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Old Sep 22, 2008, 3:03 PM   #1
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Hello,

I am starting out in wedding photography, and I need help on purchasing a bundle. I currently own a A300 18-70 lens and a 28mm2.8 lens. I am going to purchase a A700, but I don't know what I should do about a lens for the 700. I plan on keeping the 28mm2.8 on my 300 to have a wider aperture to let in more light. I dont know if I should get the package from sony (A700 + 18-200) or if I should just get the body and invest in a sigma zoom lens. I know I need a higher zoom, and the A700 will help with lower light and high ISO's, so it is just a matter of choosing the right bundle. Can someone give me some insight? Thanks

Estevan Montoya

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Old Sep 22, 2008, 8:43 PM   #2
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It all depends on your budget. Very fast lenses are well suited for this however they are somewhat expensive on the 35mm format. 35/1.4 35/2.0, 85/1.4, 135/1.8, 100/2.0 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 200/2.8. Even having the best of equipment, only practice will produce the best of portraiture in weddings.

Hope this helps,

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Old Sep 22, 2008, 8:54 PM   #3
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I might get the 70-300 Sony Lens. I have heard talk that those lenses are basically tamron lenses with "Sony" printed on them. If that is the case, would the same lens be good if it were a sigma? I have heard nothing but good about sigma lenses. Thanks

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Old Sep 23, 2008, 10:09 AM   #4
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estevanmontoya wrote:
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I might get the 70-300 Sony Lens. I have heard talk that those lenses are basically tamron lenses with "Sony" printed on them. If that is the case, would the same lens be good if it were a sigma? I have heard nothing but good about sigma lenses.
Sony rebrands a number of Tamron lenses, but the Sony 75-300 isn't one of them. Sony's 11-18, 18-200, and 55-200 are identical to the Tamron versions, and the Sony 18-250 is the same as the Tamron, except it has faster autofocus gearing. The Sony 75-300 is the same design that Minolta sold for years, and isn't very good. The Tamron 70-300 Di LD is better and cheaper.

And I would stay away from Sigma for a while. There have been problems, some documented in these pages, where Sony dSLRs have been stripping the gears in Sigma 70-300 lenses.

A problem with the kit lens is that it has a lot of chromatic aberration and edge softness (according to SLRGear.com). For that range, especially on an A700, you might be much better off with the Zeiss 16-80, which is better in every respect (according to SLRGear.com).

I would avoid the 18-200. (In fact, I did. Minolta used to rebrand the same lens. I bought it, and soon sold it.) It is soft throughout it's range, has significant distortion at the wide end, and significant chromatic aberration at the long end (confirmed by SLRGear.com.) The 18-250 is better, but not by much (see SLRGear.com.)

For wedding photography, you should get a flash. I don't like flash, but for weddings, you should have one.

What I would do is get the Zeiss 16-80 for the A700 and put a Tamron 70-300 Di LD or a Tamron (or Sony) 55-200 on the A300 for longer shots. I can't imagine that you'd need anything longer than 200mm for weddings, but I don't know.
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Old Sep 23, 2008, 2:23 PM   #5
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estevanmontoya wrote:
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Hello,

I am starting out in wedding photography, and I need help on purchasing a bundle. I currently own a A300 18-70 lens and a 28mm2.8 lens. I am going to purchase a A700, but I don't know what I should do about a lens for the 700.
I'm with AJ. I'd lean towards brighter and higher quality lenses. You may not always be able to use a flash during the ceremony, and a zoom lens that only has f/5.6 available on it's long end is going to be too dim to stop motion blur from subject movement in some lighting, even with the ISO speed bumped up. Keep in mind that a lens with f/2.8 available is 4 times as bright as a lens that only has f/5.6 available when zoomed in much. But, even an f/2.8 zoom may not always be bright enough (hence the need for even brighter primes).

For starters, I'd probably get a couple of f/2.8 zooms (for example, a 24-70mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 ), and add some bright primes to the kit for conditions that may warrant a brighter lens as budget permits.

If the Sony zooms are too far out of budget, I'd probably look at Sigma and Tamron offerings. Both Sigma and Tamron will be shipping a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom soon in Sony mount. Sigma offers a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom now, and Tamron and Sony offer a 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom.

