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Old Jul 2, 2010, 3:42 PM   #1
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Default Fix a Kit Lens Or buy a third party lens?

I have the a100 and my kit lens (18-70mm) will no longer auto focus. Sony wants a flat $80 to fix it (out of warranty) so now I am trying to find out if I should fix the broken lens or get a new one. I have a 50mm prime (Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 Lens SAL-50F18) right now but sometimes that is a little close for just taking candid shots.

I have read good and bad reviews on lots of different lenses and have decided on either a Sigma or Tamron lens. The Sony lenses (18-55 and 55-200) don't really match my needs at either end of the range. I would like either 18 or 28 on the low and at least 70 on the high end of the zoom.

I read some advice that says to steer clear of Tamron lenses if they aren't part of the Di line. Is there a similar warning/rule for Sigma ("DC for Digital") lenses ?

I want to get a good, quality lens but I can't see myself paying more than $300 right now. I would like to have the extra range (either to 105mm or 200mm). I am not a professional but I love to take pictures (family, vacation and nature).

Would you recommend staying away from the 28-80mm lenses I have listed because they aren't the "Di"/"DC" models?

18-200:
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/18-20...5-63-dc--sigma - $249 from Amazon
http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/18200_diII.asp - $230 after rebate from Amazon

28-80
http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-28-80mm-.../dp/B00005LE8Q
http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-28-80mm.../dp/B00004ZD2Z - Not Di

28-105
http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-Autofoc.../dp/B00004ZD32 - Not Di

Are there any other lenses I should consider?

Thanks
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 4:05 PM   #2
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For $80, you can easily pick up an 18-70 used. KEH.com has one, in EX+ (Excellent Plus) condition for $65, and another in LN- (Like New Minus) for $76. (If you are tempted to ask me the difference between "Excellent Plus" and "Like New Minus", I warn you that my response will be "$11".)

If you really need something new with a comparable range of focal lengths, there are two excellent choices. One is the Sony/Zeiss 16-80 at $700, and the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 at $369. None of the lenses you've mentioned can hold a candle to either of them.

I wouldn't seriously consider any of the lenses you mentioned, and the prejudices that you seem to be carrying around with you, you should deposit in the nearest trash receptical as soon as possible. All lens manufacturers produce some gems and some garbage, and price is a good indication of quality. Tamron's "Di" means "Digitally Integrated", which means that it has the internal lens coatings that prevent the type of flare that sometimes occurs in dSLRs but that didn't happen in film SLRs. Sigma's "DC" lenses are designed for APS-C dSLRs and not 'Full Frame' dSLRs. Tamron's "Di-II' means the same thing.
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 4:57 PM   #3
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alphaMail- Trust what Tcav says, I just picked up a Sigma 17-70 f2.8 from KEH in EX condition for $265. It is a very sharp and my new vacation lens.
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 5:18 PM   #4
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That's pretty high for that Tamron 28-105mm. One of the vendors on Amazon had them for $39.95 with free shipping a while back. :-)

You'll see some discussion of it here:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...05mm-pics.html

I bought one of them (at $39.95 with free shipping). I really didn't need it, but at a price that low, I was curious. lol

It's the same link you posted (only the price was a lot lower then). That price didn't last for long though.

I'm not very fond of it (I took it with me and used it for a little while once, then it went back on a shelf, since that's just not a good focal range for me and I wasn't quite as thrilled with the image quality as Tullio seems to be). I probably didn't give it a fair shake though (as I didn't use it for very long).
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 7:33 AM   #5
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TCav,
Thanks for the advice. I am not sure I know enough about lenses to have prejudices. Other than focal range and aperture, I don't really understand a majority of the specifications. I have a self imposed $300 budget for the new lens. So, unless I could find the lenses you suggested used (like donp), they are out of my range.

Might I ask what the "issues" are with the 18-200? I am not sure I would notice the differences. Although, I could tell a difference with pictures taken with my kit lens and the 50mm. I know they may not be the highest quality lens but range is much larger for me. I realize the aperture (2.8 instead of 3.5) is larger and the optics/glass are better but I am not sure I can justify spending so much more money to stay in the same zoom range.
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 9:38 AM   #6
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The 18-200 lenses are not very sharp, they have a lot of distortion at the wide end and a lot of chromatic aberration at the long end. These 'jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none' lenses are convenient, but that's all they are.

