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Thread: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis

    Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    Hey All,

    As alluded to in a previous post... I'm probably dipping back into sony very soon (anyone wanna trade for some canon stuff ).

    I'm in the middle of some other equipment purchases and looking at a basic kit... with maybe something a bit different than the last 3 or 4 years... a zoom!

    So, I know the 70-200/2.8 is good, but a bit pricey (and I don't use zoom s EVER). I'm wanting to to cover the 200mm end of things and am seriously looking at the Minolta 200/2.8 HS. But, I'm also intrigued by the Minolta 80-200/2.8 HS to use as a less pricey tele-zoom for occasional use (senior portraits come to mind). I know there was a recent thread about the 200mm, and I'd love to see more about it... but I'm also quite interested in the 80-200mm. These are in competition with the ZA 135, which ROCKED when I had it earlier. It's definitely on the docket in the next two months, but the 80-200 in combo with the 50/1.4 and a cheap wide prime that I still own would get me a bit more utility for a month or so until I get the 135 and 85 za as well.

    80-200/2.8 Samples anyone? Anecdotes?


  2. #2

    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    I have the 200G 2.8 HS. I really like it compared to the 80-200. It's much lighter (of course) it also is internal focusing with a cool cover for the focus ring and a built in retractable lens hood. It also has a very cool focus limiting device.

    In comparison to the 80-200, on the 80-200 the front element turns and on the "white HS model", (there is a black version which is slower to focus) the focus is quite noisy and brutal. Really, the torque of moving the front element when it changes direction can move the camera in your hand. This was my experience when I had this lens with my old KM 7D which focuses much slower and has a lower torque motor than the newer A700, A850 and A900.

    Of course the IQ of both these lenses is stirling.

    Here are some sample pics

    Sony DSLR-A850
    1/2000s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso200

    Sony DSLR-A850
    1/3200s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso200

    Sony DSLR-A850
    1/100s f/4.0 at 200.0mm iso800

    There is an overview here

    And a good description of the versions here

    I can dig up more if you like.


  3. #3
    Shelby Lewis

    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    Garth... thanks so much for the comments. I really appreciate the comments about weight and af torque. I've waffled between these two lenses and I keep saying "man, that 80-200 would offer me so much utility, but the 200HS would offer me so much more ease of use".

    I've not owned a zoom in years and still am predisposed to going with the prime.

    Tough call.

    If I had the cash... I'd go 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 85, 135, 200 right now. I already have the 28/2.8 (which is only mediocre). As it stands I'll be starting off with a 3 lens grouping similar to what I had when I started off with the a900 a year or so back... 28, 50mm, 135mm, and maybe the 200mm.

  4. #4

    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    I LOVE the 200G HS and really lives up to all the superlatives it receives.
    Here it is wide open:
    Sony a700 f2.8 1/250 at iso 200

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    I have one on the way, the HS version.
    Some other notes: most of these suffer paint flaking, which may assist in buying one for a bit less $$. They are getting on a bit now, so I feel the later versions are less likely to be knocked around and have better condition mounts. Prices are from ~$800 to ~$1200 ($US); good sellers can be found on Ebay, there is a reference to two of them in the review thread on Dyxum. Most of these lenses emanate from East Asia, maybe they were more popular there back in the day.

    I actually wanted a Mamiya 200 APO since manual focus is preferable for what I want (unlike your good self) and I love the look of that lens family - but 1100 grams plus needing an adapter (only one is around for SOny/MAF mount that I can find - Cirrus brand which I know nothing of) lost out to the 790 gram AF Minolta, even though the Mamiya lens goes for about $700-750. This Minolta is a true all day walk around lens, you hear a lot of complaints about the big ZA zooms re this aspect...main points of the 200 are 'Minolta colour', high levels of clarity, excellent bokeh, sharp from the get go, better at f4, good AF from the TCs.

    There is a well organised thread examining performance of the Minolta HS with the matching APO TCs available over at Dyxum also - very little deterioriation with the 1.4, even with the 2.0 it does very well indeed, so for many FF shooters you can get solid results for 200, 280 and 400mm.

    AF apparently works great with the A850/900 series. Peoples' main complaints seem to be the built-in hood, which does not lock when retracted, plus the paint. Old used zooms are not on my agenda, unless you pretty much know the user and history; although the 80-200 is well liked so maybe it is an exception to the rule.

