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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2017 at 18:52
Originally posted by gitanesteel gitanesteel wrote:

... purchased a used SLT A-57 to start taking sports (soccer, softball and volleyball for my daughters), car show photos and the occasional landscape photos while hiking. The camera came with the Sony kit 18-55 lens and also the Sony 75-300 (4.5-5.6, SAL75300). I like the 75-300 lens a lot but can't help but wonder if there's another good one out there that I can compare it to.

As long as the maximum aperture is sufficient, the price/performance king in that range is the Sony 55-300. Amazing value, especially on the used market.
 



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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2017 at 19:00
The 28-100 is a nice lens but you need f8-11 to get the corners sharp.

The 75-300 handles well, esp in MF, but suffers CA in heavy crops.
The 70-210 f4-5.6 is better in close up, and the 100-300 (espApo) is better in crop.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, 5d, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2017 at 19:28
Originally posted by gitanesteel gitanesteel wrote:

Brand new member and first post...

Welcome to Dyxum!

Originally posted by gitanesteel gitanesteel wrote:

I like the 75-300 lens a lot but can't help but wonder if there's another good one out there that I can compare it to. I've seen a few Minolta AF examples and almost bought them but, then, think it would be overkill to have two essentially identical lenses.

The Sony 75-300 is identical to the Minolta 75-300's except the first one. It may be worth replacing the 75-300 with a Sony DT 55-300 SAM. I've got four zooms in this range right now, but I mainly just use the 55-300.
Originally posted by gitanesteel gitanesteel wrote:

I purchased two used Minolta AF lens for relatively cheap - 50mm f/1.7 and 28-100 f3.5-5.6. I got the first to hopefully get a little better quality at my daughter's volleyball while indoors with lower light conditions. I would gladly welcome any other suggestions for a decent lens for this situation.

A brighter zoom might help. I just bought a Sigma 50-150 F2.8 to go along with the Sony DT 16-50 F2.8 SSM. The Sony/Minolta/Tamron 28-75 F2.8 overlaps those ranges. The Sony 85 F2.8 SAM is a nice little lens too.

As far as cheaper zooms the Sony DT 55-200 F4-5.6 is F4 at 100 mm instead of F5.6. The Minolta AF 35-70 F4, 35-105 F3.5-4.5, and 70-210 F4 are decent options.
A68 30M 35 50 60M 16-50 16-80 18-55 18-70 18-135 55-200 55-300
A6000 LA-EA1 6.5 16 20 30 50 60 16-50 18-55 55-210
600si: 20 24 28 50 100M 135 24-85 24-105 28-105 35-70 35-105 70-210 75-300 100-200
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gitanesteel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gitanesteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2017 at 19:34
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

The 28-100 is a nice lens but you need f8-11 to get the corners sharp.

The 75-300 handles well, esp in MF, but suffers CA in heavy crops.
The 70-210 f4-5.6 is better in close up, and the 100-300 (espApo) is better in crop.


Thanks. Help my ignorance since I'm a newbie. What does CA stand for?
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QuietOC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2017 at 19:44
Originally posted by gitanesteel gitanesteel wrote:

Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

The 28-100 is a nice lens but you need f8-11 to get the corners sharp.

The 75-300 handles well, esp in MF, but suffers CA in heavy crops.
The 70-210 f4-5.6 is better in close up, and the 100-300 (espApo) is better in crop.


Thanks. Help my ignorance since I'm a newbie. What does CA stand for?

It stands for chromatic aberration--the various color fringes that appear on high contrast edges. The Sony DT zooms have these pretty well corrected, and the ones that appear in the corners of images get corrected in camera. The color fringing in older lenses gets magnified when they are used on APS-C cameras.
A68 30M 35 50 60M 16-50 16-80 18-55 18-70 18-135 55-200 55-300
A6000 LA-EA1 6.5 16 20 30 50 60 16-50 18-55 55-210
600si: 20 24 28 50 100M 135 24-85 24-105 28-105 35-70 35-105 70-210 75-300 100-200
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Cliff View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cliff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2017 at 01:32
I do not believe there is a better buy these days than older A mount lenses, and Minoltas are, with a few exceptions, among the best. Shopping the used gear sites, KEH, Roberts Camera Used photo, are a couple along with dealers like B&H, will bring you a selection of everything ever made. Most are amazingly inexpensive.

