ProOptic 500mm f/6.3 Cadioptric Mirror Lens

I just got my new mirror lens from Adorama on Friday and I spent a good amount of time messing around with it today, stalking some birds and feral cats that hang out in a local parking lot.  For what its worth, I should preface that I have been messing around with a 50mm f/1.8 series E for the past couple weeks so I am pretty familiar with shooting in full manual without metering.

So here are some general thoughts.  For a full review check out

Given that I had wanted a 500mm lens and didn’t want to pay real big money for it, the Mirror Lens is pretty much the only way to go.  Basically, there is really only one common option at the moment (both new and used) – f/8.0.  The only alternative is the ProOptic lens from Adorama with f/6.3 (fyi, these lenses come with only one f/stop)  My question before purchasing the lens was whether the f/6.3 would be an unforgiving DOF (the manual says 1/2″ at 6′ close focus).  After playing around, I agree it is a very thin and unforgiving DOF, but as someone who is used to shooting wide open at f/1.8, it really isn’t that thin!

What did surprise me was lens shake at 500mm.  As such I think the extra speed of f/6.3 was WELL worth it. As someone spoiled by f/1.8, going to f/6.3 was a shock. Combined with the desire to keep the shutter speed near the focal length for hand held shooting, I was shooting at iso400 around noon on a sunny bright day. By the time the sun just started setting, I was at iso800.

I also found focusing quite smooth. My only gripe with the lens is that I wish there was more barrel that did not rotate while focusing so that I could keep more of my hand supporting the lens while focusing.

People say that mirror lenses are small and unobtrusive. Well they must be speaking in relative terms because is this lens is definitely big enough to be noticed when walking around. It doesn’t help that ProOptic decided to paint the barrel white instead of a all black design. That said, I haven’t handled a real 500mm lens, but from what I see online, I don’t think you can even really “walk around” with those beasts!

Of course the big question with these lens are the bokeh rings.  And I can attest that those mirror lens bokeh rings do really show up any time you give them a chance. But, if you don’t mind it and just roll with it, you’ll survive — and even have some extra optical tricks to play with when you get tired of straight photography.

For $160 I think this is basically a no brainer if you have a little money and you think you may have an interest in telephoto photography, espcially if you don’t think the funny bokeh rings are as hideous as some people on photo forums like to exclaim. Keep in mind, the 80/20 rule definitely applies, – you get 80% of the function for 20% of the price of a full size 500mm lens.



Apparently these guys were the ones who brought Tex-Mex to Houston. They were clearly not at their apex when I arrived.  It was sad, but at least there was always someone at the restaurant.

They closed last april.

Yeye at his desk

This lighting is kind of spooky looking so its kind of fitting for a Friday the 13th.  Its from his epson, so I’m not sure who took the photo, I doubt I did.  I didn’t mess with any of the colors or anything….just came out orange from the camera I guess.

Could Obama Be Another Gipper? by Mark Shields on – A Syndicate Of Talent

Interesting thoughts on the likability of Obama being a major political asset, especially as he is going through some serious fights these first days in office — worth reading for the quote at the end of the second paragraph.

The change in that mood is almost magical: In late October in the Journal-NBC poll, 12 percent of respondents believed things in the nation were “generally headed in the right direction,” while some 78 percent judged things were “off on the wrong track.” In the latest poll, completed on March 1 after four moths of worsening economic numbers, 41 percent of us now see things “headed in the right direction,” as opposed to 44 percent answering “off on the wrong track.”

What we do not yet know is whether Barack Obama is blessed with Ronald Reagan’s famous Teflon coating, which enabled him somehow to deflect blame for bad times or policy. Of the Gipper, political philosopher Dan Buck once noted: “If Ronald Reagan drove a convertible with the top down through a car wash, Jimmy Carter would get wet.”

What we do know is that voters today — just as they did with Reagan — like Obama more than they do his policies. And that’s good news for Democrats.

via Could Obama Be Another Gipper? by Mark Shields on – A Syndicate Of Talent.