Looking to expand my range of lenses for my Sony A5100 and wondering on people’s thoughts.
For general travel was planning on getting the Sony 18-135 and for wildlife, the Sony 70-350. I’m also thinking of a Sigma 56 for portraits, but given the 18-135 covers this range would that really be worth it?
Anybody use any of these have any advice/experience or suggestions for alternatives?
Had thought about a upgrading to the A6400 or A6600 but think I might wait and see if Sony release anything new in the next few years.
For what it's worth, I always prefer fixed focal lengths... except for P&S snaps or perhaps with a long tele-lens for animals/birds.
So for portraits, the Sigma seems logical.
That being said, are you sure you shoot that many portraits? You can use the 18-135 for it, albeit I think you won't get a shallow DoF with it (aperture value too big). And another thing with portraits is that the distance stays pretty much constant, so you can easily use a manual focus lens.
Something like Kamlan 50mm/f1.1 would be cheaper and can produce a really shallow DoF. Fun to play with to boost. Provided you can have it in the correct mount (can't remember and that the camera is not FF, but APS-C). And in case the Kamlan does not fit the bill, there are other similar stuff available for peanuts.
I sold mine away, as I'm mostly into video these days and I got the Sirui 50mm/f1.8 anamorphic lens which is far too close...
For the record, I prefer manual focus lenses for street photos as well and even climbing shots. So the non wild-life photos can be often done reasonably easily with a full manual lens. But for the birds etc. fast autofocus would be handy, or so I have gathered. Also as I'm mainly shooting with Panasonic MFT gear, the autofocus is not that stellar. But I did prefer manual focus even before I got MFT stuff.
Thanks. I’m a big fan of the Sony’s AF, one of the reasons I went with that range. But I like you’re point regarding manual focus for portraits. I’ll have a look at the Kamlan.
I love primes for portraits, I’ve heard good things about the sigma 56mm, I did think of getting one for my Olympus.
I have the Sony 50/1.8 for portraits on my A6400 and it’s great, but from the reviews I’ve seen the Sigma is the sharpest lens out there. I’d definitely get a fast prime for portraits. If you’re used to the kit lens or using the 18-135 you’ll be delighted with the difference of shooting at a wide aperture.
The Sony zoom is also very well reviewed and at the moment it’s a toss up between that and the new Sigma 100-400. That would overlap less and give you more reach but it’s huuuge.
> The Sony zoom is also very well reviewed and at the moment it’s a toss up between that and the new Sigma 100-400. That would overlap less and give you more reach but it’s huuuge.
Hadn’t considered overlap. Ta. And yes, it does look somewhat on the large size. I don’t think you’d even notice the A5100 attached to it!
Like said, if you mostly would use the lens for portraits and are fine with manual focus. Then you have a lot of options. Kamlan being one of them. Something like an old Helios 44-2 aka bokeh monster could also be an option.
Do your research and see some reviews of the the suitable lenses. The cheaper ones (e.g. Kamlan) tend to be full manual ones. But optically they are rather good. AF like from the Sigma tends to cost a lot more. And with portraits and such AF is a convenience factor. If you shoot a lot, it makes sense. If only occasionally with well behaving subjects (so no kids), the manual lenses also work. Heck getting a few manual lenses might even work out cheaper than the Sigma.
> If only occasionally with well behaving subjects (so no kids), the manual lenses also work.
You’ve def got me thinking. Although, whilst not kids, most of my subjects would be impatient teenagers. Possibly worse ;-(
Left-field idea but I have been using a Sony RX10 iv for about 18 months now and love it. It is quite a chunky camera but the 24-600mm lens is superb (see below) and no issues with changing lenses and getting crap on the sensor. It is pricey but probably not much more than a body and three lenses!
