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Old Mar 21, 2009, 3:24 PM   #1
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Hi. I am from Bulgaria and I am beginner to photography. In January 2009 from www.ebay.co.uk I bought Sony A200 with 18-70 lens for 210 pounds. Now I find Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 DL Macro Lens for a very good price. I have two questions:
1. Will Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 DL Macro servs me as good as macro lens and as zoom lens?
2. The lens has fault - autofocus is not working - so can I use it only in manual focus with Sony A200?
Thank you.
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Old Mar 21, 2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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Well, personally I don't think this is a good lens to begin with. I would not buy a long zoom lens that is not AF (or AF does not work), no matter how cheap they are being sold for. If you really want a lens that goes up to 300mm, I'd consider a Minolta 100-300mm APO or even the much cheap model xi. Beware of the Minolta 100-300mm non-xi. They are even cheaper but IQ is very poor. You'll experience lets of CA and PF. There's also the "beercan", which is an excellent lens but only goes to 210mm.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 1:59 AM   #3
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Ben_Bulgaria wrote:
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1. Will Sigma 70-300mm* 1:4-5.6* DL Macro servs me as good as macro lens and as zoom lens?
Some said Sigma 70-300mm is a good lens, many agreed that Sony's 70-300mm G is even better (but costs a lot more).

Personally, I wouldn't recommend using a zoom lens as a Macro lens, if you are serious about taking Macro photography.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 2:06 AM   #4
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Ben, a while back on this forum there was a discussion about sigma 70-300 lens breaking the autofocus screw when used with sony cameras. There were too many complaints from different people to chalk it up as bad luck. I suspicion that this is one of those lenses that repeatedly broke until sigma gave up on it, or the customer did.

I would advise you to forget sigma, and look at a tamron 70-300 ld di, which new sells for about 150 usd give or take, and can be found on E bay for less, and I have not heard of the autofocus issue with the Tamron. Robert
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 3:32 AM   #5
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Thank you Tullio for your opinion.
I'll take your advises and will look for "beercan" or Minolta APO. As I said I am beginner and will you explain me what "IQ, CA and PF" mean.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 3:37 AM   #6
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Thank you Antony.
What will you recommend for macro lens (for A mout ), best rate quality/price?
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 3:45 AM   #7
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Thank you Robert (Hawgwild),
But I am confused which lenses to choose, "beercan", Minolta APO or Tamron ld di for zoom lenses?
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 11:37 AM   #8
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Ben_Bulgaria wrote:
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Thank you Robert (Hawgwild),
But I am confused which lenses to choose, "beercan", Minolta APO or Tamron ld di for zoom lenses?
Of the three lenses listed, I have experience with only one, the Tamron, with my former Nikon D50. The Beercan and the 100-300 APO have very good reputations and are loved by the people who shoot with them. Factors you may considerare focal length, image quality, and ability to macro focus, since that was a concern of yours in a previous post. The minolta lenses will win the first two categories, with no argument from anyone, with the Tamron delivering macro at a decent 1:2 ratio, better than the Minolta lenses. Which is more important?

Focal length. The beercan will start where the kit lens ends, as does the Tamron. The 100-300 leaves a gap from 70mm to 100mm on the "short" end. How important is that 30mm deficit? That's up to you. Also the 90mm difference between the beercan at 210mm and the other two at 300mm, on the "long" end. Buying lenses is always a tough process, there are so many ifs, ands, and buts involved, so my advice would simply be to buy the lens that will do what you need it to do now, and when it falls short somewhere, you can buy another lens to fill that gap. It never ends!

Robert
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 12:01 PM   #9
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Ben_Bulgaria wrote:
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Thank you Tullio for your opinion.
I'll take your advises and will look for "beercan" or Minolta APO. As I said I am beginner and will you explain me what "IQ, CA and PF" mean.
CA = Chromatic aberration
PF = Purple fringing (or green in many cases)

These are artifacts that can be seen along the edges of subjects in high contrast situations. PF can occur even with the best lenses but to a degree that is virtually unnoticeable unless you blow up the image as really start looking for it. The Minolta non-xi 100-300mm is definitely one of the worse lenses I've ever dealt with in terms of PF. This may have been an OK lens for the old film cameras but definitely not for digital. Now, the xi version has a motorized AF system, which has nothing to do with IQ. However, it is obvious that Minolta has modified the build of the xi lens because the IQ is definitely superior. I haven't had the APO version because the price difference between the two is obscene.
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Old Mar 22, 2009, 12:13 PM   #10
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antony wrote:
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Ben_Bulgaria wrote
Personally, I wouldn't recommend using a zoom lens as a Macro lens, if you are serious about taking Macro photography.
I think it's OK to use zoom lenses for macro photography as long as you have the camera on a tripod for good stability. The advantage of the zoom lens is that it allows you to take great close-ups without getting too close to the subject. This is particularly handy when photographing small insects, which tend to move away as you get very close to them.
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