Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 29, 2008, 10:36 AM   #41
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Greatestboss wrote:
Quote:
I understand that the A700 is considered the flagship of the Alph range but don't you thing it a bit old now.
It didn't start shipping until October of last year, which is when I bought mine. ;-)

That's too soon to be replaced (although I wouldn't be surprised if Sony announces some more models in the lineup at some point to supplement it).

From my perspective (and I'm biased since I shoot with a Sony A700 now), it's got more "bang for the buck" compared to competing models in this niche for the type of shooting I do. In the Nikon lineup, you now have the new D90 and D300 using a Sony 12MP sensor, with the D300 outperforming the Sony A700 (frame rate, feature set, etc.). But, the D300 should offer a bit more, since its a more expensive camera. Live View wouldn't sway me (since it's not something I'd use given it's current performance on a Nikon body).

Personally, I wouldn't trade my A700 for one (and I have used both cameras). I prefer the control layout, menus design, etc. of my Sony, and it's a very responsive camera. I also like it that any lens I use on on my Sony is stabilized (including older Minolta and third party Autofocus lenses in this mount).

A Nikon shooter would probably tell you that they prefer the Nikon controls and menus. It's mostly familiarity and preference. ;-)

Any of the dSLR models you're looking at are capable of taking great photos in most conditions, given equivalent lens choices. After that, you start getting into "splitting hairs" (like debating if a Ford is better than a Chevrolet). lol Your skill as a photographer is going to be the limiting factor with most any of them.





JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 10:48 AM   #42
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Greatestboss wrote:
Quote:
I read between the lines that you recommend that I stick to the R1 for my needs.
No, I'm just trying to figure out where you may see some benefit to a dSLR (since the lens choices you're looking at don't seem to offer anything more, at least on the wider end where you'd be more likely using the camera at family gatherings). That CZ 16-80mm would have the same equivalent focal range (both are equivalent to a 24-120mm lens on a 35mm camera), and roughly the same brightness (the R1 is slightly brighter).

So, the biggest benefit I'd see to moving to that type of solution would be camera performance.

Quote:
during a recent family gathering, I had terrible results with the R1. Due to low light, I made a huge mistake by resorting to a high ISO 1600, 3200 for shots I took. Results were horrible as you can understand.
That's why I'm pointing out the difficulties of using a camera in low light without a flash. You're going to run into the same type of thing with the lens choices you're looking at (although noise levels on the A700 may be a bit lower if you go that route) So, you're not going to gain much (if anything) from an Image Quality perspective. If you want to shoot indoors without a flash, you'll want to use a brighter lens (see my previous post discussing that part on page 2 of this thread).

I'd invest in an external flash if you want to go with those lens choices. That's a much easier way to approach it. If you don't want to use a flash, look into brighter lenses. For indoor use at family gatherings, I'd probably lean towards something like a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC lens if you can't (or don't want) to use a flash. I use a Minolta 28mm f/2 on my A700 for that purpose from time to time (and even used, it would probably cost you more than a new Sigma 30mm f/1.4, with the Sigma being twice as bright if you needed it).



JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 11:02 AM   #43
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

P.S.

Here's a recent thread discussing lens choices for indoor use without a flash. You'll see links to some comparisons of the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 in it (and it's available in multiple lens mounts, including Canon, Nikon, and Sony).

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=65

But, you're probably going to want a flash to use in some conditions for best results (not to mention that you'd have better framing flexibility with a zoom lens). So, I'd budget for an external flash for the solution you choose. For example, a Sony HVL-56AM, or a Canon 580EX, or a Nikon SB-800).

That way, you can bounce the flash for more even lighting, and you wouldn't have the Depth of Field limitations you'd have using a brighter prime.

Personally, I try to take most of my photos without one. But, in some conditions, you're going to need a flash for best results, even using a brighter lens.


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 11:06 AM   #44
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Posts: 1,381
Default

I would not worry one bit about Sony in photography at all, for several reasons. First, they purchased Konica Minolta, a great name in SLR cameras (read back a few posts, and I believe that TCav uses one of their cameras) - the engineers came with the company. So Sony did not start from ground zero, with nothing. Another reason is the sensor. A number of dSLR camera manufractuers actually use their sensors, including Pentax (up thru their latest K10D and K200D models). So in terms of camera design and development, they have a very good history here. Also Minolta was the first to put image stablization into the body, if memory serves me correctly.

