Mirrorless Lenses.... the 'Future'?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mike_halliwell, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. As I'm sure some of you will have seen, Canon has bought out some very long, very light and very slow lenses for their new R5 and R6 Mirrorless Full Frame cameras. The 600mm and 800mm lenses have DO optics, their own version of PF....(Phase Fresnel) to make the lenses pretty compact (and inexpensive !) too.


    Who'd have thought a 600mm f11 and a 800mm f11 were on the cards?

    I didn't know mirrorless cameras could AF with such slow lenses?

    ...and they have x1.4 x 2 x TCs!

    I wonder if Nikon can have a reply to these?
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
  2. I wonder if they should. It's not a direction I would have thought was worth going, though the price is right. We'll see how they sell and what kind of images people make.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  3. I'm guessing it also means Canon can make DO elements more cheaply than Nikon can make PF elements.

    The 800mm is being aimed at wildlife and plane-spotters and under £1k... The 600mm is under £750....;)

    Interestingly, the are also being labelled as 'Enthusiast Level'. Whatever that might mean in these circumstances??

    What's also 'curious' is the combo of 'Pro' Full Frame body and a Full Frame 'Enthusiast lens'
  4. I think these f/11 DO teles are lenses meant for beginners or those who are more interested in getting "a" shot of an animal with minimal inconvenience rather than "the" shot (with clean background, beautiful light, sharp etc.) Canon
    make some relatively inexpensive bodies also, such as the RP.

    Canon recently updated their (EF) 400/2.8 and 600/4 lenses; they probably don't want to launch similar lenses for RF before the EF lenses have had enough time to sell and new technology to be developed sufficiently to allow clearly improved new versions to be launched.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020
    2Oceans likes this.
  5. The aperture of these lenses is fixed at f/11, they can't be stopped down further. The slow speed in combination with no aperture control helps to keep the price low enough to be affordable to many enthusiasts.

    I don't know why the filter size of these lenses is so large - 82mm for the 600 and 95mm for the 800. Pictures show the front element is relatively small, they are not oversized to reduce mechanical vignetting. An 800mm f/11 lens has an entrance pupil of 73mm, so they could have used a more affordable 77mm filter size. A 600mm f/11 lens has an entrance pupil of just 55mm, so they could have used 62mm or 67mm filter size. In fact, 600mm lens with 82mm filter could be a stop faster - a 600/8 lens would be much more useful and a better competitor for the Nikon 500/5.6 PF. But a 600/8 would probably require aperture control so it could be stopped down, and in combination with the faster aperture would greatly increase the price.

    I think we will see more of these slow super-telephoto lenses for mirrorless cameras. Phase-detect sensor requires lenses above a certain f-stop to accurately detect if the subject is in focus. Mirrorless cameras use contrast-detect AF (often in combination with phase-detect) which can work at any aperture, provided there is sufficient light and contrast.
  6. I believe that the mirrorless cameras are also able to use phase-detection even at smaller apertures (how small, depends on the model).

    However, limitations set by diffraction, lens quality, noise and shutter speed in the world of photographing at small apertures still apply, and I don't see this as a realistic path for those who value image quality.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  7. That's what I was thinking..... but asking £1K is a lot for a casual toy...:D

    However, depending how 'bad' the images are, it's the least expensive way to get to 600/800mm in one optic... by a long way.

    The filter size and working aperture issues bought up by Roland is curious indeed.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I would imagine Nikon can also make them inexpensively, if all you need is f11. The PF element is near the front of the 500mm/f5.6 so that it needs to have about a 90mm diameter. The requirement for a 600mm/f11 is very different.

    The problem for Canon mirrorless is that they have separate EOS-M and RF mounts for DX (APS-C) and FX, respectively. If one wants the reach of 600mm and 800mm, you are better off using a DX body, but you cannot mount those DO telephoto lenses on an EOS-M (APS-C) body, unless you use an adapter.
    bgelfand likes this.
  9. For a first time long lens owner I imagine that the 600mm and 800mm f11 lenses will be affordable. I owned a Vivitar Series 1 600mm f8 cat 27 years ago shooting Fujichrome and Ektachrome . It was a great first long lens that is still available today at auction at close to the same price. I don't see a tripod collar on these new Canon models and I cant imagine using them in beautiful light at 5:30 AM and 9:30 PM during the summer at high latitudes or any where else where the light is waxing or waning for that matter. Still its something. No tripod collar?
  10. There seems to be a flat area for tripod mounting on these lenses (but no foot has been shown). I guess the story on that will be revealed when the lenses are available, what kind of mounting platform there is, and whether a foot comes with the lens or is an optional accessory.
  11. I have had a Nikon 500mm f5.6 pf lens mounted to my D500 almost every day since I got the lens right after it was introduced. In early morning and late afternoon light, I am shooting at high ISOs a lot, 12,500 and sometimes even higher ISOs with the lens wide open at f5.6. Shutter speed may be as low as 1/125 or 1/250. To me, a tele lens with a fixed aperture of f11 is a "daylight only " lens, not a lens suitable for nature and other activities where light is less than full strength.

