Sony V Canon/Nikon lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by shootingliquid, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. shootingliquid macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I own a Sony a200 with came with a 2 lens kit covering 18-300mm (i think). Recently on a surf trip was amazed at the difference in quality on zoomed (300mm) surf shots on a mates canon 30D. What he told me was that basically its all about the lens quality.

    Now I'm doing research at it seems Canon and Nikon and general the higher regarded brands.

    SO I am thinking about flogging the sony on ebay and switching to canon or nikon.

    Can someone tell me what the deal is with sony lenses? Are there good zoom lenses out there for sony or should I just throw in the towel and switch to canon (or nikon).
     
  2. avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Sony has some good lenses too - but they are expensive.

    What you've told us about sounds like kit-lenses, they are often not the best. Nikon and Canon also have kit-lenses. But they also have some expensive better lenses.

    I'm not very familiar with Sony, but they do have some good lenses like the 70-400G - that's quite a good sharp lens - I tried it myself once at an exhibition and was pleasantly surprised. I don't know what else Sony has, but I'd have thought the Zeiss lenses in their lineup would be pretty good.
     
  3. TheReef, Dec 30, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011

    TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    #3
    Yeah I think brand has little to do with this, check out some of the higher end glass in the Sony line (maybe a used Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 or 200mm f/2.8 prime).

    Perhaps using a tripod and stopping your lens down to around f/8.0 will improve things for you somewhat.
     
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Your plan doesn't make any sense to me: Sony has excellent lenses if you are willing to pay for it, just like any other manufacturer. Your distrust in their ability to make good lenses is misplaced, especially considering that you're just a beginner with kit lenses. If you're thinking Canon's or Nikon's kit lenses are any better, you're mistaken.

    If you want good image quality, you need to invest beyond the tele kit zoom. They make a 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens which is similar in terms of specs to Canon's 100-300 mm, for instance, but costs roughly half. As any manufacturer, they also sell a very good 70-200 mm f/2.8. You can also get very good Sigma tele zooms (which are obviously also available for the Canon EF mount and Nikon's F mount.

    Disclaimer: I'm a Nikon guy.
     
  5. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #5
    An advantage in using Sony is the ability to use autofocus Zeiss lenses. The 135/1.8 is a stunning lens, among other gems in the Zeiss arsenal.

    The Nikon system offers more in the way of used lenses, particularly older lenses that are usable with many Nikon DSLRs (and all Nikon film cameras that use AI/AIS lenses, which is most of them).

    Canon offers a lot of mount adaptability with other camera mounts, if you're willing to use an adapter. That includes older Canon FD lenses, among other things.
     
  6. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Which lens did you use for the 300mm shots? The 75-300mm is evidently very soft at 300mm, but it's a budget lens, and it's decent from 75-200mm. The more expensive 70-300mm has better optics.

    Also, were you using stabilization/support for those shots? It can make a big difference at telephoto focal lengths.

    Before ditching Sony, it'd be good to find out exactly what lens your friend was using (it could be in a higher price range than yours), and if there were differences in the way the two of you were shooting.

    I drool over the Zeiss offerings for Sony, particularly since their cameras offer in-body stabilization (whereas Nikon seems reluctant to add VR to anything that doesn't go past 100mm). The manual-focus Zeiss primes that are available for non-Sony cameras (newly upgraded with EXIF information!) are something of a cruel joke, by comparison.
     
  7. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #7
    A joke? I don't think so. I know many shooters from my forum travels that shoot manual focus Zeiss lenses and do it well. I'd have no problem doing it myself. I love my 50/1.8 AIS, and I'm sure I would do well with a Zeiss manual focus lens, particularly the 35/2 and 50/2.

    If you do video, manual focus is the only way to go for anything serious.
     
  8. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    I'm not saying they're bad or unusable lenses by any means - I really like the build/image quality of the ZF lenses that I've tried and prefer having the aperture ring on the lens - but given that the prices are similar for the Zeiss manual focus and the Sony Zeiss autofocus lenses, it'd be nice to have the option to buy the latter for non-Sony cameras, though it's clear that the restriction exists in order to entice people to buy into the Sony system.

    Just wanted to point out to the OP that Nikon shooters can occasionally envy the lens options of Sony ones. ;)
     
  9. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #9
    I cut my teeth on a view camera. Sometimes autofocus gets in my way and/or just feels unnatural.

    On the Sony lens thing, Tamron is a subsidiary of Sony. I don't know Sony lenses, but some of the Tammy lenses are first rate.

    Dale
     
  10. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #10
    Zeiss doesn't make autofocus ZF lenses because of Nikon and the F mount, I believe. I don't think it has one iota to do with trying to get people to use Sony.
     
  11. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #11
    Not sure what you mean by this...? What does the Nikon F mount have to do with making an autofocus lens? I'm sure I'm missing something here, but I'd be delighted to be brought up to speed.
     
  12. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #12
    For starters, I think Nikon has to okay Zeiss making an autofocus lens, and I don't know if they want that to happen. Second, Zeiss may not want to do it. The optics change between manual and autofocus lenses.
     
