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Thread: Best 200 mm lens

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    Best 200 mm lens

    Has anyone compared the available 200 mm lenses available, particularly on the A7/r? I have a shoot coming up that I will probably be doing with the A900, but I won't have time or budget to test all the option ahead of time. The Minolta 200 HS G, the Sony 70-200/2.8, the Sony 70-200/2.8 II, in the FE mount the FE 70-200/4. I suppose there are several manual focus options too that may work better with the A7/r than with A900 where nailing critical focus is a bit challenging.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Minolta Maxxum 200/2.8 is a superb lens...if you can find one.

    Roy Benson
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I have the Minolta 200/2,8 HS, Sony 70-200/2,8 and the Sony FE 70-200/4. I only use the Minolta and Sony f2,8 zoom on A900/A99 and the Sony FE zoom on my A7r. So I don't have any direct comparisons. But from my overall experiences with these three lenses, I would say the Minolta 200/2,8 is the best, follow by the Sony f2,8 zoom (overall). But I found that the Sony EF zoom is an excellent performer at zoom range between 70mm to 100mm.

    I also like the Leica-R 180/3,5 APO which I found to be better than the Sony FE 70-200/4 on my A7r.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    The Minolta 200 2.8 is on my short list. I had one awhile ago , great optic.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Going to chime in on the Minolta 200/2.8 HS APO. Incredible little lens. I use it on the A900, A7 and the A6000.

    A buddy has the Minolta 80-300/2.8 and the few sample snaps I shot with it looked great too. I just prefer a straight 200mm to the zoom - smaller and sharper.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by benroy View Post
    Minolta Maxxum 200/2.8 is a superb lens...if you can find one.

    Roy Benson
    They are plentiful on eBay out of Japan or Hong Kong. I got a mint one from Japan with original hard case and caps for under a grand.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Perhaps I should have finished my thought..."if you can find one in the US"...I stay away from international purchases. And again, allow me to put in a plug for the 70-210 Minolta "beercan"...best bang for the buck in the whole array of 70-200 focal length lenses.

    Roy Benson
    Last edited by benroy; 23rd June 2014 at 11:14. Reason: added info

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Even with my new 70~200 oss...the Minolta 200 is the best

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    Has anyone compared the available 200 mm lenses available, particularly on the A7/r? I have a shoot coming up that I will probably be doing with the A900, but I won't have time or budget to test all the option ahead of time. The Minolta 200 HS G, the Sony 70-200/2.8, the Sony 70-200/2.8 II, in the FE mount the FE 70-200/4. I suppose there are several manual focus options too that may work better with the A7/r than with A900 where nailing critical focus is a bit challenging.
    I have two 180mm lenses—Leica Elmar-R 180/4 and Elmarit-R 180/2.8 v1. Both work brilliantly on the A7. The Elmarit-R 180 v1 is a rather hefty thing, if you need the speed it's great, but the Elmar-R 180 is far far smaller/lighter with virtually no difference in imaging quality.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    If you are interested in the Minolta 200mm, you should definitly read the photozone review. Look at that resolution numbers!

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Folks not much is going to touch this lens wide open. 3 lenses come to mind Leica 180 F2 Cron R mount, Nikon 200mm F2 and Canon F2 and older 1.8 after that the Minolta maybe the best bargain. But again one thing to know is the paint on the lenses has a tendency to wear off , so you may see a great lens with great optics but a poor finish on the body. This is pretty normal for this lens. The other part it has no tripod mount from what I can remember and also there is 2 versions of this lens from memory . One is high speed AF and one is not. Story goes it was one of the most sought after lenses for doing weddings over in the Asian countries when film was around. Maybe someone with some more knowledge can elaborate more on my comments as its been awhile since i had one.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    The 200 HS is also very nice to manual focus on the a7r, and it especially appeals to fans of Minolta colour and contrast. It looks heavier than it is as well. It's one of those lenses you can rely on to always give its best. Sony really should have re-released it after the takeover, it is another one waiting for a higher Mp camera.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    If you have strong arms and don't mind size, weight & Manual focus only, the CZJ Sonnar 180/2.8 in Penatcon 6 is a pretty fun and dreamy lens. Cheap to boot.

    Otherwise the Minolta AF APO HS 200/2.8 would be the fast AF prime of choice in A mount of course.

