Suggestions and which backpack do you use?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
nandbytes
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Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
8 months ago

Well I was looking for a backpack that can fit in a A99+lens attached with a couple of other zooms. It needs to have easy access to the camera, and be able to carry some personal items (clothes, water, camera charger etc etc), 15inch laptop and a tripod. Basically something I can travel with ease when abroad.

Currently I am using this (got it for £24):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tuff-Luv-Expedition-Digitial-rucksack-backpack/dp/B0035JLT80/

Don't judge it by its price, its better than I expected. Fits in reasonable amount of personal items along with my camera and zooms. The main issue is it good for everyday use, I wouldn't take it on serious travel and it doesn't have easy access to camera. I need to set my bag down to take the camera out and put it back in. I bought this bag fully to expecting replace it as I couldn't and still haven't made up my mind. I use it everyday as I carry my work laptop in it, and its doing very well so far.

Currently my mind is split between f-stop kenti (expensive, not sure its worth that much extra but has some nice features), lowepro fastpack 250/350 and manfrotto tri pack large (don't like the looks of either but functionally seems ok).

So what do you use? any suggestions will be appreciated.

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eastbayrae
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

I have this Kata and I like it a lot. I use it for travel and it goes most places with me.

Kata KT PL-3N1-35 Pro Light 3N1 35 Backpack

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hapster
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I like the LowePro
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

Had this for a few years now and really like how it functions and holds up...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=652788&is=REG&Q=&A=details

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VirtualMirage
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

I use the Lowepro SlingShot 302 AW, as seen here:

http://store.lowepro.com/sling-bags/slingshot-302-aw

It holds practically all my gear, has nice padding, and is pretty comfortable to wear, despite its ability to get pretty heavy. I like being able to sling it around and get to my camera quickly as well as when I am in tight places.  It also makes for a great camera stabilizer when swung around to the front.

Currently, my bag is carrying all of the following:

  • A77 with vertical grip and a Sigma 24-70 F/2.8 EX DG IF HSM
  • Sony RX100 compact camera in its own bag(when the wife doesn't have her purse)
  • Sony 35mm F/1.8
  • Sony 50mm F/1.4
  • Tamron 90mm F/2.8 Macro
  • Tokina 11-16 F/2.8
  • Minolta 70-210 F/4 "Beercan"
  • HVL-F56AM Flash plus extra batteries
  • Battery charger for the A77 and for my RX100
  • Rocker blower
  • Intervalometer
  • Flash diffuser
  • Datacolor Spydercube
  • Multiple microfibre clothes
  • Pack of Tiffen disposable lens tissues
  • Bottle of Zeiss lens cleaner
  • Lens brush
  • 55mm Polarizer filter
  • Shutter release cable and trigger (wired and wireless)
  • 14" collapsible reflector
  • Travel medicine (Imodium, Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
  • Multiple silica gel packs
  • Memory cards
  • QR plate to mount my camera to my ball head
  • Some extra padding to keep the smaller lenses from moving around

Hmmm, I think that is about it.  When my Sigma 18-35mm comes in, I am going to have to start rotating my lenses or stack my 35mm and 50mm into one compartment.  Of course, if the 18-35mm is as good as they say it is, I may no longer need my 35mm prime.

The built in rain poncho/tarp works out pretty well too, allowing you to still wear the bag when it is being used.  The tripod/monopod holster works out pretty well too.

If I had any gripes about the bag, it would be the following:

  • You can't change which side you want the shoulder sling to be on.  When properly worn, it only rests on the right shoulder.  It would be nice if, from time to time, you can switch it to the other shoulder.
  • The waist belt is comfortable when used and really takes a load off the back, but the belt can be a bit uncomfortable when you don't want to use it since it will either dangle down if not buckled or will jab you in the back when buckled.  It would have been nice if this was removable for those times it isn't needed.

The bag has traveled a bit and I have had no issues bringing it on as a carry on since it is still small enough to fit within the size limits.

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Paul

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alextardif
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

Take a look at Mountainsmith Borealis . I find it just right for A77+A99 with standard zooms attached + another zoom or a couple of primes, all the batteries, triggers, tripod, laptop, and spare personal items which are stored in a separate compartment. Carry-on friendly and comfortable on extended hikes, fully packed.  It also holds shape very well. If you need an even larger pack they have called Parallax.

Mountainsmith Borealis

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Alex

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VirtualMirage
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to alextardif, 8 months ago

Hawaii, Big Island?

