Lens Recommendation

Started Sep 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
EinsteinsGhost
EinsteinsGhost Forum Pro • Posts: 11,977
Lens Recommendation on a Budget

Reg2234 wrote:

I am looking for a few ideas from you guys. I have an A65 and I am looking for a good portrait lens as well as one zoom lens.

Yes I am on a budget (can always upgrade later) as I am just starting this. What do you recommend as some entry level lenses to start with. The kit lens just seems to be OK, but nothing spectacular from it. I dont want old crappy lenses, but something decent to match this.

I heard the camera is capable of alot more once getting a different lens. I was looking at the sony 18250 and tamron 18270 but don't know if I should get one portrait and one seperate zoom?

Any input is appreciated.

Super-zoom

I have Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 HSM OS DC purchased a year ago for my A55. It is an excellent lens, small, relatively light, good close up abilities, good bokeh, good IQ and has OS (optical stabilization). The presence of OS, HSM and for being at least $200 cheaper with very good IQ were the primary reasons for my pick over Sony 18-250 and Tamron 18-270. The new version is missing OS however, and that is disappointing. I would recommend looking for a like new version of the old, if you feel comfortable with it.

While we have Steady Shot in the camera body, when using the super-zoom and especially switching back and forth between tripod and handheld shots, I much prefer the on-lens switch to turn the OS on/off rather than navigate the menu to do that to SS (since A55 doesn’t have a button on the camera body). The Sigma OS works very well. However, if you do get one with OS, make sure you keep either SS or OS on (not both at the same time).

Something to consider is whether you need/want a super zoom? Or, would a tele-zoom make more sense, when combined with your kit zoom? There are pros and cons to both. With the former, you get one-lens-does-it-all. However, your kit zoom is smaller and lighter on its own. BUT, if you need telephoto reach, then you need to carry two. You could choose to keep your kit zoom, however even though it will be redundant (neither super zoom, nor the kit lens will offer speed advantage in 18-55 range). I didn’t keep the kit zoom, instead replaced it with Sony 16-50 SSM, a fast zoom lens.

If you want to consider telephoto zoom, you may save money (and spend it on another lens/accessory). Sony’s 55-200 was pretty good, and there is a new one now, 50-300 which should be worth a consideration.

Portrait

I would recommend 60 to 90mm focal length, and there are some fantastic choices. Three lenses I would consider: Tamron 60mm f/2 (a macro lens that can double as a portrait lens), Tamron 90mm f/2.8 (another macro lens, that can cover portraiture as well) and Sony 85mm f/2.8 (one of the three plastic fantastics). Of these the 60mm is the only APS-C lens (non-issue if you don’t plan no going FF). It will also be the most expensive of the three. You could consider Minolta 50/1.7 however, or Sony 50mm/1.8 (the second of plastic fantastic).

The macro lens problem is that they can be slow to AF (using focus limiter on Tamron 90 can help here), which may or may not be an issue with portraiture (as you may prefer MF anyway, as I would and do). And if you don’t care much for macro, I would highly recommend the Sony 85mm/2.8. Samyang 85/1.4 should not be overlooked either (that is, if you don’t mind MF… the lens isn’t chipped but you can add it easily and for little).

How about this:
18-55 (kit)… keep it
Sony 50-300… get it

(or substitute the above two with a super-zoom... although you won't get more than $60-80 for your kit zoom).

Sony 35mm f/1.8 (offers fast lens alternative over slower kit zoom, or if you get a super zoom which will be also slow)

Sony 85mm f/2.8 or Samyang 85mm/1.4 (for portraits) or Tamron 90mm f/2.8 (for portraits and macro)

 EinsteinsGhost's gear list:EinsteinsGhost's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony SLT-A55 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Sony 135mm F2.8 (T4.5) STF +12 more
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