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Old May 19, 2009, 7:16 AM   #1
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Default New lense question

Hello all: Just wondering if anyone could point me in the right dirrection for a online site to purchase lenses. I have found several with very good prices but worry if they can be trusted or not. It would be great to get advice from someone who has had good dealing allready. Im looking for a lense that will give me a little more range then my 70-210. Eg. Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 I will mostly be using it outdoor for sports and nature shots, on occasion I shoot Gymnastics but I cant afford a 2.8 at $1300.00 us. I would prefer to spend under $350.00 us. I am also concidering getting a 1.4 or 2 x teleconvertor later on.
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Old May 19, 2009, 7:56 AM   #2
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B&H, Adorama, Buydig are all companies I've worked with on purchases without any issues.

Realize the lens you're considering won't autofocus and will have very poor optical quality if you add a TC to it. So if you really need 400mm or more you are MUCH better off saving some coin and buying it right out of the gate. As you already know, a 5.6 lens is practically useless for indoor sports.

I would suggest asking in the sony lens forum for some suggestions on a 400mm lens option if that's what you need.
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Old May 19, 2009, 8:00 AM   #3
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com is a reputable vendor.

As for the Sigma 70-300mm lenses, I'd avoid them for use on your A300. I've seen a number of posts from Sony Alpha users complaining about stripped gears with this lens (probably due to the faster AF motor Sony is using in the newer Alpha bodies).

In a budget lens, I'd look at this Tamron instead:


Just keep in mind that the budget 70-300mm lenses all have a reputation for being a bit softer on their long end.

You may also want to look at a used Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO (D) instead. http://www.keh.com and http://www.bhphotovideo.com are good places to find these. Make sure you get the APO version if you go that route. These generally run $350+ used, depending on the exact version and condition, so they'd be on the high side of your budget.

If you can stretch your budget, you can find much higher quality options.

As for using a TC, these types of lenses are really not bright enough. Either you'd lose Autofocus entirely (if the TC reported corrected aperture information, the camera won't even try to Autofocus), or the camera would struggle to Autofocus in anything other than optimum lighting if the TC was "dumb" and didn't report corrected aperture information. Keep in mind that you lose 1 stop of light with a 1.4x TC, and 2 stops of light with a 2x TC. That means the camera's AF sensors are not going to be able to see very well to Autofocus. Plus, a TC is going to degrade image quality some. So, you really want a very high quality lens to start out with (and you'll want a brighter lens if you want to retain Autofocus).

As for the gymnastics, an f/2.8 zoom may not be bright enough. You'd probably want to look at a Minolta 85mm f/1.4, Sony/Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, or Minolta 100mm f/2 for that purpose, assuming you can shoot from the floor and get close to the mats. Even then, you may not be able to freeze action with the faster tumbling routines from comments I've seen from our sports shooters.
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Old May 19, 2009, 8:34 AM   #4
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As for something longer than 300mm, the next step up from the Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO (D) (which is a higher quality lens with virtually no CA compared to the Tamron and Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 models), is the Minolta 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 APO AF lens. But, you're probably not going to find the Minolta 100-400mm with a $350 budget. These are running around $550+ now on the used market, depending on condition and what's included (hood, caps, case).

After that, your available options get more expensive.
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Old May 19, 2009, 9:03 AM   #5
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For anything that long at that price, you won't do better than the Tamron 70-300 Di LD, the Minolta 100-300 APO or the original Minolta AF 75-300 'Big Beercan'. The Minolta lenses are hard to find but very good. The Tamron is less expensive, more available, and possibly almost as good. Anything longer and/or better will cost a lot more.

For indoor sports, I think the best you'll be able to do is the Vivitar 85mm f/1.4. It's manual focus, but it's all there is anywhere near that price range. Adorama has it for US$375.
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