Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Long-ish lenses for a850?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    63
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    27

    Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Hey all,

    I'm currently shooting with an a850, 20/2.8, 50/1.4, tamy 90 Macro, and Minolta 135/2.8. Generally happy with the image quality and range of lenses I have; however (and there always is one...) on my most recent hiking trip I was feeling like a little more range on the long end would be nice.

    Obviously image quality is the most important quality in any new lens, that being said I shoot mostly between f8 and f16. Most lenses I've used perform well at these apertures, or diffraction begins to set in robbing some critical sharpness (not a big deal when the DOF is required). I was thinking of the following kit (image quality should be good, and weight would be acceptable for my backcountry trips):

    - a850
    - 20/2.8 (24/2 only if CA & distortion are significantly better controlled stopped down)
    - 50/2.8 Macro (only if image quality matches the 50/1.4 stopped down)
    - 70-300/4.5-5.6 G

    This kit would be nice and light (relative term I suppose) while extending the long end and keeping some close focus ability. My big concern is the 70-300. Is is going to be as good as the 135 or 90 when stopped down? Any opinions about the 70-300 & 50 macro would be greatly appreciated. I'm also open to any other suggestions.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    The 50 2.8 Macro (the Sony version and the later KM versions are D-type), which I have, is an excellent lens on the A900/850, if you are okay with the f/2.8. Being a dedicated macro, it is sharp from wide open, even on the A900.

    I have the 70-300G too and find its performance to be great, when paired with the A900. However, if you can manage the additional weight of the 70-400G, then that will give you added performance and range (heavy and large lens, however !).
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    63
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    27

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Interesting thought on the 70-400, I had initially ruled it out due to size/weight. I'd better go and get a better handle on how big/heavy these lenses are I suppose.

    Does anyone know how the 50 macro would compare to the 50/1.4 at smaller apertures and near infinity focus? Getting close is nice with the 90, but I don't find myself doing a lot of dedicated macro work when hiking/skiing so I may be able to get away with just the 50/1.4 and bring the 90 when I know I'll want to get close.

    Cheers,

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    337
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon M. View Post
    Does anyone know how the 50 macro would compare to the 50/1.4 at smaller apertures and near infinity focus? Getting close is nice with the 90, but I don't find myself doing a lot of dedicated macro work when hiking/skiing so I may be able to get away with just the 50/1.4 and bring the 90 when I know I'll want to get close.

    Cheers,
    I never use the 50mm Macro as a Macro on the A900. I use it purely as a walkaround "normal" and since I am okay with the f/2.8, I am perfectly happy with it. The fact that it is a Macro is just an added bonus. I think from f/2.8 on, the Macro should be at least as sharp (if not sharper) than the non-macro lens but the key advantage from the non-macro is the f/1.4, which of course is not available with the macro lens.

    The Macro is signficantly larger than the 50mm f/1.4, which is something you should be aware of, and of course is more expensive brand-new (approx $480, while the non-macro 50mm f/1.4 sells for $380 brand-new). The Macro is built in Sony's elite G-lens factory, alongside the 35mm f/1.4G, while the 50mm f/1.4 is built in China.

    I have not shot infinity focus with the 50mm Macro (and A900) but can do so and let you know what I find.
    A900 with a few lenses, flashes etc.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    363
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    3

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Simon,
    I used a 70-300G for a major trip last year, and overall was very happy with it...it weighs around 800 grams, is not too large and is not too bad a balance on the A900 on a tripod - with care. And, as few realise, high Mp FF sensors produce much better results with lenses of moderate resolution than crop sensors - final image resolution is a multiplicative function, not an additive one - this comes directly from Zeiss.

    After I bought a few Contax Zeiss lenses with Leitax Sony mounts, I decided to update the tele lens to match final IQ.

    I read a lot and plumped for the Minolta 200mm f2.8 AF HS, with its 1.4TCII. 800 grams and 160 grams respectively, same lens bag as I used for the 70-300G, also takes the tiny TC in it. 2nd hand only (bad move Sony) and they go for around $US1000 give or take...with a built-in hood, protective filter and fancy case.

    Wonderful IQ, soft Leica-like rendering re colour and moderate contrast, the latter being great for the high DR scenes we face in natural scenes. Incredibly sharp. So what, everyone says that, right. My references are Mamiya 7/65mm lens, Zeiss Sonnars, Distagons and similar. Great fine detail right OOC. The TC loses very little IQ. Highly recommended.

