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Old Aug 29, 2009, 7:19 PM   #11
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I think I know the comparison you're talking about, and another problem with that test was that the shots from the A550 were while the light was less harsh. The places where noise would have been most noticeable contain less contrast than they do in the shots from the A700. But where they were comparable, I prefer the results from the A700.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 7:49 PM   #12
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I'm sure we'll see a lot more tests as time passes, hopefully with some in more controlled conditions (and in lower light). One thing to watch out for when looking at comparisons with the Sonys is whether or not DRO is turned on (noise tends to be higher with it turned on with the A700).
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 8:09 PM   #13
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Now, Gentlemen, an honest opinion please-

Based on what I am reading in this thread, the Sony A-700, even as old (2007) as it might be is still a viable selection as a 2009 consumer level DSLR camera. Would that be a substantially correct statement?

Perhaps I should once again re-look at the Sony A-700 as a viable choice, even in today's market. Wow, JimC you camera must really be a big time winner!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 8:12 PM   #14
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Today, I toyed with the idea of just eliminating the camera recall problem with the Nikon D-5000 all together, and moving straight up to the Nikon D-90.
I dunno Sarah. I think the IQ from most of the cameras using that sensor is going to be relatively close at typical viewing/print sizes. So, we're really just "pixel peeping" discussing minor differences between them, unless you have a need for a specific feature available on the more expensive model.

I can imagine the recall is hurting Nikon's bottom line a bit (especially given potential buyers that may shy away from it because of the recall). But, it sounds like they're getting them fixed. So, if I had one and was happy with the feature set, I'm not so sure I'd go to the expense of upgrading.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 8:26 PM   #15
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Based on what I am reading in this thread, the Sony A-700, even as old (2007) as it might be is still a viable selection as a 2009 consumer level DSLR camera. Would that be a substantially correct statement?...
That's twice that I was typing while you were making a post (seeing your new post after I finished one). :-)

I like it. I personally wouldn't see a reason to change to any of the other models using a Sony 12MP CMOS sensor (although Nikon's NR in newer models is usually preferred by most reviewers due to the way it removes more chroma noise, the latest V4 firmware update for the A700 works fine from my perspective, with better low contrast detail at higher ISO speed settings compared to earlier firmware versions for it). You can also turn off NR if desired with the latest firmware, where you couldn't turn it off with earlier firmware versions. That gives you more control for NR in PP.

Now, if Sony had a model with a full frame 12MP Sensor (like the D3), then I may be interested in order to get a bit more performance at higher ISO speeds. But, I doubt that's going to happen.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 8:49 PM   #16
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P.S.

From what I can tell from the few samples I've seen from the new Sony models (A500, A550) posted online so far, Sony is going to a Nikon like approach to Noise Reduction with them (which most users will probably prefer). But, I haven't seen any good comparisons with other models in controlled conditions yet.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 9:55 PM   #17
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Thanks a lt, JimC-

That is excellent input regarding the A-700. So, it really is still quite a viable DSLR camera even at more than 2 years old! That is rather amazing! You made a very good choice, JimC, when you selected the Sony A-700 as your personal camera.

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Old Aug 30, 2009, 5:04 AM   #18
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TCav,

Do you have an overall budget in mind?

General principles - go Nikon if you can afford it. Canon if you want 95% of the quality at 80% of the price and the incredible versatility of the lens system.

The easiest and cheapest route is just get the A700 and keep your current lenses, and in fact the A700 is probably due for replacement RSN, so could you live without a camera for a bit?

As to your specific objections to the other systems...

For your available light indoor work it's time for you to add a fast normal prime to your lens collection. 28mm,30mm or 35mm at f1.4 or f1.8. From the samples you post I have to disagree that the Tamron f2.8 zoom is doing the job for you on your indoor work. You either need to admit defeat and use a flash or get yourself a faster prime.

1. Canon - no IS Macro lens. Oh come on! Really? Why not use the flash? Everyone uses a flash and/or tripod for macro don't they? Just dial in a bit of negative FEC to tweak the results if it seems washed out. With a 50D you can have your 17-55 IS and a huge range of options for your sports lenses. I think starting at this level but mostly above Canon is still the best price/performance/flexibility setup by some margin.
Canon 50D body ($ 1100)
17-55 f2.8 IS ($ 1030)
Sigma 70-200 ($800)

2. Nikon - go for the D90 and 18-105 VR kit. The DXOMark database indicates that you will be getting 2 full stops better noise performance above ISO800, so really the 18-105 VR is losing nothing over your current setup, if anything you'll be gaining up to 1 stop in performance. Add the new DX 35 f1.4 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 and you will be in very good shape.

D90 + 18-105 VR ($1300)
Sigma 70-200 ($800)
35mm DX f1.8 ($200)

3. Olympus is good quality but sometimes looks poor value for money, but well worth considering if you don't make a lot of prints bigger than 8x12. The E30 + 14-54 kit looks good and adding the 50-200 will probably give a reasonably priced and high quality setup. They also have a nice selection of primes plus a few interesting 4/3 lenses from Leica if you were so inclined.

E30 + 14-54 f2.8-3.5 ($ 1440)
50-200 f2.8 - 3.5 ($ 1000)

4. Pentax K7 - unproven but improving...
K-7 Body ($1300)
16-50 f2.8 ( $700)
Sigma 70-200 ($800)

I have excluded Macro because I assume you might use something like the Sigma 100 f2.8 or any of the systems.

So ... Nikon ($2300), Olympus ($2400), Pentax ($2800), Canon ($2900).

But the Nikon and Canon systems are only part-stabilized at that price.