    Maybe Nikon needs to develop a "Coolpix" type camera with a one inch sensor with a fixed zoom lens from around 28mm to 1200mm (35mm equivalent). Or convert the Coolpix P950 to a one inch sensor camera with a shorter zoom lens?

    A long tele (fixed or zoom?) at f 8. Would this be a better option than f 11? Or would it displace the long tele f5.6 pf lenses, right now just the 500mm?
  12. Topic : "Mirrorless Lenses.... the 'Future'" ......

    Most of lenses for DSLR camera's are "mirrorless", are, only a few "Mirror" lenses around, mostly 300mm 500mm, 800mm.
  13. And, somewhat ironically I find, these new lenses are very similar, in function if not in form, to those mirror lenses!

    Might we see a return of the catadioptric lens? I assume they died out as autofocus systems couldn't handle focussing at f8.
    c.p.m._van_het_kaar likes this.
  14. To quote myself from another thread..(;))

    Lens suggestions

    Ben_Hutcherson said:
    mirror lenses can be difficult to use effectively

    I've still got the Sigma 600mm F8 Mirror..somewhere. It was a sod to focus accurately in anything but good light.

    I wonder if focus peaking might give it a new lease of life? Maybe on a Z50?....:cool:

    Ben_Hutcherson said
    I played with a 1000mm my local shop had in stock, and had issues getting sharp photos outdoors even at 1/4000

    There's gotta be enough room in there for some VR prisms... and what with focus modules easily capable of AF @ >F8, there's a niche ready to be filled.....:D
  15. Remember the long fixed aperture lenses you would find in the back of Shutterbug and Popular Photography. That is what some of us could afford at one point.
    The Canon versions will be optically superior. My first good long lens was the Nikon 500mm f4 P that cost 2 grand and used the TC 14b to shoot Provia pushed to ISO 200. At that ISO the lens was always shot wide open It was manual focus but was sharp like all current Nikon 500mm lenses. Galen Rowell used the same lens. It is interesting that with all the technical sophistication with VR, OS, IS etc. that any discussion of long lens technique or support is some how lost. Rick Sammon’s promo video on the Canon USA web site has him hand holding the 800mm. Sorry, I just don see it, but I like Rick Sammon and hope he continues to be a successful force in photography so I watched the whole video. Canon USA advertises the lens as “ideal for bird, wildlife, outdoor sports, and aviation photography”. Most folks seldom shoot at ISO 12,000 but who knows. Maybe ironing out the noise at high ISOs is just another engineering problem to overcome. The ability to optically control depth of field is lost with fixed aperture but then it may be what folks can afford and that is not a bad thing.
  16. I know that cumulative or compound inflation is significant, but I still find the £1K for the 800mm a considerable sum!
  17. Mike, I am in agreement with you. That line was in reference to the $100 bargain long lenses found in the back of those now defunct magazines that I used to pour over. Just saw on the B&H web site, they have similar glass in the $100 + - price range made by Vivitar and Bower. Sorry for any confusion.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  18. I keep finding those when tidying as a result of lockdown.....:)

    Be interesting to see actual images taken with them... We might be surprised.

    The 400mm f4 DO had pretty mixed reviews.... and was deemed too expensive for what it was.
  19. You get what you pay for. An $800, 800 mm f/11 lens, marketed to the same crowd as those 300x telescopes you see at Wal-Mart for $100. (A photographic quality telescope might cost $3000 and deliver 60x, or 25x if you're lucky.) I suspect people who need a 600 or 800 mm lens will pay the money ($12K and up), and Nikon will continue to develop prime lenses with exceptional quality (and prices to match).
  20. I guess the Canon bean counters have done their sums....:)

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