Wednesday, 24 October 2012

That Mirror Lens

I know such are no strangers to photographers who like to experiment and have no problem with darker and less sharp lenses. All the tech geeks that are into shooting with the sharpest and most expensive lenses should stop reading right now. This article is about taking photos with modest equipment, manual focus and old school hardcore photography.
Here's what you can't shoot with a long prime mirror lens:

  • Weddings
  • Fast moving objects
  • Macro
  • Panoramas
Also, don't expect to capture great photos (or any at all) in low light.
If you still want to continue reading, we are about to discuss how great long mirror lenses actually are and I have to say I am not selling mine even though I do not use it too often.
Mirror lenses are good for:

  • Long far away shots
  • Learning to actually focus manually and capturing the moment without hesitation
  • Learning to properly frame the shot from a distance
  • Learning to hold your camera really steady
  • Taking amazing close-up shots of birds/wildlife (even though the sharpness will not be the same as a regular lens)
  • Street photography
  • Video (from a tough tripod)
Now that we know what we can do with a mirror lens let's go ahead and point out the pros:

  • Price - lower class manual focus mirror lenses are extremely cheap!
  • Weight - really light! I am talking just amazingly light compared to regular lenses.
  • No blades or complex mechanics inside (hence the price)
  • The bokeh is a WOW! Seriously, try taking a photo against a sparkly background and you'll see what I am talking about. The doughnut bokeh is just amazing.
Kamen Kunchev, all rights reserved. Use only after advising with the owner!
My 500mm mirror lens does a really nice job when I want to get close to birds without scaring them away. Notice the doughnut bokeh caused by the lens' specifics.

This video was quickly put together having some moments shot with a 500mm mirror lens. The first, last, bus and seagull shots were taken with this lens mounted on a D90 camera. It gives a nice soft effect as well as the nice doughnut bokeh all over.
My advice, get one, study it and enjoy it for its low price, minimum weight and unique bokeh. I know I won't be selling mine.

All the best,

Kamen Kunchev
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