Showcase Minolta 500mm mirror lens on NEX-6

Discussion in 'Adapted Lens Sample Image Showcase' started by -et-, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    Many years ago I bought a Minolta 500mm mirror lens for use with my manual-focus Minolta film cameras on occasions when I needed a long lens but was not prepared to carry a conventional lens of that length. Today I went shooting with that lens on my NEX-6, thanks to a MD-NEX adapter. As I recalled from the past, you really want a tripod or some stable surface like a sandbag when using a lens this long. Even with the use of a monopod, it was tough to reliably frame the images, thanks to the accentuated camera motion. Since the lens aperture is fixed at f:8.0, it was nice to be able to bump the ISO to allow the use of a fast shutter speed to deal with the movement.

    The first image below is of part of a sundial on the wall of one of the city's fire station buildings.

    Even though I was at least 50 meters away, this is the full-frame image, which may help give a feel for why shooting hand-held, or even with a monopod, is a challenge with this lens.

    BTW, the dark area in the top right corner of the first picture is not vignetting, but is the shadow of a tree.

    FWIW, the EXIF data in the file says that the first image was shot at 3:45PM. :D

    Minolta 500mm-601374.

    Minolta 500mm-601366.

    Minolta 500mm-601371.

    - Tom -
     
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  2. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Wow, that's an amazing reach. Image quality is good too. Perhaps just up contrast and saturation a couple of notches?
     
  3. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Well, you've better than I was ever able to with a mirror lens. ;)
     
  4. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    What you don't see is all of the images that I took that have been deleted. :rolleyes:

    - Tom -
     
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Even so… ;)
     
  6. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    Lack of contrast is one of the weaknesses of this type of lens. These images actually have more contrast than most of the shots I took with the lens - partially because most of them were taken looking toward the sun. Even though the sun is not in the frame, it has a noticeable effect - so much so that I may look for a much longer lens hood even though I seldom use this lens. (The factory hood is only about an inch long.)

    FWIW, here is the only other shot I took with this lens yesterday that I find acceptable for contrast. As is obvious, a lot of that can be attributed to the subject, but I also bumped the contrast a little when I straightened and cropped the image.

    Minolta 500mm-601356.

    - Tom -
     
  7. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I think that those mirror tlephotos were quite unusable in old days (fixed slow aperture and low contrast) but now they are pretty usable. They are also available pretty cheaply. Russian&cheap chinese are to be avoided but quality japanese are ok.
     
  8. nathanh

    nathanh TalkEmount Regular

    136
    Jan 23, 2015
    From what you describe, this lens is the manual focus version? Just learning about these 5000mm mirror lenses and I got the impression that at least one version from Minolta, and the one labeled Sony after the acquisition, were AF lenses. I'm contemplating such a lens and the auto focus capable adapter on an A7ii. This might let me ditch my second system, Nikon 1 series with their 300mm zoom, which at this point is just about wildlife shooting.
     
  9. hodad66

    hodad66 Sony Guru

    582
    Feb 8, 2012
    Indialantic, Fl
    John
    I've had a number of mirror lenses through the years. My take is
    that they work well at short distances but I was never happy with
    the quality of an image at a great distance. Always sold them.:026:
     
  10. -et-

    -et- TalkEmount Veteran

    205
    Jan 26, 2013
    Southern California
    Tom
    Both of those statements are correct. My images were taken with the manual focus version, and Minolta did make an auto-focus version. I believe, but do not know as a fact, that the auto-focus version should work on your A7ii with an appropriate adapter.

    Keep in mind that the mirror lenses have always had a reputation for lower contrast than conventional lenses, and that some people do not like the appearance of the out-of-focus areas (bokeh) with this type of lens. Personally, I do not have a problem with the bokeh, or with the contrast - which I can bump in post-processing, if desired.

    Also, as I mentioned when I posted those images, if you want a reasonable percentage of keepers you should plan on using a good tripod.

    - Tom -
     
  11. nathanh

    nathanh TalkEmount Regular

    136
    Jan 23, 2015
    Thanks for the comments.

    I'm thinking of acquiring this lens exclusively for use with wildlife, and probably hand held but with a stabilized body. The bokeh is less important to me in that application then when I would deliberately use bokeh for editorial effect.

    The test will be whether I like it at least as good as the 300mm zoom on a Nikon V2 which has greater reach but due to the smaller sensor has less room for cropping and more noise.
     
  12. nathanh

    nathanh TalkEmount Regular

    136
    Jan 23, 2015
    Yes, all are a compromise, and many are poor. The Minolta has a reputation as the best implementation of this tech, but "best" may not be good enough.
     
  13. nathanh

    nathanh TalkEmount Regular

    136
    Jan 23, 2015
    Though it looks like I will find out soon, and be able to contribute some sample shots.