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Old Sep 22, 2010, 3:38 PM   #1
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Default Finally migrating into the digital world...

Hi all!
As my good old Minolta Dynax 800si is showing some signs of age lately, I decided that it would be time to put it into retirement and move over to digital. So the last 2-3 weeks I've been browsing reviews and fora to find a worthy successor to my film camera (was shooting slides).

My actual gear:
Bodies: - Minolta Dynax 800si
- Konica Minolta 7D
Lenses:
Minolta AF17-35 f2.8/4 D; AF24-85 F3.5/4.5;
Minolta AF80-200 f2.8 HS APO G; AF75-300 f4.5-5.6 New;
Sigma 105 F2.8 EX Macro; 170-500 f5/6.3 APO Asp

I do shoot mostly landscapes and wildlife during my multiple holiday trips as well as a few macros when just in the mood for it.

The very first question that nagged me a few days was: Do I stick to Sony or do I switch brand? Luckily for me Sony announced a few news on the camera front, so I decided to stick to it. Well, having a few Minolta lenses might have helped too, I guess they should still be compatible with alpha bodies?

Looking at the product range of Sony (yes, I was waiting for the latest news from photokina), I guess that my logical choice would be to move over to an A850. Any suggestions or thoughts about this? Getting info from users might help me set my expectations right, as I guess that dSLR technology has moved on since my KM 7D...

And if I were to acquire the A850, any thoughts about my actual lenses? Would they still be fine or would you suggest me any replacement to get the full potential out of a FF sensor?

Sorry for the wall of text and thanks a lot for any first hand experience.

Patrick
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Old Sep 22, 2010, 4:41 PM   #2
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One of the things that happens when making the transition from film to digital, is that, since digital image sensors are more reflective than film, a new source of flare appears as light reflects off the image sensor back to the lens which reflects it back to the sensor. New lenses for digital dSLRs have coatings that prevent that, but yours probably don't. But if you didn't experience it with your KM7D, then it may not be much of a problem with an A850.

Your Sigma lenses are very good, the Minolta 80-200/2.8 is excellent, the 24-85 is very good, the 17-35 is good, and the 75-300 is ok. You need to remember, however, that the A850's 24MP image sensor will make the flaws in your lenses very obvious. If you need something in the 75-300 range, the Sony 70-300 'G' is very good.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 1:53 AM   #3
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Thanks TCav, glad to hear that my lenses still are somewhat decent (well, the Minoltas were mostly kit lenses, except for the G one of course), not that I would have minded to try out some CZ glass for comparison.

Good point about the flare, I never realized that this might indeed be an issue. I will have to have a good look at it, but I have to admit that I don't think I found anything particularly disturbing while shooting with my KM7D. Funnily, the lens being the most flare prone is the 17-35 D, which is coated for digital (kit lens for the KM7D), of course due to the focal length of it.

Trying to hunt down the best deal for an A850 now...
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 2:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noss View Post
Trying to hunt down the best deal for an A850 now...
Sony fixes prices. If you find an A850 that costs less than $1,999, it's a scam. What you may find are offers for free shipping, etc., and those are entirely legitimate.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 4:16 AM   #5
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Good to know, thanks for the info.

Prices however seem to be erratic in shops over here (Luxembourg, usually going through the roof), and yes, the cheapest ones would be found on Amazon for an equivalent of the 1999$. Not always easy to get them delivered over here though...
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 4:38 AM   #6
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Prices however seem to be erratic in shops over here (Luxembourg, usually going through the roof), and yes, the cheapest ones would be found on Amazon for an equivalent of the 1999$. Not always easy to get them delivered over here though...
Ok. Some clarification is in order. Sony USA fixes prices. I didn't know you were outside the US, and I don't know how Sony Europe handles things. Sorry.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 9:20 AM   #7
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I have a "flare" related question. In my reading most of the authors recommend a filter for protection of the front lens element. I do understand that a bad filter is worse than no filter at all but the idea of clean the front lens element and cover it so it does not have to be touched again has its merits.

With that thought in mind would the use of the proper filter cut the flare? I currently use Hoya SMC UV filters on every lens and thus far have not noticed any flare related issues. Did I get lucky and solve the issue or have I just not seen the correct circumstances for the flare to appear?

Would the filter choice differ between one used on an original Minolta lens from the film days as opposed to a Tamron that is advertised as coated to be optimal for digital?

Steve
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 10:57 AM   #8
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(Whew)

Ok.

Yes, giving the objective element and the inside surface of a good filter a good cleaning and then sealing the whole thing, is an attractive idea. But lenses are coated in such a way that they're hard to damage in moderate use anyway. And if you're going to use a filter, use a good one. A poor filter can adversely affect image quality in a lot of little ways and in a few major ways. And putting a $70 protection filter on a $50 lens doesn't make a lot of sense anyway.

No, filters, all by themselves don't cut flare. Some filters can cut glare, but that's a different problem. And some filters can actually create flare. Flare is light bouncing around inside the lens barrel. Filters can't stop that, (Hoods can!) and filters can cause it by providing additional surfaces from which light can bounce. It is unlikely, but possible, that the presence of a filter can block extraneous light, much the way a hood would, however, a hood has a higher probablility of doing it, and doing it better, than a filter would.

And while lens coatings have improved over the years, there's nothing inherently inferior to the coatings that were used in 20+ year old Minolta lenses and today's coatings. And the coatings that Tamron advertises as being optimal for digital are the ones that prevent flare from the light that's reflected off the image sensor, like I mentioned earlier.
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Last edited by TCav; Sep 23, 2010 at 10:59 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 12:05 PM   #9
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Thank you TCav.

If you ever decide to give a one week intensive on "all things digital photography that could make your head explode" sign me up. (I mean this with the deepest respect. Your technical knowledge is impressive to say the least)

Hello Noss. I am not sure if this is an option for you but when I bought I did the "Gray" market to save some money. It does come with its own issues but they may be big or minor depending on how you shop the market. Here is a thread I started right after joining.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/so...se-issues.html

I do not know how this may apply to Luxembourg but on the offhand chance you can find a camera with a country of origin that is shipping friendly to you it might be an option. In my case the camera was from England so other than distance shipping is not an issue. You should check with Sony where you live to verify but SonyStyle USA did sell me an extended warranty that would go into effect on day one of my second year.

checked prices at my favorite Hong Kong seller and the A850 was $1,795 with $50.00 for shipping (us dollars) so for the American market not enough in savings to justify the hassle most likely.

Good luck

Steve
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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You are very kind, but, if anything, I'm standing on the shoulders of giants, some of whom are right here.
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Last edited by TCav; Sep 24, 2010 at 7:32 PM.
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