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Old Aug 4, 2006, 1:57 PM   #1
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Thanks for stopping by! Here's my current situation. I have a Fujifilm S5200, which I bought earlier this year, for comparatively little money. After bridging over to digital from film, I have in my closet a lot of mostly unused Maxxum equipment, including several decent lenses and two 7000i bodies. The main reason for two bodies is that I detest changing lenses, so I'll use a 28-85 on one and 70-210 or 100-300 on the other.

After learning a LOT about digital photography the past several months, I'm ready to move up to something more capable, and am considering several models:

Fuji S6000fd @ $500 (or maybe a bit less) when it is available. Advantages are price, convenience (no lens changing), and ability to use the xD cards I already have.

Sony A100 @ $1000 (I have a bunch of Maxxum glass) Advantages include, obviously, is the existing lens collection I have, meaning all I'd need is the camera and kit lens to cover 28-450mm equivalent focal range, plus body-integral A/S and 10MP sensor. Disadvantage is cost.

K/M 7D @ $725 (see above re Maxxum glass) Advantage same as the A100, plus a more robust "pro" build. HUGE disadvantage is that K/M is no longer around and support via Sony seems tenuous at best. Risky.

Pentax DL with 18-55mm *and* 50-200mm @ $600 after MIR. Advantages include low entry cost and upgrade path in the future to new body-integral A/S cam's.

I've purposely not addressed *every* advantage/disadvantage on each option, in the interest of time and space. The ones listed are those that come immediately to mind.

Any comments on the merits of any of these or others you may suggest would be appreciated. I'm not faced with any kind of deadline on this so I have the luxury of time, but would like to do something by year-end unless a compelling reason to wait longer (like pending release of a new model) presents itself.

Thanks for you time.

FastEddie
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 2:41 PM   #2
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What limitations are you seeing with your current camera?

What conditions do you like to shoot in? What size prints do you need?

The Fuji S5200 is much better than most non-DSLR models in less than optimum lighting.

For one thing, it's lens is relatively bright throughout it's focal range (compared to the new Fuji S6000FD you're looking at, the lens on your S5200 is almost 3 times as bright at it's longest focal length, allowing shutter speeds almost 3 times as fast for the same ISO speed and lighting if you zoom in much).

So, if you need to use a camera in low light conditions often, I'd probably avoid some of the newer Fuji models like this one, even if they have lower noise for a given ISO speed (because you'd need to use much higher ISO speeds for equivalent shutter speeds if you zoom in much with one of the newer models).

Between the Sony DSLR-A100 and the KM Maxxum 7D, I'd personally be inclined to go with the KM 7D while Wal-Mart still has them available at $724 including a kit lens. Note that I'm biased since I'm currently shooting with a KM Maxxum 5D.

The Sony 6MP CCD in the KM 7D has lower noise compared to the 10MP CCD used in the new Alpha.

But, if you're using a camera in better lighting, then you may appreciate the higher pixel count more -- if you need it (as most users don't print at much over 8x10" anyway).

There are Pros and Cons to any of them.

As for the service part, it's my understanding that Sony is now offering to buy back in warranty KM DSLR models at full purchase price if they have an unrepairable problem. So, I can't fault them for that approach. For out of warranty cameras, they're currently offering a prorated buyback, using 7 years (deduct 1/7 of purchase price for each year). I can't fault them for that approach either.


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Old Aug 4, 2006, 3:03 PM   #3
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Jim,

Thank you for your prompt and detailed reply. The points you bring up are valid, and certainly applicable.

My photography tends to be toward outdoor scenics and family. So far, the 5200 has been adequate, especially considering the $225 (AR) I paid for it. It has been a good camera to "learn" digital on, too. Like any camera, there are likes and dislikes. Among the compelling features of the S6000 are the zoom range, which includes true wide angle, which the 5200 lacks. Another biggie is the manual zoom and focus lens collar that the 5200 lacks. Let me hasten to add that I'm aware that any of the dSLR's would have this capability.

I do encounter situations in which I'd like to have high ISO ability, too. For example, we just returned from a week at DisneyWorld, and I took a fair nujber of handheld nighttime shots at ISO 800 using the 5200. The camera goes up to ISO 1600, but the noise is just too pronounced for me, so I stuck to 800. That said, usable high ISO is definitely part of my hoped-for "feature set" in a new cam.

As to the 7D, I have read the exact things you have mentioned concerning Sony's ongoing support of K/M products. I have an ongoing email correspondence with one of their customer service folks that suggests this as a possibility, but stops short of actually committing to it. Unless and until I can establish, in writing, the exact terms of their policy, I am very reluctant to plunk down even $724 for a camera that might quickly become a pig in a poke (as we say in the deep South...ask Kalypso!). If the terms are as described by you, I think it would be a no brainer, for me, as it would allow me to stay on the upgrade path I have available to me currently, with my existing Maxxum gear.

Do you have a source (link?) for *firm* details of Sony's repair-or-buy-back policy? Having something in black and white on that would go a long way toward increasing my comfort level a lot.

Side note: I very nearly pulled the trigger on a 5D early this year. Unforeseen financial circumstances forced me to go with the S5200, as the best bang I could get for my existing buck at the time. Situation has improved, and I'm looking to move up.

~Ed
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 3:22 PM   #4
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The only thing I can go by is user reports.

At one time, Sony was offering replacement cameras to some users. I know of a couple of users that managed to get the new DSLR-A100 when their 7D couldn't be repaired. I've also seen it mentioned that Sony offered an H5 to some users (which created a controversy, since it's not worth as much).

Some users that got the new DSLR-A100 were not happy with it compared to their 7D, and it's my understanding that to avoid this kind of thing, Sony is going to a buyback policy only now if a 5D or 7D is unrepairable.

IMO, that's as good as you could ask of them, especially as fast as technology is changing (pro-rating a digital camera over a 7 year period, when technology is advancing at a more rapid pace).

In any event, they're obligated to provide service under the terms with KM, and have publically stated that the warranties will be honored:

Service information from Sony:

Quote:
Effective April 1, 2006, Sony Electronics will be providing service and repair of certain Konica-Minolta products in the United States. Sony is pleased to provide existing Konica-Minolta customers an excellent customer service experience. All terms and conditions of the Konica-Minolta products' limited warranty continue to apply.
Sony Support for Konica Minolta Cameras, Lenses and Accessories


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Old Aug 4, 2006, 3:29 PM   #5
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Jim,

I agree that that is a very liberal policy, and Sony is to be commended for that policy which, I'm sure, is aimed at keeping as many K/M and Minolta loyalists in the Sony camp as possible. If I can confirm this with Sony, I will have no qualms whatsoever about ordering the 7D from the StuffMart...provided Mrs. FastEddie gives her approval. She is a freelance pro and is still using the film Maxxums, but is planning to go digital soon...Nikon D200, most likely.

Hope you have a great weekend. I hear rumors that it is supposed to cool off soon...maybe back down in the high 80's by Thanksgiving (but that's up north here in Birmingham!)

Ed
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 3:31 PM   #6
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I'm sending you a PM with information that someone claimed to have received from Sony National Customer Relations regarding their new buyback policy. I have no way to verify it's accuracy.



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