Lens opinion

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by js81, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
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    KY
    #1
    Hey all:

    Looking for a good "walk-around" lens for my Sony Alpha. This is purely from a hobbyist/enthusiast perspective. I'm looking to purchase an 18-200mm (or similar) and wanted opinions on a couple (if anyone has tried them). I know that this type of lens isn't going to be the best at, well, anything really - but I'm looking purely for something that will be useable in lots of situations. I already have my 18-55mm Sony kit lens (and a second Minolta kit lens, 35-80mm, that I use as a "beater" for the beach, ATV rides, etc.), a 50mm f1.7 Minolta prime, and a 70-200 f4 "beercan." I've looked at these three:

    Sigma 18-200 f3.5-6.3 - $279 @ B&H

    Tamron 18-200 f3.5-6.3 - $229(AR) @ B@H

    Or... I can get the Quantaray 18-200 f3.5-6.3 at a Ritz camera closeout for $135. Supposedly its the same lens as the Sigma, but closeout priced. Its new in box, too.

    Obviously if all things are pretty much equal, I'll buy the Quantaray for half the price. If not, does anyone suggest one of the other two for good reason? And if none of these are really feasible, does anyone have a suggestion for a comparable lens in the sub-$300 price range?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    KY
    #2
    Anybody tried these lenses? I know Sony users are sometimes few and far between, but have any of you used the Canon or Nikon mount versions of the same lenses?
     
  3. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    #3
    Never used the Sony camera but the 18-200 lenses, in general, are pretty good walk around lenses. Since you're just doing this casually and I'm assuming you're not too terribly concerned with image quality, then these lenses should suit your needs just fine. In terms of lenses, up to you really on whether you want a good lens or simply a cheap one. The Sigma's generally have a good reputation, probably a little more so than the Tamron. Not sure what kind of quality the Quantaray's are. It's a little more money but I'd go with the Sigma.
     
  4. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #4
    Alright, thanks. I was definitely leaning toward the Sigma over the Tamron - would there be a significant difference between the Sigma and the Quantaray, though? I understand they're made by Sigma, and I figure them to be a slightly lower level lens, but all the specs seem identical (aperture range, lens elements and groups, etc.). For half the price, would it be a bad chance to take? I definitely do NOT want something below my Sony kit lens... which is not particularly impressive itself (though its not terrible, either).
     
  5. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    #5
    I haven't been around photography a long time but everytime I've seen a Quantaray lens, it's been in a pawn shop or on eBay :confused: They may be good lenses but I've never had any experience with them. While the specs are of importance, the lens manufacturer is more important. Since the Quantaray is cheaper, I'm guessing it's cheaper for a reason.

    I'm assuming you're buying these lenses new so, if it's not too much hassle, buy the cheaper lens and check it out. If you don't like it, then return for the Sigma lens or something.
     
  6. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #6
    See that's the catch... the Quantaray, though new, is a clearance item via Ritz/Wolf Camera's eBay store. They're only offering returns for defective items. But at that price, I could probably re-sell it myself pretty easily if I wasn't happy with it. The Tamron is the next cheapest at $229 after rebate, so I figure getting $125 out of the Quantaray (if I didn't like it) wouldn't be too hard... would it? ;)
     
  7. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    #7
    Ahh, I see. It's the buy or die scenario :p

    I'm sure you could find a buyer for that lens in the event you didn't want/like it. Since it's pretty cheap, I say go for it and keep your fingers crossed. I'm sure the lens will be adequate for your needs. It might even surpass your expectations, so it's probably an OK gamble. And, worst case, just sell it off and buy the better lens.

    To be fair, it's on clearance for a reason so just be aware of that. But, I think the lens should suit you just fine for now.
     
  8. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #8
    That was my exact worry, lol. Supposedly its on clearance because they decided to quit having the store-exclusive Quantaray brand; but what's the real reason?

    I had thought about getting a new beer can instead (mine is on its absolute last legs; no AF, balky manual focus), but the idea of an all-purpose lens appealed to me. Would I truly be better off with a separate tele and short range? I've looked and you can sometimes find good condition beer cans in the same price range as the Quantaray, but all of those are a gamble because of age.

    Yep, I tend to make every minute decision into a big ordeal; I've done the same with my computer choices, too, and now that I've re-entered photography as a hobby, I'm doing the same thing with every camera choice, lol. Never fear; I'm currently doing the same thing trying to decide on a new-to-me vehicle :D. If nothing else, at least I'm consistent...
     
