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Old Jan 23, 2012, 2:26 PM   #1
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Default Birding (well, ducks and swans...) with the 500mm Tamron Mirror Lens

Greetings!

On the weekend I picked up a Tamron Adaptall 2 500mm mirror lens that I had been eyeing up for a few weeks, the price was much, much lower than I have seen it elsewhere, so I figured I might as well pick it up. If I didn't get on with it, I could always just stick it on eBay for double what I paid for it.

I'm not much of a bird fancier, I appreciate them and admire photo's others take of them, but it's not something I have given much thought to, hopefully this will change now I have something with decent reach.

I took some photo's around the canal near the shop I purchased the lens from, nothing special but thought I would share them, bear in mind the lens was filthy, dust and fingerprints abound
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Pentax K-7
Tamron 90mm SP Di Macro
Tamron Adaptall 2 - 28mm, 28-80mm, 500mm Mirror
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Pentax K - 50mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 28mm f/2.2
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Old Jan 23, 2012, 7:50 PM   #2
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Congratulations on the new lens! These mirror lenses have very shallow DOF - so that's really some great feather detail in the swan (closer portrait) and in the last duck - shows your skills at manual focusing.

As you've already discovered, birds seem to pose in just the wrong light - I have a hard time with the (all too common) backlit poses. But your backlit swan looks quite nice.
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Old Jan 23, 2012, 11:10 PM   #3
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I also have this lens Ash, and for the money it's a wonder. This Tamron 500 BB is reputedly the best mirror out there and it does an admirable job ... as you have found out already ! Some people don't like the doughnut-like effect on specular highlights but in some circumstances (like your swan) I do.

Only thing to remember with 500mm mirrors is that they are still 500mm, even though so light, and therefore work best on a tripod. have fun with your new toy !
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Old Jan 24, 2012, 1:56 AM   #4
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Thanks both!

Yeah focusing is pretty damn hard, I won't tell you how many shots I took that were out of focus...

Sadly I have lost the mounting plate for my tripod somewhere, so I have to take the house apart this weekend to try to find it, don't really want to have to buy a new plate as I know I will just buy a whole new tripod instead, TBA lol

I'm hoping to take it out into the country next week and try to catch some buzzards and grouse.
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Pentax K-7
Tamron 90mm SP Di Macro
Tamron Adaptall 2 - 28mm, 28-80mm, 500mm Mirror
Pentax KAF - 18-55mm WR, 28-105mm PowerZoom
Pentax K - 50mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 28mm f/2.2
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Old Jan 24, 2012, 10:12 PM   #5
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Those are really impressive! I don't mind the bokeh on the swan, in fact I was surprised how little of the doughnut effect there was on these. You are not helping my LBA.
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 3:07 AM   #6
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Hi Ashley,

Congrats on the 500 CAT! It's a very handy lens to have, especially if you can get one inexpensively.

I got mine quite a while ago, bot don't use it much since I have better alternatives. I also got mine cheap, and it came with the hood, tripod foot, and a PK/A adapter as a bonus! One of the nice things about this lens is that there's little or no refractive glass, so no CA/PF.

Very nice job on the birds! It's a pretty difficult lens to handhold since it's so light.

Scott
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Old Jan 25, 2012, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Those are really impressive! I don't mind the bokeh on the swan, in fact I was surprised how little of the doughnut effect there was on these. You are not helping my LBA.
Thanks! to be honest I chose the images to show off very carefully, I will attach some from my "blooper reel" and you can see how bad the doughnut effect can be.

It is a good lens, but very situational due to the weird bokeh, even if you don't get the rings, the background can appear very "busy"

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Originally Posted by snostorm View Post
Hi Ashley,

Congrats on the 500 CAT! It's a very handy lens to have, especially if you can get one inexpensively.

I got mine quite a while ago, bot don't use it much since I have better alternatives. I also got mine cheap, and it came with the hood, tripod foot, and a PK/A adapter as a bonus! One of the nice things about this lens is that there's little or no refractive glass, so no CA/PF.

Very nice job on the birds! It's a pretty difficult lens to handhold since it's so light.

Scott
Cheers fella!

Unfortunately I have the 55BB (or something) without the lens mount, but it's not that heavy that I think it will be a problem on a tripod without one.

Yeah the complete lack of CA was a surprise, I expected some, especially on the white swans against a dark background, but there's none at all!

Bloopers for Harriet:
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Pentax K-7
Tamron 90mm SP Di Macro
Tamron Adaptall 2 - 28mm, 28-80mm, 500mm Mirror
Pentax KAF - 18-55mm WR, 28-105mm PowerZoom
Pentax K - 50mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 28mm f/2.2
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Old Jan 26, 2012, 3:43 PM   #8
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Nice shots with that 500 mirror lens hand held. Hi key photos are difficult but you have done a great job with the two shown here.

Lou
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Old Jan 27, 2012, 2:34 AM   #9
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Thanks Lou, appreciate it!
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Pentax K-7
Tamron 90mm SP Di Macro
Tamron Adaptall 2 - 28mm, 28-80mm, 500mm Mirror
Pentax KAF - 18-55mm WR, 28-105mm PowerZoom
Pentax K - 50mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 28mm f/2.2
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Old Jan 30, 2012, 9:23 PM   #10
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Thanks for the bloopers, the first one could easily be corrected in pp, but the second one is hopeless. An interesting series, though, and it looks like the lens can be quite capable.
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