Looks to be the same place I visited back in 2010.

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Paul

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phaedin
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

I got myself the Tamrac Evolution 9 as it was on sale for half price, couldnt pass up the deal, even though it was way more than I needed.

http://www.bccamera.com/tamrac-5789-evolution-9-photo-laptop-black.html

I like that you can configure it any way you like, back pack or sling over either shoulder and be able to access it from both sides and the back.

It has the ability to attach a tripod.

It is a big bag (way more than I need) so maybe the Evolution 8 might be a better option.

I have taken mine to Mexico and was able to carry all my equipment + some clothes.

I find it comfortable to wear

I dont have this one but I like the idea behind it

http://www.kata-bags.us/revolver-8-pl-revolving-backpack-for-pro-dslr-5-lenses-ktpl-r-8?tab=presentation

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Kriekira
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

It's really as personal as what you do and how you do it.  Like many things, there is no shortcut to figuring out which bag works for you — you need to try at least two over time in order to have the experience to correctly specify what you need.

I use a Kata 3-in-1 33.  Holds two gripped a900 bodies, one with a 70-400 mounted, two additional FF lenses (e.g.: Sony 24-70Z), my RX1R, large flash, and supporting materials.  Here's what I like about it:

  •  - can be carried on international flights
  •  - Excellent shoulder straps and excellent available waist strap (loaded, it weights about 30 lbs., I can hike hours with it if needed.)
  •  - Straps are very easy to use, and easy to store when not being used
  •  - Available tripod/monopod attachment system; works well
  •  - Well-built, with sufficient padding
  •  - Can be locked (prob. true of all bags, but worth considering)
  •  - Rain cover
  •  - Holds 15" laptop (but I usually stuff my Cotton Carrier there, and put my laptop in my soft briefcase)
  •  - Yellow interior (I like this a lot.)
  • Comfortable carrying handle.

Here's what I don't like about it:

  •  - have to reposition the bag in order to open either the top compartment or the bottom compartment.  (One accesses the top with the bag upright on its bottom, but access the bottom compartment with the bag on its back.)
  •  - no long-side carry handle
  •  - that's it

The bag is excellent for transporting my kit.  I never hike with it while shooting (not sure I'd be successful shooting with _any_ 30 lb. bag on my back).  When I hike, I use the Cotton Carrier, or a Black Rapid strap, or an Op-Tech wrist strap, or carry a monopod, and/or carry extra lenses & gear in either a Think Tank 2-lens carrier or any old small backpack pressed into use.

When I used a Micro Four Thirds kit, everything fit into a Manfrotto sling pack, which doubled for transport and hiking.  With a FF kit, I've found it better to separate those two functions.

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nandbytes
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to Kriekira, 8 months ago

Kriekira wrote:

It's really as personal as what you do and how you do it. Like many things, there is no shortcut to figuring out which bag works for you — you need to try at least two over time in order to have the experience to correctly specify what you need.

I understand. I have used few setups. One being my cheap bag and other using ICU to hold my camera gear with swiss gear bags. I have also used the swiss gear sling camera bag and tried having a separate small shoulder bag just for the camera (and one extra lens) while holding the rest of my personal stuff in backpack.

Findings:

- Don't like setups where I have to put down my bag to take out my camera and/or lens.

- I like having a separate small shoulder bag for camera+one extra lens. but did not like it restricting some free movement.

- I think that sling is less unhappy middle ground. I say "less unhappy" as my camera access is still not as easy as the shoulder bag but its much better than putting the bag down each time.

- But slings normally don't provide room for personal items so I would like a backpack with the ability to sling once in a while.

I use a Kata 3-in-1 33. Holds two gripped a900 bodies, one with a 70-400 mounted, two additional FF lenses (e.g.: Sony 24-70Z), my RX1R, large flash, and supporting materials. Here's what I like about it:

  • - can be carried on international flights
  • - Excellent shoulder straps and excellent available waist strap (loaded, it weights about 30 lbs., I can hike hours with it if needed.)
  • - Straps are very easy to use, and easy to store when not being used
  • - Available tripod/monopod attachment system; works well
  • - Well-built, with sufficient padding
  • - Can be locked (prob. true of all bags, but worth considering)
  • - Rain cover
  • - Holds 15" laptop (but I usually stuff my Cotton Carrier there, and put my laptop in my soft briefcase)
  • - Yellow interior (I like this a lot.)
  • Comfortable carrying handle.