With a budget of $300, here are my suggestions:

Minolta Maxxum 28-85 3.5/4.5 Af Lens*55 ($59)
(Minolta) Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 Maxxum Autofocus Lens ($69)
(Minolta) Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 Maxxum Autofocus Lens ($79)
Minolta Maxxum 35-105 3.5/4.5 Af Lens *55 ($84)
Sigma 55-200 4/5.6 Af Dc F/digtl Maxx ($99)
Maxxum 24-85 3.5/4.5 Af *62 ($139)
Tamron 70-300 F4 5.6 Di F/maxxum *62 ($149)
Zoom Telephoto 70-210mm f/4 Maxxum Autofocus Lens (... only if it includes the hood) ($149)
Zoom Telephoto 70-210mm f/4 Maxxum Autofocus Lens (... only if it includes the hood) ($169)
Maxxum 70-210 4.0 Lens *55 (... only if it includes the hood) ($184)

And if you want a replacement for your current 18-70...
18-70 F3.5-5.6 D DT (55) WITH HOOD, CAPS, DIGITAL SLR ZOOM SUPER WIDE ANGLE LENS ($76)

I'm sure there are more, but the Server at KEH.com seems to be on the fritz right now.
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Last edited by TCav; Jul 3, 2010 at 12:24 PM.
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 12:05 PM   #7
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On the Minolta lenses, are those older lenses for an SLR? (IE full frame vs. APS-C) Just wondering if the focal range would be cropped for APS. I looked at Maxxum 50mm primes before I bought the Sony and believe I recall someone mentioning it would be more like a 70mm on an APS body.

Several of the links didn't work so I can't compare all of the lenses. However, with some of these prices, I might be able to get two lenses; 1 in the lower focal range and one in the upper focal range.

Thanks again for the help!!!
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 12:12 PM   #8
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It doesn't make any difference if the lens is designed for an APS-C sensor (like a DT Series lens) or for a 35mm size film or sensor.

You're still going to have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) using a lens on a dSLR with an APS-C size sensor, as compared to the same focal length on a 35mm camera. Just multiply by 1.5x to see how they compare.

For example, a newer Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT lens (designed for cameras with an APS-C sensor) is going to give you the same angle of view you'd have using a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera (50mm x 1.5 = 75mm).

The same thing applies to a Minolta Maxxum 50mm f/1.7 AF lens (even it was originally designed for use on a 35mm camera). If you use it on your Sony A300, it's going to give you the same angle of view you'd have using a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera.

The difference is that the 50mm lens designed for a 35mm camera projects a larger image circle (a smaller APS-C size sensor is only using the center portion of it). Use of lenses designed only for dSLR models using APS-C size sensors allows for smaller and lighter lenses if the image circle projected doesn't have to be large enough to cover a 35mm size film or sensor. But, you'll have the same angle of view with either lens type on your camera.

That's why the kit lenses like your 18-70mm tend to start out at around 18mm now (because you'll have a narrower angle of view using one on a dSLR with an APS-C size sensor), even though lenses starting out at around 28mm were more popular for 35mm cameras. Your 18-70mm lens gave you the same angle of view you'd have using a 27-105mm lens on a 35mm camera.

The smaller the sensor or film size, the narrower the angle of view for a given focal length lens. The larger the sensor or film size, the wider the angle of view for a given focal length lens.

You have to multiply the focal length of a lens by 1.5x either way with your camera, to see what focal length lens you'd use on a 35mm camera to get the same angle of view.

So, be careful of the focal lengths you look at, as you can only back up so far in some conditions to fit what you want into the frame; and you'll have a narrower angle of view for a given focal length on your camera, regardless of the lens type you use.

For example, a lens like a 28-105mm on your camera (and it makes no difference if it was designed for a 35mm camera or for a camera using an APS-C sensor) is going to give you the same angle of view you'd have using a 42-158mm lens on a 35mm camera (and a lens starting out that long may be difficult to use in some conditions, as you can only back up so far to get what you want to fit into the frame).
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 12:17 PM   #9
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The focal length of a lens is a physical property of a lens, and doesn't change depending on the camera it's mounted on. If you used the extreme wide end of your 18-70mm lens, you'll still need something that goes as wide as 18mm. If not, you may be able to get away with something that only goes as wide as 24mm, or 28mm, or even 35mm.

Sorry about the links. None of the links from Adorama or KEH work. I'll fix then and let you know.

Edit: The links in my earlier post all work now.
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 12:44 PM   #10
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Here's a few more from KEH.com:

35-105 F3.5-4.5 I MACRO (55) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM WIDE ANGLE LENS ($53)
18-70 F3.5-5.6 DT (55) WITH HOOD, CAPS, DIGITAL SLR ZOOM SUPER WIDE ANGLE LENS ($56)
28-85 F3.5-4.5 MACRO (55) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM WIDE ANGLE LENS ($99)
28-105 F3.5-4.5 I (62) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM WIDE ANGLE LENS ($115)
24-85 F3.5-4.5 I (62) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM WIDE ANGLE LENS ($159)
70-210 F4 MACRO (55) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS ($199)
100-300 F4.5-5.6 APO I MACRO TELE (55) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS ($215)

An excellent source of information on older lenses is Dyxum.com.
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