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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Advice on current crop of Mirror lens
Mark Perlstein, Photographer, Photo Editor
Plano | TX | USA | Posted: 12:07 PM on 12.25.11
->> I am wanting a to buy a new toy before the end of the year and am looking at a 500, 600 or 800mm mirror lens. Just for fun shooting. $200-300. There are many brands to chose from, including old used Nikon. I am looking at the f8 and f5.6 mirrors on Ebay. Anyone compare the sharpness/contrast of the current offerings?
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Robert Hanashiro, Photographer
Los Angeles | CA | | Posted: 12:23 PM on 12.25.11
->> Stick with a Nikon.

I've used "off brand" mirror lenses --- mirror lenses by nature not as sharp as a regular glass lens --- a used Nikkor is infinitely better.

Advice on picking up a used mirror lens: Inspect it very closely. Look for telltale signs of fungus inside the lens. Mirror lenses that were used in wet (as well as humid) conditions and not cared for really well, tended to have fungus grow inside.

If you're buying from a reputable dealer, you may be better off because they will probably have some kind of limited warranty.

I loved my old 500 f/8 Nikkor mirror lens...it was the first long lens I owned when I first started out. (The "doughnut highlights" were all the rage in the late 70s!)

But if you're just "playing around" I guess maybe it really doesn't matter?

Happy hunting.

(Sent from my iPhone)
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Mark Perlstein, Photographer, Photo Editor
Plano | TX | USA | Posted: 12:44 PM on 12.25.11
->> I agree that the old Nikon mirror lenses were the best of the bunch in their time. I wonder, though, if the current mirror lenses are not better. Glass and coatings have improved dramatically since the Nikon mirrors were last made.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:57 PM on 12.25.11
->> Mark,stay with Bert's recommendation. Mirror technology will get little enhancement technology wise since the third party manufacturers building the products today are more interested in producing to a price point than producing a better product. The Nikkors were better built. You should be able to find them fairly cheap - $250-$500 - on eBay if someone like KEH doesn't have anything and you're willing to roll the dice.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 2:10 PM on 12.25.11
->> I had a Sigma some time back for use on Canon EOS. It was pretty well built and fun. You don't buy these things for sharpness etc but it seemed pretty good. You buy these lenses to do fun things with. Kind of sorry I sold it.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 4:41 PM on 12.25.11
->> If you're set on the end of the year, best to buy a new 3rd-party lens that you can return if you don't like it.

If you're willing to spend a little time hunting, as I did several years ago, you might get lucky and find a pristine Reflex-Nikkor-C 500/f8 like I did. :)
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Tom Dahlin, Photographer
St. Louis Park | MN | USA | Posted: 7:15 PM on 12.25.11
->> I have a nikon 500/8 and a 500/5. I love the 500/5 although they are hard to find. The 500/8 is small and compact and focuses smoothly. You should be able to find a used one around $300. The later versions are 'c' and command a slightly higher price. For sports, an f/8 aperture is hard to work with, so don't go slower then that. Also, 600 and 800 focal lengths have limited use ( I find) ... too tight and hard to focus. The vivitar series 1 lenses from the 70s were pretty good as they were designed by Perkin-Elmer .. The ones I've seen have fungus issues. For fooling around I'd go with the nikon 500/8. You can always sell it for about what you paid. Sorry about the choppy response.. Sending from iPhone while waiting for game to start.
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Brad Tollefson, Student/Intern, Photo Editor
Lubbock | TX | USA | Posted: 8:21 PM on 12.25.11
->> Darren Carroll had a blog post recently where he lauded the ole 500 f/8 Nikkor.

http://www.darrencarroll.com/blog/2011/11/time-to-make-the-donuts-going-old.../

It's definitely worth reading if you haven't already.
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Andrew Nelles, Photographer
Chicago | IL | usa | Posted: 8:46 PM on 12.25.11
->> I played around with the Nikkor 500mm a few years back, fun lens.

This threat might have inspired me to pick one up.
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Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | | Posted: 9:57 PM on 12.25.11
->> I have the Sigma 400mm f-5.6 and the Vivitar Series 1 600mm f-8.0, the 600 is probably the better optically of the pair but the 400 has the benefit of being a 5.6.

Neither are as good as an ED glass Nikkor, but then neither is a Reflex Nikkor.

My avatar is done with the 600/8.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 11:44 PM on 12.25.11
->> "The "doughnut highlights" were all the rage in the late 70s!"
Oh HELL YES it was!!!!!
as were disco balls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 12:11 AM on 12.26.11
->> I agree with Robert. Find a Nikkor brand for quality. I still have my 500mm f/8 from the late '70s and it still works fine even with digital. And is considerably more compact and lighter weight than a 400mm f/2.8 or 500mm f/4 when out hiking.

For Christmas my wife gave me a soft-cover book on the most memoriable photos from Life magazine. Sure enough there was one with the infamous donut highlights.
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Andrew Brosig, Photo Editor, Photographer
Nacogdoches | TX | United States | Posted: 12:30 AM on 12.26.11
->> Dang, now I have to go into my closet (scary prospect) and see if I can dig my old Nikkor 500/8 mirror out.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Mark Perlstein, Photographer, Photo Editor
Plano | TX | USA | Posted: 6:53 PM on 12.29.11
->> I cannot believe that I have not has a single private message offering a Nikon mirror for sale.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 5:59 PM on 12.30.11
->> Mark, you think anyone on eBay reads the message boards here? :-o
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Thread Title: Advice on current crop of Mirror lens
Thread Started By: Mark Perlstein
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