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Quick Guide to Affordable A Mount Lenses

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Turerkan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Turerkan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Quick Guide to Affordable A Mount Lenses
    Posted: 30 December 2007 at 08:46
This list is an introduction to widely known and affordable A Mount lenses. This is by no means a complete list, however is a great place to start your search for lenses. For further reference see The Cheap Lineup and The Lineup discussion topics. Also, you can ask for opinions in Lens Talk Forum.


Sony Era Zooms

Carl Zeiss 16-80/3.5-4.5: The zoom that everyone is talking about, already a legend with prime level sharpness. ($650)
Sony 16-105/3.5-5.6: Sharp zoom with exceptional range ($550-600)
Tamron | Sony 18-250/3.5-6.3: Best hyperzoom by a very big margin, focus faster than Tamron version ($400-$450).


KM Era Zooms
In this time period KM didn't produce a lot of lenses. Instead they opted to rebrand Tamron lenses. These Tamron-made lenses are meant to do the job right. They have no serious flaws and perform remarkably all around and they remain well-regarded among Sony/Minolta users. The 18-70 and 75-300 were basic kit zooms of KM lineup.

Tamron | KM | Sony 11-18/3.5-5.6: Good image quality with good geometry ($450-$550)
KM | Sony 18-70/3.5-5.6: the Kit lens. very good range, decent optics for price ($75).
Tamron | KM | Sony 18-200/3.5-6.3: Optically OK, great range ($300-350).
Tamron | KM 17-35/2.8-4: Good optics, decently fast and FF compatible ($275-350)
Tamron | KM 28-75/2.8: Already became a classic. Fast, sharp standard zoom. Tamron still makes this lens ($275-350).
KM | Sony 75-300/4.5-5.6: Decent optical quality, slowish AF ($100-$150)
Minolta 100-300/4-5.6 APO D: Sharpest 300mm you can buy for the price ($275-450). Also available as Non-D and Non-APO (lesser image quality)


Minolta RS F3.5-4.5 Zooms
These are fast and reasonably sharp lenses made by Minolta. Listed as a group because they share a similar quality and price. They are very good bargains in terms of price/performance. Similar focal lengths were also produced as F3.5-5.6 in this generation, those lenses mostly perform bad and are not included here. Aperture values are all f3.5-4-5:

Minolta 24-85: Very good lens. Also available as Non-RS ($150)
Minolta | Sony 24-105: Very good lens, versalite FL ($250-300)
Minolta 28-85 | 28-105 | 35-105: Decent quality ($50-$100). Variants: 1st Gen 28-85 | Non-RS 28-105 | xi 28-105
Minolta 35-200 f4.5-5.6 Xi: good image quality, odd range. ($100-$150)
Minolta 70-210: Lighter than beercan, comparable image quality ($120-$160)


Minolta 1st Generation Zooms
These are the zoom lenses from the first generation of Minolta A Mount. They have very good sharpness and special Minolta color rendition. Beercan is the most famous and popular lens of Minolta history.

Minolta 24-50/4: Rare, known for very good sharpness esp. at wide. Also available as RS ($100-$150)
Minolta 35-70/4: Range odd on APS-C. Does close ups very well. Also There is a RS F3.5-4.5 ($50-$100)
Minolta 35-105/3.5-4.5: Good lens, odd zoom range ($50-$100)
Minolta 70-210/4 The Beercan: A legend, you can't go wrong ($120-$200)
Minolta 75-300/4.5-5.6 The Big Beercan: Bigger brother of the beercan, not constant aperture. also very well regarded lens. ($150-$250)
Minolta 100-200/4.5: Very compact telephoto with acceptable quality. Close focus only 1.9m ($50-$100)
Minolta 28-135 f4-4.5: Legend, people call it G level. sharp at all apertures, big and heavy. ($150-300)


Minolta Budget Prime Lineup
These Prime lenses were meant to be the entry level for Minolta system (excepting the Sigma 24/2.8). All are very good bargains today and deliver great image quality. Only 28/2.8 might be a mediocre performer, the rest is quite respectable.

Sigma 24/2.8: Not a minolta but it deserves a place in this list, great performer. ($50-$100).
Sony | Minolta 28/2.8: reasonable wide prime. ($100)
Minolta 50/1.7: excellent lens, great bargain, makes a great portrait lens. Available as RS ($75-100)
Minolta 50/3.5 Macro: 1:2 only, very rare, Exceptional image quality.
Minolta 135/2.8: smooth bokeh and sharp wide open ($225-275)

Walkaround Zooms
Walkaround zooms cover a range that starts in wide angle, ends in telephoto. They offer great flexibility to the user. Because of that, most photographers tend to own one.