Here's what I don't like about it:

  • - have to reposition the bag in order to open either the top compartment or the bottom compartment. (One accesses the top with the bag upright on its bottom, but access the bottom compartment with the bag on its back.)
  • - no long-side carry handle
  • - that's it

The bag is excellent for transporting my kit. I never hike with it while shooting (not sure I'd be successful shooting with _any_ 30 lb. bag on my back). When I hike, I use the Cotton Carrier, or a Black Rapid strap, or an Op-Tech wrist strap, or carry a monopod, and/or carry extra lenses & gear in either a Think Tank 2-lens carrier or any old small backpack pressed into use.

When I used a Micro Four Thirds kit, everything fit into a Manfrotto sling pack, which doubled for transport and hiking. With a FF kit, I've found it better to separate those two functions.

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— Make what you like. If you don't know what you like, make finding out your number one photography priority.
— Kirby Krieger
http://www.KirbyKrieger.com

With that kata I wasn't sure about the space it gave me for personal items - clothes etc.

 nandbytes's gear list:nandbytes's gear list
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nandbytes
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to phaedin, 8 months ago

phaedin wrote:

I got myself the Tamrac Evolution 9 as it was on sale for half price, couldnt pass up the deal, even though it was way more than I needed.

http://www.bccamera.com/tamrac-5789-evolution-9-photo-laptop-black.html

I like that you can configure it any way you like, back pack or sling over either shoulder and be able to access it from both sides and the back.

It has the ability to attach a tripod.

It is a big bag (way more than I need) so maybe the Evolution 8 might be a better option.

I have taken mine to Mexico and was able to carry all my equipment + some clothes.

I find it comfortable to wear

Oooo, I like that. Guess one more addition to my list

I dont have this one but I like the idea behind it

http://www.kata-bags.us/revolver-8-pl-revolving-backpack-for-pro-dslr-5-lenses-ktpl-r-8?tab=presentation

Don't think it gives me enough space for personal items.

 nandbytes's gear list:nandbytes's gear list
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nandbytes
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to alextardif, 8 months ago

not sure I can access the camera with the bag on. I would prefer not to take the bag off to access my camera.

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nandbytes
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to VirtualMirage, 8 months ago

How do like the sigma 24-70? how does it compare to the equivalent CZ and tamron?

Anyways that lowepro while awesome for camera seems to fall down for me in other aspects - laptop, personal item space etc.

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nandbytes
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Re: I like the LowePro
In reply to hapster, 8 months ago

hapster wrote:

Had this for a few years now and really like how it functions and holds up...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=652788&is=REG&Q=&A=details

thanks not sure why i decided against this one. hmm... maybe because it looked over sized in the camera shop. I will look into it again.

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nandbytes
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to eastbayrae, 8 months ago

eastbayrae wrote:

I have this Kata and I like it a lot. I use it for travel and it goes most places with me.

Kata KT PL-3N1-35 Pro Light 3N1 35 Backpack

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With the kata I wasn't sure about the space it gave me for personal items, but never really looked into it that much tbh. I will look into, thanks.

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VirtualMirage
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

nandbytes wrote:

How do like the sigma 24-70? how does it compare to the equivalent CZ and tamron?

Anyways that lowepro while awesome for camera seems to fall down for me in other aspects - laptop, personal item space etc.

The Tamron wasn't available when I bought the Sigma and the CZ was twice the cost at the time (now it is even more than twice the cost).

For the price, it is a good lens.  Feels well built, quiet focusing, decent image quality (when focused).  What I don't care so much is images don't seem to have as much oomph or pop that they did with my Zeiss 16-80.  But I replaced my Zeiss 16-80 with this lens since I wanted faster, quieter focusing and had a larger aperture.  My Zeiss' focus gearing breaking and requiring repair (luckily just before my extended warranty expired) was the catalyst that pushed me to replacing it.

The Zeiss coatings do help in giving your images that extra depth and enhanced micro contrast.

With my A700, the Sigma was nice but seemed a bit inconsistent in hitting the mark with focus sharpness.  With the A77 it was improved but still felt a bit off.  Doing some MFA tests and adjustments I saw that the wide end needed a little adjustment (around a +2 or +3) but the long end needed more (closer to a +7 or +8).  So now I am torn with which setting to use or to meet somewhere in the middle.  Meanwhile, one end will get great focus and sharp images while the other end not as good as it could be wide open.

