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Minolta 500mm F8 Reflex, can it be a bit sharper?

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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2022 at 08:43
Excellent comment, Fritzenm. You could generalise that to say that many kinds of lenses need special care if you're going to avoid (or at least reduce the number of ...) rubbish pictures. I know my first UW lens produced very disappointing results when I used it 'to get more scenery in' and viewed the results on a normal PC screen, but when using it very close up to get a single tree entirely in view, or on architecture to get unusual perspectives, the results were much better.
And when I first started taking colour prints I realised pretty soon that without some foreground interest the pictures were just dull (watch somebody else leafing through them, and see which pictures they pause on!)
But I agree, mirror lenses need more care than most.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A7Rii, A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras ...
 



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fritzenm View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fritzenm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2022 at 09:58
Miranda F:
Sure mirror lenses have their own difficulties to shoot with since they are fixed aperture and the donut-shape bokeh in OOF areas, especialy in reflections need some care and attention. If in the right places and somehow "under control" one could even call it a special "character" of the lens.

However, shooting long focal length is a general issue and mostly for beginners gathering their first experiences in that area get sometimes frustrated because of the supposed lacking detail rendition / sharpness over greater distances, occasionally blaming the optical qualities of the used lens for the outcome.

From many years ago I remember the fascinating shape and purpose of the Minolta RF Rokkors, I think it was an f/11 800mm and an f/16 1,600mm - mouthwatering stuff seen at Photokina show for me as a beginner in photography . At some instance though I saw in a Yellow Press article photos of some famous actor shot over obviously great distance on a beach by a papparazzo supposedly with the aid of such a lens monster and I was in for some disappointment about the image quality and started some reading about the possible reasons.

Today the market offers great stuff with huge FL, like the Sony RX10Mk3/4 and even longer eq. FL on smaller sensors, up to 3,000mm eq. FL on the Nikon P1000 (?). But even much more common and more spreaded, the understanding of the (main) purpose of longer FL hasn't increased at the same pace as the popularity of those tools. Same applies concerning some limitations imposed by nature and "real life" - like the slower aperture, at the same time as the longer FL requires shorter exposure times for "freezing" handshake and/or subject movement so rising the ISO is almost unavoidable - what leads to less DR and (at least a bit) more noise, thus some more or less noticeable drop in IQ. Nothing beats a lot of light and close distance to the subject, easy as that Moving off from this ideal situation means compromises, te one or the other way.
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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2022 at 10:42
Originally posted by David_Anim David_Anim wrote:



@SnowFella
Amazing shots there, if I could get anything like that with this lens, I would be very happy.
What model do you have? is it the Minolta, or Sony? what year?


Mine's an old Minolta. No idea about year as it came to me second hand but I do think you will find most Minolta's have that 1988 print on the lens baffle. Believe it to be more a year of introduction than a year of production stamp.
Serial on mine is 13138255.
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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2022 at 19:12
Originally posted by David_Anim David_Anim wrote:

@SnowFella
Amazing shots there, if I could get anything like that with this lens, I would be very happy.

I think Snowfella (and others) will agree with me that the lens typically benefits from post processing to improve sharpness, contrast, and light falloff as opposed to results straight out of the camera.

Regardless, it seems certain that something is indeed going wrong with your own posted examples, and that has to be addressed.
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fritzenm View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote fritzenm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 April 2022 at 10:11
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:


... that something is indeed going wrong with your own posted examples, and that has to be addressed.


...which might start for example with some (boring) more formal testing.

From my POV real life photos suffer from too many possible influences so it gets difficult to detect if and what there might be wrong.
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David_Anim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David_Anim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2022 at 16:22
Hi Everyone, sorry for the lack of reply.
real life got in the way again and I haven't had a chance to use the lens.

I found a really old repair shop in Taipei, They specialize in Minolta (or at least the sign above the door suggests that) and they are highly recommended among my Taipei camera friends. My wife called them and they are familiar with mirror lenses.. but they talked more about cleaning without any mention of re-alignment. I was in Taipei last weekend and I took the lens with me, unfortunately they were shut for the weekend.. so I will have to mail it to them if I decide to go that route.

As suggested by other users, I don't doubt I still need more time with this lens to understand it's true potential. I will try some more test shots and a bit of birding and see what I can manage with my tripod in different weather conditions.

I want to thank everyone that posted with their helpful suggestions.
 



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