Vivitar 500mm F/8 Mirror Lens

The night sky has always interested me. I can spend hours outside on a clear night looking up at the heavens. It makes you feel very humble, ridiculously small and insignificant! Well it does to me anyway.

I’d been looking into getting a telescope for star gazing for ages but wanting to obviously take photographs of what I saw but still not wanting to spend hundreds and hundreds on a telescope that I might not get to use that much due to increasing wedding and portrait work (at the moment 5 weddings booked for 2015 which isn’t bad seeing as we still aren’t doing this full time).

I did some research, spoke to a couple people in the know and was lucky enough to chat, get some advise and look at some incredible astrophotography work from Tony Mitchell of West Yorkshire Astronomical Society who was down in the west country visiting family. He said the first thing I needed to figure out was what I wanted to photograph up in the night sky. I have great lenses that enable me to shoot starfields and constellations (28mm F/1.8 USM and 24-70 F2.8L) but to be able to capture the Moon in it’s various phases would be cool to start with but really distant galaxies (far, far away) and nebulae I think are amazing! Tony suggested that with the little amount of money I had spare to invest it would be best to get a large telephoto for which I might also be able to use for other photography work. After a quick search of eBay I found a few 500mm lenses up for grabs and eventually won this puppy:

Vivitar 500mm f-8 Mirror Lens - Justin Krause-1Vivitar 500mm f-8 Mirror Lens - Justin Krause-2Vivitar 500mm f-8 Mirror Lens - Justin Krause-3Vivitar 500mm f-8 Mirror Lens - Justin Krause-4Vivitar 500mm f-8 Mirror Lens - Justin Krause-5Vivitar 500mm f-8 Mirror Lens - Justin Krause-6


The compact mirror type design seemed ideal for what I was hoping to photograph. I didn’t quite know which make was best and for 50quid I was certain it couldn’t be as sharp as any of my Canon lenses. I’d seen the typical GIANT 500mm massive lenses but the mirror design will fit in my camera bags easier. Maybe one day I’ll invest £7.7k on the Canon 500mm F/4L….haha who am I kidding? I could never justify that (the guaranteed divorce after buying that lens wouldn’t cost that much!).

Well here you have it, the first Moon shot from the Vivitar 500mm F/8 Mirror Lens (shot with our Canon 6D mounted on my trusty Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod + 804RC2 head.
Moon - Copyright Justin Krause-2

After we’ve finished the weddings and portraits from the weekends previous I’ll be hopefully getting out to our local dark sky site – Wimbleball Lake – to see what I can capture!

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