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Thread: 500mm ebay lens

  1. #1
    gregj1763's Avatar
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    500mm ebay lens

    Silly question really, but just wanted to check with my peers.
    Would love to get a 500mm lens for wildlife photography and saw this and similar on ebay.
    I assume they are garbage and you will tell me to save for something decent.



    500mm ebay lens


    Below is probably what I should be looking at or a Tamron or Sigma equivalent.



    500mm ebay lens

    Cheers, Greg

  2. #2
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Mirror Lens - hmmmmmmmmmmm

    Wildlife photography and you're going to want a much faster lens than f8. Crop sensor high end body, or enough Mp on a full frame to crop heavily, plus teleconvertors and at least a 300mm would be the way to go.

    It depends on what sort of wildlife you're talking about and the frequency of shooting really as to how much you'd need to invest. If it's occasional, then a trip to the Galapagos or South Georgia may be cheaper as the wildlife is right on top of you!

    Seriously though, the cheapest good quality option I'd consider would be a D7000 with a 1.4 or 1.7 teleconvertor and a 300mm f4 lens (looks old, still current in the range, good value, good image quailty, takes teleconvertors). That's still reasonably slow with a t.c attached, but you can bump the ISO and have good quality and cropability (is that a word?)

    Sony Shooting Wildlife Photographer - is that an oxymoron? The brand's a little lacking on the long end, I thought, but I've never really looked into it.

  3. #3
    evan47's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    mirror lens?,,,,,,,, a rare beast, for a very good reason.
    this concept is outdated and unpopular for one simple reason. they are not very good! even a nikon or canon equivalent (assuming you can find one) would be a poor performer.
    as previously stated by dubaiphil the d7000, 300mm f4 combi is highly recomended. if you learn to use this combi to good effect, (and you will have to learn technique), then add a 1.4 tc you should get very good results.
    failing that, the d7000 plus 70-300mm ed vr, and getting closer to the subject will be almost as good.

  4. #4
    gregj1763's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Thanks Phil & Evan, thought as much.
    Will start saving right now

    Cheers, Greg

  5. #5

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    The mirror lens will be really good if the wildlife you are shooting has water in the background and if you want the specular highlights in the water to become distracting doughnut-like shapes of brightness.

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    I have a Tamron 500mm f/8 mirror lens and have found it very useful so long as its limitations are understood. This lens is no longer manufactured, but is much sought after, and fetches good prices on ebay.

    The price you pay for very low distortion and chromatic aberration is the need for hefty tripods and/or high shutter speeds and ISO values - and of course the famous 'doughnut' bokeh. But why not take pictures at 1/8000th and 25,000 ASA? Why always be limited by the consensus of the timid? A bit of grain can give a picture a dreamy, impressionistic feel if deftly done.

    The biggest misconception about these long lenses is to think of them as telescopes to bring in remote objects, which will inevitably look soft due to the amplification of camera tremor over distance. I'd suggest using them for street photography, where the compact lens does not draw attention to itself, and the subject may be only 50 feet away.

  7. #7
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Hi Greg, I have a 55-300mm on my Nikon D3100 and as that is a crop sensor camera, the lens is 450mm Full Frame Equivalent. Even at 450mm it doesn't have anywhere near the reach I would like for wildlife.

    In the end I got the Canon SX40 with the 840mm FFE lens for much less than a longer Nikon lens. Canon has just released the SX50 with an f6.5 1200mm FFE lens if you need something longer and the new Canon shoots RAW. http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consum...50_hs#Overview

    The bottom line is that I couldn't afford a longer lens for my Nikon but the Canon option was well within my limited budget. It has worked well enough that over half of my Project 52 week’s projects were done with the Canon SX40.

    This image is uncropped at 728mm FFE taken with the Canon SX40 hand-held:

    500mm ebay lens

    If you have the budget, the longer lens for your current camera may be a better option for you.
    Last edited by FrankMi; 22nd September 2012 at 03:26 PM.

