Shopping used telephoto lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul Ciszek, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    I have had better results with the 1.4x teleconverter on my Zuiko 50-200mm
    than I did with the 2x, but that still leaves me with a telephoto of only
    280mm. Someone suggested getting a tried-and-true telephoto from some
    other family of lenses, that has gone out of fashion and might be available
    used. So, I am looking for a lens that:

    1) Has an effective focal length of 400mm or more. Fixed is fine, if
    it has better image quality than a zoom.

    2) Has good image quality and low chromatic aberration.

    3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    image being out of focus on purpose". I care more about getting
    things *in* focus.

    4) Plays nice with the Olympus OM-D, with appropriate adapters. I
    don't expect any electrical features to work; indeed, I may pick
    an antique that doesn't HAVE electrical features.

    5) Is available on the used market for a reasonable price.

    Any recommendations?

    --
    Please reply to: | No nation is drunken where wine is cheap.
    pciszek at panix dot com | --Thomas Jefferson
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 9, 2012
    #1
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  2. Paul Ciszek

    RichA Guest

    On Jul 9, 9:50 am, (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
    > I have had better results with the 1.4x teleconverter on my Zuiko 50-200mm
    > than I did with the 2x, but that still leaves me with a telephoto of only
    > 280mm.  Someone suggested getting a tried-and-true telephoto from some
    > other family of lenses, that has gone out of fashion and might be available
    > used.  So, I am looking for a lens that:
    >
    > 1) Has an effective focal length of 400mm or more.  Fixed is fine, if
    >    it has better image quality than a zoom.
    >
    > 2) Has good image quality and low chromatic aberration.
    >
    > 3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    >    image being out of focus on purpose".  I care more about getting
    >    things *in* focus.
    >
    > 4) Plays nice with the Olympus OM-D, with appropriate adapters.  I
    >    don't expect any electrical features to work; indeed, I may pick
    >    an antique that doesn't HAVE electrical features.
    >
    > 5) Is available on the used market for a reasonable price.
    >
    > Any recommendations?
    >
    > --
    > Please reply to:               | No nation is drunken wherewine is cheap.
    > pciszek at panix dot com       |             --Thomas Jefferson


    You'll lose more to technique with an 800mm equivalent lens than
    quality. Nikon's older 400mm f3.5 is a good lens. Can be had for
    $1400 or so used, is only 1/2 stop slower than their mondern $10k
    units.
    RichA, Jul 9, 2012
    #2
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  3. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    In article <>,
    Chemiker <> wrote:
    >
    >If Nikons are OK, consider the 300mm AI-S f/4.5. Effective focal
    >length on my D7000 is 450mm, and I have no problems focusing at 4.5.
    >manually or using the electronic metering in the camera. Available
    >used for around $150, but make sure the removable tripod ring is
    >included. Avoid the 300mm f/4.5 Nikkor-P, available for about
    >$80-$100, as they tend to suffer from CA even on APS-C bodies.
    >The AI-S has a metal body (as the older lenses did) and a good feel.
    >Also focuses down to 12 feet so it works as a portrait lens for
    >backyard birds.... This is NOT the ED lens.


    $150 sounds like a good deal, but I already have 280mm with my
    teleconverter, so it would be only incrementally more magnification.
    (I doubt the Olympus 4/3 teleconverter is going to work on the Nikon
    lens.)


    --
    Please reply to: | "We establish no religion in this country, we
    pciszek at panix dot com | command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor
    Autoreply is disabled | will we ever. Church and state are, and must
    | remain, separate." --Ronald Reagan, 10/26/1984
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 9, 2012
    #3
  4. Paul Ciszek

    Wally Guest

    On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 13:50:33 +0000 (UTC), (Paul
    Ciszek) wrote:

    >3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    > image being out of focus on purpose". I care more about getting
    > things *in* focus.


    "Bokeh" does not mean parts being out of focus. It refers to the
    _quality_ of the out of focus part. A smooth creamy out of focus
    background is desired by most. It is achieved mostly by the number of
    iris blades of the lens and their shape.

    You could buy a mirror telephoto (they are sharp and generally low in
    price) but most don't like the bokeh (donut-shaped out of focus
    areas).

    W
    Wally, Jul 9, 2012
    #4
  5. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    In article <>,
    Wally <> wrote:
    >On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 13:50:33 +0000 (UTC), (Paul
    >Ciszek) wrote:
    >
    >>3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    >> image being out of focus on purpose". I care more about getting
    >> things *in* focus.

