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Old Jul 14, 2008, 4:59 PM   #1
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..but I have a few questions whose answers I cannot find anywhere..



Does the A200 have DOF preview?

Does anyone sell the A200 body only?



At the present I only have enough fundsfor the body and one lens (kit lens if no one sells the body alone) plus a prime (50mm 1.8 lens. {A200: 499 + 279}In that case, would I be better off with a camera with a better kit lens and better IQsuch as the Canon XSi {799 + 89}, which then has the potential for a greater range of lenses.

I've never owned DSLR so I anticipate the learning curve to be very different. I've done lots of research on the type of lenses I want to own, basically I would like a walk-around lens (I've read the 18-250 mm for the Sonyis stellar, but so is the price) and a nice sharp prime like a 50mm 1.8 for portraits and low light (and Canon's is cheaper and more available). So any info on where to buy these lenses, or suggestions for better ones for a newbie like me, would be greatly appreciated.



Oh, and my main subjects are my kids and surfing, some sports (baseball and soccer) when they get older so that lens is not as important at the present.
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Old Jul 14, 2008, 10:33 PM   #2
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No, the A200 doesn't have a DOF Preview button.

No, the A200 isn't available without a kit lens.

The A200 with the 18-70mm kit lens is $500. Sony doesn't have a 50mm f/1.8. They have a 50mm f/1.4 for $350, but there are also lots of used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 lenses available for less than $100. One of the advantages Sony dSLRs have over every other brand is the selection of used Minolta Maxxum lenses available from KEH.com, eBay, etc. Even Canon can't compare, though the selection of new OEM and third party lenses for Canonis greater than for Sony.

The Sony 18-250 is a rebranded Tamron, with some tweaks for Sony, and as superzoom lenses goes, it is arguably the best there is. But it is still not as good as two or more lenses with less ambitious zoom ranges, and costs more too. Superzoom lenses suffer from geometric distortion at the wide end, chromatic aberration at the long end, and are soft throughout their range. The 18-250 is better than other superzooms, but it's still 'jack of all trades and master of none'; it does many things adequately but few things well.
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Old Jul 14, 2008, 11:39 PM   #3
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TCav wrote:
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The A200 with the 18-70mm kit lens is $500. Sony doesn't have a 50mm f/1.8. They have a 50mm f/1.4 for $350, but there are also lots of used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 lenses available for less than $100. One of the advantages Sony dSLRs have over every other brand is the selection of used Minolta Maxxum lenses available from KEH.com, eBay, etc. Even Canon can't compare, though the selection of new OEM and third party lenses for Canonis greater than for Sony.
There's one brand that has even better backwards compatibility than Sony, and that's Pentax. You can use any Pentax lens ever made and it will retain whatever capability the lens had when it was first made (if it's an F or an FAlens it will continue to auto focus and auto exposure, an A lens will have auto exposure, manual focus, just like it was made to have, and manual lenses will continue to be manual). But since the Pentax cameras have become so popular, the best glass has gotten more expensive. It wouldn't surprise me to find that comparable Maxxum lenses would be cheaper (though I fully expect to see that change as more people buy Sony).

Otherwise I agree with TCav. The Tamron 18-250seems to be the best of the ultrazoom lenses, and Sony isn't the only one that sells them under their own name - Pentax does too, putting their own lens coatings on it.

One thing to consider is your surfing pictures. I've played around with shooting surfers with a 300mm lens and it was OK when I was shooting from a pier. If I were to be shooting much from the beach I'd want something longer than 300mm, and this is an area where Canonmight be better. Otherwise, it's rather a toss-up. Look at the sample pictures and decide if you prefer one over the other.
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Old Jul 20, 2008, 9:27 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies and I apologize I've not responded yet.. somehow I couldn't figure out my password and so I have had to re-register under a new username..

I definitely understand that I'd need something more than 250 to get quality surfing shots, but that lens is definitely down the road as it is out of my immediate budget. When I mentioned the 18-250, I was referring to using it as a 'walkaround' lens.

