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Old Aug 26, 2009, 11:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by eharrim View Post
Thanks for posting more pics Zig. How far away was the gull.
I think the 70 300 will have to do until I find the right buy on the 50 500. I don't see a lot of difference in IQ between the 135 400 and the 70 300. What are your thoughts, maybe it's just me but I think there is a noticeable difference with the 50 500 and of course a substancial difference with the 50 200. The only 4/3 lens I can afford that will get me to 500mm with good quality at present is the bigma.
Eric
The Gull was about 15-20 ft away.

I think your plan to wait until you can get the 50-500 Sigma is a good one. The 70-300mm should hold you 'til then. From a practicality perspective, the Bigma is the only game in town for anyone using a fourthirds camera that wants a 500mm lens. The only other lens is the 300-800mm Sigmonster lens-only about 10k.

As for the IQ from the 135-400mm vs the 50-500mm, I've seen enough images using the 50-500mm to believe that the Bigma has promise. As far as being better, I've not personally shot with one to make that direct comparison to the 135-400mm.


I should also point out that the images I took last nite and posted here were all taken with the camera handheld. I believe that the images would have been sharper had I used a tripod.
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Old Aug 28, 2009, 7:40 PM   #12
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Default Does astronomy help here?

Hi, everyone

I've been thinking about this thread a lot. Long range telephoto terrestrial photography is just not what I do with my Oly camera - the photography I'm asked to do is very low-light indoor work. But I'm wondering if my astronomy experience is useful for you folks here if you're willing to let me ramble some.

Astronomical telescopes need to be long focal length lenses but need to be as fast as possible when you're looking at objects that are WAY fainter than anything on Earth. So telescopes are valued way more in terms of their aperture (speed) than their focal length, to the extent that telescopes are rated in terms of their aperture (light-gathering power) diameter rather than their focal length. So a fast (large aperture) telescope that is a refractor (what we here think of as a normal camera lens) will be a VERY long and very heavy lens and hard to mount and guide. What this means is that astronomical telescopes have mostly turned to using mirror optics, to basically "fold" the focal length.

Soooo, what I'm wondering is if those of you that need a long telephoto, have looked at mirror lenses. I don't know what their IQ is for terrestrial photography, but mirror lenses are available for terrestrial cameras. For example, Adorama sells a pair of "Pro-Optic" mirror lenses. One is a 500mm f/8 for $US100 and the other is an 800mm f/8 for $US225. My question is, is the IQ of these useless for terrestrial photography?

I realize that on a 4/3 camera that is probably too long, but I'm just wondering...

Ted

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Old Aug 29, 2009, 7:12 PM   #13
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Ted, .........this could become an interesting dissertation, I believe. I have absolutely no experience with 'mirror lenses' nor astronomy, therefore nothing worthwhile to contribute.

I do have an acquaintance friend who once tried using a 500mm mirror lens of some make with a Fuji S3. He told me that the IQ of the photos was so not acceptable that he considered the experiment just that and gave the lens to someone, he had bought it used at little cost.

I've too read a number of reports (forums statements) that IQ from mirror lenses is just not really good......... but I've always wondered why the things are made if they aren't of value so it seems to me that I just don't know what type usage, what kind of light environment or the camera tech settings that would be necessary to make good results with a mirror lens.

I do hope there will be more 'talk' of this subject..... could be fun learning.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 9:35 PM   #14
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Hi, Bob

Astronomers and astrophotographers have the same IQ needs as terrestrial photographers have. But my quick search on mirror lenses showed me that companies who make good telescopes don't seem to make versions to serve as terrestrial photography lenses. The Adorama mirror lenses are probably too inexpensive to be good camera lenses.

So I'm just wondering if I'm missing something here.

