Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Comment

Tamron SP 500mm f8 Reflex lens, a review of Mirror lenses

Tarmon SP 500mm F8 Mirror Lens, Real world review

When you make a start in the world of Photography, Sooner or later you will want to own a dedicated Long Telephoto lens. These lenses offer the ability to get some great images in the world of (Landscape, Wildlife, Portrait and Sports) Photography.

Fixed focus (None Zoom) Telephoto lenses come in many focus lengths, but the most usable are 200mm to 600mm, depending on how much magnification of distant subjects and objects you need. The cost of these lenses my surprise many starting photography and to be honest even many long term photographers, they can start in price range from around €800 and end up way into the many €1000’s.

There is however an alternative option with this type of lens, this being to look at what are called Reflex or Mirror Lenses. These kind of lenses replace some of the glass elements within their construction with two Mirrors both used to fold the light entering the front glass element in much the same way as a reflex telescope does.

i.e. NASA uses this method in the Hubble space telescope that has produced some amazing ground braking images of the cosmos.

Third party and OEM Camera manufactures started making these lenses in the 1970’s and continued through to the 1990’s, today mostly only third party lenses are available. The quality of these Early OEM/Third party – mirror lenses was very high, even second hand some of these lenses can set you back some €300 to €800 on ebay, even today in 2017.

Nikkor Reflex Lenses at 500mm, 1000mm and 2000mm

I purchased a Reflex lens made by Tamron (500mm SP F8) way back in 1988 and in this post I just wanted to share my thoughts on some of its upsides and some of its downsides.

To be honest, I have not used this lens very much, for two main reasons.

Firstly : at 500mm and with an lens aperture of F8 it needs to be Tripod or at the very least mono pod mounted in order to create very sharp images. This maybe a little unfair as this is true for most long lenses but Nikon VR lenses are so good at helping go handheld!

Secondly : these lenses have one very different down side to that of refactor (Glass only) lenses, they produce a doughnut ring effect on bright out of focus objects or even just areas in the image that have a bright, lighting than the darker areas around them. I have included some examples at the bottom of the posts images below.

With the first point above, today in 2017 with the high ISO abilities of SLR cameras such as the Nikon D7200 and D750, this issue has been made redundant to a great extent! When this Tamron lens was produced, 35mm film could only produce clean images at a rating of no more than ISO 400.

Today the Nikon D7200 can work very well between ISO 3200 and 6400 with very little help from good noise cleaning software in post processing, this up-rates the usable shutter speeds for hand held work for even a lens of 500mm at f8, letting you work handheld more than ever before !

Remembering that even on a DX sensor slr, you need for some 750mm (X 1.5 DX factor!) to keep a shutter speed of 1/800th to 1/1000th to create fully stable images, If you have a steady hand. Even on a cloudy day ISO 1600 gives a shutter speed of around 1/1600th and ISO 1600 on a D7200 is little to worry about! noise wise. It is for this reason that I am starting thinking of trying using this lens again.

For the rest of this post and review of the lens, I will let the following images do the talking, with a small amount of comments made in each of the related image types.

Tarmon SP 500mm F8 Mirror Lens – sharpness and quality

To test for the image sharpness and quality I placed the camera on a tripod, I don’t use a remote release, so there could be some small effects but all in all these are sharp images.

You can see from the below image that this lens can produce some very sharp images under the correct conditions, its just as good as some much more expensive glass only lenses from Nikon.

I have no worries here and would be very happy in trusting this lens to produce sharp images from corner to corner of the frame.

Above : Nikon D7200 with Tamron SP 500mm Mirror lens, Tripod Mounted

As image sharpness has been tested above, what about color fringing and other detects, color fringing is visible in an image at bright edges in the frame, so I used the wires and other equipment on the telegraph post in this image, I see no fringing Green, blue or otherwise in this image.

So again I would trust this lens to produce sharp and clean images that need little or no post processing to clean them up later.

Using the lens – in the Landscape

The following images speak for themselves, just general landscapes and animal images from medium focus distance subject to long distance landscapes, the town and wind farm in the last landscape is some 8km away from the location of taking the image, crazy!. Again its sharp enough taking into account the haze of the atmosphere, no color fringing problems in the wind turbines.

