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Author Topic: Rediscovering a classic: Canon 500mm mirror  (Read 589 times)
nemophoto
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« on: September 09, 2013, 09:36:12 AM »
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Recently, I was going through old cases of some of my early photo equipment. My F-1 with the original brick-sized motor drive. (Whoa, hold me back! 3fps!) I lovingly looked at my EOS3 with eye focus that actually worked (and which at times liked more than my EOS1). And then I saw it. My cherished 500mm f8 mirror (reflex) lens. Ah, many fond memories -- including how critial focus could be. How I wished Canon had created an autofocus version. Sony did it recently. Why not Canon? Then I started my search for a decent FD to EF adapter. I actually found tow, both of which I ordered. One via Amazon, made by (or marketed by) Fotodiox. The other from some non-descript company in China. The difference: Fotodiox uses a "corrective element", which makes it more like a 1.2x converter, the Chinese one (which is enroute), uses nothing. I have the feeling the lack of a corrective element might not make a difference since since mirror lens in general seem to focus beyond infinity.

I was pleased with the Fotodiox results, generally speaking. It vignettes incredibly on the edges (might not be an issue with an APS-C camera), but is remarkably sharp in the center (if I can get it in focus!). The presence of the corrective element also does introduce some chromatic aberration, which is usually not something greatly present in a reflex lens. One beauty of digital is that you can ratchet up the ISO with some degree of impunity, versus the old days of only reluctantly switching to 400ASA film. I've only shot some informal shots with it -- my kids' soccer games -- doing both stills and video with my 1Dx. The video is actually pretty good and sharp, considering I'm a little rusty doing manual follow focus. Ditto for stills. Here are a few samples for the curious. I'm looking forward to receiving my "non-corrective lens" mount adapter this week and will keep you posted.

Nemo
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NancyP
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 12:03:02 PM »
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Search for "Ed Mika" , aka "ontarian" on various photo fora. He is the king of no-glass FD to EF adapters. He has instructional videos on you-tube for a large number of lenses - how to take apart FD mount and replace with his EF mount adapter. Cost is $144.00 USD or CaD, can't remember which.

I have toyed with the idea of getting one of the FD manual focus supertelephotos and adapting it. I can't decide if I truly have the 'nads to haul around 10 pounds of lens.   Grin   ~2K vs modern lens ~13K.
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Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 01:35:27 PM »
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I'd recommend the 8/500 old Nikkor to anyone with a Nikon. There were at least two versions - one allowing very close focussing. I have the other. If you use it for what it does best - distinctive bokeh and interesting compression - then you won't go wrong. If you expect edge-to-edge crispies, forget it, that's not its bag.

As was remarked earlier, nice to know that in today's photo-world one isn't tied to 64 ASA for good, straight colour!

This example is one of a few 500 'Reflexers' in the first gallery of the website, if interested. It was on Kodachrome 64 Pro. The filter stole much of that 64!

The Nikkor one comes with a set of filters in the leather case; you have to use at least the UV one. They fit on the inner end of the lens, small and discreet. The lens itself is very light, has a shoe-collar that works well and allows you to rotate the camera without removing it from the 'pod. Without a tripod, I find it impossible to compose with this focal length.

Rob C
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 02:15:29 PM by Rob C » Logged

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