What would you do? Aspiring hobbyist needs your help with lens selection for NEX 6

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Lenses' started by hoosiergrad02, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. hoosiergrad02

    hoosiergrad02 New to TalkEmount

    Mar 10, 2014
    I recently moved to Bangkok and brought with me my Sony NEX 5N/kit lens combo. It was from living here that I finally started to use my NEX 5N for the first time and began spending my free time learning about photography/cameras/software. From this new experience and education, I decided recently to upgrade. I found and purchased a used Sony NEX 6 body (no kit lens) with a Sony SEL 16/f2.8 about two months ago. Additionally, after my purchase of the Sony NEX 6, I purchased a Sony SEL 50/f1.8 lens. It was from this single purchase that I personally discovered the importance of lens selection.

    Here is my situation...living in Bangkok I do a lot of travel/city/landscape photography, but I have only the SEL 18-55 kit and 16/f2.8 lenses for travel photography. My SEL 50/f1.8 is amazing and I love the bokeh created when I'm photographing people, but it's not a good lens for travel photography. I want to sell both my Sony SEL 16/f2.8 and 18-55 lenses and upgrade to an all in one travel zoom lens that offers better IQ, while hopefully producing good bokeh. I am considering six options and can't decide which to choose.

    My considerations:

    1. Sony SEL 18-200 ... good quality, best focal length, but larger in size, priciest of options
    2. Sony SELP 1650 ... compact, cheap, but still a kit lens and reviews are average and not great focal length. Can get used on ebay (China?) for
    <$150. From what I read, it's not much better or maybe equal to that of my SEL 18-55 kit lens.
    3. Sony FE 24-70 (A7 kit lens) ... Not wide angle, but decent reviews
    4. Sony SELP 18-105G ... not many reviews so jury is still out, power zoom (don't know if this is good or bad), good but not great focal length,
    heavier, but not heaviest of options
    5. Tamron 18-200 ... cheaper than Sony version, lighter than Sony version, reviews show that IQ is not equal to Sony SEL 18-200 but not far off,
    like the Sony SEL lenses mentioned here, this lens also has image stabilization.
    6. Sony SAL 18-105 + LA-EA2 ... A local camera store in Bangkok has this combo new for around $550.
    1. Good: A) Surprising not the heaviest compared to above. B) Good to great reviews of both he lens and adapter. C) Adapter opens up my
    lens options to include a-mount lens. D) Adapter gives my sony nex 6 phase detection.
    2. Bad: A) Lens introduced to market about 11 years ago so not the newest of lenses. With the SAL 18-105 I lose OSS/image stabilization.
    7. Do nothing. Sell the Sony SEL 16/f2.8 with the Sony NEX 5N body. Keep and use the kit lens Sony SEL 18-55, until prices come down or new
    lenses are introduced to market.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you more experienced and knowledgable members can help an aspiring hobbyist out.
  2. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Real Name:
    First of all welcome :)

    While waiting for other members to give you their (more professional since 1) I'm a hobbyist too and 2) since I don't own any E-mount lenses) opinion, just another thing to consider is that with most of your considerations you'll add more weight to the whole package, which I imagine isn't something that you'd want since you do a lot of travelling (based on what you wrote). Thus the Nex advantage vs the DSLR route (lightweight package) will be somehow lost, wouldn't it?...

    The beauty with interchangable lens cameras is exactly that you can have options! Personally, since I like to carry my Nex 24/7, I'd prefer having my Nex with a small lens mounted plus another 1-2 (lightweight) lenses that more or less cover my desired focal lengths inside my camera bag, instead of carrying around a small Nex body with just a heavy and long SEL18-200 - just food for thought ;)
    IMHO, the first thing you need to figure out is at what focal lengths you find your self shooting most of the time and take it from there ;) For example, I myself don't shoot wide thus I don't mind not having a wider than 24-28mm lens
  3. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    I'm surprised you didn't list the most obvious choice for a travel zoom lens if you have some money to spend - the Sony Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 (SEL1670Z). It's a good quality lens, smaller and lighter than the 18-200s and the 24-70, much higher quality than any kit zoom and great range.

    The only reason I could think of why someone would not choose this lens over the others is if you need more range - but in that case, the Sony 70-200 f/4 G OSS is the only choice anyway, so there's at least no focal length gap. The 18-200s are okay-ish, but I wouldn't want to use them as a main travel lens.
  4. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    If I were to do it all over again sticking within the APS-C system, I'd get the 10-18/4, 35/1.8 and the 55-210. The CZ16-70/4 would make a good travel zoom too, definitely.
  5. hoosiergrad02

    hoosiergrad02 New to TalkEmount

    Mar 10, 2014
    Thank you to everyone for responding. Your comments are helpful and appreciated. Let me address each of you individually.

    1) NickCyprus... Your setup is similar to my current setup, except for the fact I don't have a zoom greater than 55mm. For me to match your setup, I would probably need the Sony SEL 55-200 lens. However, I just want to carry two lenses: 1) My future go to all in one travel lens and 2) My current Sony SEL 50f1.8 portrait lens. I should have mentioned this earlier, I don't like having multiple lenses in travel/street photography where timing can be everything and switching lenses on the fly can make you lose your shot.

    2. Poki... The Sony lens you mention would probably be the ultimate lens to meet my needs, however it is out of my price range at $1000. I want to buy a lens new or used at no more than $500. The Sony 70-200 means I need to carry a third lens (<70) and I don't want to get into switch lenses back and forth during my street/travel photography.

    3. Quezra... All lenses you mentioned are top of their respective category. It's just the price and carrying multiple lenses that keep me away.

    Considering my needs and price constraints, I look at this two ways.
    1) Ideal situation and reality. Ideally, I'd like to wait to find a used Sony SEL 18-200 to comedown from $800 to $500. Living in Bangkok, I don't know if that will happen as most used lenses (i.e. Craigslist, local shop) are full frame legacy brands.
    2)Reality, I'll probably go with the Sony SEL 18-105 new (easy to get) once it drops below $500. Currently selling for $600 I believe.

    One question I do have is what do you three or other members who haven't commented think of my option 6 from my post one?
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Ah, okay, I thought you had the budget because you mentioned the Sony FE 24-70 as one of your options (that one is around €1200) - turns out you meant the Sony FE 28-70.

    As for your question - I would avoid the adapter. The E-Mount 18-105 has better IQ, better build quality and OSS - a very important feature when you consider the focal length and slow aperture. And most important: It's faster - by a full stop at 105mm. Also, it should be smaller and lighter then the adapted combo (didn't check that however).