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Old Jan 29, 2009, 5:28 PM   #11
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mtngal, I too wonder why none of the sony users have anything to say. but i am now back on the fence again between the two after reading more reviews. Maybe i'll just wait a while longer and just borrow my bro's D80 for an upcoming trip. See what new cam models pop up this year. If they made a fuji s100 with HD vid and none of the CA problems that plague the current model, I'll go bridge instead of full dslr.
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Old Jan 30, 2009, 12:19 AM   #12
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OK, I guess I'll be the first. I used to own a Nikon D50, and found that, in spite of using a tele-zoom, I was cropping a lot of shots, and the six MP was a bit limiting. Low-light performance is in the big leagues for that camera. However, I wanted to upgrade to more MP (for cropping and enlarging). I also wanted in-body image stabilization, so I had three choices. Pentax, Olympus, and Sony. I went with Sony A300 for several reasons.

1. Almost everything electronic that I own is Sony, except my computer. My wife has a Sony N2 which takes outstanding photos, right out of the camera. It is a company which I have come to trust over the years. I don't believe Sony would put their name on something they did not think was high quality. They have also been very innovative with their products. The info-lithium battery is an example. Their particular brand of live view is arguably the best out there presently, although I don't use it. On the subject of the viewfinder being smaller than a non-live-view camera, it's true. Not a deal breaker for me, but maybe for you.

2.I had access to quite a few minolta AF lenses at a very low cost, some of which have surprised me favorably, while others not so much.

3.When I bought my camera, it was being offered with the HVL-42AM flash as a bundle for basically the same price as just the camera, so price was a factor, since I was going to have to buy a flash later.

Anyway, I apologize for getting long in the wind, but I can say that whichever one you choose I think you will be thrilled with the results.

Robert
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Old Jan 30, 2009, 3:19 AM   #13
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To your main question - how reliable are they?

Unfortunately no-one here knows. They only know from their own experience and don't have any kind of statistical analysis to back it up. The manufacturers know and possibly some retail and rental outlets, but that information is not made widely available. "My camera broke" or "My camera has been great" even repeated 10x is nothing more than anecdotal, and is basically pointless.

The rational thing to do when you have a "lemon" is to get it exchanged or repaired. Switching systems is exactly the same thing as just rolling the dice again on a new camera with a new manufacturer. You are making an emotional not a rational decision.

Weather sealing is s complex thing. No camera works under extreme conditions e.g. drop it in a bucket of sea water for half an hour they all break. No camera stops working if one drop of water hits the front of the lens. They all break somewhere in between, and LUCK plays a big part. All that the manufacturers can do is add sealing and play the odds. So when it starts raining in the jungle and you are using a D80 there may be a 75% chance that it will stop working if you do not protect it over a 30-minute period, with a "weather sealed" K200D that chance may go down to 20%, with a Nikon D3 down to 2%. (Those percentages just completely made up.) But if you keep using it in the rain without protecting it, it will stop working sooner rather than later. For working pros (like photojournalists) who operate in extreme conditions they make sure they have multiple copies of the top-end Canon and Nikon cameras and the backup of Canon/Nikon professional services contracts to get them replacements and repairs quickly.

One of the biggest marketing scams in recent photographic history is Pentax managing to convince everyone that there are loads of old and new Pentax lenses available to use with their cameras:
1. A lot of the old lenses aren't very good by modern standards anyway.
2. Pentax have made 80m lenses in their history. Canon have made >100m AF lenses since 1987. Nikon similarly.
3. When you go to a 2nd hand camera store in any town or city - what lenses do you see in the window? Mostly Nikon and Canon, that's what. Used Pentax lenses are few and far between.
4. The actual range of new lenses available, though adequate, is certainly not in the same league as Nikon or Canon. But they do have a few gems. For most people who just want a couple of decent zooms this is not a real issue.

Having said all of that, I like Pentax, and the K20D in particular is a very nice camera and incredible value-for-money. IMO probably the best value DSLR currently in production.

I also sympathise with wanting something a little bit different. And most importantly a camera that you like using means you shoot more; it's quite sad when people say things like "It's just a tool." A nice camera should be more than that, it should be an object of fun and affection.
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Old Jan 30, 2009, 11:45 AM   #14
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Robert, thanks for the comments on the A300, much appreciated! One more question if you don't mind, I've been reading it does not have DOF preview, does this mean you do not have DOF preview even when using the live view?
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 12:42 AM   #15
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Sorry it took me so long to get back here, it's been typically a long Friday.

You're correct. the A300 does not have depth-of-field preview. Do not take offense to this next explanation, please. If a camera has no depth-of-field preview button or function, then live view will not, either, because of the lack of that function. Do you need it? I had it on all my film slr's since 1972 and basically never used it. I wouldn't place a lot of importance on depth-of-field preview, for most people it's just not important. Some will undoubtedly disagree with me, but we're talking opinions here, not statement of fact. Hope I made sense...Robert
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 6:38 AM   #16
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oh i see, i thought it was just unavailable through the OVF... thanks. yes, i do need it and is one of the must-haves. my oly had the Fn button which could be configured to be a DOF button and i used it plenty. unfortunately this means the a300 is out of the running. anyway thanks to all who took the time to respond.
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