New A77 owner looking over "best" list of lenses. What do you recommend?

Started Nov 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
McLuhan Forum Member • Posts: 76
Re: New A77 owner looking over "best" list of lenses. What do you recommend?

Well, I assume that you are not moving to FF any time soon...then... my suggestion would be...

. Photojournalist type lens(fast zooms)

1.Sony 16-50 F2.8 SSM + New Tamron 70-200 USD

Both offer usable 2.8 constant aperture, weather sealing(partially why I just cross out Sony 720G...and I personally perfer Black lenses, not that obvious like the white Sony 720G, yet should offer very decent reach for long range street photography as you enjoy the 1.5X crop factor, price-wise it will never reach the Sony's height)

16-50 SSM offers fast AF which is vital for photo journalist type 'recording" work(even if not rainy, your gear might be splashed by whatever liquid flying if you put yourself into any hotspot for "good" journalist photo) 16mm at wide end make it one of the great choice as on-camera lens for everyday use

The current tamrom 70-200 2.8 has usable sharpness even wide open, the newly added USD motor should fix the older tamron's problem of slow focusing speed(I know A77 is not the best low light performer so I am determined to use 2.8 constant or even brighter lens to counter that).

2. If your telephoto lens is not for photojournalist type shoots but for portrait/marco, then you may wish to drop the heavy/expensive 70-200 2.8 gangs, A few fast primes will just do the job(even better, I mean).

For portrait, I offer my suggestions (from near to far according to your shooting style)

3.35mm angle of view:

24mm zeiss F2, great performance and optical performance however it is not something essentially budget stuff, a somewhat cheaper candidate would be Samyang 24mm 1.4. However this lens is manual focus/manual aperture control so not great lens for action shot.

sigma 24mm F1.8 might be interesting to you if you want AF for the bucks however the IQ is just average

4.50mm equiv:("standard lens" alike"

Sony dt 35mm 1.8 : some argues that this is the best bang for the buck, the resolution is very usable even wide open. However if somebody argues that at such 'short' focal length F 1.8 then my suggestion would be the following two:

Sigma 30mm DC F1.4: With a few more bucks, some say this is soft apart from center if shoot wide open, but this does give you better potential for shallower depth of field. Warning : works with aps-c only, if you are moving to A99 or whatever FF consider the newly announced sigma 35mm 1.4, which asks yet a lot more while still very much below the current sony 35mm F1.4 offer

Again, Samyang 35mm F1.4, FF lens, better IQ than the sigma 30mm, again you will have to live with full(and only) manual control over lens.

5. mid-telephoto lenses for portrait

~85mm equiv:

1.Sony DT50mm F1.8. One of the best offer for sony aps-c at very low price(albeit you pay a bit more than Canon offer, you get better optical quality, though)

If not fast enough, Sigma 50mm F1.4 would be your 2nd choice, with doubled price

~ 135mm equiv:

Zeiss 85mm F1.4 za

perhaps one of the two rare chances for aps-c sony a to use zeiss AF lenses, great bokeh, color fringing is a little on the high side.

Also consider sigma 85mm F1.4 or samyang 85mm F1.4(MF lens again) if high price is a deal breaker for the mighty zeiss

Marco lens

If marco is your priority, tamron 90mm marco F2.8 works great. It offers you with 2.8 fast aperture, sufficient working distance(which makes it stand out among those marco crowds of 30mm marco/50mm marco, etc)It can work as those 85mm 1.4s if you dont care about the extra depth of field control for portrait(at 135mm equiv. some may argue even F4 equiv depth of field is sufficient enough for subject isolation for human sized target)

alternative will be sony 100mm marco F2.8, a little better all around except for higher price

Ultra wide angle lens

For general lendscape you may wanna have a look at Sigma 8-16 DC F 4.5-5.6.

While being slower, the sigma offers greater wide angle perspective than the Tamron/Tokina offer. For high quality landscape you will stop down your lens to F8-F11 for large depth of view anyway, which is also the sweet spot for best resolution of most lenses. Neither will you worry about slow shutter speed as such landscape pictures are mostly taken under good lighting so no need for higher iso.

Tokina 11-16 F2.8 is just as interesting as the sigma. F 2.8 might offer you a tad higher shutter speed/brighter exposure if you wish to point your lens to the sky to do starscape with lower iso setting.

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Supertelephoto Sport/wildlife lenses

Sony 70-400 G is the way to go, if you cannot afford the 500mm F4 beast. resolution-wise 70-400G really shines however make sure you avoid complex background(grassland, high density of leaves, branches, etc) as the bokeh under the above circumstances is just not pretty.

If you are not that into 400mm, a 70-300 may serve you well. Among those 70-300s Tamron 70-300 USD and Sony 70-300 G are the worthy candidates. The sony is just better at every respect except for the price. tamron works just ok but you save a lot of bucks in return.

My plan for my incoming A77 is for street, event and flash photography as well as marco. So my choice would be:

Sony 16-50 F2.8

the upcoming Tamron 70-200 F2.8 USD

Tokina 11-16 F2.8(basing on my experience on using superzoom digital camera, large aperture is almost everything!)

Sigma 30mm F1.4

Sony dt50mm F1.8

Tamron 90mm F2.8 Marco

At least one Sony 58 Flash(for high speed sync and event photography) and a few more(cheap manual flash will be considered as long as I dont need HSS for still object shot)depending on my budget and future studio work requirement.

And I am settled, even you spend a lot on the galss, supertelephoto lens are too specialized for its use(I shoot theatre performance a lot but less so for sport/birding) and the real resolution that you can get is highly depending on the quality of air, which is usually beyond my control. And they are not light-weighted, either. I might consider an tele-converter for my 70-200, or just crop(another reason for choosing A77 for its high MP count)

Still a lot of good lenses that worth a thought or two if you can go around with their little flaws(the famous 17-50 Tamron, for example, I skipped it for its noise and wide angle otherwise a deal that is hard to beat in terms of invest/outcome ratio). Also I didn't mention fisheye and other specialised lens. All depends on your purpose of use, your budget and personal shooting style.

Now time to build up your own lens wishlist !

 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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