Sigma 600mm f8 mirror lens ... used one before?


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apchoo

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Aug 22, 2005
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37º47'S, 114º58'E
I'm toying with getting an affordable mirror lens. The majority of Russian derivatives (Samyang, Phoenix, Opteka, etc.) are cheap and their photo quality generally accepted as very poor :thumbsd: . And I can't afford the best and only AF one, ie., Minolta AF 500mm f8, which normally goes for US$400-500 (used) on ebay.

So imagine my excitement when I came across a Sigma 600mm f8 mirror lens. It is NOT AF but unlike the cheapies, it's mount is fixed (not M42) and it has a full metal body and weighs 830g. Priced less than US$300 (excl. shipping) on ebay, like this one.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Sigma-600mm-Mirror-Lens-Minolta-Maxxum-7-9-70-5D-7D-NEW_W0QQitemZ7589985257QQcategoryZ3342QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Reviews from bird watching forums seemed to give this lens the thumbs up for sharpness. It's probably discontinued as it's not present on the Sigma website.

Has anyone play with this lens before? Any thoughts?
 

jbma

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Dec 28, 2003
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I've never used this before so can't comment of it much. But I don't think a mirror lens is sharp, especially for birding. It's better to get a zoom but of course a prime lens is even better, if you can afford it. I've tried the 500mm and it sux.
 

apchoo

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Aug 22, 2005
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jbma said:
I've never used this before so can't comment of it much. But I don't think a mirror lens is sharp, especially for birding. It's better to get a zoom but of course a prime lens is even better, if you can afford it. I've tried the 500mm and it sux.
Which 500mm did you try? Surely not the Minolta 500mm 'coz I've seen some fantastic shots taken with this lens (and I'm sure Drudkh would beg to differ as well). I'm not a birding photographer, but I thought if it's good enough for birding, then it should be acceptable for other things like sports.

Here are some shots taken with the Sigma 600mm.
http://www.pbase.com/cameras/sigma/600_8_mirror

Not bad for the money, IMO, and as long as you get get used to the funky bokeh :bsmilie: .
 

Nik-enduser

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Jul 12, 2004
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Hi, tho I am a Nikon user, but I got the Sigma 600mm mirror lens last year from Taiwan for about USD390. It's a sweet lens to use, but need to get used to the doughnut bokeh effect. It is best used hand held (IMO), and on Manual mode. Vary the shutter speed to suit light conditions. Useable only under bright conditions. Images obtained appear flat and non-contrasty, but with a little help using PS, the colours can be returned.

Good value for the reach, and with 1.5 x crop, you've effectively got a 900mm lens' reach. If you can, buy the Sigma 95mm UV filter, otherwise you'll be hardpressed to find an alternative. Another plus is the close focusing distance. Several big minuses, slow to focus, the focusing ring turns almost 360 degrees, hard to focus in low light.
 

Nik-enduser

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Forgot to add that with its fixed f8 aperture, the depth of field is nothing to crow about.
 

muko

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Mar 14, 2005
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Bedok
Guys..
i dont understand the meaning of mirror lense...
is the bokeh because of that?
 

rokieto

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Dec 27, 2005
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can the Sigma mirror lense be used on canon DSLR....any "err99"?

what about other mirror lenses?

any canon-user tried?
 

apchoo

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Aug 22, 2005
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37º47'S, 114º58'E
muko said:
Guys..
i dont understand the meaning of mirror lense...
is the bokeh because of that?
Here an explanation of a mirror lens.
http://www.photozone.de/3Technology/lenstec5.htm

It's based on similar principles to a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. The presence of the secondary mirror is what causes the funky donut bokeh. Some people don't like it and it does take a bit of getting use to. With some experience, you can avoid prominent donut bokeh by avoiding brightly lit background like water or glass reflections.

The major benefit of a mirror is its small size (normally less than 5in long) for its reach. But mirror lenses have inherent disadvantages being slow (has a small, fixed f8 aperture), manual focus (except for the Minolta 500mm f8, the only AF mirror lens) and generally lacks sharpness and contrast. Most mirror lens come with a generic M42 thread mounting, so you just have to buy the appropriate M42 adapter for your camera mount.
 

muko

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Mar 14, 2005
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Bedok
thanks...
 

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