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Sony SAL-500F80 - 500mm f/8 Reflex Super Telephoto 35mm Primes

4.5 star rating
                      4.5 / 5 (2 Reviews)
MSRP : $699.99

Product Description

The world's only super telephoto reflex lens with auto-focus capability. Its reflex design gives the amazing SAL-500F80 super telephoto lens a short barrel and compact, lightweight design, ideal for field work on wilderness and nature assignments. And its auto-focus capability makes it unique among reflex lenses of this class. Mounted on the Sony a (alpha) DSLR-A100 camera, this lens provides a 750mm focal length (35mm equivalent 500mm). This lens also takes advantage of Sony's in-camera Super SteadyShot image stabilization system to reduce blur by compensating for shaky hands.

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by johan.dimes a Expert

Date Reviewed: February 22, 2009

Strengths:    Sharpness
Fast focus
f8 but very bright (mind you much brighter than f8 on refractor!)
short lenght only about 1/3rd of the focal length
good grip - feels stirdy.
I like the leather lense hood - had to get used to it, but works fast on and off
Auto focus (and very good)
equivalent to APO since this objective dousn't introduce CA

Weaknesses:    Stopping down is impossible
in principle front filter is possible, but will degrade performance. Instead rear filters.

Bottom Line:   
Being a Minolta geek I had a weak spot for this singular autofocus relector objective. Now I had the money and the proper time to go and do serious architecture photography, aswell as general scenery shots of Dutch towns and and still existing wildlife, I treated myelft to the Sony 500/f8 relector. My expectations were high, because I previously back in the 90s had the chance to take the Minolta version for a spin. To my surprise the 'lense' outperformed my expectations in sharpness (on alpha350) aswell as its characteristic bokeh, branded as ugly by the general professionals. I can agree on the fact that you do not want to have the curly bokeh on every image that you shoot, but I think (and this applies to every special effects lense) - you have to search for applications for the peculiarities af a particular lense. I find the effect on sun reflections in calme water during sunset or dawn very nice.
Now since the purchase late in January 2009 of the A900 I was eager to see if the 500/f8 would finally yield to the might of the shear resolving power of the A900 - it dit not! I could get pixel sharp images with the 500/f8. This was really amazing. But not too surprising if think about it for a moment. Being f8 and having close to zero chromatic abberation (only very few refractive elements) the raw resolving power of the two mirrors is hardly reduced.
Contrast is extremely good. I cannot do but like this objective a lot.

This is an excelent lense for distant architectural details, nature/bird photography. Distant portraits of animals or people in specific difficult to reach places

Less suited for catching the sunset with the sun as main subject.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $660.00

Purchased At:   Foto Van Der Waal -

Similar Products Used:   Manual focus relectors
(camera history:Minolta 9000, Minolta 7000i, Canon G3, Sony A350, Sony A900)
(Objectives: Minolta 80-200/2.8 APO G HS RS, Minolta 35/1.4 G RS, Minolta 85/1.4 G RS and quite a few other nicenesses)

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by John B Davies a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: December 4, 2008

Strengths:    Light & Low Cost

Weaknesses:    Rotating front element

Bottom Line:   
The Sony 500mm reflex lens is a remarkable lens giving one equivalent to 750mm on the Sony 350 camera.
Why did I purchase the lens you may ask?
My reasoning other than price (£430) and size was, that by comparison the other two zoom lenses I own for my Canon D5 and Nikon 200, each costing in the region £1200 was that both lenses at full apertures would give very soft images, and it took it to f8 to get satisfactory sharpness, and then, it was not brilliant.
The Sony reflex only works at f8 due to its constriction and has a fixed aperture.
The rule of thumb relating to shutter speed regarding telephoto lenses certainly apply to all the above lenses and on this test.
I found it essential to have a good steady tripod even when shooting at 1/800th sec as the slightest breeze magnifies camera shake.
The only down side to this lens I have found was that the front element rotates on focus, so the one option of holding the cameras steady against nearby objects in not possible.
However with the inbuilt stabiliser of the Sony 350 camera, I was successful in taking pictures at 1/60th sec using a monopod but would not like to rely on good sharpness at this speed.
My test was taken on a sunny day, and the results were certainly surprising. I was taking close ups of large ships over half a mile away.
The Mumbles light house filled the vertical frame at half a mile away. Yes I was too close to this subject.
The foreshortening that this lens gave was truly surprising, and I was able to get a refreshing new point of view.
Was is sharp? Yes more than adequate to make a A2 print, but using the unsharp filter in photo shop also helped.
Like wise, using the other mentioned lenses, the same option applied.
The Sony 350 in itself is a remarkable camera with its 14 mega pixels especially when priced at £ 325.
I was very satisfied with the initial results and now have two lenses for both Nikon and canon up for sale…..anyone interested?

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $430.00

Purchased At:   Wharehouse Express

Similar Products Used:   Nikon & Canon Camera Systems

Type of photography:   Outdoor

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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