Showcase Minolta 500mm f/8 RF Rokkor

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Got this lens last Monday and took a walk to see if I could put it too good use. Turns out it's quite hard to focus, even with the A7R2's image stabilization the image is jumping up and down because the sensor has to reposition itself frequently; if anything, this proves that OSS is superior for telephoto lenses, from about 135mm in my experience. I got the best results in terms of focus when using the viewfinder's low magnification. Shutter speeds of 1/250 s seem to be fast enough, at 1/500 s I'm quite sure I won't get motion blur.

Sharpness can be quite good when I nail focus, although sometimes there's a strange unsharpness in vertical direction somewhat below image center, undoubtedly specific for my sample. Earlier experiments showed that none of my tripods is sturdy enough as soon as there's wind, the pictures here are all hand-held. This is my first experience with a 500mm lens and a mirror lens as well and it wasn't an easy one, more practice will be needed.

And now without further ado, my best shots. Click on them for full-res images.






If you want smooth bokeh, go elsewhere :)






One "action" shot, only one of many that is passable.
 

NickCyprus

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I've always been curious about these mirror lenses (but haven't done any research for)
This particular MD example comes regularly in my ebay searches and fetches quite a lot of money. Not sure of its use though and boy that bokeh is making me dizzy :p

PS: Love the signature/watermark Ad :thumbsup:
 
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I've always been curious about these mirror lenses (but haven't done any research for)
This particular MD example comes regularly in my ebay searches and fetches quite a lot of money. Not sure of its use though and boy that bokeh is making me dizzy :p
Well, being a collector I couldn't resist getting this one for € 150, that's the upper limit of my comfort zone for something collectable. I wasn't really expecting it to be practical and rightly so, I don't think I'll use it a lot if at all. And let's say that the bokeh is an acquired taste :).

PS: Love the signature/watermark Ad :thumbsup:
Thanks, I've used it as a paraph for the last 30-odd years and recently made a signature from it.
 

WNG

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Wonderful shots! More remarkable being hand-held. The IBIS must be a big plus.
I've found shooting without a tripod nearly impossible with my collection of reflex lenses. The Minolta is still fetching high prices here, especially the AF version.
IIRC, it also utilizes a Mangin Mirror (like my Tamron SP 55BB).

Nick, if you're interested in trying one, I recommend the Tamron 55BB, similarly designed optically with sharp, bright and aberration free imaging. Cost less too.
 

ztryfe

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I am curious about these mirror lenses myself, any chance of shots of stars / planets / moon? That's what itches me the most about them ;)
 

WNG

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I am curious about these mirror lenses myself, any chance of shots of stars / planets / moon? That's what itches me the most about them ;)
You can find numerous moon shots with them in my flickr. (links in my sig).
Best to compare by viewing the original size photos.
Here's a shortcut to my collection of mirrors:
Catadioptric - Mirror - Reflex Lenses
 

Hawkman

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I've had my eye on the Minolta RF Rokkor 500mm 1:8 for some time myself. Those shots look very good and intriguing Ad, donut bokeh notwithstanding.

Will or Ad, do you know how the Tokina 500mm RMC or the Tamron 500mm SP (55BB) compares to the Minolta? Or how the contrast might compare to something like my Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 (non-reflex zoom)?
 

davect01

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Without a tripod it stabilization, these are near unusable.

Looks like the stabilization is working well. What is the percentage of keepers?

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What is the percentage of keepers?
In terms of motion blur, I'd say over 50 % at 1/250 s and over 75 % at 1/500 s using the A7R2's image stabilization. Nailing focus is another matter; peaking without magnification is unreliable, peaking with low magnification (A7R2) is somewhat better. Stabilization hardly helps, the sensor can't move enough to counter the image movement of the lens, so the viewfinder image is very jumpy. In general I found focussing a hit-and-miss affair, I haven't been able to devise a technique to hit focus reliably. Also on a tripod I just can't seem to find the right focus spot. In short: I don't see myself using this lens for pictures that matter.
 

WNG

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I've had my eye on the Minolta RF Rokkor 500mm 1:8 for some time myself. Those shots look very good and intriguing Ad, donut bokeh notwithstanding.

Will or Ad, do you know how the Tokina 500mm RMC or the Tamron 500mm SP (55BB) compares to the Minolta? Or how the contrast might compare to something like my Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 (non-reflex zoom)?
The only real way to tell is if all four lenses were available to shoot under the same conditions and subject. Unfortunately, I only have the 55BB. But almost won a Tokina RMC 500mm last week. ;)
Here's what I know from researching....the Tokina doesn't have a Mangin Mirror design like the other two. It is also notably smaller for a 500mm f/8. The optical performance is edged by the Tamron 55BB slightly in sharpness and brightness. The diameter of the Tamron is a bit larger than other competing 500mm f/8, and likely more closer to actual f/8-t/8, besides the higher reflectivity of the Mangin mirror. What few hand-held shots that were keepers, show similar performance to the RF Rokkor.
I see dark corners from conventional mirrors than aren't evident with the Tamron. Brighter and better contrast. The strength is no aberrations.