    Similar quality to the Minolta 200/2.8 if you want zoom and tripod mount would be the Minolta 80-200/2.8 AF APO HS for about the same price. Otherwise, Minolta 70-210/4 "beercan" if you want to mess around for the price a filter or two.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    Has anyone compared the available 200 mm lenusesnses available, particularly on the A7/r? I have a shoot coming up that I will probably be doing with the A900, but I won't have time or budget to test all the option ahead of time. The Minolta 200 HS G, the Sony 70-200/2.8, the Sony 70-200/2.8 II, in the FE mount the FE 70-200/4. I suppose there are several manual focus options too that may work better with the A7/r than with A900 where nailing critical focus is a bit challenging.
    The "best" is of course a very subjective term. Best at what? Best in what sense? I'll put in a plug for the Minolta 200mm F4 Macro.

    Pluses:
    It's very sharp. It produces beautiful images. It's a 1:1 macro. It autofocuses with the LAEA4 adapter.

    Minuses:
    It's out of production. It's only F/4. It's insanely expensive (unless you're used to Leica prices).

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by jfirneno View Post
    The "best" is of course a very subjective term. Best at what? Best in what sense?
    Fair question, and I don't really have an answer, just an all around lens. I have a Leica 180/2.8 pre-APO and I really need to sell it. It is a great lens for close portraits and fine for landscapes, but I have a hard time focusing it between about 75-125' which is where my subjects seem to be at that focal length.

    I might pick up the beer can lens as a knock around lens to go with my Minolta 35-70/4, which is a great lens for the price. In looking for the 200 HS, I've found a number of older Minolta 300/2.8 lenses. Maybe the 300 with a 135 is another way to go as my 180 is often either too long or too short.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    In looking for the 200 HS, I've found a number of older Minolta 300/2.8 lenses. Maybe the 300 with a 135 is another way to go as my 180 is often either too long or too short.
    That's an interesting strategy. The 300mm must be expensive (and heavy) but I'll bet it's a very good optic.

    Best of luck,
    John

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I have been pleased with my Micro-Nikkor 4/200 on the A7r.

    100+mph, 100% crop:

    Paul.... lost in the Irish Sea

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by dunders View Post
    I have been pleased with my Micro-Nikkor 4/200 on the A7r.

    100+mph, 100% crop:

    Paul:
    Nice focus on a very tricky subject. I was very surprised at how versatile a 200mm macro can be. I find myself using it for some pretty unintuitive tasks. Sharp, rugged design. And I find f/4 plenty fast enough for my needs. I'm ususally shooting at 5.6 to 8 for more depth of field. The only thing it's not is fast focussing on the A7R. And it decidedly looks like the tail wagging the dog when the little camera is attached to the adapter and the lens. I like to attach the lens foot to a monopod and spare myself the arm strain.

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    If manual focus or weight is not an issue the Contax Zeiss 180/2.8 is really nice and has a floating element to allow you to focus as close as 5.5 ft.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    If manual focus or weight is not an issue the Contax Zeiss 180/2.8 is really nice and has a floating element to allow you to focus as close as 5.5 ft.
    What adapter works well for the contax mount?

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I have Novoflex adapters for my contax lenses and haven't had any issues with them I recommend the ASTAT as well for the longer lenses if you use tripods on occasion. It's a pricey combination at ~$300 or so with both but it works. I'm able to handhold at higher shutter speeds though.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I have Novoflex adapters for my contax lenses and haven't had any issues with them I recommend the ASTAT as well for the longer lenses if you use tripods on occasion. It's a pricey combination at ~$300 or so with both but it works. I'm able to handhold at higher shutter speeds though.
    Thanks for the info on the ASTAT. With the heavier lenses on the A7 cameras I really like to have the option of lens mounting the combo on a monopod. It really improves the experience of a long outing.

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    No problem. I keep quick release plates on my ASTAT's that allow quick transitions from tripod to handheld and back should I need to use my tripod.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I just grabbed a used Sigma 180mm 2.8 OS macro in a-mount. Does anyone else have any experience with this lens? At 1.6kg it's an absolute beast, but I must say it's got incredible optics: 19 elements, which correct wonderfully for just about everything.

