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Old Feb 8, 2008, 2:48 PM   #21
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JohnG wrote:
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Perhaps Jim could suggest a better quality 300mm zoom still in that $560 price range. After that, it's up to the $1000 Sigma 100-300 which is way over budget. But if Sony has a comparable 70-300 lens for around $560 that might be a good option.
If you want a good quality budget zoom that goes to 300mm, the Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Macro Autofocus Lens gets consistently higher user reviews compared to anything else in it's price range by Minolta AF mount users (but, it's only available used).

You can pick one up the lastest D (ADI, or Advanced Distance Integration) versions of the lens, which sends information on focus distance to the camera for flash exposure purposes, for around $349 in excellent condition at vendors like http://www.keh.com

Here's an example:

Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO (D) Macro Autofocus Lens with hood and caps in Excellent Condition at keh.com for $349.99

The non-D version is around $279 (keh.com has one in stock in Excellent condtion now at that price now). Check under 35mm, Minolta Autofocus Lenses for examples. In addition, you can usually find them in stock in the used departments at http://www.bhphotovideo.com and http://www.adorama.com for around the same price.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the D feature (the optics are identical between the APO versions of this lens).

Avoid the non-APO version of the Minolta 100-300mm f/3.5-5.6 AF lenses you'll find. You can find these all day long at under $100 if you shop around. But, the optical quality isn't as good (CA issues, etc.. that you won't see with the better APO versions). There is a reason for the price difference between them. ;-)


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Old Feb 8, 2008, 2:50 PM   #22
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Jim,

How does the focus motors in those lenses compare to Canon USM or Sigma HSM?
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Old Feb 8, 2008, 2:57 PM   #23
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I haven't seen it measured compared to USM lenses. But, most users seem to think the AF is pretty darn fast with non-SSM (Minolta's equivalent AF system) lenses with the new A700 (and I'm hearing good reports from users indicating the A200 is fast, too).

I can tell you that the A700's AF is very fast with all of my lenses. That is one advantage of having AF built into the camera body. If you upgrade the body later and is has a better AF motor, all lenses without a built in focus motor benefit from the improvement in the body.

But, I suspect most of the improvements Sony is mentioning (AF speed 1.7 times as fast as previous Sony DSLR models, improved tracking algorithms) are coming from much faster internal processing. The dedicated ASICs and other electronics in newer models are getting to be very fast now, allowing more sophisticated control of the AF system, image processing and more.

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Old Feb 8, 2008, 3:31 PM   #24
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P.S.

What might be interesting to see (and I suspect we will at some point), is how the Autofocus Speed between virtually identical lenses with and without built in focus motors compare on a newer Sony DSLR body with faster AF.

What I've found interesting is that I've seen some Pentax users with multiple bodies reporting that newer lenses with their version of HSM/USM (Pentax is referring to it as SDM) have virtually no perceptable difference in Autofocus Speed used on similar bodies with and without support for this feature. That tells me the speed limiting factor with them is more likely in the Autofocus algorithms, not the focus motor differences. We'll have to wait and see if the same is true for Sony models or not.

Since Sigma recently announced that they plan to ship a 70-200mm f/2.8 with HSM in Sony/Minolta AF mount, hopefully someone with the non-HSM version of a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX lens can figure out a way to compare them (since multiple versions of this Sigma lens have been sold in the past in Minolta AF mount without HSM). Then, we'd have a better idea of how non-HSM and HSM versions compare with lens designs that are very close on a Sony DSLR body.

Personally, I suspect that the new Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Autofocus Lens is going to be the best "bang for the buck" in this focal range though (despite it's lack of a built in lens focus motor in Minolta/Sony mount), coming in at a lower $699 price tag. Tamron's SP (Super Performance) Series lenses are usually very good. We'll have to wait until it's shipping to find out how it's optical quality and AF speed compare. Some vendors like http://www.adorama.com are taking preorders for it now.


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Old Feb 9, 2008, 10:13 AM   #25
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When I read Angel L.'s first post, I detect a sense of urgency ("Highschool baseball season starts in 1 week and I have no camera.") and a specific set of requirements ("I have a $1200 budget for body and 2 lenses.", "usable 1600 iso", "stabalization", "3 fps burst", "Fast AFS").

Certainly, all of the OP's objectives may be better served by products that are not currently available, but he needs something now. As I've said in an earlier post, if Angel L. can live with a kit lens (at least for a while), that gives a little more flexibility to his choice of camera and telephoto zoom lens, but it seems to me that the most pressing requirement is shooting highschool baseball next week with something that costs less than $1200.

A good portion of this discussion seems to have been devoted to futurecasting and the academics of photography, not necessarilyto helping the OP.

What do you think the OP should buy that will meet his immediate requirements?
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 10:28 AM   #26
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TCav wrote:
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A good portion of this discussion seems to have been devoted to futurecasting and the academics of photography, not necessarilyto helping the OP.

What do you think the OP should buy that will meet his immediate requirements?
ummm - I believe I made the suggestion for a canon solution (400d & kit, 430ex and 70-300 IS USM)and Jim has offered up a similar path in Sony (although if the 200 isn't available yet that isn't going to work well).

Yes it's a bit more money to get the Canon 70-300. BUT, as stated I think it's worth the extra money if baseball is an important goal - the quality difference over the less expensive Sigma 70-300 will be more than worth the extra money. But the Sigma 70-300 is still an option if budget is more important than quality.

And for those who discount the importance of focus systems, here's a thread in another forum (sorry mods but I think it's relevant). The user could have easily switched to a Sony a700 or Nikon D300 and had a similar story. The point isn't that it is a canon camera. The point is just that a DSLR system with good focus performance can make a HUGE impact in the success of your sports or even family photos if those photos involve a lot of movement.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=26707584

I think the A200 solution sounds great if the OP can wait. Pentax and Oly come into play if baseball isn't that important.


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Old Feb 9, 2008, 1:26 PM   #27
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I've got a feeling that the OP will get some great photos, no matter what camera decision is made.

See this screen capture of a photo taken by Angel L. using a Sony DSC-F717, selected as POTD for March 15, 2006:


[img]attachment.php?id=56607[/img]
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 7:34 PM   #28
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I know I'm late to offer suggestions here - but I just got an e-410 Oly three months ago - primarily for surfing photography. As I bought the two lens kit, the larger lens is a 300mm equivalent. Obviously, this isn't quite what I needed for surfing, so I just got the 70-300mm Zuiko which is a 140-600mm equivalent. Bought at NewEgg for $379 - and while we haven't had good enough surf for me to really do much with it since it's arrival this week, I have enjoyed it very much and feel it was a great buy.

Today I shot with it exclusively - most of my shots handheld - no tripod. I had to reduce image quality to upload them (I'm stuck with dialup internet - no other options where I live) but I think the photos on this link will give you an idea of what the lens is capable of:

http://www.kayceespix.com/export
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 9:48 PM   #29
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What is the differance in AFS b/w the d40 and 400d?

The d40 is really inexpensive and I could spend on quality glass and flash?

JohnG makes a great point about AFS for motion. Hard not to read and learn.

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Old Feb 10, 2008, 6:30 AM   #30
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Angel L. wrote:
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The d40 is really inexpensive and I could spend on quality glass and flash?
The problem with the D40 is that, unlike the other Nikon dSLRs, the D40 and D40X don't have an internal autofocus motor. That means only about 1/3 of Nikon's lenses will autofocus on it. Unfortunately, most of Nikon's quality glass is not in that third.
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