Information Library for Olympus Zuiko Lenses
Zuiko Telephoto lenses - 500mm f/8.0 Reflex (Mirror) lens;
600mm f/6.5 & 1000mm f/11.0 Super Telephoto Lenses - Part I

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Can a Reflex lens be used to take pictures at an international sport event such as... errr.... how about World Formula 1 championship ? I tried... just with a two lenses outfit, a 500mm Reflex and a 50mm f/1.4. Not exactly a Zuiko + Olympus combination but if that matters to your, I am sorry, because I don't have a Zuiko 500mm lens. Although I do keep a OM2n purely from a perspective as a collector of Classic SLR bodies.

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There is only one lens at the 500mm focal length for you to consider in the Zuiko lens series. In fact, up to the stage where OM2 was officially introduced, Olympus Zuiko lens series does not provide any option for a Mirror lens. It was not exactly an normal telephoto lens which you can play around with depth of field control via open up or stopping down the aperture diaphragm in the lens because it is a fixed aperture CAT (catadioptric) lens or more popularly known as a mirror lens. This lens also remains as the sole Mirror lens within the entire Zuiko lens family.

The Zuiko Reflex 500mm f/8 lens has a catadioptric design. The image first strikes a mirror and is reflected forward to a second mirror and group of lenses. The second group reflects the image back through an opening in the first mirror to the film.

500ptic.gif The great advantage of this type of lens is size. Designers can create a lens half the size of a conventionally designed super telephoto lens type by using the mirror concept. However, the main drawback for reflex-type lens is it usually restricted to only a single working aperture; you have control exposure with varying shutter speed or using neutral density filter(s).

Another distinctive advantage of Mirror lens is, as the optical light path is using a 'light folding' principle and thus color correction is not necessary with this lens, common aberrations closely associated with super telephoto lenses such as chromatic aberration does not exist in such an reflex optical design. Many seasoned photographers jokingly referred to such lens type as a poor man's Flurite/ED/LD/UD lens.

OFF TOPIC Supplements: When light passes through a prism and is split into seven colors. The difference in the refraction index results in dispersion of the various wavelengths as light passes through a lens. This is called "chromatic aberration ". In practical terms, it adds up to loss of image sharpness and low contrast is one of the main phenomenon of this aberrations Optical designers solve this problem of chromatic aberration by using various types of glass made to extremely critical refractive indexes while also having low dispersion properties. Using conventional optical glass, designers can only correct chromatic aberration only to a certain extent. There remains a residual color error called the secondary spectrum. With optical glass, this secondary spectrum cannot be reduced beyond 0.002mm times the focal length. Thus, secondary spectrum becomes a serious problem as focal length increases.

Lens designers are constantly at work to produce raw materials and new designs resulting in optical glass with lower refractive indexes and abnormally low dispersion. Canon developed their own "Artificially" grown fluorite crystals derived from calcium fluoride while others use specially developed glass such as ED/LD/UD etc. * fluorite element as well as UD glass and the other with " UD " (Ultra-Low Dispersion" or called "ED" (Extra-Low Dispersion) or "SD" (Super-Low dispersions by many other optical glass manufacturers) glass. Both types provide images unusually free from chromatic aberration that often affects the performance of long focal length lenses. Reflex lens with mirror design does not have chromatic aberration and often used as a cheap high performance ED lens.

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Zuiko Reflex 500mm F8

Makes possible the interesting creative effects of the reflex type lens, while also affording fantastic compactness and portability in this powerful super telephoto length. Image quality is constant even at close focus distances. Internal coating on the barrel minimizes flare.

The Zuiko Reflex lens is quite unusual to omit a useful and cheaper to use drop-in type filter or back screw-in filter design. Instead, a front mounting 72mm is used. I am not so sure whether it comes with the five color correction and neutral density filters which usually come with the package with such a lens. So, it is better to double check this especially when you intend to purchase a unit from any used outlet.

Aperture: Remember, the lens has no aperture diaphragm, because of catadioptric type. To decrease the transmission of light in this lens system, use neutral density filters, which gives the brightness corresponding to one of the following f-numbers:

Denomination & Equivalent f-number: ND 2.5x = 8; ND 3.2x = 9; ND 4x = 10; ND 5x = 11; ND 6.3x = 12.5

Note: Since there is no aperture to control, while the focal length of the lens is fixed, naturally depth of field cannot be adjusted in this catadioptric system. (Other than closing in or getting further away from the lens).


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N O T E: As no photographer in the world would possess ALL the lenses within a single trade name. You are always encouraged to replace these reserved slot for sample images above shooting with a lens type detailed above - just mail in your creative visual, a little caption relative to the background information will help a lot to let other understand how you prepared the shot. Please mention IF you require a complimentary link and where should it be pointed at. Naturally, I DO NOT like to disappoint anyone, but in order to maintain my self-set standard in the PIM website - I would prefer to have high quality input rather than in quantity, if your image is NOT selected for broadcasting in this site, give it a try the next time but I do promise every image will be view and consider carefully. I do appreciate your consideration in this matter.


Generally, any lenses at this 500mm focal length lens can be considered challenging to use. Its 5‘ angle of view encloses the subject tightly within the 35mm frame.

Comparatively, 500mm lenses with Mirror design are lightweight enough to be used for handheld photography, however, do not attempt to challenge that if the light level is not favorable or if you are using slower speed films. Some form of support is essential to provide added insurance against movement as the long focal length will magnify greatly into your images.

Another characteristic of a Mirror lens is, any out-of-focus highlights which render as a doughnut or ring shape which you will never find in any other type of lens. With a mirror lens, it is important to anticipate the action and pre-focus for action based or wildlife pictures. Because of the extremely narrower angle of view, coupled with the dimly lit viewfinder image due to the single aperture f/8.0, framing and manual focusing on the action as it actually happens is difficult.



As there is no clear definition or restriction of how the lens should be used, interestingly enough, the 500mm can be even used as a portrait lens. However, one important portrait technique that you must keep in mind is to focus precisely and maintain stability at all time.

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The 500mm is also an unusual landscape lens, particularly when dealing with horizons or mountains. The compressed perspective of this focal length will always yield results in spectacular images.


Lens type:
Zuiko 500mm f/8.0 Reflex
Optical Construction:
5 elements in 2 groups
Angles of view: 5‘
Distance Scale: (m) 4 (13.1ft) to infinity (
Focusing: Revolving Helicoid
Minimum aperture: Fixed at f/8. ND filter is used for adjusting light volume. No depth of field scale.
Diaphragm: Automatic
Filter Type. 72mm
Length: 97mm
Weight: 590g

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