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Thread: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    OK here goes,

    Sold my Leica kit, have some camera/lens funds to burn, problem is if I don't sink it into camera kit it will get lost into family finances and you know what that means.......100 times harder to get it back out again

    I'm toying with the idea of a 2nd a900 and the new 70-400G. I've read good reports on this silver lens and everyone seems impressed with it.
    The 2nd a900 is really not necessary 90% of the time but there are times I like to have 2 bodies with different focal lengths on.

    The temptation is either a new Sony 300 2.8 SSM or a mint 400 4.5 APO HS. I've always fancied doing a bit of wildlife or sports stuff but normally the lenses were out of reach financially.

    What concerns me is the zoom is less than a stop slower than the 400 prime and the prime is far less portable than the zoom. If anyone has any light to shed on the optical qualities of the various lenses I'd like to hear.

    FWIW I have 16-35, 24-70, 85 & 135 ZA's which suit the main type of stuff I currently like to shoot but I'd like to explore the possibilities when using some long glass.

    TIA

  2. #2
    ddk
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eoin View Post
    OK here goes,

    Sold my Leica kit, have some camera/lens funds to burn, problem is if I don't sink it into camera kit it will get lost into family finances and you know what that means.......100 times harder to get it back out again

    I'm toying with the idea of a 2nd a900 and the new 70-400G. I've read good reports on this silver lens and everyone seems impressed with it.
    The 2nd a900 is really not necessary 90% of the time but there are times I like to have 2 bodies with different focal lengths on.

    The temptation is either a new Sony 300 2.8 SSM or a mint 400 4.5 APO HS. I've always fancied doing a bit of wildlife or sports stuff but normally the lenses were out of reach financially.

    What concerns me is the zoom is less than a stop slower than the 400 prime and the prime is far less portable than the zoom. If anyone has any light to shed on the optical qualities of the various lenses I'd like to hear.

    FWIW I have 16-35, 24-70, 85 & 135 ZA's which suit the main type of stuff I currently like to shoot but I'd like to explore the possibilities when using some long glass.

    TIA
    I might go with the 2nd body but then if you're using zooms most of the time the 2nd body is mostly an unnecessary luxury. As far as the 400 prime goes, well I searched for and lusted after a Contax 645, 350/f4 lens for a long time until I found a mint one in Japan about a year ago and I've used it all of Zero times. The fact of the matter is that it weighs a ton so its difficult to take on trips where you still need other lenses, bodies, strobes and tripod. In order to use it I have need a much heavier tripod than what I normally travel with, I need a different head, probably a huge, heavy gimbal arm and most important of all I have to find some REAL use for it. My normal shooting lenses are 14mm, 28mm and 35mm with a dslr and 30mm, 55mm and 80mm with medium format, rarely do I ever use my 85mm and 135mm lenses, so I don't really know when if ever I'm really going to get some REAL use out of it.

    The point of the story is even if the money is burning a hole in your pocket, make sure to buy something that you'll use, otherwise its just a waste. I know look who's talking but now I appreciate my wife's famous words; "hang on to your money its not going to go out of fashion!" LOL.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    I would consider picking a Leica Kit

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I would consider picking a Leica Kit
    It was hard enough to focus a 90mm on the M8, hate to try 400mm. At least the subject wouldn't hear the shutter noise. I wonder if they have uv/ir's big enough for the front of the 400. LOL

    All jokes aside, I'm sorry to see my M stuff go, it produced some lovely images that had a special look to them.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    David's got it right... if it's big and/or heavy, eventually the gloss will wear thin and it'll just take up storage space. If you want the reach, I'd go with the 70-400, especially if you have IS built-in. You'll still get plenty of bokeh at that focal length, even at a slower max aperture.

    Cheers,

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    I'd say grab the 70-400, and a 135 STF, as it's a truly unique Sony/Minolta lens.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Eoin View Post
    It was hard enough to focus a 90mm on the M8, hate to try 400mm. At least the subject wouldn't hear the shutter noise. I wonder if they have uv/ir's big enough for the front of the 400. LOL

    All jokes aside, I'm sorry to see my M stuff go, it produced some lovely images that had a special look to them.
    I feel the same way but going MF for me was critical but this Sony i like the darn look from the Zeiss glass and that has my interest a lot.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    What you do with a really long lens, and how often, definitely should weigh in the decision equation. I currently have a few lenses in that category (Zeiss 350/5.6CF, 350/4FE, HC-300/4.5, and a Nikon 200/2VR+1.4X ... prior to that a Zeiss/Contax 350/4, Canon 200/1.8 and Canon 400/2.8 .) The common aspect of every one of those lenses is that 1) they are all quite expensive (some very expensive ), and 2) they are/were the least used of all my optics.