I'd probably get wider zooms for when you need them, too (for example, 18-50mm f/2.8 lenses). Ditto for an external flash as TCav suggested (although you may not always be able to use one during the ceremony, for other shots you'll want one). You may end up needing to invest in more lighting related gear for better results with larger group shots, too.

Personally, I'm a fan of bright primes for low light use, since zooms are not always bright enough to stop blur from subject movement in some lighting. So, you may want to look at those, too. For example, a Sony 35mm f/1.4 or Sigma 30mm f/1.4; Sony 50mm f/1.4, Minolta or Sony/Zeiss 85mm f/1.4, Minolta 100mm f/2, Sony/Zeiss 135mm f/1.8, etc.).

If budget is tight, check out used Minolta AF lenses at popular vendors of used gear like http://www.keh.com and http://www.bhphotovideo.com

Both are reputable vendors and offer a short term warranty on used gear. Just look for Minolta 35mm Autofocus Lenses.


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Old Sep 23, 2008, 2:40 PM   #6
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Would you recommend a 28-105 2.8-4?
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Old Sep 23, 2008, 2:48 PM   #7
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You have to take each lens on a case by case basis, as many zooms are going to be a bit soft at wider apertures. I'm assuming you mean a Sigma, and user feedback on this one appears to be mixed.

Personally, I'd lean towards brighter lenses for more versatility (as f/4 when zoomed in much may be too dim to use without blur from subject movement if you can't use a flash). Even an f/2.8 zoom (and f/2.8 is twice as bright as f/4) may not be as bright as desired in some lighting (which is where brighter primes can come in handy so that you don't need to bump up your ISO speeds as high).

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Old Sep 23, 2008, 2:54 PM   #8
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IOW, if I were planning on doing that kind of photography, I'd lean towards brighter, higher quality lenses for maximum versatility in more lighting conditions (as you may not always be able to use a flash).

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Old Sep 23, 2008, 3:28 PM   #9
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P.S.

Sigma just announced a brand new 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM lens that may also be worth a look if you're more interested in zooms.

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=2

It may be a while before it shows up on dealer shelves though. The existing Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 doesn't have HSM, and it looks like the newer model is going to be a little lighter. We'll have to wait on user feedback to see how well it performs. In a longer zoom, Sigma should be shipping their new 70-200mm f/2.8 Macro II EX DG HSM lens in Sony mount at any time now, too (some dealers are already taking orders for it). A new Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 in Sony mount should be hitting dealer shelves soon, too.

For photos where you can use a flash, the Carl Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 that TCav mentioned would be a nice choice, giving you more focal range from wide to long. But, you may want to lean towards lenses that are designed for 35mm in case you upgrade to body using a larger sensor later (although a DT series lens like the 16-80mm would work on a newer full frame model like the A900, you wouldn't be able to get full resolution images from one, since the body would be cropping the photos to prevent vignetting from the smaller image circle a digital only lens like this has).

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Old Sep 23, 2008, 4:45 PM   #10
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Of course, if money were not an issue, I'd probably lean towards a Sony/Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 SSM (just announced, not yet shipping), Sony/Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 SSM and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM for zooms. Then, get some of the brighter primes for use in lower light conditions if needed.

How tight is your initial budget, and do you already have a decent flash like a Sony HVL-F56AM or HVL-F58AM (or something with equivalent range/performance you can use)? As TCav suggested, I'd probably give high priority to a good external flash.

But, I'd make sure I had some lenses bright enough for ceremonies where a flash is not allowed, too (even if you can only afford something like a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens or 50mm f/1.4 to start out with, although you may want something a little wider like a 28mm or 35mm; or a little longer like an 85mm, depending on where you're allowed to shoot from).

A used Minolta 50mm f/1.4 can be found for around $250, a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 for around $150, and a used Minolta 85mm f/1.4 AF lens would probably set you back around $800. In brighter zooms, a new Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 would probably run you around $499, with the new Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 setting you back around $799 if you also wanted a longer zoom to make sure you're well covered for more conditions.

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