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-   -   Budget Zoom Lens for 5D/7D (

RacingManiac Sep 6, 2005 11:33 AM

I am starting to narrow down my choices for my D-SLR search, coming from a Minolta Z1 p&s big zoom I am leaning towards the Maxxum series now. But I am wondering about Lens. I know it makes or breaks the pic but I can't really afford a really good one at the moment(as in costs more than my camera). Since I like to do some motorsport photography during day time, a good Zoom/Telephoto lens with good focal length I think is a must. So what would be a good one on a budget around maybe 2-300 USD? There are some bundle on eBay for a 7D with a Tamron 70-300mm and a Maxxum 28-100mm for ~$1300USD. Which seems like a good deal. Or I can get a 5D and get the 18-70mm kit and buy something else.

abredon Sep 6, 2005 6:25 PM

My suggestion:
Get the 5D with the kit lens, and buy a used Minolta 70-210 f/4 (or the 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 - lighter and supposed to be just as good optically) lens (around US $100). The kit lens is supposed to be pretty good, and gives you a good range (27-105mm equivalent - moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto). The 70-210 is one of the best affordable telephoto lenses around - sharp even wide open, reasonably fast, and not too heavy.

The kit plus 70-210 will give you a good range, and will last until you know what lens(es) you really want, and can afford it (or them).

RacingManiac Sep 6, 2005 9:31 PM

Thank you for the advice. The price range seems a bit more realistic for me compare to the APO 100-300mm. The 5D is looking better by the moment....:)

allanmarcus Sep 9, 2005 12:04 AM

any comments on the Konica Minolta Zoom Telephoto AF D 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Autofocus Lens ($140 at BH). It's a "D" lens, which hels when using a flash, right?

JimC Sep 9, 2005 12:49 AM

Any time you try to get that much focal range in a lens, you're compromising quality to some extent.

It all depends on your requirements for the image.

The 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 is considered to be a below average lens.

I'd try to go with the 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO instead, if you *really* need 300mm on the long end (which will be a 35mm equivalent focal length of 450mm after the 1.5x crop factor you have with this sensor). It appears to be a very good lens for the money, for a lens this small and light (compared to many of the brighter lenses in this focal range).

You can find user ratings of lenses at

Scroll down to where you see the "User Performance Surveys". Then, select Minolta AF lenses. This menu choice will take you to a page where you can query the database. Just leave everything at the defaults at press Start Query button to see all lenses with user ratings.

RacingManiac Sep 9, 2005 10:54 AM

btw thanks for that site, really useful for picking lenses. I am probably going to get the 5D over the weekend on Ebay, and gonna visit the camera shop near here to take a look at the 70-210mm f/4 Minolta AF lens, used, a bit more expensive than the eBay one, but at least I can see it beforehand...

JimC Sep 9, 2005 11:47 AM

RacingManiac wrote:

btw thanks for that site, really useful for picking lenses. I am probably going to get the 5D over the weekend on Ebay, and gonna visit the camera shop near here to take a look at the 70-210mm f/4 Minolta AF lens, used, a bit more expensive than the eBay one, but at least I can see it beforehand...
User opinon survey databasescan be quite useful, because you typically have more people responding to a variety of questions about a lens, than you may get in a forum post asking.

On the other hand, because of the smaller image circle used by a DSLR compared to 35mm film, some of the issues impacting film users, may not be applicable to DSLR users. For example, edge softness (sincea camera like the 5D or 7D use the "sweet spot" of a lens, cropping off the edges).

In addition to user opinion surveys (which contain a mixture responses from both film and DSLR users), I sometimes study the MTF charts for lenses at

For lenses with charts available (and a lot don't have them), I can see if a lens got a lower rating in MTF tests because of edge softness that may not be applicable on a DSLR. These charts show contrast and sharpness at various focal lengths and apertures, from the center of a lens to it's edges. If I see a lens that stays sharp until about 13mm from center (then dropping off sharply), it may not be a problem with a DSLR..

DSLR sensors also have different characteristics compared to film (i.e., reflectivity of the imager), so that can also impact images.

But, despite some drawbacks to these types of measurement systems (both user opinions and MTF tests), you can get a pretty good idea of how one lens is likely to compare to another.

