like lugging it around as much as the 400mm and it's hard to be discrete when using it, I have it covered in a lens coat to help keep it hidden a little bit more. but the power it produces and with the 1.4x used on it it becomes a 6.3 700mm lens, I just shot this image of the blood moon full moon eclipse night before last using the canon 500mm f4.5L W/ the 1.4x and my Canon 1DII body.

blood moon full moon eclipse, canon 1d mkII CANON 500MM F4.5L W/ 1.4X NO CROP

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tonyjr
tonyjr Veteran Member • Posts: 5,282
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

A lot of us have older lenses that do well on tripods / mono pods . I still use my 35-350 when in doubt , the 70-300 macro and 135-400 [ sigmas ] are mostly loaders now .

I did set up the 70-200 mk II +2 X III and the 135-400 on a tripod for the moon on Monday - waste of time - got cloudy about 11:30 - I wanted to check / compare color shift and IQ .

My 35-350 is good enough that I wanted the 28-300 , but that has changed to the 150-600 .

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mailman88
mailman88 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,896
Re: Sweet-Spot ....600mm

.....Since I own the 100-400mm, I believe 600mm would be perfect. Still waiting for the Tamron 150-600mm review before I jump. Love to own Canon's 600mm f/4, but the price is too high much for me.

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

If you get the 150-600 could you post a review on that lens and let me know more about it?. Id appreciate it! thanks and sorry the moon shoot was a bust for you as well as many others, I notified friends and fellow photographers in regards the the moon, they all got skunked due to coastal fog, I was really happy I headed to high ground for the event, aslo there is a meteor shower going on right now I heard but I can not see it due to the rain

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: Sweet-Spot ....600mm

ya that 150-600mm lens looks great and I have heard really good things about it! let know know if you get one, I would be really excited to get more info on it.

Oh and ps I will be converting my fd 500mm f4.5l lens this week or surely by the end of next week as I have ordered the last of the pats I needed to convert it, I am really excited about this, I will post more beta when I complete the conversion...

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Cambell Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Loved this little review! Some gorgeous lenses and really nice examples! Can't wait to find out how the conversion went; it could be a serious option for me!

Also, I own the Tamron 150-600. If you have any questions about it, feel free to shoot me a message or reply here.

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Thanks! I am happy you like it I hope it helps on your next purchase. How do you like your lens 150-600MM? have any images to show off? I would love to try one out some day. I have heard only good things.

These shots I took today using the adapted to eos infinity focus spiratone MIRROR f8 500MM lens. all shot with blue skies.

spiritone-adapted-eos_ph-mike-kotowski

spiritone-adapted-eos-fish_ph-mike-kotowski

spiritone-adapted-eos-tulip_ph-mike-kotowski

spiritone-adapted-eos-wires_ph-mike-kotowski

spiritone-adapted-eos_ph-roof-mike-kotowski

spiritone-adapted-eos-trail_ph-mike-kotowski

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
ADAPTED FD-EOS SPIRATONE 500MM F8 MIRROR LENS

This is the fd spiratone f8 500mm mirror lens attached directly to my canon eos 1d mark II body

crisp clear budget super telephoto lens!

fd spiratone f8 500mm mirror lens attached directly to my canon eos 1d mark II body

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Cambell Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

I have a few shots on my Flickr page using the lens. my flickr username is camdavbax

That spiratone lens isn't bad! Cheap 500mm!!

How did the 500mm FD canon lens conversion go?

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brightcolours Forum Pro • Posts: 15,574
FD 500mm f4.5 L conversion

This adapter is machined perfectly very nicely. With lens calibration you will regain infinity.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/EDMIKA-0-7mm-FD-EOS-adapter-for-300-2-8-400-2-8-500-4-5-500-8-600-4-5-800-5-6-/171304500703?pt=US_Lens_Adapters_Mounts_Tubes&hash=item27e28b3ddf

Your 500mm f8 mirror lens is very contrastless. If you come across a Tamron SP 500mm f8 (either the earlier 55B with tripod mount or later 55BB with changed optics), give it a try. Much more contrasty, and the lens is more compact and lighter too.

mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: FD 500mm f4.5 L conversion

Yup the Spiratone mirror lens is not the best optical performance lens ever but should suffice for those looking to get a super-telephoto lens for a really low cost. Since posting the original thread I have come across another mirror lens that was really really cheap and a lot smaller lighter and sharper, it is the Samyang mc mirror f8, I recently injured my leg/ankle/foot. so lugging my canon ef 500mm 4.5L lens was out of the question for the past couple of weeks, i substituted and tested this samyang lens, and wow I am impressed, its no L lens but for about 1% of the cost I and 10% of the weight I had the power to shoot my normal subjects and get more than decent shots though manual focus only, no tripod mount ring, and not as sharp or vibrant, its a keeper for me. I will check into the mirror lens you suggested and hopefully pick one up soon enough to try out I WILL UPLOAD PICS FROM THE SAMYANG LENS ASAP.

