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Old Jul 24, 2008, 5:36 PM   #1
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I've been using my Nikon D100 for five years. I work as a firefighter and enjoy taking spectacular wildland fire shots. I'm a pretty solid enthusiast- I know the basics and use the basics of my D100 but I know that I don't take advantage of the full abilities of my camera.

My only complaint is that my D100 takes up most of the free space in my fire bag and that it is large/heavy in my rather small (female) hands. Since I am usually on the go, I only have on lens - a Nikkor AF macro zoom that I adore (though it only has ok reviews online).

I'm thinking about upgrading to a D200 or an Alpha A350.

Having handled the Alpha, I like how it feels in my hands (fits well and is light) and I love the pop-out viewfinder, which makes taking waist-level shots a snap. I dislike how light and plastic-y the lenses feel and worry about the quality of the Minolta/Sony lenses available. I don't like that it tops out at 2.5 fps. I've read that the A350 is a good "beginner" DSLR and don't want to be taking a step backwards performance-wise.

Having handled the D200, it feels familiar- heavy and boxy, not all that ergonomic. I like the controls better than my D100, it feels like they've chosen the right places to change controls. I dislike that I won't be able to do waist-level photography and that it will take up just as much space/weight in my pack. I like that I know that Nikkor lenses give me the kind of images I want.

All that being said- any advice from the camera gurus? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 24, 2008, 7:23 PM   #2
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You already have reservations about the Alpha A350 so why continue to consider it?

Realize you would have to replace your lens and any other accessories such as speedlights you may have if you go Sony.

What is it about the D100 that no longer meets your creative needs? It's still a very competent camera. The size and weight makes it more stable in your hand when shooting.

The Nikon D300 is even more advanced than the D200 but is still in the bulky category. Have you considered the Nikon D80 at all?
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Old Jul 24, 2008, 8:26 PM   #3
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The new Sony and used Minoltalenses are as good as the Nikkor lens you've got now (though you weren't specific as to what that lens actually is.)

The Sony A350 is the same as the A300 except for the image sensor; the A300 is a 10MP camera, and so is a more fair comparison to the Nikon D200, while the A350 is a 14MP camera which would be more fair to compare with the 12MP Nikon D300.

It seems to me that your decision comes down to 'familiar' (D200) versus 'comfortable' (A350), 'bells & whistles' (A350) versus 'tried & true' (D200). We can help you with the qualitative and quantitative factors you should consider, but it seems you've that stuff down. What you're left with is the intangeables, and I don't think I can help you there.
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Old Jul 24, 2008, 11:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for your thoughts, guys.

Mostly I'm hoping for your thoughts as to those intangibles- will the A350 still provide the kind of quality I've grown to expect with my D100?

Honestly, I'm upgrading from the D100 because the D100 is at the end of its usable life. I've sent it back to Nikon to be gone over the last three years and due to a combination of factors the experts told me that the camera will only last a few more years if I baby it. It has been a great camera, but I've subjected it to a fair amount of stress (heat/ash).

Nikkor AF 28-105mm AF macro is the lens I currently have and love. Others only only rate it as 'ok'.


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Old Jul 25, 2008, 6:39 AM   #5
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arnicae wrote:
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Nikkor AF 28-105mm AF macro is the lens I currently have and love. Others only only rate it as 'ok'.
Actually, the reviews I've seen for it all give it high praise for what it is (a jack-of-all-trades.) The only negative comments I've seen are about the plastic body, but even they admit the build is good. And KEH still sells it (used) for over $150! That speaks highly of it.

But is that a reason to stick with a Nikon?

Sony has a 24-105 for $470 and a 16-105 for $580 that I hesitate to say would be as good as you Nikkor, but they also have a very nice Zeiss 16-80 for $700 if you can forego the longer focal length of your Nikkor.

Your D100 will do 3 frames per second. The D200 will do 5, while the A350 will only do 2.5, and less than 2 in 'Live View'. The D200 doesn't have the Scene Modes that you may have used on your D100, while the A350 still has them. The A350 is a 14MP camera while the D200 is only 10MP.

It's hard to find an objective comparison of image quallity since the two are so far apart in the timeline of reviews, but the A350 seems to do quite well, and it's 14MP(!)

I'd say that the A350 has a lot going for it (except the the continuous shooting speed), but the D200 lets you usea very respectablelens that you know and love.

Tough call. As Bob Nichol has mentioned, you might try the D80. It's smaller, still does the 3fps, still has the Scene Modes (if that matters) and you can keep using the same lens.
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Old Jul 25, 2008, 8:36 AM   #6
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If you like your D100 you will love the D200 even more. The D100, D200 & D300 Nikon cameras are sealed up pretty good for the kind of photo's you do. I still have a D100 but also have a D200 and I like them both. I was thinking of a D300 but I can't find any fault at all with my D200. Now that the cost of the D200 is coming down I think you would be wise to just stick with Nikon because you already have a lens you like.
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Old Jul 25, 2008, 10:27 PM   #7
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I am a Sony A700 shooter and I love my camera. In your case however I would go with the D200 or D300 if I had a good collection of Nikon lens. If you just want a smaller unit go with the A200 Sony. It's cheaper and faster than the A350 but it does not have liveview. If that's a big deal to you the A300 would be a better buy since it is also cheaper than the A350. Just because the A350 has 14mp does not make it a better camera than the A200 or the A300. Too much is made of the number of Mps. A 10 mp camera will give you plenty of room to crop and probably less digital noise than the 14mp camera. C. W.
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