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Old Aug 7, 2008, 11:47 PM   #41
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bpearcy10 wrote:
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So what I'm hearing is that I should save my money and buy the Sony 700 for about $1,200. That blows my budget for sure because on top of that I still have to get a couple of lenses.

Not an easy decision at all.

My plan was to spend $1,000and get the bestpackage I could, but it seems that $1,000 doesn't buy good bird equipment.

Maybe I should stick to my original plan and "make do" by buying a hide of some type.
You can more than "make do" with any of the under $1000 bundles. The e-520 or e-510, the a-200, and just every other camera under 1000 are capable of excellent shots. If you search flickr or fourthirdsphoto.com for photos of birds, you will find some quite excellent ones.


The problem they are referring to is noise. Note that no cameras are free of noise, some are just better than others in this regard. But this is not make or break, far from it. First of all, all dslrs do a fine job at ISO 400 and below, and I would guess that, even shooting birds in flight, less than 10% of your shots will use iso 800 or above. For birds, youd only use anything above 400 in situations where the bird is relatively far, in movement, and not under direct sunlight.

At iso 800 or above, some cameras will start to show more noise than others. The olympus and the sony a-200 will show more noise than the a-700 and the canons, for example. Does that make them bad cameras? Not at all. You need to understand that noise is only significant as a problem in some cases. If you are going to be printing 12x18 or smaller, or if you are mostly going to show your pics online at resolutions of 1200x900 or below, noise will rarely be an issue for you. Why? Most noise tends to disappear when you print your pictures, and if you reduce the size of your pics to display it online, the loss of detail when you use any of the noise reduction software is going to be minimal.

As you move into DSLR territory, the key thing to remember is that the photographer makes the shot, not the camera. The vast majority of people that buy DSLRs never fully reach the limits of their camera.

In the link below there is a set of bird shots by a guy who is far from a pro using an e510:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eaglink...7605144475067/

great shots. Some noise is visible in some of them, but he was able to freeze even humming birds in flight.

and below is a set of bird pictures taken with the a200:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/critter...7605285767203/

also not a pro. These were just sets that I found looking for pictures taken with each cam.


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Old Aug 8, 2008, 7:12 PM   #42
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bpearcy10 wrote:
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So what I'm hearing is that I should save my money and buy the Sony 700 for about $1,200. That blows my budget for sure because on top of that I still have to get a couple of lenses.

Not an easy decision at all.

My plan was to spend $1,000and get the bestpackage I could, but it seems that $1,000 doesn't buy good bird equipment.

Maybe I should stick to my original plan and "make do" by buying a hide of some type.
Good equipment is relative.

Those FANTASTIC shots that you see on the web (or even in National Geographic) are often done with 2, 3 even 5 year old cameras. In terms of technology, 2 years can be a lifetime. In terms of prices, thegood camera of 2003(5 years ago) thatsold for $1000+ just for the body back in those days is today's $600 camera and kit lens.



The "entry" level market is the hottest segment of the dSLR industry. I have no factual numbers to back up my statement, but I am willing to bet far more "entry" cameras are sold than all of the "advanced" cameras combined.

Oh sure the pros are buying $5000 bodies capable of cranking out 10 frames per second or capable of falling 50 feet onto a cement sidewalk, but for the rest of us we will have to "settle" for a lesser camera that is 99% as good.



I personally would spend my $ on lenses and a body that will work for me. A year or two from now you upgrade to the latest and greatest entry level body that is compatible with your glass.






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Old Aug 8, 2008, 11:25 PM   #43
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Hi Brian,

Rather than jump in here with a specific camera recommendation, I am going to take a slightly different approach. It's been said here that acquiring a dSLR is like signing up for a future of spending a fair amount of money on (fill in the blank - bodies, lens, filters, software, etc. ....). So right off the bat, I would - based on the information being provided here, look at the entry level bodies of the vendor that you would like to grow into. All the brands you named are adding bodies, lenses and additional capabilities. Even the worst decision (lets say a brand with slow auto focus, or noisey high ISO, etc.) of a brand, you will be able to find great examples of wildlife shots, posted here at Steve's.

I doubt that you will be shooting National Geographic level quality shots on your first attempt. It is going to take time, to learn the body, the lenses, determing the best way to get the shot, the best locations, the best targets of opportunity, along with everything else. Not wanting to be discourging here, but this is going to probably be a long term learning experience.

