Tripod/Monopod


Anyone ever hear of D.O. Industries? I had never come across any lenses from them until I suddenly ran into this little beauty on EBay, going really cheap. It seemed to be an enlarger lens, but it had what appeared to be a T-mount type threaded mount. A quick email ( an even quicker response from the seller) confirmed that the diameter of the threaded end was indeed 42mm, so I took a chance on it and picked it up, since I was looking for a 135mm lens that would fit on my Spiratone Bellowscope.

I already have a nice Spiratone 150mm f/4.5 bellows lens, but I’m the curious type, and more than that, the name of the 135mm lens intrigued me. The lens itself is small, and solidly built – probably 4 element (maybe 6). Not sure if it is coated. The body looks old and appears to have seen much use, and the paint has faded, but nice glass. It was probably a workhorse lens on someone’s enlarger for many years. It even came with the retaining ring, which is rare these days.

I did a little bit of research on D.O. Industries, and here’s what I came up. Apparently they were an importer and distributor for Fujinon lenses, and they also sold lenses under their own name (rumor has it that D.O lenses are made by Fuji. The optical quality certainly seems to bear that out).

D.O. Industries was started by a gentleman by name David Goldstein in 1972. The company is still around. They are now called Navitar, and you can read their timeline here. I’m glad they’re still around. They seem to be doing well in the current digital era with new imaging products. Innovate, Evolve or Die, right? The photography marketplace is pretty ruthless, with old-timer companies closing down almost every day.

In case no one’s noticed, practically every 3rd party lens company had names ending with –AR. It seems to have been vogue with photographic companies back in the day. You see products with names such as Vivitar, Albinar, Astranar, Rokunar, Lentar, Kitstar, Macrotar and so on. I’ve often wondered why.

When I tried to fit the lens to a T-mount, I noticed that the thread, while being very close, was just not right. It seemed to be more like 41mm, but the pitch was OK. I got around this by wrapping a piece of light cotton sewing thread on the lens thread, and it works just fine. Curious. As long as it works, I am happy.

The advantage of using a longer focal length lens on the bellows is that it permits a longer “stand-off” distance. A short focal length lens (35mm, 40mm or 50mm) can give greater magnification, but the focusing distance is very short, which means that the light is cut off drastically, and one has to use supplemental lighting. The longer focal length bellows lenses (75mm, 135mm and 150mm) can focus from 18 inches to as far as 3 feet away, which lets a lot of ambient light get to the subject. Besides, there’s room for the tripod legs if the subject is 24 inches or more away.

Since I was trying out this lens indoors, I just used a pedestal lamp with the Sony’s WB setting to Tungsten lamp. I used a Auto ISO setting. The exposure was 1/5 to 1/8 second, and I was able to stop down to f/8 to increase the depth of field. If I were outdoors in natural sunlight, I would have used 100 ISO and a smaller aperture.

The tripod permits the longer exposure without shake. To avoid inadvertent camera shake during release, I used the Sony’s self timer setting (Drive Mode button, and then select self timer 10 seconds). This ensures that there is minimal shake. The Sony doesn’t have mirror lock-up, but it’s superbly damped. The mirror return ‘snap’ doesn’t seem to affect the image in any way.

For subjects, I used some of my wife’s traditional jewelry. Without more ado, here are the pictures

D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700

The Bellows mounts to my Sony Alpha 700 with a standard Minolta AF-T mount adapter, and the whole thing goes on a cheap Velbon tripod. Nothing special. Here’s the setup.

D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700 Setup
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700 Setup
D.O. Industries 135mm f/4.5 on Alpha 700 Setup

Photographed with a Sony Alpha 700 DSLR, D.O. Industries 135mm Emlarger lens (Fuji??) fitted on a Spiratone Bellowscope. Auto ISO with Tungsten light WB setting. Exposure was 1/5 second and 1/8 second at f/8 from a distance of about 24 inches. I used a Velbon Tripod.



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olympus/zuiko by Ajoy Muralidhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
text and images © 2008 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners. thank you for visiting olympus/zuiko.