Another point to consider, is that your at the beginning level. You are probably not going to need nor really notice the lack of any "new" feature a new model may provide. Lets say the A700 fits your hands and you really like it. The camera has so much capability that you would never use all of its features. Its a high end advanced camera - not a bare bones entry level body. I would not worry what replaces it and when. It will happen - so don't worry about it.

What ever you buy, it's half life will be 3 to 6 months, since some vendor is going to announce something that will have the next "must have" feature. All of these entry level camera models will provide 150% of your needs. An advanced model like the A700 or even the A350 will provide probably 5x your needs, and the A700 will have even more.

If you feel saturated - or information overload now, trying to consider and evaluate what to buy - just wait until you actually pick up the camera, take it home, and try to go for the "greatest" picture you have ever taken, on your first shot. It will take a while, reading the manual, trying to figure out how to work it and to do what you want it to do. And then taking a terrible picture - followed by the feeling of what I did wrong and what do I do to correct it. A year from now you will just be starting to scratch the surface. You are not buying a formula 1 race car, just a Porsche - to take your driving exam in for your first driver's license.

You have a lot of very good information here, if you go with Sony, you have some extremely good - probably great lens recommendations to go with. If you read some of the boards here, a lot of very good (I'll say great) photographers here, use older equipment. Maybe upgrading after 4 or 5 years. So, worrying about a replacement or how old the system is in its product life cycle, right now is the least of your concerns. Your introducing worry points into your decision making, that are not necessary. Actually, picking up a model that is somewhat mature within its life cycle is a good thing to do, since problems with the model are known and have been resolved, rather than buying one of the first models and finding out that there is a design defect that was not known or found (see the Canon random autofocusing problem on their high end professional model). New upgrades to software in industry are usually not used until others have shaken out the bugs. Same thing with cameras - they are software systems, in addition to the hardware. So buying a design that is tried and true, especially for an entry level photographer, is probably the best way to go.

Also, local community colleges, offer photography classes that would be a good point to start. This would accelerate your learning. Also, others in the class - actually everyone will believe that they have choosen the world's best camera or brand. Don't worry about this. They have probably not benefited from the experience of TCav and JohnG here.

Hope that helps....
interested_observer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 11:14 AM   #45
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 28
Default

JimC,

So let's wrap up things. Having known my shootinginterest and limited capability on dSLR. I need an easy recommendation
  • Should I go with the D90, A350, A700 or the Canon 50D for body. I've limited my choice to these models. Rate them in sequence.[/*]
  • which of these lenses compare to my R1 lense [/*]
    • Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SSM G [/*]
    • Zeiss ZA 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 DT
    [/*]
    • Nikon 18-200mm lens [/*]
    • Nikon17-55mm lens [/*]
    • 70-300mm lens
    [/*]
  • Which of these two set of lenses are of better range, Sony Group or the Nikon Group[/*]
  • Finally I'm going to buy an external flash no matter what. Thats in case for future needs.
[/*]
Thanks for all your efforts.




Greatestboss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 11:31 AM   #46
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I'm biased, since I shoot with an A700 right now. ;-)

So, I'd go with that solution (A700). Personally, I'd probably skip the 70-300mm G lens, unless you have a pressing need for one (since it sounds like you're more interested in a good solution for family gatherings).

I'd probably look at something like the new Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 instead (should be shipping very soon). It's the same price (it should come in at a $700 street price), and it's a much brighter lens (on it's 200mm end the Tamron would be roughly 4 times as bright as the Sony 70-300mm you're looking at).

That way, you'd have a more flexible solution for when you need a brighter lens (plays, dance recitals, or indoor events where you can't use a flash), and you could use a TC (Teleconverer) with it if more focal range was needed. With a 1.5x TC on a lens like that Tamron, you'd end up with the equivalent of a 105-300mm f/4 lens (which is still twice as bright as the Sony 70-300mm would be on it's 300mm end), and you could stop it down to f/5.6 to help with sharpness some using a TC (as you will see some optical degradation using a TC). A 1.4x TC is a more popular choice (which would get you close to the same on the long end).

