Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Sony Alpha dSLR / Konica Minolta dSLR, Sony SLT

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 17, 2008, 1:32 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 22
Default

I bought an A200 a few weeks ago and have been playing around with it for a while, and getting really nice results for an amateur with very little knowledge. I love the fact I can select 'auto' and get great 'snap shots' as well as dabble with the functions as I fancy for a more professional result.

Anyway, after sifting through the forums and reviews I need some advice on which zoom lens to choose.

I know most people champion the Minolta 70-210mm 'Beercan', but they are going for silly money for a secondhand lens - not that I'm a snob, just that with no guarantee and not knowing what results I'm supposed to get, I wouldn't know if it was damaged or not, so would shy away from this route.

I have the standard kit lens (18-70mm) and need the zoom for longer distance sports shots like football (sorry 'soccer'), horse racing, motor racing, etc.

I'm looking for a lens that's good value for money rather than the best money can buy as my current skill doesn't warrant the extra cash ;-)


Big4heD is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Aug 17, 2008, 1:58 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

For new lenses, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD is not bad and inexpensive. The Sony 75-300 isn't as good, and the Sigma 70-300 seems to have some QA problems.

For used lenses, the Beercan is better but more expensive and it doesn't have the reach. The Minolta 100-300 APO is also good, but can also go for some serious money. The 100-300 (non-APO) is cheaper and seems to do surprisingly well, but is overshadowed by the APO version, so it goes for a lot less.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 17, 2008, 6:08 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

I will add that the condition of a lens is pretty easy to determine.
  • The focus and zoom controls should operate smoothly. Some noise is ok as long as it is consistent throughout the travel. [/*]
  • The barrel should be free of major damage, though minor wear, scuffs and scratches are ok. The filter ring should be free of damage. [/*]
  • The lens elements, front and rear,should be free of scuffs and scratches. None of the lens elements should appear foggy. [/*]
  • The aperture blades should all be dull and even. [/*]
  • The lens should operate correctly on the camera at different apertures and focal lengths, and should autofocus accurately.[/*]
If a lens meets all those criteria, it is likely to work well for you for some time.

If it doesn't most vendors will let you send it back. eBay sellers will describe the condition of the lens in their listing. If they don't, you can contact them directly and ask them. If they don't respond, don't bid.

The used marketof Minolta lenses is a great resource for Sony dSLR owners. There's nothing (much) to fear, and you might find a gem in amongst the rubble.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 17, 2008, 8:56 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
BillDrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hay River Township, WI
Posts: 2,512
Default

Take a look at the used lenses at KEK, B&H, Adorama, (likely others are good as well). You will find many cheap zooms in the range 100-300. Then take a look at the reviews of those lenses at places like http://www.dyxum.com/ I am pretty sure you will find that the best predictor of the quality of the lens is the price.

One charactoristic of just about all cheap/moderate priced lenses is that they are pretty good when shut down a couple of stops. (The really pricey ones are fast and don't need to be stopped down.) Since one thing that makes some lenses cheap is that they are not very fast to start with so stoping them down means they can only be used in fairly bright daylight. If that describes your use, I'd suggest a cheap (less than US$100) lens would not be a bad place to start. Count the price as tuition since you will learn what you want in a better lens by using it.
BillDrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 17, 2008, 9:29 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 154
Default

TCav wrote:
Quote:
For new lenses, the Tamron 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD is not bad and inexpensive. The Sony 75-300 isn't as good, and the Sigma 70-300 seems to have some QA problems.

For used lenses, the Beercan is better but more expensive and it doesn't have the reach. The Minolta 100-300 APO is also good, but can also go for some serious money. The 100-300 (non-APO) is cheaper and seems to do surprisingly well, but is overshadowed by the APO version, so it goes for a lot less.
TCav - did you mean the 70-300 tamron? That is what you linked to. Also why would you say its better than the sony? Ive been looking to purchase the Sony but if the Tamron is better then I will get that, and its cheaper.

Thanks
firstascent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 17, 2008, 9:46 PM   #6
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Big4heD wrote:
Quote:
I know most people champion the Minolta 70-210mm 'Beercan', but they are going for silly money for a secondhand lens - not that I'm a snob, just that with no guarantee and not knowing what results I'm supposed to get, I wouldn't know if it was damaged or not, so would shy away from this route.
Buy from a reputable dealer with a warranty on used gear. ;-)

The better vendors have a return policy that allows you to check and make sure a lens works OK. They also have a warranty on used gear (30-90 days, depending on the vendor).

I've bought used gear from keh.com, adorama.com and bhphotovideo.com, and I've never had to return a used lens.

B&H Return Policy and Warranty on on used gear

KEH Return Policy and Warranty on used gear

Adorama Return Policy

Scroll down and you'll see their warranty on used gear:

Adorama Warranty on Used Gear

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 18, 2008, 6:39 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Rockingham Western Australia
Posts: 592
Default

I have made queries regarding the all singing all dancing zoom lenses such as the 28-250mm marketed by Sony, Sigma and Tamron. Generally the more serious photographers give them the no no and then in threads such as Fresh Drink, others are enthusiastic.

The Sony version the SAL18-250 is $A200 more expensive than the Tamron version here in Australia, the Sigma version is harder to find and the Tamron readily available.

Having read magazine reviews on the Tamron 18-200mmand the 18-250mm, it seems that although the specs are fairly similar, there is no comparison with the optics. One UK magazine gave a rating of 65% for the 18-200 and 95% for the 18-250.

I have fortunately been given the opportunity to compare both lenses using the same settings on the same objects and I can only agree that the 18-250 is far superior.

I appreciate the problems at full zoom extremes and being prepared to allow for this intend buying the 18-250 immediately.

This doesn't rule out me buying a prime lens or two in the future but as a general purpose lens for travelling, the 18-250mm does seem to fit the bill
Bootneck3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 18, 2008, 8:44 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
BillDrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Hay River Township, WI
Posts: 2,512
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
... I've bought used gear from keh.com, adorama.com and bhphotovideo.com, and I've never had to return a used lens. ...
I have had to return a used lens to KEH (stuck irus) and it was completely painless. Quick and they paid shipping both ways on the return/replacement. Even easier than making the purchase in the first place.

BillDrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 18, 2008, 9:20 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

firstascent wrote:
Quote:
TCav - did you mean the 70-300 tamron?
Yes. I meant the 70-300. Sorry. Thanks.

firstascent wrote:
Quote:
Also why would you say its better than the sony? Ive been looking to purchase the Sony but if the Tamron is better then I will get that, and its cheaper.
The tests for the lenses at SLRGear.com show the Tamron to be a lot sharper and have less chromatic aberration than the Sony. Neither is great, but the Tamron is better.

See the Sony test results at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/986/cat/83

See the Tamron test results at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/455/cat/23
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 18, 2008, 9:30 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Bootneck3 wrote:
Quote:
I appreciate the problems at full zoom extremes and being prepared to allow for this intend buying the 18-250 immediately.

This doesn't rule out me buying a prime lens or two in the future but as a general purpose lens for travelling, the 18-250mm does seem to fit the bill
If it works well for what you intend to do, I agree that the 18-250 is better than the 18-200, but even the Sony 75-300 is sharper that either of them, and that's the lens I told Big4heD and firstascent to stay away from.

If you don't mind having two (or more) lenses to cover the range, your images will be sharper and have less distortion and chromatic aberration than with either of these 'Jack of all trades and Master of none' lenses.

See the Sony 18-250 test results at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1125/cat/83

See the Sony 18-200 test results at http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/975/cat/83
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:38 AM.