Ted
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Old Aug 31, 2009, 11:14 AM   #15
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From the pictures I've seen online done with mirror lenses, at least the cheaper ones, the IQ is not acceptable for say print quality photos. They do however fill a void for those who can't afford say a bigma 50 500 lens at 1000 dollars vs the 100 dollar or less mirror lens. If you don't worry about super high quality images they do just fine. We can't all afford a 300 800 sigmonster lens at 8 or 10 grand so whatever works for your wallet at the time has to do.
In my opinion if you want the best quality you can get for under 500 dollars with the most reach in the 800 to 1200 mm range you buy a SP model olympus or other brand, pany, kodak, whatever, along with a tcon 1.7 teleconverter and you can get better IQ than the mirrors. You lose low light abilities ISO 200 and over starts getting noisy, a little less IQ, you have a very small sensor, but you get incredible zoooooom in a small package for under 500 dollars. Here is a moon shot taken with the SP 560 and tcon at 18x optical and 1.5 tele multiplier. The second shot is the 510 with 70 300. The SP 590 has 26x and would put you over 1000 mm which equates to a 1000 dollar bigma lense and oly of your choice. So you're looking at 450 or so vs 1450 on the dslr side.
Eric
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Old Aug 31, 2009, 12:22 PM   #16
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The megazoom digicams are an incredible value. I've bought more than my share of them to have a very small option vs. a DSLR outfit and have waffled back & forth between which type camera I've preferred to shoot with.

The first one I ever bought was the original SP model, the SP-550. Incredible feature set and probably the most comfortable camera I've ever held in my hand. On the flip side, the AF performance was probably the worst I've ever experience with any type digital camera...it completely turned me off to that series and I've never bought another.

Panasonic probably made the best superzoom with the FZ30/50 series. With the TCON-17 you can get to 714mm at full resolution and, using reduced resolution, that can even be extended. The smaller FZ28, replaced now by the FZ35/38 can go even longer and with much better higher ISO performance, although that is relative. Better high ISO performance than the FZ50, but worse to much worse than is possible with any new DSLR.

Plenty of folks do great bird-shooting the superzooms. It's a favorite subject over on the Panasonic forum at DPReview. The long reach and huge depth of field means the focus can be much less exact and you'll still wind up with sharp images. Tracking moving birds with an electronic finder can be difficult at best. Tracking and shooting multiple image bursts is virtually impossible since you lose all live view during burst sequences. Some use accessories such as red-dot sights to try and keep subjects in the field of view, but as the magnification increases with zooming, the accuracy is affected and your margin of error really narrows. Accurate optical finders are the only real answer, and super zooms don't have them.

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Old Aug 31, 2009, 3:09 PM   #17
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I've never read a review that praised or gave any 500mm mirror lens a high mark for sharpness.

If anyone is interested, here's a link to a fellow who happened to shoot some eagles using various long lenses including Zuiko 500mm and 600mm lenses:

http://www.bytesmiths.com/OM_Tele/index.html

Please note there are 5 pages of info in this review.

Zig
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Old Aug 31, 2009, 6:30 PM   #18
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The doughnut-shaped out of focus halos that mirror/cat-type lenses create are really annoying looking. If you're shooting planets and star systems, no worries, but a subject from 25 feet away isn't so good.
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Old Aug 31, 2009, 9:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
I've never read a review that praised or gave any 500mm mirror lens a high mark for sharpness.

If anyone is interested, here's a link to a fellow who happened to shoot some eagles using various long lenses including Zuiko 500mm and 600mm lenses:

http://www.bytesmiths.com/OM_Tele/index.html

Please note there are 5 pages of info in this review.

Zig
That's pretty interesting. I wonder what the Zuiko 600mm 6.5 sells for nowadays. Didn't see anything on Google or eBay.

Ted
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Old Aug 31, 2009, 9:47 PM   #20
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I have 2 Celestron (Schmidt Cassegrain) mirror lenses, in the form of guided telescopes. One is a 2032mm f/10 and the other is a 2800mm f/10. Both are capable of exquisite astrophotographs although they both were way more expensive, even the Optical Tube Assemblies alone (the OTA is just the scope body without the guidance system mount) than the mirror lenses sold for terrestrial photography. And of course, way less portable both in size and focal length.

After reading the the Bytesmiths review Zig posted, at first I was thinking that inherently a mirror design is subject to image degradation from being flooded by internal light reflection from terrestrial lighting - they weren't designed for that. But lots of astrophotographers take great lunar images with mirror lenses and of course the moon is a solar-lit object, resulting in exposure levels similar to terrestrial photography. So I'm baffled. Maybe it just is a matter of the cost of the mirror lens and its resulting quality - the Celestron C90 in that review is way less expensive than the big-boy scopes.

So I'll retract my original question about using mirror lenses for terrestrial photography. It's not practical, especially considering the less-expensive alternatives noted above.

Ted
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