Summary: I have this lens, I don't want to bash it but, I find it hard to use. Any shaking and the mirror distorts the picture. Maybe its just me but I wish I would have put the money towards a G series lens. If you are looking to buy one I will beat anyone's price on here. Email me for details if you are interested.
Summary: This is a unique lens in the photo world. I know of no other mirror (reflex) lens that is auto focus. The amazing part is that Minolta (bought by Sony) first made this lens - don't know - 15, 20 years ago. Sony picked it up in the Mino purchase, but has since discontinued the lens. As for optics - simply outstanding. Yes, yes, yes, you will have the infamous "donuts" in the bokeh ----- if the background is close and/or has bright spots.
airshow fans and bird-watchers, get this while you can
13 February 2011
Summary: If you seek hand-held telephotography, get the only auto-focus-enabled reflex lens on the market while you still can. Sony has discontinued production of the SAL-500F8 reflex lens. It won't sell out quick, but it will eventually. I use it for airshows and wildlife. Those of you who object to bokeh shaped like halos or donuts might compose your subject against a clear background such as the sky. But of course you already knew that.
Summary: An Excellent lens all round. Some of my best wildlife photos have been possible only because of this little marvel.(See The attached photos) I could never hope to afford a 500mm refractive lens, so I am extremely pleased and thankful to Sony for it's existence. For those who hear negative things about mirror lenses, well I suppose as with everything else in life there are varying qualities around. This one however, is superb and I am a beginner at photography.
Summary: Three good attributes of this lens: excellent quality rapid auto focus and low f/#. An annoying characteristic of this lens to me is its large size. That requires a separate case for it if one uses a standard camera bag with other lenses. At high magnifications, good photos require no camera movement and precise focusing on subjects. I highly recommend using a tripod with this lens and focus on still subjects whenever possible.
Summary: This is an amazing lens, but make sure you understand what you are getting. This is not the lens you want to bring to a family reunion unless you plan on being across the yard from your subjects. This is a fixed focus lens designed to be used in adequate light. It is heavy, it is relatively loud and it doesn't fit in most average camera gear bags.
Summary: I wasn't able to get a teleconverter for the zoom lens I use, so decided to try the Sony SAL-500F80 500mm f/8 Reflex Super Telephoto Lens for Sony Alpha Digital SLR Camera. I am thrilled with it! It's short, compact, lightweight, and easy to hand hold. I have been able to get very sharp pictures, even of flying birds, in bright light. In low light, it also does extremely well on a tripod. It will be perfect for traveling and my specialty, bird photography.
Summary: Being a Minolta geek I had a weak spot for this singular autofocus relector objective. Now I had the money and the proper time to go and do serious architecture photography, aswell as general scenery shots of Dutch towns and and still existing wildlife, I treated myelft to the Sony 500/f8 relector. My expectations were high, because I previously back in the 90s had the chance to take the Minolta version for a spin.
Pros: Sharpness, Fast focus, f8 but very bright (mind you much brighter than f8 on refractor!), short lenght only about 1/3rd of the focal length, good grip - feels stirdy., I like the leather lense hood - had to get used to it, but works fast on and off, Auto focus (and very good), Price!, equivalent to APO since this objective dousn't introduce CA
Cons: Stopping down is impossible, in principle front filter is possible, but will degrade performance. Instead rear filters.