should I get a 600mm mirror (question answered)

pellicle

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Hi

its an old topic which has done the rounds for decades. I had a strong feeling it would be "no" but I thought WTF and bought one to compare to my FD300f4

I put up a blog post with more detials here.

My results with the Sigma 600mm f8 are exactly what I'd read of the topic since back in the days of 35mm film
  • focus difficulty creates losses erode the details possible
  • even perfectly focused (which m43 allows us to do) the detials of a 600mm are not up to those of a 300mm f4
  • costs of good manual focus 300mm f4 are now so low as to make it a no brainer
  • you get an aperture control which can influence image quality
  • bumped up ISO doesn't help with the f8 VS f4 shutter speed ... because image quality suffers with the 2 stop increase

some pics to express more than just me repeating that blog post here
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300mm
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600mm
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bicubic upscale of 300mm (600 on top 300 on bottom)
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hope this helps someone

:)
 

pellicle

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great ... thanks for that Ray ... now I'm even more given up on the issue (I had been willing to entertain checking another mirror in case it was just my version, if someone loaned me one)

wanna buy a lens?

;-)
 

Paul80

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If you can find one have a go with one of the few 300mm mirror lenses that where made, Tokina still do one and its available with a m4/3 mount.

The 300 performs better than the 500 & 600mm options

Mind you with all of them a very sturdy tripod was a must, I assume the OP was using one with his although the results are quite poor compared to what I got with mine back in the film days so he might not have been using one?

Mind you no mirror is ever going to compete against a Canon 300 f4 L is it.

Paul
 

pellicle

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Hi

Mind you with all of them a very sturdy tripod was a must, I assume the OP was using one
Correct. An early manfrotto 190, much more sturdy than the current rubbish they sell...

http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2008/03/faith-restored.html

Mind you no mirror is ever going to compete against a Canon 300 f4 L is it.l
My FD 300 isn't the L but I reckon there may not be that much difference in resolution, only in chromatic ab

PS: having grown up with film (and still using it) I believe I have reasonable technique as a photographer
Some 4x5 sheet film macros

http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2008/04/close-up-with-4x5.html

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:)
 

Harmonica

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I did bit similar funny test today. Still as I do not own any normal adapted prime telelens...for reference...I chose my native m4/3 Olympus 75-300mm zoom lens (af was used and smallest focust point/area from EM-5 body). Both cases: tripod was used, ISO 400, and apeture f8.

At first the original photo from Olympus 75-300mm lens (300mm & f8). As we can see here the bird was not very close....
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[/url

2. the cropped photo of Olympus zoom lens
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[/url

3. the original mirror lens photo
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[/url


(The mirror lens was not Sigma 600mm).
 

pellicle

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Hi

I did bit similar funny test today. Still as I do not own any normal adapted prime telelens...for reference...I chose my native m4/3 Olympus 75-300mm zoom lens (af was used and smallest focust point/area from EM-5 body). Both cases: tripod was used, ISO 400, and apeture f8.
Firstly, what were the shutter speeds? I think I see a tiny amount of vertical motion blur in the Oly shot (looking at for instance at the birds eye highlights.
What was the mirror lens?
Did you have ibis on?
What was the tripod? For instance I know my new manfrotto 190 tripod is not up to the stiffness that my old one has.

The results are pretty close though.

Thanks for posting
 

Harmonica

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Shutter speeds? Sorry I do not remember. At the moment here in Scandinavia (top of the Europe) the light time of day is short. Soo...in both cases it was anyway ''slow''. And with mirror lens it was even bit slower. I did't want to rise ISO higher than 400. To handel all that someway....I use tripod but also the remote control on both shots.

Yep...my old Velbond tripod is also absolutely too ''light'' for that long 2kg mirror lens.

Mirror lens was Minolta 800mm f8. I think that I missed the mf-focus a bit here (I have gotten better photos with the lens time to time...but focusing is very tricky).

And...d*mn...as in both shots I simply forgot EM-5's ibis on => needs to do the same test someday again.
 

pellicle

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Hi

Shutter speeds? Sorry I do not remember.
it'll be in the EXIF data on the images ...

At the moment here in Scandinavia (top of the Europe) the light time of day is short.
*nod* ... yep lived in Finland a few times for a few years at a time ...

