70-200 f2.8 on a budget: suggestions

Started Jan 14, 2013 | Questions thread
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McLuhan
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70-200 f2.8 on a budget: suggestions
Jan 14, 2013

after a year and a half of using Sony HX100v superzoom p&s I fianlly made up my mind moving from Just got an A77 from the used market as well as some lenses for it. However, after getting a few lenses I found my budget a bit tight when I was considering an 70-200 f2.8 lens. I could get an used Sony 70-200G for around 1400 USD equivalent here but that would suck up all my budget left while I still need to get a few lens say an ultrawide angle zoom. So I'm considering some cheaper tamron/sigma alternative for it. Here I could get a used Tamron 70-200 2.8 a001 for around 650 USD equivalent, or a Sigma 70-200 marco HSM II(4th generation of sigma 70-200) for a little bit more or a Sigma 70-200 HSM OS(5th, the latest generation).

Here are my questions:

1. Tamron a001 is famos for its slow focusing micro motor. My main purpose for 70-200 2.8 is for portrait with shallow DOF at a telephoto perspective but still will welcome it as a solid performer for low light theatre-stage shoot(in my college there are always student performance every). The HX100v has been doing a decent job when considering its price but it really struggles to focus when the lighting is really dark, when back and forth CDAF(it could be up to 4 sec if the light is really dark!) + 5.6ish slow lens once you zoom beyond 135mm equivalent angle of view + mediocore iso at 800(you are even restricted from bumping up the iso above 800 in burst mode although it would be pointless anyway as SNR for HX100 at anything above iso800 is simply no-go) make me lose a lot of shots. Will tamron do that bad as well? As under indoor photojournalist-alike conditions, you need a combinition of precise timing of when and how to shot + decent high iso performance + responsive operation of camera + decent burst rate + fast glass + fast focusing of the lens, or you miss the shot.

So, will the tamron disappoint me again just like my hx100v regarding to focusing speed? will the sigma do better(I suppose HSM would do a better job than micro dc motor even in indoor condition) or is it just about the same when the condition goes challenging unless I save enough to get the sony version?

2. In terms of sharpness, flare and the quality of bokeh, how well do they do the job? Are they unacceptably soft for portrait work when shooting wide open(I guess I have to shoot wide open on crop sensors as they tend to be inferior in terms of shallow DOF generating power), even at the long end? And how do they work against the strong light, are they going to generate flares that is not just huge but more imporantly, distracting as well? I'll live with CA as I will post process every picture but sharpness and flare are the things I am hard to get from post processing.

3. Any known incompatibility of the two sigmas with A77? I heard that the HSM motor of sigmas hate the slt design.

Thank you for all your advice in advance !

 McLuhan's gear list:McLuhan's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye Samyang 85mm F1.4 Aspherical IF Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD +1 more
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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V Sony SLT-A77
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