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As far as fireworks, I had stupidly forgotten to take my Tripod along – I usually have it in my car, but we were using the old minivan for the long 15 hour trip from Maryland to Illinois, so I was only able to shoot handheld. I used the OM-10 with the Olympus Winder 2 connected. The lens was a Panagor 90mm f/2.8 lens

When we reached Miller Park in Bloomington, and finally located ourselves, I realized almost immediately that a 90mm was the wrong lens. I had picked the lens since I had figured that we’d be pretty far away from the fireworks, and the medium telephoto would pull the image in closer.

Boy, was I wrong – The fireworks at Miller park were shot from across the small lake, and the viewing area was directly across from the firing area, which means that the fireworks were almost directly overhead… really!. A Zuiko wideangle such as 28mm f/3.5 or 35mm f/2.8 or even my regular “normal” 50mm f/1/8 lens would have probably been better. Oh, well. Next time I’ll remember the Tripod.


Fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks
L
Fireworks
Fireworks

Photographed with an OM-10, Panagor 90mm f/2.8 and Fuji Superia 400 film. 1/2 sec at f/4


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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A while ago, I had discussed the advantages of mirror lenses as cheap long focus lenses, and more importantly, the fact that they could be used in hand held photography. In the same post, I had explored alternative lens configurations that were available at reasonable cost, which would enable an amateur photographer like myself the opportunity to experiment with super-telephoto lenses.

The choices I had that were available in Olympus mounts were considerably varied, and although all the lens and teleconverter combinations would provide a reasonably fast, cheap lens in the super telephoto range, none of them were suitable for hand-held photography. There are some other alternatives I had not really explored since they involved even older lenses, from the 60’s and early 70’s, specifically, universal thread T mount lenses.

These were the old days, before the development of modern multi-coated optical glass and computer aided design. The long focus lenses from back then are really something – they are solidly built, heavy, and have come fitted with a tripod ring so as not to damage the camera mountings. These lenses were made by Cambron, Tele-Astranar, Lentar, Spiratone, and of course more familiar companies such as Tamron, Vivitar etc. Some of them were sold with a particular manufacturer’s mounts, but since camera mounts changed a lot back then, many lenses were made with something called a “T mount”.

Tamron introduced the T mount back in the late 1950’s as a potential “Universal” lens mount. The reasoning was very simple… The T mount is a threaded screw mount, similar to the Pentax M42 screw mount, but with finer pitched threads. The Pentax screw mount is a 42mm diameter screw with a 1mm pitch (M42x1), while the T mount has a 42mm diameter 0.75mm pitch (M42x0.75). The lenses were threaded at the back to take an adapter for a specific camera mount – Nikon, Canon, Olympus, whatever – once a customer bought a lens, it would be fitted with the adapter of their choice and that was it. There was no need to stock many lenses with different mounts – the dealer only needed to stock up on different mounts. If a camera manufacturer introduced a new model with a different mount, a new adapter became available. In fact, some lenses were only released with a T mount – a good example is the famous Vivitar Series 1 600mm Solid Cat (Solid Catadiotropic Mirror lens – what a mouthful)

Theoretically, if you had the right adapter, a lens could be fitted to any camera. The T mount also became the standard for bellows, enlargers, telescope adapters, microscope adapters etc. This happy state of affairs existed for many years, until variations of the T mount started appearing that were incompatible with one or the other lens ie, T2, T4, TX and pretty soon, everyone went back to making their own proprietary mounts. But the story does not end here… Due to the huge number of lenses that were made for the T mount, and the easy availability of adapters for different makes of cameras, T mounts never went out of favor – they are still widely available cheaply on Ebay and elsewhere.

What of the lenses? The big issue with older 3rd party lenses was that they were usually built cheaply, and that the lens elements would shake loose in their mountings after a while. Like everything else, not all 3rd party lenses were built the same, there are lots of solidly built ones as well, We just have to be choosy. There’s plenty of choices, and we don’t have to settle for one with a hazy element or fungus or even bad cosmetics. Back in the days when the T mount was common, everyone shot color slide film. Slide film is very finicky and not as forgiving as color print film (common negative film) and does not have as wide a range, so the lenses had to be good (at least fairly so), or they would never sell.

