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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Help and advice please

    My dh (bless his heart) bought me a kit with the following: A100 camera, 28-80mm Tamron lens, AF 75-300mm Tamron tele-mcro lens, MerKury 58mm wide angle lens, 58mm FLD, UV,PL filters, Merkury 58mm 2.0x telephoto lens.
    I am appreciative but very overwhelmed. I am only an amatuer who wanted to take better photos for my scrapbooking. I have never even used some of these accessories, don't know how. What I DO want, is to stop having to change out the lenses (28-80mm and 75-300mm). When photographing grandchildren and their sports, it is, to me, a hindrance. There isn't time for me to do it and get the shots I want. I have seen a 28-300mm lens and would like to know if this would be what I think I need?
    I would appreciate any advice and suggestions about this question. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Des Plaines, IL

    Lightbulb The 18-250 solution

    Hi Lynn,

    Welcome to the forum.

    For your situation, as you have described it, the TAMRON AF 18-250mm f/3.5-5.6 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF), would probably be the best "all-around" solution to the "changing lenses all the time" issue. Also, since you are using an α100 (APS-C sensor DSLR), the 18mm is the appropriate wide width for indoor shooting.

    SONY α100 w/ TAMRON AF 18-250mm f/3.5-5.6 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF)

    Not only that, it will be a marked improvement in image quality (IQ) over the 28-80 and 75-300 lenses you are currently using. While these two "included lenses" were a cheap addition to your camera kit, these two lenses were originally designed for use on 35mm-film SLR bodies, not digital. The reason they are effectively "free" and included in a lot of these "kits", is because they cannot really be sold any longer. "Free lenses" make for a better marketing tool, but once you realize the results from them, you will begin looking for an improvement. Their performance is not at a level that you will find "acceptable", as you continue work with them and inspect your results. You can simply retire them as a "learning experience" and pass them on to someone still using a 35mm-film SLR camera. Perhaps a college student, learning photography.

    The biggest issue you will face, as you would with any other f/3.5-5.6 lens, is that they usually require the use of a flash, indoors. While the α100 has its built-in flash, I would suggest you look at getting a SONY HVL-F42AM Flash to go with this lens. It will just solve a lot of issues and save some time.

    So, the shopping list is short and to the point:
    1. TAMRON AF 18-250mm f/3.5-5.6 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF)
    2. 62mm Hoya Circular Polarizer (CP) filter for the lens
    3. SONY HVL-F42AM

    See how that works for you. Good luck and welcome to the forum. Please do NOT hesitate to ask further questions and read through the wide assortment of advice and subjects this forum offers exclusively for the SONY DSLR.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-25-2009 at 08:11 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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    If you don't like changing out lenses and aren't looking for shallow depth of field, a good quality super-zoom compact will probably be a better choice. An SLR isn't really going to provide better image quality as much as it will give you more control and versatility.

    The image quality is going to be better in low light without a flash, but probably not enough to be worthwhile if you are hoping to avoid swapping out lenses.

    Sony make several excellent super zoom cameras, I recently saw a friend pick one up, probably between $200-300. Really anything from Olympus, Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fuji and now Samsung is going to be pretty good.

    If you are set on using the A100 (it is a great camera, I just think if you don't want to mess with changing lenses you probably don't care to learn a lot of the cameras other features) then the 18-250 that Don recommends is going to be all the range you will probably want with very good image quality at a very reasonable price.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Thank you both, Don and Jason, for taking the time to give me some very useful information. I know you must be very talented photographers and it speaks of your character to help someone like me who just keeps my setting on "auto". I will be looking for a source for the "gear" (how am I doing?) you described.
    The only other question I have is about the other lens and filters I listed in my original post: the Merkury wide angle, macro and the filters. I would love to take macro photos of the flowers in my garden and I have used a uv filter. My camera also came with a hood I sometimes use outdoors. Do I need to get rid of these items or, are they also, something I don't need to be using? Thank you again for your replies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Des Plaines, IL

    Smile Explaining things ...


    all that 58mm stuff is for attaching to your TAMRON AF 28-80mm F/3.5-5.6 Aspherical 35mm-film lens.

    Here are its specifications:

    Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77D
    Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) . . 7/7
    Angle of View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75-30
    Type of Zooming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rotation
    Diaphragm Blade Number . . . . . . . . . . 6
    Minimum Aperture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F/22
    Minimum Focus Distance . . . . . . . . . . . 27.5 in. (0.7m)
    Macro Magnification Ratio . . . . . . . . . . 1:8
    Filter Diameter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
    Weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237g (8.4oz)
    Diameter x Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.8 x 2.8in.(72 x 70.4mm)
    Accessory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lens hood
    Mount . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sony, Canon, Nikon

    The complicated aspect to all of this is that those pieces are at 58 and only fit on a 58-filter ring, which is what the 28-80mm lens has on it. It really is an odd size in the SONY universe. I cannot think of one other SONY lens that has that size filter ring. It is far more common in Canon lenses. Whatever you do with the 28-80mm lens, give all that stuff away along with it.