Part of the trick is that film era lenses had to be pretty sharp and have good color. Kodachrome was not fast, but it was essentially grainless and had exceptional color. It took no prisoners, bad lenses did not survive.

Modern lenses are not generally appreciably sharper than older ones, but modern coatings can make a difference as guys above have noted with CA. Micro contrast on new lenses can make them appear sharper too, but that is largely remediable in post.

On an APS-C camera you are shooting with the sweet spot in the middle of an older FF lens. That means corner and edge defects are invisible, they fall right off the edges of the sensor.

In another recent discussion on Dyxum we got into what impact having most photos these days viewed on a screen has. The answer being it is profound. A photo on a new large (40"+) 4k screen is indistinguishable from one on a similar size 1080p screen from further than about 5 feet away, and neither can be told from an older 720p screen at that distance. A new 4k screen at 8mp has about half the resolution of the 16mp sensor in your a57. 1080p at about 2mp has about 1/8 your sensor resolution. As screens get small differences get ever harder to see even at closer distances.

I encourage you to go for it, and enjoy old glass while it is common and cheap. You can always spend big bucks. With camera lenses as with bikes, getting rid of that last half pound can be really expensive.
ContaxRF, Min7000i, Sony A100, A65, Nex5T, A7ii, A6500. 2 many lenses, mostly ordinary Minolta & 3rd party A, MC/D, other mf, vintage Vivitars & cats, LA-EA2,3,4 E16-50&55-210mm
 



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gitanesteel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gitanesteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2017 at 02:21
Great feedback on the lens options. I really appreciate it. I absolutely love my a57. But, considering my life before this was cell phones and point and shoot cameras I suppose it's not saying much. My daughter's soccer coach has two alpha cameras - a55 and now a a68. He's one who sent me the Sony way. But after reading the specs on fps for the a57 when I saw it come up for sale I was sold on it for my first camera. Eventually I'm sure I'll move to a 77 or 99 but for now this will do.

Thank you for the info on CA - I'll stick that in my memory bank and hope to be able to access it again in the future.

This is definitely a learning process but I really enjoy having the mix of lenses I have right now so I can compare different lens results with the subject.

Originally posted by Cliff Cliff wrote:


With camera lenses as with bikes, getting rid of that last half pound can be really expensive.


Isn't this the truth, although sometimes just losing the extra half pound of body weight is the better option.
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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2017 at 03:17
Originally posted by Cliff Cliff wrote:

Modern lenses are not generally appreciably sharper than older ones, but modern coatings can make a difference as guys above have noted with CA.

Just for clarification ... although coatings have been improved over the years, they don't influence CA. That's all about the optics. Coatings do help with spectral transmission and flare control, though.

Edited by sybersitizen - 27 December 2017 at 05:03
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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2017 at 23:21
Originally posted by gitanesteel gitanesteel wrote:

Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

The 28-100 is a nice lens but you need f8-11 to get the corners sharp.

The 75-300 handles well, esp in MF, but suffers CA in heavy crops.
The 70-210 f4-5.6 is better in close up, and the 100-300 (espApo) is better in crop.


Thanks. Help my ignorance since I'm a newbie. What does CA stand for?


Welcome, and further to QuietOC's answer, most film-era lenses show a little chromatic aberration (CA) in the corners when you use a 16-24Mp digital camera and examine 100% crops (one pixel in the image to one pixel on the screen), especially on an older monitor with a low pixel density. That's an unreasonable test in most respects, but if you expect to do heavy crops on a lens to get extra reach, it is a problem you will see.

Apochromatic lenses have special glass elements inside them to correct the lens for more wavelengths of light and the better ones kill the CA completely. Later Sony lenses in the cheap range rely on post-image processing in the camera to achieve the same result.