Even the cheapest lenses had a large sweet spot in the center of the lens, and when stopped down, they could provide excellent results. Now, I am not advocating that we compare it against a razor sharp professional Nikon OEM lens which probably costs 10 times as much. Rather, we should judge the lens on its own merits, and the low cost. Also, sometimes, razor sharp may not be necessary, especially if we are just planning on a small print, or just to post online – besides, when did film resolution ever match the resolutions possible with a lens? If we are not satisfied with the edge resolution, we can always crop it out. It should not be an issue at f/11 or smaller anyway.

T mount lenses are available in every focal length, but since this post is about super-telephoto lenses, I will discuss 2 famous representatives of cheap super-telephoto lenses from the T mount days – the widely available Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 and the Vivitar 300mm f/5.6. Both still easily available all over the place.

Spiratone was a camera dealership very much like Ponder & Best (Vivitar) and the brainchild of S.F (Fred) Spira. He ran a store in NYC, and they were famous for a wide range of affordable equipment. Fred Spira is also the author of the well regarded “The History of Photography: As seen through the Spira Collection.”

The Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 lens was most probably made for them by Tamron. There were several labels of this particular 400mm f6.3 lens, all identical, which implies they came from the same production line. They were branded as Spiratone, Tamron, Tele-Astranar, Cambron, Howard Sterling and probably a few others. I guess Tamron was trying to break into the US market back then, and didn’t mind having their brand diluted by all the other 3rd party names. This lens has an aperture range from f/6.3 to f/32, and is pretty sharp stopped down to f/11 or smaller. Of course, for smaller apertures, the exposure would make a sturdy tripod a necessity. On a bright sunny day, a hand held shot at 1/500 and f11 using 400 ASA or faster film is a distinct possibility.

There’s more pictures of the Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 along and the 60mm close-focusing extension tube here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Here are some examples with the 400mm Spiratone

Spiratone 400mm f/6.3
Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 – Preset Aperture setting rings
Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 – T mount threaded end
Spiratone 400mm f/6.3

The Vivitar 300mm f/5.6 is an early Vivitar 35mm lens. As we all know, Vivitar (Ponder & Best) used to contract out their lens manufacturing as well. Everyone is familiar with the famous Series 1 makers – Komine and Kino Precision, but Vivitar contracted out with Tokina (aka Asanuma) and others — including OLYMPUS – yes, Olympus Optical Co. The Vivitar 300mm f/5.6 was one of the lenses made by Olympus (at least, the ones with serial numbers 6xxxxxx.

We certainly can’t fault the lens in construction – The Vivitar 300mm f5.6 is built like a M1A1 battletank. The Spiratone is solid too, but not as heavily built as the Vivitar 300mm. Mark Robert’s website has a list of the other manufacturers and the serial number codes. Check under the heading Photography. He has a bunch of lens mods and Pentax information as well.

Ever since I came across this bit of manufacturing information, I had been on the lookout for a Olympus made Vivitar lens. Common sense dictated that any such lens would have to be pre-1972, before Olympus entered the interchangeable lens SLR market in earnest with their OM series cameras. Any T mount lens that they would have made as a Vivitar contractor would have to be between 1965-1972, BEFORE they introduced the OM bayonet mount. Additionally, it made sense, as it would have been good practice for Olympus in getting their Zuiko OEM manufacturing processes worked out. The lens shouts “quality” as soon as you pick it up. It’s very heavy for it’s size, and takes a 62mm filter. The pre-set aperture rings are surprisingly easy to use.

Vivitar 300mm f/5.6
Vivitar 300mm f/5.6
Vivitar 300mm f/5.6 – preset focusing rings
Vivitar 300mm f/5.6 – T mount ring for OM

Here are some compelling reasons to jump in acquire a cheap USED long focus lens or two to play with and experiment with super-telephoto effects:

# I own a beautiful Olympus Zuiko 300mm f/4.5, I would not risk it in the field ie., while hiking in rough areas etc. There’s a lot to be said for having a cheaper 300mm or 400mm that we can throw in the backpack without hesitation. A far as sharpness goes, these lenses a a little sharper than the common 500mm f/8 mirror lens, but the mirror can easily be hand-held, while these long lenses need Tripods.

