rocco, kavey, tash, others: new Sigma lens

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Jul 7th, 2005, 08:38 AM
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rocco, kavey, tash, others: new Sigma lens

Sorry to start a new thread, but I was worried folks might be tired of the other lens related chats. I was researching lenses and saw this one posted on Adormama: It's new and not ready for shipping yet: Sigma 18-200 mm,3.5-6.3, Zoom DC. WOuld this be a more versatile lens than Kavey's recommended 18-125? And yes, I do plan to read up on my lenses/photography! This weekend - promise!
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Jul 7th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Don't know and I tend to wait to buy new lenses until there are some reviews from fellow photographers to let me know if it's a reasonable lens or whether it suffers from softness or distortion at one end or some other problem.

Also check weight and size too, if those are relevant to you. They are for me but not for everyone.

Don't forget that 18-125 on a small sensor digital SLR is equivalent to 27 to 200mm on a regular 35mm camera so it's a pretty good range already...
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Jul 7th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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For feedback from other photographers on the question we were discussing (bodies vs. lenses for beginners) check out the following thread on dpreview:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=14154764

Some very interesting replies, including some recommendations on specific lenses and a balanced discussion of the tradeoffs involved. Some specific recommendations and discussion of Sigma lenses too. That's good because I don't really have any experience with these lenses.

If you also search the forums at dpreview, there are lots of discussion about all of these systems and lenses. A real resource for photographers at any level! And of course, the fredmiranda website is another must-visit.
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Jul 7th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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If that thread is referring to the discussions here then it's completely inaccurate in the two camps of opinion.

It points to one opinion that beginners should spend the money on a better body and basic lenses and another that says buy top lenses and basic body.

What I've been suggesting is that, assuming the beginner in question has already decided for sure that they need an SLR rather than a non SLR camera, then they should not jump into an expensive body OR lenses. Neither are necessary until one's level of experience justifies them.

I'm actually 100% agreed that good quality lenses are a much better investment than the top body available at the time as bodies become obsolete whereas lenses last and last. And hold their value.

The scenario I'm talking about is the difference between a beginner buying whatever body they choose plus two reasonably good and reasonably priced lenses and that same beginner buying the same body plus the very best lenses available on the market.

If that beginner is the person I was talking about, the person who is not yet familiar with photography in general, with exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, composition, focal point and so forth, that's the person I think won't benefit from the expensive glass. But I wouldn't recommend they spend money on the better body either. I'd recommend they buy a lower priced body AND lower priced lenses and invest in classes and other teaching materials and PRACTICE time and those things would improve their results far more than fancy lenses or bodies.

For those who are already keen photographers and are simply upgraded from film to digital SLRs my advice would be (and has been) different - go for the quality of glass that you can afford - if you're at a reasonable level then you'll notice the difference.

I'm just narked as I get the feeling that thread is referring to discussions here and missing the point of the differences of opinion.

It's NOT one camp saying spend more money on body and not on lenses and the other saying more on lenses nad not on body.

I don't think anyone would advise stretching the budget for body rather than lenses - it makes no sense.
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Jul 7th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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Sorry...I don't think that is what this thread said...and that is not why I referred to it here.
I posted the thread because some of the posters had experience and advice about various Sigma lenses...as well as some Tamron choices that they liked in specific ranges. And no one here had talked about Tamron. Also because this discussion did presume that (1) the buyer was a keen novice (2) wanted to photograph wildlife and (3) had to make budget tradeoffs. So I thought it was relevant, if not precisely on target.

Also because there were some interesting comments on what you can reasonably demand of a zoom lens (zooms with a relatively narrow range of zoom, like 28-75...vs. something like 18-200. also specific comments on what part of those zoom ranges were useful, and at what aperture setting... for specific lenses. Finally, because some of them pointed to other comparisons that one might use to distinguish between lense within the same range. And because some of these folks seem to have actually used a pretty wide array of equipment.

I found one of (longer posts) particularly interesting in that he says that although he is a very experienced photographer, he has found that higher end lenses, matched with a camera like a 20D delivered better photos in the hands of novices (like his kids) because they didn't have to know anything about the work-around things or limits that one must know to get the most out of less expensive zoom lenses. So yes, most of the camera system is "wasted" on the novice, and they won't learn how to be a better photographer, but did deliver better results for them. If money is not the constraining factor, an you just want good photos on your safari, maybe this is the way to go for some people. (Remember: it's not what I recommended either!)

Finally, I thought this might spur some of the people making tough photo choices to visit the forums at dpreview and fredmiranda, which I think could be very helpful. There are wildlife photographers there too. One poster put a particularly long and thoughtful discussion down about choices for this, and I believe many of his recommendations were less expensive tamron and sigma lenses...

Since we spend so much time talking photography these days, I thought a link to other discussions and resources would help...