    >
    >"Bokeh" does not mean parts being out of focus. It refers to the
    >_quality_ of the out of focus part. A smooth creamy out of focus
    >background is desired by most. It is achieved mostly by the number of
    >iris blades of the lens and their shape.
    >
    >You could buy a mirror telephoto (they are sharp and generally low in
    >price) but most don't like the bokeh (donut-shaped out of focus
    >areas).


    So far, the only "mirror lenses" I have seen for sale are made by Opteka.
    They are dirt cheap and some of them are well reviewed on Amazon, but
    the funny thing is, every picture of the moon I have seen taken with
    an Opteka lens is crap. (The moon makes a nice test pattern because
    it is the same for everybody, and I have already photographed it with
    various lens combinations.) I would risk the relatively low price
    of an Opteka lens if only I could see a decent moon picture taken with
    one.

    --
    Please reply to: | "We establish no religion in this country, we
    pciszek at panix dot com | command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor
    Autoreply is disabled | will we ever. Church and state are, and must
    | remain, separate." --Ronald Reagan, 10/26/1984
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 10, 2012
    #5
  6. Paul Ciszek <> wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > Wally <> wrote:
    >>On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 13:50:33 +0000 (UTC), (Paul
    >>Ciszek) wrote:
    >>
    >>>3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    >>> image being out of focus on purpose". I care more about getting
    >>> things *in* focus.

    >>
    >>"Bokeh" does not mean parts being out of focus. It refers to the
    >>_quality_ of the out of focus part. A smooth creamy out of focus
    >>background is desired by most. It is achieved mostly by the number of
    >>iris blades of the lens and their shape.
    >>
    >>You could buy a mirror telephoto (they are sharp and generally low in
    >>price) but most don't like the bokeh (donut-shaped out of focus
    >>areas).


    > So far, the only "mirror lenses" I have seen for sale are made by Opteka.
    > They are dirt cheap and some of them are well reviewed on Amazon, but
    > the funny thing is, every picture of the moon I have seen taken with
    > an Opteka lens is crap. (The moon makes a nice test pattern because
    > it is the same for everybody, and I have already photographed it with
    > various lens combinations.) I would risk the relatively low price
    > of an Opteka lens if only I could see a decent moon picture taken with
    > one.


    You surprise me, since rather good portable mirror telescopes for the
    purposes of observing and photographing transits of sun moon and
    planets are well known and popular in the astronomical
    community. Unless of course you restricted your search of catadioptric
    moon photos to Opteka :)

    I have no doubt that old second hand Opteka (and relabelled Opteka)
    cheap reflex camera lenses are pretty bad. Opteka however have come up
    recently with some impressively good and inexpensive DSLR lenses, such
    as their crop sensor fisheye, apparently as a result of new methods of
    lens design and manufacture. I don't know if this new technology has
    resulted in the production of good mirror lenses yet, but I wouldn't
    dismiss that possibility. It has certainly been applied to some recent
    portable astronomical mirror telescopes.

    There are some Russian SLR mirror lenses which seem to have a good
    reputation. Vivitar IIRC once made a well respected solid catadiopric
    lens, i.e. front and rear mirror elements made from the same lump of
    glass. The old Minolta mirror lenses have an excellent reputation. I
    saw a Minolta 800mm mirror lens go for well over 1,000 pounds recently
    on Ebay. Sony only very recently dropped manufacture of a slightly
    revised version (modernised coatings IIRC) of Minolta's good 500mm
    mirror lens, unique in being autofocusable.

    --
    Chris Malcolm
    Chris Malcolm, Jul 10, 2012
    #6
  7. Paul Ciszek

    Martin Brown Guest

    On 10/07/2012 04:59, Paul Ciszek wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Wally <> wrote:
    >> On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 13:50:33 +0000 (UTC), (Paul
    >> Ciszek) wrote:
    >>
    >>> 3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    >>> image being out of focus on purpose". I care more about getting
    >>> things *in* focus.

    >>
    >> "Bokeh" does not mean parts being out of focus. It refers to the
    >> _quality_ of the out of focus part. A smooth creamy out of focus
    >> background is desired by most. It is achieved mostly by the number of
    >> iris blades of the lens and their shape.
    >>
    >> You could buy a mirror telephoto (they are sharp and generally low in
    >> price) but most don't like the bokeh (donut-shaped out of focus
    >> areas).