# Both the lenses are sold for between $25 and $50 on eBay regularly, sometimes going cheaper if they have some cosmetic issues. These lenses were single coated for the most part. Multi-coating of lenses was still a few years away, and they usually came with a generously sized screw-on or built-in sliding lens hood. At that price, they are a real bargain, since a T mount adapter can be had for another $10- $15, and sometimes the seller will include one for your specific mount if available. Either way, its no biggie, they are freely available.

# We have excellent fast film available to us these days – 400 ASA and 800 ASA film allow us generous exposure latitude, permitting the use of filters and even a few mistakes. Hand-held is possible, but only if the light conditions permit speeds of 1/500 sec and above (WITH a polarizing filter, the light would have to be very bright, so it would have to be a very sunny day). I would recommend a tripod with these lenses any day. They are just too darn big. They come with their own tripod mounts, so why fight it? besides, it saves stress on the camera mounting ring as well.

# So what if the images are soft towards the edges of the lens? The sweet spot in the center will produce a sharp image when stopped down, to f/11 of f/16, and we can always use Picasa or Photoshop to crop the photo if needed. Due to the lack of multi- coating, the bokeh on these lenses is not as pleasing as their more recent (and more expensive) cousins.

# They can be mounted to a digital SLR with the proper adapter. On a Olympus E series DSLR, and a T-mount to Four Thirds adapter, the humble Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 becomes an enormous 800mm f/6.3 and the 300mm Vivitar f/5.6 becomes a respectable 600mm f/5.6. Can you imagine buying a 800mm DSLR lens for less than $50?

#Lastly, here are some excellent examples of what a Spiratone 400mm f/6.3 lens can do on an Olympus E-500 DSLR. I don’t think that anyone can complain about Christine’s beautiful animal photographs!

Spiratone 400mm setup
Vivitar 300mm setup

Here are the related Posts:
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part II
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part III
Learning to love your Mirror Lens


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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The original Olympus Trip 35 was one of the most popular cameras ever made, and it is a beautiful piece of engineering. It is a fixed focus automatic camera that permits the use of film of only up to 400 ASA, and has a maximum shutter speed of 1/500 second. Manual aperture settings are possible, but only when using a Flash.

As one gets more familiar with the Olympus Trip, the few limitations it has seem trivial. In fact, it seems to possess all the qualities that make for an ideal street camera, especially since it was designed as a ‘visual notebook’ that could be carried anywhere, it is particularly suited for street photography.

Against the few limitations, consider these great features:

# It has a superb, professional quality Zuiko 40mm f/2.8 lens.
# It’s a moderate wide angle – so it can focus close, and has a great depth of field. The 40mm is a good compromise between 35mm and 50mm, and has no distortion.
# It is Automatic in function for daylight photography
# It does not need batteries, so no need to worry about the camera dying in the middle of the action
# It has a rugged all metal body, and can withstand rough use, like being tossed in a backpack
# It has a thumbwheel instead of the traditional cocking lever – its easy to operate with one hand, since the thumb can cock the shutter after every shot, even when carrying something in the other hand.
# thumb wheel allows the Shutter to be re-cocked without moving the camera from the eye. This allows the photographer to focus on the action instead on the mechanics of the camera film transport mechanism.
# It’s size and weight make it easy to hold, and it feels solid and steady.
# It is nearly silent, except for a soft click when the shutter is released, and a soft whirring when the thumbwheel is operated while cocking the shutter for the next shot.
# The camera back is cut away at the bottom so that the film cassette can be just dropped in instead of having to angle it in. This makes for quick and unobtrusive loading.
# It has a threaded lens ring, so it can take a screw on 43.5mm filter, since the CdS cells are located around the lens, any filter is compensated for. (I like using a yellow filter – ideal for Black & White photography)
# It can be mounted on a tripod, but a lightweight monopod is even better – its small, so the monopod is easy to hold, and it does not take up additional space. The monopod also makes a fine walking stick.
# Best of all, it is unobtrusive – no big glass lenses to stick into peoples faces. The camera can be easily concealed until needed against the body or in a jacket pocket.

