New to SLRs, lens question

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by seladore, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. seladore macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2008
    I have just invested in a Sony Alpha A200 SLR, and am wondering about lenses.

    I have heard from the pros that 'the lens is more important than the camera' etc. The camera came with an 18-70 kit lens, that I'm finding to be great (my last camera was a cheap P&S, so anything would impress me I think). I have heard disparaging things, however, about kit lenses in general, and am thinking about getting a better zoom lens, something like an 18-200.

    It is worth it (apart from the obvious extra zoom power)? What kind of difference in image quality will be obvious?
  2. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    What do you want to do with the extra reach? Why this lens? Is it a faster lens over the kit lens?

    The lens is generally held as being more important than a camera body (as it carries with you onto other bodies), no matter how much people talk about camera bodies (I guess they are more interesting).:)
  3. seladore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2008
    I am going to be using it for travel, landscape type stuff. My question wasn't about this particular lens (though this is the one I'm gravitating towards), but rather about the image quality. Is there an immediate and noticeable increase in image quality when moving away from a standard kit lens?
  4. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    The Sony kit lens is regarded as one of the better kit lenses available, at least from what Pop Photo says, and I used a couple Alpha cameras for a while as well. In terms of immediately noticeable differences, you won't find a ton of them. Something like the 18-200 is going to be slightly sharper, but long-range lenses like that are also prone to more barrel distortion, which in a sense is leaving you around the same spot. Precisely which lens were you looking at?

    The only reason I would upgrade to an 18-200 is if you find the 70mm limiting.

    The kit lens should be fine, but if you find you just aren't satisfied with the lens be it in image quality, handling or durability, I would suggest one of the following:

    Sony 16-105mm

    Sony 16-80mm Zeiss

    You probably already know that Zeiss is regarded as some of the best quality optics in the world, and that one would provide you with slightly more range - wide and telephoto - than your kit lens, as well as provide you with sharper, clearer images.
  5. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Since you like your 18-70 lens, why does it matter what people have said about kit lenses in general?

    If you're happy with the 18-70, then instead of buying more of the same - buy a lens that complements it instead. I don't shoot Sony, but they've got to have something in the 70-200 or 70-300 range - take a look at that.
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    The 18-70 is sufficient for most things and the 18-200 will not give you much of improvement in terms of image quality, if any.

    If you want a lens that really enables you to shoot different kinds of pictures, get a 30 or 50 mm lens with a large aperture. You could buy Sony's own 28 mm f/2.8 lens or the 50 mm f/1.4.
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If you don't see anything wrong with your photos, or the lens, then probably not at all. You won't see much improvement by getting a slightly better lens....not unless you go nuts and get something MUCH more expensive.

    If you're going to get another lens, make it a lens that's either outside the 18-70 mm range (e.g.: wider angle lens, longer zoom lens, a wide aperture prime lens for great low light photos of friends, etc). However, I'd wait and see what you need before you get anything.

    You obviously have no problems with your current setup. If you're happy with your photos, then that's perfect. It seems that the only reason you're posting here right now is because of a problem that doesn't exist. You're here because of what some nerds at a forum said about kit lenses. Forget it.
  8. seladore thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2008
    Well said, thank you. Makes me feel better about the 18-70.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    In general the longer the zoom range of a lens the poorer the image quality. 18 to 200 is a huge range. All designs are a compromise. What I always say is that you should shoot a thousand or so frames first using the kit lens and then look at your work and figure out what shots you missed and buy the lens that would have gotten you those missed shots. Almost always you find that an long 200mm but slow f/5.6 lens would not have gotten those shots.

    I don't know what you soot but many peole wil recommend getting a fast 50mm lens as their second lens. This will work well for existing light and portraits. 50mm lenses alo tend to be very high quality and inexpensive. Also a 50mm lens is very differnt from what you have and wil allow you to d different things and will complement the lens you have rather then replace it.
  10. steveza macrumors 68000


    Feb 20, 2008
    I bought this lens for my A200. I'm still getting into photography so I'm happy with it for now. It's a good value for money purchase if you aren't 100% sure which lenses you may need in furture.

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