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Nikon Reflex-Nikkor 500mm F/8

Super telephoto prime lens • Film era • Discontinued

Model history

Nikon Reflex-Nikkor 500mm F/8--6 - 61.5m⌀82 1983 
Nikon Reflex-Nikkor[·C] 500mm F/8--5 - 34m⌀88 1968 

Production details

Announced:1983
Production status: Discontinued
Production type:<No data>
Original name:Nippon Kogaku Reflex-NIKKOR 1:8 f=500mm
Nikon Reflex-NIKKOR 1:8 f=500mm
System: Nikon F (1959)

Features highlight

M/R
Fixed
MF
CFD 1.5m
TC

Specification

Optical design
Focal length:500mm
Speed:F/8
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Nikon F [46.5mm]
Diagonal angle of view:(35mm full frame)
3.2° (Nikon F APS-C)
Lens construction:6 elements - 6 groups
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Fixed
Aperture control:None
Number of blades:-
Focusing
Closest focusing distance:1.5m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:2.5 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:<No data>
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics
Weight:840g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀89×109mm
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 82mm
Screw-type 39mm (rear)
Lens hood:Screw-type HN-27 (round)
Teleconverters: Nikon Teleconverter TC-14 → 700mm F/11.2
 Nikon Teleconverter TC-14A → 700mm F/11.2
 Nikon Teleconverter TC-14B → 700mm F/11.2
 Nikon Teleconverter TC-200 → 1000mm F/16
 Nikon Teleconverter TC-201 → 1000mm F/16

*) Sources of data: Manufacturer's technical data ● Nikon dealer notebook pages ● Nikon dealer catalogue ● Nikon Full Line Product Guide (1996-1997) (August 1996).

Compatibility

  • This non-AI lens was designed for Nikon F, F2, Nikkormat FS, FT, FT2, FTN, EL, ELW 35mm film SLR cameras.
  • Non-AI lenses cannot be used on Nikon digital SLR cameras (except for the Df) or late (AI) film SLR cameras. However, non-AI lenses can be fitted to Nikon FM, FE, EL2, F3, F4 and Nikkormat FT3 cameras which used the AI metering system but allowed the metering coupling lever to be disengaged. The F5 could have this mechanism fitted as an optional extra. Non-AI lenses can be also fitted to the Nikon F2A and F2AS cameras because the AI mechanism was fitted to the removable metering prism.

Manufacturer description #1

An essential tool for every sports and wildlife photographer. Narrow 5° picture angle provides 10X magnification of the subject. Catadioptric (mirror) design eliminates chromatic aberration for outstanding picture quality. Focuses down to 5 feet. Accepts 39 or 82mm filters; HN-27 lens hood.


Manufacturer description #2

BEFORE USING THE LENS

For its focal length, your Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8 is so compact and light you can use it even in hand-held shooting. That's because the lens adopts what is known as a "catadioptric" optical construction in which light is reflected and refracted by a combination of mirrors and lenses to form the image you see in the camera's viewfinder. Not only is the lens barrel unusually short - chromatic aberration correction is so outstanding you won't have to adjust focus for infrared photography. And at the fixed aperture of f/8, you have ample depth of field.

As has become customary with Nikkor lenses, all air-to-glass surfaces of your lens have been coated with NIC (Nikon Integrated Coating) to just about banish picture flare and ghost. And you'll see the results in the photos you take: superb contrast and natural-looking color. Great special effects, too - you can take pictures in which unfocused elements come out with interesting ring-shaped highlights.

And what a surprise... you can actually focus a lens this long down to just 1.5m (5ft), with a reproduction ratio of 1:2.5X. Also, the lens comes with a set of five filters, with one already mounted on the rear of the lens and the other four cleverly concealed inside the beautiful hard case you use to store the lens. These filters include a neutral density filter that will give the effect of stopping the lens down to f/16.

USING THE FILTERS

Your lens comes with a set of five 39mm-diameter Nikon filters: Ultraviolet (L37C), Orange (O56), Amber (A2), Blue (B2) and Neutral Density (ND4). The ultraviolet filter is factory-installed into the rear lens mount; the four other filters are stored in the CA-2 filter case inside the lens case.

Make sure a filter is screwed onto the rear lens mount at all times. You normally leave the ultraviolet filter on when you wish no particular change in contrast or f/number. To change filters, simply unscrew and remove the one on the lens and replace it with one of the four other filters.

Caution: The thickness of the glass used in the Nikon filters usable with your lens is carefully matched to the optical properties of the lens. So, do not use 39mm-diameter filters of any other make but Nikon. Otherwise, focus cannot be accurate at all.

OBTAINING CORRECT EXPOSURE

Your lens is the fixed-aperture type and will not couple with the TTL exposure metering system that may be built into some camera bodies. To get the correct exposure, please refer to the stopped-down exposure measurement section in the camera's instruction manual.

Remember that even if you set the camera to its top shutter speed, you won't be able to obtain correct exposure. A rule of thumb is to use either the supplied neutral density filter ND4 or optional ND8 or ND2 singly or together; use slower film in extremely bright situations and faster film in low light.

CONTROLLING THE APERTURE

To obtain a smaller aperture for the fixed-aperture Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8, use a neutral density (ND) filter. If you use the ND filter with an exposure value of 4X that comes with your lens, you can achieve the effect of stopping the lens down to f/16. However, since the ND filter does not actually stop down the lens but only decreases the amount of light striking the film, depth of field will remain unaffected.

From the editor

Compared to the predecessor, the lens has a significantly shorter minimum focus distance of just 1.5m that provides a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:2.5. The weight was also reduced to 840g and the new 6-element design provides a far more even light distribution across the frame. It is by far the best version of the 500mm f8 reflex model, although its compact dimensions mean that the proximity of stubby foot of the rotating tripod collar to the rear of the lens often causes it to obstruct larger camera bodies when you try to change the orientation of the camera whilst attached to the lens. Also, the marked aperture value is rather optimistic and in practice the lens transmits about one stop less light. It was supplied with a set of 39mm screw fit filter that attach to the rear of the lens and were part of the optical configuration so a filter must be kept in place at all times.

Typical application

distant subjects, distant landscapes with perspective compression effect, wild nature, travel

Alternatives in the Nikon F system

Sorted by focal length and speed, in ascending order

Lenses with similar focal length and speed

8 RMC Tokina 500mm F/8 1984 

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

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Mirror/Reflex lens

A lens based on design principles used in large astronomical telescopes. It is a combination of mirror and lens elements. Incoming light is reflected twice on the mirror surfaces, resulting in compactness of the lens barrel and light weight relative to the focal length.

To adjust image brightness, neutral density or other filters are used, because lenses of this type are not equipped with diaphragms.

Sharpness of the focused image is unsurpassed because of the use of reflecting surfaces which do not cause any chromatic aberration.

Taken with this type of lens, the subjects in the out-of-focus range may appear as blurred rings or separate blurred lines.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

MF

Sorry, no additional information is available.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/8 on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Teleconverters

Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.