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Old May 25, 2010, 12:12 AM   #1
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Hi there,

I have recently been bitten by the photography bug, I'm ok, I've been to the doctor and he told to take two weeks off and go to the Steves-digicams forum.

A brief history, my brother in-law has been an amateur photographer for some time now (although he would kill me if I called him amateur), getting by on the Sony A100. Living with him for 6 months I got the opportunity to use this DSLR on more frequent basis with a fair amount of enjoyment. He recently upgraded to the A900 and this has since motivated me to get my own, that and the fact that he was getting sick and tired of me mooching his A100 all the time.

Right now this is strictly a hobby for me, but I quite confident that I will expand this in the future. I'm mainly interested in taking portraits, but I'm taking a 5000km road trip up the East Australian coast in a few months and would like to have a camera that will help me with all those beautiful landscape shots. The majority of the portrait shot will shot at night, at parties and family gatherings and I really like taking wide angle panoramic landscape shots.

My queen and master has graciously allowed me a budget of AU$1500, which has got me eyeing off the Nikon D90, although I still prefer the ergonomics of the Sony which I have become accustomed to. Which has me thinking about the relatively new A450? My questions;

1. Since I'm already familiar with the Sony range, would it be better to stay with that brand so I can hit the ground running?
2. If so, does anyone have any experience with the A450?
3. I was planning to get the D90 body and then get the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens, but this stretches my budget a bit too much, should I settle for the kit lens and upgrade later?
4. Or go for a cheaper body and spend more money on quality lens?
5. Should I buy specialty lens, i.e. one for landscape, one for portrait or should get just one all rounder.

Thanks in advance,
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Old May 25, 2010, 12:20 AM   #2
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If you want to stick with a sony the A550 is a really good camera. But you will find that sony lens choices is just not there compare to the D90. The only sony models I have play with are the A380, A500 and recently the A550. But the A550 is a bit more money also, yhr A500 is not bad either with a bit less features.

The D90 is an excellent camera but it is a more expensive package. It will give you full access of nikons great line up of lenses. I would not recommend going with the lower grade body of the D5000, you are lens limited.

With both sony and nikon. I would not go with their lower end bodies. They are not quite up to par with the Canon T2i (aka 550D) or T1i(aka 500D) or the Pentax K-x.

The kit lens will work nicely for landscape, but if you need wider, a good wide angle is nice. On the the portrait, a good prime either a 50mm or 85mm with a big aperture would make it easier for the back ground blurring.

Sony is heavy into megazoom, but they do not perform as well as a 2 kit lens setup. And are a bit more. But it they do provide decent photos. The tamron 18-250mm would be my pick for the sony. The tamron 18-270 VC would be my pick for the nikon.

What types of things do you like to shoot? That way we can find the best system that fits your need. Also you brother A900 is a full frame camera. Do you see yourself going there one day?
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Last edited by shoturtle; May 25, 2010 at 12:53 AM.
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Old May 25, 2010, 2:40 AM   #3
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Thanks Shoturtle!!

I did look at the A550, but found the reviews unenthusiastic and as you stated the lens supply is a little short.

At the moment I'm really enjoying taking portrait shots at parties and social gatherings, generally at night and hence low light. But I also love shooting objects, day or night.

As for full frame, definitely. I prefer to take shots of landscapes/architecture and see myself moving in that direction as get older and more experienced. Should I save my pennies and buy a FF first off?

After researching some more, I'm 99% sure on the D90 with the standard 18-105 lens and then I'll also get the 50mm 1.8f to complement; this fits within my budget.
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Old May 25, 2010, 4:27 AM   #4
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The Sony A450 is the same as the A550, except it doesn't have the articulating LCD display. That's a point in its favor, if you ask me. More moving parts is bad. Unfortunately, the A450 isn't available here in the US.

The fact that you are already familiar with a Sony dSLR means you've already got a step up on the learning curve you'll be on with any camera. And the A450 is available without a lens, and the Sony/Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 would work well for everything you say you want to shoot. I don't know how much that will add up to in Australia, but I don't think it will bust your budget. The only downside to that system is that the 16-80 won't work on a 'Full Frame' camera body, but it also means it won't work on your brother-in-law's A900, which might be a good thing since he won't want to borrow it.

The Nikon D90 is also an excellent choice, and the 18-105 is a nice lens, but it has problems with distortion and vignetting, which could be a problem when shooting landscapes and architecture.
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Last edited by TCav; May 25, 2010 at 4:29 AM.
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Old May 25, 2010, 5:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
...The only downside to that system is that the 16-80 won't work on a 'Full Frame' camera body...
Actually, a DT lens like the Sony/Zeiss 16-80mm will work on the A900. But, you'd get a cropped image that way (the A900 will automatically switch to a 3924 x 2656 APS-C mode when it sees a DT lens attached).

The A450 would be a good bet in the Sony lineup. I think it's a shame they don't offer this model in the U.S. for buyers that want the A550's feature set at a lower cost and don't care about the A550's fast autofocus live view.

Basically, the A450 gives you everything you get with the Sony A550 except for Fast Autofocus Live View and a tilting LCD. It's still got the Manual Focus check Live View (using the camera's imaging sensor, with 7x or 14x display magnification available). But, it doesn't get the separate Live View Sensor in the camera's viewfinder housing like the A550 gets (which allows very fast AF using Live View), and it doesn't get a tilting LCD.

Compared to the A100 you've been using, you'd get higher resolution, faster available continuous shooting, much faster Autofocus, lower noise levels as ISO speeds are increased (with higher available ISO speeds), and some new features related to increasing Dynamic Range. For example, you'd get an Auto HDR feature that will take two photos at up to 3 stops apart (one exposed for the shadows and the other exposed for the highlights) and merge them in camera to create a single image with greater dynamic range. It would also work with any of your brother-in-law's lenses used with his A100 or A900; and like the Sony models you've used, all lenses would be stabilized on the A450 (thanks to the camera body based stabilization system).
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Old May 25, 2010, 10:26 AM   #6
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I would go with the nikon if you do see yourself going to full frame one day. The larger lenses selection is a big plus. Also I would look at getting nikon FX series lenses over the crop body DX lenses. I started with film on my canon, just went to a crop body. But I will most likely add a full frame body. So I only get lenses that are design for full frame.

The D90 is and excellent camera. And the basic package you are looking at is a very good setup. I think it will be the right system for your needs and will upgrade well as you get further down the road in photography.
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