Re tele zooms, I have quite a few and I've done pretty exhaustive testing with charts (as indeed QuietOC has) and with some more-real-world tests. Accepting that copies of lenses do vary, I can say that my copy of the Minolta 100-300 APO is sharper than my copy of the 55-300 and much more use as well. It works on FF and it works with a TC. I have been unable to get the 55-300mm to work with a 1.4x TC - it doesn't make any attempt to AF and in MF the results aren't worth it. I took a load of bird pics with the 100-300 + TC this morning (they're posted in the bird thread and I've very pleased with the combination.

If you're not birding but want a tele which can do closeups of leaves, flowers, etc, I can recommend both the Sony DT 55-200mm and the Minolta 70-210mm f4-5.6, both of which have a more useful MFD (minimum focus distance) for close-focus than either of the xx-300mm lenses, and both of which are sharp at full aperture with very little CA. Surprisingly the Sony 18-250 hyper-zoom is also pretty sharp at the long end and pretty good at close-ups which I didn't expect.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, 5d, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nikleo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 10:59
My current line-up...


On A37:

Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 (200) - some issues with AF accuracy but a fun lens for sure, decent IQ.

50/1.8 DT (80)- my favourite lens on APS-C, great for portraits and low light

Tamron 70-300 Di USD (125) - very decent telephoto, fast focus and maybe the best-built lens I currently own.

18-55 sees no use at all


On A850:

Tamron 17-35/2.8-4 (130) - close relative of KM17-35/2.8-4, nice results so far, subjectively sharper on full frame than Sigma 10-20 on crop but that might also be 16mp vs 24mp thing, at least to some extent.

50/1.4 (140) - I am just starting to get to grips with this one, do not quite understand its character just yet. Tiny! Even smaller than 50/1.8 which is suprising, considering this is 1.4 and full frame.

85/2.8 (150) - fantastic! small, light, sharp, really shines on FF.

I did try Tamron 70-300 on A850 but it is almost tripod-only for me, the weight and bulk is unignorable. Still, good to have the long end covered just in case!


Except for both 50mm and Tamron 70-300, all others and A850 were purchased online through second-hand departments of camera stores since I cannot afford to sit on ebay all day long and also need some sort of reliability assurance as I do paid work from time to time - camera stores will often give 6-12 month warranty on used items. Thing is, except for iconic lenses (CZ, STF, G series, /2 primes and any version of 85/1.4), camera stores don't care much for the A mount and will often price used lenses quite competitively, maybe not to the lowest price ever but definitely worth the extra benefits of secure payment, fast shipping and store warranty (for me at least).

A-mount does seem like a great place to save money. Or spend less money to get the same quality, at least. Or spend about as much money on better stuff. Or... you get the idea


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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 January 2018 at 12:00
The Tamron 70-300 USD focuses slower than most lenses. The focus speed is slow but works really well. It is like the tortoise in The Tortoise and the Hare. The 55-300 SAM will occasionally kick into a really high speed drive that might be twice as fast as the top speed of the USD, but the SAM has more failures. All of the x-300 zooms I have are rather slow focusing, especially compared to normal zooms like the 28-105 or 18-135 or 28-135.

Edited by QuietOC - 12 January 2018 at 14:32
A68 30M 35 50 60M 16-50 16-80 18-55 18-70 18-135 55-200 55-300
A6000 LA-EA1 6.5 16 20 30 50 60 16-50 18-55 55-210
600si: 20 24 28 50 100M 135 24-85 24-105 28-105 35-70 35-105 70-210 75-300 100-200
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 66mikeg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2018 at 14:39
Not so much a budget line up as mostly lenses aquired for my Minolta AF9000.
minolta 50mm f1.7 RS
minolta 35-70 f4 RS
minolta 28-80 f4
minolta DT 18-70 f3.5-5.6
minolta 70-210 f4.5-5.6
minolta 70-210 f4
vivitar 500mm f8 CAT
The mid range 28-80 and 18-70 took a couple of buying and selling attempts before I managed to get a couple of decent examples, the rest I seemed to strike lucky at a first attempt. Particularly with the 70-210 f4 for £70 I got a good un, the CAT lens is ok for air shows in good light as the annoying doughnuts don't appear as the background is sky any way. The real cheapskate approach is the two bodies, Sony A290 and A390 both with low shutter counts bought off ebay. The 14.2 APS-C sensors don't streach the capabilities of the lenses too much.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Nikleo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2018 at 14:58
Originally posted by QuietOC QuietOC wrote:

The Tamron 70-300 USD focuses slower than most lenses. The focus speed is slow but works really well. It is like the tortoise in The Tortoise and the Hare. The 55-300 SAM will occasionally kick into a really high speed drive that might be twice as fast as the top speed of the USD, but the SAM has more failures. All of the x-300 zooms I have are rather slow focusing, especially compared to normal zooms like the 28-105 or 18-135 or 28-135.


