GESO -- Kalimar 500mm f8.0 Mirror Telephoto Test
knarftheriault at gmail.com
Sun Oct 4 23:04:24 EDT 2009
On Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 8:44 PM, P. J. Alling <webstertwentysix at gmail.com> wrote:
> Just a few quick shots with El Cheepo Kalimar 500mm mirror lens.
> All shot with the K20D ISO 1600 RAW
> If you do everything right and the Gods smile it's a pretty good lens. It
> lacks a little bit in contrast, but you can easily dial that back in with
> the raw converter.
> Examining the center in focus portion of the image we see when you get the
> focus right it's pretty damn sharp, you just have to bump the contrast a
> So I tried it out on a less cooperative subject...
> Well the highlights were close to blown but not too bad. Difficult subject
> bright white bird.
> So I tried again.
> Well this time I defiantly missed focus, not by much but there's not a lot
> of DOF to begin with. Still not bad, I'd never have gotten this close
> without this lens.
> Last but not least there's this.
> <RANT> Now this was just maddening. I've been shooting digital for at least
> four years and I've never had a file write failure in the camera, but this
> one is obviously is subtly corrupted, Pentax Photo Browser opens it fine but
> Photo Lab fails. Irfanview opens it but creates an intermediate tiff from
> the embedded JPEG, it's heavily compress, so there are limited adjustments I
> can make without artifacts becoming very evident, but it was the /Best/
> Egret photo so I'm going to show it anyway. </rant>
> I still missed the focus by a bit or the bird moved...
> Still if the Raw file wasn't bad, (and yes I tried to download it from the
> card a second time and it was damaged in exactly the same way), I'm pretty
> sure this would make a more than acceptable 8x10, maybe even 11x14.
> My conclusion. This isn't a bad little lens. Based on my test shots, when
> I do everything right, I wouldn't be embarrassed to show 8x10 and maybe
> larger prints from images made with it. It does have the typical donut
> shaped out of focus highlights, but they're not objectionable if you're
> careful using it.. It's very lightweight, lighter than the F 70-210 and not
> a lot larger. Unlike most of the cast off photo gear people seem to think I
> can give a good home to it's actually useful.
> Post Script: Yes I can be an idiot. This little mirror lens probably would
> benefit from a lens hood, and I decided to take one along while tramping
> through the swamp. So I grabbed the original Vivitar Series 1 all metal
> hood for the 90-180mm Flat Field zoom, and I managed to lose it. Damn, I
> found that hood in a junk box in a Camera store that went out of business,
> and I'll likely never find another that matches that lens. Damn, Damn,
Not bad for the money, in fact not bad period, except that's some
pretty nasty bokeh.
Still, a mirror lens is always a compromise, isn't it?
"Sharpness is a bourgeois concept." -Henri Cartier-Bresson
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