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Old May 26, 2010, 7:03 AM   #61
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  1. There are no bad macro lenses. The differences between them are very minor, especially when comapred to the differneces between, for instance, the Sony/Minolta 75-300 and the Tamron 70-300 Di LD. If focal length is important to you, then the Sigma 105 would be a better choice than the Tamron 90, but the diference between the Sigma 105 and the Sony/Minolta 100 is slight. Only you can decide if the very slight increase in minimum focusing distance is worth the very slight loss in image quality.
  2. Sony uses the 'A' mount that Minolta invented. Sony hasn't made any changes to the 'A' mount, so any lens that works on any Minolta Maxxum AF film SLR will work fine on a Sony dSLR. There are no compatibility issues going either forward or backward, except for two:
    1. Very early Sigma AF lenses that were compatible with the very early Minolta Maxxum AF camera bodies, were not compatible with later generations of Maxxum AF camera bodies. Some of those lenses have been upgraded and are now compatible, and all Sigma AF lenses manufactured since then are compatible.
    2. Minolta produced a line of Maxxum film SLRs and lenses that had power zoom that could be controlled by the camera. These lenses will only power zoom on those bodies, and won't power zoom on other bodies. In all other respects, they are fully compatible with every other Minolta or Sony AF camera body.
  3. Lenses are the anvils of the photographic industry. There isn't a lot that can go wrong, and if something does go wrong, it's obvious to the most casual observer. Just because a lens has been used for 10 years doesn't mean it's not as good as it used to be. Lenses don't wear out by passing light through them, unless you're using a laser, and most lasers won't hurt them either.
    If you buy a used lens that's bad, return it and get your money back.
  4. As to the "lack of lens options", consider this. Your Sony dSLR has sensor shift image stabilization, which means that any lens will be stabilized, including all the macro lenses manufactured by third parties and all the OEM macro lenses, any of which may have been manufactured as much as 20 years ago. Canon only has one stabilized macro lens, and Nikon only has two. They're all very new and very expensive, and few have found their way onto the used market.
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Old May 26, 2010, 9:11 AM   #62
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Quote:
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....Minolta produced a line of Maxxum film SLRs and lenses that had power zoom that could be controlled by the camera. These lenses will only power zoom on those bodies, and won't power zoom on other bodies. In all other respects, they are fully compatible with every other Minolta or Sony AF camera body.
The Minolta Maxxum xi Series lenses with power zoom still work on a dSLR (including the ability to zoom in or out). They still have a zoom ring. It just controls the power zoom motor. Now, some users do say that they tend to drain the camera's battery faster. But, they'll still work. Here's a brief article on Ebay about them:

http://reviews.ebay.com/Minolta-Maxx...00000009576612

The main complaint I see in reviews of them is that Manual Focusing is very difficult with them (finnicky because of the way the motor works). But, some users say Autofocus really isn't bad with them. It depends on the user. You can find user reviews of them at dyxum.com. Here's one example:

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...review338.html

Now, the camera can't control the zoom like some of the custom cards for the higher end xi camera models could (for example, Minolta offered a sports card that could automatically control a power zoom lens to keep the same framing composition for moving subjects)

But, these lenses still work on any Sony dSLR model, including the power zoom feature (as long as you're using the zoom ring on the lens to control the built in zoom motor).
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Old May 26, 2010, 1:14 PM   #63
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Here is an example of the sigma 105 in action.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/cl...gma-105-a.html
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Old May 26, 2010, 10:04 PM   #64
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Thanks again for the details. Its very educative. I am right now favoring the Sigma 105. With my skill level, I doubt if I would exploit or notice the better image quality of the Minolta 100. In fact, I'm very impressed by the photo that shoturtle sent. However, I would notice the increased minimum focusing distance of the Sigma. The price for a used Sigma 105 is also very attractive.

If I am getting a new lens, I have no questions. However, I have a few amateurish questions when it comes to getting a used lens.

