Information on Nikon 500mm f5 Reflex Nikkor Lens


Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0) with lens case
REFLEX NIKKOR 50cm f/5.0 August, 1961

This catadioptric long focus lens has an unusual fast lens speed which typically uses f/8.0 for this focal length. Where I thought the Zeiss 500mm f/4.5 was impressive enough in its maximum aperture of f/4.5 but least expect was from Nippon Kogaku K.K. which happened to produce not just one, but two of such high speed CAT lenses. Another was a Mirror-Nikkor 100cm f/6.3.

Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0) front element Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0) rear end section with filter
Credit: Images at the left courtesy of Mr. Kelvin LI from his popular gokelvincameras @Ebay Store which retails for many hard-to-find Nikon, canon, Contax oldies. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0) with lens case

Credit: Images at the right courtesy of Mr. Kelvin LI from his popular gokelvincameras @Ebay Store . Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved.
However, this Mirror-Nikkor 50cm f/5.0 lens is designed to be used on the prevailing Nikon F, Nikon F Photomic-T, TN and Nikkormat series camera during that era. The instruction manual that came along with this lens was printed in '69 - so I assumed it was a pre-F2 production CAT lens. I used to own two generation of the 500mm Reflex Nikkor lenses and they are hard to make comparisons among them especially the older ones came with such high lens speed. I don't called it a compact (max. diameter: 12.5cm, length: 20cm) lens and neither it was light weight (1.6 kg). But despite its size, this lens can still be conveniently carried, permitting hand- held use, and suited for sports, theater, landscape, animal photography and general photography.

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Credit: Images Copyright © 2003. walter <> ® KEH. Inc. Please respect the visual property of the owner

Technical Specification for Nikon (Nippon Kogaku K.K.) Reflex -Nikkor 1:5 f=50cm (500mm f/5.0) Mirror lens:-

Focal length: 500mm
Max. aperture ratio: 1:5
Optical components: 4 groups, 5 elements
Picture angle: 5°; Picture size: 24 x 36mm
Minimum Focus distance: Focused from infinity to 15 meters (50 ft.)

Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0) rear end lens mount sectio  with distance scales

Mount: Nikon F mount; Attachment size:122mm(p = 1mm)
Filter: 39mm(exclusively used)
Hood: Screw-on type(exclusively used)
Dimensions of lens: 125mm dia. x 200mm long;
: 1.6 kg

Reflex Mount Big View.jpg (17k)

Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0)  with tripod, leather lens case

Rear lens cap for Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0) as well as lens data indormation

Credit:- From: "0" To: " Cc: "Chuck Hatcher" <> Subject: Re: Can I ? please. Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 10:40:01 -0500 X-Priority: 3 X-OriginalArrivalTime: 13 Nov 2000 15:40:02.0786 (UTC) FILETIME=[FD0E2420:01C04D87] Status: You have my permission to use any of the images, and to modify them as needed, for your website. No credit is necessary. Regards, Chuck Hatcher

While the aperture is a fixed f/5.0 but focusing is via rotating a scalloped ring which is quite narrow in width. It has a tripod mounting collar and an odd metal spring latch as lens releasing lever. Closest focusing distance for this lens is 49 ft (15m). A lens hood and a front mounting lens cap is supplied as standard accessories. A set of five filters (UV, Yellow, green, red and orange) is supplied too. It was believed there are a few variations with minimal physical differences were being produced. The lens was still available until 1970 in Nikon Sales Guide. It is never an easy lens to handle but remained a highly sourced after CAT lens by collectors.
Arrangement of Mirrors and Lens Elements

: The lens has no aperture diaphragm, because of catadioptric type. To decrease the transmission of light in this lens system, a neutral density filter is supplied with the lens, which gives the brightness corresponding to one of the following f-numbers:


Equivalent f-number

Optical path / optical principle for Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0)

ND 2.5x


ND 3.2x


ND 4x


ND 5x


ND 6.3x


Note: The depth of field cannot be adjusted in this catadioptric system.
Filter accessories inside leather lens case for Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0)
Exposure Measurement Use the stop-down method of exposure measurement.

Filters A filter
must always be in position at the rear of the lens,when the lens is mounted on the camera and ready to be used. Five filters, neutral density, UV, Yellow, Orange and Red, are supplied with the lens. These filters are specially designed to eliminate focus shift, when used interchangeably. When no correction is desired, the UV filter should be in position. L39 and ND filters can be used also for color photography; the others supplied, however are recommended and used exclusively for black-and-white photography.
Credit: Images at the left courtesy of Mr. Kelvin LI from his popular gokelvincameras @Ebay Store. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved.



Exposure Factor

Day light

Tungsten Light


L 39




Y 52




O 56




R 60



Neutral Density

Refer to earlier table at the top

Tripod for Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0)  Tripod socket / base plate for Nikon Mirror lens Reflex-Nikkor 50cm f/5 (500mm f/5.0)
Tripod Socket A tripod is to be attached to the tripod socket on the side of the lens and not on the camera bottom to hold the balance. The hood serves not only to prevent injurious extraneous light, but also to protect the front glass. It is recommended to attach the hood at all times.

Camera Turning For convenience in changing the position of the camera to horizontal or vertical, when using the lens with a tripod, the lens is provided with a fluted spring catch. Depressing this catch will enable the camera to be rotated 90 degrees, at which point it will click into lock position. Leather Case: Insert lens into case front end downward, with one filter in position at rear of lens. The other four filters are tucked into compartments inside of the case lid. Compare this with the S-Mount version for Nikon Rangefinder Cameras

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Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8.0s | Non-AI Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8.0 (post-77) | Non-AI Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8.0 (Pre-AI)
Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm f/11s | Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm f/11 (Post 77) | Reflex-Nikkor 1000mm f/11 (pre-AI)
Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11s | Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11 (Post 77) | Reflex-Nikkor 2000mm f/11 (Pre-AI)
EARLY Reflex Nikkor 50cm f/5.0, Reflex-Nikkor 10cm f/6.3

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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number: by: my friend, Rick Oleson by: Hansen, Lars Holst

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