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Old Nov 27, 2012, 9:45 PM   #1
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Default What type of lens should I get?


I'm pretty new to this whole dslr thing but I've had my Sony a55 slr camera for about a year now. I got the lens kit that came with it and I'm ready for something a bit more.

I use my camera to primarily take pictures of my kids and family and other various things. I'd really like to start taking nice portraits of my family as well. I'm not sure where to begin on looking for a better lens. I'd like to have a larger focal length than what I have with the lens kit and I'd like a smaller f-stop as well as it only goes down to around 4.

I'm also not wanting to spend an arm and a leg for the lens. The max I'd like to spend is around $300-400

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Old Nov 28, 2012, 5:25 AM   #2
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There are a number of different lenses that could satisfy your needs, but I don't think there's one that coud satisfy them all. Plus, you haven't been really specific about what you want to shoot.

There are lots of different types of portraits, but in general, you'd need a larger maximum aperture and probably a longer focal length as well. Large apertures mean more glass, and more barrel to surround it, so large apertures aren't cheap. You could go for the Sony 50mm f/1.8 ($143) which isn't longer than the 18-55 kit lens you have now, but with a much bigger aperture. Since you mentioned that your kit "only goes down to around 4", I suspect that you don't often use it at it's long end where it only goes down to f/5.6, so you might also consider the Sony 35mm f/1.8 ($193), even though it's shorter than a typical "portrait" lens might be. The Sony 85mm f/2.8 ($273) is more typical of a "portrait" lens, and as such, is more of a single purpose lens. And if you're looking for something a little more flexible, there's the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 ($474).

For a longer lens, when shooting (for instance) active children outdoors, you might like the Sony 55-200mm f/4-5.6 ($198). But for organized outdoor sports like soccer and baseball, you might like the longer Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 USD ($349).

A very nice feature of the Sony system is that it can use all those old Minolta lenses on the used market, and they'll all be stabilized, just like the new lenses, and many of the lenses I mentioned, and many lenses like them, can be found at reduced prices if you don't mind buying second hand. Most large retailers have "Used" departments, KEH.com specializes in used photo equipment, and there's always eBay.
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