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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    115

    Maxxum user looking at Sony Alphas

    Hi.
    I am new to the Sony Digital SLR topics. About 1 year ago I purchased my 1st digital camera - better late than never. It is a Kodak Z712IS (7 MP, 12x zoom) and it has renewed my love for photography.

    My Maxxum 7000i has been in hibernation for a couple of years and based on my enjoyment of digital capture and image manipulation, extra rolls of film will probably expire before I expose them.

    The Kodak camera has enough limitations that I have started looking at digital SLR's. Since I have the Minolta flash and 2 Minolta "A" lenses (35-105 & 100-300), plus 55mm filters and close up lenses, it would be nice to use them with a digital SLR.

    I like the feel, ease of use, specs, and price on the A300. I have some questions for you:

    1) Should my Maxxum "A" lenses work well on the Sony A300 and produce quality images?
    2) Is this a good time to buy or should I wait until 2009 for a possible price drop?
    3) Are the Sony Alpha digital SLR's reliable?
    4) Do you think full size sensors will trickle down to less expensive models over the next 1-2 years?
    5) Does anyone regret their Alpha purchase?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA.
    Posts
    1,161
    Hello and welcome! There is plenty of info. here in the archives, feel free to probe around and research it. Another great source is dyxum.com, they have a very detailed and searchable lens database and reviews. I don't think you will see the full frame sensors for the less esp. models at all, maybe see a new model like a 750, or 800 with FF in the future. No regrets here at all a bit of second guessing myself at one time but it worked out. I don't think anyone here has had major problems with a alpha, Don had a thumbwheel issue recently but he shoots like a million pics a year LOL and someone had or still has a vibration issue. Your AF A mount lenses will work, some much better then others, and some not so well. My 50mm 1.7 is amazing on the 700, My understanding is the 24-105 works great, lots of people love the 70-210 beercan on the alphas
    Sony A700_____________Minolta AF 50mm. F/1.7
    Minolta AF 70-210mm F/3.5-4.5 Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR DiII LD Asp. [IF]
    Tamron SP AF 70-200mm. F/2.8 DI LD [IF] Macro
    Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2
    Tokina AF 28-70mm F/3.5-4.5
    Tokina AF AT-X 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6
    http://flickr.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    Yes, what he said.

    But, one other thing ... if your really want to get one camera that you will not feel the need to upgrade, then the A700, right now, is the camera of choice. It offers photographic options that the lesser models just cannot emulate, especially when it comes to HDR photography (ver 4 software).

    Beleive me, it will quickly grow on you and you will not feel the need to upgarde. The A900 full frame has recently been released .. and I am still asking myself ... do I really need to get one? The A700 darn near does everything the big frame model does ... and I'm not spending an extra $2000 on a new camera.

    I tell ya, it's tough! The A700 does it all ... and I suspect you can especially appreciate it, coming from a film-SLR background. The A200, A300 and A350 are for people who have never had an SLR. I recommend you find a SONY-Style store and shoot with all of them, first, and then decide.

    Hey, do not forger to bring your "A"-mount lenses to the store with you. You can easily try them out and compare them with the floor models. A nice way to spend a few hours.

    Welcome to the forum and I hope you like the new A700 you will buy.

    Last edited by DonSchap; 10-30-2008 at 12:39 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788
    I'm very new to dSLR, but I can speak a bit to #2, with several years of following and selling consumer electronics.

    Yes, things will be cheaper next year, but then again, they will be cheaper than that in 2010. Because computer technology accelerates the way it does, you have to expect that with anything digital. I will say however that the consumer dSLR space, which has only existed for about half a decade, is starting to settle down a bit. When the first digital Rebel came out, it was a stripped down camera and it was a big deal that it was south of $1000. Now things seemed to have settled in the consumer space with a $500 floor, for pretty well featured cameras like the D-40 and the A200, on up to around $1000. Which means spending $500 this year or next year will get you a solid, but low end camera.

    I just got an A300 after several weeks of way too much research. Circuit City had a great deal with a 70-300mm lens, extra bag, battery, and dSLR for dummies book for just $50 over the camera price. Before buying I was thinking that at the same price I would have gone with Canon or Nikon, but after the ease of use of the Sony, and perhaps most importantly the size vs. the Canon and Nikon, I have been very happy. The biggest downside to the Sony is that you won't find as many second hand accessories, just because there are SO many more Nikon and Canon users, but in your case you already have the older accessories.

    Probably the biggest tradeoff between Sony and Canon is the in-body image stabilization vs. Canon's lower noise at higher ISO. Again in your case, with an existing investment in lenses, you want to be able to use them with the stabilization, instead of having to buy new lenses. I don't know enough about Nikon to speak to that.

    When I was looking everyone said to go in and get a feel for the cameras. I highly recommend that. If you have bigger hands you will probably appreciate the feel of the Sony's a lot more. It has bigger buttons, which are easier, especially with gloves on.

