Tuesday, September 28, 2010
70 To 200
OP’s guide to the professional workhorse lens for nature photographers
Sony’s 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 pro zoom began life as the Konica Minolta AF 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 Apo G (D) SSM, the G signifying a high-performance pro lens, the D that it provides distance data to the camera’s metering system for more accurate exposures, and the SSM that it contains a Super Sonic Wave focusing motor for quiet, accurate autofocusing. The lens now carries the Sony badge, Sony having taken over and built extensively on Konica Minolta’s camera program a few years back.
Olympus’ Zuiko Digital 35-100mm ƒ/2.0 zoom for Four Thirds System cameras provides the same field of view as a 70-200mm zoom on a 35mm camera (or full-frame DSLR), thanks to the smaller Four Thirds image sensor’s 2x focal-length factor. The lens is a member of Olympus’ Super High Grade pro series.
Among the independent lens manufacturers, Sigma has produced a number of autofocus 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 zooms, starting in 1998. Currently, it offers two: the recently introduced 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG OS HSM with Optical Stabilizer and a Hyper Sonic focusing motor, and the earlier 70-200mm ƒ/2.8 ES DG APO Macro HSM II, without OS. Both are available in mounts for Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony/Minolta SLRs, and the latter is also available on a Four Thirds System mount. Tamron (which offered a 95-205mm F/6.3 manual-focus zoom back in 1961) offers the SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro zoom in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony/Minolta SLRs, currently the lowest-priced 70-200mm ƒ/2.8. Tokina once offered the AT-X AF 80-200mm ƒ/2.8 PRO zoom, but it’s no longer in production.
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