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First Zoom Lens

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:39 pm
by misterdsdan
Hi all,

I recently bought a Sony a200 (taking advantage of the huge price-drop before the new entry levels are released) and I currently only have the kit lens. Obviously I'm looking to upgrade my lens primarily for aviation (and a little wildlife) photography. I've read reviews, primarily from dyxum, that suggest the Sony 55-200mm is a better lens than the Sony 75-300mm. Does anybody have first hand experience of either of these lenses?

To broaden the question for all DSLR users (not just Sony...I'm an equal oppurtunities employer) as a 'beginner' is 200mm zoom enough?

Cheers,
misterdsdan

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:44 pm
by cpd
Can you extend to one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...SAL_70400G_70_400mm_f_4_5_6_G.html

The optical performance on that lens is good.

The Sigma 50-500 is cheaper:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...736205_50_500mm_f_4_6_3_EX_DG.html

But I'm not sure it is quite in the same league as the Sony lens. These are the traditional spotters' lenses. Beware the Sigma - the paint finish on some of them seems to be fragile (while others are fine). It seems to be a problem that affects particular batches of Sigma lenses - but not all of them.

I doubt 200mm will be adequate for bird photos, unless you can get very close. It might be enough for plane photos if you can get close enough.

[Edited 2009-06-29 16:53:10]

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:28 am
by dl767captain
I have an A200 with the Sony 75-300mm lens and it's okay. But I started doing more aviation photography and realized that at SAN I'm pretty far away from the planes and requires me to be at the 300mm length which loses a lot of the sharpness. It also has a pretty slow focus. While it's still pretty good for the price I'm still looking at the Sony 70-300 G Series lens, I tried it out the other day and it really makes a difference. I've kind of learned that you really do get what you pay for with Sony lenses. I paid $150 for this one and the quality of the images at long ranges reflects that price. Now the lens is great up to about the 200mm range but past that it gets really soft.

Quoting Cpd (Reply 1):
Can you extend to one of these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc....html

This is a really great lens also but it's a very steep price increase compared to the 300mm G series lens I was looking at.

Quoting Misterdsdan (Thread starter):
as a 'beginner' is 200mm zoom enough?

I think it really depends on how far away you are from the planes. I'm about 350 yards away at my airport and a 200mm wasn't enough for me. But it all depends on where you will be taking pictures. Where I am is not the most ideal location but after 9/11 it's not like i can just sit next to the runway without going to jail or something.

It all depends on what your budget is, if you have the money I would suggest looking more towards the G series lenses.

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:44 am
by misterdsdan
I'm afraid my budget won't stretch to the G series (its definitely on my wishlist though!!).

DL767captain do you have any idea if the 70-300mm you use is as sharp as the 55-200mm at 200mm focal length?

I'm currently leaning towards the 75-300mm as a starter zoom. Am I right in thinking that its better to have a lens which has more focal length than you need since most lenses seem to suffer at their maximum extensions?

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:09 am
by dl767captain


Quoting Misterdsdan (Reply 3):
I'm currently leaning towards the 75-300mm as a starter zoom. Am I right in thinking that its better to have a lens which has more focal length than you need since most lenses seem to suffer at their maximum extensions

I picked the 75-300 so there wouldn't be any overlap with my 18-70mm that came with the camera. Personally I would pick the 75-300 over the 200 just in case you decide you need it. But I have only tried the 55-200 in the store and It seemed about the same as the 75-300, I haven't been able to try it outside. I don't know if you have a sony store around you but the one in the mall south of me has some pretty knowledgeable staff who will help you pick out a lens and try it out

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:37 pm
by Hernan
I hav e the Sigma 55-200 for my A200 and it is very sharp, reach is excellent!

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:41 pm
by misterdsdan
Thanks for all your input everybody!

Does anybody have any sample images (not necessarily uploaded to a.net) taken with either the SAL 55-200mm or SAL 75-300mm?

RE: First Zoom Lens

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:51 pm
by dl767captain
http://i426.photobucket.com/albums/pp350/hokullani/DSC01703.jpg

This is at about 100mm

http://i426.photobucket.com/albums/pp350/hokullani/DSC02144.jpg

This is at the 300mm range