Soo...in both cases it was anyway ''slow''. And with mirror lens it was even bit slower. I did't want to rise ISO higher than 400. To handel all that someway....I use tripod but also the remote control on both shots.

Yep...my old Velbond tripod is also absolutely too ''light'' for that long 2kg mirror lens.
*nod* ... makes sence ... I'd suggest too that the cantilever of the 300 hanging off the camera on the tripod exacerbated it ... sure looks like vertical vibration motion in the 300 image to me ...

Mirror lens was Minolta 800mm f8. I think that I missed the mf-focus a bit here (I have gotten better photos with the lens time to time...but focusing is very tricky).
indeed ... I found the same with my mirror lens ... nice to know the Minolta is in the same category ...

And...d*mn...as in both shots I simply forgot EM-5's ibis on => needs to do the same test someday again.
no worries :)

I discovered that my new tripod was crap back in 2008 when wondering why the hell my 10D seemed to be doing better than my 4x5

http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2008/03/faith-restored.html

all those images were taken in Kouvola - Finland

:)
 
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High shutter speed, tripod and/or IS and extremely careful focus are musts for CAT. pictures. Most of the poor images are missing at least one of these element - especially focus. These mirror lenses often have significant flaws, but they are capable of much better results than most people get from them. Look at some of the image samples. That said, a 300mm f4 is a lot more usable,
 

Harmonica

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pellicle
all those images were taken in Kouvola - Finland

:)
Really? Guess what...I grew up in Kouvola. Small world :D).

Ok, here are still 3 photos...I can not get much better photos before next spring/summer season (more light availble). Again tripod was used, no ibs now, UV-filter was taken off from zoom, remote control was used in both shots. This time I wanted to get quicker shutter speed. My mistake as to get 1/20s I needed to rise ISO on EM-5 as level of 10 000! (apeture f8). Yep...bad choice as that's why there are high amount of noises on the photos.

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[/url]Olympus 75-300mm f8 (original)

Olympus 75-300mm f8 crop

Minolta RF 800mm f8 original

But I think that these photos someway shows that this long 800mm Minolta mirror can give atleast as good photos as native af m4/3 Olympus 75-300mm (if the Oly photos are cropped to the same size). Expecially as I had some problems with mf as evf went so dark plus most likely use of rear ND filter (and not a normal one) would help a bit sunny times. Still can not comment any other mirror lenses...

I'm planning to buy Olympus 300mm f4 lens and 1.4x TC (if that lens will not cost much more than 2000 - 2300euros). For last two years time I have skipped all new camera bodies, pro zoom lenses etc. just to get that lens. And If I can purchase it....one day it would be interesting to compare it against this mirror lens. I also have 4 different MD mount TCs (the best ones ever made) to test with this lens.
 

Harmonica

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Here're the third and last serie. Now the distance was shorter, ISO was 400 (shutter speed was again very low...but as using a tripod and remote control...it did harm as much as use of faster shutter speed but also much higher ISO.

oLYMPUS 75-300mm Original

Olympus 75-300mm cropped photo1

Minolta 800mm Original

Minolta 800mm + 1,5x TC

Minolta 800mm + 2x TC




Can't say that the mirror lens would win here, but it surely can come very close, does't it? And if I would crop the photos more...the mirror lens would win as there are limits how much you can crop the photos in the end. It also can hadle those TCs better than I thought (I tested two of four I have).
 

Turbofrog

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With the cropped image quality of the 75-300 so close to the Minolta 800mm, it seems hard to justify it. It's another lens, it's big and heavy (not for an 800mm, but generally!), it's manual focus only, fixed aperture, it has distracting bokeh, and all that just to match the image quality of a very versatile and quite compact lens...
 

pellicle

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Really? Guess what...I grew up in Kouvola. Small world :D).
indeed!

After we came back to Australia I discovered my childhood neighbor from here was living in Lappeenranta the entire time I was in Kouvola ... go figga


Ok, here are still 3 photos...I can not get much better photos before next spring/summer season (more light availble).
actually as long as your tripod is good (if not use a table and bluetack) even a 5 minute exposure can be solid. In fact if you ever intend to take long exposures that are in any way going to be clear you will *need* that anyway ...

the added benefit of longer exposures is to make shutter bounce invisible because it represents such a small amount of the image as to be the meerest ghost.

another technique is hand held flash close to the subject (in combination with a longer exposure time).
- Self timer
- You hear the click
- paf
- shutter closes

you've just go a 1/5000th of a second exposure.

