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jpuma1616
02-09-2008, 10:03 AM
Hello everyone,

I just got my a700 two weeks ago and I need help getting a zoom lens that I can use to capture NBA games in Madison Square Garden, please give me some advise to what kind of lens I need, First time to use this DSLR camera so I have no idea what I'm doing, any advise is much appreciated.

Thanks

DonSchap
02-09-2008, 11:01 AM
Well, if you want top drawer shots with the α700 ... you could go with the SONY 70-200mm f/2.8 G SSM lens. It is probably made to order for this kind of indoor event, under the lights. This will give you decent reach, the widest aperture available to a zoom and provide snappy, crystal clear focus.

Unfortunately .. the impact to your wallet is significant ... on the order of $2000.

A cheaper alternative, which I cannot provide any experience on, is the SIGMA APO 70-200mm f/2.8 II EX DG MACRO HSM. It's a new offering, over and above the earlier version. It seels for roughly $900.

Finally, and it's just about to become available in the stores, is the TAMRON SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 DI LD, which is being offered at an unbelievably affordable $699. It also has a snappy focus response and the shortest focus distance in it's class (.95m) or 37.5 inches.

Those are my suggestions for your camera ... have fun and please post what you decide on ... showing some resulting images, too. :)

jpuma1616
02-09-2008, 12:30 PM
Hey Don

Thanks for replying to my post, unfortunately I cannot afford those prices my budget is only up to 500 bucks, I purchase Model Number: SAL-18250 DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 High Magnification Zoom Lens from B&H but I think i'm going to return it, I dont like the pictures that lens produces. What can you say about this lens Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 ?? I'm thinking of getting this, is it going to do the job? any other lens you can recommend ( :Dcheapest price:D )

Thanks

DonSchap
02-09-2008, 01:17 PM
Hey Don

Thanks for replying to my post, unfortunately I cannot afford those prices my budget is only up to 500 bucks, I purchase Model Number: SAL-18250 DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 High Magnification Zoom Lens from B&H but I think i'm going to return it, I dont like the pictures that lens produces. What can you say about this lens Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 ?? I'm thinking of getting this, is it going to do the job? any other lens you can recommend ( :Dcheapest price:D )

Thanks

Okay ... you are going to want as much light as you can possibly get down the camera tube, at full zoom. The 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 will be at f/6.3 from about 170mm to 300mm.

If you go with a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 (only ~ $150), you are going to be a half an f-stop BRIGHTER all the way to 300mm.

So, enough theorectical and let's get to actually shooting ... because, this is where the rubber meets the road. Let's assume for the sake of argument you bought the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 zoom and saved a ton of cash. It's not a rocket-focus, so indoor-action is going to be a rough road. You pay for what you get. ;)

Initially, set the camera up in Manual mode and do the following:

Select Extra-fine JPEG file format, initially, for speed considerations.
Set your ISO-1600 (we already know we are going to need to help this lens as much as possible ... start here)
Set Aperture to f/5.6 ... you are going to be far enough away that the depth of field (DOF) should not be too important.
Set your speed to 1/60th ... and up the speed if you find things have a motion blur to them.
Set your white balance to "AWB" ... to avoid conflicts of various lighting sources. If your images continue to look color cast, switch to RAW file format ... you can adjust later.


Alternately, set the camera up in Shutter Priority (S-mode) for the following:

Select Extra-fine JPEG file format, initially, for speed considerations.
Set your ISO-1600 (we already know we are going to need to help this lens as much as possible ... start here)
Set your speed to 1/60th ... and up the speed if you find things have a motion blur to them.
Watch your metering, to be sure you have adequate exposure for your shot (This is critical, because the aperture is probably flat-out wide open and cannot go any wider. :eek:)
Set your white balance to "AWB" ... to avoid conflicts of various lighting sources. If your images continue to look color cast, switch to RAW file format ... you can adjust later.



If you could use flash, it would help enormously ... but remember to set the White Balance to flash, too, if you do.

That's about all I can think of ... try it.

