Cheap Telephoto Lens: Bower 500mm F/8 Review

This is a short review of the Bower 500mm f/8 lens (also applies to the Rokinon, Vivitar and Opteka 500mm f/8 lenses). It’s a manual lens with only OK optical quality. But for the price it offers a 500mm focal length that can get you shots that you just couldn’t get otherwise. If you really want a long telephoto lens, but can’t afford $1000+, this lens offers good value at less than $100.

I hope this video helps you decide if one of these lenses could work for you. If you have any questions post them in the comments.

Thanks for watching.

Links to photos taken with this lens:

I can’t say definitively that this is the best you can get from the lens, but it’s the best I could get in each of these scenarios. Only mild tweaking performed in Lightroom.


TheCandy8857 says:

thanks, I appreciate the video, not much info on YouTube about the lens.

Baljinder Gill says:

Will it work for a rebel t6 (1300D)

Geordie Knapp says:

This amateur neophyte found this very helpful and informative. Thanks much

Khandi Stevens says:

why do all my pictures come out black even though i can see the image on screen or through view finder?

••••••••• • says:

wtf..this guy is just blabbering shit and not showing actual samples…f you man.

Ed LaBelle says:

Would this lens work for shots of the Moon or Sun (with solar filter) on a tracking tripod? Looking for an inexpensive way to image next summer’s solar eclipse on August 21.

Josh Ayala says:

No zoom?

samjohn williams says:

it suites for canon 1300 d?

Khandi Stevens says:

shutter speed is not the problem the image is clear but after picture taken the image is black

TheCandy8857 says:

Did you get the 2x converter with yours? What does the O—C dial do? Would it be clearer with or without the 2x converter?

jesuisravi says:

the beauty of this lens is: It is light.

Khandi Stevens says:

no matter what I use it comes out black no image just solid black as if there is a lens cap on but that isn’t the problem.

Khandi Stevens says:

same exact lens just vivitar brand. I have called the company I purchased from and they can’t explain why.

R Arbuckle says:

How does this compare to the 500mm f8 mirrored lenses? They’re the same price, but this one is much longer than the mirrored lens.

Art Cohen says:

Thanks for the excellent lens review. I would like to see more sample images, if available, at maximum resolution.

Robert Simpson says:

I got the Samyang (SP500P) version of this. The 500mm focal length was what I was looking for in order to take pictures of the solar eclipse in August.

Marty Zielinski says:

I’ve got one of these and it’s awful. Unsharp in the center, and blurry around the edges at all stops Cheapo mirror lenses are even worse. A used Tamron 500 mirror is VASTLY better, and far easier to carry and use. I also have a pair of identical 400 Tele Astragons. One is much sharper than the other, but both are better than this turd. (can be found on ebay for about $25-$40)

Kevin Mcintosh says:

i would be interested in a vid about shooting in manual mode..ive got a sony alpha a35 with a 500mm mirror lens and 2x converter..cheers

Jason Ostien says:

hello I’m new at photography and just got a rebel t5i. will this lens work for taking shots of the moon and stars? and if so how do I do that on manual mode?

monari ogari says:

I am interested in a basic instructional video on shooting in manual mode……….

jesuisravi says:

I would be interested in an instructional video on how to use this kind of lens

Karenliana says:

What settings did you use on M mode? I’ve been playing around with mine, but they are all overexposed, basically white all around.

Vaibhav archer tricks says:

it’s work on cannon 1200d

Donna Collins says:

Thank you for this review. I am still an amateur and this is very helpful. I was very please to see the shot of the eagle and the example of against the 55. I tried a very similar shot from a boat in the middle of a lake of an Eagle in its nest and I got a blurry picture with my 55. Even though my 500 would have probably not done well from the boat I know what to do next time! Thanks!

aziz shansab says:

Thanks and Appreciate from your info.

Pamela Saravia Villar says:

Thanks for the video!

john henry says:

What a load of rubbish what about showing how to use with the camera what setting can be used!!!!

Aaron Shackelford says:

I got the vivitar version of this for the same price with the 2x converter. I would definitely appreciate a tutorial of manual mode but not just with this lens but with some examples of how the same shot changes by making changes to ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Great video and this does seem good for the money.

cook2030 says:

Can I use this for the Canon Rebel t1i?

davva360 says:

I am considering one of these for my Sony A6000 as I have a trip to Alaska coming up next summer. I have the Sony 55-210 zoom but I am thinking something longer would come in useful for the trip. Not expecting miracles out of it but don’t want to miss a good photo opportunity.

Khandi Stevens says:

I would be very interested in an instructional video

Dacendi says:

Does this work with Nikon D3300?

Mostly Harmless. says:

Throw that crappy Nikon away and buy a Pentax… You’d get metered aperture priority auto exposure with that. 🙂

mary retter says:

Do y have tutorial on how to distance focusing- manual.. I have a maunal close up lens — for like insects and messed with it .. learned.. —

AM Tanba Pursuit says:

It is just a manual lens. It shakes a lot. You have to wait for it settle before you shoot and not very clear. You must use a remote or use the timer.

It is cheap, great for children. You can play around and get familiar, but definitely not for action shots.

Within a range, scenery shots are good. Time delayed shots would be okay to. If you do not have the budget you can work with this. Otherwise I recommend you spend money on what would really perform well.

dhanush indurthi says:

any canon t mount can compatible with bower???

SuperRacingfox says:

hi, ive got an identical lens to the one in the video, and the t mount, but the mount seems too big to fit into the body of my Nikon d750. any ideas as to what I’m doing wrong?

Peter s says:

Fit in a d3300 ?

dhanush indurthi says:

i need a t mount for canon

Ricardo Campa says:

Hello my friend…..i have a canon Rebel EOS digital SLR…..can i use that lens on or the Cambron multi-coated 1:8…F=500 mm.


Anshum Pant says:

Hi. I’m new to photography. Will it work for a D3200?

Steph Scovill says:

i have a nikon d3200 and the opteka 500mm preset f/8 lens. there is also a 2x teleconverter that will not mount to the camera. i have the t2 mount but it only works for the 500mm lens. is there a different mount or am i missing something?

SuperSafety123 says:

Yes I’m interested in an instructional video

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