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Old Apr 15, 2010, 4:25 PM   #1
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What to say? I never know

I am a Marine Engineer that is rapidly becoming unemployable and due to some health issues need to slow down a bit.

In either 1978 or 1979 my dad gave me his old Pentax Spotmatic 35mm and I have been hooked since.

I currently have a P880 and a P850 Kodak with the proper flash and extra lenses that I am able to use quite well within the limits of the cameras. The woman that took the pictures at my stepdaughters wedding was using a Sony A300 and my images were as good if not better in most cases and with her camera that should not have been. Dad always hammered into me that the person that knew his camera inside and out would take better pictures that the person with expensive gear they did not know how to use. The nice lady that did the cakes used my images over the hired photographers. She charged alot of money for very average images.

I have been looking at DSLR for quite a while have think I have settled on the Sony A550 with the F58 flash (I have quite a few different compatible lenses from Minolta film cameras). My wife who has worked at the same office supply place for almost 20 years has shown some of our images to the local schools and she wants me to buy the gear to go take images at dances. On-site printing and that sort of thing. We are currently selling a house we leased out for a number of years and she wants to set up a small studio and see if we can supplement our income and if we cannot she still counts it as a win for getting all of my crap out of her house. She is not having any problems getting me to go along. I am not looking to do wedding photography but more on the portrait side.

I have found this site to have great information and I have already learned quite a bit on lighting requirements and techniques and look forward to learning more. Most of my questions at this point are about printers but I am sure there will be much more as I progress.

Steve
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:11 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums Steve. As for your Minolta lenses, as long as they're Minolta Autofocus lenses (i.e., Minolta A Mount, Maxxum, Dynax or Alpha mount lenses), they'll work just fine on any Sony dSLR model. If they're Manual Focus lenses (i.e., older MC/MD mount lenses), then they're not going to mount on a Sony dSLR without an adapter (which can cause issues in itself).

I'd let members know what lenses you have for better responses.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 9:16 PM   #3
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Thank you for the welcome Jim.

All of the lenses that I own have been used on Minolta Maxxum film cameras that I have owned for some time. I have zoom and fixed focal length lenses from extreme macro up to 2000mm. Buying all of that again would be quite an expense and had as much as anything to do with wanting to stick with the Sony line.

My biggest decision is which Alpha. Other than the comments on the 550 menu layout all that I have read has been generally positive. I do like the live view on the few that I have handled. Decisions, decisions

I have a Mamiya 645 J outfit that cannot be converted to digital or I would have gone that route. I listed it on an auction site today and it makes me sick to think of what will be bid compared to the original price.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 9:24 PM   #4
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If they're Maxxum (Minolta Autofocus) lenses, then they should work just fine on any Sony dSLR model. I shoot with a Sony A700 most of the time now, and I have a number of older Maxxum lenses I use with it (including a Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2, 135mm f/2.8 and 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5). Not only do they work (including Autofocus), but they're all stabilized on a Sony dSLR (thanks to the body based stabilization system in these cameras). I also have some third party lenses in Minolta A Mount that work fine with Sony dSLR models (for example two of my favorites are the Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 and Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 AF lenses).
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 9:31 PM   #5
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P.S.

Note that your lenses will appear to be longer on a dSLR model with an APS-C size sensor. The smaller the sensor or film size, the narrower your angle of view for a given focal length. The larger the sensor or film size, the wider the angle of view for a given focal length.

Just multiply by 1.5x to see how angle of view compares if you're leaning towards a model like the A500 or A550 with an APS-C size sensor (as used by most dSLR models unless you get into the higher end offerings).

For example, a 100mm lens on a Sony dSLR with an APS-C size sensor will have the same angle of view you'd have using a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera. That's why most of the kit lenses you see with dSLR models start out at around 18mm now (because that's about the same angle of view you'd have using a 27mm lens on a 35mm camera).

So, take that into consideration with the models using an APS-C size sensor (like the Sony A230, A330, A380, A500 and A550 in the current Sony lineup), as you may want to consider getting an 18-55mm or similar kit lens with one if you don't have a wider lens to use (as you can only back up so far in some conditions). With a full frame model (for example, the Sony A850 or A900), you get the same angle of view you have using a 35mm camera (since those models have sensors the same size as 35mm film).
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 10:12 PM   #6
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Thank you for explaining the focal length. I knew there was a difference but was unsure as to how much. Is that going to remain constant across the entire range? Will a 500 now seem more like a 750 and so on?

I have all of the Minolta lenses that you mentioned with some longer lenses that were purchased from a friends family after her photo safari days came to an end.

Steve
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 5:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Boat Guy View Post
Thank you for explaining the focal length. I knew there was a difference but was unsure as to how much. Is that going to remain constant across the entire range? Will a 500 now seem more like a 750 and so on?
Right -- just multiply by 1.5x to see what focal length lens you'd need to get the same angle of view on a camera using a larger 35mm film or sensor size.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 11:55 AM   #8
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Thank you Jim. This is the main reason I picked this forum out of some of the other choices.
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