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Thread: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    I have been experimenting with the 500mm Leica R mirror lens this winter. I have a great spot to shoot from the Juno Beach Pier near my Florida home. I used this lens on the DMR for a few months and it produced great IQ . However ISO 400 is about it for the DMR without needed to work on the noise issues and even then you lose much of the IQ.

    I converted the Leica R lens to the Nikon mount using the Leitax mount. The 500mm mirror is quite easy . The big advantage is being able to use ISO 800 or 1600 and still getting high IQ.

    The attached photo of the surfer required ISO 800.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    Great shot, and I agree. High ISO makes mirror lenses much more usable. I use my Nikkor 500mm hand-held when there's a lot of light, and it's such a fun lens.

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    Roger,
    Great shot! Did you have to bump up the contrast any or pretty much straight? Much better contrast and rendering than the Nikon 500 mirror that I had. The high ISO imaging with the D3 and D700 make this usable again!

    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    Al I am sure I pumped the contrast . The image also looks oversharpened but part of this is the contrast. The difficult thing about lightroom s (camera raw ) and most other raw convertors ..is that they apply a camera profile . In camera raw you get a half dozen alternatives. A little experimentation shows that you have a range of contrast and saturation...so stoke from CameraRaw with the Nikon Std beta 2 is what s been used . I always batch against the strong contrast setting . Almost all look better to my eye.

    The DMR color saturation and tone separation was way better..but the noise sucks even around 400 .

    I didn t do much to this one but with the local area adjustment tools in Lightroom ...I can almost dodge and burn any area. All of this makes a 500mm mirror a must in good light. The biggest advantage is I always have it with me.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    I just looked again at the original jpeg I uploaded. The posted version looks significantly higher contrast. It was just a 72dpi sized to 1000x1000.

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    Roger,
    It does not appear to have a harsh out of focus area or "doughnuts" could just be the subject is almost at infinity.

    I agree with you that the Leica files from the M8 and DMR have better tonal gradation and color saturation. The main thing is that you got the shot, with the DMR at 400 ISO the image would be too blurry, and at 1250 ISO it would be too noisy. So in the end a great compromise, great glass and great high ISO performance.

    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 500mm Mirror on the D3

    Al

    The big advantage of the D3/D700 is ,of course, the noise free higher ISO . I can get close with the DMR ....I use the 180APO/2.8 plus the 1.4APO extender so thats a 250/4 on a 1.37 sensor size ....gives a field of view of about 350mm. Two-three stop advantage to the DMR(Mirror is f8/T11) for glass. So its ISO 400 DMR verse ISO 1600 D3. I think the DMR wins that one .

    But the DMR at the beach everyday is a loosing proposition. Life expectancy would be short.

    I think the 500mm will be in the bag for most all my Florida shooting. You just never know what you will stumble upon. I also like to use it to sketch ..record areas with great light. Then I can come back the next day with the long fast glass on a monopod. Nice thing about a pier is the action often comes to you.

    Roger

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