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Old Jun 18, 2009, 2:12 PM   #1
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Default Most used or best lens for your Sony/KM mount SLR?

How about we share our most used or best lens for our Sony/KM mount SLR. So it'll be easier for members to read and have knowledge about variable lenses. I think most of the new users "or amateur photographers" such as me would benefit a lot from such a thread especially if we can get Pros or Semi-pros to contribute. (I hope you agree)

I'll Start with mine.

Tamron - AF 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 is my most used lens so far "will upgrade to Sony - AF 70-400 F4-5.6 G SSM soon"

I choose that lens because I only own the kit lens that came with the A200 and the Tamron - SP AF 17-50 F2.8. and found that the Tamron - AF 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 got better length in it "slow AF but good pics for out door and general photography (not great)".
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Old Jun 18, 2009, 2:27 PM   #2
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Tamron 28 - 300mm for my Sony A200 because I photograph fires, rescues and other public safety related stuff and need a lens I can leave on the camera at all times due to blood, smoke etc. It gives me the range I need to stay out of the way and still get the shots I need. Also it seems to give me sharp images corner to corner except in very low light......

I also own the A200 kit 18 - 70mm and a 55 - 200mm Sigma lens.

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Old Jun 18, 2009, 3:26 PM   #3
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I use a Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Minolta 70-210/4.0 'Beercan' for 98% of my shooting.

I also have a Sigma 90/2.8 Macro, Minolta 50/1.7, Minolta 135/2.8, two TCs and two extension tubes.

I've gotten rid of other less used and less useful lenses over time. Now I'm itching for a 70-200/2.8 of some kind.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 2:55 AM   #4
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Whatever lens is on the A700 (having recently upgraded from a concrete impact damaged KM-5D)

Sounds smart arse, but this is the truth. I grab and go. I always have. As stupid as it sounds I did a local accident scene with the 100mm f/2.8 macro because that was the lens on the camera at the time I grabbed the camera. Was it the ideal lens? Nope. But I was already out the door when I realized it was on the camera. Did the lens work? Sure. Move your feet enough and any lens will work. I once did the first half of a college football game with only a 50mm because I forgot my zoom in the dorm. Seems to have worked out.... my photo taken from the back of the end zone was picked up by one of the wire services.

So onto lens discussions...

SAL70-300G. Yes the Circuit City going out of business special. Damn fine price piece of glass. Only use it for about 1% of my shots. BUT, I plan on using it a lot more this summer down at the beach shooting attractive.... oh you know what I mean. I have seen comments about it being a battery hog. I don't have factual data to support my comment, but I agree that it seems to suck up go-go juice with the best of them. And it is heavy. Not so much the weight of the lens but rather the weight of the lens so far away from the body of the camera. Compared to my old film zooms, the 70300G is not much heavier, but the weight is definitely distributed more so to the front of the lens. The filter size is larger, so that might have something to do with it. Regardless of my complaints, the 70300G is astonishing sharp for a long telephoto zoom and produces great color. A semi-poor mans top of the line telephoto lens. I wish I had had this quality of a lens back 20-30 years ago.


SAL1680Z. On the 8th day, God created the 16-80. OK, it ain't that perfect, but it does have a great, absolutely wonderful zoom range. Yes the colors are good (kind of shocking because they are so rich compared to some other lenses), the lens is appropriately sharp (better than some) and the contrast is wonderful. But what really stands out is the zoom range. 24-120 35mm equiv is simply a great working range. This is the range I have always wanted. The 1680 pretty much stays on my camera outside of work.

(I tried the SAL16105 and the Tammy 17-50.... I own the SAL1680Z)


Then there is the previously mentioned SAL 100M28. This baby is my #1 favorite lens. I had always wanted a good macro lens dating back to my college film days and when I was financially able it was the first lens I purchased after I purchased the KM-5D. Professionally I do product shots for my employer and the 100M is a killer lens, especially with 1" objects.

Why get the 100M over the 50M or any of the 3rd party lenses? Focusing distance. 1:1 is 1:1, really doesn't matter what lens you get. Might as well as be able to stand back a comfortable distance (more or less) than have to stoop down to achieve 1:1. Longer Macros are an option, but doubtful you could hand hold them.

Overall the 100m is a very, very solid lens. f/2.8 is reasonably fast such that I can avoid flash most of the time. Outside of macros, I use it almost 90% of the time while at work, taking general business photos and portaits of employees. IF I had no other lens, I think I could actually live with the 100m as my single lens. Kind of like only having a 50mm back in my early film days..... you use what you got.




Any other lens to get?

Might stick the SAL 50f14 on my Christmas wish list... just to have an ultra fast lens for exterior nighttime shooting. Then again, maybe not.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 3:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieDgpt View Post
SAL1680Z. On the 8th day, God created the 16-80. OK, it ain't that perfect, but it does have a great, absolutely wonderful zoom range. Yes the colors are good (kind of shocking because they are so rich compared to some other lenses), the lens is appropriately sharp (better than some) and the contrast is wonderful. But what really stands out is the zoom range. 24-120 35mm equiv is simply a great working range. This is the range I have always wanted. The 1680 pretty much stays on my camera outside of work.
Does the SAL1680Z really noisy and not a fast focusing lens as I've read (even on the A700) as I heard the Ziess 16-80 does not have an internal focusing.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 10:28 AM   #6
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Just because it uses the camera body based focus motor doesn't mean it's a slow focusing lens. The majority of user reviews I've seen mentioning AF performance indicate the CZ 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 is a fast focusing lens.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 12:48 PM   #7
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My favorite is the 300/4 with matching 1.4x TC. 2nd is the Sony 70-400. I like to shoot birds. While the 70-400 takes great shots, I find it much more bulky than the Mino combo, and the Mino combo image IQ is equal. I also find the speed pretty equal, despite the fact that Sony is SSM. SSM of the Sony seems to use a bit more battery power, but no big deal. Rarely do I need the zooming abilities of the Sony when birding. So why did I buy the Sony? I liked the idea of being able to use a tc with it, even though MF. That combo does take good pictures, but I discovered my long range MF skills are lacking.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 3:30 PM   #8
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JimC: I know it's not slow focus lens, but i only read a small "very small" chatters around the net that lens doesn't live up to its expectation "That's all" even though I looked at a few Samples and was amazed. and I'm pretty sure it'll be great with A700 body.

