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Old Jun 3, 2010, 9:15 AM   #1
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Default New A550

Let me start by saying, WOW!!!!!

Extra thanks to Jim C and TCav for sharing your time and knowledge.

My only issue at this point is the viewfinder. I had read that some users with glasses found it difficult to use and I seem to be one of those people. It may be me but to get a clear view through the viewfinder I have to be so close that my nose is pressed into the LCD. I have seen extensions that can be slid on in place of the rubber surround that would get me back just a bit and also offer a little magnification. The reviews I have read are mixed between love them and hate them. Could you recommend one that works as it should?

Thank you

Steve

TCav, I served six years US Navy. My GI Bill went a long way tword putting me through college. Are you a Shellback? (what a long day that was)
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 9:27 AM   #2
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I'm not TCav, but I'm a Shellback, and like you, I spent 6 years in the Navy myself. :-)

I'd get the Sony FDA-ME1AM. It's designed to fit Sony dSLR models and will extend the eyepiece by 7mm, which should help out some.

It's $34.95 from sonystyle.com. But, you can find it for $29.95 with free shipping from some of the online vendors. Examples:

http://www.adorama.com/Als/ProductPage/ISOME.html

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._Eyepiece.html
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 10:01 AM   #3
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BTW, did you end up going gray market? I remember a discussion about the pros and cons of that approach (with the cons being warranty service if something went wrong). But, I'll admit the savings would be tempting.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 11:32 AM   #4
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I did buy from one of the Hong Kong vendors. I bought the body only as I have a box full of Minolta lenses both AF and manual focus that were my fathers. $539.00 new in the unopened packaging with $40.00 shipping and DHL had the package at my door second day delivery. The second day delivery was just luck to some extent. My order came in right so the package made the flight out of Hong Kong to Cleveland that same day. From Cleveland to Houston and my being in the Houston delivery area it did not have to travel further. $40.00 second day from Hong Kong, I would have said it was not possible. The DHL driver did tell me that the normal time runs three to five days depending on how many times they have to move it around.

I talked with a nice lady from Sony Style USA before buying and they will sell me an extended warranty to begin day one of the second year of ownership but should anything happen first year it has to go back to the store where I bought it.

You too Jim? I got out 27 years ago this fall and I still laugh to myself when I see a fat guy holding a jar of Peanut Butter.

thank you for the links

Steve
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 11:43 AM   #5
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Yep... me too. It will have been 29 years ago this year for me when I got out. I was going to Lander College in Greenwood, SC when I got out of High School (starting to attend College when I was 17), picked only because it was originally a women only college and had a higher ratio of women to men than any other college in the state at the time after reviewing the stats for all schools in the area. IOW, I was a typical teenager more interested in things other than higher learning :-)

But, I decided to join the Navy and see the world before graduating. I was a Radioman when in, taking advantage of one of their 6 year programs where you got a lot of advanced schools up front in return for staying in for 6 years (i.e., one of the "Instant Petty Officer" programs as they were sometimes called). lol

It was a relatively new program when I was in, and I actually held both Radioman and ET ratings (Communications System Technician - Tech Control, Cryptographic Equipment Repair, etc.), since they sent me to both Radioman and ET schools.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 11:57 AM   #6
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P.S.

I got my first Amateur Radio license when I was 13 years old, building my own transmitters, receivers, antennas, etc. So, going into the Navy and getting to play with the latest communications gear sounded like fun at the time. LOL

Actually, I do miss it from time to time now -- especially being out at sea in the middle of nowhere. You just can't see the sky and stars in the same way due to all of the city lights polluting your view, unless you are out in the middle of the ocean somewhere with lights out on a clear night.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 1:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Boat Guy View Post
I talked with a nice lady from Sony Style USA before buying and they will sell me an extended warranty to begin day one of the second year of ownership but should anything happen first year it has to go back to the store where I bought it.
I'd make sure to get that in writing. LOL

Yea.. considering how much you were able to save, that sounds like a good bet if Sony is willing to handle repairs for you via an extended warranty, provided nothing happens during the first year (which could be a lot of trouble to handle with overseas shipping, potential customs issues, etc.).