  13. nepfotos macrumors member

    nepfotos

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    #13
    as a long time Minolta and now Sony user I have to say that Sony makes some good lenses, especially the Zeiss and "G" lenses, which are comparable with high quality Canon and Nikon lenses
     
  14. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #14
    I thought third-party lens makers relied on reverse engineering. And surely, if Tamron, Sigma and Tokina can do it, why not Zeiss. I'm fairly certain their lenses would sell even better if they offered AF version.
     
  15. shootingliquid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Thanks for the help all. (for the record, my friend was shooting a canon 30d with fixed 300mm tamron i think. a much better set up then mine for certain)

    When looking at lenses how do you tell the good ones (aside from the price tag and the specs) is there another way to tell the quality of the glass and craftmanship being used? What is the benefit of using a fixed lens vs. zoom lens?

    Before I spend cash of a nicer sony lens, would anyone like to make a case for switching to canon and/or nikon? Or do you all just not have opinions on that sort of thing :)
     
  16. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #16
    You need to ask this on a lens-by-lens basis. Price is a rough indicator of quality. Don't expect much from $200 (new) lenses. If you want recommendations on specific lenses, you need to (1) decide on a focal length range budget and (2) fix a budget.
    Lenses with fixed focal lengths -- called prime lenses or primes for short -- are easier to construct since the manufacturer can focus on a single focal length. With zooms, you always have to balance your optimizations in a certain way, and thus there are typically focal lengths where the zoom performs `worse' (less resolution and more vignetting, for instance).
    There is a reason why none of us has suggested you to change the system: you gave a specific reason why you were thinking about switching (concern over quality of lenses) and we said that these fears were unfounded.

    If I may ask: why do you think about switching? Let me venture a guess: Are you thinking about it, because you have chosen a `less popular' manufacturer (in terms of sales)?

    The ability to make good photos rarely has anything to do with the camera manufacturer, it is overrated. I wouldn't switch or upgrade unless you can specifically say why you want to upgrade your camera body or switch manufacturer. You noticed your friends takes better pictures with a fairly old Canon 30D (yes, probably your sensor is more capable than his!) and this is due to the lens and not the camera. So I don't think you have a reason to switch unless there are other gripes with the Sony system (that cannot be solved with a different body). You are lucky (as a buyer), because there are plenty of high-quality Minolta lenses out there that you can get relatively cheaply. For Nikon and Canon shooters, buying used lenses is still rather expensive (good if you're selling lenses, though).
     
  17. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #17
    Nikon shooters have something that Canon shooters don't have without an adapter, which is the ability to use manual focus lenses if the body meters with them (all the pro bodies, plus the D200/300/700 and now the D7000).
     
  18. TWLreal, Jan 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011

    TWLreal macrumors 6502

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    #18
    That statement is false unless you change it to "Nikon shooters have something that Canon shooters don't have without an adapter, which is the ability to use Nikon manual focus lenses if the body meters with them."

    Zeiss ZE lenses are manual focus and are fully supported, without the need of an adapter, by any Canon EOS body.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #19
    Ironically, what you've written is not correct: I suppose you wanted to say that Nikon lenses with a suitable adapter meter on any Canon body while only some Nikon bodies support metering. What you have suggested to write is that you cannot use Nikon MF lenses on Nikon bodies unless they meter. That's not true: you can use these lenses, you just have to resort to some other way to get the exposure right. (There's an app for that.)
     
  20. TWLreal macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I should've cut his quote shorter to "Nikon shooters have something that Canon shooters don't have without an adapter, which is the ability to use Nikon manual focus lenses."

    His initial statement makes less sense than mine though. Mine is just syntax, his doesn't make much sense.
     
  21. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #21
    My point was that Canon shooters can't take an FD lens and put it on an EOS camera and expect it to work normally. Nikon shooters can do that with AI/AIS lenses if the body works with them.
     
  22. TWLreal macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Sure. But again, you would have had to restrict it to Nikon or other F mount compatible lenses in your original statement instead of making a broad generalization which was wrong.

    Saying "Nikon shooters have something that Canon shooters don't have without an adapter, which is the ability to use manual focus lenses" is wrong as there are manual lenses that work and are fully supported on Canon bodies.
     
  23. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #23
    I didn't mean to make it a broad statement. It no doubt had something to do with the late hour I said it. I'm just telling you that I meant to say that Nikon shooters can use AI/AIS lenses normally while Canon shooters can't immediately do the same with FD lenses unless they're using an FD mount camera. That's all.

    I'm well aware of ZE lenses, along with ZF lenses for Nikon.
     
  24. shootingliquid thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
    Its more a question of why are Canon and Nikon the more sought after brands. Sony seems to be a new player in the market after the acquisition of Minolta and appears to have desirable features such as zeiss lenses and image stabilization, however, what I was more interested in was insight on value for money, durability, reliability, lens availability and overall quality (pros and cons on the brands). Things that I would generally look into when buying say a car, a tool, a surfboard...etc.

    Are you meaning to say that a Sony camera is just as good if not better than its Canon and Nikon counterparts?

    If I were to stay with Sony, can you recommend what I might look for in a used minolta lens of good quality say in the 200-400 focal range?
     
  25. TWLreal macrumors 6502

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    #25
    But it does read like one. Which is why I had to correct it so not to induce others into thinking it was true.

    There's no harm done.
     

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