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Old Feb 23, 2010, 1:52 PM   #1
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Default Sony A230 Zoom lense

A friend ( who does not have internet ) recently purchased a
sony A230. He is looking for a Zoom lense for nature photography.
The usual " The more Zoom the better "
Any suggestions for under $ 400.00

Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 1:58 PM   #2
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Under $400 for nature photography, huh?

I'd probably try to find a Vivitar 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 Series 1 Autofocus lens in Minolta AF (a.k.a., Dynax, Maxxum, Alpha) mount. They're usually around $200 or less on the used market. I doubt you're going to do any better in a zoom lens that reaches out to 400mm with a $400 budget, and they seem to be well liked by users. These are made by Cosina and also sold under other brand names. But, the Vivitar branded version should be the easiest to locate.
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 2:27 PM   #3
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Under $400 for nature photography, huh?
I know $ 400.00
He is " hopeing " for a good used one for that budget
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 3:47 PM   #4
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If you want to go longer than 300mm (typical for most budget zooms), your choices are going to be *very* limited with a $400 budget. If you can find a Minolta 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 AF lens, that would be a good bet. But, they're usually $500+ on the used market now. So, the Vivitar is probably the best bet within that budget (if you want a lens reaching out further than the common 70-300mm type zooms).

Another alternative would be a Minolta 500mm f/8 AF Reflex (Mirror) lens. But, it's a fixed focal length lens (no zoom), and has a fixed aperture of f/8. Bokeh can leave a lot to be desired, too (out of focus highlights tend to have relatively ugly donut shapes). IOW, if it were my money on a $400 budget, I'd lean towards the Vivitar (which you should be able to pick up for $200 or less on the used market).
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 4:29 PM   #5
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P.S.

To put things into perspective, a Sony 70-400mm f/4.5-5.6 sells for approximately $1549 now. ;-)

If you want to go longer than 300mm with anything approaching decent image quality, your choices are far more limited. You can find lenses like a Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 in the $400's used from time to time. But, it's got a rep for being soft on it's 400mm end (which sort of defeats the purpose of going with a lens that long). ;-)

What does he mean by "nature photography"? For things like birding, 300mm is not going to be long enough (and even 400mm isn't very long for that purpose). If you mean other types of wildlife and he can get relatively close, that would expand the available choices.
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 12:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
P.S.


What does he mean by "nature photography"? For things like birding, 300mm is not going to be long enough (and even 400mm isn't very long for that purpose). If you mean other types of wildlife and he can get relatively close, that would expand the available choices.
Nature would be from Raptors and up to Deer or Moose
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Old Feb 24, 2010, 10:42 AM   #7
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The smaller your subject, the longer the lens will need to be to capture decent detail at a given shooting distance.

For birds, you need to be a lot closer than you think if you want them to occupy very much of the frame. For something like Deer, it's going to depend on how far away they are. For example, in my area, you may easily see them within 50 or 100 yards. But, in other areas, they may be a lot further away.

With a $400 budget, your choices are going to be relatively limited.

You can pick up a Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Di Macro for around $169 brand new.

After that, you tend to take a pretty good price jump to get higher quality glass. For example, a Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G SSM is going to run in the $700's (and the 70-400 is well over $1k). If you want a brighter lens that you could use a TC (Teleconverter) with, then you're looking at moving to something like a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 (which is going to be well over budget). Now, you do sometimes see the Tokina 100-300mm f/4 used in the $500's. But, that's still a bit over budget.

If you move into a 400mm lens, then you might be able to find a used Minolta 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 APO AF lens in the $400's if your a good shopper. But, they're usually in the $500's now (again, over budget).

A better lens for something like wildlife would be a Sigma 50-500mm (a.k.a, Bigma). They're popular for that purpose. But, again, they're going to be well over budget, even used.

IOW, you might need to stick with a 70-300mm consumer grade zoom with a $400 budget, and the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Di Macro is probably about as good as any of the budget zooms (coming in at around $169.95 now brand new). But, like most budget zooms, it gets a bit softer on it's longer end unless stopped down a bit more.

One other lens you may want to look at with that budget is the Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 (D) APO (making sure it's an APO version, preferably the newest D version). Avoid the non APO versions of the Minolta 100-300mm lenses (there is a reason the APO versions sell for a lot more). You can find these in the $300's with hood and caps on the used market if you're a good shopper.

But, if you want a brighter lens you could use more easily use a TC with (for example, a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 or Tokina 100-300mm f/4), they're probably going to be over budget, even used).

Now, there are more lenses from Tamron and Sigma that reach out to 400mm or 500mm. But, I haven't been particularly impressed with test results I've seen with the ones you're likely to find with a $400 budget. I'd also take things like size/weight into consideration when shopping.

What I'd probably do is visit user reviews of them at dyxum.com to get an idea of how some of them compare when used on a Sony body, looking at listings you find at popular dealers of used gear like http://www.keh.com and then reading reviews for what's available within that budget. Here's the page for zooms starting at around 100mm.

http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/results....e=3&offset=200

I'm not much of a long lens shooter. So, hopefully, some of our other members will chime in with suggestions.
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Old Feb 28, 2010, 9:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the help JimC
We are now having fun picking a lense.
There are a lot of Cheap Lenses out there ( JUNK )
This will also be a good experience when I get my Future DSLR

Fred..
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Old Mar 13, 2010, 2:31 PM   #9
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A camera store has the Sony SAL 75-300mm f4.5-5.6 on sale here.
300mm is not exactually a telephoto but 300 mm
But " there is is always a but "
If the IQ is good , which it should be , you can crop it 50 %

I am correct on this ?

Thanks again
Fred..

PS I found out most local camera stores have the A330 under $ 500.00
That now has me thinking
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Old Mar 14, 2010, 8:54 AM   #10
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The Sony 75-300mm is not very good (gets softer on it's longer end and has more CA/Purple Fringing there than desired at wider aperture settings). You'd probably be better off with the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Di Macro I mentioned (plus, the Tamron would have closer focus if you needed it).

But, 300mm is really not very long for anything small like a bird, where you need to be a lot closer than you think to fill the frame much with one. As for cropping, you can't crop as much has you think and have a lot of detail left, depending on the viewing size needed. If you crop an image to make it look like you're using twice as much optical zoom, you end up with only 1/4 the original resolution.
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