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Old Oct 30, 2009, 1:51 PM   #1
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Default Need help deciding the new lens for A700

Hi Folks,

I am new to this forum and Sony Alpha community.
I had a A350 with kit lens for few months and loved the camera. Now I am moving to A700 very soon. I am new to the DSLR community and can use some help from experienced users on deciding the lens to go with my A700.

- How good is the SAL18-200 zoom lens for everyday zoom lens use? I can get the SAL18-200 for 50$ more. Is it a good buy ? or should I buy some other zoom lens and buy just the body for now?

- I need a prime lens for mostly portraits and general purpose use but I also like to do occasional macro photography. Lets say 80% portrait and 20% macro. I am confused between SAL50F14 and SAL100M28. I cannot buy both, I need to decide one. Which one should I go for? I am personaly more inclined towards SAL100M28, but I am not sure weather it will be a good lens for landscape/portrait photography since it is a macro lens.

Any suggestions or comments will be appreciated. I am going to buy the new camera and lens by next week.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 1:56 PM   #2
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If it's only $50 more to get the lens, I'd probably grab it, even though it's not the highest quality lens around. Put it on Ebay if you don't like it. ;-)

As for the other two lenses, you may also want to look at the recently introduced Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT lens in a lower cost prime. As for what focal length would be best would depend on the conditions you're using a lens in (how much room you have to work with, etc.) as well as your photography style (head shots from closer ranges, versus wider shots from further away, etc.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 2:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Jim.
I think I'll go for the 18-200 zoom lens for 50$ more and if I dont like it I can always sell it for atleast 50$

My primary concern regarding the prime lens is whether I can use the 100M28 for good portraits/landscape photography or not ? and vice-verse can I use 50F14 for occasional Macro (mostly flowers or other still objects)? And like I said, my primary purpose for prime lens is 80% portrait/landscape use and 20% macro use.

Forgot to add, these are only two choices I have for prime lens. I am getting them for really good price so I am not looking for any other options at this point.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 3:09 PM   #4
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That's up to you. I'd probably go with the 100mm, as I tend to use that focal length more than 50mm on a dSLR if I go to a prime (I've got the Minolta 100mm f/2 AF lens, not the f/2.8 Macro). I also use my Minolta 28mm f/2 AF lens more than a 50mm. But, for portraits in close quarters, some types of landscapes, etc., you may be better suited by a shorter lens compared to the 100mm (since you may not always be able to back up far enough to get what you want into the frame). But, if it's a really good price, I'd probably grab the 100mm, as it's got a reputation of being a very high quality lens. You could always grab a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens, or a new Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT lens later if you needed a shorter prime at a relatively low cost (you can find either one for under $200).
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 3:32 PM   #5
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i would agree, if you get a really good price on the macro lens, you can save more on that lens. and like jim said, you can always pick up a cheaper 50, which for most brands are still quite sharp.

and just use the 18-200 on the wide end for landscape stuff for now.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 4:00 PM   #6
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First, the 18-200 is pretty bad, but for $50, it's hard to pass up. But you must remember that there's a reason they're selling it for $50. That is, they couldn't sell it for $100. That's because it's pretty bad. And it suffers from significant distortion at the wide end, so it's not much good for landscapes. After owning it a short while, I became very disappointed with it. And I was using a 6MP dSLR; you'll be using a 12MP dLSR so it may take you less time to recognize its many flaws.

Second, a 50mm prime is too short for head & shoulders portraits, or for kid's portraits. It's ok for couples portraits and environmental portraits, but if that's not wnat you want to do, you should consider something longer. And a 50mm prime won't work well as a macro lens either.

For portraits, you should consider something longer. There's the Tamron 60/2.0, the Sigma 70/2.8, the Tamron 90/2.8 and Sigma 105/2.8, all of which are very good and cost less than the Sony 100/2.8 (which is excellent.)
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 4:09 PM   #7
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Ok

Here are the three choices for the price that I can get them for :
SAL100M28 - 350 (regular ~550+)
SAL50M28 - 250 (regular ~450+)
SAL50F14 - 180 (regular ~350+)

Here is my use case :
80% - portraits (adult, kid or family)
20% - macro (mostly still subjects)

Which lens do you pick that gives best value for money and usability?

Last edited by piyush1gupta; Oct 30, 2009 at 4:13 PM.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 4:12 PM   #8
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Put your 18-70 on your A350, zoom all the way out to 70mm, rotate the camera so it's vertical, and take a picture of someone facing you at about a distance of about 5-6 feet. Then crop it so you've got the framing for the type of portrait you'd like to take.

At 70mm, a lens on an APS-C dSLR will give you an angle of view of about 22. If you crop about 1/3 off the width of the image to get the framing you want, you need a lens with about 1/3 narrower angle of view. That's the angle of view you'd get with a 105mm lens.
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 4:20 PM   #9
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I dont have the 350 anymore. Sold it already
So the lens being marked specifically in "MACRO" category can be used for good general purpose portraits ?
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Old Oct 30, 2009, 6:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piyush1gupta View Post
So the lens being marked specifically in "MACRO" category can be used for good general purpose portraits ?
Macro lenses are very sharp, possibly sharper than might be flattering for a portrait. But the results of softening are generally much better than sharpening an image that's already too soft. So, yes, you can use a macro lens for portraits, and the large apertures create the shallow depth of field.

The trick is picking the focal length.
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