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Zeiss F8 Mirotar



I would be extremely grateful for any feedback regarding the use of a mirotar 500 F8. I have just purchased one to use on my RTS III and when the lens is mounted to the body I see the set aperture as being 1.4. When I use my 135mm at F8 and spot meter on the same point I get the same shutter speed in aperture priority mode. However, I was surprised that the lens' F8 aperture does not show correctly in the viewdinder. Is this normal?? Have anyone got any useful experience that they could share with me.
Anybody have using Reflective Tele lens other then Contax-Zeiss on contax MF body from other lens maker? (tarmon, sigma, etc.) which one is good!
I dont know for sure , but would guess that this could be normal as their is no aperture linkage with this lens - therefore , the body would default to the wide-open setting . The metering should be correct , as it it is , so I wouldnt worry about it.....
Hello David,

I recently purchased an f8 Mirrotar too, it does not have an aperture contol or linkage. The camera displays it's wide open setting but meters normally, the camera 'thinks' the aperture is wide open and meters correctly, the fact that it is actually f8 does not matter as the metering is done through the lens after the 'apeture'. In effect the camera 'thinks' the light levels are approx 5 stops lower than is the case but thinks the apeture is 5 stops bigger, this cancels out. The fact you are getting the same metering at f8 with your 135mm lens is confirmation of this. Having got my first slides back from the RTS3 Mirrotar combination I can confirm the exposures are correct, also the results are better than expected as the viewfinder image is relatively dim. Actual results are sharp and contrasty, focusing though difficult at the time proved accurate.

Short remark to the question of Hercules Cheung:

I´m using an old Tokina RMC 8/500 mirror lens. This lens is amazingly compact (just a little bigger then P 1.4/85), has a long enough "build in" lens hood (hood is stored on the lens by screwing it reversed in the front thread), is cheap (used in excellent conditon 100-150 Euro/$), has a minimum focus distance of 1.5m (!!!) and delivers reasonable image quality.
Focussing is difficult because of very dark viewfinder (but it works properly with RX´s focus indicator), camera shows 1.2 f-stop but exposure is correct. Colours are different from Zeiss lenses, they tend slightly to blue-green. The weak point is contrast while sharpness is on par with a TT 4/300 + Mutar I converter. A total different thing is bookeh, it´s not as pretty as with refracting lenses, the out of focus areas show typical "circles".
Using a monopod is a must, but you need not a heavy one because the lens is lightweight.

For occasional use I can recommend this lens, because it´s small and lightweight and fits easy in a normal photo bag.

I've used this lense for about 10 rolls of film. I used it on my S2 with spot meter only. As the manuel said it would need about -1EV adjustment for spot metering mode, I've only tried that with negative in view of their wider exposure latitude. Of course, the only step adjustment for shutter speed on the S2 will be another constraint to obtain very accurate exposure with the fixed aperture at f8. The results show that I absolutely need a good tripot and the mirror pre-flap feature associated with the S2 self-timer to obtain sharp pictures. If I do it right, the pictures are sharp and contrasty compariable to good quality super-tele lenses.
Has anybody used this Mirotar with RTSIII? Will that combination be better in terms of vibration reduction comparing with that when using with the S2? Of course, I'm refering to mirror lock-up in both cases.
Thanks to the diligent poster who called attention to the brief Contax rebate deal back in December, I'm the lucky owner of a new 500/f8 Mirotar (and a Mutar III). I'll be using it with an Aria and perhaps an RTS I when mirror lockup is called for. Are there any tips from those experienced with this substantial hunk of glass? I have a start, with a substantial tripod and switch releases for the two cameras.

Also, does anybody make an eyepiece to use with the Mirotar as a spotting scope?


Hi Rick,

All I can say is you've got a good start with the tripod and cable release, the only other essential is a good eye! The downside is a dim viewfinder image as it's only f8 so be very careful focussing. The results are excellent though, I bought mine new in the summer and have been very pleased with it. It needs to be used within it's limits though which makes anything requiring a deep DOF impossible as well as very low light work very difficult. Out of focus highlights are ring shaped which sometimes works but needs care. Within it's capabilities it's great producing sharp contrasty results, I even got a great closeup of a seagull when I was testing it hand held on my RTSIII! It's also relatively small and light if you consider the focal length so I find I mostly carry it around with me, something I would not do with a giant APO Telephoto lens if I were lucky enough to own one. I find it a great complement to my 80-200 Vario Sonnar for telephoto stuff. I've no idea whether or not an eyepiece exists to turn it into a spotting scope. Anyway have fun with it!

Thank you Art. I'm happy to hear you've been getting excellent results from the Mirotar.

Do you find that the split focus or microprism ring blacks out in the viewfinder using this lens? I'm considering a matte gridded screen (FU-6) and was wondering whether it might help with focusing this lens (I like the grid for WA work).

I was interested to see that they didn't put DOF marks on the lens. I wonder whether that's related to the accommodation for heat expansion (the explanation for why it can be focused "beyond" infinity). I'll have to devise my own chart, as at close range the DOF must be pretty shallow, even at f/8.

Can't wait to take it out this weekend!