Samyang 500mm f6.3 lens with E-PL1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by theoberheim, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. theoberheim

    theoberheim Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Oct 1, 2012
    Portland, Ore.
    Recently I posted a few photos of my new E-PL1 camera that my wife gave to me as a birthday present. Since then, I have picked up a few pieces of glass and among them was a Samyang 500 mm f6.3 Super Telephoto Mirror Lens with a 2x Teleconverter. Figuring at that at $150 – I did not have much to lose so I did not bother to resist the urge. A few people asked about it in my last thread here so I promised to post a review when time availed.

    As for this review, I have to apologize in advance for the lack luster subject matter of the test photos. I make no bones about the fact that these photos are not "artful" by any means as the photos presented here are only meant to take this lens out on a test drive. That being said, the test photos are shots taken looking down the street from my house on a cold cloudy January morning.

    For the first shot, I am using the E-PL1 with the standard 14-42mm IIR lens as a calibration shot before I affix the Samyang.

    DSCN0038.JPG

    The first shot is at 14 mm:

    14mm.JPG

    The second shot is taken at 42 mm:

    42mm.JPG

    Here I affix the 40–150 mm telephoto lens:

    DSCN0046.JPG

    This shot is taken with the 40-150 mm at full zoom of 150 mm:

    150mm.JPG

    For reference, here is the same shot at 150 mm that has been cropped to the equivilent of a photo taken with the Samyang at 500mm.

    150+Crop.

    Now the fun begins. Here I affix the Samyang 500 mm.

    DSCN0039.JPG

    The following shots show the Samyang in effect. Here I am using the stop sign as a focal point to assess the depth of field.

    500mm1.JPG

    Here I am attempting to focus on the Volkswagen that is moving away from the camera. (500mm)

    500mm4.JPG

    In this photo I am trying to focus on the row of cars to on the right hand side of the road. (500mm)

    500mm3.JPG

    In this next set, I have affixed the 2x Teleconverter. This is about the maximum amount of weight that I would put on the camera – even then, I am getting a little nervous. When using the lens in this configuration – you have to be very careful with the camera. You would not want to go on a hiking trip with this, nor would you want to move the camera around on the tripod unless you are holding the lens and the camera with both hands.

    DSCN0040.JPG

    Makes me nervous:
    DSCN0043.JPG

    DSCN0044.JPG

    In this shot I am focusing on the second 25 Mile/Hour speed sign which is about a half mile up the street from my location (1000mm)
    1000mm2.JPG

    1000mm3.JPG

    1000mm9.JPG

    Here I have croped the photo from above to show what happens. You can get close in, however, for obvious reasons, it is not as sharp.

    1000mmCrop1.


    Overall, I think the Samyang is a decent lens for the money. It has a metal body. It is completely mechanical – no auto-focus, no exif data, no nothing. Just hands on (at $150 – what do you expect!)

    It is a fun little lens; however, I would not expect to see any professional photographers with these on the sidelines of an NFL game, or anyone from National Geographic proudly showing it off as part of their kit. But for someone that has a little extra cash on hand, it is definitely something you can play with without breaking the bank. For anyone that has been eying one of these on ebay or amazon etc... I hope this review helps.
     
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  2. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    372
    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    Alan
    not the best of test, because even on the standard lens you can see the haze in the distance, the poor lens is having to appear through pea soup.
    which is one of the problems with such a long throw, especely with so much air pollution.

    And the poor lens mount ...all that leverage, cound you rig up some kind of support from the tripod bush to support the underside of the lens?

    I am sure it will have its uses, but the brokeh is not very nice on the out of focus car in the foreground.

    Though I do like the doughnut brokeh these type of lenses produce
     
  3. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Hi Theoberheim!

    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to test out the mirror lens.

    How 'touchy' is the manual focusing? On some lenses a minute rotation of the ring makes a huge difference in focusing, in others the ring can be turned quite a distance before making any real change.

    Did you find that you had to spend a lot of time "back and forthing" to get to the best focus?

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  4. theoberheim

    theoberheim Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Oct 1, 2012
    Portland, Ore.
    Well... I did declare up front that this test was conducted on a cold January morning.

    I am sure that you could mount something on the tripod to support the lens. I should also state that I my tripod is not the best out there - that is one of the things on my list - a decent tripod. In the mean time, I am sure that something could be rigged up for support.

    Indeed, this lens will not compare with a high end telephoto lens. I am eager to take this set up out to the mountains this summer. My wife and I stay at a fire lookout every year. I will do another photo spread then when the weather is clear.
     
  5. theoberheim

    theoberheim Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Oct 1, 2012
    Portland, Ore.
    Hello Jim, The focus ring is quite responsive - it does not require a lot of "back and forthing" unless you are focusing on something near, then switching to focus on something far. Once in focus, you do not have to turn much at all to make minor adjustments. On the other hand, it is not a hair trigger focus either. Hope this helps.
     
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  6. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Yep, just what I needed to know. :bravo-009:

    Thanks!

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  7. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    Back when I was a poor fella (hell, I'm still a poor fella), I bought a Nikon 500mm Reflex in place of one of the refractor 500mm lenses that cost upwards of $5K. I still have this 500mm reflex and will soon try it out on my OMD (along with a 1.4 TC), my point being that these reflex lenses are all very inexpensive (albeit very manual). So get out there buy a cheap lens and have fun!
     
  8. theoberheim

    theoberheim Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Oct 1, 2012
    Portland, Ore.
    Hello gang, The weather is starting to turn in my neck of the woods (Pacific Northwest), therefore I have decided to do another test of the Samyang Super Telephoto at 1000mm on a clear day. (Keep in mind that the photos have been uploaded to Picasa and thus have been compressed a bit.)

    Here I am using the Olympus PEN E-PL1 with the 14-42mm IIR Kit lens at 14mm.
    P3094499.

    Here is the E-PL1 with the Samyang 500/1000 mm Super Telephoto with the 1000mm coupler attached. I have converted the photo to gray scale and up the contrast to bring out the texture of the photo a bit.
    P3094491.
     
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  9. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    415
    Feb 25, 2012
    London
    Malc
    Loving this thread, any change of a 1000mm moon shot? Would look awesome :)
     
  10. theoberheim

    theoberheim Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    Oct 1, 2012
    Portland, Ore.
    I'd love to shoot the moon. I will be sure to do so when the time, phase, and weather allows.
     
  11. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    Yeah, Theoberheim, it "helped" me spend $150 :biggrin:.

    (I was on the Amazon site ordering in some other gear and added the mirror lens to the cart :thumbup:).

    Thanks for taking the time to post the example shots, it helped in deciding to take a flyer on the lens.

    Warm weather coming to Detroit (by July fer sure!); I'm looking forward to mounting this gadget on my EM-5 and making some photos at the Detroit Zoo.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  12. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    What is the mount of this lens? I've wanted to get one of this type to do moon, planet, and star shots.
     
  13. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Jim
    They use a "T" adapter that fits micro four thirds. I've never used one so I'm looking forward to getting the lens.

    Regards,

    Jim


    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
     
  14. sinclair

    sinclair Mu-43 Veteran

    So it is a T-mount. I have a T-mount to Canon FD/FL and a FD/FL to mFT, which is good. Why you ask, because I have a Canon FL focal doubler. Paired that with this lens, and the doubler it has, and crop factor of the camera, I can really zoom. MG, it's full of stars...