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Jul 8th, 2005, 01:07 AM
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Wasn't criticising the link - I think dpreview is an excellent resource and there is as you say some excellent info in those posts!

I think that photographer's example is interesting - where he says he can give the camera to his kids and they'll use it on auto and be fine. That's certainly true... these days the automatic features are so well designed that one can get good results on nothing but auto.

I wonder though if he were recommending a camera system for his wife and kids, or someone like them, in a situation where he or their family member didn't already posess that 20D and those expensive lenses, whether he'd recommend spending that kind of money for those users rather than something else? Just curious.

BTW I have always read excellent things about Tamron lenses and often it's been a choice between a Tamron and one other lens. It's just coincidence that I don't have one really. I recall one time I couldn't decide between a particular Tamron and Sigma and in the end it came down to £20 difference in price as all else was equal that I could see and read about!

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Jul 8th, 2005, 05:15 AM
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Thanks again for thoughts/discussion. I can see that we all feel pretty passionately but good debate is always interesting and helpful in the end. Tash - I will look at the thread when I have more time but my lord, I could have been the poster, it so closely resembles my questions and dilemmas! I have looked at DPreview extensively - it's how I came down my camera choices. (Though obviously the final choice hasn't yet been made.) ;-)
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Jul 8th, 2005, 05:17 AM
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I should add that I have not spent much time at all in the DPreview discussion area, though.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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cooncat - I wonder how soon that lens will be released. I looked for reviews and couldn't find much. I did find this statement - "The June isuue of Practical Photography has short reviews of both the Sigma & Tamron 18-200 lenses; the sigma comes out on top..." at this site
http://www.dcmag.co.uk/forum/forumme...98514328186310

So if you want first hand info on this lens you may have to wait awhile. I thought they always let some pros test their lenses for reviews before releases but I guess not.

You are getting some passionate responses here. Mine aren't all that passionate because I believe there is more than one way to do things. I went from P&S to the best prosumer DSLR on the market and L glass. Then I took classes and learned how to use it all. It worked for me and I don't regret my decision nor the money I spent. That's certainly not the choice for everyone but it's not my place to lecture everyone on what equipment to buy and when they should buy it. If you want L glass, buy it. You don't have to be a pro to buy those lenses. If you don't want to spend that much money - then don't. If your pictures don't turn out like you expect that just means you have to plan another trip and work on your photography until then! I'm going again just to get better pictures. I love the ones I have but want more.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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I think I'm passionate about this because I hate to see people getting the impression that their results will be so much better if only they have x, y or z equipment and then getting ever so disappointed when they aren't and then regretting spending so much money.

There are many ways to do things, that's true. I just think too much emphasis is being put on equipment rather than learning how to use it and learning how to SEE.

That said, I think I'll bow out of all future photographic threads. At the end of the day, it's not my money that's often being wasted and if people FEEL better because they have this or that equipment, who am I to say otherwise.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Kavey - I couldn't agree more. I've understood from the very beginning and in the various photo threads exactly what you have been saying. Holding a scalpel in my hand doesn't make me a brain surgeon. The only reason I keep asking questions, is because it truly is a predicament for me in terms of the money. I'm not a person to go out and buy all the latest and best gadgets just because everyone else is doing it. I do not have cable TV nor do I own a cell pohone! ;-)
I just want my money to be well-spent, and as a newbie to digital, I want to know what works for everyone. In the end, of course it is my decision. As it happens, I was just looking at your Africa photos again before I saw this updated thread. I still think they are fabulous and what I aspire to.

I enjoy hearing about what all the photo buffs here have to say, but at the end of the day, I don't see myself buying L glass. For me, the issue is focal length, and which two lenses make the most sense for travel as well as general use. The camera body also is a predicament at this point for me. Please do not bow out of these discussions. If you do, just know that I've truly appreciated your feedback.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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Cooncat, I have found all your questions very rational and well informed and have never held the impression that you are the kind of person who will go out and spend money for the sake of it. That's partly why I want to put the opinion forward that, for those who do not have unlimited budgets, there are other options that are good, especially given all the other things that input into good results. I want your money to be well spent too!

And nor do I think L glass is the wrong choice for everyone if people are either already familiar enough with SLRs and their operations plus with general good practice... OR are willing to invest the time and effort into learning about them effectively, such as sundowner, who understood that the equipment was only one side of the equation but ensured that she didn't neglect the other.

I guess if people have unlimited money for equipment they too may as well buy that L glass.

I do try to answer the questions according the priorities stated (such as what the budget is, what the existing experiences and knowledge are, what the equipment will primarily be used for) and just get fed up with advice that seems not to take those into account and is just a blanket (this is better or that is better).

Really, it's not worth getting into arguments over so it's perhaps better that I simply bow out.

You are always welcome to email me if you feel I can offer any further help.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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Thanks Kavey - I very well may do that! Talk to you on the other threads!

