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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554

    Talking My favorite lenses ...

    Well, a number of people have asked: "Since you have all these lenses, how do you rate them in order of preference?"

    Hey, it's a fair question ... and one I do take quite seriously, as I consider it. So, without further adieu, here's my personal rating, for what it is worth :
    1. SONY SAL-135F18Z - Carl Zeiss« Sonnar« T* 135mm f/1.8 (SONY) (°77mm filter) (MFD=2.4-ft)
    2. TAmROn SP AF70~200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO (SONY) (77mm-filter) (MFD=38in)
    3. TAmROn SP AF 200~500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (SONY) (°86mm-filter) (MFD=10-ft)
    4. TAmROn SP AF 17~50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) (SONY) (°67mm-filter) (MFD=1.5-ft)
    5. TAmROn SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD (IF) MACRO 1:1 (SONY/Minolta AF) (°72mm-filter) (MFD=10-in.)
    6. TAmROn SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 (SONY/Minolta AF) (°55mm-filter) (MFD=1-in.)
    7. SONY SAL-50F14 - 50mm f/1.4 (SONY) (°55mm filter) (MFD=1.5-ft)
    8. TAmROn SP AF 28~75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical MACRO (IF) (SONY) (°67mm-filter) (MFD=1.1-ft)
    9. Konica-Minolta AF 17~35mm f/2.8-4 (D) (SONY/Minolta AF) (°77mm-filter) (MFD=1.0-ft)
    10. Tokina AT-X 840 AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 (SONY/Minolta AF) (°72mm-filter) (MFD=8.2-ft)
    11. TAmROn AF18~250mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro "All-in-one" zoom (SONY) (°62mm-filter) (MFD=1.5-ft)
    12. Konica-Minolta AF 24~105mm f/3.5-4.5 (D) (SONY/Minolta AF) (°62mm-filter) (MFD=1.5-ft)
    13. Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4 (°49mm-filter)
    14. Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8 (°49mm-filter)
    15. Minolta AF 24mm f/2.8 (°55mm-filter)
    16. TAmROn AF 28~300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro "All-in-one" zoom (SONY) (°62mm-filter) (MFD=1.5-ft)
    17. SIGMA 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM (SONY) (°77mm-filter) (MFD=9.4-in)
    18. TAmROn AF 28~200mm f/3.8-5.6 original "All-in-one" zoom (SONY/Minolta AF) (°72mm-filter) (MFD=6.9-ft, although w/ close-up filter ... 3.5 feet)
    19. TAmROn "Powermaster" AF 28~200mm f/3.8-5.6 original "All-in-one" zoom (SONY/Minolta AF) (°72mm-filter) (MFD=6.9-ft, although w/ close-up filter ... 3.5 feet)
    20. TAmROn AF 70~300mm f/4-5.6 LD (SONY/Minolta AF) (°62mm-filter) (MFD=5-ft)
    21. Minolta AF 35~70mm f/4 MACRO (SONY/Minolta AF) (°49mm-filter) (MFD=3-ft)
    22. Tokina AF 20~35mm f/3.5-4.5 (SONY/Minolta AF) (°72mm-filter)
    23. Ozunon AF 70~210mm f/4.5 (SONY/Minolta AF) (°55mm-filter) (MFD = 5-ft)
    24. SONY SAL-1870 DT - 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 (SONY) (°55mm filter) (MFD=1.5-ft)
    25. Phoenix 28-105mm f/2.8-3.8 AF (SONY/Minolta AF) (°72mm-filter) (MFD=6.9-ft)
    26. Vivitar MF 500mm(1000mm) f/8(f/16) T-mount Reflex Lens (Canon/SONY/Minolta) (°30.5mm (rear) & °72mm-filter)


    Don't get me wrong ... anything above #16 will probably provide good to great results. #18 thru #23 are better left to film cameras, not digital. Call them "focal length evaluation" lenses ... to determine which digital lens you will probably decide to go with. I figure that's a fair use of them.

    The SONY SAL-135F18Z is what makes shooting the SONY system all worthwhile. I know that's a big tout, but after you shoot with this lens ... from then on, everything you shoot will be rated against it. It's just that good!
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-21-2008 at 10:37 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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA.
    Posts
    1,161
    All I can say is WOW!! and thats not all of your glass is it? I am surprised to see the Tamron 200-500 at number 3, I know it is a nice piece of glass but also big heavy and not a friend of low light, but thats not what the lens is for. From lots of your photos and they are very good photos also I thought some other lenses would be higher up. This really helps boost my plans on getting the 200-500.
    Sony A700_____________Minolta AF 50mm. F/1.7
    Minolta AF 70-210mm F/3.5-4.5 Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR DiII LD Asp. [IF]
    Tamron SP AF 70-200mm. F/2.8 DI LD [IF] Macro
    Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2
    Tokina AF 28-70mm F/3.5-4.5
    Tokina AF AT-X 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6
    http://flickr.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554
    I guess I went with IQ (Image Quality) ... over specific purpose, in this list. You will always by a lens for the range you want, but by using this list ... you will know what delivers the sharpest and well-focused shots from my collection of glass.