Pheanix: Great info on the Sony 70-400. As I'll buy it soon with A700 Body.
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 6:59 PM   #9
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Does the SAL1680Z really noisy and not a fast focusing lens as I've read (even on the A700) as I heard the Ziess 16-80 does not have an internal focusing.

Yes, the SAL1680 lacks an internal focus motor. Is it noisy? Compared to what? The SAL70300G? Gee Whiz, the SSM in the 70300G is comparable in noise of a healthy person breathing about 3 ft from you... if the AC in the room is cranking hard you might not never notice the swish of the lens.

I did an informal test. No sound equipment, just my discerning ear. Compared the SAL1680Z versus the SAL100M versus the old KM 18-70 kit lens. I had the 100M set up with the focus limit engaged.

A big chuck of the noise must be the screw drive from the camera. But screw noise is going to be consistent across all lenses such that if the screw is engaged, the camera is going to make a specific whining type of noise.

IF you remove the whine of the screw, then the 1680Z and 100M have a similar sound in that the noise generated from the focus stops (close focus and infinity), screw engagement and release (camera turn on/off, engage manual or auto focus) seems very similar in that I can not tell the two lenses apart just by sound of the lens. However, because the 1680Z has a focus rotation of about 45 degrees while the 100M has a focus rotation of 80 or 210 degrees (depending upon the focus limiter), the total time the screw whines will clearly indicate which lens is which.

The KM lens has a slightly different sound for sure compared to the 1680Z and 100M, maybe just because the lens is less dense (more plastic) and the noise can transmit better/differently through the lens. I would not say the sound level is louder, rather just a bit different.



Focus speed on lenses using the camera's screw drive is dependant upon the speed of the screw AND the amount of focus rotation required to go from close focus to infinity. The focus rotation is measure in degrees. Just eye balling the lenses (no measuring equipment present), the 100M has a focus range of 80 or 210 degrees while the 1680Z and old KM kit lens have focus ranges of about 40/45 degrees. Since screw drive is linear (one screw rotation always = one screw rotation) one could be safe to say the 100M is twice as slow as the other two lenses for focusing in non macro mode and about 5 times slower going from macro to infinity.

Is the 1680Z a slow lens? It will be as fast as the old kit lens (similar focus rotation) when used on the same camera. Is it as fast or slower than the 70300G? Don't know. I lack timing equipment. By the way the 70300G has a focus rotation of about 120 degrees. The SSM would have to really crank at an extremely high rate to overcome the speed of the camera's screw drive on the shorter rotational lens.

Maybe the SSM is really faster on smaller sized lenses. Don't know. Maybe on a comparable sized lens SSM is twice as fast as screw drive or even faster. Or maybe people THINK the SSM is faster because of the lack of noise. Does anybody really have focus speed data?


Should the 1680Z have SSM? Two trains of thought. One, the SSM really does make the 70300G seem more professional appearing so maybe SSM should have been included on the 1680Z as the target user audience is about the same for both lenses. However, SSM will potentially add weight, size and price to a lens verus using the camera's screw drive. Weight, size and price. Not any of those factors are especially attractive. Personally I would have paid a few $ more if the weight would not have increased substantially. Increasing the size of the lens might be an issue because the focus length (16-80) of the lens could have been affected.

Does the lack of SSM on the 1680Z affect my shooting? Nope. I do some dog photos and they (the dogs) don't complain about the noise. They will focus on the camera (even from a distance away) so it is clear they can hear the noise. Comparatively, the dogs can't hear the 70300G and have no clue their photo is being taken.
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 6:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevieDgpt View Post
Maybe the SSM is really faster on smaller sized lenses. Don't know. Maybe on a comparable sized lens SSM is twice as fast as screw drive or even faster. Or maybe people THINK the SSM is faster because of the lack of noise. Does anybody really have focus speed data?
I think you hit the "nail on the head" (people usually think SSM is faster because it's quieter, not realizing how long a lens is really taking to focus).

I was just reading a review of the new Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) lens yesterday, and the reviewer compared it to the older 50mm f/1.4D AF lens. Guess what? The old screw drive lens focuses faster on a Nikon D300 body. ;-)

Although you don't see accurate measurements very often (that review used audio recordings to analyze focus speed), I've seen comments about screw drive lenses focusing just as fast or faster than Ultrasonic/Supersonic type focus based lenses before.

For example, I've seen more than one Sony owner with both lenses comment that they think the older Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 HS (High Speed) lens focuses *faster* than the newer 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM (and I've seen even more owners of both lenses claim the older version focuses just as fast).

I've also seen an owner of both Canon and Minolta dSLR bodies comment that the Minolta 85mm f/1.4G focuses noticeably faster compared to the latest II version of the Canon 85mm f/1.2L USM (which is faster than the older version) even when the Minolta lens is used on a slower Maxxum 7D body.

You really have to take each lens on a case by case basis (along with the camera body a lens is used with), and I wouldn't assume a lens focuses faster, just because it's got a Supersonic motor built in.
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