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Old Aug 2, 2008, 5:27 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I was looking to buy a used Minolta AF 50 1.7 for my Sony Alpha 200, so was calling up a few camera shops. One of them said they didn't have any used ones, but did have a new one for £109. I queried whether it was a Sony branded one, since I thought the Minoltas were discontinued years ago, but he said no it is a Minolta one.

Confused...

I'm planning to buy it since the used ones go for about £70 so a brand new one for £109 seems pretty good, but what questions should I ask before purchase??

The camera shop is about 2 hours drive from where I live, so I'll probably order it mail order if I have no reason to suspect it might be dodgy, though I could go and inspect it in person if absolutely necessary.

Cheers
Phil
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 6:54 PM   #2
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There are places that held onto their Minolta inventory, on the off chance that someday someone would want something to fit their Sony dSLR.

You made somebody's day.

There is no substitute for it. Sony discontinued the f/1.7 in favor of the (more expensive) f/1.4. And while £109 sounds high, the used ones are getting more expensive every day.

I'd do it.

And I'd also find out what other Minolta inventory he had. If he had something else interesting, I'd make the 2 hour drive.
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 7:03 PM   #3
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Thank you, that's useful feedback.

Main reason to buy the lens is to take beautiful mainly indoor low-light shots of my baby daughter (currently 6 weeks old) without flash. With the kit lens, I'm finding indoor shots in good light look great without flash, but because the max aperture is not so great, 3.5 (I think), I start having to use flash when light is not so good and the colours don't look so natural. Also hoping the bokeh and general image quality will be better with this lens than the kit lens.

Would you say this is the best use of my £109?

Cheers
Phil
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 7:27 PM   #4
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Yes. I think so.

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Old Aug 3, 2008, 12:03 AM   #5
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TCav - what a lovely shot! Oh, my.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 4:49 AM   #6
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Gardenwife wrote:
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TCav - what a lovely shot! Oh, my.
Thank you. That's my granddaughter when she was 1 day old.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 4:55 AM   #7
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It seems like this lens keeps getting more expensive with each passing week! I have only seen it a handful of times go dip slightly below $100 USD, but more often then not, are a lot higher.

If you can find one in good condition at a reasonable price, buy it. You can always sell it back for you what you paid, if not more!
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 5:22 AM   #8
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Since Sony's dSLRs have gotten so popular, used Minolta lenses have gotten expensive. I paid $150 for my Beercan about a year ago; today, they're going for over $300. (That's still a bargain, btw.) Get your used Minolta lenses while you can still afford them.
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Old Aug 9, 2008, 11:36 AM   #9
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Hi all,

Thanks for your replies. Just to let you know I did buy the lens, and seems to be a good purchase. Shooting in available light is much easier with the wider aperture than the kit lens... the 18-70 kit lens has max aperture f/5.3 at 50mm so the f/1.7 needs one just tenth of the light for the same shutter speed. This means I can shoot with decent shutter speeds and low ISO even in lowish light.

I don't notice much difference in sharpness or general image quality between f/1.7, f/2.0, f/2.2 etc. Compared with the kit lens, the 50 f/1.7 has a softer, more pleasing image (to me) for portaits with nice out-of-focus background. The kit lens seems a bit sharper and I don't see much difference in colour.

You can see some of my favourite pictures taken with this lens at link below, all pictures taken without flash and with the 50mm f/1.7, with the exception of DSC00896.JPG which was taken with the kit lens to show a comparison. By clicking on a photo and then "more info", you can see the Exif data.

http://picasaweb.google.com/phil.carmalt/JoJoFavourites

I would really appreciate any feedback on the pics, any tips to improve etc!!

Cheers
Phil
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Old Aug 9, 2008, 12:28 PM   #10
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Welcome to the wonderful world of available light photography.

The 18-70 is not a bad lens, and is pretty sharp at 50mm and f/8, and even at f5.6 it's still fairly sharp in the center. (See http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/976/cat/83)

The sharpnness of the 50mm f/1.7 might have been hard to see among the bokeh (the blurring of objects outside the depth of field), but I'm surprised that you didn't see any difference.
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