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Another "which lens" question

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by Jazzer, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    As I mentioned in another thread, I just received my new NEX 6. I have the kit power zoom and the 55-210. I also ordered and should be receiving shortly the Sigma 2 lens kit from B&H. I wasn't completely sure if the Sigmas made sense to purchase yet, but as the new versions are now out, I figured I would order them while still in stock and I can return them (I don't intend to use them until I am certain that I intend to keep them if I like them) if I decide a different lens makes more sense at this point.

    Here is the dilemma. I am a relative newbie with interchangeable lenses. I will be going on little vacation in about a week to Florida and would like to be able to shoot in a variety of conditions, from inside museums, aquariums, etc. to outdoors at various focal lengths. At the same time, I will need some time using the camera to get a good sense of what my primary shooting preferences are. I don't want to wind up with a bunch of lenses that I won't use. If I weren't going to be away, I might wait and examine my usage of the 16-50 and 55-210 over time and fill in the gaps based on the deficiencies I find. I generally like to take things slow and buy the right thing the first time, to the extent possible. However, I suspect I will need something at least a little faster than these to take decent indoor shots without a flash.

    So, my question is: what would you recommend under the circumstances? (1) Just go with the 16-50 and 55-210 and don't worry about whether they will be fast enough. Buy additional lenses later? (2) Keep the Sigmas and use them, hoping they will be fast enough for any indoor shots? (3) Buy (a) a SEL 50mm/1.8 or (b) SEL 35mm/1.8 and return the Sigmas? or (4) any other suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
  2. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    Tough one. As a traveler/vacationer, are you willing to carry around four or five lenses?

    I know I personally already carry enough stuff around on vacation, that I am not gonna add a large bag of camera equipment. I usually pick one lens, perhaps two if I have room enough to store it.

    Not gonna tell you which ones to pick, especially since the only ones I have on your list are the Sigmas. I have enjoyed the Sigmas and highly recommend them. 2.8 is more than adequate for most situations.
     
  3. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    Thanks. Good point about carrying stuff around. I do like to travel with as little as possible. If I did bring a few lenses with me, I probably wouldn't carry more than one or possibly two at any given time. I figure I would have a good idea what I would be doing that particular day and would just carry what I think would be most useful.
     
  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    From my point of view the 16-50 and 55-210 will be good for 94% of all of your travel photos. For the remainder, pick out a fast prime in your favorite focal length for those inevitable low light situations, and you're good to go. Tough choice, I know, but for me it would probably be the Olympus Pen-F 38mm f/1.8.
     
  5. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Both Sigma lenses don't take up much more space than a single 18-55mm. The 16-50mm is quite small of course and is the equivalent of the Sigma 30/2.8 in terms of space occupied, the 19/2.8 is a little bigger. The Sigma lenses offer a higher speed and are fully useable wide-open; I have both and I don't hesitate for a moment to use them at f/2.8 if required. I routinely do indoor family snaps with the 30/2.8 on my NEX-6 at ISO 3200 and they always come out great. With the zoom lenses you lose more than 1 stop over most of the focal length range.

    If you don't mind swapping lenses, I'd say you have an ideal setup for a vacation, covering a lot of useful focal lengths. With shorther focal lengths, below 55mm, foot-zooming is mostly an option.
     
  6. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Hello Jazzer

    If you are not sure whether to keep the two Sigmas, you will be fine with the two Sony lenses. Because of the NEX's good performance on high ISO:s you should be able to take indoor shots with the kit lens.

    When I travel, I tend to take a minimum of lenses, usually only a normal zoom and either a tele zoom or a wide angle zoom. With the camera they fit in a fairly small bag that you can carry with you lightly anywhere.
     
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    For everything I read out of your post, I consider either the Sonnar T* E 1.8/24 or the Sony 1.8/35 your best options. They're both not that big, they offer good quality, they are quite fast and they have a very universal focal length. Whether you like the 35mm eq or the 50mm eq focal length better - that's up to you. You can at least try both focal lengths with the kit zoom.

    If you take the 35, it is probably a good idea to bring the kit zoom with you too. And if it's just for the moments you need to go wider - it doesn't take up much space and weight anyways. If you need a telezoom, well, you already got the 55-210 and you probably know whether you need to bring it with you or not.

    That, all in all, makes three lenses. That's acceptable for traveling I'd say.

    Oh, by the way, the two Sigmas (19 and 30mm) together with the 55-210 make a decent kit too. There's just nothing really fast. And no matter how good the ISO performance of NEX-cameras is, nothing makes up for fast lenses.
     
  8. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Well, if large aperture is a priority, then you can get a faster legacy lens at a fraction of the price of the Zeiss 24/1.8.
     
  9. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yes, you can. But is there any cheap 24mm f/1.8 lens that actually is good? At least I don't know anything that comes close and does cost considerably less than the Zeiss.
     
  10. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    339
    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Bill
    Look back at your pictures and particularly your best pictures. What length or range was most used and best used? Let those answers be your guide.