P.S.

Make sure to see this thread on the latest Sony raw converter if you want to try shooting in raw. I'd install the software that came with it first. Then, download and install the upgraded version.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...-sr-3-2-a.html
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 1:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
P.S.

Actually, I do miss it from time to time now -- especially being out at sea in the middle of nowhere. You just can't see the sky and stars in the same way due to all of the city lights polluting your view, unless you are out in the middle of the ocean somewhere with lights out on a clear night.
Most former sailors I have talked with says this same thing. Nothing better than the southern ocean at night. I shot hundreds of rolls of film through a Spotmatic Pentax that my father gave me. One of these days I will buy a decent film scanner and run them through.

I did one very average semester in college before I decided there was a big world out there and I wanted to see it for a while. I was an Interior Communications Electrician (IC). We had the gyro along with most of the indicators and alarms. With a finiky Dimensions system phone center that I wanted to shoot on a daily basis.

I did have another camera question.

I currently use the sdhc cards as I had a few but is there any benefit between using the sd or memory stick pro duo? Capacities are similar but I am guessing there might be a difference in the data transfer rates? and does it matter

It is a hazy nasty day so I have been sitting on the porch going through the manual and taking random shots. I have tried my AF 85mm f2:1.8, the 135mm f2:1.8, and the 200 and the camera really seems to like them. I knew there would be a huge difference between even the advanced point and shoot cameras but was not expecting anything like this. this is cool

Steve
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 1:42 PM   #9
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Actually, the latest Pro HG Duo cards are much faster than any SDHC card you can buy. Note that you need to make sure you're getting a Pro HG (with the HG being the most important part), as the non HG cards are much slower (don't buy a MS Pro Duo card unless it's a Pro-HG version, as you'd be better off with a fast Class 10 SDHC card instead).

You can find some tests of SDHC cards here:

http://www.hjreggel.net/cardspeed/sp...cards-sdc.html

Note how much faster the Pro-HG Duo cards are:

http://www.hjreggel.net/cardspeed/sp...cards-msh.html

You'll find that the Pro-HG Duo cards are also faster in the A550.

Here's a quote from the A550 Review Conclusion here showing the differences:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...lusion-43.html

Quote:
Switching to RAW with the Optical Viewfinder, I was able to capture 25 images in 5.2 seconds (4.8fps) before the camera slowed down, still capturing 87 images over 30 seconds. The camera's buffer took 7 seconds to clear with the Sandisk 8GB 30MB/Second Pro-HG Duo card. Switching to a Sandisk 4GB 30MB/Second SDHC card, I was able to capture 14 images in 3 seconds before the camera slowed down, capturing 49 images in 30 seconds. A full buffer took approximately 11 seconds to clear with the Sandisk 4GB 30MB/Second Class 10 SDHC Card. In other words, the best performance when shooting RAW is with a Sandisk 30MB/Second Pro-HG Duo card, allowing more RAW images before the camera slows down, with faster full buffer clear times (as compared to a Sandisk 4GB 30MB/Second Class 10 SDHC Card, which tested slower than Sandisk Pro-HG Duo media in this camera model).
If you want the fastest card you can find at a reasonable price, I'd buy this Sandisk 30MB/Second Pro-HG Duo card for it (which would be less expensive compared to a 16GB Sandisk 30MB/Second Class 10 SDHC card from prices I've seen around), since I've yet to see any Pro HG Duo card that wouldn't outperform the fastest SDHC cards around.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820171414

But, unless you're taking a lot of photos in continuous mode shooting raw (where you'd fill up the buffer after a finite number of shots at 5fps before the camera slowed down), I wouldn't worry about it, and I'd probably get a 16GB Transcend Class 10 SDHC card instead ($46.99 delivered from newegg.com, which is where I buy all of my memory cards):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820208535
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 10:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
...I'd get the Sony FDA-ME1AM. It's designed to fit Sony dSLR models and will extend the eyepiece by 7mm, which should help out some.
There are reports about it interfering with the auto-eye-start sensor. Others say there's no problem. Perhaps installation differences or something. The price seems high but that's how it goes. I may get one just for the relief it delivers.
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