I have not tried any of the lenses you mentioned other than Tamron USD but my copy focuses really rather fast somehow. A bit faster on A37 though (subjective observation). 55-300 must be able to transform into a real speed demon to do twice that speed, so (occasionally at least) lucky you!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 February 2018 at 04:22
So, I had a bit of free time so I spent it in reading a good number of pages of this discussion.

One strong theme that emerges is that You mostly pay a large amount of money for a fast lens rather than a better quality lens. Stopped down and with good experience and technique, most good quality lenses work reasonably well, if not truly exceptional. Shooting wide open is expensive!
A second point is Edge sharpness is expensive! Most legacy Minolta glass delivers acceptable center sharpness and it tends to go softer towards the edges. Center and edges improve stopping down 1-2 stops usually.
And an 85/1.4 at f/4 will most definitely outperform the 70-210/f4 @ 85mm/f4. I'm NOT contending that.

Edge-to-edge sharpness wide open (or relatively wide-open) is what you pay most money for.

And 85/1.4 at f/4 will most likely outperform the 70-210/f4 @ 85mm/f4. I'm NOT contending that.

Also, one personal observation as well from me: The higher cost of most top of the line lenses usually is more of a reflection of engineering/manufacturing considerations rather than quality-of-image bump. Sharp wide open is the realm of really pricey lenses, usually, of course. This is not to say that a 24-70 CZ performs just as well as a the Tamron 28-75. Even at f/8-f/11, the CZ will probably outperform the Tamron. But the amount of better performance isn't probably worth the extra few hundred dollars, to most people.

And the extra IQ gained may or may not be discernible for non pixel peepers and depends on how it's viewed or how big it's printed.

Also, we're talking about the cheap line up, remember?

So, here's a summary. Since it's a summary, it does NOT list all lenses discussed so far in this thread but certainly all lenses that have multiple votes and are common recommendations. Do feel free to point out errors/omissions so I'll update my post.
A good number of these are legacy FF glass so especially the wider ones might not be all that useful on APS-C.
Looks like it's turning out to be a quite a comprehensive post so I'd like to keep it accurate.

So what's a cheap lens?
Maybe under USD 200? Some of the lenses listed below inch up there. Most are in the USD 100 mark. Some are USD 50 or below, as of early 2018. So take your pick of whatever cheap means.

I don't think anything below is over USD 200, or at least by much. If it is, I'll try to mention it.


Note that most Minolta (and other) lenses come in various versions, typically original and RS for MAF. There might be differences in performance that matter to you. Read reviews and make an informed decision.

Minolta primes:

Minolta - AF 24 F2.8 - Pretty decent lens good enough for hobbyists. A bit pricey and at the higher end of the USD 200 mark. Get the 24/2 if you want truly exceptional!

Minolta - AF 28 F2.8 ~ Kind of a decent performer. BFTB lens. Can't complain. About USD 60 or so nowadays?

Minolta - AF 50 F1.7 - Pretty much everyone says this is a must have lens for the A-mount shooter. USD 60-70?


Minolta - AF 50 F1.4 - Prices have dropped! The f/1.7 version should cover more than 95% of all needs but the 1.4 is worth having for bragging rights. USD 125?

MAF 50/2.8 macro - There are three versions of this guy. Very useful for macro photographers. Around USD 75-100 nowadays and having a 1:1 for that price makes it a must have lens for the macro shooter.

Minolta - AF 50 F3.5 Macro - Another excellent piece of glass. Similar price as above and rated even higher. You obviously lose some speed.

hMinolta - AF 135 F2.8- Wonderful lens. A bit towards the higher end of "cheap lineup". USD 200 is a bit of a challenge, though.