And that’s not all — there is one other aspect of the Olympus Trip 35 that convinced me that it was DESIGNED for street photography.

I am referring to the Trip’s focusing mechanism. The Olympus Trip 35 belongs to the class of cameras that used a paradigm called Zone Focusing (or “guess focusing”) as their primary focus setting mechanism. The Trip 35 is automatic, so the shutter speed is set by the camera depending on the light conditions sensed by the bubble glass light meter surrounding the lens and the film speed. If the light is insufficient, a red flag will show up in the viewfinder, and the shutter button will not fire. (see photo below)

Zone focusing is a pretty simple concept – for daylight photography, the photographer sets the camera shutter ring to A (auto), and rotate the zone focusing ring to the desired distance setting. The Trip 35 has 4 zones – these are identified by little icons that represent subject distances. The icons are a head & shoulders, person and child, group, and mountains, which indicate 1m, 1.5m, 3m and ∞. The numeric equivalents for the icons are etched on the opposite side of the zone focusing ring.

Zone Focusing – Note the red icon (3m)
Distance scale (opposite side of focus ring)

The photographer simply guesses the approximate distance of the subject using the representative icons, and sets the particular zone icon desired. The Zone system is pretty forgiving, and it doesn’t matter if the guess isn’t very accurate. If a Flash unit is used, the Zones are set as usual, but the Aperture ring is moved off of A to the desired aperture setting depending on the Flash Unit used and the Subject distance.

Flash Aperture settings on Trip 35
Red Flag (insufficient light alert)

Here’s the kicker. The 3 meter icon (Group) is actually marked in RED. I did not understand why for a long time, but one day it hit me. For the 40mm Zuiko lens, 3 meters represents the distance at which a group of people can be photographed full-length, with their surroundings – as in street photography!

I’ve been asking around, and apparently other Zone Focusing cameras had the same type of marking. It seems apparent to me now that for street photography, all one needs to do is load up with some 200 or 400 ASA film. rotate the Zone focus ring to the Red icon, and shoot. The depth of field afforded by the wide angle lens will ensure that everything from 3 meters (approx 10 feet) to infinity will be in focus… so it’s “set and shoot”. Literally.

Note: I am suggesting faster film speed since this will prevent the insufficient light flag from preventing a shot in shadowed areas..

Check out another 40mm f/2.8 camera with similar features, but full Manual capability – the Ricoh 500G Rangefinder
Here’s more information on the Olympus Trip 35


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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The Mirror or Reflex lens must be the most maligned, joked about and misunderstood of all 35mm lenses. Granted, it has some disadvantages, chief of them being the fact that mirror lenses are fixed aperture, and cannot be stopped down beyond their built-in f/8 settings. In some lenses, the f/8 is a manufacturer’s claim, and in reality, the setting may be closer to f/11. Even if it is f/8 as claimed, if we add any correction filter, we are stopped down to f/11 or f/16 anyway, which limits us to daylight photography.

Another disadvantage is that the viewfinder is not as bright with a mirror lens, and that focusing becomes difficult for cameras that are using a split prism focusing screen, due to the fact that the center spot goes dark. But by far the most pointed out disadvantage is the fact that the lens causes the out of focus highlights (bokeh) to be annular, doughnut shaped rings of light, and that is considered undesirable by many photographers.

Other disadvantages are that it either takes a large filter size (mine takes a 77mm screw-in) or that in some cases a small filter has to be inserted at the back of the lens, making it EVEN harder to focus. Due to these disadvantages, most enthusiasts who jump in and purchase a mirror try using it one or two times, and then put it away to gather dust, or trade it in the first chance they get. There are plenty that are available on eBay, used and new… at prices that are quite reasonable.

Look at the lens from another angle — as a potential long focus hand held lens. The mirror lens is usually available in focal lengths of 400, 500 or 600mm, with the vast majority available in the 500mm range. The lens is very compact, about 4 inches long, since the mirror design folds the incoming light a couple of times. Consider that these lenses have been around for many years now, and computer aided design has made them optically very accurate, and straightforward to design & manufacture. Better than that, it can be made cheaply, and most of the non-OEM brands can be purchased new for a little more than $100, with used mirrors going for even less. It usually weighs less than 1 lb, and can be easily hand-held, and does not look odd even on a small frame camera such as an OM-1 or OM-2. Some of them even claim to be Macro, although it’s just a close focusing capability which is very useful.

