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Camera and lens advice needed

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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 10:48
Wow, the design of that thedigitalcamera.net website is weird

Anyway, my 2cts:

I did a safari in Kenya in June (pictures still being developed ) and I bought a A77m2 to go with my 70-400G. In some circumstances the 400mm on the APS-C sensor was slightly short, but the A77m2 allows for some cropping. I had my A900 with a 24-70 for the pictures where the 70mm on crop was too long.

I think 200mm is to short, 300mm is okayish, but I think 400mm is a sweet spot. I've seen people with Tamron/Sigma 150-600mm lenses, but those are much bigger then the 70-400G and more difficult to move around inside the car. Unless you've got a very small group, I wouldn't want to bring such a large lens as you will knock everybody when you move from one side to another (but YMMV).

Safaris are on the edge of the day, at times I had to bump the ISO higher then I wanted. The Sony RX10m3 (or Panasonic FZ1000/FZ2000) will give you good pictures as long as the light is good, it will do so less when the light goes. Maybe this is (not) a problem for you, it is up to you. With my trip people had HX300/HX400 with them and I don't think they were disappointed by the results as long as the light was okay.

So, what I would do if I was you is getting the A77m2 with 70-400G - I found it an ideal combination.

Edited by addy landzaat - 11 January 2017 at 10:52
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
 



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Ollie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ollie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 12:44
Originally posted by Pirate Pirate wrote:

Ahoy!

200mm will always be too short and adding a TC is also more expensive. IMO, ideally you want both a tele-prime and tele-zoom option. I've been using tele lenses for years and I've owned quite a few upper and top-shelf make/models over that time and the best ones are listed below if you have the budget:

Minolta AF 400/4.5 APO HS G
Minolta AF 300/2.8 APO or APO HS G
Sigma AF 300/2.8 EX DG (IF) APO
Sigma AF 100-300/4 EX DG (IF) APO
Tokina AT-X 300/4 AF (AF 304)
Tokina AT-X 100-300/4 AF-II (AF 340)

Some lenses such as Sigma will need their own brand TC's if you need to extend further though AF speed is often reduced. You can buy both tele-zoom and tele-prime lenses (subject to brand) for around GBP £750.00 (or less), though prices for all of these will vary depending on country.

There's no point buying a cheapo solution as results will be less than adequate especially at the long end of the focal range hence why those above I would recommend to anyone as they're the make/models that I know deliver the goods, so that's my tuppence worth so it's up to you where you go from here.

Thanks, I'm not ready for primes in that range, but you through 2 more lenses into the mix that seem to make the grade.

So the choice comes down to:
Minolta 80-200mm F2.8 + converter
Sony 70-400mm G1
Sigma 100-300mm F4
Tokina 100-300mm F4

Now to start the watching of eBay, I'm in no rush. The Tokina seems to be quite rare so not sure if I'll find it with any surety.

I'll also wait a few months to see if anything materialises around the A77 mk3 before buying an A77ii.

Thanks all
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 12:56
Unless you are a seasoned wildlife (safari) photographer I wouldn't bother with primes either.
If you go for the 100-300's, consider a 1.4x TC for safari and make sure you have something wider for the times where the 100mm wide end is too long.

And don't forget to share your pictures here
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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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: 11 January 2017 at 14:07
I will recommend the Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM if you have an APS-C camera. It is worth getting along with one of the more expensive options. It actually works pretty well with the Kenko DGX teleconverters if you have a lot of light.

The Minolta AF 100-400mm F4.5-6.7 isn't too bad for full-frame and is certainly fairly small.
Sony SLT A65 30M 35/1.8 50/1.8 16-50 16-105 18-135 55-200 55-300
Sony A5000 LA-EA1 16/2.8 16-50PZ Rokkor 45/2 58/1.4
Minolta Maxxum 70 24/2.8 28/2.8 50/1.7 85/2.8 100M 135/2.8 100-300D 100-400
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 14:09
Most xx- or xxx-300mm zooms I've tried are a bit soft at the long end and fitting a 1.4x TC doesn't add much actual resolution on a modern high-Mp camera (not as much as you'd hope for to balance the 1 stop loss). OTOH they fit easily into a small gadget bag.
If you have the slightly larger space, the 70-400 is an excellent choice - very sharp. The xx-200mm f2.8 zoom with TC sounds good, but if you need the low light performance you can't use the TC and vice versa; it's a good choice if you can get close in lowish light, but maybe you'd regret the length more than the shutter speed? I'd go with A77 (ii if poss) and 70-400G (either version) and chose a fast shorter lens for dusk.
A58, Dynax 4/5, 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 pdeley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 16:39
Another useful option to consider might be a good used copy of Tamron's 200-500. They're well reviewed here on dyxum and a little bit lighter than a 70-400G or a Sigma 100-300 f4, so it should make a good travel lens without biting a big chunk out of your budget.