  9. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #9
    I can't speak for that particular lens but I bought a Quantaray from Ritz when I got my D70 six or so years ago. I've used it exactly twice. I wish I knew then what I know now. ;)
     
  10. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    #10
    Help me understand your logic here. You've picked up photography again as a hobby, great. But you want to buy a cheap 'walk around' lens because....why, you wan't crappy images? The Quantaray lenses are absolute crap, not worth a penny of your money, don't consider them for a second. Sigma and Tamron are better, but if you save up for the Sony 18-250 you will be much happier with your purchase and your images and you'll have something with resale value. The Sigma and Tamron have a little residual value, but nothing like that the sony will have. IMO, photography is about images, why cheap out on the lens when it has everything to do with your images? I used to sell cameras back in the pre digital days and I'd always ask customers this question when they came in for the cheap lens, and they would always answer the same "Well I can't afford the xxx lens right now" and I'd say, "So save until you can, your half way there, don't sell yourself short". I must of had three of four customers who listened to me and saved for the better lens, come back into the store and thank me. I don't know your reasons, other then what you've stated, but I wonder why anyone would bother with photography if they didn't care about image quality.
     
  11. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #11
    ^^ Thank you. THIS is useful.

    ^^ This is NOT as useful (though not useless, I might add). I never once said I'd be happy with crappy quality - why would I spend $500 on my camera (yeah, not the highest end, I know, but not chump change either!) if I didn't care about IQ? If that were the case, I'd still be using my 4MP point-and-shoot!

    I finally got what I was looking for; people who HAVE used them, and the opinions are unanimous. I'll hold out for the Sigma (I won't for the Sony; I'll just use my two separate lenses instead of spending another $500) - If I had used them myself, I wouldn't have asked...
     
  12. h1r0ll3r macrumors 68040

    h1r0ll3r

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    Maryland
    #12
    Depending on deep you plan on re-entering photography, I'd say more lenses the better.

    Obviously a nice walk around lens is key. While you should get okay results from the beer can, something a little shorter in range would more likely get better IQ than the beer can. You may even get like getting a prime lens for use as a walk around. Maybe a 35mm or 50mm if they're available for your Sony. In addition to the walk around, a nice zoom is probably the next lens you should look into.

    I tend to shoot more on the wide end so I actually have two UWA lenses. A 10-22 zoom and a 8mm fisheye. Both are really nice and I like having the option to use either or. I use a 24-105 for my walk around. I'm a Canon guy so apologies if the focal lengths don't match up with your Sony ones :p

    But, getting back on track, if you're going to get back into photography with some renewed vigor, I'd recommend saving up for good lenses as opposed to cheap alternatives. You'll save a dime by getting the cheaper lenses but, in the long run, it'll be to your advantage to pony up for the nicer lenses. Better quality/build and better resale value are really nice benefits from getting good lenses. And since these are lenses, you won't necessarily being changing them up/upgrading them like you would your phone or whatever. Consider them long term investments rather than trinkets and you should be fine.
     
  13. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
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    Location:
    KY
    #13
    So far I've purchased two lenses, in addition to my 18-55 kit lens: a 50mm f1.7 prime (which I absolutely love, and do tend to use as my walk-around currently) and a 35-80mm that I bought purely because it was cheap ($18 shipped); I use it as my beach/ATV riding lens. :D The beercan was a rough condition hand-me-down... :(

    My prime is an excellent condition vintage Minolta; the very reason I bought the Sony was so I could use these vintage Minolta AF lenses! At least in my opinion (and in many others), the colors and bokeh of these old Minoltas are simply not matched by the new Sony lenses. Personally, I would LOVE to find an old Minolta 18-XX lens, but since they were all film lenses, its very hard (and/or expensive) to find anything that goes back to an 18mm. There is a 24-105, but its $250+ used, and investing that kind of money in used equipment scares me.

    Thanks for the input; I was formerly quite involved with film photography when I was in high school and college (10+ years ago now) - I was our primary yearbook and newspaper photog; everything was manual and we even did our own developing - I loved it! But, as a newlywed and a new teacher, I was cost-prohibited from getting into dSLR photography until just recently. I've had my Alpha for 3 months now, and am remembering why I loved it!

    Sorry to ramble... thanks for the advice, though. I plan to keep my camera for a while (and when I do get a new one, to upgrade to a newer Alpha so I can keep my lenses), so I definitely want to make sure that I make good investments. As a teacher, though, and especially since this is a hobby for me, I can't spend too much - I'm just trying to find the best use of my limited funds. :)
     

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