With the main set of images here, I am less happy with the out of focus effects as the bokeh of this lens is not great!, anything bright and a little out of focus (i.e. The grass!) takes on a distracted look, feeling tangled and distracting with the image smoothness, Most noticeable in the two images of the sheep sitting down.

Those Doughnuts !! OMG!

As you can see from the photo of this lens sitting in my camera bag at the top of the post, a mirror lens is constructed very much like a reflecting telescope, like this diagram :

Mirror lens
Physical construction

You can see that the center of the front glass element is used to hold the housing for the smaller secondary mirror in the construction, that folds the image light back down the lens and into the camera.

This system works amazingly well but for one problem!

For in-focus areas of an image the central lens obstruction is never visible, however for brighter areas of an image that are out of focus this central obstruction created by the secondary mirror housing, created a bright doughnut effect.

In the below images this is very clear!

The light gaps in the trees below turn into bright cycles, the rain on the table in the background focus also does the same.

In some images you can work around this effect and even use it as an interesting advantage?, you just have to get to know when this kind of lens is and is not usable !!!

For the most when you have a subject that has the potential to create this circle effect ! it just distracting and not likeable. This is the point at which the little price you paid to get a budget Telephoto lens €300 not €2000 starts to gets you back !!!

Getting Arty , MayBe?

Like any camera lens, Mirror lenses have their down sides (Slow, bright Cirles, Manual focus, etc …), you just have to get to know these features and ether use them to your advantage or don’t !!!

Some people love the bright rings and make good use of them 🙂 , one use could be nighttime street photography ?

So then ?

So if your looking for a cheep way to get a telephoto lens into your camera bag, a Mirror lens is well worth looking at in my own opinion. Don’t expect to work quickly with them or be lazy in your approach, however – but then most telephoto lenses need hard work to get good images, with a mirror lens you just have to add a little on top!

In the end, just like with all of your image making, you get out what you put in !!!!

Will I take this lens out more than I have? Maybe ! most likely not !! Watch this space ?

If I was starting again with few lenses and wanted a low budget long lens, would I get a Mirror lens , Hell YES !!! , With Great high ISO SLR’s even more so !!!

Sometimes the harder you have to work to get good images , the more you learn !!!!

Also see : Mirror Lenses – how good? Tamron 500/8 SP vs Canon 500/4.5L, a older review, ISO has moved a long way since this article but its a great comparison test (€300 Tamron v €2000+ Canon).


The Farming landscape of county Kilkenny : Cows, Bulls and a field with a view …..

Farming landscapes Grange hills
kilkenny County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

The Hills above Grange in County Killkenny, offer some of the most stunning landscape views in the county, here you are looking across the boarder into county Tipperary.

The day I took the following images I had been walking for a little while when I took a rest at a gate, there is that moment in the county when you see some cows resting on a sunny morning and they spot you from a distance. It only take a little time before they all stand and walk over to the gate, I think they are wondering if your the farmer and it time for their feed. Sadly for them I was not and all I could do for them was take some pictures of them to share on WordPress 🙂 🙂


Nikon AF-d 50mm f1.4 Prime lens, one lens all day …..

Tramore Strand
One lens all day
Nikon AF-d 50mm f1.4
Nigel Borrington
Irish Landscapes

Its easy to think that the best lens to spend a full day of Photography with would be a zoom lens, however my favorite and most respected lenses are all prime lenses(fixed focus lenght lenses).

One of my most respected and trusted lens is my Nikon 50mm f1.4, its fast , can work very well in low light and even at 75mm on my DX D7200 body (50mm on an FX) it makes me think in a very creative way. You have to frame you shots well before you click the shutter button, I find this much more creative that just walking around and zooming in and out at everything 🙂 although this can be a very fun experience.

While you need a zoom lens in order to make sure you can capture some subjects, Prime lenses make you think about the subject you want to capture!

So what kind of images can you produce if you only take one lens with you , A 50mm Prime?


