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Old Feb 21, 2008, 2:12 AM   #1
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I posted this in the what camera should I buy group, but I hope it's ok if I ask here aswell.

I have a chance to buy a quite new Sony a100 from a family member who is movin' on up to a a700. The camera still has 4 months on it's one year warranty and it's been well cared for. Price is $375 w/ the kit lens. Funds are limited for me and this seems like a great way to get started with a dslr.

I would like to have the in-body stabilization. The fact that the kit lens is an 18-70 mm is also a plus as past experience from film slr's tells me I won't want to carry a big telephoto around so having that bit of extra range in the main lens will be appreciated. BTW, I understand the 1.5x conversion on the focal lengths to get a 35 mm equiv. A 105 mm long end would be even better.

I'm aware that there are issues about noise at higher iso's in the a100's jpegs. Is this a fatal flaw? Don't know if I'll end up shooting raw or jpegs.

At this price I honestly wonder if it's even worth worrying about what brand/system I'm buying into. In a few years, if I have more cash and want to switch so be it. At least I can get my hands on a dslr now.

I would love to have a reasonably fast wide angle prime. Maybe a f2.8 or better 14, 15 or 16mm. Something for architecture and monuments, inside and out. Anything available?

I have to pull the trigger on this pretty quickly. Normally I'd do all the due diligence and I've done a fair bit, but I don't really have the time to read all about what all the new Sonys and other brands have and why this might be a poor choice right now in the day or two I have to decide.

So, can anyone share reasons this would be a poor choice? Am I about to be able to buy one new for this price, what with the phasing out of this model?


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Old Feb 21, 2008, 2:47 AM   #2
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I'm going to get slammed for this message, but...

The A100 for $375with a lens is a great way to get familiar with DSLR technology. I wouldn't worry about noise or other corner case issues at this point. You can learn a ton with that body and lens before you push its capabilities and need more capabilities.

The bigger question is whether you want to start down the Sony road. While I loved the Minolta line for many years, Canon and Nikon both offer more lenses and accessories than Sony/Minolta. Yes, the built-in stabilization is a significant improvement...but realize that if you decide to switch brands in the future, you've now got an unused asset. I won't promote any brand, just realize that today's decision has future implications.

This type of decision just isn't well suited for quick evaluations. There will be other great camera/lens options available to you if you look and saving a couple bucks todayisn't a big win if youpursue a different courselater. You can get a quality body and lens on Ebay for the same price as someone else upgrades to newer technology.

Good luck to you. I'm sure you'll have great fun with whatever you end up with.
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 6:41 AM   #3
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I agree with rsturgill. When you buy a dSLR, you're not just buying a camera, you're committing to a system. Granted, you're getting a very good deal on a used A100 with the kit lens, but you're already talking about expanding that system with additional lenses.

That said, the Sony A100 isn't a bad choice, but ulta-wide angle lenses are going to cost quite a lot. I have a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 and am quite happy with it. It's not a lot wider than the kit lens, and it's shorter, but it's faster especially at the long end. It goes for about $430.

There are other brands that have better selections of fast wide angle lenses, and one of those may be better suited for you purposes (Pentax, for instance).

A used A100 kit for $375 is a good deal, but I would caution you to make sure that you can commit to the system before you spend any more money on it.
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 11:18 AM   #4
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You guys make good points. Each little thing--spare battery, even just uv filter for the lens, whatever, let alone an external flash or other lenses, becomes a commitment to the Sony system.

OTOH, one way to figure out what I want in a dslr is to start shooting. I've got plenty of experience with film, but the digital thing is not something I've really begun to explore. I'm attracted to the ultrazooms, but don't think I'd be happy with an electronic view finder.

I'm leaning toward jumping on this. The price makes it comparaable to buying a nice point and shoot like a nice canon "a" or "g" series or an ultrazoom and I'm guessing I'll be much happier with the quality of the photos.

Is anything known yet about the quality of the coming 14 meg. sensor cameras with live view?

What about what improvements are inthe a200 and a300?

Ialways shot Canon film slr's, but the only auto focus lenses I have are a 28-105 3.5-4.5 and a Sigma 24 mm prime that theywon't rechip and so isn't compatible with newerCanons. So I'm not walking away from much there.

Always had a sweet spot for Minolta. My first real camera was a Hi-matic 7s range finder (50 mm f1.8) that I bought for $40 from a family friend whose daughter brought it home to him from theFar East. He really wanted a slr and shewas going to bring that for him on her nexttrip home so he sold me the camera new in about 1969. What a marvelous little machine it was for a kid. Taking inflation into account this slr isn't much more expensive than that range finder was; money's just real tight right now.

I'd be grateful for any further thoughts.
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Old Feb 23, 2008, 9:22 PM   #5
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I'm not denying that a Sony A100 with a kit lens for $375 is a great deal. It would be a great way to get your feet wet, and since you're prepared to compare an investment in it to an investment in an ultrazoom, I'd say you should go for it.

(And, btw, you can use UV filters on any camera.)

It's just that reading your comments about getting more lenses, I'm concerned that you might be making a commitment to a system before you know the implications that commitment might have.

But, hey,it's not like getting married or anything.

The A200 is a significant improvement on the A100, primarily in the speed of the autofocus, but it starts at $699, almost double your price for a used A100. The A300 is basically an A200 with 'Live View'. I've read that there are some sample photos from the A350 available on the web someplace, but I haven't seen any, and with the images being resized for display on the web, I don't think I'd care to see them anyway. They wouldn't show what I'd be looking for anyway: Resolution! The real attraction for me is the 14MP image sensor, plus it's available 'body only'. I already have lenses, so what the heck? But there certainly is a growth path for you.
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Old Feb 24, 2008, 8:15 PM   #6
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ugga wrote:
I have a chance to buy a quite new Sony a100 from a family member who is movin' on up to a a700. The camera still has 4 months on it's one year warranty and it's been well cared for. Price is $375 w/ the kit lens. Funds are limited for me and this seems like a great way to get started with a dslr
At that price from a reliable source, the only sensible advice is Go For It.

As rsturgill and TCav have pointed out, you should be caurtious about putting more money into the system, but there will be a fair amount of time you can spend with that camera and the kit lens before having to buy anything else. By that time, perhaps your family member will have other stuff to unload at a good price.

So get it and resist the temptation to buy anthing else for at least a few months. If you really want to spend more money, get something like a good tripod that can be used with any camera.
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Old Feb 25, 2008, 2:09 PM   #7
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That sounds like a great deal for the money.. The A100's only real drawback compared to most entry level DSLR models is higher ISO speed noise levels (and even that's no so bad if you keep print sizes reasonable). It's better in a number of other areas (for example, unlimited images at 3fps shooting jpeg with a fast memory card).

I just don't see how you'd get more "bang for the buck" for a camera/lens kit at $375 if it's in great shape.

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