Speaking of wide open, this lens looks decent enough in a pinch wide open but really sharpens up stopping down a little and looks great around F/5.6.  The other two, from what I have read, are a little better wide open but don't look too much different at F/5.6 and beyond.

If shooting on a full frame, the Zeiss will look the best while it becomes a toss up between the Tamron and the Sigma.  The Tamron looks better wide open but the Sigma seems to look as good or better at F/5.6.

If shooting on a crop sensor, the Zeiss will still be the best looking while the Tamron may look a little better than the Sigma.  The Sigma seems to be weaker in image quality at 70mm than the other two.

If I had to do it over again at the time I bought the Sigma, I may have leaned towards the Zeiss.  But that is knowing what I know now, both in how much more resolution the Zeiss can pull but also the fact the Zeiss was $400-$500 cheaper back then than it is now.

If I had to choose today, it would be tough.  I would really want to save up and get the Zeiss since its performance is excellent on both crop and full frame.  If you are on a tighter budget, then Sigma and Tamron are more realistic options.  If weather sealing and slightly sharper images at F/2.8 are worth an extra $400, then go Tamron.  Otherwise, the Sigma should work quite well.

For me, I am not sure if it is worth it for me to upgrade from my Sigma to the Tamron.  But I certainly think it would be worth it upgrading from my Sigma to the Zeiss.  Does that make sense?

Another option out there that I have thought about is the new Sigma 24-105 F/4.  If it is sharp wide open, it might be a good option of the Sigma 24-70 requires some stopping down to get sharp images anyways.  If that is the case, then what is the benefit of its F/2.8 capability?

The last option out there was the rumor of a Sigma 24-70 F/2.0.  If that rumor is true and its image quality is anything like their other new lenses, it may be worth holding out for that.

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Paul

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phaedin
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to VirtualMirage, 8 months ago

I am hoping that Sigma will release this lens in accordance to there new global vision, probably as a C lens, with the ability to micro adjust at different points in the zoom range and hopefully a bit better optically

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Nikon D7100 Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD
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VirtualMirage
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to phaedin, 8 months ago

phaedin wrote:

I am hoping that Sigma will release this lens in accordance to there new global vision, probably as a C lens, with the ability to micro adjust at different points in the zoom range and hopefully a bit better optically

Going by what their A, C, and S lines represent, I do not see a 24-70 F/2.0 fitting in their C lineup.  The C lineup seems to be more budget oriented lenses that are not fixed aperture.  They also appear to be only crop sensor lenses so far in that class.

I would guess it will more than likely fall under the A line or possibly the S line.  Both of those seem to cater towards faster, fixed aperture lenses where speed and quality are not compromised for weight and build.  Plus a 24-70 F/2.0 lens sounds like a full frame lens, which fits those two lineups better than the C lineup.

A 24-70 F/2.0 is likely to be a heavy lens that is likely to also be bigger than the current 24-70 F/2.8 lenses out on the market.

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Paul

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nandbytes
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to VirtualMirage, 8 months ago

VirtualMirage wrote:

nandbytes wrote:

How do like the sigma 24-70? how does it compare to the equivalent CZ and tamron?

Anyways that lowepro while awesome for camera seems to fall down for me in other aspects - laptop, personal item space etc.

The Tamron wasn't available when I bought the Sigma and the CZ was twice the cost at the time (now it is even more than twice the cost).

For the price, it is a good lens. Feels well built, quiet focusing, decent image quality (when focused). What I don't care so much is images don't seem to have as much oomph or pop that they did with my Zeiss 16-80. But I replaced my Zeiss 16-80 with this lens since I wanted faster, quieter focusing and had a larger aperture. My Zeiss' focus gearing breaking and requiring repair (luckily just before my extended warranty expired) was the catalyst that pushed me to replacing it.

The Zeiss coatings do help in giving your images that extra depth and enhanced micro contrast.

With my A700, the Sigma was nice but seemed a bit inconsistent in hitting the mark with focus sharpness. With the A77 it was improved but still felt a bit off. Doing some MFA tests and adjustments I saw that the wide end needed a little adjustment (around a +2 or +3) but the long end needed more (closer to a +7 or +8). So now I am torn with which setting to use or to meet somewhere in the middle. Meanwhile, one end will get great focus and sharp images while the other end not as good as it could be wide open.

Speaking of wide open, this lens looks decent enough in a pinch wide open but really sharpens up stopping down a little and looks great around F/5.6. The other two, from what I have read, are a little better wide open but don't look too much different at F/5.6 and beyond.