So I'm coming to a conclusion that I wouldn't have expected. That Olympus has a very compelling offering for you:
1. Extremely high quality lenses covering 28-400mm equivalent in two lenses.
2. Excellent camera with better ISO performance than your current camera.
3. Very good price/performance.
4. Body stabilisation.
5. Lenses compatible with M4/3 if you use an adapter. Might be interesting!!
6. Great build quality, weather sealing, etc.

If you don't routinely print bigger than 8x12 I think I would choose the Olympus for you.

Check out the lens reviews at:
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1239/cat/15
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...duct/38/cat/15

Notice that the 50-200 has a very respectable 0.4x Macro focussing distance which may make the pricing even more compelling.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 9:02 AM   #19
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I don't buy.

IMO, KM 5D will outperform the Olympus E-3 in almost every area related to IQ if you need to use one at higher ISO speeds (especially noise levels and retained detail). Just look at some of the high ISO samples on review sites. Heck, in lower light conditions, you can even start to get horizontal banding with one at higher ISO speed settings in some of the review samples I've seen.

Even tests that measure that kind of thing (signal to noise ratio, iso sensitivity, tonal range, dynamic range, etc.) agree (not that I put a lot of faith in those types of tests, since there are too many ways they can mislead you).

For non low light work, the E-3 would be fine. But, if you're looking for a replacement for a KM 5D for use in low light at higher ISO speeds, I'd look elsewhere (or just keep the 5D).
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 11:09 AM   #20
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Do you have an overall budget in mind?
No. Whatever I choose to do, it's not going to happen overnight (... unless I just take the easy way out and get the A700). The switch (if there is one) will take place over time, filling requirements as funds permit. I'm considering the Pentax K7 ($1,300), but if I need to maintain two systems, one for indoor/outdoor sports, and one for available light/macro, then I'd consider the Canon XSi and the Pentax K20D. The lenses I'll pick up as I go along. I can get ~$1,500 for the A-Mount lenses I've got, which will go toward paying for new lenses.

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For your available light indoor work it's time for you to add a fast normal prime to your lens collection. 28mm,30mm or 35mm at f1.4 or f1.8. From the samples you post I have to disagree that the Tamron f2.8 zoom is doing the job for you on your indoor work. You either need to admit defeat and use a flash or get yourself a faster prime.
I would like to get some large aperture primes, but the only choices for the A-Mount are Sony's 35/1.4 ($1,370) (), Minolta's 35/2.0 and 28/2.0 (~$600, when you can find them), and Sigma's 30/1.4, 28/1.8, 24/1.8 & 20/1.8 (~$380-$570). I've gone after the Minoltas the few times I've seen one, but missed each time. I also generally prefer longer focal lengths, so the 35/2.0 would be my first choice, and new lenses from Canon, Nikon and Pentax are a lot cheaper than a used one for the A-Mount.

And perhaps shooting at higher ISOs will help the Tamron 17-50/2.8, but I've been reluctant to do so on my KM5D. (See my discussion on the subject with JimC.)

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1. Canon - no IS Macro lens. Oh come on! Really? Why not use the flash? Everyone uses a flash and/or tripod for macro don't they? Just dial in a bit of negative FEC to tweak the results if it seems washed out.
I don't need 1:1. I've been able to do what I want with either a Sigma 90/2.8 macro (1:2; I've never used the 1:1 adapter) or the Minolta 70-210/4.0 (1:4) on an extension tube (~1:2), handheld in available light. I've never liked flash; you don't know what you'll get until after you take the shot.

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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
With a 50D you can have your 17-55 IS and a huge range of options for your sports lenses. I think starting at this level but mostly above Canon is still the best price/performance/flexibility setup by some margin
Canon 50D body ($ 1100)
17-55 f2.8 IS ($ 1030)
Sigma 70-200 ($800)
I'm looking at this, and it does look very nice.

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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
2. Nikon - go for the D90 and 18-105 VR kit. The DXOMark database indicates that you will be getting 2 full stops better noise performance above ISO800, so really the 18-105 VR is losing nothing over your current setup, if anything you'll be gaining up to 1 stop in performance. Add the new DX 35 f1.4 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 and you will be in very good shape.

D90 + 18-105 VR ($1300)
Sigma 70-200 ($800)
35mm DX f1.8 ($200)
I like the idea of Nikon, since my step-son and a good friend both shoot Nikon, which gives me a large pool of gear from which to borrow. But the 18-105 is dim for my tastes, and it seems to vignette right up to the diffraction limited f-stop, which puts quite a constraint on its useable range. It may work very well within that range, but the small aperture puts me off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
3. Olympus is good quality but sometimes looks poor value for money, but well worth considering if you don't make a lot of prints bigger than 8x12. The E30 + 14-54 kit looks good and adding the 50-200 will probably give a reasonably priced and high quality setup. They also have a nice selection of primes plus a few interesting 4/3 lenses from Leica if you were so inclined.

E30 + 14-54 f2.8-3.5 ($ 1440)
50-200 f2.8 - 3.5 ($ 1000)
Those are interesting, and I've looked at Olympus before. The 35-100/2.0 is intriguing, but the AF performance for sports/action puts me off.

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Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
4. Pentax K7 - unproven but improving...
K-7 Body ($1300)
16-50 f2.8 ( $700)
Sigma 70-200 ($800)

This is the one that I think holds the most promise for me, though I think I'd skip the Pentax/Tokina 16-50/2.8 in favor of the Tamron. I don't care about videos or 'Live View' but the improved AF and frame rate, and the selection of fast primes gets my attention.
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Last edited by TCav; Aug 30, 2009 at 12:30 PM.
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