In my opinion, these lenses have an undeserved bad rap. Oh, don’t get me wrong, of course I would love to be able to afford a reasonably fast OEM refractive 500mm prime lens (say f/5.6), but other than the enormous cost ($1000++ range??) that puts it beyond the reach of all but the most dedicated amateur photographers, the lenses are large, and heavy. One cannot dream of hand-held photography with such a lens and a sturdy tripod would be a necessity. A professional photographer may have the resources and justification to purchase such a lens, since his or her professional activities and heavy usage call for it.

But what of the amateur who wishes to move into photographing birds, or just wants to have the opportunity to use a super-telephoto? There aren’t many low-cost alternatives. A few possibilities come to mind, but none of them seem suitable for casual handheld photography. Let’s explore what’s out there that’s relatively cheap, and gives us what we want– ie, a super-telephoto lens that’s reasonably fast, and comes in a standard bayonet mount. Handheld is ideal, but we will settle for something that will let us use a bean bag or some similar support, without having to resort to a Tripod and long exposures. There are other long focus cheap lenses in older screw mounts still available, and I will discuss them in another post.

# Using a mid-range zoom such as the Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 zoom (67mm filter size) with a 2x tele-converter. The tele-converter will cause the loss of 2 stops, but we will end up with a upper range of 420mm f/8 or thereabouts. If you are familiar with the tank-like construction of the Series 1 f/3.5 lens, it will be clear that the addition of the 2x converter will make it very difficult, if not impossible to shoot hand-held. Adding a Polarizer will cut us down 2 more stops to about f/16. Cost should be around $125-$150 or so for the lens and tele-converter setup.

# A lighter mid-range such as a Kiron 80-200mm f/4.5 zoom (55mm filter size) with a 2x tele-converter. As before, the tele-converter will lose 2 stops, and we will end up with around 400mm f/8. The assembly is not as heavy as the Vivitar Series 1, but still unwieldy. The same filter factors apply. Cost approx $150

# A third possibility is the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 prime (72mm filter size). Now, the 300mm falls into the super-telephoto range, and it is built compactly enough that hand-held photography is possible. Add a 2x converter, and you have a 600mm f/8. Hand-held is out of the question, though. Same filter factors apply. Cost varies approx $350 for the setup.

# Vivitar used to make a 75-250mm f/3.8-4.5 zoom (62mm filter size). When coupled with a 2x tele-converter, gives us a 500mm f/8 at the upper end of the range. Too big for hand-held photography, and the same filter factors apply. Cost approx $125-150 for the setup

# Tamron made a 60-300mm f3.8-5.4 and Tokina made a similar 60-300mm f/3.8-5.6 that could be coupled with a 2x tele-converter to give us an 600mm f/11 at the upper range or an approximate 500mm f/8. Still huge though, and no hand-held. Same filter factors apply. Cost varies, approx $150-200 for the setup.

Of course, if we are able to focus using the ground glass portion of the focusing screen (if you’re using a OM-1 or OM-2, you can get a 1-10 matte focusing screen, which has grid lines but no center prism.) and are willing to use a proper support/tripod, the above combinations will permit stopping down to at least f/22 or lower.

There are Digital options as well — if you have a Olympus E series DSLR and the 4/3 to OM adapter. In the Olympus E series cameras, the smaller CCD size (12mm x 18mm) affords a digital conversion factor or 2x compared to the 35mm format (24mm x 36mm), so any of the above 35mm lenses focal length will effectively be doubled – for example the Zuiko 300mm f/4.5 when fitted to the Olympus E-500 will be a fast 600mm f/4.5, and the Vivitar Series 1 75-210mm f/3.5 lens will be a 420mm f/3.5. By the same token, the 500mm Mirror will become a massive 1000mm f/8. But that’s only if you have already made the considerable investment in a DSLR. I’m not sure what kind of results we would get with hand-held photography, although I am sure that the image stabilizing technology makes life much easier. The 2x conversion applies only to the 4/3 (Four-thirds) lens system and Olympus E series cameras. The Sony Alpha (aka Minolta) has a 1.5x digital conversion factor. I am not sure what the Canon and Nikon digital conversion factors are. Perhaps 1.4x??. Here’s a beautiful example of what you can do with a 500mm Mirror with a 2x tele-converter on an Olympus DSLR. This is 2000mm equivalent Handheld!!

