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Tele zoom suggestion (70-300)

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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: 15 May 2020 at 07:23
Hi there!
Okay, here's my two penn'orth worth.

Firstly, if you're not birding but looking at insects and snakes, etc, then most of the long zooms are (IMHO) quite unsuitable, however much the people here like them. The SOny 55-300mm that QUietOC recommends is certainly a good lens in its class, but for your subjects shorter lenses are better.

Secondly, just because a lens will focus down to 2m doesn't mean it's any good there. The old Minolta 75-300mm lens was a nice lens to handle but it gets very soft near MFD and so do a lot of the older long zooms.

Thirdly, a close MFD really IS essential for some subjects (which lets out all the xx-300mm zooms), and you need a lens that is sharp there! My reccomendations for your subject choices, in increasing order of cost/rarity are:

- The 'cheap' Minolta 70-210mm f4.5-5.6, which focuses much closer than the 'better' versions in this focal length. Not the best solution but better than you'd expect and dirt cheap.

- The Sony 55-200mm SAM lens, which is a very under-rated lens. Like all the modern plastic Sony SAM lenses (up to 200mm, at least) it has a close focus, excellent magnification, and is amazingly sharp near close focus. This is my favoured lens for general nature photography and you can get decent pictures of insects and lichen with it. [For high quality optics at basement price you cannot beat Sony's 'easy choice' range of primes, and their more recent SAM II zooms are very good too.]

- The Tamron 90mm f2.8 SP Di AF macro (my preference is for model 272E, the older screw drive one) This is an excellent true-macro lens for ultimate close focus. For things that are easily spooked you will need more focal length, so partner it with a Kenko MC7 2x TC, which works very well with this lens and gives corner to corner sharpness. This combo will let you almost fill the screen with many bugs at a distance of around a metre or so, with useful ness between 10cm and 2m.

[Note: teleconverters are not generally of much value with modern lenses and digital cameras, but this is one use that really does make sense. Don't woory about the increase of aperture - wide apertures are mostly unuseable in near-macro anyway, so you will need to stop the lens down even with the TC on it.

- There are a few 150mm/180mm/200mm macro lenses around from Tamron and Sigma, but these tend to be larger and more difficult to find and I've never tried one. They might be ideal for your purposes, but you can get a lot of bang for your buck with either the Sony 55-200mm or the Tamron 90mm /TC options.

Good luck!

Edited by Miranda F - 15 May 2020 at 07:27
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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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: 15 May 2020 at 07:32
Oh, I should mention another option.
If you have a lens which is good near its MFD but you want to focus just a bit closer, you can use an extension tube. I have a spreadsheet somewhere that works out how much closer you can get, but the behaviour with zooms is a little odd.
Because the extension ring has most effect with shorter focal lengths (it is a larger fraction of the FL), the focus and zoom controls on a zoom lens tend to swap over!
Probably worth a play with at some point, but not really the main chance, I think! Pick something like a 10-13mm tube for the geatest chance of doing something useful.

Cheap extension tubes have no contacts in so it's full manual or nothing, but you can get more expensive ones with contacts and screw-drive in them.
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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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: 15 May 2020 at 07:36
There's another cheap lens option I have found surprisingly effective, though not my first choice: the old Minolta 35-70mm f4 lens, which works very well with a 2x TC and is pretty sharp close-up (though not up to genuine macro standards) and makes another small and light combo.

Oh, a good way to check the sharpness of a lens in close-up is to focus on your computer monitor while it is set to white screen (an empty page in MS Word or something). You will soon see the difference in detail.

I hope my witterings are useful, at least in making it clear that you don't need expensive lenses to get really good results.
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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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: 15 May 2020 at 08:03
Originally posted by nandbytes nandbytes wrote:

It's f7.1 for DoF but exposure is still f4. So it'll give him lower ISO or higher shutter speeds if needed.
Yes, true. Equivalence is a difficult thing TBH. Because the RX10-series has a smaller sensor, it has a smaller surface area to gather light. You want to keep the ISO lower then with an APS-C camera because smaller sensors show noise etc. at lower ISO's then bigger sensors. I just thought it was important to mention this here.

Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

Hi there!
Okay, here's my two penn'orth worth.

Firstly, if you're not birding but looking at insects and snakes, etc, then most of the long zooms are (IMHO) quite unsuitable, however much the people here like them.
Hmmm, I did not think of that. I was looking at general purpose lenses. But if you mostly shoot at near macro distances, a true macro lense makes sense. In the 90-100mm range macro lenses are plentiful and some are really cheap. All versions of that Tamron 90mm are highly regarded.

I do own the Sigma 180/5.6 UC Macro that might be ideal. It is a really old lens, but if you want close-ups, it delivers. Flare control could be better - but it is not as bad as some say and it just means you need to be a bit careful about your lighting.

Edited by addy landzaat - 15 May 2020 at 08:06
Why not follow me on Instagram? @Addy_101
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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: 15 May 2020 at 18:15
Originally posted by A68noob A68noob wrote:

What i want
I only want to take proper images of normal, slow animals (lizards, snakes etc.. no birding at least) and landscapes as i have done it for about one year until now.
I currently own an alpha 68 + tamron 18-270 & sony 70-300G.

