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Old Nov 26, 2010, 10:50 PM   #1
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Default Best value High speed lens a550??

I am trying to find a good value lens to shoot my daughters sporting events. Any suggestions?

I keep losing the bid on the older minolta maxxum 100 2.8 macro & 135 2.8 lens? Why is the 100 going for more than the 135?
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 2:09 AM   #2
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The 100mm F2.8 has better user rating than the 135mm F2.8 but the difference is not much according to the reviews:

I would go for the 135mm if you don't need the macro feature. If you want a macro lens, the 100mm is the one to get.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 3:54 AM   #3
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What sort of sporting events as possibly the lenses you mention are not the best fit? Also if they are outdoors are you shooting in the day or under the lights at night?
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 7:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by qoheleth View Post
I keep losing the bid on the older minolta maxxum 100 2.8 macro & 135 2.8 lens? Why is the 100 going for more than the 135?
The Minolta Maxxum AF 100mm f/2.8 Macro is a higher quality lens, and it's also a 1:1 Macro lens (meaning it can focus close enough to "fill the frame" with a subject as small as the camera's film or sensor size).

But, because it's a Macro lens, it's geared to focus slower for finer accuracy with very shallow depths of fields like you'd have when you're up close to a smaller subject, which is not what you would normally want for sports.

What sports are you wanting to shoot and in what conditions, and where are you trying to shoot from (floor or stands)?

Note that Sony has a new 85mm f/2.8 SAM lens out that's only $224.99 on sale right now.


That would probably be OK for shooting some sports like Basketball from the floor, but you'd need ISO 3200 with an f/2.8 lens. Here's an article about using the new 85mm f/2.8 for Hockey with an A500 (with much better lighting than you'd have in high school level gyms).


Sony also has nicer Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 and 135mm f/1.8 lenses out. You'll see an article by Rob Skeoch about using some of them for Hockey with a Sony A500 here (keeping in mind that pro rinks are very bright), and he also has some photos taken with a 50mm f/1.4 (and note that you can a get the less expensive Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM lens on sale for $124.99 right now).

Trying different lenses at the game by Rob Skeoch

More photos from them here:


But, if you're not going to be real close, you may need something longer than the lenses you're looking at (for example, a Minolta, Sony or Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8).

As for used lenses, I'd stick to reputable vendors like http://www.keh.com or http://www.bhphotovideo.com that have fair grading, offer a good return policy, and have short term warranty on used gear. I've bought used gear (camera bodies, flashes, lenses) from both, including a Minolta Maxxum 135mm f/2.8 AF lens like you're looking at from B&H. http://www.adorama.com also sells used lenses. For example, I bought my Minolta Maxxum 100mm f/2 AF Lens (brighter than the Minolta Maxxum 100mm f/2.8 Macro lenses you're looking at) from adorama.com.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 9:40 PM   #5
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Default Some more info

Thanks for all the help - I a mreally a newbie to all this, and still unclear on a lot of concepts - much to the frustration of the folks trying to help explain it all.

Right now it is middle school basketball - I have been in the stands, but have now moved to the floor for the shots.

The next will be middle school softball. So ideally I would love a value priced lens to do both if I could.

I was wondering about this lens

but the reviews I read concerned me, and the price seems a little high for it.

I am going to keep on the look out for the 135.
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Old Nov 28, 2010, 7:05 AM   #6
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I'd suggest you forget that idea (trying to use the same lens for both basketball and softball), unless you want to get a Sigma, Minolta or Sony 70-200mm f/2.8.

For the basketball on a tight budget, I'd suggest starting with either the 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM or 85mm f/2.8 SAM if you can shoot from the floor. You won't be able to get everything with those lenses (you'll be limited as to how far you can get accurate focus and you'll only be able to cover one side of the court), and you'd need to use ISO 3200 with the 85mm lens. But, you should be able to get some keepers that way. Figure around 15 feet out with the 50mm, and about 25 feet with the 85mm for max working range.

Then, get a longer lens for the softball (for example, a 70-300mm lens of some flavor, keeping in mind that most of the cheaper zooms are going to get softer much past 200mm). In a budget zoom for daytime games, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro is better than most, although it's still going to get softer on it's longer end, so stopping the aperture down a bit may be a good idea (for example, use f/6.7, f/7.1 or f/8 versus f/5.6 at the longer 300mm end), increasing ISO speed to keep shutter speeds fast enough. I'd avoid the budget Sigma 70-300mm zooms in that focal range, as I've seen too many reported issues of stripped gears using them on newer Sony models.

Or, if you don't mind one starting out at 100mm, look for a used Minolta Maxxum 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO AF lens, which is a well liked lens (making sure it's the APO version, as the non-APO version is not a very good lens). I'd get the latest APO D version if budget permits. There are reasons for the price differences between them (APO versions versus non APO versions). ;-)
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