Remember, in this case, the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 is a BRIGHTER lens than the 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 ... I don't care what that initial base (widest) aperture tells you, it's not f/3.5 at 300mm! It's f/6.3! It's only f/3.5 from 28mm to about 35mm ... then it starts to climb ... and fast! When you zoom out to 170mm ... the base (widest) aperture is f/6.3 for the rest of the slide.

A quick tutorial on aperture: (blue is the aperture range you have chosen)

f/1 is half (1/2) the amount of source light coming into the lens
f/1.4 is one quarter (1/4)
f/2 is one eighth (1/8)
f/2.8 is one sixteenth (1/16)
f/3.5 is one twenty-fifth (1/25) ... or about 2/3 f/stop darker than f/2.8
f/4 is one thirty-secondth (1/32)
f/5.6 is one sixty-fourth (1/64)
f/6.3 is a third f/stop more ... or about about one-eightieth (1/80) the amount of source light into the lens.

So, as you can see ... you are really at a distinct disadvantage when you go indoors with one of the "darker" zoom lenses. With the 70-200mm f/2.8 ... you get uniform lighting from one end of the zoom range to the other. DOF can be an issue, because it becomes quite shallow, even at the distance you are shooting at. So, it is very important to have a good focus with these type of lenses when you are at f/2.8 aperture.

I have tried the comination on my α700 with the TAMRON AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD ... and I wish you luck! You are shooting four times darker than you would been with the f/2.8. But, I guess you will just have to see for yourself.

jpuma1616
02-09-2008, 02:21 PM
Don

I tried the settings you sugested in my sony 18-250 f/3.5/6.3 and I see a lot of improvements in my pictures, its brighter now, I set the ISO in 6400 and its really bright in low lighting situation. which of this 2 lens you think is better for my situation.

Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Minolta Maxxum $129.00

Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Sony Alpha & Minolta Digital SLR Maxxum $159.00

DonSchap
02-09-2008, 02:45 PM
I would recommend that you NOT use ISO-6400 for anything that is a series kind of shot, like a sporting event. Although it's available to you, you most likely will not care for the results when you start looking at the images. That ISO setting tends to "muddy" the shot ... so much that it looks like you were shooting with a much lesser camera, to be honest. You really don't want that. You bought your camera so you could get better shots ... not poor ones. I would also resist anything above ISO-1600, just from my own experience. If it is just one shot of something, because of circumstances, that is one thing ... but you really need a better lens as your real solution.

Since you asked me to choose from the two ...

I would suggest the Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Sony Alpha & Minolta Digital SLR Maxxum $159.00

And here's the reason why:

The 75-300 is OLDER techology designed for use on a 35mm-film camera, not digital. The "Di" in the lens descriptor means "for digital." So, the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD has been designed to work on digital camera bodies, due to the addition of a special rear-element coating that has been done to it to reduce light bounce from the internal sensor-face.

Here's what TAMRON has to say about their lens:

"Tamron now offers a lightweight, compact, high-image-quality telephoto zoom lens with macro capability of 1:2 that can be used with digital cameras. This new lens is a Di type lens using an optical system with improved multi-coating designed to function with digital SLR cameras as well as film cameras.

With this 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens, flipping a macro switch in the focal length range of 180mm to 300mm obtains a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2 at a minimum focus distance as short as 37.4", enabling close-up shots of flowers, insects, and other objects that normally require the use of a specially designed macro lens. Moreover, this is a zoom lens that casually offers the distant capture and foreshortening effect pleasures of the 300mm ultra-telephoto world.

"Best in Class" Tele-Macro Zoom Lens
Perfect 2nd lens for your DSLR kit
22% lighter and 4% shorter than other makes"


and here is the TAMRON key to their lens descriptors:

Optical/Mechanical Feature Key

(IF) - Internal Focusing
ASL - Aspherical
LD - Low Dispersion
AD - Anomalous Dispersion
XR - Extra Refractive Index Glass
Di - Digitally Integrated Design
Di-II - Lenses for Digital SLR APS-C sensor cameras only
VC - Vibration Compensation


Good luck ... and steer clear of those really high ISOs ... for series shots.

jpuma1616
02-09-2008, 03:17 PM
Thanks Don

How about this 3 lens, which will you choose?