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Jul 8th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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Kavey - I appreciate your passion and enjoy reading your posts and agree with just about everything you say. I also love your photographs. Your images of Namibia just make me long to see the dunes and capture even a portion of the beauty that you have.

But I believe there is more than one way to enter the photography field. And it doesn't hurt anything to read more than one opinion here. More than one point of view doesn't make one right and one wrong. You have made your point quite clear and a person would have to be pretty dense to not "get it". No, you cannot throw money at a camera or lens and expect your photographs to be good because of the equipment. And no, you don't need to buy good equipment but it isn't "wrong" for a person to start out with good equipment and that seems to be what you are saying.

I'm sorry if I said something that was offensive and I certainly did not want to end the discussions.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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I am not in any way shape or form saying it's wrong to spend money on better equipment and if you have read ALL my posts on camera advice rather than only one or two, then you'll see that I'm also not suggesting for a second that there is only one path to follow - infact if you read the long thread that Rocco first started before deciding to go the SLR route you'll see I advocated a number of paths depending on requirements. The thing that makes me cross is where the advice given doesn't seem to take account of the specific requirements stated by the person asking for advice. It just says, this is better, or that is better. That kind of advice is seldom applicable as it fails to consider the actual situation the person is in.

My decision to bow out of these discussions is a) not based on anything you have said previously but IS based on this kind of complete misinterpretation of what I have been saying.
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Jul 8th, 2005, 11:27 AM
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Kavey,

I hope that I did not misunderstand cooncat's questions...and I do think I understand where you are coming from, and I agree with nearly everything you have said. But its not really fair to accuse others (me?) of not paying attention to the posters questions or stated limits. I may have misunderstood, but I really tried to pay attention.

Perhaps you didn't see the post (buried in another thread) where I answered cooncat's question in much the same manner, about what is appropriate for most beginners (because even beginners are not the same, with respect to their interest level, time investment and budget) But cooncat corrcted me, and answered that (1) she had studied photojournalism in college, (2) she loved darkroom work (3) she was looking at investing more time again in photography as a serious hobby and (4) she appeared to have a somewhat flexible budget, though she didn't want to overspend. She qualified her previous statements to say she was new to digital (hence the interest in point and shoot digitals) BUT NOT NEW TO film photography.

She also said, when faced with the 20D vs. Rebel that she just liked the 20D better, and she definitely wanted to buy quality that would last. Fair enough, I understand that... but if she felt that way about a camera. I assumed that she might well change her mind about some of her lense choices too, if she had a comparable opportunity to compare them side by side.

All I advised was that she (1) consider a wide range of lenses (2) do lots of research, including on photography boards and (3) consider the longterm costs and savings as well as the shortterm costs in her evaluation and (4)try to find a way to test lenses before buying them (either by renting equipment or taking her camera body to a shop and testing lenses there) .

It's funny...most people can choose what cameras their hands prefer, and it's an easy choice to make in a shop. And that's fine, because at this level, it is difficult to make a bad choice...and there will be a new generation of cameras out that will supercede our present choices in a couple years anyway. But it is much more difficult to evaluate lenses, so we often rely on advice from people who may be very different than we are. It's difficult to really see what a lense can do, and it requires some work. Difficult, but not impossible...all I was suggesting was that she look over the full range of lenses as well as she looked over the camera choices.

I think we've pretty much beaten this to death, and perhaps it is better to just recommend the major photography forums which have a very rich vein to mine regarding equipment.

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Jul 8th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Just one last thing here! I don't feel as though anyone misinterpreted my questions, needs, etc., and I truly value everything everyone has said about lenses, photography, etc. I love to hear all sides of issues, ideas, experiences, so that I can have guidelines for when I look at this stuff in the camera shops, etc. Truly - I never meant for anything to grow into an argument or to cause hard feelings. Because I want to ensure that I have decent equipment when I go to Africa, I started tagging on to Rocco's thread, and then started my own, to hear about your experiences, preferences...OK we are beating a dead horse and I know that everyone here is still friends and we will continue to post on Africa and other travels! I will be looking at DPreview and other camera sites but I will let everyone know what I decided to buy!
Peace and love,
SHaron
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Jul 8th, 2005, 01:05 PM
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Tashak, to keep it brief, I have found all your postings well considered and spot on. As I said, I'm no longer posting on this subject.
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Jul 9th, 2005, 05:41 AM
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I thought this site was about Africa. There are hundreds of resources available to people who want to buy lenses and cameras. There are just as many offering advice on how to use the equipment.
I am a keen photographer, but some of these lengthy camera threads I feel are detracting from what the site is supposed to be about - the wonderful continent of Africa.
Let's have more trip reports, suggestions for exploring the continent and yes, more trip photo albums!!
There, I feel better getting that off my chest.
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Jul 10th, 2005, 01:58 AM
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Yes I love those too and will be doing my best to stick to your advice.
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