Tokina SZ 500mm f/8 Mirror lens review with samples
What you see before you is the tokina said: 500 millimeter f8. It is a full frame, mirror or catadioptric lens. It is manual focus. It has a built in t mount, which means you can adapt it onto virtually any camera body with the right. Adapter and tokina can supply you with that adapter and it costs 400 us dollars for a 500 millimeter manual focus lens, thats, okay value for money, although if youre willing to go second hand, you can certainly find cheaper mirror lenses than that over on ebay, but anyway, Id like to thank tokina for sending me a copy of this lens for testing, although, as usual, this is a totally independent review. Mirror lenses are interesting, but pretty niche optics. They allow you to have a long telephoto reach such as 500 millimeter and a very, very small lens body, which is also lightweight. This one weighs only 310 grams without the mount adapter theyre, also a lot less expensive than a more conventional, 500 millimeter or so lens. Their disadvantages are well known; they are almost always manual focus only lenses such as this one, which can be tricky and also they are well known for having rather soft image, quality and well see about image quality in a minute. Lets start, though, by looking at build quality, this lenses body is very well made tough and metallic, while also managing to be lightweight due to the smaller than usual glass elements. Inside of it make sure you order the lens, with the appropriate t, mount adapter for your camera system.
Here i have one thats designed for nikon z, mount mirrorless cameras, although torquina make them for all kinds of different systems, including digital slrs, the camera mount itself isnt. All that well designed, though, in that it can come loose from the adapters metallic tube, you should keep a tiny flat head, screwdriver handy to tighten it up again from time to time. The lenss only control point is the rubberized manual focus ring, which comprises half of the lens barrel itself. The focus ring turns fairly smoothly, but also fairly heavily, although that heavy turning is actually quite important, as it does not turn very precisely. It only turns around about 100 degrees, which is quite disappointing, because that makes it quite tricky to focus you can get there. You can get it in focus with a little patience, although it would be far easier if you set it up on a tripod. Some good news, though, is that the lens does not really suffer from any focus breathing. As you can see here, you can also see some unusually shaped bokeh more on that a bit later. The lens is not weather, sealed and does not feature any kind of image. Stabilization, it does come with a very deep metallic lens hood, which could be quite useful to use in critical situations. Its front filter size is 72 millimeters overall, its quite typical build quality here for a mirror lens, its very tough, small and lightweight. Although i really wish its focus ring turned a little further than just a hundred degrees anyway.
Lets take a look at image. Quality ill, be testing it on a full frame camera. My 45 megapixel nikon z7. This lens has only one focal length and one aperture setting. So when it comes to this segment of the video, like henry viii said to each of his six wives, i wont keep you long in the middle of the image picture. Quality is soft, with low contrast, although, admittedly, some good basic clarity is still to be captured here and the lens shows no color fringing the corner image quality is about as sharp, which is good, and oddly, there is just a little more contrast in the corners. I have noticed this before on some memory lenses, though, that they have mildly, better image, quality in the corners and whats notable again in those corners is the lack of chromatic aberration overall. Well, although the picture quality is somewhat soft, this is actually a slightly better performance than usual for a mirror lens, especially considering that were working on a pretty demanding 45 megapixel camera here, its still a mirror lens, but also its a tiny bit sharper than i expected. Okay lets look at distortion and vignetting. You can see here that the lens projects, a moderate, pin, cushion distortion and moderate vignetting too those corners look a little dark, but not disastrously. So all right lets look at close up image. Quality mirror lenses can often focus down. Surprisingly close to your subject – and this tokina optic is no exception, getting you as close as 1.
7 meters to your subject at that close distance image, quality gets even softer im afraid, as you can see here now, lets see how the lens works against bright light. Well, thankfully, the lens comes with that deep lens hood, because we see a number of quite unusual and abrasive flaring issues here, keep bright lights away from your images as much as possible and finally bokeh something i didnt mention earlier is another famous characteristic of mirror lenses. Due to the shape of the lenses front glass element, the bokeh is donut shaped. Now there are some people out there who might think that the resultantly busy out of focus backgrounds are interesting or even funny and in a way they are but well theyre. Not for me overall, then well in conclusion, its a mirror lens. What do you want at the end of the day, their strengths and weaknesses are pretty universal. Frankly, and well known, i will say this: it is at least a little sharper than average for a mirror optic. It is just about sharp enough for high definition, video work, maybe not quite 4k, but certainly high definition. It is a usable lens, affordable and nice and small photographers with a little patience and who are willing to shoot with it on a tripod for ease of use, which i highly recommend can get some quite decent images out of it. Well, what do you think of mirror lenses? Would you ever get one? Let me know in the comment section below, and i want to take this opportunity again to say a huge thank you to everyone who supports this channel over on patreon.
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