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Old Oct 10, 2008, 9:23 AM   #1
COG
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I have a Minolta Maxxum 5 35MM SLR with two Minolta AF Zoomlenses.

28-80 f/3.5 (the kit lens that came with the camera)

75-300 f/4.5

I was planning on buying my wife a new Canon Xsi, but now figure that if these Minolta lenses will work properly on a Sony D-SLR, I should save money on lenses and buy a Sony instead.

Has anyone here any experience with using Minolta Maxxum AF lenses on a A300 or A350? Any limitations? Does the autofocus work well? She does mostly sports photography (ice hockey and lacrosse).

Also, other than being 2 MP less, how does the A300 compare to the Xsi in tems of speed of focusing and lag time between pressing the button and the exposure being made?

Thanks.
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Old Oct 10, 2008, 9:43 AM   #2
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Any Minolta Autofocus (a.k.a., Maxxxum, Dynax, Alpha) lens will work just fine on a Sony dSLR model, and they'd be stabilized, thanks to the in body stabilization system.

As for AF speed, I doubt you'd see much difference between those bodies, with equivalent lenses (and your lenses are not very bright if they only have f/5.6 available on their long end, as I suspect).

I wouldn't think that 75-300mm is gong to be as bright as desired for Ice Hockey. I'm assuming it's one of the 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lenses (since Minolta didn't make a lens like that with a constant f/4.5 aperture available). f/5.6 on the long end is not very bright for indoor sports (your shutter speeds may be slower than desired, even increasing ISO speed). It's going to depend on how bright the rink is. You can find user reviews of Minolta 75-300mm lenses on this page from Sony and KM dSLR owners (they made more than one version of this lens):

http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/results....amp;offset=160

For indoor sports type shooting with a zoom, you'd probably be much better off with a lens that has f/2.8 available throughout the zoom range (f/2.8 is 4 times as bright as 5.6, allowing shutter speeds 4 times as fast for a given lighting and ISO speed). But, that kind of lens is more expensive. For example, a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 AF lens is selling for $699 now in Sony/Minolta mount. A Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 will set you back $799, and a Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM will run around $1799 now.

Also note that because an entry level dSLR has a sensor that's smaller than 35mm film, you need to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x to see how the angle of view would compare to a lens on a 35mm camera. IOW, your lenses will appear to be longer on a dSLR.

For example, a 50mm lens on a Sony A300 would give you the same angle of view that you'd have using a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera (50mm x 1.5 = 75mm). That means your 28-80mm would give you the same angle of view as a 42-120mm lens on a 35mm camera (it will appear to be longer). That's great if you want a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification). But, you may not be able to back up enough in some conditions to get what you want into the frame. That's one reason the kit lenses on these models usually start out at around 18mm. For example, an 18-70mm lens would give you the same angle of view that you'd have with a 27--105mm lens on a 35mm camera. So, you may decide you need a wider lens in addition to what you already have now.


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Old Oct 10, 2008, 10:08 AM   #3
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You'll have the same problems with a different camera brand... most consumer grade zoom lenses have a widest available aperture of around f/5.6 on their long end. That's not really bright enough for shooting indoor sports without a flash (you'll get more motion blur than desired because your shutter speeds will be too slow). Autofocus may also be slower than desired (because the Autofocus sensors won't see as well to focus indoors using a dimmer lens).

Either a zoom with f/2.8 available throughout the zoom range, or an even brighter prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) is the way you'll probably need to go for more keepers indoors without a flash when shooting moving subjects, unless the Hockey rink is much brighter than I'd expect it to be. Unfortunately, in order to make zoom lenses that bright, they'll be larger, heavier and more expensive than your current lenses.

You'd have to try the 75-300mm to find out how well it would work for that purpose in a given rink. But, I suspect you'll want a different lens for that purpose.

If you don't care about Live View, you may also want to consider the A200. It's only $499.99 including an 18-70mm kit lens right now, and it's got a larger optical viewfinder compared to the A300 and A350.


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Old Oct 14, 2008, 12:35 AM   #4
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Get the Minolta 50mm 1.7 and the Minolta 70-210 f4 aka 'beercan' I have both and use them alot on my 300. Really am aching for the Zeiss 24-70, but not going to have it in this life :sad:Probably settle for the Sigma 24-70 2.8 EX DG

Just read your post again. Neither of above recommended lenses would help with sports photo. esp. hockey. Sorry.
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Old Oct 14, 2008, 6:02 AM   #5
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Actually, the Beercan should work well for ice hockey. Yes, you should use large aperture lenses for indoor sports, but ice hockey is played on ice, which is white, so there should be plenty of light. The Beercan's maximum aperture of f/4 should be fine. And while some have said that the Beercan isn't very fast to focus, I've used it for equestrian sports and have no complaints. (And that's on a KM5D, not a Sony Alpha with the faster autofocus motor.)