If your big Vivitar zoom is a strong resolving lens and CA is not bad, then I don't think you'll do much better going to a mirror. The issue as Ad pointed out, is the extremely narrow DOF which make focusing a real task, even mounted to a tripod. Every little vibration is shaking the image.
 

WNG

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I've had my eye on the Minolta RF Rokkor 500mm 1:8 for some time myself. Those shots look very good and intriguing Ad, donut bokeh notwithstanding.

Will or Ad, do you know how the Tokina 500mm RMC or the Tamron 500mm SP (55BB) compares to the Minolta? Or how the contrast might compare to something like my Vivitar 120-600mm f/5.6-8 (non-reflex zoom)?
Update:

Steve, I just successfully acquired a nice copy of the Tokina RMC 500mm f/8 reflex lens. Complete kit for Canon FD mount. Physically, it's much smaller than the photos reveal.
Construction is excellent. BUT, the image quality can't come close to matching the Tamron SP.
And definitely gets blown away by the Minolta, as Ad's very sharp hand-held shots show.
I tried some hand held shots in good light. With and without the included filter/optical flat, 1/800 and 1/1000 sec. and AUTO ISO. The results weren't sharp nor was contrast as good as the other models. There was no aberration or vignetting.
Some shots of how it looks on my a6000 will be posted in the appropriate thread.
 

Hawkman

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Update:

Steve, I just successfully acquired a nice copy of the Tokina RMC 500mm f/8 reflex lens. Complete kit for Canon FD mount. Physically, it's much smaller than the photos reveal.
Construction is excellent. BUT, the image quality can't come close to matching the Tamron SP.
And definitely gets blown away by the Minolta, as Ad's very sharp hand-held shots show.
I tried some hand held shots in good light. With and without the included filter/optical flat, 1/800 and 1/1000 sec. and AUTO ISO. The results weren't sharp nor was contrast as good as the other models. There was no aberration or vignetting.
Some shots of how it looks on my a6000 will be posted in the appropriate thread.
Thanks for the update Will! Hope I didn't prompt you to buy a lens you didn't really want/need. ;)
 

WNG

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Thanks for the update Will! Hope I didn't prompt you to buy a lens you didn't really want/need. ;)
Oh don't worry, you didn't. ;)
I was curious about the Tokina's performance long before this thread appeared. Another one popped up for a good price and this time succeeded.
 

Hawkman

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Now that I have one of these fine Minolta RF 500mm f/8 mirror lenses in my collection (mine is the later non-Rokkor version), I couldn't help but try a moon shot now that the night sky is relatively clear...

DSC09479-detail by SRHawk64, on Flickr
Near-half moon, 11/7/2016; Minolta RF 500mm f/8, ISO 250, 1/400; uncropped, enhanced detail with Intensify.
(hmmm, maybe I should have cropped before posting.)
 
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WNG

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Now that I have one of these fine Minolta RF 500mm f/8 mirror lenses in my collection (mine is the later non-Rokkor version), I couldn't help but try a moon shot now that the night sky is relatively clear...

View attachment 73884DSC09479-detail by SRHawk64, on Flickr
Near-half moon, 11/7/2016; Minolta RF 500mm f/8, ISO 250, 1/400; uncropped, enhanced detail with Intensify.
(hmmm, maybe I should have cropped before posting.)
Looks like it's returning very good resolution. Crank that shutter down to 1/50, and ISO to 100 or 200.
;)
 

Hawkman

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Looks like it's returning very good resolution. Crank that shutter down to 1/50, and ISO to 100 or 200.
;)
True. I've read that 1/200 and ISO 200 is best for the moon at f/10 or so. 1/400 was indeed too short. And I think my monitor is not calibrated well or at all - this looked much brighter on my monitor than my iPad.
 

robbie36

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Got this lens last Monday and took a walk to see if I could put it too good use. Turns out it's quite hard to focus, even with the A7R2's image stabilization the image is jumping up and down because the sensor has to reposition itself frequently...
I noticed this with this lens.

However I more recently got a Canon 400mm f5.6 (with no built in IS) and this seems to stabilize pretty well. I have a feeling the 'mirror mechanism' and how it works fools (or that the stabilisation doesnt understand) the ibis of the Sony A7 cameras.....
 

mingus2112

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Whew - Just spent 24 hours hemming and hawing over whether or not to pull the trigger on one of these. Asking price for the condition was probably $100 more than I would consider the value, but I stuck with it and worked with the seller. Got the feeling it was well cared for and was being sold by a photographer. After going back and forth several times, we worked out an agreeable price (still a LITTLE higher than I wanted to pay) that included free shipping and a Maxxum 9000 (I always wanted one of those). Thanks, Addie, for the advice over private message!

Lens was a single USER. The seller bought it new in box several years ago, so while there may have been another owner, there was only one user. Comes with all the trimmings, manual and original box. Box is a bit shelf worn, but the lens is near perfect. Shots below are from the seller, not mine. Hope to grab some moon shots when it comes! I'd compare it to my Tokina, but It's a little cold to be comparing lenses until the spring!







 

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