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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    20

    why is the Sony 18-200 a bad lens?

    This being really my first lens, I've heard some bad reviews of it and I'm hoping someone can chime in here and tell me why this is not a great lens. I like it for its overall range, its versatility but I realize its not the ideal lens for any given situation (except for travel, which I do a lot of).

    But I do find that some of my pictures just turn out awful, especially shots of people, colours not coming out very well, or quite dark. I do consider myself a novice still, despite some very decent shots that I've learned to take, so it could be operator error, but I'm hoping to get some info on why this lens isn't very good, and what you recommend.

    I notice that Don has recommended the TAMRON 18-250, or its predecessor, 18-200. I'm very interested in a straight 90 or 100mm macro, and wondering what to look for in a lens.
    Sony DSLRA100 w/ SAL18200
    Sony DSCW7B
    Sony DSCW80

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    Look, the 18-200 takes a bit of finesse to use. It's is a compromise lens ... allowing its extremely wide shot to go to a telephoto. You have to know its limitations and just adjust your shooting for them. That takes some practice.

    I originally had it on my Canon EOS 20D and eventually abandoned it for some easier effort with glass, choosing the TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, two rather amazing lenses.

    I have since gone back to the TAMRON 18-250 on the SONY ... with a much better understanding of the lens' operation and limitations. The recent posted image of my great niece(<- click here) is more in tune with what you can expect if you properly use the lens. Yes, I boosted the guassian blur in the background to improve the capability of the variable aperture (you don't get f/2.8 bokeh results at an f/8 setting - LOL ), but the sharpness acheived of the subject is definitely on par with most regular lensing.

    TAMRON does make a SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di LD, which is a spectacular lens ... and used by many not only as a MACRO lens, but pretty darn good portrait lens, also.

    But, one thing I would NOT do, is give up on the 18-200. It is a very versatile lens and can handle a lot of the common shooting situations, you simply must appreciate its limitations. You need to understand the variable aperture curve it operates under.

    Name:  18-200 step aperture.JPG
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    If you are shooting a lot of indoor stuff ... then buy an indoor lens. The f/2.8s are built for that very reason. But the one thing you could do, but it costs nearly the same as the indoor lens ... is buy an external flash, the SONY HVL-F56AM. I found that this device, in addition to the 18-250mm lens provides all the correct lighting you can usually expect.

    Again, you might just have a bad copy of the SONY 18-200. You could swap it for a TAMRON 18-200 and see if you can see a difference in shots. Although you'll probably get flack for asking, TAMRON builds the SONY 18-200, in a different jacket. Cosmetically, it looks different, but internally and elementally it is the same lens. TAMRON also makes the DT 11-18 for SONY.

    Good luck with your closer examination.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 09-24-2007 at 08:24 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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