500mm Reflex filter

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by max_d, May 17, 2010.

  1. Where is the confusion emoticon? I thought the Nikon 500mm Relfex takes an 82mm front filter. At least that is what everything I've read says. But the B+W UV I have seems to be a bit small and won't fit the hood or lens. Can someone help?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    The last version of the 500mm/f8 reflex uses a small rear filter. A set of 4 filters comes standard with the lens, including ND and some color filters for black and white photography.
  3. Thanks, but I want to put a filter on the front to protect the glass.
  4. Use a lens hood or lens cap to protect the glass...A UV or skylight filter just adds more glass surfaces to degrade image quality...You may not be able to notice that it does so in most situations, but they do, & no matter who makes them, or how much they cost.
  5. If your Reflex-Nikkor f/8 is like mine,
    1. there are no threads on the inside of the lens front to screw in any filter and the inside diameter is about 88mm in any case,
    2. the front surface is set back some 25mm or so from the front of the built-in lens hood, so is fairly well protected,
    3. it takes a 39mm filter like the one shown in the picture that screws into the rear of the lens,
    4. and the outside diameter of the lens front is about 92mm, and this-- by strange coincidence-- happens to be the same size as a "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" tub lid. Mine came with a very fancy leather hood that would like to slip off when you carry it, so I use the oleo lid instead. Inelegant, but it does protect the lens.
    It's a great lens, the star of my unfortunately large collection of 500mm lenses.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    A UV or skylight filter just adds more glass surfaces to degrade image quality...You may not be able to notice that it does so in most situations, but they do, & no matter who makes them, or how much they cost.​
    I find that type of statement very misleading. I have tested by stacking 3 or 4 UV filters together and find no observable difference in terms of image quality. I posted those A/B test results in this forum and nobody dared to guess which is which. I am sure technically there is a difference, but the difference is so tiny that it is not worth pointing out.
    Especially if you are starting from a 500mm mirror lens, you are not too concerned about image quality.
  7. Shun,
    Here's a link to a Luminous Landscape article with examples of the flare from UV filters...
    There are other threads (including some on Flickr groups), where examples can be found. I am only going to reference the one above. Granted, as I said in my OP, most times the effects will not be noticed, but in certain situations they can be seen easily (as in the link)...That aside, a filter can offer only so much "protection". I only use "protective" filters where there is blowing sand or sea spray. If you drop a lens, your just as likely to damage the optical alignment even if the filter has protected the front element...In my 40+ years of shooting , I have yet to have a filter protect any of my lenses from any mishaps. I did use those filters back in the late 60's, but stopped soon thereafter. And you are correct, when using a 500mm mirror lens, you are not too concerned with IQ because it is lacking
  8. if you are starting from a 500mm mirror lens, you are not too concerned about image quality
    And you are correct, when using a 500mm mirror lens, you are not too concerned with IQ because it is lacking​
    This is complete nonsense if you are talking about lenses like the Reflex-Nikkors.At least one major problem, chromatic aberration, doesn't exist at all with these lenses. Donut "bokeh" is not all there is to IQ. On the other side, I have to admit that Ken Rockwell agrees with you-all. :)
    As I said, the current new cheapies aren't worth a dime. It's the equivalent of saying a 400mm lens has to be bad because the Cambron f/8 400mm of 1972 was a bow-wow.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Scott, if you shoot directly into a source of light, using an extra filter can be a problem, so can using a zoom lens with many elements. Once I shot a sunrise and I pointed my 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S directly into the sun, and I immediately saw the flare and switched to my 200mm/f4 macro, which was the only other 200mm lens I had at the time. The problem went away.
    The thing is that at least in my case, well less than 1% of my images involve shooting directly into a significant source of light. Therefore, we don't tell people to stop using 80-200 and 70-200 lenses altogether. In those few cases when using a filter is problem, remove it. But it is perfectly fine to have it on the other 99+% of the time.
    This is complete nonsense if you are talking about lenses like the Reflex-Nikkors.​
    Not in my experience. Back in 1987 I bought a new 500mm/f8 Reflex Nikkor, that would be the very last version Nikon made before they discontinued all mirror lenses. That lens is very difficult to focus even on my F4 because the viewfinder is very dim. A supertele at f8 (most likely actually a bit slower than f8 in reality) without VR means it is prone to all sort of vibration issues.
    I used that mirror lens for about 2, 3 years and had a lot of frustration. It is difficult to get sharp images with it, even on a very heavy tripod. By 1990, I bought the 300mm/f4 AF and started using that instead and then in 1992 I had saved enough for the 500mm/f4 P. That 500mm/f8 mirror was by far the biggest lens purchase mistake I have made in 30+ years using Nikon. The images I got from it have so much sharpness issues that I am sure adding 5 UV filters in front of it will not make a bit of difference.