I've just taken my Tamron 150-600 on its second trip to Argentina and even though it's 10% longer and 50% heavier than its predecessor the 200-500, that one too is still quite manageable for traveling (compared to G primes or older very long zooms)

By the way, depending on where the safari plans might take you, and which kinds of other participants might be sharing rides with you, I wouldn't assume that everyone else will bring small camera+lens combos only. So I wouldn't worry too much about getting in other people's way ... you might just as likely have to contend with a crowd of even-bigger-glass-carrying fellow travelers
a450, a500, a65, a7, 700si & other 35 mm bodies, Sig 15-30, sam 30 2.8 macro, Pentax 40 2.8 pan, Sig 70 f2.8 macro, Vivi 90 f2.8 macro, Mino 100-400 apo, 300 f4, 500 f8, 600 f4
 



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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 January 2017 at 18:02
200mm wide end is extremely long, too long imho.

Did you use your 150-600 inside a van? In the Serengeti you don't go out and walk around, you stay in the van (or Jeep) and to me it seemed the 150-600 I saw in another van was cumbersome while my 70-400G was manageable. The 70-400G is 196mm while the Tamron 150-600 is 258mm long, that is a big difference. From that I thought a Sigma/Tamron 150-600 wouldn't be an ideal choice if you're travelling in a group. Could you tell a little more about your experience with the 150-600 in tight places?

Re. the crowd: when I went I had the biggest glass and the next one down had a Nikon D7200 with 18-300mm lens. Not everybody is a photography nut
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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Ollie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Ollie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2017 at 14:49
I've just been having a look at the Sony 70-400G on DX0mark and it has what appears to be a really low sharpness score. What is it with that? Can anybody explain the sharpness rating to me, because the photo's I have seen of the lens mated to an A77ii seem excellent.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HILLCLIMBER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2017 at 21:54
Originally posted by Ollie Ollie wrote:

I've just been having a look at the Sony 70-400G on DX0mark and it has what appears to be a really low sharpness score. What is it with that? Can anybody explain the sharpness rating to me, because the photo's I have seen of the lens mated to an A77ii seem excellent.


Don`t take any notice of any score figures, the 70-400 is a truly superb lens, it is as sharp as a razor, when I originally replied to your first post you were interested to hear how the 80-200 HS G lens worked with the A77Mk 2, everything I said about that combination applies equally to the 70-400, I have and use both lenses on A77Mk2

I would suggest the 70-400 would be the best solution for your safari as I would assume you can never have too much reach but bear in mind it is larger and heavier, not exactly a walk around lens but fully retracted with the hood reversed it is quite manageable, to be honest if you do go for the 77Mk2 these lenses should be the natural choice, add the Sony 16-50 F2.8 or similar and you have pretty much covered most focal lengths as I see it, hope this helps.

Check out the photo`s by Ijsvogel on here, he did tome superb work with A77 and 70-400 before moving on to the 500 F4
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Post Options Post Options   Quote QuietOC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2017 at 22:11
My conclusion is Sony lenses often vary quite a bit. DXOMark are not the only ones reporting poor copies of this lens, but there are some reviews claiming it to be better than the Canon and Nikon equivalents.
Sony SLT A65 30M 35/1.8 50/1.8 16-50 16-105 18-135 55-200 55-300
Sony A5000 LA-EA1 16/2.8 16-50PZ Rokkor 45/2 58/1.4
Minolta Maxxum 70 24/2.8 28/2.8 50/1.7 85/2.8 100M 135/2.8 100-300D 100-400
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 January 2017 at 14:13
Originally posted by Ollie Ollie wrote:

I've just been having a look at the Sony 70-400G on DX0mark and it has what appears to be a really low sharpness score. What is it with that? Can anybody explain the sharpness rating to me, because the photo's I have seen of the lens mated to an A77ii seem excellent.
No, I can't. I find the 70-400G to be an excellent lens apart from 400mm at infinity (where it seems the contrast destroys resolution on my copy) and maybe is the reason some - like Pirate - don't like the lens. At normal ranges it is a really nice lens and therefore I recommend this lens also for safaris.

I don't think it is sample variation, I just think that especially G-lenses behave slightly different from other makes -I noticed that for instance with my 28-70G which feels a bit unsharp at f/2.8 but sharpens very easily - there is enough resolution but less micro contrast, therefore it feels a bit unsharp. The lens however has a great out of focus rendering probably partly because of the lower micro-contrast.

Photozone liked it apart from the bokeh at the long end - might be the same "problem" I'm facing at 400mm. I guess I need to write a review for it.
Das Bild ist ein Modell der Wirklichkeit - Wittgenstein
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Atom Ant Oz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 January 2017 at 14:44
Another vote for the A77/ii and the 70-400G. I have no complaints about that combination when shooting wildlife - okay, maybe I'd sometimes like longer - but it's not a combination I carry unless I plan on shooting wildlife.
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