    Since it seems as though you are a little more experienced, Don's recomendation for the A700 may be more important, but I will add that the Live View on the 300/350 (which I think the A700 doesn't have) is pretty amazing. My wife has no interest in learning anything about manual settings or using a viewfinder, and she loves the live view. It's great to be able to compose shots with real AF, and a histogram.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA.
    Posts
    1,161
    Depending how much a background you have with SLR's could play inot your choice. I had never had a SLR let alone a DSLR, some pretty nice point and snaps. Anyway i was on the fence between getting the A300 whenit was going to come out, or to get a 100 / 200 to learn on. Don was very helpful, explained the pros and cons of my choices and my options, cost outlay etc. we discussed my uses of the camera and my goals I wanted to obtain with a DSLR and in the long run the A700 just made the most sense in my case. I also like the way the 700 feels in my hands, but that too is a very subjective issue. Now I don't know for sure if this is a fact or not, but somewhere I don't think it was here I read that the 700's buttons and wheels were 'more weather sealed' not truely weather sealed, but more so then the 100 - 350, and as I shoot the vast majority of photos outside this was a plus for me also if it is factual.
    Sony A700_____________Minolta AF 50mm. F/1.7
    Minolta AF 70-210mm F/3.5-4.5 Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR DiII LD Asp. [IF]
    Tamron SP AF 70-200mm. F/2.8 DI LD [IF] Macro
    Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2
    Tokina AF 28-70mm F/3.5-4.5
    Tokina AF AT-X 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6
    http://flickr.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,554
    You know, Sean ... the best part of the A700 is when I grab it, I don't have to consider what it cannot do. Now, for me, Live View had never been a consideration in the past. No SLR ever had anything of the kind. The closest thing I had ever seen was using a Polaroid insert on a medium format camera, BEFORE you went with the expensive and development intensive Ektachrome frame ... or even the frosted pane of the god-awful View Camera.

    I suppose it is of some value, but I can't say that I miss it?
    Last edited by DonSchap; 10-30-2008 at 02:59 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    788
    It's certainly not that I have anything against the A700! I would have totally gone for one if I had the budget. I was saying that in the $500-800 price range, the Sony has useful live view where the Canon, Nikon, etc. don't. Not saying that one should choose the 300/350 over the 700.

    I went and did my first good outdoor shooting today, and in strong sunlight, live view was not so useful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    Hello! I thought I might add my four penn'th. I've been a 35mmSLR and MF user since the 70's and have sampled digital using Fuji s7000 and s9600 bridge cameras (great Holiday snapper). My 35mm choice has always been Minolta but my trusty old 9000 has recently been "nicked" along with my 20mm prime and "Beercan" so I have been looking at the A350 or A700 (I still have several Minolta A mount lenses).

    I had the good fortune to borrow an A350 for a couple of days and I was looking forward to sampling the Liveview feature but in practice I found it unusable outside in bright sunshine; too dim and too many reflections, so I had to resort to the viewfinder. Unfortunately, because of the Liveview sensor, the viewfinder is quite small and I didn't like it. As a seasoned SLR user I automatically go for for the viewfinder and find it much easier to control the camera in that position, especially with a long lens, so if the viewfinder's not right it's a nogo. If the Liveview feature had been OK it might be a possibility but for me this would only be useful on a Tripod or in lowlight, which brings me to the killer. At higher ISO's the way this camera handles noise reduction is unacceptable (being kind) and you would have to use Camera Raw and post process. I know that I may be being overcritical being used to film images but this is after all just an opinion.

    Here in the UK prices for the A700 Body have dropped to 590 (345 for the A350) so the choice is practically a no brainer although I have yet to sample the A700. I believe the price drop is in preparation for the discontinuation of the A700 in the spring so I would expect a updated model probably with the addition of Liveview (I don't think I can wait that long).

    I hope dig-it-al finds this useful although I have to stress that it is just my opinion and a younger person with keener eyesight may have a different take.
    Last edited by Peekayoh; 11-02-2008 at 04:25 AM. Reason: Typo

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by Peekayoh View Post
    Hello! I thought I might add my four penn'th. I've been a 35mmSLR and MF user since the 70's and have sampled digital using Fuji s7000 and s9600 bridge cameras (great Holiday snapper). My 35mm choice has always been Minolta but my trusty old 9000 has recently been "nicked" along with my 20mm prime and "Beercan" so I have been looking at the A350 or A700 (I still have several Minolta A mount lenses).

    I had the good fortune to borrow an A350 for a couple of days and I was looking forward to sampling the Liveview feature but in practice I found it unusable outside in bright sunshine; too dim and too many reflections, so I had to resort to the viewfinder. Unfortunately, because of the Liveview sensor, the viewfinder is quite small and I didn't like it. As a seasoned SLR user I automatically go for for the viewfinder and find it much easier to control the camera in that position, especially with a long lens, so if the viewfinder's not right it's a nogo. If the Liveview feature had been OK it might be a possibility but for me this would only be useful on a Tripod or in lowlight, which brings me to the killer. At higher ISO's the way this camera handles noise reduction is unacceptable (being kind) and you would have to use Camera Raw and post process. I know that I may be being overcritical being used to film images but this is after all just an opinion.

    Here in the UK prices for the A700 Body have dropped to 590 (345 for the A350) so the choice is practically a no brainer although I have yet to sample the A700. I believe the price drop is in preparation for the discontinuation of the A700 in the spring so I would expect a updated model probably with the addition of Liveview (I don't think I can wait that long).

    I hope dig-it-al finds this useful although I have to stress that it is just my opinion and a younger person with keener eyesight may have a different take.
    I read all the complaints about the A300/!350's eyepiece. Many described it as looking through a dim tunnel. From a first time SLR user, it's much MUCH better than any point and shoot I've ever used and it doesn't bother me one bit. So in that sense, I'm not bothered by it at all. I'm sure once I step up to something else, things will be a lot better lol.
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    Well, we may be born equal but we're all different, thank God!
    Which is why it's a good idea (DonShap) to try before you buy. I wish I knew someone with an A700!

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