    Incidentally, has anyone with an A7m2 tried it with a Minolta 200mm 2.8 HS? I'm really curious to know how much ibis helps with lenses in the 180-200mm range.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by frozenbb View Post
    I just grabbed a used Sigma 180mm 2.8 OS macro in a-mount. Does anyone else have any experience with this lens? At 1.6kg it's an absolute beast, but I must say it's got incredible optics: 19 elements, which correct wonderfully for just about everything.

    Incidentally, has anyone with an A7m2 tried it with a Minolta 200mm 2.8 HS? I'm really curious to know how much ibis helps with lenses in the 180-200mm range.
    I WANT that lens. the Minolta 200mm 2.8
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    The Nikon 200 f/2 is absolutely superb but it is a beast. It is roughly the same size and weight of the 300mm f/2.8
    Bryan

    “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” — Ansel Adams

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by frozenbb View Post
    I just grabbed a used Sigma 180mm 2.8 OS macro in a-mount. Does anyone else have any experience with this lens? At 1.6kg it's an absolute beast, but I must say it's got incredible optics: 19 elements, which correct wonderfully for just about everything.

    Incidentally, has anyone with an A7m2 tried it with a Minolta 200mm 2.8 HS? I'm really curious to know how much ibis helps with lenses in the 180-200mm range.
    I've got the combo in question. I've only used it for indoor basketball with the A7II, which isn't a great indicator at the shutter speeds I'm shooting.

    I'll do some more appropriate handhold tests at slower shutter speeds when I get some time. Tomorrow night I'll be shooting the 135/1.8 at slow speeds so I should at least be able to report back on that.

    Guy - yes, you do want the Minolta HS APO 200/2.8 but I'm not selling!

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I'm going to order one before our workshop in Febuary. I actually need it for a gig starting Jan. 29th. Event podium work it should be perfect at.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Thanks for the info, and any future reports with those long-ish lenses!

    I recently missed a chance to buy the Minolta HS 200 locally - quite frustrating as they're already so hard to find. Perhaps someone bought it as an xmas gift for Guy! Tell me again why Sony hasn't reissued it (with updated mechanics or not)?

    Slightly off-topic, but does anyone else use the Minolta af 135 2.8? There's some slight CA wide open, but I've been pleasantly surprised by its great color and good central sharpness. It's no Zeiss 135, but who wants to walk around with that monster all day?

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by benroy View Post
    Minolta Maxxum 200/2.8 is a superb lens...if you can find one.

    Roy Benson
    This is the best I ever had, though Canon 200L is quite close

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I ordered a bargain at KEH of the Minolta 200mm. Got a screaming deal. Last minute 10 percent off of about 80 dollars. Now they rated it a bargain and no images to see. Knowing this lens I figured they rated as such because of paint. This lens is notorious for losing its paint. Hoping that's all it is but they are good at returns. Get it Friday and here is hoping its a good one. Keep you posted but will certainly be using it on the A7II for sure. Hopefully IBIS does a good job.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Good deal Guy, I hope it's just loss of paint because for me that increases the usability of that lens. Optically it's one of the best I have, and if you put on the Sony APO 1.4x converter (or another similar/older Minolta version) you've a great 280/4 that is still small, light, good bokeh and handles very well:



    This is on an A900 with a less sophisticated IBIS, so on the a7II it should even be better
    My Pics
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    You guys are killing me!

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Would not mine having the 1.4 extender. I had this lens long ago. It's just a gem that came out in the later 80's . I'm amazed Sony has not updated it. This was also about the time zooms started to become popular. In this time period zooms where seriously frowned on.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Btw story has it in Asia this lens was the wedding shooters main lens. From what I was told there used to be group or several separate weddings going on at the same time in the same location. This lens was used to isolate the bride and groom from the pack.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    200mm arrived in very nice shape the glass looks to be perfect. There is some paint chipping but that was totally expected. Not sure i would label it a bargain lens normally but given the fact the paint just comes off this lens, i can see why KEH labeled it as such. They do underrate there used stuff. They try and play it safe and thats good for us end users. Very pleased and as i remember its very sharp wide open some CA but by F4 its a killer. If you can find one , I highly recommend it and its not big nor heavy either. Great for the backpack
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    BTW I still have the 70-200 2.8 Version II coming as a rental for my gig in LA. I would love to throw these two against each other and just see how good they are in comparison. I like having the 200mm for PR gigs and doing landscape sometimes so the 200mm is a keeper regardless. My kit is almost finished for NOW. Never say never right. LOL

