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mirror lens


KONIN e2
3 252 England
13 Jan 2012 5:01PM
hi a friend of mine has been given his first dslr and has been offered a mirror lens he has asked me what they are for and i dont have a clue but some one out there will be able to help iam sureWink

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oldblokeh 3 845 United Kingdom
13 Jan 2012 5:25PM
A mirror lens is a 'folded optics' or catadioptric design that uses two mirrors to fit a long focal length into a short body. They give a lot of focal length for the money at the expense of image quality and usability. A major drawback is that the bokeh is doughnut shaped, which looks very odd.

Edit to correct typos.
John_Frid 8 514 56 United Kingdom
13 Jan 2012 5:29PM
A mirror lens is one that uses mirrors to increase the effective focal length of a lens rather than relying solely on glass elements. This means they are lighter, smaller and usually cheaper than other lenses. However, I believe they are usually quite slow and that the image quality can be somewhat disappointing. I think they are fixed aperture so you can't control depth of field.

In absolutely perfect conditions they can produce good results, and they certainly weigh less and take up less room than a standard lens. I guess they also offer a reasonably cheap way to get longer focal lengths, but the compromises in image quality may be considered too much by many.
lemmy 7 2.0k United Kingdom
13 Jan 2012 6:52PM
I used to have a Nikkor 500mm mirror lens which was as good as they come. It was good and sharp, very expensive and prone to flare.

I didn't find the fixed aperture a problem (f.5.6 as I recall) since I'd normally use a long lens at open aperture anyway but it stayed mainly in the boot of the car unused because I preferred to use the 400mm Nikkor.

If the lens is really cheap it might be worth buying out of curiosity but otherwise I'd advise not to bother. Having said that, I am sure there are people out there who swear by them!
hornchurch 3 108
13 Jan 2012 6:54PM
Hi I own a mirror lense Its a 600mm F8 sigma....... The quality Is good i Used to use it on olympus slr cameras..... Its a fixed aperture So It can look a bit dim In The viewfinder, Out of focus objects that are Lit Can look Like doughnuts..... the ring variety Witout jam or cream... Smile
lemmy 7 2.0k United Kingdom
13 Jan 2012 7:39PM

Quote: Out of focus objects that are Lit Can look Like doughnut


In that respect, of course, a mirror lens can do something that other lenses cannot. With the right subject and background those doughnuts and out of focus drawing can look great.

As an example, look at this from the Biafran war by Roano Cagnoni:

http://ladyfresh.tumblr.com/post/8244378156/romano-cagnoni-for-life-magazine-july-12-1968

Funny, I last saw this image thirty years ago but never forgot it.
cameracat 10 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
13 Jan 2012 9:07PM

Quote:given his first dslr and has been offered a mirror lens


A first timer may not get on with a mirror lens, Most of them will need you to use " Manual " only, Thats everything from metering to foccusing, That said if its cheap enough ( 50 quid or less ) it can provide interesting images, Plus your friend would learn how to use the camera in manual, So that would be a bonus anyhow......Grin
hobbo e2
3 816 2 England
13 Jan 2012 9:37PM
Mirror lenses can be good fun to use, but a challenge to focus, it has to be done manually, I managed to get beautiful shots of people browsing at a local market.......If you look through my gallery at least one of them is there.

Compared to normal lenses results can tend towards softness, but that can be an advantage for some subjects.....if it is very cheap or free, I would get it.

Hobbo
lemmy 7 2.0k United Kingdom
13 Jan 2012 10:29PM
I don't understand the fear of manual focussing. It's really, really easy. From 1840 or so until 1990 or so people had to manual focus. Look at the results over those years, from newspapers to studio - sharp, well focussed pictures.

Did previous photgraphers have better eyesight? Are today's photographers visually handicapped? It seems unlikely.

If you are offered an interesting lens but it is manual focus, don't hesitate. You'll have no problems at all.
Snapper 9 3.8k 3 United States Outlying Islands
13 Jan 2012 11:06PM

Quote:I don't understand the fear of manual focussing. It's really, really easy. From 1840 or so until 1990 or so people had to manual focus. Look at the results over those years, from newspapers to studio - sharp, well focussed pictures.

Did previous photgraphers have better eyesight? Are today's photographers visually handicapped? It seems unlikely.

If you are offered an interesting lens but it is manual focus, don't hesitate. You'll have no problems at all.



I think it is more to do with the fact that todays AF cameras tend to come with a plain viewing screen, whereas in manual focus days there was a split image & fresnel screen to keep you right. Having said that, I understand some AF cameras can be set to beep when you have manually focused to the right distance.
thewilliam 6 4.7k
13 Jan 2012 11:11PM
Lemmy, my old Nikon 500mm cat was only f8 and this was the only aperture they did as far as I know.

For most work it's fine, the quality was what we'd expect from a Nikon and it was great for creative landscape because it was light enough to put in a rucsac and carry up a mountain.

Once and only once, I tried to cover a horse-race with the cat because it was the only long lens that I had with me. I quickly realised why we normally used the 500mm AIS-P (before the days of AF) with its f4 aperture and silky smooth focussing.

Konin, if you get this lens, invest in a monopod.
KONIN e2
3 252 England
14 Jan 2012 9:07AM
thanks guys for all the advice i will pass it on . stu

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