As for looking at lenses you consider, yes, definitely do that. Any lens is going to be a compromise in some areas (size, weight, focal range, brightness, build quality, optical quality, ergonomics, cost, etc.). Some users may not be comfortable with some lenses thatrate higher, simply because they may be larger and heavier compared to lenses that are not as bright or sharp.

So, each user will need to decide for themselves what the best "fit" is for their lens needs.

As far as buying your camera on Ebay, I'd use extra caution. For one thing, it's not uncommon to see Ebay vendors trying to sell "grey market" cameras (not intended for sale in the region you're in) that a manufacturer may not service under warranty. It's not uncommon for vendors to "slant" the warranty, either. For example: "1 year USA warranty". What some don't tell you is that they are giving you a third party or "store" warranty, which may or may not be worth the paper it's written on.

You may also have problems returning or exchanging it if you get a camera with problems (and any model is going to have a certain amount of "out of the box" failures, or cameras with a problem that may warrant return or exchange).

Many vendors also sell "package deals" that contain a lot of junk (slow memory cards, poor quality lenses, cheap tripods, poor optical quality filters and lens accessories, etc.), quoting outrageous "savings" when you buy these bundles, showing ridiculous "retail prices" for the junk included, that nobody that understands what they're buying would ever pay.

Check out your vendors carefully when shopping. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

JimC Sep 9, 2005 12:32 PM


Use the Buyers Guide to help find vendors with lower prices (but, don't expect a lot of discount if the vendor is reputable). Prices are vey competitive now.

Also, make sure to read customer reviews for any vendor you consider at

There are a lot of scam artists around with very nice looking web sites. Most of the well known scam artistshave a Brooklyn address, so use extra caution if that's the case; and don't buy from a vendor with a small number of customer reviews, since vendors have been caught trying to "pad" their own ratings.

Here is an article Bryan Biggers wrote that I'd strongly suggest you read:

How to buy a Digital Camera without being robbed

The tactics he mentions in his article are VERY COMMON, and these vendors usually have very nice looking web sites, with lots of important looking logos.

speaklightly Sep 9, 2005 2:18 PM


I am also very interested in KM 5D. You mentioned buying older/used lenses from the film era that would work on the KM 5D. Exactly which lenses will work with the KM 5D? Will all of the older Minolta bayonet lenses work?

I would appreciate it if you elaborate a bit on this topic. Thanks very much!

Sarah Joyce

JimC Sep 9, 2005 2:41 PM


Minolta changed the lens mount beginning with the Maxxum/Dynax series cameras. These were the first Minolta modelswith Autofocus. The Maxxum 7000 was introduced in 1985 using this new lens mount.

So, anyMinoltalens you see being sold as compatible with Maxxum, Dynax, AF, Autofocus, or Minolta "A" mount should work just fine on a 7D or 5D.

Older Minolta MC/MD series manual focus lenses are designed for a different lens mount, although I have seen some mention of adapters for these (and other) lenses for Maxxum models.

I haven't researched this at length, butyou'll need to use stop down metering with older manual focus lenses *if* an adapter will work (since the camera will be unable to control the lens aperture setting, you'll need to set the aperture ring yourself and meter "stopped down", which means a dimmer viewfinder using smaller apertures.

My brother-in-law (lives not too far from me) has some wonderful manual focus Minolta lenses he uses with an old SRT-101. So, I plan to look into what it would take to use them on a KM DSLR.

Isometmes join him on fishing trips early Sunday morning (he likes to get to the river no later than sunrise, and we're usually finished by around 10:00AM). So, being able to borrow some of his nice lenses would be an advantage if I can find a solution that works with a KM DSLR (and I'm probably going to buy one very soon myself). There is some very nice scenaria along the Ogeechee River in Southern Georgia I'd like to capture.


Then again, I've already bought some lenses in Maxxum AF mount. So, I may be fine wiithout borrowing his. ;-)

So far, I've bought the Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2, 135mm f/2.8; Tamron 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5, and Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 in Minolta AF mount.

But, he does have some pretty sharp old lenses (including some that are longer than what I've bought so far). I've been quite impressed with some of the many photos he has framed on his wall taken with that old Minolta SRT-101.

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