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Old Dec 1, 2007, 7:24 PM   #1
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I recently purchased an A700and was given a SAL18200 lens with the kit, I'm not overly impressed with the lens so far. Does anyone know really how much better the SAL18250 lens is aside from the extra zoom? Is it worth selling the 18-200mm and buying the 18-250mm, or will I not notice enough of a difference to bother?

Also, does anyone have any recommendationson a lens that would perform the best for taking pictures of small auction items?
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 8:05 PM   #2
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I haven't used either one. But, reports I've seen indicate that the 18-250mm lens is much better (about as good as you could expect from a lens with this much focal range from wide to long anyway).

As for small auction items, if you can't fill the frame as much as desired using one of these types of zooms, you can get a dedicated Macro lens.

Here are a few popular choices in higher grade 1:1 Macro lenses:

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Macro for $489 at B&H

Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro for $529 at B&H

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro for $399 at B&H

You can get a 50mm for less if you don't want the longer working range of a 100mm:

Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro for $269 at B&H



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Old Dec 1, 2007, 11:54 PM   #3
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CyberShotNut wrote:
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I recently purchased an A700and was given a SAL18200 lens with the kit, I'm not overly impressed with the lens so far. Does anyone know really how much better the SAL18250 lens is aside from the extra zoom? Is it worth selling the 18-200mm and buying the 18-250mm, or will I not notice enough of a difference to bother?
If you really want a superzoom, dump the 18-200 and get the 18-250.

I bought the KM version of the 18-200 with my KM5D. It's got geometric distortion at the wide end, chromatic aberration at the long end, and it's soft throughout.

The 18-250 is probably the best superzoom available (which is to say that it's probably marginally better than mulitple cheaper lenses that cover the same range.)

The 18-250 is a pretty dim lens (as is the 18-200), but if you can handle it, fine.
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 7:08 AM   #4
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CyberShotNut wrote:
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Also, does anyone have any recommendationson a lens that would perform the best for taking pictures of small auction items?
I don't know what other lenses you've got besides the 18-200, but you could try close-up lenses. They come in sets, and you can use them alone or together to get as close as a macro lens will. But too many close-up lenses in combination can cause vignetting.

They aren't very expensive, but might be hard to find in the 62mm size that you'd need for the 18-200. One of the problems with close-up lenses, and Macro work in general, is that it's difficult to get good light.That's why the lenses that JimC recommended are long (so you and the camera aren't blocking the light) and fast (f/2.8, a large maximum aperture allowing more light for the exposure.)

If you've got a fast enough lens (say, a 50mm f/1.7) with close-up lenses, you might be able to get what you're looking for, without spending a lot of money. A longer macro lens might not get as close, but it will provide a different perspective.

Macro is a specialized discipline within photography, and different products and techniques can yield very different results. I've used Macro lenses, close-up lenses, and even a bellows. Each is good for some subjects but not for others.

It really depends on how much "Macro" you want in your Macro. When you say 'small auction items', do you mean, like, watches or watch parts?
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 8:53 AM   #5
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Make sure to check the used listings, too. For example, I see a used Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Macro now for $249. Note that some of the older 90mm f/2.5 Macro lenses are not 1:1 (unless you use an included adapter with them). I'd get the newer 90mm f/2.8 in a Tamron. The used departments at these vendors are good places to check (look at 35mm Fixed Focal Length Lenses for Minolta Maxxum to find these).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

http://www.keh.com

http://www.adorama.com

A 1:1 Macro Lens will allow you to fill the frame with an object the size of the film or sensor. As already mentioned by TCav, a longer focal lens is often preferred to a shorter one (so that you are not in the way of lighting or spooking your subjects in the case of insects, etc.).

You'll find that zoom lenses you look at with Macro in their description are not 1:1 Macro lenses. Most are 1:4 (you can fill the frame with a subject 4 times the size of the film or sensor). Some are 1:2. 1:1 allows for smaller subjects. Look for a Maximum Magnification parameter in lens specs to see they compare.

But, since you're just doing web images (I assume that's what you mean since you mentioned auction items), you may be able to crop the image from a zoom and get what you want with enough detail.

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 9:31 AM   #6
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You can also use Extension Tubes and get closer focusing. Here's a set at Adorama:

http://www.adorama.com/MCAETMAX.html

But, you'll get some light loss using tubes (and you'll lose the ability to focus to infinity while they're on). So, brighter primes are often preferred for use with these. Light loss is determined by the magnification (extension / focal length). For example, you'll lose 1 EV with a 25mm extension tube.

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 5:36 PM   #7
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Also, does anyone have any recommendationson a lens that would perform the best for taking pictures of small auction items?




how small r u thinking?
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 11:33 PM   #8
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Nothing too tiny, I sell mostly retired store display model cameras on ebay as a hobby.
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 5:55 AM   #9
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CyberShotNut wrote:
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Nothing too tiny, I sell mostly retired store display model cameras on ebay as a hobby.
Ok, so bellows and extension tubes are too much.

Any of the lenses JimC mentioned should work well.
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Old Dec 3, 2007, 7:58 AM   #10
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CyberShotNut wrote:
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Nothing too tiny, I sell mostly retired store display model cameras on ebay as a hobby.
Any lens that has "macro" in the descrition should be able to focus on an object four times the size of the sensor - two thirds the linear dimension of 35mm in your case. Most (all?) if the fixed focal length lenses do better than that if labeled "macro".

That says nothing about the quality of the lens.
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