    If you use that lens, figure out how to foucs it (modern DSLR with live view may be the answer) and how to support it. Filters are non issues. However, that lens probably worths no more than $300 or so and you need a huge filter in front. Those big filter are not cheap so that it probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense to buy a filter that costs perhaps 1/3 of the lens to protect it. You are merely adding a lot of cost, percentagewise, to your lens.
  10. Shun - read your own post and tell me again that these really are image quality issues?
    Of course, any 500mm lens needs support; yes, the depth of field is very shallow; yes, they are dark for a lot of older, smaller viewfinders. And so on. These do not seem to be optical problems, so much as problems in figuring out how to use the lens to good effect. I sense a certain element of a jilted lover here: go on, date a Reflex-Nikkor again, maybe you'll find out it's not all that bad.
    I've done a fair amount of shooting of my Reflex-Nikkor with an older APS-C camera with a very small and dark viewfinder by today's standard, and got good results with high shutter speeds and a nice heavy monopod. It's easier to use on a 35mm sensor camera with a big, bright viewfinder, naturally.
    One 'feature' that does exist, but you didn't mention, is that contrast can be lower than with a refractor type telephoto, but that is not the same as sharpness, although people love those snappy, high contrast lenses because they perceive sharpness in the high contrast. I don't think this is much of a problem in a digital world.
    In any case, the OP already has a Reflex-Nikkor, and merely wanted to know how to 'protect' the lens from sno-cones and the like.... ;)
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Shun - read your own post and tell me again that these really are image quality issues?​
    Of course they are. The nature of all mirror lenses makes it very difficult to capture high-quality, sharp images, be it Nikon or any other brand. Even non-mirror 500mm, f8 will have a lot of limitations. Eventually I could not figure out any way to get images that are up to my standards. After I bought my 500mm/f4 P, I sold my mirror lens. Today, I do not own any lens that is slower than f4 in any part of its focal length, but I admit that I am very picky.
    That is why I think it is silly to worry about any tiny tiny image degradation from adding a filter on that lens. There are major hurdles you need to overcome, if you can.
  12. I have the Nikon 500mm f8 Reflex lens. I have to agree with Shun, these lenses are simply reflex telescopes with a Nikon mount at one end. They are major optical compromises compared to a normal lens. That being said, they are small and compact, and in a pinch, can get you an image that you may not get otherwise. I'm going to take mine to the San Juan Islands this summer to see how it does. But shooting with it needs a tripod to really nail focus. I only paid $160 for it so it's easily sold again if I decide it's not worth it.
  13. The last version of the Reflex Nikkor 500mm 1:8 will accept 82mm screw-in filters attached to the front of the lens, between it and the HN-27 screw-in lens hood. It will also accept Nikon 39mm screw-in filters attached at the rear.
    This lens, whilst it is nominated at 1:8 (f8) is more like 1:11 (f11). It is about 1 stop slower than its claim to fame.
    As others above have said, it is a difficult lens to focus accurately, especially on moving subjects.
  14. I am so happy and lucky to get a 108mm lid for my 1000mm/F11 Reflex lens now. :D
    However, I gave up the idea to find a filter to protect it...
  15. Max --
    According to Roland Vink, the first (pre-AI) version of the Nikkor 500mm reflex takes 88mm front filters while the second version takes 82mm filters -- see
    for details. If your 500 reflex is 135mm in diameter and 142mm long, it's the 88mm version.
    According to Vink, both versions accept 39mm rear filters, much easier to find than the 88mm.
  16. From what I have been able to find, that rear 39mm filter is NOT easy to find, as the thread pitch is a non-standard thread.
  17. Also, according to Nikon ( did not try it) you should Always have at least a filter mounted in the 39mm thread, as not having a filter influences the optical quality of the system. Not sure if that also goes for DSLR's though...
  18. Another 6 year old thread back from the dead for no reason. What's going on?

    But while we're here. I have an early 500mm f/8 Reflex-Nikkor, and it most certainly does have a front filter thread. I know this because its lens cap is a metal screw-in type with "Nikon" embossed on the front.

    Never measured the thread, but 88mm sounds about right. And FWIW, sticking a pane of glass in front of the lens may well degrade the image. Coatings or flare notwithstanding, the slight deviation of oblique light rays caused by an extra refractive element may well be enough to reduce (already quite poor) sharpness.

    The best accessory for this lens is an extra lens hood. The one supplied is insufficiently deep to prevent stray light sneaking sideways past the front mirror to form an unfocussed fog all over the image.

    CPM, the rear filter is part of the optical design. It's not there for fun. The supplied 39mm "UV" filter has almost no effect on the UV transmission of the lens. Have you seen how thick the front element is on that lens?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  19. 39mm filters are easier to find than 88mm- just look for a case for the lens, often you will find them in the hidden compartment that the seller did not know about.
  20. As stated, go with the internal 39mm filters, a 82mm filter will deteriorate image quality.

Share This Page