Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

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What are the top three lenses you would recommend to a new Alpha user?

Sony 16-80 CZ f/3.5-4.5
25
25%
Sony 16-105 f/3.5-5.6
7
7%
Tamron (Minolta) 17-35 f/2.8-4
4
4%
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
17
17%
Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5
2
2%
Sigma 18-50 f/2.8
1
1%
Sony (Minolta) 18-70 f/3.5-5.6
12
12%
Sigma 18-200 f/3.5-6.3
1
1%
Sony/Tamron 18-200 f/3.5-6.3
2
2%
Sony/Tamron 18-250 f/3.5-6.3
30
30%
 
Total votes: 101

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KevinBarrett
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Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby KevinBarrett » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:38 pm

A new Alpha user asks you for your recommendation of zoom lenses. He wants to buy just one zoom to begin with and doesn't foresee getting a full-frame camera body. He would like to know your first, second, and third choices for general use. Which three of these lenses would you recommend he choose between?

This survey is designed so that the esteemed members of this forum might become a resource to new (or soon to be) Alpha users with an APS-C camera body (a100, a200, a300, a350, or a700). By making selections here you will build a quantitative measure of recommendation for current lenses covering the "stadard zoom" range and, where possible, indication of other branding for (nearly) identical lenses, whether in or out of production. Lenses costing more than $1000 US have been excluded, as well as several very good choices that were designed as "standard zooms" for 35mm full frame or film cameras. They are ordered as they might appear in another popular resource, www.dyxum.com.
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Dr. Harout
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:18 am

Kevin, now I see where you're getting at.
Nice poll.
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pakodominguez
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:38 pm

KevinBarrett wrote: Lenses costing more than $1000 US have been excluded, as well as several very good choices that were designed as "standard zooms" for 35mm full frame or film cameras.

but how much is the budget for all the 3 lenses?
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:41 pm

pakodominguez wrote:
KevinBarrett wrote: Lenses costing more than $1000 US have been excluded, as well as several very good choices that were designed as "standard zooms" for 35mm full frame or film cameras.

but how much is the budget for all the 3 lenses?

I think I undrstand better, you don't want to recommend 3 lenses, you want the top 3 lenses to recommend...
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KevinBarrett
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby KevinBarrett » Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:31 pm

That's exactly right. Most new users can listen to pros with bigger budgets recommend the 16-80 or 24-70 all day long and it does them no good; these are very expensive pieces of glass. What they need to know is what lenses are more reputable and recommendable. With three choices the more experienced shooters can reccomend a range of exceptional lenses to meet different budgets. Hopefully, with more votes, a dependabe trend will emerge and new users can prioritize what they need regarding range, speed, and budget without compromising image quality.
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby Buttoneer » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:05 pm

I've changed one of my votes because I've decided that the kit lens was getting such a bad rap. It's a long way from being terrible, and a new user might appreciate not having to splash out on something to replace it if they think it is 'reasonable' by our standards. Which it is.

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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby kelvinyam » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:36 am

I think it really depends on how deep one wallet is. The 18-70 kit was one of the choices I voted. Although I'm quite disappointed with its PF, but it's a fine lens for night landscape and fireworks.

Image
ISO: 100
Exposure: 8.0 sec
Aperture: f/20.0
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:28 pm

Beautiful shot, Kelvin.
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby Alan Shaw » Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:11 am

As someone in a similar situation myself, this looks like a pretty useful thread. I asked some similar advice in the "Rationalising my lenses" thread as I already have a motley collection of lenses from film days I want to sort out.

For me I'm tending to the Tamron 17-50 as a mate for my Beercan and recently purchased Dynax 7D, but the other lens I've been thinking about is the Sigma 17-70. The Sigma seems to have received reasonably strong reviews but it has not earned any votes in this poll.

Is there any particular reason for this? I'm curious because I hope to get my tax return in the next couple of weeks so I can actually think about putting some money on the counter!

Alan
Brisbane, Australia
Alan Shaw
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby KevinBarrett » Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:18 am

There have been several concerns in dyxum reviews about the quality of the Sigma 17-70. That is not to say there haven't been any concerns about the Tamron 17-50 (or any other lens). However, the concerns about the Sigma were sufficient enough that nobody here seems to own a Sigma 17-70, or if they do, aren't yet willing to recommend it to others. Here is a direct comparison from one user:

Any sane person with an APS-C (1.5x) DSLR would buy the Tamron 17-50/2.8 as their walkaround zoom. Why didn't I? Well 50mm at the long end is too short for my uses even if the aperture is a constant f/2.8. Also the Tamron's CA really bugged me.

The Sigma's sharpness is about one stop behind the Tamron but still very good. At f/2.8 it's by no means bad, I tend to stop down when I shoot wide anyways. Distortion is typical; nothing to rave or complain about. Colours are neutral and not as punchy as Minolta glass.

Build quality is typical Sigma though very close to their EX line. My copy doesn't creep too much or wobble. As lattiboy pointed out, this copy has no focusing issues.


I am not sure what they are talking about with the CA. I can't produce significant softness or CA in my copy even in torture tests. The only visible CA without 300% pixel-peeping is wide open leaves against a back lit sky. Also, contrary to the Sigma, the Tamron's distortion IS something to rave about. I strongly recommend the Tamron...if it wouldn't defeat the purpose of the survey I'd remove my other two votes.

It is worth mentioning that the Sigma's zoom ring turns in the opposite direction, which is counter intuitive for a Sony/Minolta user. Tamron also makes most of Sony's APS-C lenses and perhaps it's not an irrational leap to say that this lens feels exceptionally well suited to my a700 because of it.
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby Alan Shaw » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:12 am

Hi Kevin,
That was pretty much what I thought would be the case. Both the Tamron and the Sigma seem to have their strengths and weaknesses. For me though it seems the consensus that the Tamron's has better image quality as well as its constant aperture outweigh the longer reach and lower price of the Sigma. As it turns out the price advantage is moot here in Brisbane as I cannot get the Sigma in the Sony mount.

I could try an internet dealer but that option is not too attractive if I need to return the lens for any reason.

Alan
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby KevinBarrett » Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:28 am

BUMP!

I thought this poll would be relevant for at least a little while longer, and there seem to be a lot of new users active on the forum now. Please contribute your votes!
Kevin Barrett
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby padvr » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:44 am

Any opinions about the Sony 16-105 f/3.5-5.6 comparing to the other lenses?

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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby KevinBarrett » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:29 pm

padvr wrote:Any opinions about the Sony 16-105 f/3.5-5.6 comparing to the other lenses?


Yes! Our site administrator wrote this very helpful review: http://www.photoclubalpha.com/2008/07/24/which-sony-alpha-kit-lens/

Also, this Sony user reviews everything he can get his hands on, and does it well: http://www.newcamerareview.com/sony_dt_16_105mm_f_3_5_5_6_reviewid220.html

SLRgear does a good job, too: http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1126/cat/83
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Re: Which zoom lens for a new APS-C user?

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:49 pm

padvr wrote:Any opinions about the Sony 16-105 f/3.5-5.6 comparing to the other lenses?


I have that lens and am very fund of it. It's a nice one, specially if stopped down a bit, though wouldn't complain even wide open (but to be frank, not in all circumstances).
Compared to 18-250, well if it lacks that tele part, it gains in the wider side. And believe me, those extra 2mm worth it.
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