    Unfortunately, when you change to the 18-250mm lens, it's front filter ring is 62, just like that 75-300mm lens you now have. Their filters would be interchangeable. But, 62 is larger than the 58 filter/lens stuff you currently have. Almost all lens have a filter-ring on the front and they can vary from lens to lens. It is something to bear in mind when buying multiple lenses.

    Now, there are these add-on devices called "filter step-down" or "step-up" rings than can convert the front filter ring to another size, but in this case, it would be rather useless, because the filters/screw-on lenses you have are smaller ... and it would vignette the frame of the 18-250mm lens when you went wide with it. (refer to this thread for definitions)

    The important thing to know is that whoever sold your husband this "kit" was packing a lot of "optical compromises" into it, to provide more than the original lens was intended to ever provide. Unfortunately, using this kind of "additional" optical hardware really does more to distort your final image than it does to help it.

    In my opinion (IMO), the best thing to do at this point is to just ignore it and assume it is not there. Start fresh. It will eliminate confusion and trying to make something work that really should have never been in the picture to begin with. Also, by doing it this way ... you will not have to do it, again. This is a QUALITY solution.

    Okay .. before we get too nuts in a discussion, which has so many aspects to it, it is kind of funny ... please know that light is rather fickle. I need to assume we are heading in a mutual direction: That being the complete departure from the 28-80mm and 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lenses (give them away) and your buying the "all-in-one" 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens.

    As discussed, this 18-250 lens will provide a nice, one lens package to provide for 90% of your daily shooting. But, you say you want MACRO capability ... and that is not what this lens does. Neither does the 28-80mm you currently have. The "kit" of goodies you got try to make this 28-80mm lens do these things, but they really are poor optical solutions, as discussed, to a real one. Images are not crisp, they're soft looking and often fuzzy on the outer collar. The 75-300 has a MACRO function to it, but is nothing as nice as the real thing ... and I am sensing that is what you would really enjoy having.

    As far as MACRO images go ... the best solution (and please do not confuse this with anything other than a solid choice, because there are reasons for it) would be the new TAMRON SP AF 60mm f/2 Di-II LD 1:1 MACRO lens. Bear with me on this, because "normally" when someone uses the 18-250, it is often accompanied with the smaller SONY AF 50mm f/1.8 lens, for low-light use, because the superzoom tends to be a little too dark, indoors. Unfortunately, the 50mm f/1.8 is not a MACRO lens. It is not designed for this. The TAMRON 60mm f/2 Di-II LD 1:1 MACRO, on the other hand, is. It is close enough in focal length and wide aperture to the 50mm f/1.8 lens to cover that ground and also offers you all the 1:1 MACRO you could want.

    So by having BOTH the AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) 62 (<- click here) and the SP AF 60mm f/2 Di-II LD 1:1 MACRO 55 (<- click here) ... you have a bag that covers a whole lot of scenarios (low-light, indoor, real MACRO, outdoor and telephoto), with only two lenses.

    Now, if you want even wider, you have no choice but to add a third lens. Anyone would have to ... and that is called an UWA Zoom. TAMRON makes one that has the widest focal dynamic range of any zoom in that category and that is the SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) 77 (<- click here). With this lens in your arsenal, you can get the entire wedding party from about only eight feet back. It is awesome.

    Anyway, as long winded as this probably seems, read it a couple of times. If you have any further questions ... please ASK.

    I know if I were starting out, again ... this lens plan really settles a whole bunch of issues, RIGHT NOW. I would approach this on a "try it, buy it" scenario ... see if it works as detailed and is a good fit for you. I suspect you will really enjoy it, once it give it a decent run.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-26-2009 at 11:09 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Lynn, Hello and it's always nice to welcome new members.
    I'm a bit wary of offering advice without more to go on. I mean to say, without some insight of where you are heading with your photography, Jason's suggestion of a P&S is just as valid as Don's Superzoom recommendation.

    You say you're "only an amateur who wanted to take better photos". What camera have you been using and in what way were the results unsatisfacory?
    Do you want to invest time into learning the camera or do you just want to let the camera do it all for you (Auto)?
    What sports are your Granchildren playing and are they indoors?
    How much money are you expecting to spend and over what period?

    There are more questions but that will do for starters.

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