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Old Oct 25, 2010, 5:15 PM   #1
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Default Sony Alpha DSLR, which one to look for? a700?

I have been looking at sone of the Sony Alpha DSLR cameras and I have a few questions.

Was the a700 a good camera when it was released? How does it compare to the more modern offerings from Sony? Would a used a700 make a good first DSLR?

What would be the Sony equivilent offering to the Pentax K7 or K-5? I am interesed in both the Pentax and Sony cameras but can't really tell which one has more affordable lenses.

Speaking of lenses, what companies make them? What other companies besides camera manufacturers make good lenses? I have heard of Sigma and Tamron, but who else?

Thank you very much!
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 6:14 PM   #2
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Was the a700 a good camera when it was released? How does it compare to the more modern offerings from Sony? Would a used a700 make a good first DSLR?
The A700 was a great camera when it was released. It's still a very good camera. Would it make a good first dSLR? Well, yeah, but there are probably better first dSLRs, and buying a used dSLR is a bit of a gamble.

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What would be the Sony equivilent offering to the Pentax K7 or K-5? I am interesed in both the Pentax and Sony cameras but can't really tell which one has more affordable lenses.
At this point, probably the best Sony dSLR is the A580.

Sony and Pentax both have some very good lenses, including some very good ones that have been discontinued but are still available on the used market. In general, neither is very good at everything, so the answer to your question depends on what you want to shoot. Sony (and Minolta before it) always had a better selection of telephoto zoom lenses, while Pentax always had a better selection of fast primes.

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Speaking of lenses, what companies make them? What other companies besides camera manufacturers make good lenses? I have heard of Sigma and Tamron, but who else?
Sigma and Tamron are the big third party lens manufacturers, followed by Tokina. There are other minor players, most notably Samyang, but they make specialized lenses or lenses of limited utility.
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 6:22 PM   #3
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The sony a700 would most likely match up to the pentax K-7. Sony right now has nothing really to match up against the new K-5. If they come out with a new A7xx, that will be the camera that will go up against the k-5.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 12:33 AM   #4
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The A580 is probably the one to get. It has a higher resolution sensor, full time live view via translucent mirror, built-in gps. 1080 HD movie, just to name a few. And it is cheaper than the A700 which has no movie support. But if you are living in the U.S., it is not available here yet. I think you can get it in Europe.
On a tight budget, the A500 can be had for less than $500 with the 18-55mm kit lens.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 12:35 AM   #5
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The A55 is the translucent mirror, the A580 is the regular dslr.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 5:01 AM   #6
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I'm working around the a550 viewfinder being so recessed. Wearing glasses doesn't help. As I read, the a580 has a similarly poor design. You can see the positioning of the viewfinder here:
http://photos.macnn.com/news/1008/sonya560-lg2.jpg

I'd suggest trying the Sony camera in a store soon. That'll tell you right away whether it's in the running or not.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 9:48 AM   #7
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I am with Frank on the A550 viewfinder. There is an extender for the viewfinder but it does not extend far enough to keep my nose off of the LCD and with my glasses the image is actually smaller. (flipping the single element in the extender made no difference)

I bought mine for the live view so it is no killer for me but others might find the lack of a decent viewfinder a problem. With the one noted exception above it is a great camera

Steve
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 3:41 PM   #8
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as much as i love my A550, i would have to agree on the viewfinder, i end up with half my makeup on the screen (yes a girl thing and over summer that doesnt look so hot when shooting a wedding and half your face is sitting on the screen
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 3:53 PM   #9
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It looks like the a55 has a pretty long viewfinder...
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 7:30 PM   #10
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A580 is the new and higher model of Sony's translucent technology camera. Please check this link for the preview:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA580/AA580A.HTM
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