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Lens Conundrum

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wesleysa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wesleysa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Lens Conundrum
    Posted: 25 March 2019 at 11:04
Hello Dyxum,

I'd like to make a lens purchase this year and would like some input from your collective wisdom :)

The story is a bit convoluted but I hope by providing a bit of background you'll be able to better help me decide.

Photography took a real backseat for me for a number of years, roughly 2013-2017, with only sporadic shoots whilst on holiday during that period. Mainly just due to life unfolding in other ways.

However I've been picking up my camera more lately in the past 6 months or so, a bit like getting in touch with an old friend. But it's a bit strange as I find myself feeling like I have inherited someone else's gear. So the stuff I have is still great, but some new direction is something I'd like to explore and perhaps bring my 'toolkit' in line with what I'd like to focus (no pun intended!) on more in future.

My current gear:
A850 - very happy with this, I don't feel I'm missing out on anything really despite the huge advances that have been made during my time away the inexorable march of camera technology over the last few years. I love the viewfinder, the size, my ability to control the variables as I enjoy during picture taking, it feels great for me.

Lenses:
Minolta 50mm f3.5 Macro - great little lens. I love using it for closeups particularly of my carnivorous plant collection. This is one area though i think I may be better served with a 100mm macro in one form or another.

Minolta 24mm f2.8 - Again, great little prime, but I don't really find much use for it. Stunning images that beat the zoom I have at this length hands down, but still not much use. In days gone by I used it alot for wide landscapes.

Minolta 135mm f2.8 - Also great at what it does, but often too short or too long for me if that makes any sense.

The Zooms - M17-35 D, M28-75 D - I had a brief but enjoyable fling with event and interiors photography, parties, a wedding, and some dubious real estate photos using these two and a HS5600 and Gary Fong's add-ons. Again though they don't seem suited for what I want now.

The candidates:
200mm f2.8 - I don't know that I'd miss the HS or APO, but am tempted to go for that one for the option of adding tele converters at some stage. I'd like the extra reach for isolating aspects of landscapes mainly (mountains, forests, beach scenes and the like) I want to isolate and flatten the subject if that makes sense. I like to wait for interesting light and head out into the abundance of beautiful scenery I have closeby to shoot. Usually with the 135, but often it is a bit short of reach. My hesitation is this is would be significant commitment, and I'm wary of excessive CA reported, I suppose unrealistically I want something this costly to be perfect :)

85mm f1.4 - I don't do much people photos at the moment, but I've always wanted this lens and feel this may add a new dimension for me, I used to have a 50 1.4 and always pined for the 85. And the prospect of new family makes me think this may be ideal, the extra stop is something I currently lack.

The curveballs - a 100mm Macro and a samyang/rokinon 14mm f2.8 - Off the wall, but I'd like to get into astro a bit deeper than the occasional star-trial attempt, form what I read this seems to be the tool for the job. I admit I wouldn't use it often but it is tempting. The macro would get used for just that, I'd be looking to get closer to my plants than possible with the 50. These two together could cost me more or less the same as a decent 200.

80-200 f2.8 - At a stretch this could be made to work financially, but the extra size and weight puts me off a bit.

Apologies for the long-winded post, but any ideas/opinions would be greatly appreciated, this forum is great for this sort of exercise, if sadly it does seem a bit quieter than I remember ;)

Best regards,
Wesley


 



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C_N_RED_AGAIN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 11:26
Well the first two you mentioned are two of minolta best and I owned both at one time. The 85 was the last a mount lens that I sold as I adapted it for years on the a7rii. It's bokeh is fantastic. In comparison to modern 85s the only issue I had with the minolta was ca. Everywhere else the minolta was killer. Also it was just a beautiful lens as well aesthetically. Hope that helps
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sönke Henning Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 14:02
85: A fabulous lens but beware of CAs below f2.8.
200: very recommendable. I use it with or without the 1,4 TC instead of a zoom. The HS version focuses very quickly and accurately. Picture quality (sharpness and bokeh) are great, even wide open with the 1,4 TC. Still not too long or heavy.
80-200 f2.8: Had a Sigma many years ago - much too heavy for travelling. Good if you need it "on location" (like weddings etc.).
14: Absolutely great in terms of sharpness, but quirky design (distance meter far off from correct settings etc., but you'll learn to get along with that). Heavy distortion which is hard to correct in pp - a lens for landscapes. (For indoors like churches I rather use the Minolta/Sony 20mm.)

H.



