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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    788

    My first new lens - Baby beercan

    Yeah, probably shouldn't have started a whole thread just for a $25 lens, but I'm excited.

    And I guess my first new lens was the kit lens, and the second new lens was the 75-300.... but it's my first new lens since I got the camera. And most importantly probably my first decent lens.

    I was looking around ebay for a cheap way to get something better than the kit for the short term. I found a Minolta 25-70mm f/4. At the time I didn't remember it, but later found the thread where Don wanted to do a shootout in that focal range. I did look it up at dyxum, where it has a mid 4's rating,. I figured it was worth it for $25+10 shipping.

    It showed up today, and I've been playing with it. My first impression is the difference in build quality (and weight) over the modern cheap Sony lenses. And it's noisy, but I think its the numbers in the distance window. The important part is the pictures seem to have a better feel. The colors seem a little more saturated in the few I took. And the slightly wider aperture is really nice. The focal length is wierd, but if I pick up the Tamron 70-300 and 17-50 in the near future, it will be a nice (although probably not needed) gap filler.

    And it turned out to be a crossed XX lens. As far as I know that doesn't mean the optics are better or worse, but it's kinda cool for collection purposes.

    So here are a few pictures, and can someone explain to me how the macro function works? I know it only works on manual focus, so I turned the camera to MF, and slid the switch to twist it to the correct position, its how I took the ornament. But both the zoom ring and focus ring seemed to control focus. How is that supposed to be used?







    I won't put the huge version in the forum, but it's here.
    Last edited by laydros; 12-19-2008 at 12:03 PM.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Looks like an excellent performer if you don't mind the aperture. And stopping it down doesn't result in that much sharper images which I guess is good.

    http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11476

    Sounds like a great deal, time to update your sig .
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,548

    Cool Operational tips ...

    Okay ... when it comes to the "MACRO" operation, you lift the MACRO slide switch up (towards the front of the lens) and rotate the lens barrel until the white focal length index line is in between the blue-lined gap. (Beyond the 70mm mark)

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    You then release the MACRO switch and are in the lens' MACRO mode.

    To go back to "normal" focal length operation, slide the switch forward, again, and rotate the lens barrel focal length index line back into the normal focal lengths.

    Hope that helps.

    To be honest, with mine, it probably needs some "adjustment" (having not performed an intensive test on it, but it is soft, overall) ... I just have been reluctant to do so, because I bought the TAMRON SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) lens (M.F.D. = 18-inches) and it does a supreme job, by comparison, especially indoors. The Minolta AF 35-70mm f/4 MACRO (M.F.D. = 33-inches) is seriously a lot smaller and convenient. Being just a bit larger than your standard AF 50mm f/1.7 and with a °49mm-filter ring, it uses all my old screw-on filters quite conveniently. (Personally, I wish it did perform better ... that's quite an advantage when traveling.) Obviously, it enjoys the use of a flash quite a bit, indoors, being limited to an f/4 aperture, but it meets right up to the AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens and you go from there. Outdoors ... well, you can figure it out.

    If you only had a small lens bag, the 24mm f/2.8 (for wider coverage), 35-70mm f/4 (normal coverage), 50mm f/1.4 (low-light and sharp portrait opportunities) and 70-300mm f/4-5.6 (outdoor telephoto) would be a heck of a low-cost collection, probably taking up the least amount of space I could imagine and giving a robust low light and outdoor coverage.

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    Of course, there is the 18-250 f/3.5-6.3, a 50mm f/1.4 and an ext. flash (just in case) which could over nearly the same coverage and space requirements.

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    (Shhh, personally, that's the way I would operate, the costs go up a little bit, but the smaller stuff is totally doable.)

    The Minolta AF 35-70mm f/4 MACRO is also one of the "stranger" operating lenses, as it stretches as you go wider (from 70mm -> 35mm), instead most other lenses that stretch as you go longer (35mm -> 70mm).

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    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-19-2008 at 03:50 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
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    I don't think you'll be disappointed with the lens, provided it's not been damaged; in any case the all metal construction makes it pretty tough. Looking at the picture I reckon it could use a good clean up.
    IQ is pretty good with typical Minolta colours (you noticed already). It's sharp through the range, f4 is useable although f5.6 is better but unsurprisingly, there is some softening at the edges. The good performance is helped by the limited 2x zoom. If you look at page one of the "Picture of the day" thread, the "Apple" was taken with a similar lens.
    MFD is a limitation at 3ft (1ft with Macro) but overall an underrated lens at the price.
    It's not true Macro at 1:4 but can be useful; just flick the macro switch and use the zoom ring to focus.
    At 52-105mm range on digital lacks any wide angle but it's a nice light walk about and also covers the ideal lengths for portaits in good light, although you may have to soften in PS.
    Get clicking and posting to POD!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    Yeah, the stretch on 35, short on 70 thing is weird. Also the MFD surprised me. At first I was thinking the lens was broken, but then remembered that I had read about the MFD somewhere.

    Those were some good ideas for lens kit Don. I'm still gunning to get the 17-50 soon to have a fairly fast kit lens replacement, but the 4 lens setup you propose above seems pretty good... especially because I'm planning to pick up those two primes at some point anyway.

    One thing I've been giving some thought to is getting the Tamron 28-75 instead of the 17-50 so my investment will work on full frame. The problem is the lack of anything on that wide end with a big aperture. Seems like I would have to still buy the 17-50 f/2.8 to cover the wide end with better than a 3.5-4.