But, that's just me (as I'd prefer a more flexible lens that I could use in more conditions if I were spending that much on one). There are pros and cons (the Sony 70-300mm is probably going to be sharper compared to the Tamron wearing a TC, and the Sony would be a smaller and lighter lens). The Sony is probably going to focus faster, too (thanks to SSM in that lens). You also have to take convenience into the consideration (you may not want to lug around a larger and heavier solution). But, that Tamron isn't shipping yet in Sony mount, and we'll need to wait for user reports to see how well it performs from an Autofocus perspective.

There is no one right way to approach it. ;-)

As for the Nikon D90 and Canon 50D, I haven't formed an opinion yet. The D90 looks interesting, and appears to be using a Sony 12MP Sensor (as do the Nikon D300 and Sony A700). The video mode with the D90 is interesting (although you don't have Autofocus when recording video with a D90). The new Canon 50D is also an interesting camera, especially since Canon claims to have improved noise levels (and it's got higher available ISO speeds). But, these are brand new models and it's probably going to take a while before we see some tests comparing how they perform to the other models in controlled conditions.

There is always going to be a newer model coming out with more features. But, that doesn't mean that the existing models are going to stop taking great photos. :-)


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 12:05 PM   #47
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 28
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
I'm biased, since I shoot with an A700 right now. ;-)

So, I'd go with that solution (A700). Personally, I'd probably skip the 70-300mm G lens, unless you have a pressing need for one (since it sounds like you're more interested in a good solution for family gatherings).

I'd probably look at something like the new Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 instead (should be shipping very soon).
There is always going to be a newer model coming out with more features. But, that doesn't mean that the existing models are going to stop taking great photos. :-)

I fully agree, whatever comes next is has no major consideration for me now. I'll go down tothe nearbySony distributor and check A700. I'll let you know what I think of it. Not that my opinion matters but my perception holding it and taking few shots with it.

How about the Zeiss ZA 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 DT lens. You did not comment on it.

And form your experianchow do you rate the Nikon package of lenses that I highlighted in my previous note
Greatestboss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 12:23 PM   #48
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 28
Default

interested_observer wrote:
Quote:
Another point to consider, is that your at the beginning level. You are probably not going to need nor really notice the lack of any "new" feature a new model may provide.
An advanced model like the A700 or even the A350 will provide probably 5x your needs, and the A700 will have even more.


You have a lot of very good information here, if you go with Sony, you have some extremely good - probably great lens recommendations to go with. If you read some of the boards here, a lot of very good (I'll say great) photographers here, use older equipment. Maybe upgrading after 4 or 5 years. So, worrying about a replacement or how old the system is in its product life cycle, right now is the least of your concerns. Your introducing worry points into your decision making, that are not necessary.
Hope that helps....
Your are spot on. I worry too much about tiny bits and pieces. I shouldn't for a beginner. I should get on with my choice. As you said, Even if I buy the A350, A300, D90, D80, or even the D40. I won't be utilizing 50% of its capabilities coz simply put I don't know how.

Thats why I needed some expert advice to be guided on some great lenses and one or two Camera body to narrow my choice and make my decision easier.

Most of what I got was Sony recommendations. So I need to steer myself away from the Nikon brand which for some reason, I liked the feeling when I held it andwas seriously consideringit first with the D300(Not anymore) and then with the D90,80.

I even did not attempt to consider the Canon as my mind was focussed on Nikon only based on early recommendation from photo studios, professional photographers around here.

So maybe I should give the Canon brand a try at least.

Thats why I am confused. The eternal Question!!!
Which brand, which body and whichlenses??????
Greatestboss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 2:33 PM   #49
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

There is nothing wrong with your first choice (Nikon D300). It's actually a more full featured camera compared to Sony A700 (but, it's also a more expensive camera). Personally, I like my A700 and wouldn't trade if for the Nikon. But, if you asked a Nikon D300 user, they'd probably have the opposite viewpoint. ;-) It's a highly rated camera model (probably more so by most reviewers compared to the other models you're looking at). That doesn't mean it's right for you though. You'll have to decide that. The same applies to the Canon models. They're very good cameras.

