Off Brand Zoom Lenses

Randy Jennings

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May 18, 2013
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Has anyone tried any of the "off brand" zoom lenses that sell on places like Amazaon (less than $200) ? My largest zoom lenses I have now goes to 300, and I would like one with more zoom ability. I know you get what you pay for. I know the aperture numbers are high on all zoom lenses of this length (and especially the cheap ones). I know you probably need a tripod to support the lens. I have all Nikon lenses now, but have used Sigma before and was happy. What are your thoughts on these lenses if you have used them?
 

Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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Mos Isley Space Port
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Has anyone tried any of the "off brand" zoom lenses that sell on places like Amazaon (less than $200) ? My largest zoom lenses I have now goes to 300, and I would like one with more zoom ability. I know you get what you pay for. I know the aperture numbers are high on all zoom lenses of this length (and especially the cheap ones). I know you probably need a tripod to support the lens. I have all Nikon lenses now, but have used Sigma before and was happy. What are your thoughts on these lenses if you have used them?
I no longer use cameras with interchangeable lenses for several reasons, but when I did, I always went to independent, online reviews to check first. Sigma and others have made some really good lenses in the past, but sharpness would vary from lens to lens and manufacturer to manufacturer. As you likely know, sharpness and brightness is very important with low light /storms. Some are sharp in the wide range, but suck greatly after about 150mm, or shut down to f5.6 or worse as you zoom in.
 
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Randy Jennings

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May 18, 2013
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Thanks @Warren Faidley for your comments. I find it hard to find quality reviews of the cheap lenses, as the repeatable places typically only review the higher end stuff. Guess I will see if a see a pattern in the random reviews. What I struggle with here is the low light storm environment. I realize then even brand name lenses are not likely to give me great results in low light at those long distance focal lengths, so I am wondering about the trade off of price vs. performance. I am as much interested in using it to see things better at distance as I am for photographs. I started out thinking about getting a good pair of binoculars, but then I thought that a longer zoom lens would give me the added ability to take a photo of what I saw. Part of my says that for less than $200 why not give it a try. The other part of me says I should just buy a pair of good binoculars.
 
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Drew Terril

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I've had decent results out of Tamron lenses over the years, but I don't have any of their newer stuff. I've been needing to upgrade for many of the same reasons you are (except it's the race track where I need better zoom), but I haven't had a chance to really do a ton of research on it.
 

Warren Faidley

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May 7, 2006
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There are a lot of good "bridge" cameras on the market right now with excellent optical zooms. The Sony DSC-RX10 IV is a good example. The f2.4-4 - 24-600 lens is scary sharp and bright. The biggest advantage is that you don't need to buy a set of lenses. They are expensive right now, but every time a new model is released, the prices drop quite a lot. For chasing, they are fantastic. You don't need to change lenses in the middle of an event. Just make double sure to read the reviews for specific cameras. Some have very poor sharpness once you zoom out.
 
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Reactions: Ethan Schisler
Aug 9, 2012
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If you have an edu account on B&H you can get a Sony DSC-RX10 IV for 16% off right now (originally 1698 and now 1428.70). Just a heads up for anyone on here that is either A) going to school B) works for a school or C) has another affiliation with an educational department. It is super easy to sign up for and you are usually authorized within minutes if you meet the criteria. I highly recommend it. You can save a load on camera gear usually around the holidays as the deals stack when they go on sale.

**Should note that Adorama does this same thing as well. Although I will warn you that you can't cash in on their "rewards program" points if you choose to buy edu**