    Personally, I like the 35 f/1.8 becasue it's the length I like, reasonably fast and it has OSS. (And I like primes.)

    Have a great holiday, and bring us back some pictures
     
  11. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    Thank you to everyone. It seems that there are different possibilities and everyone does it a little differently. It looks like the most versatile combo (but not the smallest) would be the two zoom lenses with one fast lens (probably the 35mm/1.8). That would probably be all I need at home for a while as well, although the zooms won't necessarily give the optimal image quality. ... But those Sigmas are such a good value :biggrin:
     
  12. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo TalkEmount Veteran

    484
    Mar 25, 2013
    Sounds like a good plan. One tip, before committing to a prime, is to set your kit lens to that focal length and take a lot of photos with it. Different people feel comfortable with different framings and shooting distances.
     
  13. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Good advice! I bought the Sigma 30 based on the glowing reviews it got. But I found almost nothing I wanted to use it for. So I sold it. Great lens, but just not a great lens for me.
     
  14. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Exactly. You can buy the best lens in the world, but if you don't like the focal length or the way it renders an image, you won't like it.
     
  15. Jazzer

    Jazzer TalkEmount Veteran

    344
    Nov 6, 2012
    New York
    Larry
    This is exactly why I would prefer to use the kit zoom for a bit before committing to another lens. Maybe I'll just bite the bullet and take the trip with the kit and the 55-210. I may miss a few low light shots, but I'll have a better idea what I want/need by the time I get back.
     
  16. Rich

    Rich TalkEmount Veteran

    253
    Nov 20, 2012
    Salisbury UK
    Richard
    I think it depends on what sort of image quality you expect. You're right, everyone does things differently.

    Personally, I don't do zooms, they don't give me what I need IQ wise to sell pictures. You've ordered the Sigmas, good move, they are sharp.

    I am loosely planning a trip to India later this year or early next. This is my travel kit:
    1 NEX 6 body
    1 NEX5N body
    CZ 24 1.8 (always mounted on one body)
    Sigma 19
    Sigma 30
    Sigma 60 (When Sigma get it together and launch it on to the market)
    4 batteries

    For me, this is travelling light. It all fits into my Domke F-803 bag, all separators removed. Put a gun to my head and make me choose one body and one lens...............NEX 6 and CZ 24, I can make it with that!
     
  17. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Zooms don't need to be worse than primes. Actually, some of them are stellar! The new Canon 24-70mm v2 seems really great. And even kit zooms are okay if you stop down ...

    It's more a philosophical question of what you prefer and of course a 'speed' question than a quality one.
     
  18. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    When top IQ zoom is involved, there's also the size/weight and budget consideration.

    That's why the sigma's appeal to me. Small, light, cheap. I have more adapted lenses than native ones. And I don't want to invest too much into e-mount native (crop) lenses. But native lenses are the way to go for wider FL. The 19mm makes a lot of sense to me. In fact I used exclusively the 19mm in a recent trip.

    To OP, I think the two zooms + 1 or 2 primes is a good idea. The options for prime are

    * Sony 16mm f/2.8
    * Sigma 19mm f/2.8
    * Sony 20mm f/2.8
    * Zeiss 24mm f/1.8
    * Sigma 30mm f/2.8
    * Sony 35mm f/1.8
    * Sony 50mm f/1.8

    So it really comes down to usage, focal length preference, IQ requirement, speed requirement, and budget.
     
  19. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Sure you are right here. That's why I prefer primes too (well, not the price, but the quality/speed/weight balance.

    As for native lenses: 35mm "full frame" is also just a 'crop' from medium or large format. When Leica introduced the 35mm format, no one actually took it serious. Nowadays, it's just about the standard for "pros" - well, for all that don't use medium format, that is. The same might just happen with APS-C, once sensors are even better and once high end APS-C cameras are up feature wise to ff cameras. I, personally, can't think of any reason why 35mm should be better than APS-C in the future. Sure, it will always have about a stop of high ISO advantage, but that simply doesn't matter for many photographers.
     
  20. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    I was on a cruise when I first got my 5n. Only had the 18-55 and 55-210 lenses. Also went to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    While I was able to do everything, I didn't necessarily like having to change lenses. So if this is really a vacation, I don't know if I'd take more than the two zooms.

    On the other hand, I'm thinking about a trip to Greece, and now have the 2 sigma's, the SEL-50/1.8 and all my LTM and FD lenses. This trip is definitely planned as a photographic trip, so I'm trying to figure out what I'd pack for this one.

    My current thinking for a photo trip is:

    Voigtlander 12mm Ultra Wide Heliar (LTM mount)
    19mm Sigma
    30mm Sigma
    50mm SEL 1.8

    And then either the 70-210 Canon FD or the SEL 55-210. If I take the FD, I'll take the 3x converter if I have room.

    If I don't have room for all these lenses, then I think the 30mm is the first to go - For indoor, close photos, I'd rather have the 19mm than the 30mm. And I want the fast+OSS of the 50mm over the 30mm.