What is the best lens for the A300?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by wharvey86, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. wharvey86

    wharvey86 TPF Noob!

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    I recently purchased the sony a300 and it came with the kit lens 18-70mm f 3.5, and a 55-200mm f 4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens. I am now trying to figure out what other lens would be best for me to either purchase or begin saving up for to get? The main things that i have been shooting with my camera is alot of outdoor scenery/nature photography and my 4 month old nephew and girlfriend. I'm guessing i would need a good wide angle for the nature stuff and a good portrait lens for the other stuff. I am not apposed to buying used lens, i know alot of older minolta's will fit on the a300. I am not looking for lens' that will cost me an arm and a leg as this is just a weekend hobby of mine, but i would like to still get some good image quality. So if anyone could recommend the best lens' for these types of situations i would be very appreciative. Thanks!
     
  2. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

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    The lenses you've already got will do fine for now. 18mm is plenty of width for most uses and 200mm is not bad for zooming in on a bird on a perch somewhere. Don't buy another lens until you actually find yourself at a brick-wall-dead-end with your current equipment.

    Though I do have one recommendation: You might want to consider a 50mm prime later on if you find shooting indoors and in low light is too difficult. But wait before you get something like that. learn the limits of your current equipment first. You do this simply by using it alot. ALOT.
     
  3. Sony is the continuation of the venerable Konica Minolta mount. There are hundreds of lenses going back 20+ years... Of course, many don't have Auto Focus, or communicate with the camera body. But if you're willing to shoot manually you can get some extremely high quality prime lenses for next to nothing.
     
  4. Shannon Leigh Studios

    Shannon Leigh Studios TPF Noob!

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    I bought my Minolta 50mm 1.7 Auto Focus lens on Ebay for $100. Worth every penny & works great with my A300. I ended up selling my 17-70 kit lens for my faster Sigma lens. I definitely recommend the 50mm though. I bought from trinitronman & he has 100% feedback & specializes in lenses.
     
  5. Frequent Traveler

    Frequent Traveler TPF Noob!

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    Incidently, with your Sony A300, welcome to the Mind (Heart and Soul) of Minolta!

    For lenses, i'd echo what Drewski said and use what you have for now - unless IQ (Image Quality) is utterly disappointing.

    So, with that, use your camera as much as you possibly can for 1 month or 2 if needed. After that time look at all your photo's and see what types of photos you most usually take. Determine your needs then.

    If you're really set on buying a "new" lens, the 1st lens i'd suggest is an old Minolta AF 70-210mm f4 lens known as the "Beercan" coined by J. Greely in a 1999 article here:

    Minolta Autofocus Camera Lenses - photo.net

    It is a 70-210mm f4 telephoto lens and for it's price ~ $200, it is superb. It is useful for telephoto as well as portraits. I have had a few of them and sold a few, but always have one with me when using my digital gear. I've also used it with some Kodak UC400 color film and the images it produces are astounding - especially for a $200 lens. Be careful if shopping on e*Bay for one b/c lotsa folks want to lump their sub-quality in the with the Beercan, but always have a variable aperture and not the constant f4 the Beercan has. There are absolutely no other variations of it- none. Read more about it here:

    Minolta*AF 70-210 F4 (beercan) Reviews at Dyxum.com

    and here:

    Is there another version of the 70-210mm "Beercan"? - Photo.net Sony/Minolta SLR System Forum

    Regardless of what anyone tells you there is only 1 "Beercan". For a little more reach, it does have a stable-mate, referred to as the "Big Beercan" and it is a 75-300mm f4.5-5.6. and it is pretty well regarded, but not as much as the Original Beercan.

    Another gem is the Minolta 28-135mm f4-4.5 (i am awaiting delivery of mine as well so can't personally verify it's legendary abilities). It is reputed to be as sharp as the "Beercan", but has a better range. It's not without compromise, so check out the reviews here:

    Minolta*AF 28-135 F4-4.5 Reviews at Dyxum.com

    I am planning on it being my walk-around lens and have been researching for about 2 years. I've reviewed hundreds of images from it and by all accounts, it also lives up to it's reputation.

    If you find yourself really wanting a higher quality wide-angle, there are a number of lenses available, but wide-angle is pretty spendy.... For example, there is a Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f2.8 full-frame lens due to be released shortly and is exclusively available for Sony that will likely be priced around $1,800. If that is a bit over the top, there are also the APS-C format 11-18mm lenses by Minolta/Sony/Tamron as well as a well-regarded Carl Zeiss APS-C 16-80mm. Additionally, there are the well-regarded Sigma lenses such as the 15-30mm f3.5-4.5, or 12-24mm f4.5-5.6, or super-wide 10-20mm f4.5-5.6. Tamron has recently released a 10-24mm lens, though its too new for much opinion to be formed of it's quality.

    This turned into a little more than i initially planned, but hope it's helpful nonetheless.

    frank
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  6. Frequent Traveler

    Frequent Traveler TPF Noob!

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    I forgot to add last night that though Minolta goes back some 80 years or so, the only lenses that will fit your Sony are the Minolta "Maxxum" AF (auto-focus) lenses - though there are/were estimates that some 16 million Maxxum lenses were produced so you will find quite a variety available.

    Otherwise, to use Minolta (Rokkor is Minolta's own lens brand name) Manual Focus lenses, you have to buy a special Manual Focus lens (MC/MD types) to AF mount adapter. There are significant compromises when this is done, but the images can be stunning as many of those "old" Minolta Rokkor lenses are truly magnificient.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  7. mitsugirly

    mitsugirly TPF Noob!

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    I also have a Sony a300 and I'm looking for a telephoto lens. However, I'm wanting something that goes to around 300mm. We are going to be going on vacation in May to the Smokey Mountains and would like to take some nice shots while there.
    Has anyone had any experience with the Tamron Lens? Are they any good? (I'm only an amateur shooting photo's for myself). I know it's on the lower end, but very affordable for me. I was looking at the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2 AF lens. From the reviews I've read it gets a little softer in the pictures some where after 200mm, but can be adjusted closing the aperture by one stop improves matters greatly and closing down by two f-stops produces slight additional improvements as well. Or should I stick to the Minolta's?

    What about the Sigma lens? I found one 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DG Macro Lens. Is it better to get a lens like this so I wouldn't have to change the lens often? This should do just about everything I need for now?
     

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