    I also heard great reports of the 70-400G but have you ever seen or lifted one? The lens is a boat anchor!

  6. #6
    Senior Member dhsimmonds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hampshire, UK
    Posts
    904
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    20

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Hello Simon

    As always so much depends on what you wish to photograph. If you need more than 200mm on the 850 or 900 then perhaps it is wildlife you are interested in shooting. If so, the 70-400G is a great lens and well worth the additional weight and bulk.

    I also have the 200-500 Tamron which is only slightly slower and that renders beautiful colours and is tack sharp. It is much longer than the 70-400 but also quite a bit lighter. I use it and the 70-400 with a harness so that my shoulders and back take the weight instead of my neck! This way I can carry my A900 with either lens all day when "stalking" dear in the forests of Southern England.

    Oh, perhaps I should also mention that I will not be seeing my 70th birthday again just in case you might have thought that I am a fitness freak!
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

  7. #7
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    1,470
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Quote Originally Posted by philip_pj View Post

    I read a lot and plumped for the Minolta 200mm f2.8 AF HS, with its 1.4TCII. 800 grams and 160 grams respectively, same lens bag as I used for the 70-300G, also takes the tiny TC in it. 2nd hand only (bad move Sony) and they go for around $US1000 give or take...with a built-in hood, protective filter and fancy case.

    Wonderful IQ, soft Leica-like rendering re colour and moderate contrast, the latter being great for the high DR scenes we face in natural scenes. Incredibly sharp. So what, everyone says that, right. My references are Mamiya 7/65mm lens, Zeiss Sonnars, Distagons and similar. Great fine detail right OOC. The TC loses very little IQ. Highly recommended.
    +1 for the Minolta 200/2.8 and TC.

    I expect Sony to announce an updated version, G or Zeiss, hopefully at Fotokina or early next year. Waiting for that one as I prefer to buy new.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  8. #8
    tigertimb
    Guest

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Add another +1 for the Minolta 200/2.8 and TC

    Sounds like my requirements when off hiking almost exactly match yours and this combination goes in my bag to offer the reach when it's occasionally needed.
    (it's small, but of course not as small and light as the 135mm, so you obviously have the added benefit of extra exercise too )

  9. #9
    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dublin / Ireland
    Posts
    410
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Hi Simon,
    I've no experience of the Minolta 135 or Tamy 90. However I do have the Zeiss ZA 135 & 85 and enjoy both. I also have the Sony 70-400G which rarely get's used in 90% of my photography, but when the occasion requires reach, either handheld or mounted on a tripod, the 70-400G is something rather special. Either wide open at f:/4 or f:/5.6 depending on the focal length, it is stunningly sharp. f:/16 may be pushing the limits of diffraction, I tend to use mine between f:/4 to f:/11 for best results, f:/8 I feel is the sweetspot.

    Heavy, I wouldn't say so for the focal range, but for better balance the a900 battery grip with 2 batteries does add balance to the overall handling.
    The lens foot, one of those collar type arrangements which I feel are never really rigid enough for tripod use, is just about usable in a pinch. But one should really invest in a remote to enable mirror lock up (long pause) then shutter release to get vibration under control when used on (even quality) tripods.
    A7II, FE 35, 55 C/Y 18, 28, 85, 100, 28-85

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    63
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    27

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    Seems like the 200/2.8 gets a lot of praise - I'll have to add it to the list of contenders. I can easily try the 70-300 and 70-400 lenses to see how they will work for me; not so much with the 200/2.8...any members have one and be willing to share a raw file (best if there was detail throughout the image - but anything is better than nothing) I could play with?

    Thanks for all the information thus far. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted as I narrow in on a final solution.

    Cheers.

  11. #11
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bangkok
    Posts
    1,470
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    I'm sure you can find a lot of samples of the 200mm at Dyxum.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Bill Caulfeild-Browne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Bruce Peninsula, Canada
    Posts
    2,535
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    184

    Re: Long-ish lenses for a850?

    The 70-300 G is a great lens but, except for portability, the 70-400 G is better. It remains the sharpest zoom I have ever used. In fact it's the lens I leave on the camera when I'm driving - just in case of wildlife or ??.

    (I sold my 70-300)

    Bill

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •