I had looked into getting a replacement whilst in Bangkok but there wasn't much that was jumping out at me and grabbing my attention. Brand new the Sony 28-70 was still around the £450 mark and second hand versions were proving to be elusive. Previously listings had shown used lenses to be going for around the 160 mark which I would be happy enough to pay if I could find one. Frustratingly this is also around the price that Sony charge on top of the body to include it brand news as part of the kit. I'm sure that if they sold it for slightly more as a stand alone unit rather than over double the cost, then maybe more people would pick one up and realise that it's actually got more merit to it. But with a tin hat on, you could probably find an argument to say that maybe Sony just want people to buy the more expensive lenses out there anyway.
Looking at alternative options there were a number of cheaper solutions, The cheap cheap way would involve buying a 28 or 35mm manual lens for around 4000 baht, but truth be told if I was going to get hold of anything I would rather it be autofocus. The 50mm that I have I love to bits, but in a fast moving environment such as Bangkok, it can be frustrating when you miss something that the autofocus might have caught. Speed obviously isn't everything, but the nice thing about having an autofocus lens is that you can always switch it to manual. The reverse scenario just isn't so.
A slightly more expensive solution was the Samyang 35mm 2.8. I had looked at these when I was considering replacements for my kit when it broke, but ultimately plumped for the 24mm as time at that moment was of the essence and I needed to pick up something quickly before getting some protest photography in London. I knew from the reviews that I had read at the time that this was a lens that optically wise at least was held in high regard, but missed out on some features that a more expensive lens might benefit from. Namely these are weather sealing and perhaps a tougher shell. The advantages to this cheaper construct though are a lesser price and lighter weight, and both these things are beneficial. The Samyang weighs less than 80 grams and is, it has to be noted very, very compact.
The Samyang has a retail price in Bangkok of 11900 baht (£284.16), making it ever so slightly more than the £279 price point back in the U.K and this the price across the board. Which ever camera shop you go in here prices do not tend to fluctuate greatly, 11900 baht in one is 11900 baht in another and 8390 in another. This was new. I had checked this shop only a couple of days before and this was a fresh drop in price as indicated by the hand scribbled figure under the previous price that had been struck through. A quick conversion of this price brought it in at £200.34, this was around the price you could expect to pay for a second hand copy back at home. It was now at a price that I thought was worth paying and after a quick check with the waiting assistant who allowed me to look over the lens itself and take some sample shots, I brought the lens. I presume that this was the ex-display model as the one on view is what was packaged up for me to take away, but it had been kept inside a glass case away from fingers and the store itself was deep inside one of the malls, so it was unlikely that it had been exposed to any elements during its short life. I hope that this can just get me a little bit closer that the 24mm would allow in some of the tighter spaces that I have been photographing in and maybe capture some of the images that I have been missing out on with the manual 50.
First impressions is that it seems like it's something that I will enjoy using and will be able to get good results from. I probably can't really ask for, or want anything more than that.