    Keep in mind also that strong rumours abound that Sony will soon release a bunch of new lenses, which might suit your timeframe. They will probably take aim at their foot again with several new consumer zooms, but one never knows...we might see good priced wide to normal primes. The Sony 50 is reportedly good, but they can do so much better IMHO. And this kind of lens is not expensive to make, unlike the flashy CZ portrait lenses. And thanks for the pics above. best, Philip.

  6. #6
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    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    This is sharpest Minolta lens I have and in my case, even sharper than 135 ZA for reasons I do not understand. Maybe I shou.d do the micro adjustment

  7. #7

    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    Just bought the non-HS version of 200/2,8 APO in mint condition. Have not taken any serious pics yet. If you you want to save some money and you are not for sports events then the non-HS version is quick enough with A900/A850 - and if you combine it with the original 1.4x APO converter (not the II version), it is actually faster than HS version combined with APO II converter.

    I have the 80-200 HS also but I have not used it so much lately and I have no examples with A900. For sports it is good due to fast focusing - when you forget the hammering effect of the heavy front element during focusing.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ecsh's Avatar
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    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    Just got the non HS version as well. Mint condition with box, i dont think it was ever used. Looking forward this weekend to trying it out. Its way smaller than i thought it would be, so, not a problem on the 900 at all for weight. The hood does stink in the retracted position.

  9. #9

    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    Having read this forum for a while; I'd like to say thankyou to everyone for the excellent and informative advice, and thought it was time I contributed a little back.

    As a Minolta user since the late 80s, I have both he 80-200/2.8 HS and the 200/2.8 non-HS and frankly use both for different circumstances.
    Both give superb IQ, with reportedly the 200/2.8 just a little better, but not something I've ever confirmed.

    The 200/2.8 is much the lighter and smaller; it fits sideways and underneath the camera within my old Lowepro Nova 3 bag, so gets carried just in case when I'm primarily taking landscape shots; and I throw in the 1.4x converter too which maintains full AF
    On the downside, the lens hood is captivated so can't be removed and can be a little annoying.
    And it doesn't have a tripod collar which I can confirm it doesn't need in balance with an A900, and also makes it the nicer of the two to handhold.

    The 80-200/2.8 obviously gives move flexibility with the zoom and has worked well when doing amateur wedding work, zoo trips etc and you don't feel you're sacrificing IQ to get it.
    As others have mentioned the focus can be a little violent and noisy, but it's also the fastest lens I have for focussing and so makes an easy choice when trying to track any sort of motion. I've not tried it yet, but with the A900 you have the option of reducing the focussing speed where the noise might be an issue.
    It also will not accept the official teleconverters as there isn't the clearance needed; but I have a Kenko Teleplus 300 PRO which works fine and maintains AF.
    It does have a tripod collar, but this can't be removed; I frequently do use it handheld but this can be a little uncomfortable.

    Neither are brilliant at close focussing with minimum focussing distances of 1500mm for the 200/2.8 and 1800mm for the 80-200/HS, and strangely I often find that extra 30cm can be critical in a social setting and mean that I might miss shots.

    And lastly the bokeh; both are good, but the 80-200/2.8 has the reputation for being the better of the two and I'd ensdorse this fully. Both have 9 blades, but its are circular where the 200/2.8s are not; I can't see issues with the above examples, but this will obviously be a noticable difference with lights in the background, but even beyond that I prefer the result from the 80-200/2.8

    Obviously with all this, there's also the option of either the Minolta or Sony 70-200/2.8 APO D G SSM, which at least on paper has tackled some of the negatives of both; but I've never even touched one to give a personal opinion

    Hope this is helpful


  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Re: Sony @ 200mm (a query)

    I'll build on what Tim said. I haven't used the 200/2.8, but can endorse his comments on the 80-200HS. I never had a problem with the weight nor the sharpness, so I couldn't justify spending nearly the same amount again for a redundant prime lens.

    In my mind, a prime should always give a faster aperture than a similar zoom, and the 200/2.8 is one of the few that doesn't provide that benefit. (Likewise, the 20-28mm range isn't served well by fast primes in Sonoltaland, but that's another discussion).

    The gripes of the 80-200 are the inability to use the APO TC and the MFD. The 70-200SSM doesn't have these problems.

    I now have the SSM. I find it focuses SLOWER than the 80-200HS (or at least no faster) and has slightly better bokeh. However, from my sampling and hearsay, many copies are not as sharp wide open as the 80-200HS (even new Sony copies). Fortunately my copy seems to be sharp.

    Unfortunately I too have the Teleplus 300 and never even used it on the 80-200HS. Maybe I'll use it on the SSM someday...otherwise I can't really justify getting the APO(D).


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