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a-mount 600mm lens help please.


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Really LONG A-mount (or E-mount) lenses can be hard to find and will be expensive, large and heavy -- whether zoom or fixed.

For really long work, you might want to look at non-A-mount lenses.  They are, of course, non-auto-focusing, but are easy to find and much less expensive.  They can be found in refractive or reflexive models up to 2000mm -- and you will need an adapter.

I have a Honeywell 1250mm f10 that I got for $100.

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Sigma and Tamron both do zooms that reach 600mm at around £1000 give or take £100 - significantly cheaper than a Sony lens. They generally receive good reviews from wildlife photographers.

Used, these can be picked up in good- excellent condition between £500 -£800, but don't come up very often, I guess people who have invested in this level of lens are less likely to up grade.

%00mm is much easier to find 2nd hand and new.

In Britain we have a number of excellent camera shops that sometimes get used BIG lenses in, or MPB who specialise in used equipment - I'm afraid it's a case of keep on browsing.

Personally, I use a Sigma 170-500mm APO if I specifically go looking for wildlife, or my Minolta 500mm mirror lens if I'm out in the countryside and might take landscapes or wildlife. (The mirror lens has a fixed aperture of f8 - but is my lightest lens, whereas my 170-500mm is my heaviest lens)

Have you thought of a 1.4x or 2x converter?

Edited by thebeardedgroundsman
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  • 2 months later...

I wanted to move into wildlife photography but was unsure on the level of investment given I only have an A58 A Mount. I managed to get a Tamron ultrasonic silent drive 150mm to 600mm but struggling a bit to understand it.

When you search around you will see people struggling with autofocus at the longer end and this is my experience so far. Manual focus is fine. If you go for the Tamron you may get confused with the VC tag (vibration control) - when you get into it this feature is only for non Sony as the Sony version allegedly handles this. My question is whether the A58 is up to the job or not. I may want to go A99 but will have to try and find users with experience of this set up.

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I don't know the a58 but I use and A68 and an A99.

The A58 has 20 meg sensor whereas the two bodies I use both have 24.

For Wildlife, I use the A68 as the APS-C sensor gives more reach than the full-frame on the A99. So my 70-400mm is equivalent to about 100-600mm when mounted on the A68.

It is possible to go into APS-C mode on the A99 - but this reduces the megapixels.

This means that in mega pixel terms your A58 is probably a better bet than the A99 - when wanting maximum reach. (There are many other factors that I prefer on the A99 - but I use that for landscapes etc.

I see that your A58 has less focussing points than my A68, but for wildlife I use the centre spot only, so I don't see that your A58 is at a disadvantage.

A cheaper way to add reach is with a teleconverter - but tases don't have autofocus capabilities until you get more modern bodies like the A99 ii and then with the later G lenses.

The cheapest AF "long" lens I have, is the Minolta (or Sony)500mm reflex - but this has a fixed aperture of f/8 and some people complain of "Doughnutting" which I have not yet noticed, and image quality may not be as nice as some of the expensive long lenses.

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I wanted to move into wildlife photography but was unsure on the level of investment given I only have an A58 A Mount. I managed to get a Tamron ultrasonic silent drive 150mm to 600mm but struggling a bit to understand it.

When you search around you will see people struggling with autofocus at the longer end and this is my experience so far. Manual focus is fine. If you go for the Tamron you may get confused with the VC tag (vibration control) - when you get into it this feature is only for non Sony as the Sony version allegedly handles this. My question is whether the A58 is up to the job or not. I may want to go A99 but will have to try and find users with experience of this set up.

Thank you. I dug my old Minolta Dynax 5 out and the Tamron autofocus was working at long length but I simply cannot seem to hold it steady enough to avoid the handshake icon which is preventing me from taking the shot. Now looking for suitable tripod as the ones I have will not take the weight of this Tamron.

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Posted (edited)

For a REALLY long lens -- anything over 400mm, you have to assume that a tripod will be used.  That takes a little bit of getting used to it, but it's no big deal.

After that, to keep things reasonable priced, look at manual focusing lenses.  There are a ton of them and they are as close to free as you can get.  Many have a T-mount, so you need a cheap adapter.

I have a 500mm f8, 650mm f8.5, 800mm f11, and 1250mm f10.5 -- all t-mounts.

They work fine on a tripod in A or M exposure mode -- manually focusing.

They are easy to find and EASY to buy.  Spend thousands on a huge, heavy, auto-everything LD, ED, APO, G, GM, GQ-whatever, wonder zoom -- if you want.  Just don't send me the bill.

Edited by XKAES
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I use a monopod with my long lenses when taking wildlife, as it gives me the freedom to track the bird or animal and is much easier to move about, than a tripod, particularly in the woods.

If you look at the professional Sports photographers, they nearly all use a monopod.

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I managed to find an old Titan tripod when I realised the combined weight of camera and lens was just 3kg. However, I still have the camera shake icon on continuously and yet daylight seems good. In manual mode no problem.

 

will keep trying.....

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Posted (edited)

Some monopods are easy to find and inexpensive.

Some tripods are easy to find and inexpensive.

Some are lighter, some are easier to use, some are less expensive.

I've had several, but whatever you get, it's better than nothing -- and then you can always lean against a tree, put the camera on a fence/tree trunk/car hood/friend's shoulder/bean bag/railing, etc.

I got my Honeywell 1250mm f10.5 (actually it's Celetron C-5) with case for under $100. 

 

Edited by XKAES
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Starting to make progress now by going through menus to check various settings. Shake icon is now off and I have taken photos in autofocus but having to hold the shutter button down for ages sometimes whilst green focus light flashes and then finally takes the picture.  Just off to a bird hide now to use my new skills but will undoubtedly soon be back in manual focus!!

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Posted (edited)

Would it be fair to say that most wildlife shots are either at a focus of infinity or focussed on a fixed position (waiting for the animal/bird to arrive) or focussed on a stationary subject.

If so, tenth skill of using manual focus is not too difficult to learn. If taking photos requiring quick and accurate focussing then the skill takes a lot of practice - which is why a good fast autofocus has become desirable.

The visual highlighting of in focus edges (peaking level), I find is a great help with manual focussing and reassuring. Manual also means no unexpected "hunting" - less common with the latest eye focus etc. you find on the recent mirrorless cameras.

As an A-mount owner, I often find myself switching to manual focus when trees etc interrupt my autofocus.

Edited by thebeardedgroundsman
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Posted (edited)

Focusing on moving subjects with long lenses is difficult -- with or without "auto-focus".

That's why "practice makes perfect", and "luck is your best friend".

Remember the Hindenburg -- check it out -- there was no auto ANYTHING in that case!

Edited by XKAES
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  • 1 month later...

Found the problem with the Tamron 150 to 600mm lens - sticking aperture lever. Had it fixed and autofocus working fine. Totally different experience now - I was getting a little disillusioned with the situation. Also had camera cleaned for good measure.

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