Reflex Nikkor 500mm/f8 N

Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
25
Location
Switzerland
Having just upgraded my walk-around zoom, NAS has gotten hold of me again. I am now looking to satisfy my lust for a long lens. My 70-300 VR is great, but I would like to play with more reach. I have tried to couple the 70-300 with my Kenko 1.4x converter. But the idea of 500mm (or more) is somehow "exciting".

With little to no budget, I was thinking about the Reflex lens. I could get one for around 250 USD in very good condition (including filters, case). Any thoughts on this idea? Or are there easier light-weight solutions to my 500mm+ NAS?

Thanks for your thoughts, comments and, if possible, sample images,
 
Joined
May 19, 2013
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Switzerland
Just saw a sigma 170-500mm 5.0-6.3 dg APO in excellent condition going for 500. That's about twice the price, but might just be an option. If I am right, it has a similar weight to my old Tamron 200-400 LD IF / 5.6 that I used to have on my F801s. That was quite a good weight for me (about 1.3kg).
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
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Redwood City, CA
I have the 500N reflex and it's an "interesting" lens. I bought it used in the late '70s in decent condition. The good news is that it focuses to 1:2.5, is very small and light. The bad news is that it's the hardest lens I've ever focused manually. Fixed f8 and donut oof areas can be managed. Getting things in focus couldn't be achieved enough to make the lens useable. I only use it now as a "long" macro on a tripod. The 200-500VR, on the other hand, works - super sharp and excellent AF (D500) and VG AF (D810). At a big cost in size/weight - but in focus.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
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Hamilton, Ontario
The Sigma would be a good option if the budget can be stretched, I have heard that at the long end it is not quite as sharp (but I hear that about most superzooms of that era). Reflex/mirror lenses can be fun, I had tried one, and could not get used to the donut backgrounds, for moon shots it was great though!
 
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May 19, 2013
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Switzerland
Thanks for those inputs. So I guess the Reflex Nikkor is now out of the equation (may need to ask a moderator to change the title of this thread if considered appropriate).

I guess I will now see if I can get the Sigma 150-500 under 500 (CHF not mm :D ). Or maybe be satisfied with my 70-300, which is actually "longer" (equivalent 450mm on DX) than the old long lens (400mm on film SLR) I had? Or maybe play around with the Kenko on the 70-300 (equivalent 630mm on DX). Hmmmmm...........
 
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
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Switzerland
Spent some more time with the 70-300 with and without the Kenko. Found myself at the long end of the lens almost all the time. The IQ of the combi is good enough for my needs. AF works pretty well in good light, but the VR takes its time. Not being the Kenko DGX, the lens data is not accurate, of course. But that's not really an issue.

I think I will continue to work with what I have and wait until one of the following scenarios pop up:
- 150-500mm Sigma under 400 CHF
- 150-600mm Sigma Contemporary or Tamron G2 under 700 CHF (but that will likely have to wait a couple of months due to budget)
- I lose interest in 300mm+ ;)

Thanks again for keeping me (kind of) sane.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
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904
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The Sigma 150-500mm is a fun lens for those wanting 500mm and good IQ on a budget. The 70-300VR is considerably smaller and lighter, so if this is your first long zoom, be ready for the increase.
I find my copy is pretty good at f/6.3 at 500mm, and much nicer at f/8.
 
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
25
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Switzerland
Thanks for that encouragement :) I had a Tamron 200-400/5.6 LD IF in my film days. That was about 1.3kg and long when zoomed out. I know the newer models (150-500 and 150-600) are larger and heavier and hope I will still find them manageable.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
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21,260
Location
SW Virginia
You can probably pick up a good used 300mm f/4 AF-s for a very good price now. Works well with a 1.4xTC and on a crop sensor gives you 630mm equivalent.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Taken with a D7100 and 300 f/4 AF-s + Kenko 1.4x TC.​
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
25
Location
Switzerland
That looks like an excellent combination (and one I have read quite a bit about). Considering all of the options right now, I think I will aim for 150-600 zoom once I find one within my budget. It seems like the best fit for me.
 
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
25
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Switzerland
Couldn't resist the urge and won an auction for a Tamron 150-600 (G1 not G2) for just over 400. Hope it arrives by Thursday as I will then take it on vacation (going by car, thankfully) and have some time to play with it.

Looking forward to this lens :)
 
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
25
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Switzerland
To bring this thread to a nice close, I managed to get the lens yesterday. There was a bonus in store for me as the previous owner had left a high quality UV filter on the front (so no need to consider the cost of getting that in addition). In my view, it just made the lens that much cheaper.

I took a few test shots yesterday and today. This lens is amazing for my eyes. I took some photos of my family on the beach from a distance of about 400m (600mm /f8). When pixel peeping, I could count the hairs on my daughter's boyfriend's arm. That's plenty sharp for me (without AF fine tuning). I have only tried the lens in very good light until now, but it focusses very quickly and accurately. The colours are very clear too.

In summary, I am in love with this lens. It is just so much fun.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me with their thoughts, inputs and examples. Very much appreciated!


Now back to the beach :)
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
249
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
A late comment.

I was looking at a LONG zoom. But I do not shoot LONG enough times to justify $1,400 for a Nikon 200-500.
So I decided on the Nikon 500/8 reflex, at 10% of the cost of the 200-500. Perfect for an occasional use lens.
It worked just fine for me, giving me the reach at an affordable cost.

The only limitation that I had was the manual focus while butter smooth, was not up to the task of follow focus on a FAST moving tennis player. Slow moving or stationary subject would be just fine.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
Messages
6,226
Location
N Idaho
A late comment.

I was looking at a LONG zoom. But I do not shoot LONG enough times to justify $1,400 for a Nikon 200-500.
So I decided on the Nikon 500/8 reflex, at 10% of the cost of the 200-500. Perfect for an occasional use lens.
It worked just fine for me, giving me the reach at an affordable cost.

The only limitation that I had was the manual focus while butter smooth, was not up to the task of follow focus on a FAST moving tennis player. Slow moving or stationary subject would be just fine.
I’ve seen those for sale and was curious how well they worked. Sounds like a good deal.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
249
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
I’ve seen those for sale and was curious how well they worked. Sounds like a good deal.
Not up to the IQ of a modern refractor lens, but
- LOTS cheaper
- Smaller and lighter, making for much easier transport

For me, the IQ was "good enough."
Besides there is usually enough "stuff" in the air that long shots tend to be degraded by atmospherics.
 

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