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princesultan Jan 20, 2012 12:25 PM

Looking for an inexpensive lens for Sony A230

I bought my girlfriend a Sony A230 a few years back and I'm thinking to buy her a lens. Only thing is a) my budget it tight (around 200$), b) I know absolutely no clue what to look for. The lens it came with is 18-55mm.

Can anyone help me out?

MartinSykes Jan 20, 2012 12:43 PM

What does she take pictures of? Primes are generally cheaper than zooms and good quality so if she shoots most stuff at one focal length that might be the way to go.

I love my SAL35F18 which is probably within your budget.

princesultan Jan 20, 2012 12:48 PM

hmmm, well i know nothing about cameras or lenses. i know when we travel she likes to take pictures. so i guess she might need something to zoom in closer? maybe something like 55mm-200mm i was seeing? she also takes close out shots or certain things...

i'm sorry if i'm not too much of a help.

edit: what does the lens you suggested do differently from hers?

JimC Jan 20, 2012 12:48 PM

Another option that would give her a lens in a longer focal length compared to her zoom would be a Sony 85mm f/2.8 SAM lens. It could perform double duty as a portrait lens, as well as a lens for shooting lower light events indoors (plays, concerts, etc). It runs around $249 in the U.S., which is not too far over budget.

JimC Jan 20, 2012 12:53 PM

Yes, the 55-200mm would be a good choice in a zoom to pair up with her existing kit. I'd probably get the SAM version of it if the price is close to the original non SAM version.

A lot depends on what she wants to shoot. I'd probably lean towards having a brighter lens like the 85mm f/2.8 SAM I mentioned, because I like to shoot in lower light more often.

But, for a general purpose zoom for use in good lighting, a 55-200mm would be a good choice.

princesultan Jan 20, 2012 12:58 PM

SAM is for auto-focus correct?

JimC Jan 20, 2012 1:13 PM

SAM means that a lens has a built in motor (it stands for Silent Autofocus Motor). So, it uses a motor built into the lens to Autofocus.

With a non SAM version of the 55-200mm, you still have Autofocus. But, the camera's AF motor is used instead (via a "screw drive" connection to the AF mechanism in the lens). Chances are that you'd see very little difference in performance between the SAM and non SAM versions of it. But, if the price were the same, I'd go for the SAM version if i were buying a 55-200mm. If there was a big price difference, I'd just get the older non SAM version of it, as the optics for either model should be the same.

IOW, I wouldn't worry about that part. The only reason I'd prefer the SAM version is so that it would work with the less expensive adapter Sony has available for using alpha mount lenses on nex camera bodies. That's something you wouldn't need to worry about using a non NEX body.

MartinSykes Jan 20, 2012 1:25 PM


Originally Posted by princesultan (Post 1279667)
edit: what does the lens you suggested do differently from hers?

The main difference is the maximum aperture of f1.8 - she probably only has f3.5 on her kit lens. The 1.8 lets you get a better blurred background for more 'artistic' shots and works better in low light. I find it perfect for dinner-party situations where you don't want to use flash. The 35mm is wide enough angle to fit in the person sitting opposite you if you want to. A typical portrait lens like Jim suggests requires you to be a bit further back from the subject. You get a more natural look with less distortion that way but you need a bit more room to take the photo.

A prime also means the images it produces are generally sharper than you'd get from a zoom lens because it's simpler inside.

Outhouse Jan 20, 2012 1:30 PM

You can find used 55-200 in good shape cheap. Check out B&H or

princesultan Jan 20, 2012 1:58 PM

thanks guys. i'm still unsure, but at the moment i'm kinda leaning towards something that will zoom like the 55-200 type lens. i also need a canadian site as i'm from canada and need it quite quickly. prices are about 250$ for that lens here.

is the sony 55-200mm a good one? are there any sony lenses i should NOT go for?

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