Sigma Zoom Telephoto 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO DG Aspherical Autofocus Lens for Sony Alpha & Minolta Maxxum Series $ 589.00

Sigma Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Sony Alpha & Minolta Maxxum Series $ 219.00

Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Sony Alpha & Minolta Digital SLR Maxxum $ 159.00

is Sigma brand better than Tamron??

Thanks

DonSchap
02-09-2008, 05:25 PM
When it comes to lenses ... everyone has their particular niche. Some are better as focus speed ... some have better edge clarity ... it's often little things that make the difference.

Personally, every single SIGMA that I have purchased, save one that I loaned away, has had to go back for "re-alignment" ... and that's a thirty-dollar trip, every time! So whatever I save in purchasing a lens "on-sale", somewhere, I waste in additional shipping back to the manufacturer. It doesn't take a rocket-scientist to see that purchasing some brands is ... "iffy."

I can honestly say that this problem has been minimal with TAMRON's glass. In fact, I speak to the TAMRON rep, at least twice a year, getting the low-down on what is coming and his take on improved glass. He turned me on to the "student discount" that TAMRON has running with their lenses. Saves me another 10-15%. I have never even seen a SIGMA rep.

If SIGMA has such a poor Quality Assurance program in their manufacturing, they should include a "return label to service" with EVERY single lens, until they are absolutely sure they have it under control. That way, I'd be more inclined to try their lenses and feel confident that I'm not going to get stuck for an additional $30 in shipping, JUST to get it to work as designed. :mad:

So, from my point of view ... if anyone makes a lens of equal capability, other than SIGMA, for my SONY camera ... they get the choice. I'd rather take the chance on an unknown that to get continually shafted by you know who.

In fact, here's recent thread (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36871) from my latest SIGMA choice which I invite you to read and appreciate. I know, I know, geez, not again! But, it just proves my point. I could link you to others who have complained of the same thing, but it would be redundant. It's not my money ... I just hate seeing it continue. It's kind of like an open wound that just won't heal. :(

That SIGMA 135-400mm (43 OZ) choice is a much heavier lens than you think. It weighs nearly twice as much as the 70-300mm (TAMRON 15.2 OZ & SIGMA 19.4 OZ) . Admittedly, it's the same as far as BRIGHTNESS goes. Personally, I chose the Tokina ATX-840 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 for my weapon of choice ... it weighs only 29 ounces ... and still has the same reach as the heavy lens. They both run about the same in cost, except that the Tokina 80-400mm for the SONY/Minolta is an older lens and no longer available through retail. You will need to hunt one down (ebay?). It took me a year to finally find mine. I got it from Japan, directly.

From a practical standpoint ... 70-300mm. If you are a big guy ... then 135-400 will give you a little more reach, but no more light.

SONYNUT
02-09-2008, 06:28 PM
i use the sigma 2.8 70-200. it works fine. even better with my 700 now

DonSchap
02-09-2008, 06:32 PM
Hallaleuh ... that's one!

"In every cloud ..." the saying goes.

Something has to work, I suspect. Being a brand new release, it probably has much tighter QC and a controlled line assembling it, than the ordinary lenses. Heck, where did you get it, what did it set you back (if you don't mind) ... and is it the new "II" model, with the extra ELD element thrown in and the rearranged grouping?

SONYNUT
02-09-2008, 06:57 PM
older dg..got it for 350 on ebay...teach people to have stuff end 3 in the morn..lol

DonSchap
02-09-2008, 07:16 PM
That's a sweet deal for 70-200mm f/2.8! My goodness ;)

Yeah ... I hate having those well-after-midnight sales, too. I always run into "scoopers" ... who waiting until the very end, then dive in and toss $500 at it ... only bust everyone out and get the darn thing for $329 or something. Sometimes, I don't know how they win ... bidding one dollar over my bid, at the end. Then again, there are some focal ranges that simply aren't used enough by me to even make it worth the time.