    >
    > So far, the only "mirror lenses" I have seen for sale are made by Opteka.
    > They are dirt cheap and some of them are well reviewed on Amazon, but
    > the funny thing is, every picture of the moon I have seen taken with
    > an Opteka lens is crap. (The moon makes a nice test pattern because
    > it is the same for everybody, and I have already photographed it with
    > various lens combinations.) I would risk the relatively low price
    > of an Opteka lens if only I could see a decent moon picture taken with
    > one.


    This one isn't bad - expecially for hand held with a long zoom.
    Unbelievably good ;-)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12123001@N07/4548670673/

    I am a bit suspicious that it isn't physically possible though!

    Not with their mirror lens. BTW You do know that a quarter moon
    photographs much better than a full moon - don't you. You need to
    compare like with like - a full moon always looks washed out and lower
    contrast even with the highest quality lenses or telescopes.

    FWIW I couldn't find a decent online moon photo with the Opteka mirror
    lenses either. Here is a sample from the Russian MTO 1000mm f10 that I
    also have. A solid tripod and cable release is essential!

    http://tracyleerose.com/Txt/Tutorials/Tutorial_Lens/MTO.html

    And further down the page comparisons against the Opteka.

    The other thing to consider is something like the Meade ETX scopes.

    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Jul 10, 2012
    #7
  8. Paul Ciszek

    PeterN Guest

    On 7/9/2012 11:59 PM, Paul Ciszek wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Wally <> wrote:
    >> On Mon, 9 Jul 2012 13:50:33 +0000 (UTC), (Paul
    >> Ciszek) wrote:
    >>
    >>> 3) I don't give a damn about "bokeh", if "bokeh" means "parts of the
    >>> image being out of focus on purpose". I care more about getting
    >>> things *in* focus.

    >>
    >> "Bokeh" does not mean parts being out of focus. It refers to the
    >> _quality_ of the out of focus part. A smooth creamy out of focus
    >> background is desired by most. It is achieved mostly by the number of
    >> iris blades of the lens and their shape.
    >>
    >> You could buy a mirror telephoto (they are sharp and generally low in
    >> price) but most don't like the bokeh (donut-shaped out of focus
    >> areas).

    >
    > So far, the only "mirror lenses" I have seen for sale are made by Opteka.
    > They are dirt cheap and some of them are well reviewed on Amazon, but
    > the funny thing is, every picture of the moon I have seen taken with
    > an Opteka lens is crap. (The moon makes a nice test pattern because
    > it is the same for everybody, and I have already photographed it with
    > various lens combinations.) I would risk the relatively low price
    > of an Opteka lens if only I could see a decent moon picture taken with
    > one.
    >


    A simple, but effective lens test is to shoot a brick wall, head on. You
    can spot barrel and pincushion distortion, resolution and CA.

    --
    Peter
    PeterN, Jul 10, 2012
    #8
  9. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    In article <>,
    Chris Malcolm <> wrote:
    >
    >There are some Russian SLR mirror lenses which seem to have a good
    >reputation. Vivitar IIRC once made a well respected solid catadiopric
    >lens, i.e. front and rear mirror elements made from the same lump of
    >glass. The old Minolta mirror lenses have an excellent reputation. I
    >saw a Minolta 800mm mirror lens go for well over 1,000 pounds recently
    >on Ebay. Sony only very recently dropped manufacture of a slightly
    >revised version (modernised coatings IIRC) of Minolta's good 500mm
    >mirror lens, unique in being autofocusable.


    I see some used Minoltas for sale. What sort of mounting do they use?
    I figure the autofocus is going to be useless to me. I understand that
    there can be some issues using adapters with these lenses; the adapters
    don't get the lens in close enough?

    --
    Please reply to: | "We establish no religion in this country, we
    pciszek at panix dot com | command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor
    Autoreply is disabled | will we ever. Church and state are, and must
    | remain, separate." --Ronald Reagan, 10/26/1984
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 11, 2012
    #9
  10. Paul Ciszek

    Paul Ciszek Guest

    In article <4ffc57d8$0$8197$-secrets.com>,
    PeterN <> wrote:
    >
    >A simple, but effective lens test is to shoot a brick wall, head on. You
    >can spot barrel and pincushion distortion, resolution and CA.


