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Thread: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

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    Default Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Hi,

    I was doing some research on mirror lenses, namely the Opteka 500mm f6.3. I have seen some nice pictures, some good reviews and some not so good reviews about it. I was wondering if any pentaxians here have any experience using mirrors lenses.

    Would be nice to get an opinion closer to home.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    heard a lot of bad things about mirror lens, maybe that's why they are usually dirt cheap, I don't take them seriously. If you need the reach but at reasonable prices, try to hunt around for some discontinued sigma lenses like 400mm or 170-500 (both AF) or takumar/tokina vintages (MF). Most of them are featured on Pentax Forums, it's a good place to search for lens & be poisoned
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Mirror lens are long range, cheap and relatively light. Here are the downsides :

    1. Slow aperture (many are f8 at 500mm, that is fixed as well)
    2. Poor OOF renderings (ie. bokeh). In many cases they produce 'donut' shaped bokeh.

    So no free lunch.
    Shot w/o a need for bokeh will be where it will be useful. (Eg. Bird shots against water; Bird shots against sky, moon shots)

    One guy is selling a Tokina 400/5.6 in BnS. At the price he is selling it, no harm to try. (no affiliation to the seller)
    Last edited by pinholecam; 9th December 2009 at 10:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Thanks for the suggestions so far. The other thing, that also led me to consider mirror lenses is also because of the fact, they are lighter and shorter, and the things I wanna shoot definitely don't require the distracting bokeh. I saw the 400mm posting before and that is one of my consideration.

    RMC Tokina is faster then Mirror lens. f5.6 vs f6.3
    RMC Tokina have better bokeh.
    Mirror lens does not have CA. RMC Tokina have.
    Mirror lens more portable than Tokina
    Mirror lens have longer reach.

    Sigh so tough to make a choice...strong inclination towards mirror lens...stupid choice? Even after everyone's advice?

    So have you guys ever tried the mirror lenses before?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR


  6. #6

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Hi Andros
    As I said earlier, OP has stocks of the Kenko 500mm mirror lens. I saw they had a few boxes but do not know what the lens look like. But I am guessing this is the one :




    Photo samples...(assuming this is the lens)
    http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/br...9cXPL?id=43989
    http://www.pbase.com/middlehill/kenk...ens_500mm63_dx
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    I've not really used a mirror lens before (a couple of test shots don't really count...), but I was reading up on them just recently to see if they're worth getting. Most reviews seem to say that even cropping down the picture from a shorter lens gets better results, and a much larger percentage than usual of example pictures I could find on flickr and pbase seemed rather soft. Only the more expensive ones (I remember the Tamron adaptall 500mm f8 and the Sigma 600mm f8) got good reviews and more good pictures to show. The Tokina you're mentioning may be good too (since it's Tokina).

    I think I'm just trying to say, if you think you might be disappointed by the picture from the mirror lens, consider getting the more expensive ones, they seem to be worth the extra cost.

  8. #8
    Senior Member creampuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Well there is a lot of internet chatter about the relative merits of mirror lenses are but one thing is for sure is that they can vary a lot in terms of optical quality, so know it is important to know which particular model is good. Basically don't waste time with the cheap ones.

    Mirror lenses do have their place and frankly I've had no problems with the ones I've used before (Minolta, Nikon and Tamron). Some people can't get over the out of focus doughnut highlights but I find them unique. The design of the mirror lens does have a bearing on how the doughnuts do appear as well as image sharpness. However if you can get over the fixed aperture and it's attendant effects, a mirror lens is pretty fun to use. The compact dimensions mean it is pretty easy to carry around and not be noticed. Mirror lens have negligible chromatic aberration. Choosing one with a short focusing distance can offer useful close-ups. However best results come with use with a tripod of monopod as focusing manually with a lens of this magnification can be frustrating for first time users.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    i was looking at mirror lenses a while back just for fun.

    i think most people make noise about the chepalang mirror lenses.. but things like tamron 500mm mirror lens has gotten relative good reviews, along with another one.. i think it was the tokina equivalent or something like that. the results from these 2 that i have seen seem fine. the rest, not so.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    oh, and i forget.. most mirror lenses do not have adjustable aperture, except for one that i have seen.. made in japan one.. weird brand.

    and i think most of them give low contrast results. fine if you ok with pp, but if you want out of cam results, then maybe take note of that.

