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Old Dec 23, 2008, 3:22 PM   #1
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Hey everyone, found the site via Google, and have been bowled over by the sound advice you guys have been giving out to people. So I wanted to post in the hope that I'll get some information to help make my mind up as to what to purchase.

So first a bit of background.

I've got a Casio Exilim point and shoot jobbie at the moment, which has been alright up until now. Just recently I've noticed it's short comings, such as no proper zoom, low quality shots most of the time, no shutter speed control! I want to experiment more with photography, and that is definitely not the camera to do it with.

I spoke to a couple of friends who photograph as a hobby, to get their thoughts. They said the Sony A200 is a good camera for something starting out. It gives you full control over your photos, but doesn't cost too much. I then did some Google searching, which revealed the Nikon D40 to be a more than capable camera as well, plus a fair bit older, so tried and tested. I'll mostly be storing photos on my PC, and will periodically print a few out to decorate the house, but not on a large scale.

The problem is both cameras get an equal amount of good and bad reviews, so there's no clear cut winner.

I couldn't really pin point what area of photography I want to focus in, but I take a lot of scenic pictures, and am really keen to get into night time photography. I accept the fact that once I've some experience I'll need some other lenses.

I'm looking for as close to £200 as possible, so the Sony and Nikon both fit the bill at just a bit over £200 for either.

So, basically I can't make my mind up, and some of you might be able to throw a curve ball that I hadn't considered. I know Canon and Nikon have a lot of good lenses, but I also know the Sony has stabilisation built on, so ant lens on the will benefit from that. And I also read on here that many Minolta lenses work on the Sony.

I also read on another thread on here that the Minolta 50mm 1.7 is a good lens for the Sony camera for taking dark photos?
I appreciate any feedback you have :|
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 3:45 PM   #2
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Image Stabilzation is becoming more and more common place (whether in the body or lens doesn't matter) and almost has become the norm for all cameras and lenses. IS is standard in the Sony bodyandin generalyou will have to pay slightly higher prices for Nikon's lenses with IS.

The Nikon does not auto focus, so you must pay more for lenses that have built-in AF motors.

Catch a pattern here?The Nikon is a good camera, it just is getting a bit dated in the design.

Others are going to suggest the Sony because you can buy old (used) Minolta lenses. True, you can. I don't suggest buying use (you can't open the lens and make sure it is not damaged), but that option does exist. IF you discount the availability of the Minolta lenses, the selection of standard lenses for the Sony is smaller than the selection of lenses for the Nikon. BUT most of those lens options are redundant (18-50, 18-75, 18-108,28-75, 28-105or whatever... you get my point) and offer little except maybe a bit faster speed or slightly better optics for each option. Besides, Sony does cover all the basic size ranges in their lens selection.

I own a Minolta. I say buy the Sony. Ok, see I am biased. BUT if I was going to buy a higher end camera (such as the D90 versus the Sony A700) and I did not have a prior investment in any lenses I would say buy the D90.
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 3:47 PM   #3
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bobbarley wrote:
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I also read on another thread on here that the Minolta 50mm 1.7 is a good lens for the Sony camera for taking dark photos?
For low light photography without flash? Yes, the Minolat 50mm 1.7 is a very good lens.
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 3:48 PM   #4
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I think the Sony will make a good starter camera for an amateur. It'll allow me to take full control over settings for shots, without costing too much to get the hobby started.

If I don't go overboard with accessories, I can still look into another make when/if I upgrade.

Or am I talking rubbish? :lol:
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 3:49 PM   #5
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StevieDgpt wrote:
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bobbarley wrote:
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I also read on another thread on here that the Minolta 50mm 1.7 is a good lens for the Sony camera for taking dark photos?
For low light photography without flash? Yes, the Minolat 50mm 1.7 is a very good lens.
Uh huh that's it. I think It'll have to work it's way into my kit.
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 4:16 PM   #6
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StevieDgpt wrote:
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The Nikon does not auto focus, so you must pay more for lenses that have built-in AF motors.

Catch a pattern here?The Nikon is a good camera, it just is getting a bit dated in the design.
Nikon does AF it is just that you have to have a lens witha focus motor built in which not all of them do so that is a negative point for lens selection. Also this is not that the Nikon is dated as the newer D60 also doesn't have the focus motor (the older D50 actually did have a focus motor).