So rather than going broke on the absolute best system (body, lenses, etc) initially, I would get something in the brand that you want to stick with, and start out fairly simple, with an entry level body and reasonably good lens all at a price that you can afford. I know that you would like to get something that is the best you can afford. However, bodies are almost disposable - it is like buying a PC - its obsolete in 6 months. Lenses will retain their value much better. However, this is nothing to go broke over.

A skilled photographer can take great pictures with lousey equipment. Having the absolute best equipment will not neccessarly make the photographer. Tiger Woods with a shovel, rake and hoe will probably out golf anyone here with the world's best set of custom clubs.

All three brands will do well. With in body image stablization, Sony, Oly and Pentax, this will help at the tele end.

Hope this helps!
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Old Aug 9, 2008, 2:36 PM   #44
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Thanks to everyone who has weighed in with their suggestions between the entry level cameras I've chosen to consider--Sony, Olympus, Pentax.

I've taken much of the advice that's been given here and during my lunches this week I've visited the Best Buy, Circuit City, and Ritz Camera locations(some multiple times). I've handled the cameras extensively, pressed the buttons, and even taken some impromptu photos. But perhaps even moreimportant, my wife is now on board too.

I've spent time on Flickr and on Google search looking at sample photos from the E-510, A200, and A350. Based on the photos I've seen at random, I am definitely leaning toward the A350. I like the versatility I've seen from the A350. It seems to perform well using various zoom and macro lenses for the types of photos that I see myself taking.

The A350 islisted at $799 everywhere, which seems competitive with Amazon as well. I saw the A300 at Ritz for $599, and that seems like a competitive price too. I'm hoping that the Sunday newspaper inserts will offer me a "deal I can't refuse".
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Old Aug 9, 2008, 3:06 PM   #45
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Unfortunately, Sony fixes the prices of its dSLRs. (SeeSony SURE Has PRO's Attention.) The prices you see on SonyStyle.com are the prices you'll see advertised everywhere else.

There may be an in-store special or a manager's special, but they don't get advertised.
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Old Aug 9, 2008, 5:03 PM   #46
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the best deals are often unannounced, as stores try to get rid of stock to make room for new models. I bought my e-510 with the two lenses for US$450 at best buy. The price only came on when they scanned it, as even the listed price was different. The best way to know of these deals is to keep an eye on the busier web forums (such as this one and dpreview).

Other than that, use a site such as pricegrabber or nextag to see the best deals online (being mindful of the merchant ratings):

http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/digi...duct/sv=title/
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Old Aug 9, 2008, 5:29 PM   #47
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But remember that web merchants, by their very nature, advertise, and if they advertise a Sony product for a lower price than SonyStyle has it, they won't be selling Sony products any more.
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Old Aug 15, 2008, 8:22 PM   #48
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What is your opinion of the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Minolta and Sony SLR Cameras?

How does the Sigma compare to the Sony 70-300mm?

Is the Sigmaa good choice for entry level wildlife photography coupled with the Sony A350?


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Old Aug 16, 2008, 2:21 AM   #49
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bpearcy10 wrote:
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What is your opinion of the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Minolta and Sony SLR Cameras?

How does the Sigma compare to the Sony 70-300mm?

Is the Sigmaa good choice for entry level wildlife photography coupled with the Sony A350?
Sony's autofocus motors have been stripping the gears in the Sigma lenses.

See Sigma 70-300 APO

A test ofTamron 75-300 Di LD shows that it is a better choice than the Sony 75-300.
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Old Sep 1, 2008, 1:44 PM   #50
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I am now the proud owner of a Sony A700.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with tips and suggestions during the past several weeks.

After talking to some friends of friends that are photographers, serious hobbyists, and part-time photographers, they all steered me toward the Canon line and specifically the 40D. My wife's cousin has more money tied up in camera equipment than I've got tied up in the 4 year old SUV parked in my driveway. He didn't bat an eye when I pointed out that the kinds of Canon lenses he was talking about start out at $4,000 +.

He did agree that the Sony would be a good choice and that in the long run the Sony system should work well.

I am working through the set-up process, reading the manuals, etc. while that battery is charging. I had no idea the level of sophistication involved with just setting up the camera before you even take the first picture.




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