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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Thanks for the advise, night86mare. Have you heard of the Kenko brand that airconvent mentioned? Think this weekend, the trip to OP is definitely on my list of todo.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    oh, and i forget.. most mirror lenses do not have adjustable aperture, except for one that i have seen.. made in japan one.. weird brand.

    and i think most of them give low contrast results. fine if you ok with pp, but if you want out of cam results, then maybe take note of that.

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    Senior Member felixcat8888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by andros_lee View Post
    Thanks for the advise, night86mare. Have you heard of the Kenko brand that airconvent mentioned? Think this weekend, the trip to OP is definitely on my list of todo.
    The kenko brand looks similar to other brands that I have seen on ebay and VPOST USA.

    Brands like Samyang, Bowen, Polar, Opteka, Vivitar etc seem to come out from the same factory.
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by felixcat8888 View Post
    The kenko brand looks similar to other brands that I have seen on ebay and VPOST USA.

    Brands like Samyang, Bowen, Polar, Opteka, Vivitar etc seem to come out from the same factory.
    Yes I think so too. Anyway, went down to OP to get it liao. Tested it out...still quite acceptable handheld photography under strong lighting. Will update with sample photos after i have run through its paces.

    Shots taken from sky garden

    The Fountain of Wealth


    Taxi stand at tower 3(I think)


    Shot were taken at ISO6400 with kx...so the pictures are rather noisy.

    Focus tough to turn but still good for focusing without a tripod.
    Last edited by andros_lee; 11th December 2009 at 06:32 PM.

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    Senior Member felixcat8888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by andros_lee View Post
    Yes I think so too. Anyway, went down to OP to get it liao. Tested it out...still quite acceptable handheld photography under strong lighting. Will update with sample photos after i have run through its paces.
    Congrats on your purchase. Do let us know. thre was one stage I was looking at mit=rror lens too but decided against getting one as I realised I will seldom use it.
    Last edited by felixcat8888; 11th December 2009 at 06:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by felixcat8888 View Post
    Congrats on your purchase. Do let us know. thre was one stage I was looking at mit=rror lens too but decided against getting one as I realised I will seldom use it.
    Yes updated liao. Quite happy with the results, its not top notch but with a little pp and lots of light should be pretty good, at least there is no CA.

  16. #16
    Senior Member felixcat8888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by andros_lee View Post
    Yes updated liao. Quite happy with the results, its not top notch but with a little pp and lots of light should be pretty good, at least there is no CA.
    Pics are quite good actually.
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by felixcat8888 View Post
    Pics are quite good actually.
    Thanks...hopefully this week end can get to do some birdwatch. here is the lens with the k-x

    Last edited by andros_lee; 12th December 2009 at 01:19 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    The lens is beautiful and the colour matches the white K-x too. Definitely much smaller than my Sigma 600mm. Congrats Andros.
    BTW, due to the central obstruction, its normal for this lens to give images with lower contrast. The advantage is usually the small size as compared with a normal lens.
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    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by airconvent View Post
    The lens is beautiful and the colour matches the white K-x too. Definitely much smaller than my Sigma 600mm. Congrats Andros.
    BTW, due to the central obstruction, its normal for this lens to give images with lower contrast. The advantage is usually the small size as compared with a normal lens.
    And its all thanks to your recommendation, airconvent. Actually the lens is not white, but rather off-white...so not so matching to the camera, just that the lighting makes them look the same.

    Thanks for the tip about contrast, think I should be able to enhance the contrast thru pp right?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Mirror Lens on Pentax DLSR

    Quote Originally Posted by andros_lee View Post
    And its all thanks to your recommendation, airconvent. Actually the lens is not white, but rather off-white...so not so matching to the camera, just that the lighting makes them look the same.

    Thanks for the tip about contrast, think I should be able to enhance the contrast thru pp right?
    Sure thing. I am not into PP though, so images must come out best as they could straight from the camera. I have another 2 more "mirror lens" at home, an 8" diameter 2000mm Celestron OTA and a 4" 1500mm Meade OTA...for astronomy. But they can be adapted for photography too but like carrying a bazooka...haha. My fellow astronomers do take astro-photos with it but focus is on light capture and detail. Have fun with your Kenko. If we can both go for the next outing, I can bring the Sigma along to show you.
    Last edited by airconvent; 12th December 2009 at 10:45 AM.
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