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Old Apr 26, 2010, 1:05 PM   #1
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Default For those that care, the DSLR winner was... Sony a500

Some of you may have recently followed a few posts here by me about my trials in choosing a DSLR system. I figured this post might demonstrate my thought process for those faced with a similar choice, even if they might come to a different conclusion.

The final winner (between the Oly e600/620, Nikon D5000, Canon T1i, and Sony a500) ended up being Sony. (a500 body, twin-lens kit, and will be supplemented with a Tamron 16-50 2.8) A quick summary of what I saw as the pros and cons for each system, for me:

Olympus e600/620:
Cheap. In the case of a factory refurbished e600 twin-lens kit, crazy-cheap. (Although the price of the e620 twin-lens package did go up over the weekend by about $100.)
Excellent kit lenses
Nicely compact size
Good JPEG engine that makes RAW almost redundant
VR in body
Limited lens selection
No announced future lenses (as of now anyway...)
Fast short zoom (as an upgrade over the kit short zoom) was not really available. A slightly slower one was, but I had no reasonable upgrade path beyond it.
Reports of AF problems in low-light, and one of the reasons buying the camera now was to prepare for a trip in September that was going to have a lot of it.

Nikon D5000:
Reasonably priced
By all reports, excellent photo quality
Good handling
Video (Not a huge plus for me, as I only use video for quick YouTube-ish things)
Lens selection limited at this time. Many lenses have not had internal-motor versions produced yet.
VR is per-lens, driving up cost, and VR lenses generally inferior to non-VR counterparts

Canon T1i:
The most popular system, hands-down, with a huge lens library available, and a decent selection of used lenses.
A decent video implementation
Decent photo quality
Very Expensive (at least compared to the others)
As with the Nikon, IS is in-lens.

Sony a500:
Decent (if not Canon-level) lens selection.
Acceptable (if not perfect) handling
Effective VR in-body (as you might have guessed, this ended up being pretty important to me)
Reasonable pricing
The useful LV system will make the transition from a compact easier
Handling does have some quirks that will take getting used to.
Bulky (but quite comfy... the grip fit in my hand better than any of the others)

As you can see, there were ample pluses and minuses for each system, but in the end, the Sony provided the best choice for me. I respect that others might have come to different conclusions.

My total bill (excluding tax) came to $849 for the twin-lens kit from a chain store. I really didn't want the short kit zoom, but their current body-only price was the same as the one with the short kit, and they agreed to toss in the long kit zoom for only $100. I could have escaped for less, because Adorama was offering a body + long-zoom for $749, but I figured I'd probably find a use for the short kit zoom at some point. Also, I believe in supporting retailers that actually have the gear right there for me to handle and test; it didn't seem right to play with their gear and then go online to make the purchase. I willingly paid the increased price.

Maybe in a few months there will be a rash of product announcements that will make me wish I chose some other system, but given the choices I had available, this is what I ended up with.


P.S. This makes three camera purchases in seven days for me! (I'm surprised Cap One isn't suspicious.) I have also purchased an FZ35, replacing our beloved (and slowly dying) FZ5, a Fuji Z33WP, for snorkling pictures and sandy beach use. (It is the cheapest waterproof camera I could find.) This brings my total collection of more-or-less working digital cameras to six. (An old Sony S75, a Sony W55 (I think), the FZ5, and the three new ones. All six take different batteries and chargers... *sigh* Of course, the ancient Sony no longer gets any use, and the FZ5 is about to end up in the same "museum pile." The compact Sony will probably still get use in the bottom of the SLR camera bag for when I really feel the need to get some Video.
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Old Apr 26, 2010, 1:15 PM   #2
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Congratulations! I'm certain you'll be happy with the A500.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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Old Apr 26, 2010, 1:24 PM   #3
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Congrats. The A500 is a very nice camera. I'd also make sure to install the latest Sony IDC 3.2 software if you like to shoot in raw. See this "Sticky Thread" about it:

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Old Apr 26, 2010, 1:49 PM   #4
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By the way, a big thank you to all that helped me with my decision! I know that a post like this one would almost certainly stoke a flame-war on a certain other popular photo-related forum. (I saw what must have been a 100-post thread on if the dual-slots in the Sony counted as a "pro" for Sony, a "con" for other brands, or neither, since some deemed the feature "useless.") I would be almost guaranteed to get a torrent of posts letting me know how mistaken I was (and others congratulating me on buying the One True Camera), how my "pros" for this or that brand weren't really "pros" and my "cons" likewise, and then the brand loyalists pitching in to correct each other; all to no useful end.

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Old Apr 26, 2010, 3:23 PM   #5
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congrats Sir! the a500 is a really nice camera and will serve you well!

post some pics when you get a chance
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