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Lens Recommendation

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I just bought the a600 and am looking for a better lens for portraits in particular, but as in general. I am underwhelmed by the 3.5-5.6 lens that came with the camera. I have a wide angle prime lens for my Nikon that was great for portraits, but the fixed nature of the lens is obviously limiting. I’m not a professional, so I’m really looking for one lens that could serve relatively well for low light, portrait and for everything else. I’m open to spending about $1,000 so long as it can mostly serve as my all around lens. I also love how small and light the Sony is compared to my Nikon, so would like to keep the bulk down if possible. Suggestions would be appreciated!


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On 4/1/2019 at 4:03 PM, Donielle said:

I am underwhelmed by the 3.5-5.6 lens that came with the camera. 

Do you have the 16-50, 18-55 or 18-135 f/3.5-5.6?

I guess for your purposes I'd recommend the 18-135 but it's still not a lowlight monster. The 18-105 f/4 is slightly faster at the long end but is also slightly bigger when not in use (it doesn't extend when zooming). For the price I'd advise against the Sony/Zeiss 16-70 f/4, which performs similar to the 18-105 f/4 at a 50% higher price.

There are no other fast native zoom lenses for the a6000 unless you resort to bulky and pricey fullframe lenses.

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Generally, for portrait is still better 50mm f18 with smooth bokeh, may try with 35mm f18 for portraits and good for some purposes street photgraphy). the common difference result for these two is for 50mm you may capture half body but, with 35mm, you may get full body. Another good choice is 18105 f4 all good in one hand, from wide to tele, good for travelling, shooting portraits with this, may get good bokeh with 105mm zoom.

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The 50mm f1.8 is a stunning lens and delivers superb IQ, it will be a good lens for general work as well as for portraits in smaller areas where space is tight.  The Sony 85mm f1.8 is an incredible portrait lens at an affordable price and is almost on par IQ wise with the Batis.

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I guess I do in-a-way portrait photography! I am mostly photographing  musicians at South-Indian classical music concerts. The f1.8 is the lens mostly on my camera (SEL50F1.8: I think there is a full-frame, non-OSS one too).  Another thing to say about that lens is that it is nice and light-weight.

I have a 90mm manual lens that I use when I want to get closer in, and I'm probably getting the Sony 85 soon.

Remember the crop factor. That 50 is not so good when you want to capture a group, unless you are clear to take a quick walk backwards. It is not even wide enough to capture all three of the musicians on stage from my usual seat about 15 feet away.

For an informal post-concert family group, yesterday, I needed to do a quick change to my Sigma 30/1.4, which is also the lens I keep on the camera at home for cat snaps, around the garden, etc. Not only is it much more like a "standard" lens, but it also has a much smaller minimum-focus distance.

Edited by Thad E Ginathom
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  • Posts

    • I was very confused by the information on that site. Anyway, thanks again for the insight.
    • Cropping is what I was thinking. Mainly for wildlife or sports. So it's really coming down to the a7iii, a7riii, or a7iv. All those have larger pixels than the Sony a6500 which as I understand, will provide better dynamic range and less noise. The Sony a7riv and a7rv both have smaller pixels than the a6500, although the sensor is backlit. Not sure what difference that makes over the a6500. Anyway, thanks for the input again!
    • On pixel level the a6500 will be pretty similar to the A7Riv, so you'll be disappointed by the ISO performance of the R-series cameras when pixel peeping. However, it has 2.5 times as many pixels so when printed/viewed at the same size, the noise in the picture from the R series camera is averaged over 2.5 times as many pixels, much reducing the 'perceived noise' on image level. This is the reason why all same generation fullframe cameras provide similar 'perceived noise' when viewing an image at a fixed size, whether the camera has 12, 33 or 62 MP: the pixels from the higher MP camera are noisier but the noise is averaged over a larger number of pixels in the eye (actually, brain) of the beholder. Only buy the higher MP camera if you actually need all those pixels (e.g. print larger, crop more).
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