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Old May 13, 2009, 1:52 PM   #1
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is the sigma 18-200 mm lens f3.5 a good lens to buy. or should i try to find one with a lower f rating..i have a 50mm minolt 1.7. but i'm still looking at the zoom lens now..
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Old May 13, 2009, 2:26 PM   #2
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What do you want to shoot (subject type, conditions)?

Most of the 18-200mm lenses have relatively poor image quality. You're trading image quality for the convenience of having more focal range in a single lens.

BTW, it only has f/3.5 available on the wide end. It's down to a widest available aperture of f/6.3 when you zoom in towards it's longer end.

If you really want an "all in one" type of lens, I'd look at the Tamron or Sony 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 instead. These have much better image quality compared to the Sigma 18-200mm, Sony 18-200mm or Tamron 18-200mm lenses.

Just keep in mind that you'll usually get better quality by going with a lens that has a less ambitious focal range from wide to long (in areas like distortion, vignetting, corner softness, etc.). But, the Tamron or Sony 18-250mm lenses are better than most in this market niche. Personally, I'd avoid that Sigma 18-200mm.

I'd let members know what you want to shoot and the conditions you want to shoot in for better responses.
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Old May 13, 2009, 3:38 PM   #3
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ok.. i was mainly trying to find a lens for wide shots as well as some zoom. for my kids sports. high jump, long jump. that kind of stuff. i have a 50 mm 1.7 and like it but trying to get a wider angle. was looking at the fish eye add ons. but then i was looking at the 18-24mm. also. just too much for that one lens, then still have to buy a 200 mm plus..
some like the sig, and others like the tamaron.. so all this does help..
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Old May 13, 2009, 3:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonefeather93 View Post
i have a 50 mm 1.7 and like it but trying to get a wider angle. was looking at the fish eye add ons.
Don't try to use an add-on type lens with a dSLR. They're junk and will degrade image quality significantly.

For a lens starting out wider, you've got lots of choices. For a longer lens for sports use, you've also got lots of choices. Budget will play a big role in what's the best option to meet your needs (as you can spend an awful lot for higher quality glass). If you're shooting in good light (i.e., daytime), you've got more flexibility in the lenses you can expect to get away with using. If you're shooting indoor sports or sports at night under the lights, it's going to cost you to find suitable glass.

What's your budget, and is the 50mm your only lens?
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Old May 13, 2009, 4:00 PM   #5
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well yes the only quality one. i have the factory 28-70 i think. and i have a minolta 70-210 f4.5 but i was told on here that they were not really good. so i have been looking and reading the threads on here and watching ebay alot.. budget for now is 200. for this round.. closer to x-mas i might be able to get another lens. and should i or think about a multiplyer. a 2x or so

Last edited by lonefeather93; May 13, 2009 at 4:02 PM.
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Old May 13, 2009, 4:08 PM   #6
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I'm still a bit of a newbie, but I'll take a shot at this none the less...

Though I own very few lenses, I've tried many (and read reviews for even more).

With few exceptions, it is my opinion that buying an inexpensive lens that claims to be able to "do it all" usually has some downsides. in the example of your 18-200 (I assume it's the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC), there's no type of vibration reduction system (which may limit your ability to shoot quality photo's when zoomed in assuming you're not on a tripod), the inability to stop down past 6.3 when zoomed in (though I haven't been able to determine at what point you'd lose f3.5) and as always, the larger the focal range of the lens is (ratio between zoomed out and in), the poorer the image quality will tend to be (fixed focal length lenses tend to yield the best image quality, though you lose the ability to zoom)

I currently own a sigma 28-70 f2.8 and I have a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 on order (I'll likely add something in the 10-30mm range when I can afford it). Not only have do I end up with faster lenses, I'm quite confident that the quality of the images will be superior at all focal lengths (the two lenses combined) than a "do it all" lens. The downside, is these two "performance increases" cause a massive jump in price.

I think it all comes down to what you expect from the lens.

Do you expect to shoot high motion?
Do you expect to shoot in low light?
(if yes to either of these, you may want to consider a faster lens)

Do you expect to be shooting hand-held at 200mm?
(if yes, you may want to consider something with VR / IS - unless your camera has the technology built into the body)

Do you expect to be shooting at all focal lengths in a short period of time?
(if no, breaking focal range of your lens into two might not be an inconvenience)

How much do you want to spend?

