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Old May 29, 2009, 3:59 AM   #11
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I don't find my Sony 18-70 and 75-300 to be mediocre. The 75-300 is better quality than the short kit lens, but both work well for me. Granted, there are better lenses, but the basic Sony glass is very usable. I shoot birds 90% of the time, and judge a lens on how well it handles feather details. The 75-300 does a good job for me.
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Old May 29, 2009, 8:31 AM   #12
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It appears that your are placing a premium on live view. I just want to add something here. How are you going to use live view within the uses that you have listed? For single shots, a dSLR is slightly different than a P&S, in that it is physically larger and has more bulk (mass). The primary use of live view is on a tripod, so that you can compose a bit easier. Handheld situations would include in a crowd, when you have to lift the camera overhead or maybe on the ground doing some macro photography when its inconvient to use the viewfinder. Liveview is good when using video.

Essentially to effectively use live view handheld, you need to hold in out in front of you, arms length and then you are not very steady at all. Take something that is somewhat substantial and hold it out in front of you. Very quickly you start to shake - even with stabilization - not a good situation.

My point is that if you are going to buy a camera primarly for live view, you may not use it that much. If you lower the priority of liveview, another camera may bubble up to the top. When trying out the camera, give this a thought and see how live view will work for you, and just do not let the camera sit on the counter in front of you.

Just a suggestion...
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Old May 29, 2009, 8:45 AM   #13
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Wow, thanks for all the input everyone I really appreciate it.

I know the VF on the Sony 3xx series is smaller than other options including the 200 but I did get to check it out at Best Buy and it seemed fine to me. Coming from a P&S it's still an improvement so I'll be sure to not pick up a 200 so I won't know what I'm missing .

Easy & affordable options for glass is important to me, and initially I was happy to know that Sony body's are compatible with the Minolta lens', although I will be trying to make the most of the kit lens or lens' (if I go with the 2 lens kit) for a while. I know that lens opinions are subjective to a certain extent and one has to try them for themselves to see if they are up to one's performance standards, but again coming from a P&S and I can only imagine that everything will be an improvement. Early reports on the new Sony kit Lens' appear to be promising also so that is a good thing.

Not sure about the performance of one over the other as far as LCD screen in lots of Sunlight, or in really lit up areas but having a touch screen cellphone(LG Voyager) I know what a pain that could be. I have made note of the new LCD hood for the Sony line and I saw a generic one for other cameras as well. Perhaps one of those would aid in that scenario. Not sure if Olympus has a similar offering or if I can find a generic one for it but I wouldn't let that be the deciding factor. I figure live view is a nice benifit since our current P&S has a small LCD screen and it is how we mostly take pics now, thus making it easy more so for the Mrs. to transition over to a DSLR but if you can't use it there's always the VF.

Again thanks to everyone for chiming in, I'll definately be making a decision and purchase in the next month. We are planning a vacation to Niagra Falls at the end of next month and are looking foward to getting some nice family and scenery shots. I'll be visiting the local stores to try and get a feel for best comfort for each camera, just need to try and get my hands on the new Sony.

If anyone else has further advice I'd be thrilled to hear to hear it.
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Old May 29, 2009, 8:57 AM   #14
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Great suggestion interested,

The ways you mention is exactly what I'm thinking about when considering live view. Thus the reason that if I get live view I want it to be with a tilting or swiveling screen. Recently my son participated in a battle of the bands and I was recording it with our mini DV camcorder which has a swiveling lcd screen and I realized the importance of this feature when I was trying to capture some good video over the top of the crowd as well as people taking video and pictures.

Im really interested in making the most out of whichever camera I go with and feel that with live view I will be able to enjoy some things I normally wouldn't (or at least not as easily). I've already imagined getting some nice shots of my brothers cars from a low to the ground perspective. My troublesome back will thank me for moveable live view in those instances

Thanks for the input, I will definately keep everything in mind.
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Old May 29, 2009, 9:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oman321 View Post
I know the VF on the Sony 3xx series is smaller than other options...
They're only smaller in comparison to models like the A200. Compared to most of the current entry level Olympus dSLR models, the Sony A3xx models have a slightly larger viewfinder (but, the difference is really negligible). Here's one page that tracks them:

http://www.neocamera.com/feature_viewfinder_sizes.php

Someone put together a chart showing viewfinders by surface area a while back that showed the same kind of thing. But, I wasn't been able to locate it again with a quick search.

I haven't seen a comparison with the new E620 viewfinder. So, it may be better.

The Pentax models tend to have the best viewfinders in the entry level category (followed by the Sony A200/A230, then the Canon and Nikon entry level models, then the Sony A3xx models, then the Olympus entry level models).
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Old May 29, 2009, 10:33 AM   #16
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Great to know JimC, I had been reading everyone putting down the VF on the Sony models besides the 200. Makes me feel better about it.
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Old May 29, 2009, 10:53 AM   #17
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If you really want to use Live View often, I'd lean towards the Sony models (they're going to have much faster Autofocus in Live View mode compared to other dSLR models right now). Personally, I'd probably grab an A200 instead (I'd prefer the larger optical viewfinder instead of Live View). But, I'm probably a bit biased since I currently shoot with a Sony A700.

Make sure to try the models you're considering in a store to see what you're comfortable with, as each user is going to have preferences in a camera (ergonomics, control layout, viewfinder, performance, features, etc.). There are pros and cons to any of them (but, they're all capable of taking great photos in most conditions, so you're starting to "split hairs" when trying to compare most of them now).
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Old May 29, 2009, 11:32 AM   #18
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I believe the Sony is starting to edge out the Oly, but I wanna check them both out in person to be sure. I do like that the Sony models start to focus once you put your eye to the VF with Eye Start activation. Getting excited and looking foward to testing them out in person. I know Sony mentioned on their website that the new models should be shipping the beginning of June but I hope they'll be in stores soon after. I can't wait till July to physically handle one, it would be to late.
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