Kit lenses or negotiate?

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions
catchr New Member • Posts: 13
Kit lenses or negotiate?

I'm looking to get the A57 and one package has kit lenses 18-55mm and 55-300mm, another package has 18-55mm and 55-200mm. The person in the store said I'm better to save my money and just get the 200mm because 300 isn't that much more in real terms. Would you agree?

Second part to my qn: am I better to try and negotiate for something different to the kit lenses altogether? Seems to me that something like 18-200 or at least 18-135mm would be more useful as less changing of the lenses (55mm just seems to me to be too mid-range, Ill always be changing lenses surely??)

Thanks in advance

Sony SLT-A57
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Sonyshine Veteran Member • Posts: 8,855
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Well when I was at school 300 was at least 50% bigger than 200 - thats a lot!

You are buying a camera with interchangeable lenses - thats part of the fun of these cameras - don't worry about it - you will soon find you are lusting after more and more lenses..... 

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Simao Regular Member • Posts: 166
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

With 18-55 you might need to change lenses every now and then to photograph something distant, so the 55-300 should complement it better than the 55-200. You might think that 18-55 is not a very good range, but I have the slightly shorter 16-50 on my camera and I never change it for the other than the odd face portrait or bird shot.

If you don't want to change lenses altogether, you might buy a superzoom, generally speaking the longer the range the lower the quality, but for personal photographs they would all be just acceptable, unless you are in low light where the effect of the slow lens starts to be apparent by the need to bump up the iso.
Kurt Munger, essentially considers 18-135, 18-200 and 18-250 to be similar with the first being superior just in its focus performance, he also recommends the 16-105 for its optical quality, I would also suggest considering it because it is slightly wider (every millimeter in the wide end counts)
So in the end question is, what do you need; do you need a do all lens? (18-200/18-250) or a long zoom with very good quality? (16-105) or a couple of lenses that cover all useful focal lengths that are quite good? (18-55+55-300)
I personally like to suggest the 16-105, very good quality and very useful range that covers most needs

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Chimere Senior Member • Posts: 1,602
Kit lenses or negotiate?

This is really something only you can decide: your shooting style. What is it you prefer to take pictures of ? Lenses with FL close to the normal (30 mm in ASP-C) are good for general purpose. But so is a 18-250 mm Sigma, but much more so.

Do you want to get into macro, portrait, street fotography, sports, wild life, low light inddors shooting ? If, so, do not waste money on inventory which does not fit your plans for the future. Get the A57 body, and buy whay you will really apply. The 18-250 mm is good start, with surprisingly good IQ. You will not be sorry - and will have no trouble selling it for good money should youer get tired of it.

Just my opinion,


danny584 New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Don't get the 55-200, not good enough. The 55-300 is a better choice.
Sony A77 / Sony 16-50/2.8 / Tamron 200-500

havoc315 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,117
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

In most situations, most shooters live under 55mm

There are advantages to changing lenses (which is the whole point of an interchangeable lens system)

- use lighter lenses, without lugging around unnecessary heavy lenses.
-all in one lenses tend to be slower, and lower image quality.

You tend to be better off switching to the right lens for the right job.

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kpenner Regular Member • Posts: 171
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Something a lot of people dont know is that the retailers will get kick-backs (rebates) from the manufacturer if they sell an additional lens (specific models) with a camera. This is why certain lenses will be sold as packages. A perfect example is the ones you're looking at. The store might be able to make something happen on the back end to get a deal off of a different lens, but it's likely doubtful.

But for what it's worth, get the 55-300. I had my a300 alongside the old 18-70 and 55-200 and always wished I had the little extra.

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Draek Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

First off, it's true there's not that much difference between 200mm and 300mm, but the 55-300 is optically better than the 55-200 so the upgrade is still worth the price.

Secondly, 18-200 lenses and the like simply ain't that good. The 18-135 is and, in fact, I consider the 18-135 + 55-300 + 35/1.8 the best lens kit for someone just starting out, but the 18-55 + 55-300 (or 55-200) is still a very good choice, and usually much cheaper since the 18-135's fame has pushed its prices up a tad.

And thirdly, depending on your style you might be looking at the whole lens changing thing from the wrong angle; I have the 18-55 and 55-200 and seldom change lenses---because I seldom need the wide-angle of the 18-55. In fact, if it weren't for my Minolta 50/1.7 I could probably superglue the 55-200 to the front of my A390 and never worry again about dust cleaning.

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Atgard Regular Member • Posts: 432
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

To agree with some others here, I have heard much better things about the optical quality of the 55-300 compared to the 55-200. Also, that extra range is very important for many applications (depending on what you're using it for), but I know I couldn't get by with 200 (and often want 400+). I think it's worth some extra money to upgrade to the 55-300, which I think is a lens you would keep longer, so getting it up front might save money in the long run.

As someone else said, I think the 18-135, a 35mm or 50mm prime, and the 55-300 is a great starting kit that will cover 99% of most amateurs' needs.

