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Sony 55-210 OSS vs Sony 70-350 OSS

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Hello all, 

This is as much a travel question as a lens question.

So I've done the research and the main points are 

  • 350 is sharper, has better contrast, less aberration, incredible zoom
  • the 210 is ~1/4th the cost new and can easily be snagged at 1/6th the cost used in excellent condition
  • 350 has better build quality and weather sealing
  • 210 is half the weight of the 350

I only just bought my A6400, and currently I have just the SEL1670z (16-70 zeiss T*); soon I will be embarking on a few months travelling in South America.

I want a decent zoom for the wildlife I'll encounter in the rainforests. Trouble is this is my first foray into hobbyist photography and I don't have much in the way of experience in focal lengths. I've just never taken pictures with anything above my 16-70 so I'm struggling to gauge whether the 350 is overkill.

The weight I don't think is a big deal. The cost isn't favourable, I could handle it, but picking up a 210 used with guaranty that it's like new at £140 seems almost irresistible. 

So I guess I'm asking, would getting a 70-350 be completely overkill for "maybe I'll encounter some wildlife"? I can't really see myself using such zoom anywhere else, but I don't want to find myself in a once in a lifetime voyage and be thinking the entire time, "I wish I got that extra focal length". 

That said, I don't ever plan on transitioning to full frame, so I'm happy to completely buy into the APS-C ecosystem and one day I will be doing a safari in South Africa. So I guess that's +1 point for "will use it some other time one day in the rest of my life". 

Edited by elliot_7rN4

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Well, you sort of answered your own question.

Rain forrest is dense woodland, not open prairie !

So yes, in dense vegitation, there is no point in a 350 !

You will be within  5 - maybe 10 meters, of anything you might want to photograph

Also.. one point you did not mention... Weather proofing !

In Rain Forrest... it never rains gently..... no, it  hammers down , like god is emptying his bathtub, with a bucket , right on your head !

So, weatherproof lens, or a  readily available waterproof cover, for the whole camera.

Ok, some do come with a clear plastic snoot, so you can take pics, in the deluges.

Good Luck

Oh and take waterproof clothes, like Gore Tex etc !


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Have to agree with Wally. I started photography with an a6000 and the kit lenses (16-50 and 55-210) some 5 years ago, on a trip to South America as well (Patagonia in my case). I'm not much of a wildlife photographer (Google will generally get you much better pictures of the animal you just spotted) but for whatever wildlife I encountered there, the 55-210 served my needs. Anything up to about 20-30 m away will be close enough, unless you want full headshots. I've since bought a lot of lenses and sold the 16-50, but still have the 55-210. It's just too small and light to be replaced by something big and expensive for the very occasional wildlife I shoot. If you experiment a bit more with photography and find the 55-210 to be lacking for your needs, you can always upgrade and sell the 55-210 at hardly any loss.

If you were going on an African safari I might have advised you to get the 70-350 instead as you really need the reach there, but in South America you'll likely have the 16-70 mounted 90% of the time and the 55-210 will be good enough when the occasion is there.

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Ok Thanks, I did note, that you said, in some years, you would like to do an African Safari.

So that gives you time, to save some money, because once you get onto the Veldt , then yes , you will need a  longer zoom.

However, by then, a whole new range of lenses may have turned up.

Good Luck & have a great  time in the rainforrest



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