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Alpha kit lens and lens in general

debraann 13 19 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2010 11:01AM
Afternoon Everyone.

I had a sony a200 it broke so replaced with sony A500 as I had a zoom lens as well as kit lens.

I was wondering how many people have kit lens and the basic zoom lens SAL 75-300, if you have have you any portrait piccies posted on here as I am just wondering on the quality of other peoples piccies.. do you also sharpen in Photoshop if u use the kit lens?

I find it hard to take pictures of my grandson and now granddaughter and trying to get a good focus on the eyes. I have tried spot focus and center weight and use center weight for metering.

What is the best settings to use for kit lens and to get a decen sharp focus. I also try and use unsharp mask but unsure on a good setting.

I will eventuall get new lens but dont want to buy in Thailand would sooner by when I get to uk next year, I was thinking about a macro as I also like doing close up and was thinking of sigma between 100 to 180 macro. I think I have in the past asked about lenses and cant remember the replies as it was ages ago, well last year I think.

Thanks in advance


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alianar 8 82 2 England
3 Sep 2010 2:50PM
hi i have a sony a450 and the 18-55mm and the tamron 70-300mm i use wide af and automatic AF most times and i dont have any problems Smile
6 Sep 2010 6:06PM

I have the A500 with 18-55 & 55-200 lenses. Have a look at my gallery pics. All were taken with this kit except the guy with the dog.

I love the camera, the lenses are sharp enough for me, and, importantly, light in weight.

Photogeek 13 605 6 Wales
6 Sep 2010 6:45PM
As I said Last year, the Older Minolta lenses are superb, and knock spots of the Sony versions . . . they also feel better quality . . . unfortunately that equates to weight. Depending on what you like doing close up work on . . . if it's insects then a longer focal length macro is preferable as you have a greater working distance than a 100 / 50mm. The Sigma EX macros are great quality . . . not quite up to the standard of the Marque lenses, but it becomes a case of diminishing returns . . . or a vicious circle where you get a better lens to match the body . . . which shows the faults in the body . . . . so you need a better lens . . . .

Even with my older 85mm f2 Minolta lens which is viciously sharp, I always need to USM in photoshop . . . how much depends on the size of the image . . . .Resize to final size then if its around 800-1000px then I go for something like 98/.7/1.2 for full size images at A3 or greater then it can be as much as 120/1.5/1 . . . Also do it selectively . . . if it's blurred in the original image then USM will not make it sharper.
Thincat 11 616
7 Sep 2010 2:49PM
I've got an A700 which came with the Zeiss 16-80 lens, but my previous camera was a KM 5D which had the KM 18-70 kit lens (which is the same as the Sony 18-70 kit lens). The kit lenses are obviously cheap and this shows in their build quality and their smaller apertures, but when used within their limitations they should deliver excellent quality - even on 14Mp APS-C cameras. I found the main difference between the Zeiss and the KM kit lens was that the kit lens needed stopping down to f8 (or preferably f11) to get good sharp pictures, but the Zeiss is pretty good wide open. I imagine the same is true for the Sony 75-300mm. It's not going to give you sharp images when wide open and will need stopping down - you need to experiment to see where it works best. I use some old Minolta lenses (e.g. 300mm f2.8 and f4) and these can give sharp pictures on max aperture, but that's the difference between a cheap lens and an expensive one. The thing is that you may not need to use full aperture (except in bad light or extreme telephoto) so cheaper lenses can work well when stopped down.

For macro I'd recommend something like a Minolta 100mm f2.8 (or the Sony equivalent) or possibly the Tamron 180mm. They're all excellent. I got my Minolta from the USA a few years ago and it was 280 new with all taxes, but those days are gone unfortunately.

I'd go along with what Photogeek says about sharpening. That's roughly what I've been using in PS when I shoot JPEG. Lately I've been shooting RAW and using the Sony provided software (IDC and PMB). IDC is interesting in that it's completely different from most other sharpening software - I don't think anybody actually understands it. I've been setting the camera to all camera controls on neutral (no sharpening/contrast/noise, etc correction at all) and using IDC alone to get the result I want, and it looks promising. I set threshold to -100 and then adjust the overshoot/undershoot and amount to get the result I want. It's not like PS in that it REFUSES to oversharpen but you can get some pleasing results, and the "tone curve" software is good too.


On thing that's important is to do sharpening AFTER you do the resizing. It's tempting to get the picture looking right and then resize it for the EPS gallery (or wherever) but that renders all the sharpening parameters invalid and doesn't work too well - but you probably know this. The other thing is to avoid saving JPEG images more than once as it's a "lossy" format and the image gradually degrades - you probably know this too. With RAW and TIFF you can mess around all you like and it doesn't degrade.
bones101 7 1 United Kingdom
19 Apr 2011 8:13AM
I bought the a500 in November 2010 and took it back for replacement due to the images also being too soft. I swapped this for the same model in Jessops and have not had a problem with the new camera. I have seen on other photography review sites that there seems to be some rogue a500's out there that suffer with this soft focus problem. I went for the Tamron 70 - 300mm lens at a knock down price, and wasn't expecting much in the way of performance, but this has not dissapointed me so far. The only shortfall I can see with it is focus hunting in low light. This is my first DSLR and think it has the best features for the money. Due to the size, it even looks professional too. All in all Debra, it should still be under guarentee, so take it back and complain if you are not happy. If I hadn't done, I would still be unhappy about the original camera and would not enjoy my hobby as much as I do.

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