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Old Aug 24, 2008, 5:51 PM   #1
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I've been contemplating getting a DSLR for awhile now. After reading alot of reviews, and a whole lot of thought, I'm pretty sure that I want a Sony Alpha model...mostly because of the in body stabilization, dust reduction feature, and the compatibility with the Minolta A mount lenses.

So at first, I was decided on an A200. But then I had to chance to play around with a Nikon D40, and realized that I really missed the Live View feature. So, then I decided on an A300 model, with the 18-70 and 55-200 kit lenses. This is selling for $799 right now on Amazon (no tax)

However, I saw in the Best Buy paper today that they have the A350 model, with the 18-70 lens and the 75-300 lens for $899. That's only $154 more (including tax at Best Buy) than the A300 kit, and the 2nd lens is more powerful, as well as jumping up from a 10 to 14 megapixel camera.

Now, I've read various reviews that the 14 megapixel in the A350 is basically overkill, and that it also slows down the speed of the camera. So, I'm debating because of this.

Another option I considered is just buying the A300 with the 18-70 lens (kit lens) off Amazon for $599, and then adding the Sony 75-300 lens for $229. Or, I could save some money and go with a Tamrac lens instead for a savings of about $90.

I should mention that my current camera is a Canon S2-IS, so I've been spoiled by the large 12x zoom on that.

So...which option should I go with:

1) A300 model, with the 18-70 and 55-200 kit lenses. Selling for $799 right now on Amazon (no tax).

2) A300 with the 18-70 kit lens off Amazon for $599 (no tax), and then adding the Sony 75-300 lens for $229 (no tax). Total of $830. (Or, I could save some money and go with a Tamrac lens instead for a savings of about $90.)

3) A350 model, with the 18-70 lens and the 75-300 lens for $899 + $54 tax = $953 , a sale at Best Buy this week. That's $125 more (have to pay tax) than the A300 with the same exact lenses.

I appreciate any advice that you all can give me. Thanks!
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 7:25 PM   #2
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The Tamron 70-300 Di LD is a better lens than the Sony 75-300. It is sharper and suffers less from chromatic aberration than the Sony. And it's cheaper. But make sure you get the Di LD version.

But as part of the kit, the Sony is only $100.

You haven't said what you'll be doing and what you might need the "more powerful" lens for. There are lots of lenses you can add now and in the future as your needs change and refine. So, can you tell us what you've got in mind for the camera?
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 8:06 PM   #3
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TCav wrote:
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The Tamron 70-300 Di LD is a better lens than the Sony 75-300. It is sharper and suffers less from chromatic aberration than the Sony. And it's cheaper. But make sure you get the Di LD version.

But as part of the kit, the Sony is only $100.

You haven't said what you'll be doing and what you might need the "more powerful" lens for. There are lots of lenses you can add now and in the future as your needs change and refine. So, can you tell us what you've got in mind for the camera?
Thanks for the advice. This is my first foray into the DSLR world, and I really don't know much about lenses yet.

As to what I'll be doing with the camera: I take a lot of indoor shots of my family, and of my cats. I enjoy shooting outdoors as well, such as landscapes, the zoo, etc. We go on vacation pretty often, so there will be lots of vacation shots from cruises, amusement parks, etc.

I'm not planning on buying a lot of lenses (yes, I know the temptation is hard!). Hopefully, I can contain myself to 2-4 lenses overall. I do know that I have no desire to carry a heavy kit around with me.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 7:53 AM   #4
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For most of what you describe, the kit lens will work well (and, as it happens, you can only buy the A300 with the kit lens.) For indoors, you can go with eithera flash or withavailable light and a large aperture lens (or two.)

You haven't mentioned anything that might require a longer lens, and since the Tamron is better than the Sony anyway, you might set that thought aside until you've been playing with the kit lens for a while.

So, the difference between the A300 and the A350 is 10MP vs. 14MP + $100. It's your money.

Higher resolution often means higher levels of noise at higher ISO settings, but Steve's review of the A350 states "I was impressed with the low noise levels found when shooting available light shots of our M&M man. Noise was very low at ISO speeds of 800 and below. At ISO 800, you can start to see some signs in low contrast (shadow) areas when viewing an image at 100%. Using 1600, noise is present throughout the photograph. This also seems to be when the High ISO NR (Noise Reduction) kicks in. There is slight detail loss from this, which you can see by looking at the wording on the magazines in our samples. The ISO 3200 option shows even more noise, however, I feel both of these settings still have the ability to produce usable prints up to maybe an 8x10. Using an aftermarket noise reduction software might allow for even larger prints. Like I stated about the A200, your best bet is to leave the High ISO NR option turned On."
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Old Aug 26, 2008, 9:12 PM   #5
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The problem with the A350 is that the 18-70mm kit lens that comes with it does NOT have resolution that's up to par with the pixel density of the sensor. Good thing you can buy the A350 body by itself! If you want the higher pixel count I would go with the 16-105mm or 16-80mm Carl Zeiss lens with this body.

I'm happy with my new A300. I like the live view option, and the camera will out perform my current digital equipment. I'm not a pro, so this camera is at the 'sweet spot' for me. The fact that decent used Minolta lenses can be found at bargin prices only sweetens the deal. Also the camera is decent enough to 'deserve' a pro lens if I ever find the scratch to buy one.
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Old Aug 26, 2008, 11:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I finally "bit the bullet" earlier today, and ordered the A300 (the the 18-70mm kits lens) from Amazon.

I definitely want another lens with a better zoom reach. But I'm still debating on which one I want. The more I look, the more confused I get. TCav recommended the Tamron AF 70-300 Di LD lens, and I'm seriously considering that one. Other than that one, does anyone have any other suggestions?

I saw a Cosina AF 28-300 lens on Amazon, but the price is super low ($89). Would that lens just be a piece of crap, or is it okay?

Thanks for your opinions.
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Old Aug 27, 2008, 8:03 AM   #7
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sherry7 wrote:
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... Other than that one, does anyone have any other suggestions?
THE BEERCAN!

The Minolta 70-210mm f/4.0 is one of the sharpest zoom lens under $1,000 for a Sony dSLR. It's big, it's heavy, it costs more than the Tamron,and doesn't have the reach, but it's got a larger maximum aperture, it's tack sharp throughout it's range, and doesn't suffer from any chromatic aberration to speak of. It has gotten more expensive lately, but there's still nothing that compares.
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Old Aug 29, 2008, 8:52 PM   #8
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Just checked KEH.com
http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Produ...&KW=70-210
TWO beercans for under $200.
(not for long I think)
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Old Aug 29, 2008, 9:02 PM   #9
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It's interesting to watch the prices on those. A few years back (just before the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D started shipping), you could find them all day long for around $75.

But, after KM rolled out the 5D, prices started increasing. That continued as Sony acquired KM's assets and started shipping more cameras using the Minolta AF mount. Supply and Demand. ;-)

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