    The 200-500 only weighs 43 ounces. That is not a heavy lens, at all, for this class. In fact, it is rather light in comparison. Yes, it is long ... but, you pay the cost for shortening it up in IQ. You should note that the Reflex 500mm is at the BOTTOM of the list for a good reason. It's light, plenty short and a P.O.S.! It is even lower than the "kit lens!" I would probably only use it if I were skydiving ... and really bored.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-21-2008 at 10:18 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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap
    My favorite lens ...
    lenses

    hmm interesting.... don's christmas buying guide! LOL
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    670
    No surprise to see the ZA 135/1.8 at the top of your list. And I definitely agree that it is one of those lenses that makes Sony a compelling system choice. Honestly, I would have never considered Sony had it not been for the availability of top notch Zeiss glass.

    I am surprised to see the Tamron 90 macro so far down on your list if IQ was the overriding factor.

    With the standard zoom and long portrait lens out of the way, I had turned my attention to getting: (1) a macro, (2) a normal / wide prime, and (3) the 70-200/2.8 G

    The 35/1.4 G is astoundingly expensive when you consider that Leica sells a top notch 25/1.4 for just over half the price, and the fact that it's not a stellar performer according to testing sites... needless to say, it's out of the running. I considered the 50/1.4, but I figured I would "kill two birds with one stone" by getting the Sony 50/2.8 macro, so I ordered one when it recently went on sale.

    I balked at the price of the 70-200 G, so I picked up a "beer can" (Minolta 70-210/4 for those who are not familiar with the reference) to use while I ponder the need for a faster and better tele zoom. Am reluctant to consider the Tamron 70-200, as the one I tried out had horrendously slow AF in less than bright light.

    I have a feeling that the 50 macro won't be long enough for some situations, so I was thinking about getting the Tamron 90 macro as a medium focal length macro. Interested in why you placed the Tamron 90 where you did...
    Last edited by e_dawg; 11-24-2008 at 02:28 AM.

    Nikon: D300, D700, Nikkor: 24-70, 70-200, 70-300/VR, 24/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.4G, 60/2.8G, 180/2.8,
    Sigma: 10-20, 50-150/2.8, 50/2.8, Tamron: 17-50/2.8, 28-75/2.8, Tokina: 12-24, Zeiss: 25/2.8
    Olympus: E-520, E-3, 7-14, 9-18, 11-22, 12-60, 14-35/2, 14-54, 35-100/2, 50-200, 25/2.8, 35/3.5, 50/2
    Panasonic: G1, Leica: 14-50, 14-150, 25/1.4
    Sony: A700, A900, 24-85, 35-70, 70-210/4, 20/2.8, 24/2.8, 50/2.8, T 90 macro, Zeiss: 24-70/2.8, 135/1.8
    P&S: Canon S90, Panasonic: LX3


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
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    I suppose I am influenced also by how much I do use them, also. The 17-50mm is a true bargain, balancing IQ against cost.

    The 90mm f/2.8 does deliver a good shot ... but, there are moments (during MACRO use) where it also needs some help in the CA department, and that is where the 180mm f/3.5 steps in front of it, with its double LD elements. Also, the overall design of the 180mm over the 90mm, where it does not change shape also makes it a better MACRO when in use ... because the 90 "snorkels out" during focus. You can easily knock something over because it reaches out well over two inches. Pricewise, they are very close, these days. Either way ... it's not a tie, but really neck and neck. Is the 90mm f/2.8 sharper than the 17-50mm? YES, it's a razor-shot, but then again, the 90mm is NOT a zoom lens and its overall utility is limited. It's often "too long" for most of my work. I am sure I factored that in, also. Usability. I felt it was important. It has to be considered, otherwise we would all be using one great lens for everything. Asking yourself ... "how useful is this lens for the shot" ... factored in with its image quality. I rarely reach for the 90mm ... because, I am usually too close (in normal mode) if the shot calls for a 17-50mm. That's a heck of a focal length change. Again, I was determining my "favorite lenses" and with what I have, this is how they kind of stack up, in my mind.

    The fixed focal lengths are usually "studio use" ... because, that is a lot of weight and space to have to tote them all. The reason I would chose to carry the 135mm f/1.8 ahead of the zooms is that it kind of fits right in the middle.



    I would use it to get the effective 200mm (weighed against a full frame) shot indoors and outdoors, because it is so sharp and bright. Since the 90mm limits you to a widest aperture f/2.8 ... and I would grab the TAMRON 70-200mm f/2.8 over it ... as the preferred utility choice ... sacrificing some sharpness (not a lot) for the focal range improvement. Also, the 70-200 focuses faster. That MACRO takes its time.

    Again, what you shoot has so much to do with it ... it's rather nice having a wide selection choose from. Pack your stack as you need to. If I add the CZ 24-70 f/2.8 or the CZ 16-35 f/2.8, that means my wallet got a lot bigger. It hasn't grown this week, that's for sure.

    I hope that helps.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-24-2008 at 03:49 AM.
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,421
    the 180 is a nice macro lens but its just too darn big and heavy.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
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    Well ... it is definitely a "tripod beauty", as it has the support ring, too.

    180mm f/3.5 taken with the 90mm f/2.8


    Vice-versa!


    Like I said, I just like the way it shoots, better.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-24-2008 at 03:43 AM.
    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    8,163
    Here's my favorite lens.

    Ouch.Ö

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by cdifoto View Post
    Oh my - flashback to my early-70s Praktica SuperTL, $99 with TTL metering! I had the Pentacon 50 with the dashed rings just like that. Thanks for the memory jog.
    JimR - gear list changes daily
    http://picasaweb.google.com/alphaPDX

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