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Old Jan 21, 2009, 4:10 PM   #1
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Hello all,

New to the forum and would be very grateful for any help offered.

In a few months I will become a father for the first time. I am very excited by the prospect (although rather nervous at the same time!!!).

I want to buy a reasonably priced dSLR camera system that will allow me to record our child's development in some nice photos.

My main requirements will be good portrait pictures (indoor and outdoor) and good landscapes (we spend a lot of time in the mountains – Alps, Scottish Highlands etc).

I have done some research and it seems that there is not a lot to choose between in the ‘entry level' dSLR's (particularly for a relative novice such as myself).

I am considering buying a Sony a200 and using the money saved (on say a Canon 450 with kit lens) to buy a nice fast prime lens for portraits of mother/baby (50mm f1.4).

What do you guys think? Any recommendations for alternative systems or recommendations for good lens combinations with an a200 would be gratefully received.

All the best

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Old Jan 21, 2009, 5:33 PM   #2
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Hi Rich and welcome to Steves!

I think the A200 is absolutely up to what you want to achieve. I think you're also on the right track with a wide aperture prime lens. For the landscape, the kit lens should do fine and that really goes for any DSLR out there.

Here's my only other suggestion - As the father of a 2 1/2 year old who has been photographing him for the last 2 1/2 years - you're going to want an external flash. Available light / shallow DOF photography is wonderful when you can do it:

But it's not always possible to not use a flash.

and shallow dof and flash are not mutually exclusive:

and an external, bouncable flash is a huge improvement over the built-in flash of any camera.
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Old Jan 21, 2009, 5:57 PM   #3
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The A200 isa good choice, but let me clarify something. I believe you will find that the Canon 450D with the stabilized kit lens plus a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lenswill cost less than the stabilized Sony A200 with the kit lens and the Sony 50mm f/1.4 lens. And Canon's stabilized kit lens is optically superior to Sony's kit lens. The Canon 50mm will not be stabilized, unfortunately. But another option is the Minolta 50mm f/1.7 lens, which will fit the Sony. Minolta made them right up to when Sony bought them about 2 years ago, they are very good, are available for a lot less than Sony's 50mm f/1.4, and will probably work just as well. it can be found on eBay and most used camera departments. If you go with the Sony, I suggest you look for one, and save your money for the flash that JohnG recommended.
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Old Jan 22, 2009, 1:12 AM   #4
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Hi Rich, congrats on the upcoming event.

I recently became a Granddad for the first time(Oct 13). My daughter-in-law wanted me to take pictures at the hospital, of everything after the birth. So after the baby came, the nurses came and got me from the hallway and took me into the little room they take the baby to to clean them up. That is where I started. I had just sold my Nikon D50 and bought a Sony A300 with the 18-70 mm kit lens and the HVL-42 AM flash unit. I had zero time to "set up" the camera before my trial by fire, and I have posted some results. The A300 and A200 are almost identical except for live view. Anyway, the first pics are all available light, since I was not allowed to use my flash in that room.

And a couple with flash, bounced from the ceiling

The Doctor and the Baby

And Isabella at Christmas..

Playing with Grandma..

The A200 is a great camera with a wealth of Minolta lenses that can be found, and at its current price is a real bargain. I would think seriously about an external flash, one that will tilt AND swivel, for those times you want to shoot in portrait mode and still be able to bounce the flash from the ceiling.

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Old Jan 22, 2009, 2:10 PM   #5
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Hello all,

I want to thank you guys for the fantastic advice and the really great pictures. You have given me lots to think about.

I'm looking forward to trying out the cameras this weekend.

Best wishes to you all.

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