I can understand you wanting to spend the money just once, versus upgrading down the road. But, realistically, you'll probably find that models a couple of years out are going to have a lot more in the way of features, like faster Autofocus, higher available ISO speeds, more resolution, etc. for the same money. Would you need those features? Again, just because a newer model comes out, doesn't mean that the one you buy is going to stop taking great photos.

For someone just starting out, I tend to recommend staying with a more basic kit, unless they have specific needs (versus someone that's going to be taking most photos at family gatherings where they can use a flash, or outdoors in good light).

That way, they can make better informed decisions on what they need in the way of lenses later, without spending a lot of money up front, since they'll get a better feel for the limitations of the kit type lenses as time passes, and be able to decide if some of the tradeoffs are worth it (size, weight, focal range from wide to long, optical quality, cost, etc.).

For example, you may decide that an "all in one" solution (like the Nikkor 18-200mm or Sony 18-250mm is desirable to eliminate lens changes (or need to carry more than one lens), despite the compromises in image quality (and the viewing/print sizes and purpose for the images come into those types of decisions, too).

Or, you may decide that you're much better off using lenses with a less ambitious focal range from wide to long for higher image quality. Or, you may decide that you need bright primes versus zooms for some conditions for best results.

There are many lens choices, and any of them are going to be a compromise in one area or another.

In your case, you're already using a camera model with an APS-C size sensor with a very high quality lens. It's major limitation compared to a dSLR is going to be camera performance (for example, AF speed, cycle times between photos, number of frames in a burst).

But, because you seem to want very high image quality, that means that you may find the kit lenses to be lacking (especially since you are accustomed to a very high quality lens in your R1). From what you've said so far, it sounds like the major problem you've found with it is image quality indoors without a flash. You'll have that same issue with a dSLR unless you go with brighter lenses. ;-)

The dSLR is a much more flexible solution, since you can use different lenses when subject type and conditions warrant it. So, I don't want to discourage you from going that route. But, you'll need to decide the quality you're willing to accept and how that figures into your budget (keeping convenience, size and weight in mind). So, I'd make sure you try out any solution you consider in a store to get a better feel for your choices (including the lenses).

Also, keep in mind that you don't have to buy everything at once. You can add lenses to a kit later as budget permits (for example, a bright prime for use indoors without a flash). Also, with a dSLR solution, lenses become more of an investment, since in most cases, you can take them with you within the same camera manufacturer if you upgrade the body later.

There is no one right solution in a camera model and lenses.



JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 29, 2008, 4:11 PM   #50
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 28
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
There is nothing wrong with your first choice (Nikon D300). It's actually a more full featured camera compared to Sony A700 (but, it's also a more expensive camera).
Quote:
In your case, you're already using a camera model with an APS-C size sensor with a very high quality lens. It's major limitation compared to a dSLR is going to be camera performance (for example, AF speed, cycle times between photos, number of frames in a burst).

But, because you seem to want very high image quality, that means that you may find the kit lenses to be lacking (especially since you are accustomed to a very high quality lens in your R1).[suB][suP]

[/suP][/suB]
The Nikon D300 is no longer an option. For all the reasons stated in this thread. I'll start with the basic entry level.

However the more I read your comments in regards to the R1 and how highly you rate the lens, the more I'm willing to compromise and keep it if this makes sense BUT
  1. If I buy an external flash to fit the camera, will I notice a difference in the picture quality specially in low light. [/*]
  2. If I pay a wide angle lens($400) it'll Brings the wide end of the lens down by 0.8X to just 19.2 mm; requires conversion lens adapter Will this make sense? [/*]
  3. If I buy a Telephoto lens($400). It'll Boost focal distance by 1.7X to 204 mm; requires conversion lens adapter. Will this make sense?[/*]
will these contribute to the quality of my photos. If you answer yes, then I'll proceed with these accessories. If you answer no, then I'll proceed with my dSLR purchase.

Of course as accessoriesare available for the R1 as Close-up lens,MC protector filter , Polarizing filter ,Neutral density filter,Ring light .

Thanks
Greatestboss is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:45 PM.