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Zoom lens for Sony Alpha

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by NvidiaDan, 19 Apr 2010.

  1. NvidiaDan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2008

    Posts: 1,179

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Hey all,

    Looking to upgrade from my 18-70mm kit lens to something with a bit more reach. My first choice was the Sony 70-300mm but after reading some reviews i though it would be best to get some opinions on other lenses before purchasing.

    I will mostly be using the lens for wildlife, show jumping and sports photography.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Columbo

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 26 Mar 2007

    Posts: 8,611

    Location: Nottinghamshire

    Get in the 2nd hand market and get hold of a Minolta 70-210 F4 known as the 'beercan'.

    Get a decent copy and you'll net some great results.
     
  3. The_TailGunner

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 17 Oct 2003

    Posts: 1,894

    Location: Dublin

    im liking my sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 DG APO. might be worth a look if it comes in a sony mount?

    the af is mad noisy on it though!
     
  4. Platinum Pete

    Gangster

    Joined: 28 Dec 2004

    Posts: 475

    Location: Bristol

    as well as the F4 beercan the minolta 70-210 f3.5 - 4.5 is a very good lense- not quite as good as the F4 (very little in it) but a lot smaller and lighter and generally significantly cheaper if you can find one. F4 beercans go for £80-£120 wheras you can probably get the f3.5-4.5 for half that.

    if you are very lucky you can pick up old minolta lenses very cheap- i picked up a 70-210 f4 beercan, 70-210 f3.5 - 4.5 and a 28-85 f3.5- f4.5 with a load of hoya lenses (polarizing and skylight) all in great condition for the grand sum of £55. they all perform brilliantly. I think i got very lucky though.
     
  5. Pug

    Soldato

    Joined: 20 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,186

    Location: Over there...

    You got very lucky! Any A-mount lenses nowadays govfor strong money!

    I'll be selling my 70-300 Minolta lens soon - it's basically the same as the Sony you mentioned, just silver and cheaper! It's a bit soft at 300mm, but then itsos a budget super zoom, and so that's typical.
     
  6. dalex

    Hitman

    Joined: 14 Jan 2005

    Posts: 810

    Location: gatesheed(gods country)

  7. NvidiaDan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2008

    Posts: 1,179

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Quite tempted by this. IMO it's also alot better looking than the beercan, though what makes it not as good?

    Yeah it is tempting, especially with the extra reach over the 70-210 but as i will probably using it mostly around the 300mm end i want it to be as sharp as possible.

    Thanks :) Will take a look.
     
  8. Platinum Pete

    Gangster

    Joined: 28 Dec 2004

    Posts: 475

    Location: Bristol

    As far as i know the 3.5 to 4.5 is very slightly softer at longest zoom and vice versa for the fixed apeture. I cant tell much difference though. Something to consider is that you scale the zoom by 1.6 to get the true value when using old slr lenses on digital bodies so you are actually getting over 300 at the longest zoom. That dyxums site is great for reviews- worth a read if you are looking to buy old minolta stuff
     
  9. NvidiaDan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2008

    Posts: 1,179

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Ok thanks, so am i right in thinking the beercan would be the best choice out of all suggested? For instance over a brand new Sony or Sigma 75-300? Also what should i look for when buying a second hand lens?
     
  10. Platinum Pete

    Gangster

    Joined: 28 Dec 2004

    Posts: 475

    Location: Bristol

    either of those 70-210 minolta lenses will be a good choice - i cant comment on newer stuff as i havent tried it, although i can confirm that all the old minolta lenses that i have used have been far better than the kit lense (that came with the a200) in terms of image quality and build quality. keep in mind that some of these lenses are 20+ years old so technology has come on a bit in the speed and refinement of autofocusing motors etc, you cant really complain at the price though and they are built to last.

    from the position of owning both, i would personally choose the 3.5 -4.5 70-210 mainly because it is far more transportable. most people would probably disagree with me though. I think the 'beercan' is a bit of a cult item really and that probably effects the price.

    main concerns with second hand are scratches and possibly fungal growth on older lenses. make sure the autofocus works as well. Also the general cosmetic condition of the camera may/ maynot be important to you. sellers should be pretty honest as these faults are pretty easy to spot.
     
  11. Bubo

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,988

    Location: Scun'orp

    Taken with a Sony 70-300G F4.5-5.6 A700
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Taken with Minolta Beercan 70-210 F4 A700
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you can afford it the 70-300G is the one to get, though the beercan is excellant for what it is.
     
  12. #Chri5#

    Soldato

    Joined: 27 Feb 2003

    Posts: 6,994

    Location: Shropshire

  13. NvidiaDan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2008

    Posts: 1,179

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Ok thank you very much for your help :) I think i have defiantly narrowed it down too one of these 2 now. Will just have to keep looking on ebay and getting an idea of the average prices for each.

    Thanks Bubo, Great Pictures from both lenses, though the colours are noticeably different from the minolta, giving them an older kind of feel, though from a 1980's lens that's kind of obvious :p

    I would really love that G lens but with my current skill level i just can't justify spending £600 on a lens (nor do i have that kind of money spare :p) So looks like i will be going for Minolta.
     
  14. ChazHurst

    Gangster

    Joined: 19 Mar 2007

    Posts: 329

    Location: London

    I've got the 70-300G and used to have a 70-210 beercan...

    I'd say that the beercan is very decent for the £100 or so you can get it for. But the AF is pretty slow, especially if it goes hunting, and quite noisy. Sharpness is not what it could be (if you tend to pixel peep) and also I found a significant amount of chromatic aberration at the long end on contrasty backgrounds.

    The 70-300G for me is way superior in every way...

    It's a shame you missed out on a recent bargain on the 70-300G, one retailer was selling it for £475 with free shipping.

    Hardly a comparison shot, but examples nontheless:

    70-300 f4.5-5.6 G
    [​IMG]

    70-210 f4 "beercan"
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 21 Apr 2010
  15. NvidiaDan

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 5 Dec 2008

    Posts: 1,179

    Location: Oxfordshire

    Well i though i had decided... but today i took a look at The Tailgunners suggestion of the Sigma 75-300mm APO DG, and i have to say for the price it looks good, also with the macro feature as i tend to do alot of macro photography and only have a set of manual extension tubes for my kit lens at the moment.

    Any thoughts on this lens?
     
  16. Pug

    Soldato

    Joined: 20 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,186

    Location: Over there...

    i've heard of Sonys stripping Sigma lenses (or being stripped by them, cant remember). Always made me wary, but maybe i'm just a worrier. Its something to do with plastic/metal focus screw/driver.