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Old Jul 3, 2009, 2:19 PM   #1
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Default "Fast zoom"

What is the "fastest" zoom lens for a Sony? I know there's a 24-135 F2.8/4.5, but are there others in this focal range? Thanks!
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Old Jul 3, 2009, 4:59 PM   #2
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The fastest you will be looking at will be the Sigma or Sony options of the 24-70mm f2.8 as this is f2.8 at both the long and short ends rather than dropping to f4.5 when at the long end.

What sort of shooting are you wanting to do as you might find anything at 24mm not wide enough if you are on a crop camera.
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Old Jul 3, 2009, 6:41 PM   #3
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Hi Mark, I'm just looking for a "walk around" lens basically. I have a Sigma 18-125 f3.5/5.6 now. I kind of like the 18mm for street shots. I'd like a bit longer than the 70mm but-?
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Old Jul 3, 2009, 7:03 PM   #4
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The longest zoom that starts out wide AND has an f/2.8 maximum aperture, is the Tamron 17-50/2.8. If you're willing to give up some of the wide end, Sony and Sigma both have a 24-70/2.8. Tamron had a 28-105/2.8 that might suit you. The next is the Sigma 50-150/2.8, but we've left the relm of 'Wide Angle'.

If you're willing to compromise on the maximum aperture, Sony's 16-80/3.5-4.5 might do the trick. But if that's too expensive, there's the Minolta 24-85/3.5-4.5. It's quite good and reasonably priced. There's also the Sony 24-105/3.5-4.5. It's been discontinued, but retailers still have it in stock.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 9:39 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I'll look into all of the suggestions. I have the 18-125mm f3.5/5.6 now and it seems to do a good job. Would I gain much by going to a f2.8?
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 10:18 AM   #6
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Two stops if you zoom in much. f/2.8 is two stops brighter (4 times as bright) compared to f/5.6 (and f/5.6 is the widest aperture you'd have if you zoom in much with your 18-125mm). So, you can get shutter speeds 4 times as fast for a given lighting and ISO speed using a zoom with f/2.8 available if you use it. In addition, a brighter lens helps your Autofocus sensors to "see" better in less than optimum lighting. You'll also have a shallower Depth of Field at f/2.8 (but, you can always stop down the aperture if you want more depth of field).

In less than optimum lighting, f/2.8 can be very useful. But, you can't find a lens with the same focal range as your 18-125mm that has f/2.8 available throughout the zoom range.

Note that the 24-135mm lens you mentioned is not a constant f/2.8 zoom. I assume you're looking at a Sigma 24-135mm f/2.8-4.5. The widest available aperture is down to f/4.5 by around 70mm with it from user reviews I've seen of that lens. You can find some reviews of it here:

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=130

If you want a constant f/2.8 zoom, you'll have to compromise on the available focal range from wide to long (going with something like the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 that TCav mentioned, or perhaps a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG (around $569 for the older version from what I can see of current prices at popular vendors) if you can get by with a lens starting out at 24mm. Sigma also has a newer HSM version of their 24-70mm f/2.8 out now (and it's a sharper lens by most accounts, but it's more expensive at around $899 at popular vendors).

The Sony/Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 is likely the best 24-70mm f/2.8 you can find from any manufacturer. But, it's not a cheap lens, selling for around $1599. There is also a nice Sony/Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 out now. It's not cheap either, selling for around $1899.

If the longer end is more important, Tamron makes a 28-105mm f/2.8. But, it's a bit soft at wider apertures by most accounts (and the MTF charts I've found for it seem to confirm that). I've got an older Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 that is a sharper lens by most accounts (it's probably sharper wide open at f/2.8 compared to the newer Tamron SP 28-105mm f/2.8 stopped down to f/4 from what I can tell from MTF Charts). But, you may find a lens starting out at a longer 35mm focal length to be a bit inconvenient on a camera with an APS-C size sensor, depending on what you're trying to shoot.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 10:35 AM   #7
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Thanks Jim, I think I'll look into the Tamron 17-50. The last 2 lenses you mentioned would be to expensive, with the cost of the divorce that would follow their purchase! Happy 4th to you!
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 10:38 AM   #8
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The Tamron 17-50mm f.2.8 seems to be a well liked lens. I think TCav has one.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 4:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
The Tamron 17-50mm f.2.8 seems to be a well liked lens. I think TCav has one.
Yes I do. And I've been very pleased with it. It's sharp and fast. There's a little CA and distortion at the wide end, but it's worked out very well for me.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 4:54 PM   #10
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BTW, if you've got some wiggle room in the maximum aperture, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 is a very nice, reasonably priced lens that's a 1:2.3 macro to boot. That might help get some street in your street photography.
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