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Old Jun 15, 2009, 3:13 PM   #1
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Default which to buy after Sony A200?

I share my A200 with my sister, and now she is leaving the country for a long time and she asked me to take it "she'll pay me though".

anyway, I want to know should i look at the Sony A700, or Nikon D90, some of my friends suggested Canon T1i.

To be honest, my heart leans toward the D90 and the A700.
I shoot Family, landscape and some sports.
My main focus now is to buy a DSLR body with a lens like those "Sony's 70-400 mm G lens or Sigma 100-300mm f4" to take pictures of an F1 racing I will attend on Nov.
with the A700 those lenses mentioned above won't be a problem. However, with D90 or T1i I would need a lens with IS as canon called it or VR for nikon.

Advantages:
Sony A700: good knowledge about the system, plus 5 FPS, and anti-shake built in.
Nikon D90 and Canon T1i: Live view "nice feature to have".

Last edited by playa4real007; Jun 15, 2009 at 3:44 PM.
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 2:13 PM   #2
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The A700 is one generation behind the D90 and T1i. I'm not a Canon fan but the T1i seems to be one of the best cameras in this segment. If I was to buy a new camera today, the Canon would be it. If you can wait, the new Sony A330 or A380 may be worth a try.
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 2:23 PM   #3
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The A700 is one generation behind the D90 and T1i...
The A700 has a larger body compared to the D90 and Canon T1i, and it's got great ergonomics. For example, my Sony A700 "feels" lighter to me compared to my Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, and it's more comfortable to use for extended periods, probably because of the way the weight is being distributed with a larger grip surface, as compared to more weight being concentrated in a smaller body.

Compared to the D90, the A700 has a slightly faster frame rate (5fps), as well as a faster shutter and mirror mechanism (which is a new double damped design in the A700 to reduce vibration) with the A700's top shutter speed at 1/8000 second (twice as fast as the D90, not that anyone really needs one that fast). The A700's fast shutter and mirror mechanism design minimizes blackout time between frames (so that the AF Sensor assembly has more "on subject" time to maximize Autofocus performance).

From tests I've seen measuring them, the Sony A700's AF system is faster compared to the D90 in most lighting. If you look at the popphoto.com test results, the Sony A700 also tests faster in most lighting compared to the Olympus E-3, EOS-40D, Canon EOS-1D Mark III and Nikon D300. The Sony A700 is faster until light is lowered to where it's close to EV 3 (and that's around 2 stops lower than you'll find in typical incandescent home lighting at night).

I haven't looked at most other newer cameras yet other than the D90 (and the A700 is faster compared to the D90 in most lighting from tests I can find).

As for the A700's continuous autofocus accuracy at 5fps, see this forum post in a Pentax forum about a test done by fotoMAGAZIN (Germany).

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/p...good-info.html

As for the sensor, if you look at the dpreview.com D90 review, you'll see that the D90 matches the Sony A700 and D300 for highlight range (giving you around 3.9 EV above a properly exposed mid gray). But, the D90 doesn't match the D300 or A700 in the shadows. If you look at some of the comments scattered throughout it's review, you'll see it mentioned that no amount of tweaking could get the D90's output to match the D300's (and you'll find similar comments about both raw and jpeg output). IOW, newer doesn't not necessarily mean better.

Now, the D90's output does look clean. Nikon's noise reduction algorithms are very good, removing most chroma noise and leaving some of the luminous noise (and a bit of grain can make an image look sharper, especially if you sharpened the noise reduced image a bit more). But, cleaner looking does not necessarily mean more retained detail.

The only review I've seen commenting on the A700 versus D90 directly was biased towards the D90 (take a look at the Sony's pcmag.com review). The tester used imatest to measure detail at various ISO speeds, noting that the A700 wasn't capturing as much detail at ISO 100. Well... for one thing, ISO 100 is not the base ISO speed with that camera (as other reviewers have noticed, you'll get better image quality at ISO 200). Sony should have made that clearer. But, I can't help but get the feeling that any reviewer would probably know that.

The reviewer was also using the Sony 18-70mm lens (which is not a very good choice for the A700, with the other kit lenses outresolving it). However, despite the lower quality 18-70mm lens and what appears to be a biased review, the Sony A700 still pulled ahead of the D90 for detail captured using Imatest to measure it once you got to ISO 1600 (and the A700 was still resolving more detail at ISO 3200 compared to the D90 at ISO 1600). The Sony A700 also pulled well ahead of the Canon EOS-50D for retained detail at higher ISO speeds.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2346783,00.asp

Do I really believe the Sony A700 is a full stop better compared to the D90 once you get up to ISO 3200, as measured in the review using Imatest? Nope. Of course not. But, the new V4 firmware is much better and I think you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between them if the same amount and type of noise reduction was being applied (especially if you use a nicer lens on the Sony A700).
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 2:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by playa4real007 View Post
My main focus now is to buy a DSLR body with a lens like those "Sony's 70-400 mm G lens or Sigma 100-300mm f4" to take pictures of an F1 racing I will attend on Nov.
with the A700 those lenses mentioned above won't be a problem.
...
Nikon D90 and Canon T1i: Live view "nice feature to have".
'Live View' won't be much help with long lenses when shooting action.

