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Old Jan 9, 2010, 10:17 PM   #11
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Thanks for the link. I have already stumbled across that site and viewed all the videos already =)

As for what my setup will be if I go the SOny route is as follows..
I can pick the camera up in Hong Kong for about 750USD
I am looking at these additional lenses but dont know which will be best for my needs..
I would like one of the following three:
1) AF 30mm f/2.8 DT Macro SAM for around 185USD
2) AF 50mm f/1.4 for around 270USD
3) AF 50mm f/2.8 Macro for around 360USD

Idealy I would like it to be as inexpensive as possible as I just graduated from college... meaning I have zero income right now :P I really like the bokeh effect and would like to apply that to some of my macro photos. I also read that macro lenses can also be used for portraits to get nice and pleasing bokeh effect.

I am also looking at the basic SAL 55-200 f/4-5.6 Zoom lens for about 160USD. I would use this for some full city shots and maybe for some college sports games if I ever deide to go to any homecoming.

All this depends on whether I like the sony when I go to sony style tomorrrow.. But I like the fact that lenses wont be as expensive since the IS is in the Body.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 10:25 PM   #12
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The 50mm f2.8 marco would be my suggestion for 2 reason, the 50mm marco will work well as a portrait lens, and you will not need to get as close as a 30mm. And it covers a second need of marco.

When are you heading to HK, there may be more info about the a550 in another month or two.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 10:39 PM   #13
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My flight leaves on Feb 1st! I cant wait... Im still debating whether that lens is for me.. at double the cost of option one its hard to commit. I'm young I can walk closer
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 10:46 PM   #14
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Very true, but you also have to consider that if you want to take something that can leave, getting too close with a 30mm may scare them away. And you will have a lens that serves double duty.

If cost is a really a big factor, the canon gives you allot more lens option at a better cost. The ef 50mm F1.8 is about 90 dollars, the ef 50mm f2.5 is about 240. And the ef-s 55-250mm is about 250 with better reach then the 200 of the sony. More to consider.
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Old Jan 9, 2010, 11:40 PM   #15
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I dont think I will ever be using a tripod so dunno how my pics will turn out without image stabilization.. But first hing I have to try the SOny to see if I like it :P
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 3:23 AM   #16
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Wonger,

Question,
Have you looked at the nikon d90, pentax k7 or the canon 50d, they are the camera's that the A550 is design to go up against. As they are not the "entry level" but are the next level of "prosumer" camera's.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 6:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonger View Post
I dont think I will ever be using a tripod so dunno how my pics will turn out without image stabilization.. But first hing I have to try the SOny to see if I like it :P
Another neat feature with the A500 and A550 models is their Auto HDR mode. Basically, they can take two photos in a row, one exposed for the shadows, and the other exposed for the highlights, then align them in camera for a Higher Dynamic Range Image. One benefit of Sony's approach to this is that the camera accounts for minor framing differences between the images, reducing the need for a tripod by automatically aligning the two images taken.

If you look under Dynamic Range Management on this page, you'll see a link that says "See how Auto HDR works" demonstrating that feature (just use the right arrow key in the slide show that pops up to scroll through it).

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665970163

Of course, if light is low enough, you may still need one to prevent blur from camera shake, as stabilization only goes so far. ;-)
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 7:45 AM   #18
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The beercan is no long made, you will have to look for a use one. The Ef 100mm f2.8 marco is still available new as it just went out of production, and most stores still have them in stock. Even in South Africa, the lens is available. And will have a warranty in the country you buy it in.

The sigma 105mm that Mark recommended for me to look at is a very nice lens for marco work. A bit slow if you want to use it as a prime lens. Think they make it for both the canon and sony if you are looking for a nice marco lens at a bit of a saving over the Sony or Canon lenses.
Minolta stopped making the Beercan over 20 years ago, but there are lots of them available on the used market. It's build quality and its optical performance are first rate. If one has been working for 20 years, there's no reason to expect that anything is wrong with it or that it will stop working any time soon. So who needs a warranty?

And for ~$200, if it breaks, you could buy another and still save money over purchasing a new (or discontinued) Canon Macro lens.

And it's a zoom lens, so you wouldn't have to change lenses to go from shooting a flower to shooting a Panda cub.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 8:10 AM   #19
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Your choice of macro lenses should be determined by what you want to shoot, not what you can afford. Of the lenses you've selected, the two macro lenses have minimum focusing distances of 5 and 8 inches. That's not from the front of the lens; that's from the image sensor. Subtract the length of the lens and the thickness of the camera body, and you're down to 1 or 2 inches fromt he front of the lens. You'll block your own light and you'll frighten away any animate subjects. For shooting in uncontrolled environments, you need a longer focal length. The Tamron 90/2.8 Macro would be a better choice for you, and it sells for about the same as the Sony 50/2.8 macro.

And if you're not really interested in 1:1 macro shots (where an inch long subject will fill the frame), you could get the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 macro lens instead of the kit lens. It's better, faster, it's a 1:2.3 macro lens, and on a Sony body, it will be stabilized.

And, of course, there are numerous other options available on the used market. And since you seem to be on a limited budget, you might want to seriously consider getting lenses there.
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Old Jan 10, 2010, 11:39 AM   #20
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Another neat feature with the A500 and A550 models is their Auto HDR mode. Basically, they can take two photos in a row, one exposed for the shadows, and the other exposed for the highlights, then align them in camera for a Higher Dynamic Range Image. One benefit of Sony's approach to this is that the camera accounts for minor framing differences between the images, reducing the need for a tripod by automatically aligning the two images taken.

If you look under Dynamic Range Management on this page, you'll see a link that says "See how Auto HDR works" demonstrating that feature (just use the right arrow key in the slide show that pops up to scroll through it).

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...52921665970163

Of course, if light is low enough, you may still need one to prevent blur from camera shake, as stabilization only goes so far. ;-)
If the op does not want to use or plan on using a tripod, hdr may not as big as big of a deal. As tripods seems a requirement for great hdr shots.
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