1) Is BEH.com a reliable site to buy used lens? Are there any other reliable sites? (Just to compare the prices)
2) Does the lens (or the seller) give any warranty? The reason I ask is because I am a novice user and may not notice any defects immediately. I might notice them only after a few months of usage. So I need enough leeway time to find issues with the lens.
3) What are things to look out for when I first receive the used lens?
4) Does the Sigma 105 universally fit any camera? Based on what I see on Amazon, I think I need to get one that specifically fits the Sony.

Thanks,
Nev
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Old May 26, 2010, 11:19 PM   #65
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Also TCav, I can't find the $279 deal for Sigma 105 on BEH.com and Adorama. Can you send me the link?

Thanks,
Nev
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Old May 27, 2010, 7:54 AM   #66
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1) Is BEH.com a reliable site to buy used lens? Are there any other reliable sites? (Just to compare the prices)
That's KEH.com, and both Adorama and B&H have used equipment for sale as well. They are all very reputeable companies.

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Originally Posted by nevjac View Post
2) Does the lens (or the seller) give any warranty? The reason I ask is because I am a novice user and may not notice any defects immediately. I might notice them only after a few months of usage. So I need enough leeway time to find issues with the lens.
KEH has a 14 day return policy, subject to certain conditions.
Adorama also has a 14 day return policy, subject to certain conditions.
B&H has a 15 day return policy, subject to certain conditions.

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3) What are things to look out for when I first receive the used lens?
Visually inspect the glass for anything that wasn't mentioned in the description and can't easily be cleaned. Examine the diaphram blades to see that they are clean and dry. Rotate the focus and zoom rings to see if they operate smoothly. Operate any other controls on the lens to see if they operate smoothly. Inspect the filter mounting threads for damage. Inspect the lens mount for damage and excess wear, and that the contacts are all intact (Remember that early AF lenses for Minolta cameras only had 5 contacts, but newer lenses have 8. This difference does not affect the useability of the lens.) Attach the lens to your camera, and see if it attaches firmly (Some early Sigma lenses were a little trickier to attach than others, so you may need to press the lens into the body in order to rotate and lock it.) See that the lens autofocuses and that the aperture works properly (Take a photo of the same scene at different apertures to see if each photo is properly exposed.)

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Originally Posted by nevjac View Post
4) Does the Sigma 105 universally fit any camera? Based on what I see on Amazon, I think I need to get one that specifically fits the Sony.
Different cameras have differnet lens mounts. Third parties make lenses that fit each of them, but nobody makes a single lens that fits all cameras. You must get a lens that has the Sony/Minolta 'A' autofocus mount.

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Originally Posted by nevjac View Post
I can't find the $279 deal for Sigma 105 on BEH.com and Adorama. Can you send me the link?
http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20370546.html
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Last edited by TCav; May 27, 2010 at 7:57 AM.
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Old May 27, 2010, 7:22 PM   #67
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Thanks a lot TCav. I think I'll go for the Sigma 105 in EX+ condition for $299. Thanks once again to everyone for their help.

And I don't want to digress but I had a quick question regarding large telephoto lens. I want my next lens to be a telephoto lens. My 55-200mm is not enough. Is a 500mm an overkill for me? I don't do sports nor wildlife although I do occasionally take pictures of birds sitting high up on the tree. If it indeed is an overkill, would a 300mm be a good upgrade? And definitely want the new lens to be a significant improvement over my current lens.

And I don't plan on getting this immediately, so don't feel pressured to give elaborate responses.

Thanks again,
Nev
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Old May 27, 2010, 9:48 PM   #68
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If you take a photo at 200mm and crop off 33% of the height and width, that's the angle of view you'll get at 300mm. If you crop off 60%, that's what you'll get with a 500mm lens. That should give you some idea of what different telephoto lenses can do.
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Last edited by TCav; May 28, 2010 at 9:15 AM. Reason: sp
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Old May 28, 2010, 8:53 AM   #69
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That helps a lot. I'll try cropping out one of the images I've taken with my 55-200mm and that should give me a good idea. Thanks.
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