Information on Nikon 500mm f8 Reflex Nikkor Lens

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F5 with 500mm f8.jpg (13k)

500mm f/8

(One lens do all ? Quite Possible...)

500mm new.jpg

Reflex Nikkor 500mm f8, the newer version has close focus capability and can be easily identify by a orange "MACRO" focusing line at the distance index. Iused to owned both, but only the version (Shown with the F5) was returned after on loan to some friends. The filters were all fungus filled... This 'new' version has 6 elements in 6 groups arrangement. Closest focusing distance is a remarkable 1.5m, weighing 840g and has a compact dimension of 89 x 109 x (116)mm. Supplied with a set of five 39mm filters and a hard leather case. Front filter diameter:

Nikon produces three 'popular' focal length reflex lenses in 500mm, 1000mm and a far reaching 2000mm. Reflex (Often called "Mirror" lens) lenses employ a combination of mirrors and lens elements based on catadioptric telescopes.To someone who has never seen a mirror lens before, he/she might wondering how can there is a circular ring right in the middle of the lens ?

Optical illus.jpg
You can called a Reflex Lens a "poor man's ED lens". In a reflex lens, light path is 'folded' by the mirror surfaces. This permits the design of lens type pwemitting a significant reduction in size and weight as compared to conventional lenses of equivalent focal length. Since the light path is folded, another benefit is the virtual elimination of chromatic abberation, this provides images taken with mirror lens with superior sharpness, contrast - and you may noticed, most Mirror lens do not even provide with a infra focusing index - because optical character eliminate the necessity to refocus in infrared photography.

Sample Image 1
Another key optical phenomenon produced by Reflex lenses is out-of-focus highlights in the background will produced a doughnut-shape blurs - which is a typical visual hallmark of pictures taken with a mirror reflex lens.

Sample Image 2
Note: Sample image taken with a 500mm Reflex Nikkor f8, Click for an enlarged view. Then take note of the out-of-focus highlights and compared with a non-sparkle hot spots with another sample image 2, the supposedly doughnut-shape blur was not that distinguishable as the sample image 1 (the blurred tree behind the model).

There are some shortfalls with these lens type. As there is no diaphragm can be incorporated in a mirror lens, which also means usually the aperture is a fixed value. Exposure is controlled by the shutter speed of the camera OR through the use of filters (like neutral density) and varying the film in use. Am I happy with the reflex lenses produced by Nikon ? I remembered Pentax used to have some "Zoom Reflex lenses", I don't know how the principle works, but I thought that was innovative enough. Secondly, as with any reflex lens type, slight amount of vignetting at the far edges of th picture frame will occurs when you shoot through brightly lit background. Was that a big issue ? No. As long as you know how to neutralise the possibility and it should be fine. But at a fraction of the cost of a 500mm f4 P but with the restriction of un-changeable aperture, well... what do you think ?

One more thing to remind you before you rush to the nearest used outlet, in most cases, unless you can compensate with high speed film or working in favourable light condition, the best advice is to use in combination with a tripod, bean bag etc... because although the length of the lens may fool you not to think it is a 500mm focal length optic, slight movement will magnify greatly with its long focal length.
500mm Optic.jpg
Narrow 5° picture angle provides 10X magnification of the subject in comparison with a normal lens of 50mm focal length.
Catadioptric (mirror) design eliminates chromatic aberration for outstanding picture quality.
Very compact and light for its long focal length.
Focuses down to a close 4m (13 ft.).

Screw-in lens hood minimizes ghost images and flare when shooting against the light.
360° rotatable tripod socket collar allows quick change from horizontal- to vertical-format shooting without tripod adjustment.
Supplied with a set of five 39mm rear screw-in filters (ultraviolet, yellow, orange, red, and 4X neutral density).
Convenient for candids, sports, wildlife, travel, etc.


Focal length/Aperture: 500mm f/8
Lens construction: 5 elements in 3 groups
Picture angle: 5°
Diaphragm: None
Aperture scale
: None
Exposure measurement
: Via stop-down method
500mm Side View.jpg (15k)
Distance scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 4m (13ft.) to infinity (OO)
Weight: 1,000g
Dimensions: 93mm dia. x 142mm long (overall); 135mm extension from lens flange
Filters (Supplied): 39mm rear screw-in type: ultraviolet (L37C), medium yellow (Y52), orange (056), red (R60), and neutral density (ND4)

Front lens cap: Screw-in
Lens hood: Screw-in type
Lens case: CL-23 hard leatherette
Usable teleconverter: TC-200 or TC-14

* Usable, if tho rear screw-in filter is removed.

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Credit: Chuck Hatcher, for his generiosity for granting permission to use images of his 500mm f/5.0 Nikkor Reflex Lens; Miss Thrisilla for using her image appearing in this site. Robert Rotoloni images on the 1000mm f/6.3 used in this site. for this site. A contributing effort to a long lost friend on the Net - Made with a PowerMac, broadcast with a Redhat Linux powered server.