Bit the bullet, ordered a new lens

Started Feb 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
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VirtualMirage Veteran Member • Posts: 3,939
Bit the bullet, ordered a new lens

While ever so patiently waiting for Sigma to begin shipping the 18-35mm F/1.8 that I preordered back in June 2013, I've been going through my wish list to see what other lenses I need/want to add to my collection (Christmas money and some side work income helps too).  Currently, I own the following:

  • Sony 35mm F/1.8 SAM
  • Sony 50mm F/1.4
  • Tamron 90mm F/2.8 Macro
  • Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8
  • Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG IF HSM
  • Minolta 70-210mm F/4, aka "Beercan"

The Sigma 18-35mm F/1.8 will fill my gap between the Tokina and Sigma, so that leaves my weakest/slowest section above the 70mm range.  My beercan is nice for the price, but it certainly is the weak link in the chain.  Wide open it is a little soft and it fringes hard in bright light.  AF is not the fastest and it is my slowest lens aperture-wise.  But I will say when I do get a good shot from it, they are beautiful...just not consistent and it doesn't really let my A77 shine.  He are some examples of my better shots with the beercan:

Next is my Sigma 24-70.  For the price it, too, is a good performer.  It may not be as sharp as the Tamron or Zeiss, but I don't think it is too far behind the Tamron when used on an APS-C (Full frame is a different story).  It's weakest at 70mm, which needing a +9 MFA at 70mm yet a +1 at 24mm doesn't help.  So I contemplated buying the Zeiss and selling the Sigma.  But the lens is in great shape and still under warranty.  I remembered there was a bulletin issued in 2011 for a firmware update to resolve some AF issues with the A65/A77 cameras, so I figured I would send it in to get the firmware updated and have Sigma test out the lens and calibrate it.  So I sent the lens off on Monday and it should have arrived at their office today, but inclement weather has delayed the delivery to tomorrow.  Sigma stated that expect a 2-3 day turn around time once they receive the lens.  So here's hoping that it comes back improved.  If it doesn't improve as much as I would like, then I will begin saving for the Zeiss.  The Tamron, at the moment, I don't feel is worth the premium when used on an APS-C.  If I knew I was going to full frame soon, then I would consider it. Here are some of my better shots with the Sigma:

So off to my list.  I kept going back and forth as to whether I want to look at a prime or a zoom. I really, really want the Zeiss 135mm F/1.8, but I keep wondering if they will release an SSM variant in the near future.  I also was concerned if that should be more secondary on my list since my primary limitation is in my telephoto zoom capability.

So the next option was a 70-200mm.  The new Sony 70-200 G II looks to be very nice, but $3,000 is more than I want to spend.  My budget is no more than $2,000, $2,200 if I want to push it.  So as much as I drool over it, it's currently untouchable.  That leaves me the Sony 70-200 G I, the new Tamron, and the Sigma.  The older Sony seems to fall short when compared to the new Tamron.  The Sigma seems to have so much variation in quality based on reviews and user experiences.  The main thing that seemed consistent is that it is strong at 200mm but seems to fall short everywhere else.  And to add to that F/2.8 seems to be a little softer than I want as well as it being pretty weak on full frame due to its corner sharpness.  But it is cheaper, but I feel the Tamron is worth the $250 premium.  My biggest issue with the Tamron is it falling shorter than I think I would prefer when focusing on close up subjects at 200mm due to its heavy focus breathing.  But even the Sigma seems to suffer from it.  So then I decided to look back at the Sony 70-200mm G II just to say, not worth the extra $1500 (at least not now).  Then I started ogling the 70-400mm G SSM II.  I can see instance where I would really like that extra reach.  But the F/4-F/5.6 would be very hard for me to be happy with when trying to do low light shooting.  So back to the F/2.8s I go.

So long story short, I decided to order the Tamron 70-200 F/2.8 USD.  Barring any weather delays, it should be here tomorrow.  I plan to test it out thoroughly to make sure it meets my expectations.  I also plan, time permitting, to throw it up on a tripod and do test shots with my LensAlign Mk II and review the results with my FocusTune software.  I want to make sure that there isn't any decentering going on and that any MFA adjustments that are needed are consistent throughout its focal range.

If the lens turns out to be a keeper but still feel I need more reach, I might toy with the idea of getting a 1.4x teleconverter.  I have read that some people have had some good results using one with this lens.

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 VirtualMirage's gear list:VirtualMirage's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony a77 II Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD +18 more
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Sony SLT-A77 Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD
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