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Old Oct 28, 2006, 1:51 AM   #1
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I have just been having a play with a 'new' lens that arrived this week. An old Vivitar f1:8 600mm. It looks nice now that I have cleaned it up a bit but unfortunatley the front lens is in a very sorry state, serious scratches and rather permanent looking fungus stains! :sad:However it does appear to have some capabilities!





This little house is about 475 yards away!
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 2:32 AM   #2
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Sorry about the skew-wiff alignment but I didnt want to mess with the image that might have detracted from this quick demonstration of the lens. It is blowing a gale and I spent the day indoors but this shot was a quick one out the window, hand held but the lens resting on the window sill.
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 11:09 PM   #3
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Is this the Vivitar f/8 600mm solid cat lens....???? That's one of the cult classics.
Sorry to hear about the shape it's in...



Vivitar also marketed a series of solid catadioptic or solid cats of one-piece glass construction. These mirror lenses were actually made by Perkin Elmer (of NASA space telescope fame). The 600mm f/8 and 800mm f/11 solid cats have achieved cult status as very compact (only 3.3 inches long), sharp, and super-rugged lenses. Their ruggedness is partially due to their solid, one-piece construction, unlike most current production mirror lenses. This solid one-piece construction design means the elements remain in the optimal fixed positions relative to each other, despite temperature changes or even professional use and abuse.

Weight was only 3 pounds on the 600mm and 800mm lenses! Yet these lenses could close-focus to 23 feet and 25 feet respectively (circa 1:9.3 and 1:8.5 respectively).

One thing to be wary of when buying these lenses is to be sure you get the oddball series filter size filter set, including the UV filter. The lens design requires a filter in the optical path. Be aware that to replace filters, you have to remove the lens, then remove the T-mount, then replace the filter. More modern mirrors have a rotating filter mount.

Most of the standard filters are for black and white photography. Obviously, a polarizing filter would have to be front-mounted, a rather painful financial proposition for such a large filter size. (Hint: Edmund Scientific sells sheets of polaroid material cheaply)

Today, you would be lucky to find these lenses for sale used, as most owners readily appreciate their technical and optical qualities. Few were sold originally because of the steep price tag ($634 in 1975 dollars translates to $1,971 in today's 1998 dollarettes). They quite literally don't make them like this anymore!

....................................

There is another 600 out there. Post a picture of the lens.....

http://medfmt.8k.com/third/cult.html


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Old Oct 28, 2006, 11:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Is this the Vivitar f/8 600mm solid cat lens....???? That's one of the cult classics.
Sorry to hear about the shape it's in...


No, this is a 'baseball bat' configuration! About 25" long about 5" inches diameter hood on the front.


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Old Oct 29, 2006, 4:07 AM   #5
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John Hill wrote:
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No, this is a 'baseball bat' configuration! About 25" long about 5" inches diameter hood on the front.

that's real big for a CAT john.
i just got a 500mm f4.5 and it's only 19.5'' x 5 1/4'' with out a mirror. your lens looks like a real keeper tho. a little contrast adjust and sharpening would do wonders and it doesn't need much of that.

roy
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Old Oct 29, 2006, 12:24 PM   #6
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Sorry, I must advise aslight correction Roy, its been so long since we used inches my estimate of diameter is way off, its about 3 5/8" at the hood, 92mm as close as I can measure. However it is about 25" long.

I tried to do a few tests but the weather has been bad all week end, I hope to be able to post some interesting shots soon.

Meanwhile I find my tripod is totally inadequate for this lens and I sure dont want it toppling over with my *ist DS attached. In fact I am not even sure tripods are the best idea for this sort of thing, at least not in the normal mode. Maybe using the tripod to support the front of the lens would be a better idea than that flimsy single bolt near the centre of gravity which sets the whole thing swinging about in the slightest puff of wind.




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Old Oct 29, 2006, 12:32 PM   #7
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you probably need a steadier tripod and head. when i tested the 500 yesterday my biggest fear was that i would need to upgrade mine but everything worked well. no wind however.

do i ever wish we would switch to metric--YES!!! please!!!

roy
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 12:50 AM   #8
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I took a couple of test pictures today with the 600mm lens stopped down and was disappointed to see the image covered in scattered dark spots. With the lens stopped right down to f32 the spots appear to be in quite sharp focus. I guess I wont be shooting for deep DOF with this lens.:sad:
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