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Old Jan 20, 2012, 2:00 PM   #11
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The main difference is the maximum aperture of f1.8 - she probably only has f3.5 on her kit lens. The 1.8 lets you get a better blurred background for more 'artistic' shots and works better in low light. I find it perfect for dinner-party situations where you don't want to use flash. The 35mm is wide enough angle to fit in the person sitting opposite you if you want to. A typical portrait lens like Jim suggests requires you to be a bit further back from the subject. You get a more natural look with less distortion that way but you need a bit more room to take the photo.

A prime also means the images it produces are generally sharper than you'd get from a zoom lens because it's simpler inside.
that's a very helpful explanation. thank you. that could be an option.
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 2:04 PM   #12
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Another option is the Minolta 70-210mm f/4.0 "Beercan", which is available for about $150-$200 on the used market. It's a good range, it's good quality, they made many thousands of them so they're not very expensive, and it's a 1:4 macro lens to boot. It's maximum aperture is f/4.0, which isn't as good as f/2.8 for the 85mm SAM lens, but it's better than the f/5.6 of the 55-200.

The lens is practically a legend.
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 2:12 PM   #13
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Henry's has a Beercan for $249. You may be able to beat that on eBay, but the "Buy It Now" prices are usually inflated, and the Auctions tend to be volatile.
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 2:14 PM   #14
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Henry's has a Beercan for $249. You may be able to beat that on eBay, but the "Buy It Now" prices are usually inflated, and the Auctions tend to be volatile.
thanks. i think i'd like to buy her something new however.
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 2:47 PM   #15
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so this is the lens i'm leaning towards right now. is this a good lens? if i understand correctly, this is more for zooming in to pictures taken from further distances?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._4_5_6_DT.html
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 2:54 PM   #16
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The Sony 55-200mm you're looking at would give you good "bang for the buck", and because it's a DT Lens (designed for cameras with APS-C size sensors) it's smaller and lighter than a lens with the same focal range made for a larger 35mm size sensor.

Again, the best lens would depend on what she wants to shoot more often. For what I shoot more often, I'd prefer something like that 85mm and use it for head shots, plays, theatre, etc.; since it's brighter than a zoom like that 55-200mm.
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 9:36 PM   #17
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The Beercan 70-210 f/4 has a constant aperture through out the entire range and has quality optics. I got mine for $120 a while back. I think it is a better lens than the 55-200mm DT lens. My other Beercan lenses are 50mm f/1.8 and 28-85mm f/3.5/4.5. All excellent lenses, a little aged, but work perfectly.
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 11:30 PM   #18
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The Beercan 70-210 f/4 has a constant aperture through out the entire range and has quality optics. I got mine for $120 a while back. I think it is a better lens than the 55-200mm DT lens. My other Beercan lenses are 50mm f/1.8 and 28-85mm f/3.5/4.5. All excellent lenses, a little aged, but work perfectly.
I thought the same as you until another Sony user and myself did some lens testing.

We compared the Minolta 70-210 /f4, Sony 55-500, 70-300G, and the 70-400G.

They are all good lenses and you would probably be happy with any of them. But in regards to comparing the 70-210 and the 55-200 the 55-200 was clearly sharper with better contrast.

My old 70-210 was a great lens as you can see in this link http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...s-beercan.html but after comparing the two I chose to sell the bigger heavier older 70-210. The 70-210 does clean up nicely with Photoshop and I did prefer the colors (probably the coatings affecting the white balance) over the 55-200 but that was about it.
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Old Jan 21, 2012, 9:41 AM   #19
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thanks guys!
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Old Jan 21, 2012, 12:14 PM   #20
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If you have not decided on your purchase yet I'll either confuse you more or help depending on how your leaning.
I shot a wedding with the Sony 55-200 on a 6mp camera.

Here's a link- http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...ing-shots.html
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