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Thread: Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

  1. #1
    Mario Xavier's Avatar
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    Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

    I am positive that my camera tops everything I've purchased in 2010. I love it. If I could do it all over again I would with less hesitation. I love learning it and I've taken hundreds of pictures in the process.

    I like to think I am ready to upgrade my lens but I haven't found that I like any one type of photography over another. I'm perfectly content, happy even, with taking my camera everywhere to capture whatever whenever however I feel like it. Be it up close, far away, scenic, city, daytime, nightime, people, places, things, .etc.

    Am I rushing? Maybe. Ok, Yes.

    I just want a little utility or flexibility until the day I find my sweetspot. Is there a lens that I can upgrade to that would fit my whims?

    Camera: Sony Alpha a33
    Last edited by Mario Xavier; 31st December 2010 at 12:22 AM. Reason: adding camera info

  2. #2

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    Re: Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

    Hi Xavier,

    My first thought though was "why limit yourself to just one lens"? How about getting something that compliments the focal length of what you're already have? What lens DO you already have?

  3. #3
    Mario Xavier's Avatar
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    Re: Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Xavier,

    My first thought though was "why limit yourself to just one lens"? How about getting something that compliments the focal length of what you're already have? What lens DO you already have?
    Just the one that came with the camera:
    •Lens Mount Type : DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6
    Last edited by Mario Xavier; 31st December 2010 at 01:36 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

    That's a pretty typical range for a kit lens, so perhaps a zoom with some longer focal lengths for portraiture / street / walk-about type shooting. Sorry, but I don't know the Sony lens range

  5. #5
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

    Not a Sony shooter,but you might check out the DT 18-250 f/3.5 - 6.3. Decent price and you get a wide range of FLs.
    Last edited by Jim B.; 31st December 2010 at 02:55 AM.

  6. #6
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Lens upgrade when my niche is unknown

    I'm with Colin--don't think so much about replacing the kit lens (particularly if you're happy with it) so much as adding to it with different types of lenses. I tend to make the analogy that a dSLR is like a big red tool box. A lot of folks want to upgrade their kit lens, but I think of that as having a toolbox with just a hammer in it and then looking for a shinier hammer right away. I'd prefer adding a power screwdriver and some wrenches, first. The whole fun of an SLR is that you can swap lenses.

    While you don't have a niche, yet, what you might want to ask yourself is when does the 18-55 frustrate you and make you want to upgrade? Is it when you can't get close enough? When the light is low? When you have to stand too far back? When you're trying to capture something that's moving? When you're trying to travel light? These kinds of questions can then be translated to specific lens features like focal length, max. aperture, VR, AF-S and prime vs. zoom. You also want to work out a budget ahead of time, so you'll know whether or not to pay attention to those who tell you to get only the Zeiss ZA lenses.

    The two most typical lenses a newbie adds to expand functionality are a low-cost telephoto zoom of some kind (something with a longer focal length, like a 75-300 or 55-200), and a low-cost fast prime (e.g., 35/1.8 or 50/1.8). The first will expand your zoom range, the latter your max. aperture. However, if you know you're going to use either one heavily, you may want to hold out for a higher-cost/quality lens.

    The max. aperture thing is worth learning about. There's a reason a lens is described with both the focal length and the max. aperture.

    Super zooms, like an 18-200 are also thrown out often as a recommendation, but they tend to be more expensive, slow, and have optical compromises to cover the extremely large zoom range. They're very convenient as travel and walkaround lenses, but fulfill more of a "jack of all trades" role.

    If you just want to play with other lenses to see what they're like, you may also want to consider renting instead of buying. These days there are a plethora of online rental places that will ship directly to you, so you don't have to rely on what offerings the local shops have (quite a few will only have Canon/Nikon equipment).

    One note: make sure your basic technique (both shooting and post-processing) is good before you start looking for "better" glass to "improve" your pictures. If all you want is a sharper shot there are a lot of other things that can help you get sharpness that aren't a new lens: a tripod, a flash, software, a book, a class... If your technique isn't solid, whatever problems you may be having with your current gear are probably going to transfer themselves to the new stuff, too.

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