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eastriding4310 Regular Member • Posts: 333
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Buy an A57 or A58 body only.  Then buy an 18-250mm Sony superzoom or Sigma or Tamron 18-270 superzoom equivalent.  The superzooms will do most of the things that a new shooter will need to do and my 18-250mm Sony superzoom is on my camera most of the time, even though I have about 20 lenses.  It is a good size and a good one lens solution, until you feel the need for a speciality lens.  My 18-250mm Sony superzoom cost me $381 used on ebay.

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john farrar
john farrar Veteran Member • Posts: 5,038
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

See if you can just get the camera body plus an 18-135. You can then use 'Clear Image Zoom' to extend further should the need arise.  This will probably cover about 90% of the shots you want to take.  After a couple of months you'll know where your lens is limiting you... it might be at the wide end or it might be at the telphoto end. Then pick the best lens you can afford... see here and look for ratings of 4.5 or more for the good ones.

cosmonaut Senior Member • Posts: 2,223
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

I would get body only and buy a higher end lens. Stay away from the kit lenses.

OP catchr New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Thanks everyone, awesome advice

OP catchr New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Really helpful info and that's the kind of starter kit I'm aiming for. So I understand that the 55-300 is the better choice (better zoom and also better quality lense). I enquired about the 18-135 to go with this and it can be done but I was told I'd be better to ditch the two lense idea and go for a Tamron 18-270mm. Any comments or suggestions if this is a better option? I'm told it's lightweight and I won't notice any difference in image quality..??

123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
55-300 kills anything below "pro", period.

Every review and samples I've seen, the 55-300 absolutely destroys any 18-250/270 super zoom. They simply do not compare.

Both the 55-200 and 55-300 and SHARP ! However the 55-300 I think Sony gave away too much... It's being compared, for the center anyway, with the G lenses. That's BIG!

The 55-300 is a MAJOR winner ! You'll get mega crisp results with that!

Adam Benn Regular Member • Posts: 171
Re: Kit lenses or negotiate?

Are you planning to shoot video much?  If yes, then the full range zoom is nice to have.  It's not like you can change lenses in the middle of a video as you zoom in and out.

My regular kit is usually:

18-200mm Tamron (18-270 would be nice too though).

50mm 1.7 Minolta

90mm 2.8 Tamron Macro

I'd like to add some sort of long telephoto.  A 500mm f8 mirror is the most affordable.  A 150ish-500mm would be ideal but likely much more money.

The 18-200 stays on the camera most of the time as it is obviously the most versatile, and it is easy for the wife to use if she grabs the camera and I'm not there to help.  It works fairly well for video too.

If I was more picky or had more money, I think I would have the 18-135 or 16-105 as my starter lens.

It depends on you.  Try to think about what you would like to end up with, and don't just buy the most convenient lens at the moment.

To me, the 18-55mm kit lens is a waste of time.

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OP catchr New Member • Posts: 13
Re: 55-300 kills anything below "pro", period.

Awesome, thanks. I've locked it in   So would you add to that the 18-135 or 16-105. I'm not sure I'm going to need the 16mm but I'm interested what others think. Would you notice the difference in your kit if you had/didn't have it? Huge quality difference?


123Mike Veteran Member • Posts: 4,643
Re: 55-300 kills anything below "pro", period.

catchr wrote:

Awesome, thanks. I've locked it in   So would you add to that the 18-135 or 16-105. I'm not sure I'm going to need the 16mm but I'm interested what others think. Would you notice the difference in your kit if you had/didn't have it? Huge quality difference?


I think the 18-135 is a kit lens on steroids. Very nice, but it does not quite enter the realms of the really good. Really good are lenses like the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and the Sony 16-50 f2.8. The range might turn some off, but really, in real life, you don't need longer lengths in so many situations. You can go around doing all kinds of photography, like street, landscape, around the house, and you'll see that even if you *had* longer lengths, more often than not, you'll end up using much shorter lengths. I never thought this myself, but because of a fluke reason, I ended up with this Tamron 17-50 lens which I otherwise would probably not have ventured into, but I have to tell you, it's amazing! Razor, and I mean razor, sharp. And a fast lens - all kinds of indoor photos now without flash, that in the past I would have resorted to using popup flash for......

The 16-105 is a different league than the 18-135 as well. From what I've seen, the 16-105 is way sharper, and with much nicer contrast.

If you truly care about the absolute best results, as I do, you should not resort to anything superzoom or anything like half superzoom. You'll see people flaunting around their 18-250 or 18-270 lenses, and they're very happy with it, and that's great. But you can do better! You can get super duper tack sharp amazing vivid details, that you will simply not ever get on any genericish kind of lenses.

My ideal combo, right now anyway, is specifically the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 because it's *sharp* and cost effective (cheaper than Sony 16-50) and opens up indoor flashless possibilities, plus the Sony 55-300 because it's just that ludicrously sharp for a "tele kit" lens. Google around for "Sony 55-300" and you'll see every single review include elements of surprise!

Sony's weird sometimes. With the A57 they gave away too much goodness. The 55-300 they compete with their own G lenses for crying out loud!

So what's next... A58...pfff... such a DOWN scale....

End of day. A57 + Tam17-50 + Sony 55-300 and you'll run circles around the competition. Forget about the 18-55 kit lens - it's actually not bad (!), but it definitely is *kit*. Kit indoor -> popup flash -> yuck.

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