    The size/weight is most certainly a deterrent to casual use ... you really have to need them a lot ... but when needed are/were indispensable.

    My Sony solution for now is a 70-200/2.8G APO ... a lens I can personally vouch for in terms of IQ and build quality, plus a 1.4X for the occasional need for a bit longer reach (280/4). Much more versatile and most certainly more "carry friendly".

    In addition I secured a Sony 500/8 Mirror .... which I was intrigued with because it is the only AF mirror made. As long as you stay away from specular highlights, it's hard to tell it from the regular lenses. Amazingly, despite being f/8 it somehow can AF just as swiftly as some of the other lenses. However, my need for something over 300mm on a 35mm camera is slim to none.

    A second body is your call. For me two A900s was a no brainer as I shoot weddings and MUST have a back-up for everything. I also use both bodies with different lenses, usually a zoom on one, and a faster prime on the other (most of the time the Sony 50/1.4 or 85/1.4).

    I do know from reports by shooters I personally know to have judgement that isn't clouded by status and bragging rights that the 300/2.8G is a spectacular performer ... right there with the best of them.

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    Senior Member Eoin's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Thanks for the advice, you all talk a lot of sense.

    In the end I've decided to opt for another a900 and 70-400. My reasoning being I can see how effective the 400mm range is with the zoom and if I develop into using that range then I can reconsider a prime at a later stage.
    I'm guessing the 4.5-5.6 won't prove to be too much of a problem with SSS and ISO 800. If I need something faster in the shot to medium telephoto range I have the 2 Zeiss primes and that's why I didn't see a need for the 70-200 2.8.

    BTW there is talk of a 300 price increase on the a900 in the UK at the end of this month. That's part of the reason I want to jump now.

    Anyway, thanks again.

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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Do give us a report on that 70-400 when you get it. I'd be curious to know how it handles CA and what the Bokeh looks like. According to spec's it focuses down to 5 feet (1.5m) which should be something @ 400/5.6.

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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Fotografz - re your comment on the 300 mm f2.8 G. I have just got this lens and my first impression is that it is at least equal to the Canon of the same specs that I used to own.

    Weather permitting, I'm going to give it a good wringing out tomorrow and will post the results - if they're worth it!

    Bill

  12. #12
    DougDolde
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Don't ask this bunch of gear addicts what to get. You'll be sorry.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Probably the right answer is less than you might think RIGHT NOW. AND.. bury the rest in a cigar box in the back yard. (I recommend Cohibas)
    Then you will have the chance to figure it out for your self.
    -bob

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    Super Duper
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Caulfeild-Browne View Post
    Fotografz - re your comment on the 300 mm f2.8 G. I have just got this lens and my first impression is that it is at least equal to the Canon of the same specs that I used to own.

    Weather permitting, I'm going to give it a good wringing out tomorrow and will post the results - if they're worth it!

    Bill
    Thanks Bill, fill us in more. Sounds promising because the benchmark is the Canon 300/2.8 IMO.

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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Well, the 300 G is a great lens. It's good at f2.8 and as good as it gets at f4 - stopping down further increases DOF but doesn't increase sharpness.

    The three pix are (1) full frame as shot. Focus was on the barcode, same plane as the bottom of the feather. This one was f2.8. (2) The centre of the frame, f2.8 and (3) same shot at f4.

    I use a feather because I mostly shoot birds with this rig and I like to see how much detail it will pull up.

    I did some shots with the 70-300 G zoom too - it's a pretty good lens at 300 mm but does suffer a bit when compared with the f2.8 - naturally. I'd say they're close to the same at f11 but the single focal length is clearly better at f8 and f11 - as it should be at the price.

    I took a few "real" shots of ducks with the 1.4X converter but I'm underwhelmed by them. It may be because the subjects were moving, so I'll retest before posting anything.

    Bill
    Last edited by Bill Caulfeild-Browne; 12th July 2009 at 17:22.

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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    My last line should have said f8 and f5.6, not f11.
    Bill

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    Wow. I'll probably never need that lens, but I sure would like one for fun. Thanks for the samples.

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    Long and Light? Leica 400 f6.8 telyt

    No more needs to be said. It's definitely light enough to be carried almost anywhere and it breaks down into two halves for compact carrying.

    Check out Doug Herr's work for what it can do.

    Mike

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    Re: One of those Dumb which lens should I buy Questions

    For the economy minded: I picked up (on eBay) two of the Minolta classic lenses: the 28-135/4 and the 70-210/4 (the so called "Beer Can") each for a bit more than $200. For a walk-around guy like myself, these lenses are fine.
    28-135 is super sharp between 28-70...135 not so hot. 70-210 is a nice, compact lens that only lacks the punch (contrast) of the Canons and Nikons...sharpness is fine.

    Roy Benson

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