Other MAF primes like the 16mm, 20mm, 35/1.4, 28/f2, 35/f2, 85mm, 100/f2, 135mm STF, 200mm and beyond just aren't a part of the cheap line-up. The 135mm is at the top (or a bit over) of that dollar mark.

N.B. At this point in time I've run out of patience in trying to put the URLs to the lenses, sorry. Takes way too much time.

Minolta zooms:

There is quite a broad range as well a good bit of overlap as well. The selection is larger than primes as well.

18-70: Definitely nowhere as bad as the lens review page suggests. Usually overlooked in favor of others. It's actually KM rather than MAF that I know of.
17-35/2.8-4. Excellent UWA, especially if you don't need wide open usage.
24-50/F4. Very good range on FF. Compared to a 28-70 or 28-75 zoom, my personal observation is that the 24mm on the wide end is more important than the extra 20/25 mm on the long end. YMMV.
24-85: Not very well regarded but a very impressive range on FF for the money. Wide enough for landscapes and long enough for portraits and everything in between. About USD 30?
24-105 f3.5/4.5: Again, excellent range. Similar performance as the above with a longer reach. About $125 - $50.
28-85: Almost free nowadays! Similar performance as the 24-85.
28-135/4-5.6: AKA the "secret handshake". Some consider it as good as other G glass. I'm a bit skeptical about such claims but it certainly is yet another BFTB lens.
35-70/F4. At about USD 30, there's no reason not to own one! Range could be limiting but that's what might make it fun to use!
35-105/3.5-4.5: Another good BFTB lens with good color and contrast.
70-210/4. Under USD 100 nowadays. BFTB definitely. Somewhat hyped up so don't expect too much else you might be disappointed.
75-300: AKA Big Beercan. Reasonably OK and definitely a worth having beginner lens for longer reach.
100-300 APO - Longer reach for a reasonable price. Most commonly recommended 300mm lens for people on a budget.
100-200/4.5 - Super cheap. Pretty useful if you don't usually need a tele but would like to carry something in your bag for the rare occasion. Smaller/lighter than the beercan.


Sony lenses.
There aren't all that many cheap Sony primes so I grouped primes/zooms into a single bucket.
18-55 - One of the best standard zooms for APS-C. Quite a nice lens.
55-200 - One of the best mid tele zooms for APS-C, in terms of BFTB. Very good performer. Possibly a better performer than the beercan. Small and light to boot!
55-300 - Pretty good and can't go wrong for the money. Another good performer for the money if you need the extra reach.
35/1.8 - Definitely a winner.
50/1.8 - A bit slow focusing. Another winner.


Third party lenses:
100/3.5 macro - Cosina. Comes with a matched 1:1 adapter. AKA "Plastic Fantastic". Poor man's macro.
Zenitar 16/2.8 fisheye. MF with an adapter. About USD 200 so not all that cheap but a good option for full frame. This is the only non-native lens on this list. I've included as it's recommended a good bit.
Sigma 70-300 APO DG macro.
Sigma 24/2.8 macro. Widest macro (that I know of!) at 1:4. Need to find a good copy, as is usual with Sigma lenses.
Tokina 19-35.
Tamron 90/2.8 macro: Also doubles as an excellent portrait lens.
Sigma 50/2.8 or 70/2.8 or 90/2.8 macro.
Sigma 20-40/2.8. Pretty good for the money.
Sig 24-135 2.8-4: The "perfect zoom" as 24-135 covers all general purpose photography on FF. But it's cheap, even though it's a reasonably fast lens and the quality isn't quite up to the mark.
Tamron 20-40. Pretty decent for the money.
Tamron 17-35. Not all that great per the reviews but has some recommendations here.
60-300 seems to get some decent reviews. Marked under different brands such as Contax.
Sigma 21-35. Not mentioned all that much but apparently very good sharpness and horrible flare. Cloudy day landscapes, maybe?

Alright, I spent way too much time over this than I meant to but couldn't stop after I started.


Sashi

Edited by skm.sa100 - 23 February 2018 at 18:20
More Dyxumer, less photographer.
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