And the 75-300 should be ok for Lacrosse, with the cautionary note that it suffers from chromatic aberrationat the long end (200-300mm).
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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A few pieces of advice from a sports photographer:

1. Don't count on an f4 lens being OK for hockey. Unless it's a pro arena it won't be. 2.8 is a minimum requirement and some poorly lit rinks would require 2.0.

2. I'm not sure I'll agree with Jim's assessment that the A300 and XSi have the same AF performance. The XSi has outstanding performance - on par with the 40D. The only thing I've ever seen with regards to the A300's focus is Sony's claim that it's X times better than the A100 which had poor performance. I've seen claims from sports shooters the A700 has good performance compared to the competition but I don't think you can extend that claim to include the A300. I'm not saying it's worse or how much worse I just disagree with Jim's claim that they're the same. I've never seen any indication from a sports shooting perspective (i.e. not just initial focus lock but ability to TRACK) that backs up his claim.

As for lenses:

Jim mentioned the Sigma 70-200 2.8. I used a sigma 70-200 2.8 for several years in canon mount and it was a very good lens. Then they added the psuedo-macro capability to the lens and they had a number of issues. Which has led to a recent re-design of the lens. Seeing as the new version of Sigma's lens just came out the jury is out on how good it really is and whether or not there are still issues.

For lax, I can't comment on the 75-300 lens you have. 300mm is a decent focal length to start out with. Although there is a very big difference between the results you'll get with consumer grade glass and better quality. Most consumer glass is going to be soft from 200-300mm and wide open at 5.6. If you get a 70-200 2.8 lens for hockey then your wife could always start out with using a teleconverter to get more reach for lax. Not ideal but an economical start.

The real question is - how serious is your wife about sports shooting? Sports shooting is very equipment intensive - moreso than a lot of other types of photography.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:31 AM   #7
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$500 is a bit of a low price. I'm also curious about only used 3 times - unless they mis-stated, this is not the 'macro' version.

So, there are several important pieces of info I would suggest getting:

1. Which lens is it - DG, DG Macro or DG Macro II.

2. Additional photos and of other views of the lens - including front and rear elements.

3. Photos taken with the lens.

One thing I forgot to mention - while I am a fan of Sigma EX lenses they have more quality control issues than pro grade OEM lenses. So, if there's an issue with this particular lens you're out of luck.

Having said all that - if the owner only used it 3 times there's a risk they may not be a very accomplished photographer (not many I know would spend $800 ona lens, only use it 3 times and then sell it) so they may not be able to determine whether the lens functions properly. That's the risk with buying gear from Craig's or ebay.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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Sigma didn't make the newer EX DG Macro version in KM/Sony mount, so it's likely the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG (as shown in the listing).

Sigma apparently got "cold feet" during the KM to Sony transition, and quit making this lens in Minolta AF mount. So, the next version (EX DG Macro) wasn't available for this mount. As a result, the previous version has been relatively desirable in the used market, since most dealers ran out of new lenses like this some time back. It's not uncommon to see them selling for as much (or sometimes even more) than they sell for new (around $800 used). Of course, I've seen users of this lens in other mounts claim the non-Macro version of it was sharper anyway. lol But, I don't know how accurate that really is.

But, because Sigma has started making these lenses again for Minolta AF mount, I suspect that it won't be as desirable going forward (since the newer version will have HSM in Minolta/Sony mount, and previous versions of it like that one were screw drive in Minolta AF mount). It still has a reputation for fast focus on a KM or Sony dSLR (despite the lack of HSM). If it's really in "like new" condition and functions perfectly (and you'll have to decide that), I'd think that's a pretty good deal, as they tend to sell for more.

The newest version of it (70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro II HSM) should cause the price of the older versions like this one to drop over time (as users will probably want the HSM and closer focusing of the latest one).

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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:54 AM   #9
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P.S.

You can find some reviews of this lens by KM and Sony dSLR owners at this link:

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=195

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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:54 AM   #10
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
Sigma didn't make the newer EX DG Macro version in KM/Sony mount, so it's likely the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG (as shown in the listing).
Quote:
As a result, the previous version has been relatively desirable in the used market, since most dealers ran out of new lenses like this some time back.
Good info! So this begs the question, why has the seller been holding on to a lens for 3-odd years, only using it 3 times before selling it. Something smells fishy to me about that.
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