View Full Version : Bought me an A100K...

08-07-2006, 06:45 PM
Through a timely coupon, I was able to save 10% on an A100K rig. I was hoping for something along this line and, oh yeah, good things happen. So, I bought the kit and wound up effectively getting the kit lens for nothing!

Okay... enough "happy talk", as they say.. let's get down to some brass tacks.

I ran the SONY through most of my Minolta lenses... to see how she weighed in and dog gone it... a side-by-side with the Canon 20D showed me some really strange results. I need to look closer at it, but the purported SONY "noise issues" seem to be more the Canon's issue, but more on that later... we have time.

Okay.. I left the ISO at the "AUTO" setting and "HANDHELD" every shot.

50mm setting on the SONY 18-70mm kit lens... Super SteadyShot "on"
The kit lens is rather unremarkable, as others have noted. It did not allow for good saturation of the image... which implies a lack of element quality. But, here it is, unretouched.

Then... I took the second lens I had planned on using with this rig, the Ozunon 70-210mm f/4.5 and popped a shot from it... 70mm at f/4.5
A sharp result and well-worth using this "old glass" (20 years old, to be sure).

Trying the Minolta 35-70mm f/4 Macro... yielded this at ISO-400

and this... at ISO-1600 (Note the noise in the black square... yes, it is there.)

I ran the Minolta 50mm f/1.4 at f/4.5

Then the Minolta 50mm f/1.7 at f/4.5 (Another 20-year veteran lens)

This stuff is not looking bad... but then came the kicker... which I really didn't expect... the side-by-side, with the Canon EOS 20D using an EF 50mm f/1.8 ISO400

If you compare the last two images... you will notice a vertical distortion to the Canon Image. It actually looks "squat", and I assure you... this same target was used, tonight. :confused: Not only that.. look at the noise level in this photograph. Quite a bit more, in my estimation. Also, you can see that the Canon went for a more saturated color image... while the SONY lightened it up a bit. Could be an AWB issue, but automatic features should work.

I will shift from SONY's "AUTO" ISO to ISO-400, later on... but this is a rather disturbing comparison. There was only the room's lighting for illumination... three flourescent bulbs and a tunsten bulb on a shaded desk lamp.

I used Aperture Priority (set to f/4.5) for all the shots and allowed both of the cameras to decide the rest, except for the Canon 20D's ISO of 400. To be honest, I wanted a casual, natural setting for the images... nothing too contrived. Just walk into the room, set your aperture and fire off a few of your favorite subject... why, the focusing chart, of course. LOL :D

The use of the Minolta-glass seems to produce readily acceptable shots... the clarity is remarkable. The "nifty-fifty" doesn't even compare to the Minolta f/1.7 prime, but then again... the Minolta lens is better glass. Unlike Canon's 50mm f/1.4, the Minolta f/1.4 delivers a softer shot. I do not quite remember the design notes on this particular lens, but over the years, I had often heard the f/1.7 was the sharper of the two. In the quick comparison, tonight, that bears out.

The SONY kit lens does show its weak points, right up front... but what do you want for effectively "free"? ;) You can bet I'll be using the Minolta 35-70mm f/4, instead... unless I am forced to go with a wider shot.

Like I've have said, if you have any Minolta-glass from prior cameras... in my opinion, you really should consider the SONY before you commit to another brand. It seems to be able to deliver the goods with the old glass... and probably will do great with the newer stuff.

Tomorrow, the Great Outdoors... and the heat!


08-08-2006, 01:12 AM
I don't see any vertical "dostortion", I see unsharpness due to camera movement. Also I see that you managed to underexpose the 20D shot. So, try shooting with correct white balance (really not a hard thing to do) and with correct exposure settings on both cameras, to get any meaningful comparisson.

08-08-2006, 09:18 AM
These two shots were taken at equal distances from the target (there's only so much room in here ;) ).

The SONY A100 using a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens

The Canon 20D using the Canon EF 50 f/1.8 II lens

Supposedly, you should get the same frame and equal sized image... but upon closer examination... BUZZ! Didn't happen.

Not we can argue the issues behind different bodies and sensors and lens all day... but what seemed obvious to me is that 50mm for one company should be the same 50mm for another.

In fact, then it dawned on me just what might be happening here... DCF! The crop factor for the SONY is only 1.5x... it's 1.6x for the Canon. I thought "side-by-sides" just got a bit more complicated. LOL

Not so, it worse than I even suspected.

SO... doing the math, this is a (1.5 x 50mm) or 75mm lens on the SONY


a (1.6 x 50mm) or 80mm for the Canon.

The Canon should be 5mm CLOSER...

But wait a second... that is exactly what makes these results even worse. The Canon image should be even larger... not smaller! There actually should be LESS in the frame... not more!

Looking at the crops... that's just not the case.

So upon further investigation... the cameras are not generating the same size JPG images... at the higher settings.

The Canon image is actually defined by 3504 x 2336 pixels @ 72 PPI.

The SONY image is defined by 3872 x 2592 pixels @ 72 PPI.

Hardly the same size, to begin with. A little detail no one probably takes into account, initially. These are definitely not apples vs apples.

So... by resizing the SONY image to correspond to the Canon... you get 3504 x 2346. Not exact, but close (to preserve the true aspect of the image, you leave the numbers linked together). It leaves a tad bit more to the vertical scale.

