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Best A100 long lens for under $350??

Joseph Kluska , Sep 12, 2007; 08:09 p.m.

I like to shoot both landscapes and people and am looking for some opinions on what would be the best tele/telezoom (200 to 400mm range)value for the Sony A100. Sony's current line seems a bit limited and the Zeiss glass a bit pricey. I've had bad luck with the low end Sigma's, so I'm hesitant...



Richard Evans , Sep 12, 2007; 09:54 p.m.

Minolta invented the first auto focus SLR in 1985, the Maxxum 7000. All Minolta lenses made since then are compatible with the Alpha. Many Minolta lenses are superb. I own a few of them such as the 28-135 f4, the 24-85 f3.5, the 50 f1.7 and the absolute best is the 100 f2.8 macro. I spent a total of $400 on all of these lenses by searching the internet. I use craigslist because I prefer to buy locally and I want to inspect what I'm getting. Many people though have had good luck with ebay. A Minolta lens that has been well cared for will last for many more years and the optical quality is better than many new lenses. A great place to read reviews of all compatible A-mount lenses is Dyxum.com. Once you find a great Minolta lens and start to use it you will understand the reason why many of us treasure our old glass. Good luck in your search.

Sam Marsh , Sep 14, 2007; 06:00 a.m.

If you can cope with slightly less range than that, the Minolta 70-210mm f4 ("Beercan") lens is a cult classic. You'll find people raving about this lens all over the place. As recommended above, have a nose around Dyxum for info.


Dave Redmann , Sep 14, 2007; 09:58 a.m.

In that price range, would look for a (used) Minolta AF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO (be sure to get the APO version). Yes, it's a bit shorter than 200-400mm, but you can't have everything.

That said, 200-400mm on a 1.53x DSLR gives you the equivalent of a 35mm lens of 306-612mm--definitely not your typical landscape or people focal length range. Are you sure this is what you really want/need?

If you have to cover 200-400mm and won't buy a Sigma, the best bet may be the newest version of the Tamron 200-500mm f/5-6.3, which I think is called the SP AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (IF). But B&H shows it at $849 after a mail-in rebate. And of course many people seem to love the "Bigma"--the Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG, but it's a Sigma and B&H lists it for $999.

Dave Redmann , Sep 14, 2007; 10:02 a.m.


Or of course there's the Minolta AF 100-400mm f/4.5-6.7 APO, but it is relatively rare and fairly expensive.

And I should point out that there have been lots of other lenses, but none that I've heard enough good things about to recommend (there's been a Tamron 200-400mm, a Sigma 135-400mm, and I'm sure others).

Joseph Kluska , Sep 15, 2007; 12:06 p.m.

In may haste to get the thread posted, I neglected to mention that I was intending to work on some nature photography, particularly birds. Now, I realize that birds often necessitate an even longer lens (500mm+)but cost prevemts me from going there; especially if this is a fleeting fancy.

The 100-300 range will let me work with people and some nature subjects, particularly at the beach, where I'd like to bring some of the action in.

Thanks all, for your input. I may start nosing around the used marked for a beercan.


Dave Redmann , Sep 16, 2007; 11:54 p.m.

A few additional thoughts:

(1) Maybe buy one of those cheap ($99) 500mm f/8 mirror lenses to play with? Yes, it will be manual focus, but you can get one in the Alpha / Maxxum mount.

(2) If you want to shoot birds, even 500mm can be pretty short. I hear that people shooting smaller birds use a telescope and a T-mount adapter.

(3) The B&H used department actually has some options for you right now: a Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO for $379, and a Tamron 200-400mm f/5.6 for $299.

Kin Lau , Sep 17, 2007; 03:40 p.m.

If you want to shoot birds, don't want to spend too much, and don't want a Sigma, then I can only think of 2 choices.

1) The Minolta AF 500/8, the only AF mirror lens available. Unfortunately it's hard to find, and often over-priced

2) Tamron AF 200-500.

OTOH, if you live in Florida, then a 100-300 will be just fine.

Joseph Kluska , Sep 17, 2007; 07:20 p.m.

Champagne taste on a beer budget....Your posts confirm what I already suspected: I want more than I'm willing to pay for...

Alas, what's a cheap cuss like me to do???

My journey continues.....

Kin Lau , Sep 19, 2007; 06:12 p.m.

In that case, the beercan 70-200 + a manual focus 400/5.6

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