    I have a little cash left for maybe a 35mm FE 2.8 or a Minolta 28mm F2 AF. Cant decide which. Reason being I have the 16-35 which is great up to 28mm and than I have the 50 1.4 but I don't have a fast wide. Just to cover the gap the 28mm F2 sounds good. I have 500 bucks so the budget is low. I have a 24mm TSE lens but thats not a PR
    lens

    Anyone have the Minolta 28mm F2 AF they want to sell . Let me know
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Guy see your PM
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Interesting little test. It is on several levels. Its the Minolta 200mm 2.8 shot wide open at 1/80 of a second handheld. So IBIS really does work well. Even as a rock I could not do this handheld at this speed without IBIS. Second part of test shot in camera jpeg. Sharpening up 1 point, noise on low , than shot extra fine and medium size. Basically a 8x10 300 DPI in camera. Noise looks pretty darn good. Third part of test, hello this is wide open folks and sharp as a tack. Its not as good with Continuous AF as the 70-200mm 2.8 since its a screw drive so renting the zoom for this gig is needed but the AF on the 200mm is still very good and accurate obviously. Oh and number 4 part of this test its in crop mode. So its a 300mm effective handheld.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Seriously go buy a Minolta 200mm 2.8 HS. Trust me
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Lens looks great and i was wondering how the non HS version performs as I wouldn't be using it for action work but for landscape and cityscape work

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Seriously go buy a Minolta 200mm 2.8 HS. Trust me
    Why am I not surprised?

    Once I got a 70-200/2.8L, the 200/2.8L never came out of the closet again. The zoom is just too useful! Sure, there's a (large) price and weight difference, but a lens you never use is not worth the price no matter how little you paid for it.

    But keep posting examples, Guy. You can be very persuasive!

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I'm not sure how the non HS is.
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    For long distance shots the Leica APO Telyt 180/3.4 is supurb otherwise I grab the Canon FD 200/2.8. Not to expensive, fast and really good.
    Last edited by Michiel Schierbeek; 5th January 2015 at 09:41.

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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I will throw my hat in the ring:

    Mamiya 200MM/F2.8 MF 645 mount. Superb wide open. As a bonus, I can use it on my A7 as well as Leica S2!

    I got a shiny mint sample from eBay for $600.

  47. #47
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Jaree is it very big on the A7's?

  48. #48
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Schierbeek View Post
    Jaree is it very big on the A7's?
    I took some pictures for you so you can compare. Mamiya 200 APO, Contax CY 35-135 and Leica R 100 APO. Mamiya is quite big and heavy and in my opinion, a tripod only lens. Not something you will use everyday, but it does render things in its own special way.

    Attachment 85145

    Attachment 85146

    Attachment 85147

    Attachment 85148

    Attachment 85149

    and for fun, I thought I will add an apple for comparison:

    Attachment 85150
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  49. #49
    Member hodad66's Avatar
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    It's funny, I have been looking at that Minolta HS 200 for weeks now!! I already have
    a nice Nikon ED 180mm f2.8 but it doesn't have AF......
    http://hodad66.com Sony A7r,A7II, Sony 70-300G, Rokinon 14/2.8, Leitz Wetzler 35/3.5, Leica R Summicron 50/2 & Elmarit 90mm/2.8, Contax N 24-85 & 70--200mm AND Canon FD 20/2.8, 135/2, 500mm 4.5, Minolta 35/1.8, 45mm/2, Nikon 28-50/3.5, 105/1.8, 180/2.8

  50. #50
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Best 200 mm lens

    I personally would never use that 2nd hood on the 200mm Minolta but for comparison its about 60 percent as big as the 70-200mm ZA 2.8. Im using the zoom this week and its a truck compared to the 200mm. For me the 200mm you can actually travel with. Its not very heavy at all.

    They are found mostly on eBay and usually from Asian countries. Paint wear off is very normal for this lens. Go by the condition of the optics because the paint just does not hold up well. Not sure what they used back in 1986 with this lens but the optics are what counts and it does deliver.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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