GESO -- Kalimar 500mm f8.0 Mirror Telephoto Test

P. J. Alling webstertwentysix at gmail.com
Sun Oct 4 23:11:51 EDT 2009


frank theriault wrote:
> 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.
>>
>> <http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1604247/PESO/PESO%20--%20500mm-lens-test-0.html>
>>
>> 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
>> bit.
>>
>> <http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1604247/PESO/PESO%20--%20500mm-lens-test-0-100percent.html>
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1604247/PESO/PESO%20--%20500mm-lens-test-1.html
>>
>> 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.
>>
>> http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1604247/PESO/PESO%20--%20500mm-lens-test-2.html
>>
>> 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...
>>
>> http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/1604247/PESO/PESO%20--%20500mm-lens-test-3.html
>>
>> 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,
>> 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?
>
> cheers,
> frank
>   
Not many 500mm lenses you can toss into an almost full bag, "just in case".


-- 


The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.

	--G. K. Chesterton





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