In case you were interested, here's a review to the lens you mentioned, in some cases, they have compared this lens to a 50mm prime f1.8 lens (its a good way of showing how much better a prime lens performs)

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Sigma18200mm/

Edit: All the pros around here are very welcome to tear apart my analysis!

Edit: I type too slow (or talk too much), Jim seems to have beaten me to the same point

Last edited by conor; May 13, 2009 at 4:21 PM.
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Old May 13, 2009, 4:22 PM   #7
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just trying to see what i should buy next. more sports alot of outdoors. some indoors when wrestling starts again. but i have a buget to try to stay within . well at different times. have to do my friends senior pics, my kids pics and some small projects. but i know that i needed to get a better lens. that is why i did get the 50 mm so quick. now just trying to decide on a 18-50mm or 70-300mm tarmaron , sigma.. or my minoltas..
sony a300 is the camera.. stil playing around with setting , and have some books on order.
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Old May 13, 2009, 4:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonefeather93 View Post
well yes the only quality one. i have the factory 28-70 i think...
You probably mean the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6. It's probably your best bet for wider focal lengths on a tight budget.

Quote:
. and i have a minolta 70-210 f4.5 but i was told on here that they were not really good.
AFAIK, Minolta did not make a 70-210mm f/4.5. But, they made a couple of different 70-210mm f/4.5-5.6 AF lenses.

If you want to see user reviews of popular lenses by Sony and Konica Minolta dSLR owners, try these links:

Fixed Focal Length Lenses (primes)

Macro Lenses

Zoom Lenses

Quote:
...budget for now is 200. for this round.. closer to x-mas i might be able to get another lens.
I'd stick with what you have (use the 18-70mm for wider shots, and the 70-210mm for longer shots) and save your money so you'll have more for a higher quality lens later at christmas. ;-)

There's an old saying... "buy cheap, buy twice". Just because you can find some cheap lenses on Ebay doesn't mean they'll be any better than what you're using. Price is usually a good guide as to optical quality for a given focal range/brightness.

Quote:
or think about a multiplyer. a 2x or so
Absolutely not. A TC (Teleconverter) will degrade image quality (especially a cheap one), plus you'll lose 2 stops of light with a 2X TC (meaning only 1/4 the light gets through to the camera for exposure and Autofocus purposes). With your existing zoom lenses, the camera wouldn't even be able to Autofocus using one (those zooms are too dim for a TC). A TC is best used with very high quality lenses (and it's a good idea to stick with a 1.4x TC, even if you're using a high quality zoom with f/2.8 available throughout the focal range).
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Old May 13, 2009, 5:01 PM   #9
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lonefeather:

This would be my advice:

Start saving your pennies.
Shoot extensively with your current lenses.
Spend some time considering which focal lengths you use most.
Spend some time considering how much light and motion you usually have.
Make a checklist of what you don't like about the resulting images.

Spend some time considering the last three points (post a few "what did i do wrong" pictures in the forums if you need help figuring it out) and consider replacing one smaller focal range at a time with high quality glass.

For example, if you find that your lenses are extremely lacking between 28 and 50mm, consider one more expensive lens that covers this area (rather than trying to buy something cheap that will do it all but gives you little to no benefit over what you currently have)
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Old May 13, 2009, 5:34 PM   #10
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conor gave you some very good advise.

The kit lenses manufacturers bundle with a camera (for example, the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6) give you an opportunity to determine where you may be running into limitations with your existing gear, before spending a lot of money.

That way, you can make better informed decision later (taking things like size, weight, focal range, distortion, brightness, sharpness and contrast at various focal lengths and apertures, focus speed, and much more into consideration).

I'd use what you have for now. You're really not going to find higher quality lenses with a $200 budget. When you run into a photos you don't like, post samples in the forums here as conor suggested, and members can help you figure out if you need to do something different to improve the results, or if your equipment is holding you back.

Chances are, your skill using the equipment is the limiting factor in most conditions, not your lenses. Then, later when you have a better idea of where better equipment can help, you can spend your money more wisely, thanks to the experience you've gained with what you're using now.
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