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  1. #1
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Non-Junk lenses for under $100?

    Hi, A friend wants to gift her sister a lens on her birthday. The recipient is a beginner and owns an F75 + 50/1.8. Do you have any suggestions for good quality lenses that would fit the budget.

    I solved the quality/price problem in my own case by going for manual focus lenses - but for that I had to dump my N80 for an N90s - this is not an option for her. So, are there any AF lenses that are cheap but not absolute junk - I am not expecting the quality of a 180/2.8 or anything, but not Quantaray zooms either!

    I was thinking of a vivitar 100/3.5 Macro - I used to own this - plastic and fragile but sharp!

    Also maybe one of the 70-300 zooms might be useful.

    Any thoughts on the subject would be welcome.

  2. #2
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Check out this page from Galen Rowell
    http://www.mountainlight.com/rowell/gr_camera_bag.html

    In particular,

    "28–80mm ƒ3.5–5.6 AF-D
    7 oz., $100, and sharp!"

    I think at KEH it is about $50 in bargain condition. Mine is nice, light and a good lens. Not a mark on it, and it was "bargain" grade.

    Matt

  3. #3
    Lachlan Young's Avatar
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    I got a mint condition late serial no. Zuiko 50mm f1.4 for £70 from my local Jessops store (Dundee) about a year ago - it is insanely sharp at all apertures! I would suggest something like a good secondhand Nikkor AF 28mm f2.8 as they are not only very sharp but currently appear to be selling for about $80-$100 on Ebay and elsewhere.

    Good luck with your lens hunting - you never know what you might find!

    Lachlan

  4. #4
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    For $100 or less, IMHO you and she would be better off if you gave her a brick of film, a bottle of HC110 and a daylight tank... The 50mm f/1.8 she already has is probably the best "deal" lens to be had. Chances are any other lens you find that fits the budget (AF) will be the first thing to reach the bin when upgrade time comes around.
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  5. #5
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NikoSperi
    For $100 or less, IMHO you and she would be better off if you gave her a brick of film, a bottle of HC110 and a daylight tank
    I did consider the darkroom setup option - but that is too much like imposing my preferences on her and I don't want to do that.

    I am aware that I won't get a lens worth keeping a lifetime. But that Vivitar 100/3.5 got me into macro photography and even though I sold it when I upgraded to a MF macro lens, I still have fond memories of that piece of fragile plastic. The point here is to get her something which will encourage her to take more pictures, not quite blow Ansel out of the water on sharpness but not dismal either.

  6. #6
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
    The point here is to get her something which will encourage her to take more pictures, not quite blow Ansel out of the water on sharpness but not dismal either.
    Fair enough... 'twas just my preference... based on the very personal experience that there is nothing more discouraging than crappy photos, and sometimes you can blame the gear.

    But hey, I picked up a used 60mm Micro by pure happenstance as my "first" lens, and I love it and have it still. Might stretch the budget a little, but a great way to explore magnification and grizzly portraits.
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

  7. #7
    Sanjay Sen's Avatar
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    I would suggest that you watch eBay - there are good deals to be had if you have a little patience. I got AF 28/2.8 AF about a year back for a little over $100, and it was near mint! I mostly get manual AI/Non-AI glass so my experience with buying AF lenses is limited.

    Good luck with your endeavour!

  8. #8
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    I too would love to find sharper glass at more reasonable prices. I've been using mostly (because I liked the price <slaps forehead>) a Sigma 28-105, which has turned out to be somewhat of a dog. I stopped relying on the lens and camera to autofocus and did the job myself. I found that while I can focus a bit better than the camera, the lens just ain't got it!

    I'm told that Tamron, in some circumstances makes decent glass at reasonable prices, but I've yet to find the model that suits me.

    I've picked up a few Rokkor X lenses which seem promising, but alas my X700's capacitor gave up the ghost; so for now, they sit on the shelf...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
    Hi, A friend wants to gift her sister a lens on her birthday. The recipient is a beginner and owns an F75 + 50/1.8. Do you have any suggestions for good quality lenses that would fit the budget.
    $100 is a hard budget for chipped F mount lens. 24-50mm f3.5-4.5 might fit the budget but beware that it has mixed ratings. If you would be prepared to go up to about $150, you can probably get her a used 24mm / 28mm f/2.8 - the 24mm is very good lens - from KEH or similar.

    An alternative might maybe be a external flash? The SB50-DX goes for about $100 new and would combine with the built-in popup flash for a bit of extra power. It also allows to do radicaly more in flash photography. You should also consider the Kenko extension rings or a set of 52mm filters.

  10. #10

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    I picked up an old AF 70-210mm f4 (non-macro version) at KEH a couple of years ago on the recommendation of a friend. It's old and it's ugly, but I wouldn't part with that lens for anything. I just checked and there's one on ebay right now that looks a little worse than mine and it's right at $100 with 3 days to go.

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