    That is what I did here, but I was looking for blurriness:

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=41812110

    --
    Please reply to: | "We establish no religion in this country, we
    pciszek at panix dot com | command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor
    Autoreply is disabled | will we ever. Church and state are, and must
    | remain, separate." --Ronald Reagan, 10/26/1984
    Paul Ciszek, Jul 11, 2012
    #10
  11. Paul Ciszek <> wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > Chris Malcolm <> wrote:
    >>
    >>There are some Russian SLR mirror lenses which seem to have a good
    >>reputation. Vivitar IIRC once made a well respected solid catadiopric
    >>lens, i.e. front and rear mirror elements made from the same lump of
    >>glass. The old Minolta mirror lenses have an excellent reputation. I
    >>saw a Minolta 800mm mirror lens go for well over 1,000 pounds recently
    >>on Ebay. Sony only very recently dropped manufacture of a slightly
    >>revised version (modernised coatings IIRC) of Minolta's good 500mm
    >>mirror lens, unique in being autofocusable.


    > I see some used Minoltas for sale. What sort of mounting do they use?


    Depends on age. The MC or MD are pre-autofocus manual kens mounts. The
    Minolta AF mount is the same as the Sony Alpha mount.

    > I figure the autofocus is going to be useless to me. I understand that
    > there can be some issues using adapters with these lenses; the adapters
    > don't get the lens in close enough?


    If you want an adapter to convert a lens mount to another camera mount
    then what matters is the mount to sensor distance. If there's enough
    extra in the move to accomodate the width of an adapter, no
    problem. Otherwise an optical element is needed to restore infinity
    focus. It can be hard finding a good enough optical converter not to
    degrade the image quality of the lens.

    --
    Chris Malcolm
    Chris Malcolm, Jul 11, 2012
    #11
  12. Paul Ciszek

    PeterN Guest

    On 7/10/2012 11:55 PM, Paul Ciszek wrote:
    > In article <4ffc57d8$0$8197$-secrets.com>,
    > PeterN <> wrote:
    >>
    >> A simple, but effective lens test is to shoot a brick wall, head on. You
    >> can spot barrel and pincushion distortion, resolution and CA.

    >
    > That is what I did here, but I was looking for blurriness:
    >
    > http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=41812110
    >

    Then shoot the wall completely OOF, or shoot something completely OOF.


    I am stating my layman's understanding of how extenders work.
    An extender basically is a system for magnifying the output of a lens.
    To the extent there are flaws in the lens, those flaws will be
    magnified. Therefore a 2x extender may cause greater distortion than a
    1.4 extender.

    Having said that, there are some extenders that compensate for defects
    in a manufacturers particular lenses. I am thinking of the Nikon 1.7 and
    the new Nikon apochromatic 2.0 extender.


    --
    Peter
    PeterN, Jul 11, 2012
    #12
  13. Paul Ciszek

    Martin Brown Guest

    On 11/07/2012 21:58, PeterN wrote:
    > On 7/10/2012 11:55 PM, Paul Ciszek wrote:
    >> In article <4ffc57d8$0$8197$-secrets.com>,
    >> PeterN <> wrote:
    >>>
    >>> A simple, but effective lens test is to shoot a brick wall, head on. You
    >>> can spot barrel and pincushion distortion, resolution and CA.

    >>
    >> That is what I did here, but I was looking for blurriness:
    >>
    >> http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=41812110
    >>

    > Then shoot the wall completely OOF, or shoot something completely OOF.
    >
    >
    > I am stating my layman's understanding of how extenders work.
    > An extender basically is a system for magnifying the output of a lens.
    > To the extent there are flaws in the lens, those flaws will be
    > magnified. Therefore a 2x extender may cause greater distortion than a
    > 1.4 extender.


    No. That isn't necessarily the case.

    It really depends on how the original lens behaves. The image forming
    rays with the multiplier are closer to being paraxial rays and as such
    will show less classical aberrations, but the increased magnification
    may make the resulting point spread function noticeably softer.

    The dimmer image may also be harder to focus and defeat the autofocus.
    >
    > Having said that, there are some extenders that compensate for defects
    > in a manufacturers particular lenses. I am thinking of the Nikon 1.7 and
    > the new Nikon apochromatic 2.0 extender.


    Some multipliers are matched to particular lens series and the combo can
    be very good. Decent quality 1.4x and 2x multipliers can be useful.


    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Jul 11, 2012
    #13
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