Sony 500mm Mirror AF lens

Sony does have an interesting lineup of lenses. Some of these lenses have special abilities with no equivalent amongst the other manufacturer’s lens lineup. One of these is the Sony 500mm F8 mirror autofocus lens. This is the most compact and lightweight 500mm autofocus lens available.

Sony 500/8 mirror AF lens with LA-EA4
Sony 500/8 mirror AF lens with LA-EA4

I have used it on a number of occasions, and have been very pleased with its extra reach and size; focal length of 750mm on APS-C cameras like the Sony A77 and A6000. Sadly it is an A-mount lens and will not benefit from the great AF system of the A6000,

What is good about this lens?

1) Compact and lightweight for a 500mm lens.

2) When you nail the focus, it can be relatively sharp.

3) It is the only 500mm mirror lens which will autofocus.

What is not so good?

1) It has only one fixed aperture F8, so does require higher ISOs to maintain fast shutter speeds to ensure sharp images; I would recommend 1/1000 sec.

2) The focusing motor it has is not particularly fast and will not be able to keep up with fast moving subjects – hence not very good for bird-in-flight or sports.

3) Being an F8 lens, it only uses the centre point to autofocus, so no multi-points focusing to track subjects.


Optics: 7 elements in 5 groups

Filter: rear mounted 42mm (it comes with a Normal and a ND4X filter)

Weight: 665g

Minimum focusing distance: 4 metres

The follow images were all taken with the Sony A77 and 500/8 AF lens.

Seagull shot with Sony 500/8 lens at 1/1000 sec
Harris Hawk
Wild hare
Wild rabbits
Pheasant (the Bokeh from this lens can be distracting at times)
Young ram
House sparrows
Snowy owl
Snowy owl
Snowy owl - 100% crop
Snowy owl – 100% crop

This lens can certainly come in very handy for extra reach in good light, especially when it is so compact and light. As a result these images are uncropped (except the seagull image).

I did use this lens to shoot the super moon the other day (using manual focus and tripod mounted to maximise sharpness), but will post about this another time.