One other advantage we have now that the photographers in the 70’s and early 80’s did not have (back when the bad rap started) is better FILM. We have much better emulsions that provide high quality images with 400 and even 800 ASA film. So if you have been hesitating with respect to buying a Mirror lens, give it a try. Keep an open mind, and don’t compare it with its much more expensive counterparts and I can assure you that you’ll be surprised. Look for a good deal, and take the plunge. Maybe you know someone who has a mirror lens they will let you borrow for a few days. Load your camera with 400 or 800 ASA color film and go shoot. Perhaps go hiking or even birdwatching. Don’t worry about filters. If needed, you can use some simple post-processing software tools provided by Picasa to make minor adjustments.

Maybe it won’t be professional quality but at least you will not lose another super telephoto opportunity. And if you’re happy with the results, that’s all that matters. Who knows? Like me, you might fall in love with the doughnut bokeh. And by the way, mine is a very ancient, beat-up looking Soligor CD lens. Check out the setup below. 😀


500mm Mirror #1
500mm Mirror #2
500mm Mirror #3 – check out the bokeh
500mm Mirror #4
500mm Mirror #5
500mm Mirror #6
500mm Mirror #7
500mm Mirror #8 500mm Mirror #9

Photographed with an OM-2, Soligor 500mm f/8 Mirror lens, 1/125 sec, f/8; Fuji Superia 400 film. For the curious – here is my camera and lens setup. I am using a collapsible rubber Mamiya 77mm screw-in lens hood to protect the mirror lens from flare.

OM-2 and Soligor 500mm set-up #1
OM-2 and Soligor 500mm set-up #2

Here are the related Posts:
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part I
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part II
Cheap Super Telephoto Lenses Part III


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.
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Last August, I headed out west towards Taneytown on MD 140 West to see if I could find a good view of the setting sun. I took a detour and left 140 west to take Old Taneytown Road since it looked as if it had less traffic. I found this old church – Baust Church … the setting sun catches it just right, and invites you to pull off the road to take a closer look.

Pulling into the churchyard, you find that the pavement slopes up to the Cemetery. It’s a pretty old church, and is located in a very peaceful setting. However, it is the cemetery that caught my eye. It has a road that runs right through the middle, and over a hill. It’s truly the road to nowhere, don’t you think?I left my car and walked a little way up the road, past the gate so that I was standing right in the center of the cemetery road when I took these pictures.

Churches and graveyards… they always go together. It’s funny – although births are celebrated, and death is mourned, it’s only death that has a tangible presence. Life is celebrated, but not memorialized. At least, not for ordinary folk. And for those few whose deeds entitle them to mausoleums of stone to commemorate the memory of their frail flesh, the myth of the person soon takes over, and the essence of their humanity is soon forgotten. But such is life.

I did not linger there long, even though it was so peaceful and calm in the light of the setting sun – one should not disturb the peace of the dead. I’m sure that they welcome the company of the living – it must get lonely.

Baust Church
Cemetery

I spotted this quaint Gothic farmhouse. And you guessed it. I stopped again. 🙂

Gothic Farmhouse

I did manage to catch the sunset from Clearview Road. Just barely. had a few minutes to set up my camera. I think Clearview Road has the best view for sunsets in the entire area 🙂

Sunset #1
Sunset #2

Baust Church and Farmhouse Photos were taken with an OM-1, Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 lens, Fuji Xtra 200 film, 1/250 sec f/11 about 15 minutes before sunset. The sunset pictures were taken with the same camera and lens setup, but I used a 1/30 second exposure and a tripod.


text and images © 2007 ajoy muralidhar. all names, websites, brands and technical data referenced are the copyright or trademark of their respective owners.