Now back to the question in hand. I used to be a Konica Minolta 5D user (replaced by the Sony A100 when they were bough out) so used to the range and for shooting I had no issues at all until. I think you will find any of the entry level cameras will do a good job but I would rate them Canon, Sony then Nikon..... if you were looking mid range then it would be Canon/Nikon joint then Sony, for top end amateur/entry pro then Nikon has it over Canon, then Sony and top end you pay your money and take your choice. I'm now a Canon user with over $8,000 invested in lenses so pretty much never going to change from Canon. I make this point that once you start down a route you pretty much will stay there (I changed as I got into shooting sports shots for sale) so look at where things might take you if possible. Sony now has a good range of lenses, Canon and Nikon options are by far the biggest. Pentax is an interesting option as a vast number of old lenses are available, just check out the Pentax dSLR forum to see many cases of LBA (lens buying/buyers addiction), it is contagious so be careful .

It is a valid point that as people look at the benefits of image stabilisation (there are some but don't get bogged down by them) that having it in the body as in with the Sony it means every lens you use will be stabilised, with Canon and Nikon you have to buy lenses with it in if you want that feature.

When shooting night scenes the IS won't really help, you will be using a shutter far to long for that so always use a good tripod.

Well I'm not sure I've answered anything but hopefully have given you some things to think about.
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 4:32 PM   #7
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Mr. Bob Barley-

Had you already read the thread entitled. "Thinking about Buying a DSLR camera." That thread was designed to provide a lot of background information to a person who is considering purchasing a DSLR camera.

All I can do is to share my own information with you, both as a photographer and as a digital camera instructor. So please bear with me, if you would, please.

The Nikon D-40 has something that makes it rather unique, and something that I think should be considered when looking at the D-40. Nikon made the D-40 without a focusing drive built into the camera body, such as had been done with all the other Nikon SDLR cameras. It is not a deal breaker, but it does limit the lens range that can be used with the D-40. A lens to operate on the D-40 must have the focusing drive built into the lens.

The Nikon D-40 was designed from the ver begininning to be a "transition" DSLR camera. It was designed to be a DSLRcamera that was an excellent choice for somebody to go with when they were from a traditional point and shoot camera. I personally see that as positive.

The D-40was also designed to do a very good job for the transitioning photographer with just two lenses: the Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens and the very reasonably priced Nikkor 55-200mm VR lens (that lens sells here in the USA for well less than $(US) 200.00). That made possible a DSLR two lens kit on a small budget.

Nikon also designed the much smaller and more compact SB-400 flash unit with the D-40 user in mind. Again this was done with price in mind, as the SB-400 is about 1/2 the cost of the SB-600 flash and 1/4 the cost of the SB-800 flash.

As to the Sony A-200, please bear in mind that these are just my observations and my experience, you may come away with an entirelydifferent observation and experience.

I bought the A-200 DSLR camera and used it for three weeks and then I returned it to the seller. I was not impressed with the image quality of the jpeg images. So my experience was limited when compared to the Nikon D-40 which I have owned for almost 2 years. If you are willing to shoot RAW all the time, the images are much improved in photo quality on the A-200.

So my opinion, based only on my own personal experience, is that the D-40 might be the better choice, if you do indeed decide to purchase a DSLR camera. I also think that there might be a second issue that you need to consider. That issue is this: would a less expensive, but much more capable camera, such as a very goodultra zoom camera fill you photo needs just as well as a DSLR camera? For example the Panasonic FZ-28 is a very capable camera that produces great photos at 1/2 the cost of a DSLR camera.

Solet's finish by providing you with some D-40 sample photos. And then in a subsequent post, I will also post a Panasonic FZ-28 photo sample.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 4:39 PM   #8
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Thanks for your replies everyone. Both useful, and insightful at the same time.

From what I've heard it does make the Nikon D40 sound pretty good. I want to take the full DSLR route, as I want to slowly expand, and be able to keep and re-use things later on. So in that respect it makes sense over the Sony.
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 4:39 PM   #9
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Mr Bob Barley-

There was some early discussion in the thread about taking photos without flash under low light level conditions, using a Minolta 50mm F 1.7 lens

Here is a Panasonic FZ-28 photo sample (that I promised you earlier)taken under just the very same low light level shooting conditions at ISO 800.

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Old Dec 23, 2008, 4:45 PM   #10
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With the Nikon D40, as an amateur, would one miss the fact there is no ISO 100 option?

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