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View Full Version : Rev 3 Software upgrade and zoom lens query



mick9q
02-17-2008, 04:29 PM
I am new to this forum and a new A700 owner (10 days). The A700 is my first DSLR. This is my first post and I have several questions but will start with the two most on my mind right now.

For some background, I have had Minolta equipment since 1985 when I purchased my first 7000 body which I still have (and it is still fully operational). Over the years I have collected several Minolta AF lenses and a second 7000 body (I liked to shoot both print and color transparency). I now will share my Minolta lens stable between the 7000's and the A700.

First question, my A700 has Rev 1 software and I want to upload the new Rev 3 version. However, I read one place on the web (can't find it again) where an A700 owner did the Rev 3 upload and ended up with a poorly functioning camera. Does anyone have knowledge that there have been problems with Rev 3 or the process? Or was this an isolated case?

Second question, with the 7000 my favorite zoom lens for general use was the Minolta 35 - 70mm f4.5 zoom. With the A700 this will equate to about 50 - 110mm. As such no slight wide angle capability will be available. What would be your recommendation for a lens in the same effective zoom range at f4 (or perhaps a stop or two better if it doesn't break the bank)? I have only used Minolta lenses with the 7000 and therefore unfamiliar with 3rd party product. Since most of the Sony designed lenses don't appear to get high marks, I am probably going to have to look elsewhere, right?

Thanks for your help,

Mick

DonSchap
02-17-2008, 09:10 PM
Welcome to the DCRP forum.

With that being said ...

I, too, have had my Minolta Maxxum 7000 since 1985 ... and still have the original couple lenses (50mm f/1.7, 28 f/2.8 and the Ozunon 70-210 f/4.5) I bought for it, back then, also.

I have, since, collected a few more ... one of them being the 35-70mm f/4. The thing that always struck me funny about that particular lens was how it extended to get to 35mm, instead of what you normally see on other zoom lenses, where it would extend going to 70mm.

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I have compared most of my lensing, shooting it at similar settings and focal lengths, to find that most of the film glass is a little soft when autofocusing. I have since put a few bucks into TAMRON digital lenses to fill in this difference in performance.

For covering the wide-angle to normal range, I found the TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) does a very good job for the money. It's sharp and quite useful in its range.

I recently purchased a SIGMA AF 10-20mm f/4-5.6 DC EX Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens, but I'm not too seriously impressed with its initial sharpness.

SIGMA 10-20mm f/4-5.6 DC EX
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I am considering returning it to the manufacturer for calibration to sharpen it up a bit. According to the customer service representative I spoke to, last month, apparently SIGMA has been having some QC issues with their lens of late. I can't argue that point. TAMRON's (first UWA) SP AF 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di LD just doesn't quite cut the muster. In fact, they have dropped the word that a new SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di LD UWA is on the way.

Above 50mm ... I've been playing around with the old Ozunon AF 70-210mm f/4.5 and the TAMRON Adaptall2 MF 70-210 f/4-5.6.

For more precision work ... I have elected to use the TAMRON SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO and the TAMRON SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD MACRO. Both lenses deliver super-sharp focus, but it takes a bit to get it there ... due to fact that they like to sweep through their respective MACRO capability. The 90mm has a limit switch, which helps ... but the 180mm does not.

I am waiting for TAMRON to finally deliver the real lens I want in my bag ... the SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 DI LD, which is incredibly well-priced for an f/2.8 lens of that type. It should be around by March.

For utility ...or a one lens carry all, I have elected for the TAMRON AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 XR DI LD Aspherical (IF) ... which is quite a lens to use ... and offers an enormous focal length span to the user.

18-250 @ 18mm
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18-250 @ 250mm
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While not as sharp or bright as the 17-50, this has variable-reach and is exceptionally light. Personally, I call it a "Mom lens", because it is convenient for those who don't have room for a big lens bag, but want the depth of using a DSLR. When you are "on the go", it can be a really blessing. The convenience of a Point & Shoot ... only, it's not. ;)

Collecting 'glass' is a weird kind of background study in photography. Appreciating what it can do is just half the battle.

http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r289/donschap/camera%20stuff/Minolta-SONY-glass.jpg

My upgrade to Rev. 3 went flawlessly. You should use a clean piece of memory to do it. Either a small CF or Memory Stick, for just that purpose. Once there are images on it, it will not work.

I look forward to seeing your efforts ... as do many others. Good luck! :D