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Old Dec 12, 2012, 7:56 PM   #1
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Default Question on 300mm-400mm lens for Sony a55

Hi -

A young wildlife photographer in the family is looking to upgrade their equipment. I own a fairly new Sony a55 camera, but am looking for a nice zoom lens (300mm or 400mm) to pair it with.

Any suggestions on what zoom lens models marry up well with the a55?

Much appreciated.
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Old Dec 12, 2012, 10:47 PM   #2
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I've got the Sony 70-400 and it would be perfect but you will need at least a monopod. Very sharp and extremely quiet.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 5:06 AM   #3
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The Sony 70-400 'G' Lens that Outhouse mentioned is indeed an excellent choice, but at $1,900, it's a considerable investment.

The Sony 70-300 'G' is also an excellent lens, and its price of $900 might be a little more palatable.

The Tamron 70-300 USD is also a popular option at $349 (after $100 Mail-In Rebate.)

Then there's the used market. Minolta's A-Mount lenses work flawlessly on Sony's bodies, and a number of them will fulfill your requirements quite well. Minolta's 100-400 APO, 100-300 APO and 75-300 Macro 'Big Beercan' are all very good lenses for what you want to do. Naturally, supply is sporadic, but they can be found on KEH.com and eBay.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 8:24 PM   #4
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Thank you both - much appreciated!
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 12:23 PM   #5
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I suggest you consider the Tamron 200-500. It works very well with the image stabilization system of the Sony DSLR and is lighter than several of the other long lens. It can be found for under $1000.

A shorter, but very good lens is the new Tamron 70-300 which, with mail in rebate, can be had for $350. IMHO, 300mm is still a bit short for wildlife shots.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._4_5_6_Di.html

Btw... I shoot wildlife and air shows with an older non-stabilized Sigma 50-500 and an A700 body. The Sigma is a fair bit heavier than the Tamron 200-500 and I shoot 99% hand held but I'm a husky middle aged man. A child would likely require at least a monopod. Occasionally, on cold days, I shoot with a monopod. I have shot at low shutter speeds 1/50th-1/100th second and 500mm focal length with success on several occasions but it took some practice in technique to get there but the A700's in body stabilization works well with it. I often shoot air shows at 1/200th and 300-400mm while panning and will get the shot I want. To my non-pro hobbyist eyes I'm happy with the results.

I've recently seen the very good Sigma 150-500 for about $1070. But this lens is as heavy as my 50-500.

I've tried the Sony 70-400G and really liked a lot about it but I already had my Sigma and could not justify switching at that time. It is a lighter lens than my Sigma so again, I personally would hand hold it when shooting. If I was just starting out today, and it was just wildlife I was shooting, it would probably be the Tamron 200-500 I'd buy. I considered the Tamron 3 years ago when I bought my Sigma but I wanted the 50-200 focal length as well as the 500 all in one lens due that I also shoot some sport events.

If you do check out the pre-owned market, I suggest you consult the Dyxum Lens database to ensure you are getting the "good" version of an older lens.

http://www.dyxum.com/index.asp


Also, look to Flickr for samples of images from the lens. For example, the Tamron 200-500. I don't think Flickr does the best job resizing images as compared to Smugmug but they are a great way to look up samples.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=tamron+200-500&s=int

My Flickr .... http://www.flickr.com/photos/75485754@N00/
- most aerial or wildllife shots from the past 3 years are with the A700 + Sigma 50-500 combo


.

Last edited by NewsyL; Dec 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 2:14 PM   #6
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Thank you. Is there a specific adapter that's needed for the Sony a55 for this Tamron lens?
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 3:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashsdad View Post
Thank you. Is there a specific adapter that's needed for the Sony a55 for this Tamron lens?
No. The Tamron 70-300 NewsyL mentioned is the same one I mentioned earlier. The Tamron 200-500 he mentioned is here. They're both available with Sony's A-Mount.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:55 PM   #8
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TCav covered it.

Sony A-mount.... Sony A-mount.... Sony A-mount.... Sony A-mount....

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=tamron+200-500&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

-note how the lens is listed several times; a version for Canon, Nikon, and Sony

But due you asked that question, I'm curious as to your DSLR experience. If you are new to them, I strongly suggest you buy a new lens rather than pre-owned. With pre-owned you have to know how to check for oil on the blades of the lens diagphram and fungus on the glass inside the lens. Not difficult but something best done before you buy the lens. But if your local brick & mortar shop that you trust happens to have a pre-owned Sony A-mount version hanging around for $600.... seriously consider it.

With a new lens, if it turns out the lens does not get used much, it will be easy to resell. Keep all your boxes, paperwork, etc etc.

Last edited by NewsyL; Dec 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 8:28 AM   #9
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I have a Minolta Maxxum 100-300mm APO zoom. Found it on Ebay for $225.00. It is very light weight and has the five contact mount(no flash ranging compensation). If you can find one, buy it. This is an excellent lens in every respect. I'm attaching two images shot at max 300mm focal length. One taken at f9 and the other at max open (f5.6). Flash was used. ISO=200.
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Last edited by Streets; Dec 19, 2012 at 1:33 PM.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 8:50 AM   #10
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I'll add that, if you can find one, the Tokina 100-300mm f/4 is also a very good lens.
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