Good job, SONYNUT. Too bad we can't get SONY-mount Carl Zeiss-glass at that kind of discount. It just might be worth the staying up late. :eek:

SONYNUT
02-09-2008, 08:07 PM
A ONE DOLLAR ABOVE DOES NOT MEAN THATS WHAT YOU LOST BY...that is usually the next bid incroment above your highest bid...

jpuma1616
02-16-2008, 02:32 PM
Hey Don

I decided to get what you suggested Tamron AF70-300 F/4-5.6 Di and I'm happy with it. here one picture that I took.


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2283/2270589678_9454b792c4.jpg?v=0

DonSchap
02-16-2008, 03:45 PM
That's great for outdoors ... but now you need to learn about its issues with being used indoors. I'm certain you will be quite surprised, in the beginning, as this is not considered an "indoor lens" w/o some kind of flash assist or extraordinary lighting.

I did a series of example shots ... and remember, these are only 7 feet off.

Example:

300mm f/5.6 ISO-800 WB=Tungsten - under ordinary house lighting - distance: 7-feet

1/60 (minimal action allowed of subject)
33274

1/30 (no movement by subject)
33272

1/15 (minimum handheld - no movement by subject)
33273

This is a pretty good example of what lighting effect you would get when you add a teleconverter (T/C) to your lens. Two f-stops worth of light can just kill a shot.


The unfortunate side of the 70-300mm is how it deals with ambient light ... and that's the challenge you will face when using this particular lens.

Good luck.

DonSchap
02-16-2008, 04:11 PM
70mm @ f/4 ISO-800 Tunsten (same distance: 7-feet) provides you this:

1/60 (again, minimal movement)
33279

1/30 (no subject movement allowed)
33280

1/15 (minimum handheld speed, no subject movement allowed)
33281

The series is one f/stop brighter ... but, you get everything and lose the zoom.

I set this up as an ad hoc-shot, to show you that under less than controlled conditions, you get what you get. Exposure is going to be rough. Judging from what I have gotten from ISO-1600, its tough to say. You can opt for it, but a constant diet of 1600 or higher may start to infuriate you after you start your post-processing.

Here are the test shots, same conditions ... 300mm f/5.6 1/60-second WB=Tungsten at the higher ISOs

ISO-1600
33283

ISO-3200
33284

ISO-6400
33282

jpuma1616
02-16-2008, 04:21 PM
Don

Can you tell me the best Manual settings for this kind of shooting situation, ( NBA Game in Madison Square Garden )

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2089/2270283224_4989019043.jpg?v=0


Thanks

DonSchap
02-16-2008, 05:08 PM
Could you get any further away? LOL :rolleyes:

Well ... the flash idea is totally undoable. You're stuck with what light they see fit to use. Settings ...

Well, f/5.6 is your aperture to work with, that is assuming you are going to want to see as close as possible, at 300mm. Until you get under 270mm ... where the maximum aperture opens to 4.5mm (much better). If you can shoot at 270mm or less, it would do well in this instance. The extra 30mm is hardly worth it.

So ... this is a guessimate just to get yourself started:

Mode: Manual
Focal length: 270mm (make a mental note that this your max zoom)
Aperture: f/4.5 (most light available through lens at full zoom (limited to 270mm))
Shutter Speed: 1/60 (any slower and people will definitely blur)
ISO: 800 (start here ... 400 would be pointless)
White Balance: AWB (this should accurately accomodate the lighting you have available)

and take a shot.

If it is too dark, step the ISO to 1600 ... and let it play. Occasionally try ISO-3200 ... but experience says ISO-6400 is going to look kind of rough, so I would suggest not going there, unless you just want to try it out for fun (nothing worth keeping).

Shy away from slow down the shutter, though ... as that will introduce more blur by the guys running around the basketball court.