I always have a good (and they're cheap too) non TTL flash (like a Metz CT-32) which I can use off camera for lighting.

they are "auto flashes" and very reproducable in consistent results. For instance this shot was taken with the flash on the kitchen bench, point up at the bottom of the kitchen cupboards and the camera on a A2 sheet of black card. I used a hot-shoe remote trigger ($5 on ebay) to connect my 10D with the flash.

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same deal with this shot of my FD300 on my G1

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But I think that these photos someway shows that this long 800mm Minolta mirror can give atleast as good photos as native af m4/3 Olympus 75-300mm (if the Oly photos are cropped to the same size).
that was my finding too ... so that sort of obviated the mirror lens for me for most things. I've also found (as you saw above) that the FD300mm f4 produces results easier because focusing is smoother and the f4 allows me to have better shutter speed too.

I'm planning to buy Olympus 300mm f4 lens and 1.4x TC (if that lens will not cost much more than 2000 - 2300euros).
I'm expecting that lens to be about equal or a bit ahead of their older OM 300mm f4.5 ... I used to have that lens but gave it to my F-I-L as he wanted to do birds with it on occasion.

http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2009/08/tale-of-two-teles.html

for a couple of hundred bucks you may wish to try it and see how it handles. For sure you'll gather with the newer one is auto focus and auto-aperture, but the weight and handling will be similar.

I ended up keeping my FD lens as I just found that the competition between the FD and the OM was so close that what sold me was the tripod mounting system of the FD
 

Harmonica

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Well...I live in Lappeenranta now. I also studed here.

What comes to my tripod and that mirror lens. The hardest point is the manual focusing. When I turn that silver peg...above of lens...to manual focus...even that small movement will start to shiver the combo (camera, lens and tripod) bit too much.... and it's bit difficult to follow then the focus is correct (via evf or back screen).

Big Gun

Well...I keep my fingers up that new Oly 300mm f4 lens would be cleary better than old OM 300mm. I said, I do not own any other adapted telelenses right now and that is thrue. But 2,5 years ago I still used Pentax gear. And back then I had 6 F*/FA* Pentax series lenses...incl. telelenses FA* 200mm, F* 300mm and FA* 400mm (plus Tamron SP 180 f2,5 etc.)....and I tested almost all important teleconverters available in KA and/or KAF mount. I also had Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 for awhile back then. For those telelenses I liked the most Pentax F* 300mm f4.5. It was small & light (for being FF lens), very good optically, the shortest focusing distance was shorter than my brother's Nikkor 300mm f4...and it was even very beautiful lens. Yep...I'm missing it....and I'm hoping Olympus will now produce even a better lens. Old Canon FD 300mm or OM 300mm are not that.
 

Harmonica

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With the cropped image quality of the 75-300 so close to the Minolta 800mm, it seems hard to justify it. It's another lens, it's big and heavy (not for an 800mm, but generally!), it's manual focus only, fixed aperture, it has distracting bokeh, and all that just to match the image quality of a very versatile and quite compact lens...

Yep. You're right. Those tests simply just showed that this mf mirror lens can give some ''good enought quality photos''. Not sure can all mirror lenses even do that.

Focusing is the hardest point...but in some situations that lens will kick out my Oly 75-300mm lens. If the target is very far and very small (like real bird for example swimming in the lake)....Oly's autofocus will not anymore hit perfectly to bird as it did here...as it is so small....but with this 800mm long lens you can still ml-focus correctly and....get better photos... as cropping of Oly's photos will not help then. Naturally I still can not demonstrate that inside of my house. But again...with Minolta...you always need to have enough time for manual focus to nail it. I'm still on a learning curve...
 

OzRay

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I did some further shots with my Vivitar and got slightly better results (I also remembered to turn off IS), but the shots still aren't as sharp as I can get with any other lens, even my Nikon 300mm f4 does a lot better. It's also a pretty dull day at the moment, so the E-M1 set itself to ISO 5000 and 1/100 sec, not ideal for such a long lens. I guess if reach was essential over quality, then the results would be acceptable under those circumstances.
 
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