    This lens was just something cheap (really cheap) to play with. And compared to the kit lens, f/4 is fast. This gives me f/4 where the kit lens only did f/5.6, and the macro setting.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,548
    Jason,

    One of the things to consider, if you do not already own a 17-50mm f/2.8 or a 28-75mm f/2.8 at this point, is purchasing the SONY Carl Zeiss« Vario-Sonnar T* DT 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 instead. I know that looking at it initially, it looks like a darker lens ... but since you are not quite using the f/2.8 aperture ... and most people rarely do in the standard shooting style ... having a 3.5-4.5 is not all that bad. With this ONE really nice and sharp lens, you completely cover the wide and long of the two TAMRONs. You are going to wind up paying close to the cost of it or exceeding the cost by buying the two TAMRONs. What the heck! Say we just save you a "second trip" to the store and get the 16-80mm right at the beginning? Also, when you are ready to move up to the SONY α900 (or whatever Full Frame) you can sell the DT lens. There will always be a call for them.

    Honestly, you are not planning on stopping your photography, so invest in it up front, in that way you will have ALL the lens you need effectively at once and forget about it. I know if I had to repeat what I have done, I would do it that way. Unfortunately (or fortunately ... depends on your point of view - I needed a good lens), I bought my 17-50mm f/2.8 BEFORE the CZ 16-80mm was available. So I wound up getting the 28-75mm to use on the α900, before things got nuts with the economy. It's a coin flip using either lens ... but it would probably be a no-brainer concerning using the 16-80 on the A700 or lower cameras.

    As far as lenses go on the α900 ... you might be able to get away with the 28-75 f/2.8, but if it were me (and I am not saying it is not), I would seriously consider buying the SONY Carl Zeiss« Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm f2.8 at the same time as the α900. That camera deserves better glass. Shooting through the TAMRON is really choking your Image Quality for such a large sensor. In fact, it would be worth a trial or two to see which lens gives you what you want, rather than planning on purposely dedicating a lens to that camera. I really had planned on doing a whole lot of side-by-sides ... just for fun, using the TAMRONs (or KMs). Personal aggravation, I suppose, just to see it they could deliver under such ... high-MP sensor scrutiny. I certainly would not expect or recommend anyone to follow that lead, until the results were in. Just because a lens fits on a full frame does not guarantee that it will deliver on a full frame sensor. If you have better "intel", post it.

    I have gone to the SONY Style store, here in Schaumburg and shot my 17-50mm f/2.8 against the CZ 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 and the SONY lens is just that little bit sharper. Oh sure, you need to know what you are looking for, but I'm here to tell you, the SONY delivers it, hands down. It's not even a question. It really is a great lens and worth the initial few extra bucks, now, than paying for a second lens (which you will have to change back and forth from) later. Save yourself some grief and go all the way with this lens. Like I said, the cost is about the same or even less than the pair of TAMs.

    Good luck.

    BTW: The neat thing about using PRIME lenses is ... they work on both APS-C and Full Frames.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-19-2008 at 10:35 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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788

    What is this?

    I've gotten this odd effect twice. This first one is with this new Baby Beercan, but the other was with the kit lens.

    In the first the lights show up again around my Dad's elbow, and in the second one the lights from the window are showing up again in the chairs.

    Is this ghosting, or something else? What can I do to prevent this?
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,548

    Cool Reflections on your mind ...

    Quote Originally Posted by laydros View Post
    I've gotten this odd effect twice. This first one is with this new Baby Beercan, but the other was with the kit lens.

    In the first the lights show up again around my Dad's elbow, and in the second one the lights from the window are showing up again in the chairs.

    Is this ghosting, or something else? What can I do to prevent this?
    What you are seeing are lens flares and reflections from the camera's sensor, as the light enters the lens, then the camera body, hits the sensor in the back, then reflects back to the back element of the lens you have attached and finally reflects back to the sensor, as another source of light. Annoying, ain't it.

    The XR-coating of the TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) and TAMRON SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO does put a cramp in these type of reflections. Film usually did not do this with lenses. The sensors are like mirrors in how they treat light and there you have an example of it.
    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
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Wild, Wonderful, Wyoming
    Posts
    1,043

    Before we completely blame the lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by laydros View Post
    I've gotten this odd effect twice. This first one is with this new Baby Beercan, but the other was with the kit lens.

    In the first the lights show up again around my Dad's elbow, and in the second one the lights from the window are showing up again in the chairs.

    Is this ghosting, or something else? What can I do to prevent this?
    What you have here is flare, and it is reflections, but I'm not completely ready to blame the lens because it doesn't have special coatings. Were you using a filter on your lens when you took these?
    A good photograph is knowing where to stand.
    Ansel Adams

    Rule books are paper, they will not cushion a sudden meeting of stone and metal.
    Ernest K. Gann-Fate is the Hunter.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    788
    Quote Originally Posted by TenD View Post
    What you have here is flare, and it is reflections, but I'm not completely ready to blame the lens because it doesn't have special coatings. Were you using a filter on your lens when you took these?
    I have a Tiffen haze filter on the lens for the picture of my dad, and a Sunpak UV filter on the lens with the window reflection.
    Jason Hamilton
    Selective Frame

    EOS 5D - Canon EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 35 f/2, EF 50mm f/1.8 Mk II, EF 70-210 f/3.5-4.5 USM, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2 (with EOS adapter), 430EX, Canon S90
    Nikon FE - Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI'd, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI, F to EF adapter, 2xVivitar 285, other lighting stuff
    Mamiya C220 - 80mm f/2.8

    Gear List flickr

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