Edited by Sönke Henning - 25 March 2019 at 14:07
http://www.caucasus-pictures.blogspot.com
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Basil View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Basil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 15:41
Originally posted by wesleysa wesleysa wrote:

H
Minolta 135mm f2.8 - Also great at what it does, but often too short or too long for me if that makes any sense.


Wesley




This makes a good case to re-think the 80-200. I have the older black version and it plays well with the A850.
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A77Mark II; A850; A700; A100; NEX 6; various film bodies and an ever-changing collection of lenses
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Post Options Post Options   Quote paso144 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 15:51
80-200 F2.8 for me is the best lens to have in my line up. Will be the last to part from.
A850, 16fish-eye, 17-35G, 28-70G, 50/1.4RS, 58/1.2, 85/1.4D, 80-200/2.8APO black, 100macroD, 100-300APO, 100-400APO, AT-X304, 500mirror, 5600D HS.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 2manycamera Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 16:06
I own both the 200/2.8 HS and black 80-200/2.8 non-HS. The 80-200 is a marvelous zoom, but I use the 200mm far more often. Part of that is weight, as well as focus speed (though the non-HS 80-200 is not slow). It is also better than the 80-200 at 200mm, but the 80-200 holds it's sharpness through almost it's entire range. Both have CA issues, but most older Minolta lenses share this issue, especially when compared to modern lenses. If CA is a deciding issue for you, you should be considering newer designs.

Price wise, the 200mm and black 80-200 should be in similar price ranges, though I haven't looked lately. The HS version of the 80-200 will be more expensive, but you really need to do some comparing before deciding.

Regarding the 85/1.4: For years I looked for one I could afford, but it always was more than I could justify. So I finally "settled" for the 100/2 Minolta. To this day, it is absolutely my favorite lens, ultra sharp with creamy bokah. Plenty of CA, and with the reflections off the sensor showing up a duplicate highlights. But used properly, it is an absolute top tier Minolta gem.
7D a77 a850 a6300 a7 24/2.8 28/2 35/2 50/1.4 100/2 200/2.8 24-70CZ 80-200/2.8 24-105 28-135 300/4 16-50DT 70-300G Tam 90/2.8 Tokina 11-16 E16/2.8 E50/1.8 E18-55 E55-210 FE 28-70 Sig E30/1.4 FE15/4.5V
 



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stiuskr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 16:48
Regarding the 100mm macro choice, it will not allow you to get closer to the flower but just the opposite, it will allow you to not have to get as close as you have to with the 50 for the same 1:1 macro results. The most noticeable difference will be that the 100 will have a tighter field of view resulting in less background in the image but as far as subject size in the image with both at 1:1 there will be no difference.
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a99M2 a99 a77 a700 KM7D|Min24/2.8 Min35/2 So50/1.4 So50/2.8 Min85/1.4G Tam90/2.8 Tam180/3.5|Tam17-50 CZ24-70G2 KM28-75D So70-200G1 So70-300G So70-400G1| SonyF60 AD200R2
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 16:50
I sold my 80-200 (white HS version). It's a great lens, really good IQ and pleasant bokeh but too bulky and heavy for me so it hardly came out anymore. I kept my 200/2.8 HS since it's much lighter and has a slight IQ edge, but obviously at the expense of much less flexibility.

However with the newer low light capability of the newer sensors having a 2.8 telezoom became less of a need for me, so that hole is now filled with a 70-300G, also a very good lens albeit at a much smaller max aperture (4.5 - 5.6)

If I need more brightness at focal length below 200 mm I still have some brighter 85's and 100's (and a manual 135/2.8) to help me out in a pinch.

Good luck making your choice, it's both stressful, but also fun
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 18:55
Originally posted by wesleysa wesleysa wrote:


The candidates:
200mm f2.8
85mm f1.4
100mm Macro
80-200 f2.8

Among my Minoltas are the 24 that you own and the 200 and the 100 macro that interest you. I used to own the 80-200, the 17-35, the 85, and the 135 that you mentioned.

In a basic sense, the entire original Minolta AF lens family has shared characteristics - one of which is observable CA, as you noted. If that puts you off you will have to either avoid the whole family or address the issue in PP. Since you seem happy enough with your current lenses, I assume you are not terribly put off.