KM | Sony 18-70/3.5-5.6: the Kit lens. very good range, decent optics for price ($75).
Carl Zeiss 16-80/3.5-4.5: The zoom that everyone is talking about, already a legend with prime level sharpness. ($650)
Sony 16-105/3.5-5.6: Sharp zoom with exceptional range ($550-600)
Tamron 17-50/2.8: Followed the great 28-75/2.8. Deserves a place here. Excellent image quality ($450)
Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5: Decent zoom, a step up from the kit lens ($300-$400)
Sigma 18-50/2.8 Macro: Great sharpness, 1:3 magnifaction, F2.8 ($400) also available as Non-macro
Sigma 24-70/2.8 Macro: great sharpness and good closeup capability ($300-400). Also available as Non-macro
Minolta 24-85/3.5-4.5: good glass and found commonly.

Macro Lenses
All macro lenses are sharp -- the real difference between them is bokeh, tonal rendition, speed, build quality and such. Don't get confused, cheap options are by no means bad in those aspects. They are just a bit behind the class leaders.
Also don't forget that macro lenses make good replacements for premium short telephoto lenses with super fast aperture values. F2.8 is enough for most occassions and macros tend to be sharp wide open.

Sony | Minolta 50/2.8: Excellent lens ($200-$250) with variants: RS and D.
Sigma 50/2.8 EX: Excellent lens ($100-$150). also available as EX DG
Tamron 90/2.8 Di (272E): Exceptionally good and reasonably priced ($400-$450). variants: 172E, 72E
Cosina 100/3.5: Great optics, lousy build, excellent value for money ($75-$150)
Sigma 180/5.6: Excellent optics, slow aperture ($100-$200)

Budget Telephoto Lenses
Telephoto primes from 3rd party manufacturers (plus one Minolta lens). Don't expect zooms in here as super telephoto zooms have a higher average price point. Following lenses are generally known for good build quality, not stellar but very acceptible image quality and usually a little sluggish AF that requires extra skill on photographers side. An exception is the only in history AF mirror lens Sony/Minolta 500/8 that is claimed to have quick AF.

Sigma | Tokina 300/4: Competetive telephoto lenses ($300-400)
Tokina | Sigma 400/5.6 Telemacro: Highly regarded optics ($200-$350) Sigma has older variants: APO and non-APO
Sigma 500/7.2: might be very slow but has decent optics ($200-$300)
Minolta | Sony 500/8 Reflex AF: Mirror tele with AF, only from the Mind of Minolta ($500-$650)


If you spot an error or have a suggestion, please post below.

Also see Underappreciated gems?

Edited by Turerkan - 18 March 2009 at 09:12
 



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artuk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote artuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 December 2007 at 15:36
The obvious missing lens is the Minolta 35-200 f4.5-5.6 Xi

Power zoom may have fallen hopelessly out of fashion, but it was one of the first "super zooms" that was optically very good, and was very expensive when launched. It gives very good performance on full frame (film) and seems to give good results on digital too.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote csiems Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 December 2007 at 16:12
Originally posted by harveyzone harveyzone wrote:

Somewhat lacking in 3rd party lenses. I would add the Tamron 90mm macro, the Tamron 200-500mm, the sigma 10-20mm, the Sigma 70-300 APO DG, the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 (if you can find one) and the Sigma 50-500mm "Bigma" as the best of the 3rd party lenses.




I seem to agree here, and I would add the Tamron SP180mm/3,5 Macro



Good work!

Edited by brettania - 05 October 2012 at 13:42
www.siems.dk Sony A580+A700- A77 – Min 24 – 50/1,7 –24-105 - 28-85 - 28-105xi – 70-210/4 – 70-400G - 400/4,5 – Tamron SP11-18 - SP90 -SP180– SP200-500–TC 1,4 – Sony 4200 HS flash + many film-Minoltas
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Post Options Post Options   Quote artuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 December 2007 at 17:21
Originally posted by csiems csiems wrote:

Originally posted by harveyzone harveyzone wrote:

Somewhat lacking in 3rd party lenses. I would add the Tamron 90mm macro, the Tamron 200-500mm, the sigma 10-20mm, the Sigma 70-300 APO DG, the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 (if you can find one) and the Sigma 50-50mm "Bigma" as the best of the 3rd party lenses.


I seem to agree here, and I would add the Tamron SP180mm/3,5 Macro

Good work!

Well, don't forget:
Sigma 24-70 f2.8 EX
Tamron 28-105 f2.8 SP
Sigma 12-24 EX
Sigma 15-30 EX

Personally, I wouldn't "recommend" the Minolta (Tamron) 11-18 and 17-35 as from what I hear or personal experience, they are good but not exceptional.
Art
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MEANSTREAK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 January 2008 at 04:37
Originally posted by artuk artuk wrote:

Originally posted by csiems csiems wrote:

Originally posted by harveyzone harveyzone wrote:

Somewhat lacking in 3rd party lenses. I would add the Tamron 90mm macro, the Tamron 200-500mm, the sigma 10-20mm, the Sigma 70-300 APO DG, the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 (if you can find one) and the Sigma 50-50mm "Bigma" as the best of the 3rd party lenses.