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Early one morning - Blue Iguana, Green Heron, Yellow Warbler and Green Parrot
    Taken with a Sony 500mm CAT (750 eq)
    3200 ISO, handheld at 1/60s.
    Cost at time of purchase - CAN$1000 (plus tax).
    Very light, no CA, lovely bokeh.

    Compare with Canikon 300mm f4 with 1.4 teleconvertor.
    Cost around CAN$1400 for lens, plus another CAN $500 for TC.
    So, for the equivalent of ONE stop faster (and 420mm versus 500m), you pay double the price. Sounds like a good deal?
    Plus the extra weight (the Sony CAT is real light). Given that wildlife tends to move around, trekking with that extra weight (and size) may be an issue.
    Depends on your requirements I suppose.
    OR go for a 500mm f4 at close to $10k.

    As cameras ISO performance gets better, the minimum fstop becomes less of an issue (with regard to shutter speed).

    Graham

  9. #9
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Greg, as GRahamH has shown, there's nothing wrong with a Cat lenses. Yes, a 500mm lens is normally fixed aperture at f8 but as an example, my old Minolta 500mm cat comes with a number of filters so you can reduce the aperture which in Launceston - if that is in Australia, shouldn't be a problem. The first lens in your original post is almost certainly junk. Since you seem to be after a Sony/Minolta fit, I would recommend you go for a Sony or Minolta 500mm Cat AF lens or a Minolta MC/MD 500mm lens with a MD->AF adapter - you'd have to focus manually with that but at 8 million yards just about everything is in focus!
    For examples, try here http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/Minolta-...F8_lens25.html Click on the "Forum sample images".
    And here in England they seem to cost about 200.........
    Last edited by Cogito; 23rd September 2012 at 12:36 AM.

  10. #10

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    I think my main issue with the lens is the minimum focussing distance of around 14'
    These pics all taken today with the 500mm cat (only one I know of that autofocuses, f8) fairly close to minimum approach.
    Bananaquit and a ruddy turnstone
    I actually had to back away from the bananaquit to get the lens to focus at minimum.
    Still, pretty decent shots. Compare them to 20 years ago. Lenses are getting better all the time. The top pros made their names with the old lenses, manual focus and the like. Technology is great.
    Graham

  11. #11
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    So we've seen some decent results with static subjects, but how does it track wildlife that moves?

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    yes, very nice results!
    is there anything simular with a nikon mount?most of the stuff on e-bay is either junk, or if it is good, ends up selling for top dollar and lacks a warranty. for this kind of lens it is always a case of caveat emptor, (buyer beware!).
    then again, there is some good stuff out there.

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Quote Originally Posted by evan47 View Post
    yes, very nice results!
    is there anything simular with a nikon mount?
    The Tamron 500mm f/8 cat lenses use a mounting system called Adaptall II.

    These mounts were made for all the popular SLR makes, Canon, Nikon, Minolta, etc, so you would need a Nikon-fit Aadaptall II.

    Sometimes you see the Tamron 500mm advertised complete with adapter, but quite often dealers will split them apart in order to sell them as separate items.

    An article comparing the Tamron 500mm/8 with the Canon 500/4.5L is here:
    http://www.bobatkins.com/photography...ls/mirror.html
    Last edited by Brocken; 23rd September 2012 at 09:20 AM. Reason: added link

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    gregj1763's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Graham, Just had a look at your photo's with the 500mm cat. Very impressed.
    How far from your subject were you when you took the shot?
    Thanks everyone, your input has been a great help.
    Cheers, Greg
    Last edited by gregj1763; 23rd September 2012 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Needed a comma

  15. #15
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    So we've seen some decent results with static subjects, but how does it track wildlife that moves?
    Only adds to the difficulty of using the lens, doesn't mean you can't achieve an acceptable image just adds the normal blur you'd get with a telephoto zoom when tracking a moving subject. I have a Rokinon 500mm f/5.6, manual focus only, added a neutral grey filter which increased contrast somewhat. With any moving subject imagery, you get the best results when the subject is moving away or toward you.