MY CHOICES!
a)...
b)...
c)...
d)...

Your requirements are modest, and you actually have dozens of choices.

In a nutshell: I have no clue of what i should really be doing to finally achieve my long dream of taking nice pictures.

What you should be doing is refining the parameters.

What sensor size do you prefer? Choices include full frame, APS-C, m43, and 1 inch. Larger sensors are capable of higher quality results, but with a penalty of more bulk and weight, and usually higher cost.

Do you want an interchangeable lens system? If so, do you want one lens to handle pretty much everything, or two (or more) lenses to switch as necessary? And how important is it to you to stay within the A-mount system, or within Sony's other product choices?

Would you consider a smaller sensor fixed superzoom lens camera? There are some very good ones available.

Depending on your answers, there are products that will meet your requirements.
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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: 17 May 2020 at 10:29
Re Syber's suggesitons, in my experience, drawing up a detailed list of requirements is usually a mistake: when you're looking at a new technical area you don't know enough to make the right calls, and when you do know the area well, you don't need it!

I would suggest that A-mount APS-C is certainly the cheapest 'good' option available because a wide range of goods lenses and bodies are available fairly cheaply with excellent performance, and ebcause this combination allows you to experiment easily during the time that you're still not sure what you need or want.

You will find as you experiment that some things other people reccomend, or things that look like a perfetc fit to your requirements, are not so satisfying in practice because of issues you either hadn't thought of or hadn't appreciated would become significant.
Things like size, weight, minimum focus distance (MFD), maximum aperture, balance on the camera, how you hold and carry it, optical/in-body stabilisation are all variables. You can't have them all the way you want at once! You need to use lenses to figure out which is most important to you; and you may well end up with lots of different lenses to do slightly different versions of the same job, for exmaple, picking a true macro lens for one palce, or a long zoom for another. That's what I do, but then I'm a collector at heart with a cupboard full of lenses, and I like to use different lenses anyway!

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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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2020 at 14:17
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

Re Syber's suggesitons, in my experience, drawing up a detailed list of requirements is usually a mistake: when you're looking at a new technical area you don't know enough to make the right calls, and when you do know the area well, you don't need it!

I didn't suggest drawing up a detailed list of requirements. I suggested the OP refine his preferences. He already said he's looking at two different sensor formats in two different mounts, and a third format superzoom camera was suggested by another poster. At least make those decisions first. Then the answers to other questions can be whittled down to something manageable.

I would suggest that A-mount APS-C is certainly the cheapest 'good' option available because a wide range of goods lenses and bodies are available fairly cheaply with excellent performance, and ebcause this combination allows you to experiment easily during the time that you're still not sure what you need or want.

I agree, it's the simplest and least expensive way forward, although nowhere has he mentioned budget as a factor in his thinking.
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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: 20 May 2020 at 10:41
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:


I agree, it's the simplest and least expensive way forward, although nowhere has he mentioned budget as a factor in his thinking.

True. I always try to check things out with a cheap test before buying into the expensive stuff, but that may be just me. My problem is I have too many interests to put much money into any of them.
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 LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2020 at 13:06
Originally posted by A68noob A68noob wrote:




A couple of months ago i wanted to go deeper into zoom, but with a practical use for hiking.. so i dont want to carry a 2kg lens around my neck obviously.. (like a tamron 150-600) but guess what: finding an appropriate lens is very hard/impossible.

What i want
I only want to take proper images of normal, slow animals (lizards, snakes etc.. no birding at least) and landscapes as i have done it for about one year until now.

MY CHOICES!
a) Stay on APS-C A68 and test a Tamron SP 70-300 to replace my gold zoom creep lens as price/quality is just laughable in my eyes. luckily i almost bought it in mint condition for the cheapest possible price in my region..
b) "Upgrade" to APS-C A77II because of better display, WLAN etc. and get the SAL16-50F2,8 as the combinate seems quite good..
BUT APS-C a-mount has been a pretty dark chapter in my life, so i would rather..

c) Get a really good e-mount (probably A7 III) and use my gold creep lens with LA-EA3
d) A7 III with a dedicated e-mount zoom lens
As i heard that the 70300G SSM should work fine with EA3 Adapter and this would also be the best and cheapest way probably.. BUT i dont have the 1,5 crop factor on FF anymore, so a 300mm lens could be underwhelming maybe.

In a nutshell: I have no clue of what i should really be doing to finally achieve my long dream of taking nice pictures.. so i would be very thankful for any advice/help and i am sorry for any mistakes & the long wall of text.



For hiking with a tele zoom I recommend the Minolta AF 100-200mm f/4.5 - crap MFD (easily remedied with an extension tube); but small light and sharp. It literally fits in a vest or jacket pocket.

For Macro I would recommend the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Macro (A001) or Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di Macro (272E)

I would also recommend a TTL cable / flash and small diffuser (shoot through umbrella of soft box)

The SAL1650 2.8 is a good lens but large and heavy. I think you would be happier with the Tamron SP 17-50mm F2.8 Di LD II (A16) on the A68.

I never liked the A68, personal reasons. The A77II is an excellent camera that I can recommend. There is one for sale here in the form by QuietOC.


Edited by LAbernethy - 21 May 2020 at 20:39
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