Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and our Privacy Policy.
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Forums  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear
Register to forums    Log in

FORUMS Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon Lenses 
Thread started 28 Jan 2023 (Saturday) 18:33
Search threadPrev/next
sponsored links (only for non-logged)

Canon and mirror lenses

John ­ from ­ PA
Cream of the Crop
11,188 posts
Likes: 1502
Joined May 2003
Location: Southeast Pennsylvania
Jan 28, 2023 18:33 |  #1

Interesting article at https://www.digitalcam​ …to-revive-mirrored-lenses (external link).

Back in the early 1970’s, I had one of these mirror lenses in a Konica mount. I think it was a Tokina, perhaps a 500 mm focal length. I bought it for whale watching in the extreme north Atlantic. All said and done I was pleasantly surprised with the image quality. Granted fixed focal length and fixed aperture but these are variables easier to accommodate today than50 years ago.

Cream of the Crop
10,310 posts
Likes: 123
Joined Aug 2007
Location: San Jose, California
Post edited 4 months ago by amfoto1.
Jan 30, 2023 13:18 |  #2

It will be interesting to see how Canon implements catadioptric lenses in modern optics and digital cameras.

I experimented with a number of different mirror lenses back in the film days. After testing some 6 or 8, I finally settled on and used a Tamron SP 500mm f/8 for quite a while. Also briefly had (and wish I still had) the much rarer Tamron SP 350mm f/5.6. Those were both Adaptall lenses, so could be used on virtually any SLR mount and since the adapters are still being made so can be used on most modern mounts. In fact, I have EF-M and EF mounts that I sometimes use with a Tamron 90mm macro lens... Also have Nikon F, Konica K/AR, Pentax PK, Olympus OM and a few other Adaptall mounts for use on various collection cameras.

Yes, it was a bit limiting using fixed aperture lenses on film cameras. Shooting slides, I would switch to ASA (ISO) 200 film when I planned to use the f/8 lens. The lens came with one or two ND filters that could reduce exposure, but those were rarely needed. With Auto ISO on digital, there would be a lot more flexibility.

Eventually I replaced the Tamron 500mm with a "standard" 300mm and well-matched 1.5X teleconverter, which gave me two focal lengths in one, as well as exposure and depth of field control with an aperture diaphragm that could be adjusted. (Approx. f/4.5 to f/32, if memory serves.... less one stop when the teleconverter was used.)

There were at least two mirror lenses I know of that had variable apertures. In the 1970s Konica made Hexanon 1000mm f/8 and a 2000mm f/11 lenses, both of which had a plate in the rear perforated with a series of Waterhouse stops that could be rotated into place to change exposure. That was a pretty neat idea, though I'm sure it added to the size of the lens. These lenses also had a focusing bellows at the rear, instead of internal mechanisms. And both were expensive. An exact number is unknown, but it's believed less than 100 of the 1000mm lenses were sold. At the time they cost about the price of a small car. I never heard a price for one and none of the 2000mm were ever sold. Only two prototypes of it were made (both of which reportedly ended up in Sony's hands when they bought Konica-Minolta's photography division). I saw one of the 2000mm displayed at a camera show in Denver many, many years ago... It was huge and weighed something like 30 or 35 lb.

Most mirrorless are 250mm to 600mm focal length. Much more practical than those 1000mm and 2000mm Hexanons! They are just patents at this point, but perhaps Canon has some innovative ideas and will produce an interesting lens or two. I recall trying Sigma and Tokina mirror lenses (500 or 600mm). Also a Vivitar (not sure if it was a "Perkins") and for a while I had a "Sun" or Soligor 250mm f/5.6, if memory serves. I didn't ever test Canon or Nikon, etc., because I was shooting with Konica cameras at the time. Although I only tried out third party lenses. I once did notice a Nikkor 500mm that looked an awful lot like my Tamron... just labelled differently (obviously), fitted with a different style rubber grip and without the interchangeable mount.

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII, 7D, M5 & others. 10-22mm, Meike 12/2.8,Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, EF-M 22/2, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Sigma 56/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS, 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link)

"spouting off stupid things"
57,310 posts
Likes: 3751
Joined Aug 2006
Location: Deep in the heart of Texas
Jan 30, 2023 13:56 |  #3

Kind of ironic, cameras are going mirror-less and lenses are going mirrored. :):)

Not sure why, but call me JJ.
I used to hate math but then I realised decimals have a point.
::Flickr:: (external link)

Beware the title fairies!
1,282 posts
Gallery: 174 photos
Likes: 1835
Joined Mar 2015
Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Jan 30, 2023 17:15 |  #4

The article I saw at CanonRumors (external link) said Canon had filed patents for mirror lens optical formulas at f/2.4 and f/5. I find that interesting because with traditional catadioptric designs, smaller focal ratios need a larger central obstruction (wider light cone), which increases diffraction and reduces resolution. Yes, I said that right, faster optics = more diffraction. That's obstructed optics for you.

The diagram accompanying the CanonRumors article (which may, or may not, be from one of the Canon patents) shows a number of lenses behind the secondary mirror, so Canon's probably applied some of their lens design expertise to some of these shortcomings. After all, if these were the same old mirror lenses from the 1970s, there wouldn't be anything to patent.

Keep in mind that patents aren't product announcements, a distinction that rumor sites like to conveniently omit. Big companies like Canon patent a lot of things during their normal development activities, and many never see the light of day in real products. On the other hand, one never knows.

Canon EOS R7, M5, 100 (film), and Sony α6400
I have an orange cat and a brown cat. In HSL, they're both orange.

sponsored links (only for non-logged)

530 views & 2 likes for this thread, 4 members have posted to it and it is followed by 4 members.
Canon and mirror lenses
FORUMS Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon Lenses 
x 1600
y 1600

Jump to forum...   •  Rules   •  Forums   •  New posts   •  RTAT   •  'Best of'   •  Gallery   •  Gear   •  Reviews   •  Member list   •  Polls   •  Image rules   •  Search   •  Password reset   •  Home

Not a member yet?
Register to forums
Registered members may log in to forums and access all the features: full search, image upload, follow forums, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, all settings, view hosted photos, own reviews, see more and do more... and all is free. Don't be a stranger - register now and start posting!

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies and to our privacy policy.
Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS forum software 2.58forum software
version 2.58 /
code and design
by Pekka Saarinen ©

Latest registered member is JTravLog
702 guests, 107 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 15,144, that happened on Nov 22, 2018 Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.