  16. #16

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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    So we've seen some decent results with static subjects, but how does it track wildlife that moves?
    The BQ was definitely moving. The bird was close to 15' away and was in and out of the flowers constantly. Shot was taken at 1/500s. The main problem wasn't the speed (which at that distance, there was often some motion blur visible), but the depth of field. If the bird turned its head the wrong way, body would be in focus and the head out of focus.
    I had the same issue with the other two birds posted. The ruddy turnstone was in the process of cleaning itself and motion blur was noticeable, depth of field issues were also noticeable.
    So, two problems, speed of shot and depth of field issues.
    A faster lens (shot wider than f8) or better noise control would both allow for a faster shutter speed.
    A smaller aperture would give better depth of field.
    I would actually prefer ability to alter DoF (typically an increase) than a have a significantly faster shutter speed (as long as I can get a decent shutter speed, and for that I have the option to increase ISO).
    Again, pros and cons. I can easily handhold the 500mm CAT. Wandering around in 32C (90F) heat whilst carrying all the rest of my kit (wide angle, superzoom, macro and flash, plus tripod) I am grateful that I don't have to carry too much extra weight. I don't handle the heat well.
    As to tracking moving subjects, continual autofocus on the camera does a good job, especially as it doesn't have to wait for the mirror to return (Sony A77, SLT, no mirror - again some pros and some cons).

    Greg, as I mentioned above, I was within 15'. Pretty close, but would have liked a little closer, why waste pixels.

  17. #17
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: 500mm ebay lens

    I bought one of the Tamron 500mm F8 mirror lenses a couple of weeks ago. They are a big step up from many of them. Apart from general optical quality they have a relatively small central obstruction as it's called in telescope jargon. There is a small mirror mounted on the front lens that reflects the image back down towards the camera and the obstruction is formed by it's support. There is a rule of thumb on telescopes that are made in the same sort of way that the central obstruction should be less than 1/5 of the diameter of the front lens. The small mirror it supports must be protected from external light so often the obstruction is much larger than it really needs to be. Tamron have minimised it's size and put a tube round it that extends back to wards the camera - the best way of shielding it. Others just make the obstruction large. It's size basically sets the reduction in contrast.

    I intend to use mine on an Olympus Pen so it will be 1000mm equivalent. I've only played with it so far but what I have found is that it's much easier to hand hold than a normal lens. The Pen has IS built in but it will only cope with so much. As far as shake goes I have had 100% success. Focusing hand held is a different matter. On the Pen with it's electronic view it has to be magnified. 5x is just about usable for that which makes the lens 5,000mm equivalent. Why - well 1.4m pixels in the viewfinder can't show what a 12mp sensor is actually seeing, 7x is best really. The Pen doesn't offer image stability for manual focusing. What I have found with this lens though is that there is only a small drop off in contrast. It can be huge in others. A modern multi coated Korean model springs to mind - and others. The Tamron lens also has a "macro" facility. Stupid really as with many such lenses of any type quality drops off at short focal distances.

    Doughnuts? Yes but much depends on what is in the scene. This is a quick playing about shot with bad lighting really taken from about 25mtr. Depth of field at F8 is surprisingly small. I would say 1/2 size full frame shots are feasible with the lens. I also feel that a rather expensive lens would be needed to obtain sharp full frame images at the pixel level. This lens is actually better than a 500mm Sigma APO I have tried that is old but from a much more recent period.

    500mm ebay lens


    This one is a full frame reduced in size by 50% and at about 300m. Pity it can't be seen at that size. All it's had is a slight contrast increase. The full size image just shows a tiny amount of fuzziness.

    500mm ebay lens

    John
    Last edited by ajohnw; 23rd September 2012 at 11:18 PM.

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