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Underappreciated gems?

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santiclaws View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote santiclaws Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Underappreciated gems?
    Posted: 10 December 2008 at 20:38
It seems like a lot of lenses "get all the press" around these parts and get a lot of recommendations in response to questions, but I see some good lenses overlooked, even though they appear to be as good or better as similar lenses everyone raves about and would be great for newbies on a budget. I wanted to know if you have any suggestions for good lenses which are not getting "the respect" they deserve.

Two lenses that I've used which I do not think get recommended enough are the 28-105xi and the 35-70 f/3.5-4.5. The 28-105xi is never talked about, despite being a real bargain at about $40. IMO, its image is no worse than the much more celebrated 28-85. It is not a big metal tank, but if IQ is a primary concern, you could do a whole lot worse, and it offers more reach than the 28-85. While not metal, the build quality is not bad at all.

The 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 is an excellent, very light and sharp lens which never gets mentioned in the same breath as the f/4 version. Now, I've never owned the f/4, but this is a good, sharp lens which is dirt cheap - you can get one for $20 or less. Again, not the all-metal build of the f/4, but it weighs nothing in your bag and offers the advantage of a half-stop at the wide end.

Thoughts?
 



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badger.packer.fan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote badger.packer.fan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 20:55
I have the 35-105 F3.5-4.5 I picked up for ~$30. It's got the classic all metal build, with a "macro" setting at 105. Heavier than a plastic lens, but it's small and manageable. You get all the classic Minolta attributes in a relatively tiny package.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 5thElefant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 20:58
100-300xi is worth a mention. Light, compact and does the job nicely.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote mtiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 21:25
Minolta 135 f2.8 Great lens small and light.
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al View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote al Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 21:43
I had the 28-105xi at one point, but it was hard to get used to the power zoom. I really like instead the 28-105 RS. In fact I like the 28-105 more than the highly praised 28-135 because of the shorter minimum focus distance, and its smaller and lighter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Cato79 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 21:45
Yeah, the 35-70 f/4 is a great lens.
 



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Bob J View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 22:00
I'd put the 18-70 forward :-)

I also liked the 35-105 (RS), not particularly sharp, but always felt nice to use.
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brettania View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 22:19
There's a quide to "affordable" lenses here.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote seagr112 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 December 2008 at 22:36
How about the Min 100-200/4.5?

It changes hands for about $100 in really nice condition and the IQ is very good. It's very compact and has a fixed max. aperture of f/4.5. Only downside is the MFD.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LTTay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 December 2008 at 00:05
Originally posted by Bob J Bob J wrote:

I'd put the 18-70 forward :-)


I'd second that one anytime. If I'm using flash and controlled lighting at 28mm, I always prefer that 18-70 Kit to the 28-75/2.8. Also fairly good at 18mm IMHO.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote csiems Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 December 2008 at 00:12
I'll second the praise for Minolta 28-105Xi.
I had mine from new - but use it a lot now (when my Minolta 24/2,8 is not sitting there :-))
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lattiboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 December 2008 at 00:39
I'd third the 35-70mm. It's really excellent on FF even wide-open and costs all of $30 mint.

I'd also throw in the 28-85mm. It still goes for under $80 and is a knockout on APS-C. Haven't tested it on FF, but I'm sure it's more than good. Excellent range and compact size with astounding build.

Third would be the Minolta 100-300mm. It's under $100 and is an excellent all purpose zoom.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Vidgamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 December 2008 at 05:03
I recently bought a 28-105xi for cheap. I didn't find a lot of info. about it, but took a chance as the other 28-105 lenses seem to be well regarded.

Well, it turns out that the lens is pretty good. Not great, but I have gotten great results from it. At f8 and with plenty of light, I took one of my favorite photos of recent time. Sometimes wide open it's not good, and yet sometimes it pulls through. I've decided that it's probably best left as something to use only in bright daylight. Given that limitation, it's worth a look for the budget-conscious.

Did I mention I paid $19 for it?   

I had much less success with a 100-300xi. Wide open at f5.6 seemed always flawed, and f8 was sometimes ok. I often went to f11 or even f14 to get the look that I wanted, particularly more detail. However, I loved the (CA) bokeh, and I think it has a classic look about it, like many of the older lenses. It was too limiting, and I ended up getting another lens. Do you think I had a particularly bad copy?

I wish the xi lenses were better, as I kind of like the power zoom.


About the 35-70/3.5-4.5 that the OP mentioned, I agree -- this is actually a decent lens. Sometimes it's prone to problems (flare?) when wide-open, but it can be very sharp (like a lot of lenses, when it's stepped down a bit, but it is not bad wide-open). One of my favorite photos was taken with this lens, and I think even wide-open. The bokeh is a bit unusual, but I think much better than with most lenses. The killer is that the range is so limiting, and, like the 28-105xi, just isn't easy to use when the light starts to dim. Also, I can't say that this is that much of an improvement over the kit lens; I hoped that the wider aperture would be an improvement, but the kit lens looks decent even at f5.6, so if I'm forced to use the 35-70 at f5.6 for better results, what have I gained? Well, I think the 35-70 might be a tad better, but I don't think it's good enough to really recommend as a kit lens replacement.

I think if someone is on a strict budget, you can do a lot with these cheaper lenses. You could do more with a more expensive lens, but look how much you'll have to pay. Hard for me to justify, for just a hobby, and particularly when I can get good results out of what I have.

(However, I do recommend the Tamron 17-50/2.8 for when the light grows dim!)
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Derek View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Derek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 December 2008 at 09:14
Quote:I wish the xi lenses were better, as I kind of like the power zoom.

The 28-80xi is a super lens.

Regards
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