This 500mm Lens from Tokina has a wonderful ARTISTIC and Vintage look. The unique bokeh will give your images a painterly appearance. This 500mm super tele lens is great for photographing nature, birds, wildlife, macro, scenics and street photography. It is super lightweight and easy to carry in a pocket or bag. Take a look and let us know what you think!
Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted Lens we’re going to take a look at a lens that is very interesting. It’s probably different than any lens you’ve ever seen before. It’s a Tokina 500mm catadioptric lens. And what that means is that the light comes in and like a telescope it hits a mirror bounces to a mirror in the front of the lens and bounces to the sensor. So it makes the lens very short, about a third as long as a regular 500mm lens. And also makes it super lightweight and gives you really fascinating, interesting bokeh. This is a lens that is very inexpensive. But it doesn’t have a lot of the modern features. It doesn’t have any kind of stabilization. It doesn’t have autofocus. But what you get with this lens is a couple of things that I think are really fascinating.
DPs are always looking for interesting lenses. And this fits into that category. They’ll take old lenses and adapt them to new cameras. You’re always looking for something interesting, something that looks more different than everything out there right now. Right now everything has the same kind of bokeh. You’re scared of death that there’s a little bit of a football in the corner. It just drives me crazy that everything has started to look so homogenized and so the same. This lens breaks out of that mold completely. It has a beautiful bokeh and just a beautiful dreamy painter kind of look.
The light comes in the front, bounces on the mirror in the back, bounces off the mirror in the front and comes into the sensor. When it does that you get the circular, every highlight is going to have a circle, a donut. When you look into an area that doesn’t have highlights it just gives you this kind of ghosting around everything. And it feels like a Monet to me. These beautiful kind of watercolor paintings. So take a look at this white bird on that beautiful water. It is so painterly looking. I just absolutely think it’s an amazing look.
Another feature of this lens that was really surprising to me is how macro capable it is. It gives you a 1 to 2.86 magnification. It focuses up to about 5 feet or 1.7 meters. So you can get in super close on things because it’s a 500mm and not have to be sitting right on top of them. You’re not inches away, you’re five feet away and able to get the same kind of look you would with a 100mm macro that you have to get in so tight on your subject matter. Anytime you shoot in that kind of macro situation it creates beautiful out of focus bokeh in the background. And that I think, again, is really wonderful looking compared to a lot of stuff people are shooting.
So why am I attracted to this lens? Well the bokeh for one, as I’ve said, and secondly it’s very reasonable. It’s under $400, it’s $399. So it makes it so you can get a lens like this, a 500mm lens. It’s an f/8 lens and you can take it out and you can use it and give a different look to your nature stuff, your birds, your wildlife. It’s just a different look. I think I’m starting to feel like I want something different and this kind of fills that bill.
It’s also super lightweight. Because of that mirror, you are bouncing light between mirrors. It makes it very super lightweight. It’s easy to put in a bag and carry with you. It has a little telescope on the back that adapts it to different lenses. You can change that out very simply to different lenses.
So we came out here to Bolsa Chica. It’s a Reserve. The nature is beautiful out here. There’s tons of birds. We’re able to photograph everything from a juvenile bald eagle to a small hummingbird. I mean, we saw ducks and we saw geese and we saw peregrines. It was a lot of fun. So here’s some of the images.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to love this lens until I did see the bokeh. I keep coming back to the bokeh. It just looks so fascinating and different to me. But you kind of have to set it up to make sure you get the right kind of situation. You want your subject to be close and you want the background to be farther away and that just gives you that beautiful kind of painter, Monet type bokeh in the background.
So why would you use a 500mm lens? People use them for birds. It’s really very common if you’re shooting any kind of birds, animals, and nature. You know, those are very typical kinds of situations, sports you know.
But if you really want to do something interesting with a 500mm lens, try shooting some landscape kinds of things. Because it compresses the background. It brings the mountains way forward. It brings the building’s way forward. It compresses everything and I think that is a really fascinating look.
So here are the specs for this lens. It’s a 500mm lens. It’s a catadioptric lens. Which is like a telescope. It’s got a mirror on both sides that bounces the light back and forth inside of it. It’s f/8, f/8 period. It doesn’t change. It’s just a an interesting lens.
Again what I love about it is the ability to shoot something that looks different than everything else you’re shooting. It takes a little bit of practice to get back to focusing. I mean, I focused my entire , pulling focus and being able to hit focus. And you know, after you do it for a couple hours it gets second nature. It has a 72mm filter size on the front. So you can put filters on it without any problem. It comes with a great lens hood so you can twist that on the front to be able to shade it. And you want to use that a lot because you want to keep the light off from this front element. It makes it look way bigger and longer and heavier than it is. It’s super lightweight and it’s not heavy at all.
So Tokina also makes a 2x converter. So you can just simply twist the lens off the front of the lens mount, put the converter onto the back of the lens and twist that back onto your lens mount. And it gives you a 2x conversion. So now you’re 1000mm with that lens. Which is pretty amazing.
So Tokina also makes an SZ Tele Finder. This Tele Finder just sits onto the hot shoe. And when you look from the back, you have a wrench you can calibrate it to get a dot in the middle. And now that helps you to aim it. And it’s actually pretty effective because you can look through it and it allows you to aim it in a direction. With 500mm sometimes you’re not sure exactly where you’re looking. That gives you a better reference point. It’s just an interesting way to work.
So let’s wrap this up. I think this is a really interesting lens because it’s not very expensive, super lightweight and you get incredible bokeh. And that’s why I would use this lens. It’s worth overcoming the no stabilization and hand focusing it to get that just really interesting look that you get in the background that makes everything look very painterly in the background. I think it’s a unique look and something different that people are not, you know, doing very often. So I think that’s why this lens is very fascinating. We’re going to take the 400mm out. We’re going to photograph some people with it and show that bokeh in some people situations. I think it’s going to be fabulous. But it’s great for birds, great for location, great to carry in your bag. That Tokina 500mm lens. So keep those cameras rollin’ keep on clickin’!