Remember: Always check your images with the magnification button (it's definitely worth your time ... most novices fail to do this) ... because the camera's 3-inch LCD in normal mode will not let you see subtle blurring and camera shake. You need to know if your pictures are looking correct AT THE EVENT ... not after you get them home, where there is nothing you can do about it.

Good luck ... :)

jpuma1616
02-16-2008, 07:11 PM
Could you get any further away? LOL :rolleyes:



LOL :D that's the cheapest ticket eh ;) hehehe. anyway thanks for all the tips, really appreciate it. I'll post pictures after the game.

DonSchap
02-16-2008, 07:46 PM
You know, I've been dorkin' around with this combination (α700 w/ TAMRON 70-300 f/4-5.6) for a couple of hours now ...

33288

and I am noting that ISO-3200 actually is turning out better stuff than the ISO-1600 shots. I'm not sure what is accounting for this apparent improvement, but it seems to be responding better with "Super SteadyShot™", focus is sharper and providing an f/stop more light to boot. (Sensor sensitivity?)

Before you decide on any settings ... try out your own ISO-3200 setting, in the house, and see how the images look. You may just be surprised. I know I am. :eek:

If it does look good, using ISO-3200 will offer you a higher shutter speed to stop the action ... and reduce the movement blur. It could make that f/4-5.6 almost competative. :rolleyes: Who knows?

jpuma1616
02-17-2008, 07:58 AM
You know, I've been dorkin' around with this combination (α700 w/ TAMRON 70-300 f/4-5.6) for a couple of hours now ...

33288

and I am noting that ISO-3200 actually is turning out better stuff than the ISO-1600 shots. I'm not sure what is accounting for this apparent improvement, but it seems to be responding better with "Super SteadyShot™", focus is sharper and providing an f/stop more light to boot. (Sensor sensitivity?)

Before you decide on any settings ... try out your own ISO-3200 setting, in the house, and see how the images look. You may just be surprised. I know I am. :eek:

If it does look good, using ISO-3200 will offer you a higher shutter speed to stop the action ... and reduce the movement blur. It could make that f/4-5.6 almost competative. :rolleyes: Who knows?


I'm going to try it, by the way, how do you take this picture without a background? Did you take this picture?

DonSchap
02-17-2008, 10:53 AM
Of course, I took the image ... LOL

That's what I don't get paid for.

Basically, if you look at the images I presented earlier, you will see the curved backboard I use. I simply set the subject camera on a tripod ... mounted about two feet away ... vary the frame with zoom and location to allow the camera to stretch from edge to edge of the back board, pop the external flash on top of the α100 ... using a diffused ceiling-bounce technique to eliminate the shadow at full-power and viola!

I then used Photoshop to chop out the tripod mount and the extra camera strap and touched it up with a smear or two.

Here's the original AUTO Mode test (concept) shot with pop-up flash (you can see that the shadow is not getting it done):
33327

Then the final lighting adjustment in manual mode with SONY hot shoe external flash HVL-F56AM (ceiling bounce to entirely eliminate direct shadow and soften exposure):
33328

You saw the crop and touch-up.

α700 w/ TAMRON AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD
33329
Taken with α100 w/ TAMRON 17-50mm f/2.8
EXIF: 50mm - f/8 - 1/60 sec - ISO-800 - EXT Flash - Manual

I probably should have gone to f/11 or 16 to improve the DOF, but I was happy with this rather "natural look" for what we were doing. I would have preferred to have some lovely looking model hold it, too, but I'm fresh out that, this week. :rolleyes:

r3g
02-17-2008, 11:36 AM
You dont really need a superfast lens to shoot NBA games. Ive done about 8 NBA games in different stadiums and they are so well lit that my 55-200mm f/4-5.6 was able to take in enough light even at f/5.6 with a shutter around 1/320 and iso1600. Oh course faster glass would be preferred but for those price tags its not a must have.

jpuma1616
02-17-2008, 01:32 PM
thanks Don for a nice tutorial.

thanks to your reply r3g.