If shooting on a full frame, the Zeiss will look the best while it becomes a toss up between the Tamron and the Sigma. The Tamron looks better wide open but the Sigma seems to look as good or better at F/5.6.

If shooting on a crop sensor, the Zeiss will still be the best looking while the Tamron may look a little better than the Sigma. The Sigma seems to be weaker in image quality at 70mm than the other two.

If I had to do it over again at the time I bought the Sigma, I may have leaned towards the Zeiss. But that is knowing what I know now, both in how much more resolution the Zeiss can pull but also the fact the Zeiss was $400-$500 cheaper back then than it is now.

If I had to choose today, it would be tough. I would really want to save up and get the Zeiss since its performance is excellent on both crop and full frame. If you are on a tighter budget, then Sigma and Tamron are more realistic options. If weather sealing and slightly sharper images at F/2.8 are worth an extra $400, then go Tamron. Otherwise, the Sigma should work quite well.

For me, I am not sure if it is worth it for me to upgrade from my Sigma to the Tamron. But I certainly think it would be worth it upgrading from my Sigma to the Zeiss. Does that make sense?

Another option out there that I have thought about is the new Sigma 24-105 F/4. If it is sharp wide open, it might be a good option of the Sigma 24-70 requires some stopping down to get sharp images anyways. If that is the case, then what is the benefit of its F/2.8 capability?

The last option out there was the rumor of a Sigma 24-70 F/2.0. If that rumor is true and its image quality is anything like their other new lenses, it may be worth holding out for that.

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Paul

Thanks for the reply, you put a lot effort

I cannot afford another CZ lol at least for another year. I don't have a mid-zoom nor can afford one for a while. I am hoping sigma 24-105 f4 is out by then.

As for f2.8 it helps a lot in low light situation, I recently posted a few pics with my new gear - http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52978178

But I could live with f4 for the range.

 nandbytes's gear list:nandbytes's gear list
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VirtualMirage
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Re: Suggestions and which backpack do you use?
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago

nandbytes wrote:

Thanks for the reply, you put a lot effort

I cannot afford another CZ lol at least for another year. I don't have a mid-zoom nor can afford one for a while. I am hoping sigma 24-105 f4 is out by then.

As for f2.8 it helps a lot in low light situation, I recently posted a few pics with my new gear - http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52978178

But I could live with f4 for the range.

I'm glad I could help.

The way I see it, F/2.8 in a zoom should be fairly sharp to be considered useful.  Otherwise, the only benefit you are getting is more light to aide in focusing.  But if sharpness doesn't become acceptable until F/4, then what real benefit does it have over an F/4 lens that is sharp wide open if it is still bright enough for your camera to focus?

Once in a blue moon, sharp or not, the F/2.8 becomes helpful.  But more often than not, I am stopping down to F/3.2 or F/3.5 at minimum to eek out a little more resolution. Having to do that makes less of a difference between it and F/4.  That's where the Zeiss comes in.

Right now, I am torn.  I am still waiting on my Sigma 18-35 F/1.8 (which the latest e-mail from Sigma I got last week say possibly end of February), which will fill in my focal length void that is missing between 16mm and 24mm.  I am also itching to get a new lens or some other photo equipment (Christmas money plus some side job money).

Right now, the weakest link in my lens set is my 70-210 F/4 beercan.  It is my oldest lens as well as my slowest, everything else I have is F/2.8 or faster.  I keep toying with the idea of getting a 70-200mm F/2.8 (but which one), but have a hard time deciding between the newer Tamron or waiting to see if Sony comes to their senses and lowers the price on their new 70-200 refresh ($3K is too much in my opinion for just updating the coatings, the SSM, and weather sealing it).  The heavy focus breathing on the Tamron is my main turn off and I am not sure how much or little the Sony breathes.  I also thought about investing in another prime, maybe the Zeiss 135mm, but I keep wondering if Sony will be refreshing that lens soon and add SSM.  My last idea was to replace my Sigma 24-70 with the Zeiss.  I like my Sigma, but I find myself using my primes more and more since they are sharper at larger apertures, relegating the Sigma for when I do my studio portraits.

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Paul

 VirtualMirage's gear list:VirtualMirage's gear list
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Ron Poelman
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KATA know their stuff. (NT)
In reply to nandbytes, 8 months ago
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 Ron Poelman's gear list:Ron Poelman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sony SLT-A57 Sony Alpha 7R
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