The 2.8’s Overview: Constant 2.8 Zoom Lenses

The 2.8's by Greg Kemp
The 2.8’s, a photo by Greg Kemp on Flickr.

Constant aperture fast zoom lenses are incredibly important for the way I shoot. Often I find myself needing to shoot in low light scenarios where even at f/2.8 I am shooting at ISO 3200 in order to get an acceptable shutter speed. Without 2.8 zoom lenses this would often be impossible. Sure I can get even better low light performance with prime lenses, but those are too limiting as I usually don’t have time to move around to get wider or narrower shots, so zoom lenses are a necessity for me more often than not.

Another thing that makes 2.8 lenses great is it seems to be the magic number for aperture to get ideal subject isolation with most types of shots. Once you go to F/4 the out of focus areas tend to be much less pronounced, and less depth of field available with faster prime lenses is usually only good for certain types of shots.

As many Nikon and Canon users are quick to point out, Sony makes great camera bodies but the lens options are too limited. This is indeed something Sony really needs to step up their game on to fill in those lens gaps faster, as well as updating old models which are still essentially relabeled Minolta designs. When you add in the third party options you can certainly get what you need for Sony mount, but it would definitely be nice to have the much wider selection available to Nikon and Canon users (which include even more third party options).

That being said I have spent a great deal of time researching different f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lenses for Sony to decide which ones would work best. I’ve read reviews from both average users to the major review sites to find out about each lens before buying. I now have a pretty nice set and though I may sell one or two of them, I am pretty sure I am going to stick with what I have for the long run. There are a couple of additional lenses I would like to try in the future such as the Sony 16-35/2.8 (if I ever go full frame), one of the two Minolta 80-200/2.8’s and the Sigma 120-300/2.8 if the Sony version is ever released.

I plan to do a separate write up on why I like each of the below lenses, but for now, just look at how neat they all look together:

The 2.8's by Greg Kemp

From left to right –
Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX 11-16mm
Sony DT SSM 16-50mm
Tamron SP AF XR Di II LD 17-50mm
Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* ZA SSM 24-70mm
Tamron SP AF LD Aspherical IF 28-105mm
Tamron SP Aspherical 35-105mm
Sigma APO EX DC HSM II 50-150mm
Tamron SP AF Di LD IF Macro 70-200mm

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