I'm still indecisive b/c I am not sure I won't regret not buying into the Canon or even Nikon systems. I know there are plenty of Sony/Minolta used lenses available, but I'm not the biggest fan of buying used, especially since I'm not the best judge on how to determine what's a good deal, or what condition lens I should be looking for.

I'm also considering a Nikon D40, I understand that it's an excellent entry-level camera (not that the Sony or Canon aren't), I'm concerned about the lack of AF motor in-body.. how much will I miss that if I am using a lens that is not AF-S, such as the 50mm 1.8? That lens (or it's equivalent) is one that I want to buy straighaway. Honestly the lack of in-body focus motor is the only thing that stopped me from choosing the D40 or D60 right off the bat..

I played with a Sony A350 last weekend and the grip seemed too small for even my tiny hands.. I felt like it would make my hand quickly cramp up. I held and shot a Nikon D80 and it was much more comfortable. I remember holding a D50 back when it first came out and the fit seemed perfect.

I feel like everyday my decision changes.. I know I'm the only one who can make the final decision but I'd really appreciate any input, especially conderning the lack of in-body AF in the Nikons and the IQ of D40/D60 vs Sony A200 as those choices seem to be at the top of my list (as of today anyway).. thanks for reading my ramble!
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 8:19 AM   #5
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The entry level Nikons (without the built-in autofocus motor) are good cameras in all other respects, but another aspect of what you want to do is shots of surfing. Those Nikons do not have a very good autofocus system, so I think they would do less well than any other dSLR for that purpose.

The D80 would do better, but another feature you might consider is image stabilization. The longer lenses you'll need for surfing are big and heavy, and if they also include optical image stabilization, they will be even bigger, even heavier, and even more expensive. I think you might want to look at dSLRs with sensor shift image stabilization. You say you didn't like the feel of the Sony A350, and since the A200 and A300 are very similar, that rules out the entry level Sonys. But there is still the Pentax K200D and K20D to consider. Unfortunately, there aren't many long lenses available for Pentax, but there are some, and some people have been very pleased with what they've been able to do with a Pentax dSLR and, for instance, the Sigma 50-500.

Beyond that, I think you're choice is limited to the Nikon D80 (or better) or Canon's cofferings. Canon has a very good autofocus system which should serve you well.

And, btw, there are reasonably priced, fast, prime lenses available for Canon, Nikon and Pentax.
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 9:43 AM   #6
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How is the autofocus on the D50? There is one ebay merchant who still gets stock of D50s. Paired with a VR zoom lens, how would it work for surfing? Mind you, this is all for personal use and maybe some web pages but I don't plan on being anything close to professional or published with these shots.

The D80, while it seems like a good fit, is still a bit out of my price range. I'm now thinking I can get one of the entry level cameras, learn from that, and then in the hopefully not so distant future I'll feel I'll have learned enough to warrant purchasing one of the big guys.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions!
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 10:11 AM   #7
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Ugh. This is maddening! Abes of Maine has the Pentax K200D with kit lens for $550 after rebate, which is within my budget. I have not held one yet, so that is my next step.

So how does the Pentax match up to the entry level Nikons? Thanks again!
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 3:53 PM   #8
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I think the Pentax K200d is probably a little better built than the entry level Nikons. It's probably bigger, too. I heard that the Nikons focus faster, though my K200d focuses pretty darn fast.

Some people will recommend that you get the Nikon because of the wealth of lenses available. When you buy a digital camera, you are buying a system. The newest Pentaxes can use legacy lenses from 20 or 30 years back. However, Nikon's current lens offerings are more extensive.

The K200d had stabilization built into the camera body, whereas the Nikons require somewhat expensive stabilized lenses for the same effect.

I got the K200d because I had some Pentax lenses from before and because it is built like a brick and has some nice in camera image processing capabilities.
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 4:50 PM   #9
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The Pentax k200d is weather sealed, which would be a significant factor in my camera buying decision.
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Old Jul 21, 2008, 9:37 PM   #10
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AndyfromVA wrote:
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The Pentax k200d is weather sealed, which would be a significant factor in my camera buying decision.
I agree, especially if I were hanging around beaches, shooting surfers.

And if you go to a convenient camera store and talk to a helpful salesperson, please buy something there.
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