NEX Newbie and Lenses

Started Sep 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
nannyg
Regular MemberPosts: 252
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Re: NEX Newbie and Lenses
In reply to pshojo, Sep 6, 2013

I was in exactly your position just 9 months ago. Just a pocket point & shoot guy before. I got an NEX 5n when it was already being phased out and got it for a great discount. I then did a lot of reading here to learn what to do next.

My next move was lenses. I may not have "needed" anything better than the 18-55 kit lens at that point, but I was also going to New Zealand in a few months and didn't want to come home from that regretting not having used better lenses. So I bought the Sony 35 f1.8 right after it was introduced. After just a few uses of that lens I learned that it takes great images, but the focal length didn't feel good to me (it's a highly personal issue and others love it). I wanted something wider. The Sigma 19 would have been an option (and a great bargain). The Sigma 30 is another option, but not enough of a difference for me. I decided to sell the 35 on eBay while it was still "hot" & got about 80% of my money back, then did the same with the kit lens ($100), and used the proceeds to buy a used version of the Sony/Zeiss 24/1.8 from eBay. I wasn't going to pay the $1100 price tag new, but at $725 - with about $500 already in hand from selling the other two - it became doable. I have never regretted it. It's my go-to lens for about 75% of my shots.

My next move was to go back to eBay and get the 55-210 zoom. I did this partly to cover those 10% of shots where a zoom really comes in handy and partly because I learned that with a $50 Canon 500D converter on the end, that lens could also function as a decent macro lens for really tight shots of flowers and bugs. That saved me from having to buy a dedicated macro lens (for now, anyway).

At this point I was starting to get a little lens-crazy and - determined that I had to have the best ultra-wide-angle option for New Zealand - I found a few other things to sell on eBay to fund the purchase of the Sony 10-18. I did use it on numerous occasions and it performs well, but found that the fantastic Zeiss 24 worked quite well most of the time, and the 10-18 spent too much time in the camera bag to justify the cost. Lesson learned. There are much cheaper options for wide angle if it's only going to be used on special occasions, like the Sigma 19 (moderate wide) and Rokinon 8 "fisheye" (super-wide). I don't have either of these, but would probably buy them if I ever sell the 10-18.

I also recently added the Sony 50/1.8 to my bag for portraits and some "street" shooting. I'm intrigued by the 20mm pancake just for portability, but can't justify another $350 for a focal length that's so close to the 24 I already have and love. The only reason to buy the old 16mm pancake would be for landscapes (if I didn't already have that length covered) and why would I waste a beautiful landscape on such a poor-at-the-edges lens?

The act of post-processing for some people is given more attention than the taking of the photo itself, I think. It's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can do amazing things to an image on the computer to either correct flaws or enhance reality. But I think beginners would do well to focus more (no pun intended...) on learning how to take better photos with the camera first and only later fixate on trying to manipulate better photos on the computer.

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