I seem to agree here, and I would add the Tamron SP180mm/3,5 Macro

Good work!

Well, don't forget:
Sigma 24-70 f2.8 EX
Tamron 28-105 f2.8 SP
Sigma 12-24 EX
Sigma 15-30 EX

Personally, I wouldn't "recommend" the Minolta (Tamron) 11-18 and 17-35 as from what I hear or personal experience, they are good but not exceptional.


I love the 11-18mm
The more clowns, the better the circus.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote marlon127 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 January 2008 at 05:10
If your going to include the 650 dollar CZ 16-80 I think you should revisit and make additions to all areas. You've excluded some of the best glass available.

For Instance:
Sigma 10-20 - 500 USD
Mn 100 2.8 Macro 500 USD new at B and H
Tam 90 2.8
Mn 35 2 - I think its within range as well
 



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samdry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote samdry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 00:25
sir i have a minolta 28X100 3.5 D zoom? that i cant id are find info on the main thing is thats a silver lens
can you help id     sam dryden
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Kirk View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kirk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 00:30
Is this it?


link
Kirk
Check out my galleries at kmcmenamin.smugmug.com (CC always welcome)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote samdry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 02:59
yes that was it, i live in a ruarl aera in s.e. kansas and i was in the local gasstation with my 350 slung over my shoulde last week well any way a box showed up in my mail box, yup it was a silver28x100 d minolta lense in it, love being home after so long away
thank you so much for helping me R/S   samuel dryden.semper fi!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jvandegr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 03:56
Thanks for your efforts, but I don't agree with some of the qualitative descriptions. For example, the Minolta 100-200 f/4.5 has "acceptable quality"? It's sharper than the Beercan and as sharp as the G zooms throughout most of its focal range and aperture range. On the other hand, the Sony 18-70mm kit lens most certainly does not have "decent optics."

With such biased descriptors, I vote for removing this list because it could cause more harm than good. We have a lens database so that users can research lenses in depth and draw their own conclusions.
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Turerkan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Turerkan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 04:08
Originally posted by jvandegr jvandegr wrote:

the Minolta 100-200 f/4.5 has "acceptable quality"? It's sharper than the Beercan and as sharp as the G zooms throughout most of its focal range and aperture range.


i had both lenses in my posession and i can tell you 100-200 is most certainly inferior to beercan. it has huge PF and CA issues, plus it's soft on the long end. You should see the lens database comments for these two lenses as well.

the reason why this list was compiled is; comparison of basic lenses comes up on the forums all the time. and the responses are the same all the time too... this topic is merely a simple FAQ. it can be a reference point to start your research and nothing more.. and i agree people should consult the lens database before deciding on any purchase.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jvandegr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 04:14
Wow, you had a dud 100-200mm! I've tried several copies of both of these lenses and the 100-200mm beats the beercan every time, at every focal length and every aperture. In any case, this is the problem with this list - it is written from the bias of one perspective. It is also noticeably incomplete. So again, it should be probably be deleted and the database should stand alone. Please don't take my comments too harshly - I do appreciate your efforts.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wetapunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 04:21
I think it's actually quite useful. It's not an exhaustive list by all means, but it has most of the main feasible choices. It covers those basic lenses that repeatedly come up.

Irrespective of some of the actual descriptors, the Dyxum links to the database help offset the effect of personal experience.

For instance, Jon's own detailed review of the old Minolta 24-85 helped me to decide on getting that lens for my film cameras. I wouldn't do so only on Turerkan's list .
a900, a7R, a77ii | Minolta 17-35mm G, 20mm f2.8, 28mm f2, 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 O, 50mm f2.8 M, 70-210 f4, 85mm f1.4 G, 100mm f2.8 M, 300mm f4 G | Sony CZ16-80mm f3.5-4.5, 70-200mm f2.8 G, 135mm f2.8 STF
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Turerkan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Turerkan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2009 at 04:30
well... if database is a safe source of knowledge, you should take note of these:

AF 100-200 F4.5 details
sharpness: 4,26
color: 4,56
build: 4,35
distortion: 4,51
flare control: 3,98
overall: 4,33
total reviews: 43

AF 70-210 F4 (beercan) details
sharpness: 4,56
color: 4,76
build: 4,81
distortion: 4,65
flare control: 4,02
overall: 4,56
total reviews: 203

and besides, the real showstopper for 100-200 is the minimum focus distance: 1.9m.. otherwise i wouldn't get rid of it myself. current crop of 55-200 zooms should do much better at a bargain price. (note to self: update the list with tamron 55-200 etc)

chthoniid's reply is also important.. he mentioned that the links are useful. and indeed, the main attraction of this list is, when you are looking for cheap and good glass, you can find their names listed here, with links to their pages and short comments about them.

btw, the comments were derived from the lens database itself. i carefully noted the score of respective lenses according to their class, read the reviews by experienced users and came up with those words.
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