I only sold the ones I no longer have because they didn't get much use for my own purposes. Honestly, the choice is all down to personal preference and what you think you'll be using and enjoying most.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 21:49
Originally posted by stiuskr stiuskr wrote:

Regarding the 100mm macro choice, it will not allow you to get closer to the flower but just the opposite, it will allow you to not have to get as close as you have to with the 50 for the same 1:1 macro results. The most noticeable difference will be that the 100 will have a tighter field of view resulting in less background in the image but as far as subject size in the image with both at 1:1 there will be no difference.
And if one wants to closer to the subject than with a 50 mm macro, I can suggest LAOWA 15 mm F4 Macro lens: all manual control, but at the closest focusing distance (with 1:1 magnification) there will be just a few millimeters between the subject and the lens front element - so close that you usually cannot use the hood with the lens as otherwise it will block you getting close enough. Also with such sort focusing distances it is possible that the lens itself will shadow the subject, so this lens is not necessary the easiest tool for closeup shots.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 March 2019 at 23:52
Not on your list, but replacing the Minolta 17-35D with something newer - maybe a ZA 16-36/2.8 version 1 - would be a huge step forward.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 10:48
I'm not going to answer your specific queries, but I have an off-the wall suggestion based on my own experience.
To get back into the swing of photography and revitalise your interest, I would strongly suggest getting a second camera, specifically one which is small, lightweight, and has a small zoom lens on it. You can carry it around on your neck, or over one shoulder, or even in a shoulder bag with other things when you go out casually.
I would recommend the Nex-6 or one of the A6000+ series with an EVF, and definitely get the kit 16-50 with it. The Nex-6 with lens is less than you'd pay for the lenses you are thinking about so is affordable.
Don't dismiss this combo because it isn't a high-quality constant-aperture lens on FF. That doesn't matter for the purpose, which is creativity, and you have the A850 and the fast lenses there for when you need them.

Much of the time you will find you can get pictures you wouldn't have got with the A850 (because you wouldn't have had it with you), and when you find yourself irritated by its occasional limitations, that gives you impetus to get the 850 out again.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, 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 Roger Rex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 11:58
Of course, what you think you will be mostly shooting should be your guide (along with your budget). Given that, the 70-300G is lightweight, very good IQ, matches well with your 850 (I have used it for years on the a900). Do you need f2.8 or thereabouts frequently or even just a lot? If not, then consider the 70-300G.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wesleysa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2019 at 10:53
Thanks for all the helpful replies!

C_N_RED_AGAIN: The CA, as noted by others in review may be a stumbling block for me as I'd (at least at first) probably just shoot at f1.4 as often as possible. I'd like to think I'd revert to stopping down after the 'honeymoon phase'.

Sönke Henning: All in line with what I would expect from the shortlist. The 14 may have to wait. It's just too niche at this point.

All arguments for the 80-200: I think my main hesitation is it's a zoom. My experience is only with the mid-range and cheaper zooms (in addition to the above I've had/have a beercan and 2 35-70/4s), which have been 'fine'. But not as sharp/fast/satisfying as my non-G primes. Which I admittedly don't often use wide-open.

So in my head (wrongly or rightly) I'd think a G prime would be better ito absolute IQ than the 80-200. But given I've never had a G zoom I may find that is better than all my current lenses for what it does. plus flexibility.

Still the bulk. Mainly because for me that would affect my decision to take it out if I was doing a decent walk/hike and up to now weight isn't an issue with my gear, all very lightweight.

sybersitizen: Yes all fair points, my lenses in there own right are great I find. I don't feel constrained by CA in that sense. But maybe a factor with the 85 as I suppose it's raison-de-etre is low-light to an extent. But then again, its idiosyncrasies (from what I've read/seen) make up for technical shortcomings.

The 100mm macro:
Yes all all fair points, I'm actually not sure what I want to do with it. I'd like to be tighter on plants, but find using the 50 difficult to get into angles I want and almost always with too much background. Tough with smaller species.

Hezu: Laowa is completely new to me. I didn't know they made that one in A-mount. I'm not sure if I be compounding my 'issues' with the 50.

2manycamera: 'Settled' for a 100/2! :)! I don't see many of these up for sale., It was actually one I hadn't thought of though in the same vein/length/speed of the macro and the 85. I guess if I boil it down to a shorter prime this must be on the list.

pegelli and Roger: The 70-300 I have thought about, I do find I don't 'max-out' my current glass at 2.8 very often. But then always the option is there.

momech: This as well I hadn't thought of. I suppose this could cover what I'd want the samyang for and be better than my 24 for more general use... Conudrum compounded! Expensive though.

Miranda F: This is correct! My girlfriend has an older Nikon DSLR that she 'wants' to replace. I have been lobbying for her to get an A6000 in particular, I have a decent argument too with my lenses, but it remains to be seen if she's going to jump.

Thanks again to all for indulging my stressful problem. Probably one of the nicest problems to have. I hope to report back soon.



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