SONY w/ Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens @ f/4.5 ISO400 Ap
Canon w/ EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens @ f/4.5 ISO400 Ap

Comparing two photos again... we get something more along the lines of the expected results. The Canon shot is slightly larger. Its AWB and noise-level sucks... but, hey... for argument sake... we roll on. It is what it is.

08-08-2006, 09:35 AM
Hmm... why don't you take shots with the 20D that are not shaken or stirred?
If you want to compare, at least make things comparable.

Don't you have either decent light or a decent tripod? and why don't you set the white balance correctly.

08-08-2006, 10:26 AM
I've got to run out to the studio and get the tripod. Not everything is as convenient as we would like it.

I will reshoot the Canon 20D shot. I'm not contending that the 20D camera takes a bad shot... that was never the point... but the bottom line here is that there is nothing wrong with the results the SONY A100 is cranking out. With good glass... and that 10MP sensor... it generates a decent image. Why fight City Hall?

BTW: This little problem of "shake" also makes for a good reason to have it in the camera. ;)

All in all, if this camera had been on the market a year ago (a little too advanced for that, of course), but there would not be a Canon EOS 20D in my inventory. It has all the necessary bells and whistles for almost any average shooter... and even some above average shooters.

By rights, there really is no reason you can not expect a superior looking image from this SONY camera. It uses 15% more pixels to describe the image and that can only mean more flexibility in tuning it up. It's quick and rather simple to use, in the long run... which cuts down the overhead on any shoot. That's a marked improvement, in my book. It ALSO has a much larger LCD on the rear... which is terriffic to quickly determine if you acheived the image you were looking for.

If you don't need the 5-fps shutter or extended burst... or ISO-3200 :rolleyes: ... which many (95%) rarely use... this is a great idea. Older Minolta-glass is readily available and effectively a lot cheaper to purchase than Canon-glass. It is also looking quite sharp and the added attraction of stabilzation with, now get this, every lens.

C'mon... what's not to like? :eek: Get your hands on one and shoot it. It is the only way to...


08-08-2006, 02:09 PM

After several moments of trial and error... I reshot the 50mm vs 50mm lens. Distance... 10 feet and these are crops. After adjusting for color temperature (2800K), the shutter was released...

First, the Canon EOS 20D w/ Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

EXIF: 72 dpi Bit depth 24 Canon EOS 20D 50mm f/4.5 1/13th-sec ISO-400 Pattern metering Ap

Then, I reshot the SONY A100 w/ Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF

EXIF: 72 dpi Bit depth 24 SONY DSLR-A100 50mm f/4.5 1/2-sec ISO-400 Pattern metering Ap

This is far more... to the point and, yes, tripod shot for both! :cool: Again, you can easily see the Canon's 1.6x vs the SONY's 1.5x DCF at play, here, after resizing to compensate for the different sized sensor output. Again... a sharper image from the Minolta-glass. Anyone wanna donate a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 to the cause? LOL

08-08-2006, 09:00 PM
In an effort to define the "limitations" of the SONY A100... I rigged up the Ozunon 70-210mm f/4.5 AF and I pitted it up against the Canon EOS 20D w/ the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Yeah, real "David vs Goliath" special. Wanna see...

Canon @ 70mm f/4.5 1/10-sec ISO-400

Ozunon @ 70mm f/4.5 1/10-sec ISO-400

Canon @ 200mm f/4.5 1/10-sec ISO-400

Ozunon @ 200mm f/4.5 1/10-sec ISO-400

I need to work a little more with the AWB on the SONY... because right now... I have a built in SEPIA response going on. LOL :o

Still, the results against an "L-glass" lens is close to quality. The SONY is delivering the goods. If I had a high-quality piece of glass (TAmROn SP AF300mm f/2.8 LD for its front end... then I think it'd be all over but the cryin'.

Like they say... "If it ain't 'L', it's gonna be... H - E - double Hockey Sticks!" :D

08-08-2006, 10:19 PM
I was beginning to think you had a blurry test board.

So these are 100% crops? I see these as being all over the map. Some are blurry, some not as blurry, color all misbalanced, etc.

Often, lens tests are done on some subject where at least something is in focus. Such as a fence taken at an angle, or brick wall. That way it's not a test of the focus (manual or auto), rather what it can do in it's best. Then be careful to properly expose all the shots, and adjust for white balance.

Of course, testing IS can be tricky since it can't be on while tripod mounted, and your hand-shake can vary widely from shot to shot.

Oh, and congrads on the purchase. What studio? Do you have a photo studio?

08-09-2006, 11:39 AM
I have access to the college's "studio", which I am going to being spending more time in, during the coming months, than I probably would care to. Unfortunately, the Summer classes are wrapping up... so it's a limited access.

In September, I will take the time to reshoot the targets... studio style. Improved lighting and decent distance. I really wanted to get an initial feel for the Alpha and see what it can turn out. It seems to be nearly as capable as the EOS 20D... and that's cool with me.


Admittedly, no ISO-3200 or 5-fps... but I'm sure that will come as SONY pops out the "pro-level" version. God knows, they have Minolta's plans for it.

08-09-2006, 02:45 PM
This is one of my first studio conceptions with the A100... with a little help from Photoshop. I sure do miss that slave flash. It my just be a little to contrasty for the image overall...

Comments are welcome...

for a little more "gritty" effect... how about this?
It has that 1940's look to it, eh?