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Old Aug 17, 2010, 8:50 AM   #1
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Default Upgrade cheap lenses or A100 body?

I've been using a Sony A100 for a few years with three lenses that I had left over from my Minolta days. There's a kit 35-80, a ?-210, and a 20ish-?. None of the lenses are great, and I think that the two non-kit lenses are Quantaray.

From what I understood when I purchased it, the A100 is/was a pretty decent camera. However, when I compare photos shot on my Sony with those I shot on my friend's D90 (stock lens), there's a marked difference. I've been able to tease some more out of the Sony photos in Photoshop, but they just seem to lack a certain "pop" that I can easily reproduce with the D90. Is this due to my lower quality lenses, or to the difference in camera bodies?

I'm going to have some money to put toward photography in the next few months, and I'm trying to decide what I should upgrade. Since my lenses aren't great, I'm not married to Sony, but of course it'd be nice to keep using my current lenses while I gradually upgrade my collection. Am I better off getting higher quality lenses for my existing A100, or should I abandon the Sony ship and move to a Nikon or Canon and start fresh? Perhaps even an upgrade to a different Sony body?

Thanks.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 8:57 AM   #2
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Welcome to these forums Whiteknight ! I also shoot with a Sony a100 and I think that it is a fine camera. I suspect that your lenses aren't the best although I have a Quantaray 28-90 left over from my Minolta camera and it is a fine lens. I would suggest you get a Sigma 17-70mm f2.8/4.5 macro, and I think you'll be quite pleased with your shots. Check out KEH for a used one (I got mine for $265) and it is an amazingly sharp lens. I also suggest that you post in the Sony/Minolta forum here and you'll get some very good advice.

Last edited by donp; Aug 17, 2010 at 9:11 AM. Reason: forgot to add Macro
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 9:25 AM   #3
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There's never been a kit 35-80 for the A100. It came with an 18-70mm lens.

Quantaray lenses are not great. They generally are Sigma's low end lenses sold under a different name.

The A100 is a fine camera, and I'm sure you could do better with better lenses. And you don't even have to buy a new lens to try it out. LensRentals.com offers lenses for Sony dSLRs at reasonable prices. For instance, you can rent the Tamron 17-50/2.8 for $41/week, the Sigma 105/2.8 macro for $42/week, or the Sony 70-300 'G' for $49/week. All are excellent lenses, and will make your A100 shine.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 9:38 AM   #4
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A friend of mine was getting hassle from his family regarding the quality of the pictures he made. They were very unhappy with his "crappy pics" and he was considering spending 500 or more on a new p&s. So I took a pic with his camera (pentax optio L30) and one with mine (sony a550).

Sure enough his looked lousy. I did the usual pp work and hmmm, his looked better. So I put the two jpgs together for his review. I have since modified his config of Irfanview so when he batch processes for distribution, the pics are improved (I set the sharpening a little lower than this example). Now, he is very happy.

The example is attached for info. If you could take a photo with each camera of the same scene (same time of course) and post it, perhaps you'll get some valuable responses. i tend to think there's nothing wrong with your equipment. Try to leave the exif intact.
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Last edited by frank-in-toronto; Aug 17, 2010 at 11:03 AM. Reason: corrected camera maker and model
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 9:45 AM   #5
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Good advice as usual Tcav, what is the best 70-300 for Sony (reasonably priced) in your opinion ? Thanks
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 9:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donp View Post
... what is the best 70-300 for Sony (reasonably priced) in your opinion ?
If not the Sony 70-300 'G' (~$850), then the Tamron 70-300 Di LD (~$165.) There's nothing in between, unfortunately.

And I agree with frank-in-toronto. It would be helpful if Whiteknight could post some examples of the photos he's not pleased with.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 10:21 AM   #7
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White Knight-

The camera is fine. Look for a better quality lens.

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Old Aug 17, 2010, 12:57 PM   #8
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A camera is a box upon which one hangs lenses. A digital camera lasts a few years; a lens can last many decades, and I use some over a century old. My advise: Get better lenses. Further advise: Think hard about what kind of photos you want to make / take. My first lens set for my first dSLR included a 10-17 fisheye zoom, an 18-250 superzoom, and a Fast Fifty, all autofocus. As LBA took me over, I bought many inexpensive manual primes, of which a few have become special favorites. But even an excellent camera mounted with superb lenses is useless without some operator skill. And even my best shots (and I've been shooting for over 50 years, for work and play) usually require more-or-less PP editing. PaintShopPro9 has been my best friend. Practice, and you'll find that it's true: Almost anything can be fixed in PP.
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Old Aug 17, 2010, 1:21 PM   #9
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A film camera is indeed a box on which one sticks lenses. Digital cameras are something more than that, with adjustable ISO sensitivity, sharpness, contrast and saturation settings.
I think maybe Whiteknight should make some changes in the default settings of his camera - perhaps increase the saturation and sharpening to begin with. The 'pop' that is lacking may simply be due to using factory defaults. Very likely, the defaults provide a fairly natural look, but people seem to be more used to a highly saturated, sharpened, high contrast image from digital cameras. Very much like many people preferred the oversaturated, contrasty look of some slide films, to the more natural look of print film.

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