Once you've zoomed in to 85mm on the 18-135mm you'll get a reasonable background blur at f5.6 for portraits. I guess it depends how many portraits you take. I have a couple of f1.8 lenses and find myself stopping them down anyway for portraits because the DOF is so wafer thin too much of the face is be blurred, I can only imagine f1.4 is even more exaggerated. Perhaps it's personal preference again and you might be after that look.
You could save £300 to spend on going places and taking photos.
18-350mm covers a huge amount of really useful lens sizes, I don't think you'll have any limitations from this setup. The APS-C sensors crop at 1.5x so your widest size is 27mm equivalent, which for me is a little narrow.
Thanks. I also have a Sigma 16 for landscape, which I love. So the zooms are more for reach rather than width. Maybe I should leave the Sigma 56 and see how I get on.
It’s not as if I’m getting out much to take photos anyway.
Thanks. Worth considering. Had a super zoom Panasonic years ago and wasn’t particularly impressed. But the RX10 is definitely a step up.
I also have a Panasonic TZ100 for carrying on routes. I think it has the same sensor as the RX10 but the latter produces markedly better images,
> I also have a Panasonic TZ100 for carrying on routes. I think it has the same sensor as the RX10 but the latter produces markedly better images,
Yeah. That’s what I used to have. I do like the idea of weather sealing and optical stabilisation in the RX10. But not at the expense of going back to a smaller sensor. I was blown away with the images I can get from the A5100. Even with just the kit lens they’re very noticeably superior to the TZ100. With the Sigma 16 landscapes are just so much sharper. Will probably stick with my mirrorless set up for the moment. But thanks for the suggestion none the less.
I’n still gonna say that a kid is worse. Impatient teenager might move around a bit but still stay at roughly the same distance. Where as a kid/toddler will not. Which is Why we let a professional take portraits of the now 3 and 5 year olds.
True. Teenagers may be demanding. But at least they can stand still long enough to take a photo.
Did you choose something?
Yeah. All the suggestions were welcomed but ultimately I went with my original ideas, which was a Sigma 56, Sony 18-135 and 70-350.
Initial impressions are really positive. Although I had hoped the 70-350 would have more reach. I think my dream of the Osprey catching a salmon in Loch Garten shot is somewhat overly ambitious.
Went through e-infinity and saved around £500.
Although I wish I’d also bought an A6400 as I’m really starting to see the need for a viewfinder, I have an A5100. My hope is that in the next couple of years Sony will upgrade the A6000 series again and I’ll grab an upgrade then.
Cool, let me know how the 56mm pans out, hopefully see a few pictures on here 👍
Hopefully 🤞. I’ve never posted any pictures on UKC as when compared to the stars on here mine are merely holiday snaps. Although I did play about with the 56 the other day on the beach and the sharpness of the foreground was stunning, with gorgeous bokeh all the way back. Just need to get out on the hills!!
a 2x converter on the 350 would get that osprey well within range but you might lose autofocus not sure on the sonys) so perhaps something for next years christmas list
Thanks. Food for thought.....
Just checked your pics. Wow! Nothing short of aspiration. Some absolutely gorgeous shots.
Cheers. At a much "lower end" (and with zero forethought, just a whim as I saw a bargain) I upgraded my CSC (entry level NEX F3) to a NEX 6 and although I haven't played with it much, I've found the EVF makes a lovely difference. The main thing, for me (a lovely surprise bonus), is that even with focus peaking I never seemed to get on with manual focus on the NEX F3 (I'd been interested in using old Minolta lenses via an adaptor), but with the EVF I can do it nicely even without peaking. I am going to play around with my old Minolta Rokkor PF lenses, notably a 58mm f/1.4 that gives gorgeous circular bokeh. I don't know WHY it is that an EVF finally enables me to manually focus and why I had such issues with it when using the screen, but hey ho
I'd say upgrade your camera to one of the more current Sony models. There are some big advancements with the newer camera's.
Thanks really appreciate that!
I’m seriously tempted.....I still have a bit of cash, but was hoping to spend that on other stuff. And take some time learning to use what I’ve got before upgrading.
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