As for the edmika adapter... Thanks for the recommendation, I ordered one a few weeks back and Today I had time to put mine on my lens and get some shots off, I have been wanting to adapt my canon fd 500mm f4.5l lens for a while and once heard of the edmika adapters it was a go! EDMIKAinc. Just finished the new line of adapters and WOW what a great job they did! These lens adapters are designed so well and built to last! They are simple to use and require no adjustments of the lens to put one on, You simply attache it to the fd lens like it was a mount of an fd body, then attach the eos mount side to your eos cameras. If you need to focus to infinity you will need to calibrate the lens, I have yet to calibrate my lens for infinity focus yet as I will most likely shoot my ef lens at infinity until I get some more time and desire to calibrate my fd lens. for now I will continue to shoot my subjects that are typically at a less than infinity mark.

Here are a couple shots I fired off today using my Canon fd 500mm f4.5L lens attached to my 1D MARK II camera body using the EDMIKA 0.7x adapter. A big thanks to EDMIKAINC. for there dedication and great work on these amazing products!

CANON FD 500MM F4.5L-LIGHTSWITCH- EDMIKA_PH-MIKE-KOTOWSKI

CANON FD 500MM F4.5L STRAWBERRY EDMIKA_PH-MIKE-KOTOWSKI

CANON FD 500MM F4.5L RED HOUSE FINCH W/ EDMIKA 0.7 ADAPTER_PH-MIKE-KOTOWSKI

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

FD CONVERSION WENT GREAT! I went the super easy route as I have been strapped for time ... I USED EDMIKA 0.7 ADAPTER check out the latest pics I posted here.. this fd 500mm 4.5l lens is oh so sharp! . I will check the flicker page, thanks for sharing you pics.

gotta go!!

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Cambell Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

I'm glad the converter worked so well! That's great news!

I have just bought a 400mm f/5.6 and I'm in love with it. Looking at options for a 500mm prime that I can save for, so this thread has been a huge help Thanks!

Hope you enjoyed the photos too!

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mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Cambell wrote:

I'm glad the converter worked so well! That's great news!

I have just bought a 400mm f/5.6 and I'm in love with it. Looking at options for a 500mm prime that I can save for, so this thread has been a huge help Thanks!

Hope you enjoyed the photos too!

Awesome you got that lens! As you are finding you wont regret that purchase, I think it has to be maybe the best single purchase lens to get, congrats again on making that purchase! I am happy my little review/ test could help you, im stoked I could help!

A slim chance but if you are still looking to get a 500mm lens for cheap, I would highly advise getting the samyang mirror f8 lens. I came across one and love it. It uses m42-eos adapters without altering them, It is so light and compact and also pretty dang crisp, you can find them used for under $100, IT has rear filter threads of 30.5mm so you can add or stack low cost nd filters or others, 72mm front threads same as my 35-350mm lens. I built a hood for mine with a plastic container, some tape, and some peel off felt for $1 I have only had this lens for a few weeks and have all ready taken some great images, I will post them soon.

I would like to add that the canon fd 500mm f4.5l lens when used with the edmika adapter on my canon 1dII WAS ABLE to get very crisp shots of the moon rise from out side of my house during the last full moon, this was achieved with out any lens calibration, or any altering of the lens, camera or adapter, I just simply attach the lens to the adapter like you would to a camera mount, then put the lens w/ adapter on my eos body just like any other lens, It was wayyyyy to easy and I cant believe how simple and wonderful it works. I am so happy about this ultra shap lens! I will get some photos posted when I get a chance.Thanks edmika inc!

Any ways Cambell Enjoy that ef 400mm f5.6l lens!

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Cambell Forum Member • Posts: 83
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Yeah loving the 400 f/5.6. Really superb lens right there

Looking forward to seeing the Samyang pics! That might be a very viable option for me to tide me over until I get a canon 500/600.

Cheers MJK

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brightcolours Forum Pro • Posts: 15,574
Re: telephoto lens tests 500mm f4.5l 400mm 5.6l 35-350mm 3.5-5.6l 500mm f8 1.4x

Till now I have only seen very bad image samples from the Samyang mirror lenses... So, I am curius to see which results you are getting with it. Not impressed with it at all, so far....

mjkshots
OP mjkshots Regular Member • Posts: 118
samyang 500mm mirror lens sample images

brightcolours wrote:

Till now I have only seen very bad image samples from the Samyang mirror lenses... So, I am curius to see which results you are getting with it. Not impressed with it at all, so far....

Hi brightcolours thanks and I don't know what category my images fall under (most likely the bad sample images) but here they are and some of my thoughts on the lens.

I am very pleased with my samyang mirror lens, for the price and size I would suggest to anyone on a major budget to look for one, heres a couple shots I have taken recently(these are compressed jpgs. ...ps the focus is very touch and precise. I like to grip half of the focus ring and part of the lens to micro adjust my focusing.

shot around 730 pm with the sun setting behind clouds

samyang 500mm f8 mirror lens canon eos 1d mark ii iso 800 1/100sec

shot around 7 pm with the sun behind clouds

samyang 500mm f8 mirror lens canon eos 1d mark ii iso 500 1/125 sec

sa

shot about 11 am full sun

samyang 500mm f8 mirror lens 1d mark ii iso 250 1/1250sec chris johnson bottom turn

at the size cost and weight and size of this little power packer I am in love. Its nothing like my 500mm L lenses when it comes to IQ but its also not anywhere near the size of it either, I think it might make it in my travel bag...plus it does have a nice coating on the element

samyang 500mm f8 mirror lens front multi coated element

also its highly universal, t2 mount system allows this lens to be used with all cameras...

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