The Sony 70-400 'G' is better than the Nikon 80-400 VR, possibly better than the Canon 100-400 IS, and the Sigma 100-300/4 will be stabilized on the Sony but not the Canon or Nikon.

The A700 is getting long in the tooth, but it's the lens that matters.
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 2:52 PM   #5
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P.S.

Here's a review that includes a comparison between images produced by your A200 and the A700 (with the latest version 4 firmware installed in the A700). The Sony 12MP CMOS sensor used in the A700 is a pretty nice upgrade compared to the Sony 10MP sensor used in the A200, even if you don't take everything else into consideration (the A700's better build quality, larger viewfinder, larger body with better ergonomics with more controls, faster frame rate, more advanced AF system, etc.)

http://www.anandtech.com/digitalcame...spx?i=3434&p=1

You'll also find a page in the review comparing your A200 to the Canon 40D (which by many accounts, has lower noise compared to the newer 50D). IMO, the A700 is a much better upgrade compared to other models in the same price range. Of course, I'm probably biased since I shoot with a Sony A700. ;-)
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 3:56 PM   #6
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P.S. I'm probably biased since I shoot with a Sony A700. ;-)
I finally got a chance to try out a Sony A700 today (tested the A350 a few weeks ago). I am looking for another camera as a backup to my Sony A200 or to make the Sony A200 as the backup. The A700 was bowered and used for 3 hours. I will say that the A700 is a very very good camera, I used it with an sandisk extreme III card (plus my Transcend 133x card) and a 28 - 300mm lens that I use to photograph fire and rescues with. I would buy the A700 tomorrow if I could afford it right now. It will be 2 to 3 months before I can afford it and I will most likely buy one if they are still out there at that time.

As for the newer cameras that Sony is coming out with they all seem dumbed down to me from what I have read (great fir first time D-SLR users but for serious shooters a little less than I really need) and moving to an SD slot my make sense for some but I have a good investment in CF cards....... Would cost me close to $200 or more to replace my current cards with compatible/same cards.

One thing I did notice is that my 133x transcend card was flawlesst until I did a test with the 5fps batch mode and fired off 1 minutes worth of photos as test. After about 10 seconds the framing rate slowed down a little but keep going..... switched to the sandisk card and it never slowed down. For most users a 133x speed card will be fine in the camera.

So I would seriously look at the A700.

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Old Jun 16, 2009, 3:59 PM   #7
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I guess it depends what reviews you trust.

DXOMark puts the D90 more than 1 stop ahead of the A700 in high-ISO ability, and the 500D just a tiny bit better than the A700 - close enough to call it a draw.

I'd put DXO ahead of PCMag in credibility by a considerable margin, but if you happen to own an A700 it's rather tempting to believe it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. :-)

At any rate all of the cameras will do what you want them to, and all are good choices.

The Canon 40D does not have lower noise than the 50D, just lower at a per-pixel level, if you down-rez the 50D it is actually just a tiny bit better than the 40D - but close enough that you might as well call it a draw.

For myself I'd choose them in the order D90, A700, T1.

But really you want to take the whole system into account - what lenses do you plan on buying immediately and in the longer term? Look at your overall system options before you make your choice, and keep in mind that bodies usually only last you 2-5 years, lenses usually last for 10-15.
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 4:16 PM   #8
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That's a good point (what measurements to trust).

Since you mentioned DxO, it's my understanding that user reports indicate that DxO just confirmed a problem with their color rendering of some Sony dSLR raw files, where they've acknowledged an issue where the black level they measured during Sony dSLR body calibration does not match the black level of the images. That kind of thing can have a significant impact the output of raw files used for comparing cameras. ;-)
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Old Jun 16, 2009, 10:00 PM   #9
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Just to give you a little background my previous cameras were Fuji S5200, S9100 and then the Sony A200. The A700 in my opinion is the best camera I have ever had in my hands at least from the 3 hours I got to test one. The S9100 I used to thing was the greatest camera ever and then I tried the A200 and it was 10x better, the A700 is better than the A200 maybe not 10x better but its ISO low light capabilities seemed better than the A200 and it also had a high fps 5 over 3 on the A200.

Sure you will be bias to a camera if you own it but if we don't pass along how much we love the camera we own no one will know about what we fill is the best camera out there in one persons opinion.

Also I do most of shooting covering fires, rescues, public service people, damage from storms etc.... I also shoot large scale public events at times (High School Graduation, County Carnival Event).. at this time I am involved in documenting the building of a new high school.

By the way I also got to test the D90 (last week as part of my what to use as backup or new camera to go with the A200) and I keep having to re-grip it and almost dropped it twice. So it didn't feel right in my hands. Whatever camera you use has to feel right in your hands........

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Old Jun 17, 2009, 1:38 AM   #10
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Thanks Guys for the great responds.
I tried the D90 and it felt great no doubt, but the thing is, Nikon lenses are more expensive "and i noticed it's heavier than sony's" I guessed because of the in Lens VR.

I'll Try the A700 soon to feel it on my hand. Plus the lenses I want to buy would go with the A700 better "duo to the in Camera Super Steady Shot".

Nikon, Canon, and Sony have great lens choices. So I think I won't go wrong with any of them.

I'll try the Sony A700 soon, and if I could I'll try the T1i just to be sure.

Thanks again guys
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