Nikon AF-d 50mm f1.4 Gallery

These images from yesterday include a morning walk and then an evening walking alone the strand at Tramore, County Waterford


Black and white landscapes , June 2017

Black and white Landscapes County County Tipperary, fields June 2017 Nigel Borrington

These June time Mornings and evenings can offer some wonderful light for landscape images, this week I am going to use black and white only to try to pull the best images from our local area ……


Wednesday at the gardens : Altamont Gardens, County Carlow

Altamont Gardens
Carlow
Ireland

With the aim of shopping for some new summer plants and flowers for the garden, today I spent sometime at Altamont Gardens, county Carlow.

This is a fantastic house and gardens with a great garden center, the staff know a great deal about the kind of plants that will grow well locally.

A great way to spend the afternoon, looking and plants, walking around the grounds and finally and cup of tea and cake in the little cafe …..


Memories, A poem By : Louise Bailey

Memories a Poem
Louise Bailey

My Heart and thoughts, ever since Monday night have almost entirely been far away from my current home here in County Kilkenny, they have been very much back in Manchester the place of my birth and childhood !!

There are so many things and feelings you could express, the main feeling I have had is that it not easy being away from your spiritual home at times like these, I am so proud about the way so many great and good people have responded and offered so much support in the hours since Monday night !!!

It is with good hearts and minds and life’s that in the end true evil will be overcome !!!!

I came across this poem by : Louise Bailey so I am sharing it here 🙂

I feel a warmth around me
like your presence is so near,
And I close my eyes to visualize
your face when you were here,
I endure the times we spent together
and they are locked inside my heart,
For as long as I have those memories
we will never be apart,
Even though we cannot speak
my voice is always there,
Because tonight before I sleep
I have you in my prayer.

Memories, A poem By : Louise Bailey


This is Manchester !!!

People living and working on one of the most culturally diverse streets in Britain are being celebrated in a new photographic exhibition.

Panoramic snapshots of life in Manchester’s multicultural Cheetham Hill Road

On this blog I do my best to keep away from political events and areas of life that can only affect people in a negative way !!!

However flowing last nights terrorist attack in my home town of Manchester I just wanted to make a quick comment and to share what I feel is such a great city, its people and its very heart !!!

This is Manchester, the Manchester I love and grew-up in !!!!

MULTICULTURAL !!!

LOVING!

CARING!!!

SOFT SHARING PEOPLE!!!

My Heart is Broken!! For the people who have lost loved ones last night and for anyone affected in anyway !!!!

Please go and read this article, it reflects upon the best aspects of life in the city I love the most !!! MANCHESTER , UK …..


A Spider with her eggs

Spider with her pod of eggs
Nature Photography
Nigel Borrington

Taken at Lunchtime today, this Spider was hiding in the hollow of a garden tree. I am not sure what kind of spider she is but am going through lots of websites and wildlife books I have.

At the moment I am keeping my Macro lens on my Camera all the time, I am missing taking some more general landscape images but truly enjoying spending sometime getting much closer to the nature that I find at home or very close to home. Macro photography is not easy and a true skill, so the more macro’s I find myself taking the more confident I am feeling in this area 🙂


Macro Images – The Wonder of Nature

The Wonders of Nature
Macro Photography
Nigel Borrington

The world we live in is full on the most amazing things, some of these things we see everyday around us in a very clear and detailed way, others we have to stop and take a little more time in order to observe. This is why when I get this time I love using a Macro Lens, you can get in close to the small things of life, getting a view that is hard to get from a distance.

This summer more than ever before I want to use my macro lens in order to record the small things in nature 🙂


Happy St Patrick’s day, AN Irish Landscape and nature Gallery……

Happy St Patrick’s day to everyone 🙂

To celebrate this St Patrick’s day, I am sharing a very full collection of images from my Blog, all of them taken over the last couple of years or so. I feel they show this land, a small part of the European continent at its very best.

Ireland a St Patrick’s Day collection ….



Irish Landscapes West cork Mountains Nigel Borrington

Irish Landscape Photography Nigel Borrington

Irish landscape photography , Nigel borrington