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... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Mirror Lens

I have rediscovered an old friend. An old Nikkor 500mm f8 mirror lens. Back in the old days(the 70's) I shot lots of sports with this lens. It is a fixed f8, so you need a lot of light to shoot it. It is also manual focus. Ouch.
A mirror lens is much shorter and lighter than its typical lens counterpart. A regular 500mm lens has bunch of glass elements stacked together to produce an image. The mirror lens uses mirrors to bounce the light to cover the same distance for the same magnification. They also focus really close. Compared to today's more modern lenses they are quite dark.
The images you get are very distinct. There is very little depth of field, and out of focus points of light in the background appear as circles. I have been shooting some feature stuff with the lens, but got it out for a soccer game. I have not shot any sports with a manual focus lens in a long time. Did much better than I thought I would.
This was always a lens that folks either loved or hated. Most people hate them. They do make you work harder. I still love it.


Anonymous said...

I had one of these lens back when working in England and Spain before coming to the US. A useful handy and not bulky lens to have, I do miss it, although on my Digital it would be up to 750mm!!

MSF said...

I wish I was good enough to be able to manually focus shots for a sports game. I can do it, but not very well. I only do it when I'm forced to, which isn't often.

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