DSLR that can use my old Minolta's lenses?
• Looking for DSLR that can accept (via an adapter) lenses from older manual focus Minolta film camera. I have some very nice 'glass', specifically a macro and a big sports zoom that work with my subject matter and shooting style.
• Is this your first camera?
NO - used a Minolta X-570 from 1980-2005, had an early lo-pixel digital that used floppies, and currently using a Panasonic DMC-FZ20 with 9000+ pix on it
• Are you interested in a high level of control, or would you prefer to let the camera do as much "thinking" as possible?
It has to have an idiot mode for ordinary situations, and I would probably use that mode most of the time. But I know how to use shutter and aperture controls. Having a camera that indicates when it's unlikely the shot can be successful (too little light, too long an exposure, etc.) would be great.
With the adapter and old lenses, I know it's going to be manual everything, but I did that for years.
• If you had to choose, would you prefer a more versatile (large "×") zoom lens, or top-notch image quality with no zoom at all?
Interchangeable lenses :-)
• What size of camera do you want? To what degree would you be willing to sacrifice other features for compactness?
Compact is not necessary.
• What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.
The budget is "what is the lowest cost to get what I need". Given several models, I could start trading off battery life versus capture speed, versus $$, versus other features and make a decision.
Used is always an option.
I know that replacing my telephoto and macro lenses with similar function ones from Canon would be $2,000+ and it looks like Sony lenses would be even more.
• Do you plan to spend more on additional accessories now or in the future? (Lenses, lighting, tripods, batteries, memory cards, camera bags... it adds up!)
Have all that stuff already - a spare battery and extra memory cards would be the only immediate expense.
• How long do you plan on keeping this new camera?
Several years at least.
• What will you generally use the camera for?
I shoot candid, available light action including sports, scenery and wildlife. Often in poor lighting such as bright snow glare or dusk/dawn. I'm always pushing the edge of not enough light and not enough zoom.
I also do "how-to" project shots and project documents that can be semi-controlled with decent lighting or just taken in a hurry just to have an image of something before it gets covered up by the contractor. They can be close-up to extreme closeup, but my existing camera is good enough for those.
• Are you going to photograph sports? What sport, and from how far away?
Yes, snow sports, hiking, rodeo, HS football, etc. (no pro ball sports, no arena unless I'm on the floor). Considerable distance at times, such as from the top of the sled hill to the crash at the bottom. Multi-shot mode is needed.
• Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos, or other low-light photos?
Yes. And I hate flash and use it as seldom as possible even when it might help the lighting. I post-process to bring out the detail and correct the color, but I need a camera that will grab the detail for me.
• Will you make prints, or primarily view and share images on a computer screen? If you make prints, will they typically be small (up to 5×7") or medium sized (8×10"), or are you interested in larger sizes as well?
Much of my output goes to the web, but I would like to be able to make small and medium prints.
• Are you interested in spending time post-processing to make an image "perfect", or would you prefer to use images basically straight from the camera?
Both. I usually don't have to do more than crop and adjust the levels for shadow detail, but one reason for getting a newer camera is for learning how to deal with RAW files, HDR, etc.
• Are there particular lenses or technical features that are interesting or important to you?
If they still exist, an optical viewfinder. Snow glare and those viewscreens don't work.
Automatic bracketing for HDR would be great.
• Are there particular brands or models you already have in mind?
No. I am totally out of touch with the current camera market.
Sony DSLR's and fixed-mirror cameras should be able to accept your lenses with no adapters. If the lenses have autofocus, it will work.
With adapters, the choices are enormous. Micro 4/3 (Panasonic and Olympus), Sony, Samsung, and Nikon all have mirrorless cameras that can take your lenses with adapters. You should also be able to mount them to any Canon DSLR via adapter. Prices vary enormously, and most have various sizes of smaller sensors that effectively "crop" your picture, giving you tighter framing but making any wide angle lenses you have into normal or even telephoto lenses. Sizes range from Altoids tin to cinderblock, and prices from $200 (used) to $5000.
So in conclusion, a Sony DSLR is probably your best bet. They still have optical viewfinders and won't need an adapter. However, the viewfinders may be small enough to make manual focus difficult. Sony does have an A850 that has a sensor the same size as 35mm film and a viewfinder that is better than average. It is cheap for what it is, but maybe out of your price range. Note that lenses have improved over the years. With the exception of the often smaller apertures, modern cheap lenses may not be much behind your older models.
I think raven is right in your new choices. Only comment I'll make is I upgraded to a dslr from an FZ20 some zears ago and actually found it quite difficult to get a significant upgrade as the FZ is a tremendous camera. You will need to be quite choosy and definitely go beyond an entry level model if your budget will allow. There are still times I wish I still had the FZ, even now when I look back some of my best shots were taken with it, so if you can keep it as a cheap versatile backup I'd recommend it. Let us know how you decide to go.
Around every picture there's a corner & round every corner there's a picture
- the fun's in finding them
For the old, manual era, SLR lenses I would also consider the Sony NEX series. But I don't know exactly what adapters work for NEX.
Canon EOS 50D, Fujifilm F45fd, various film dinosaurs
My old lenses are "MD" mount - not autofocus - I forgot to specify that for those not familiar with the camera body number.
As far as I can tell, they are not directly mountable to the Sony A-mount DSLRs, but adapters seem to be easy to find, now that I know what I'm looking for.
The A850 (or did you mean 580?) looks great. That's a bit of a stretch, but not entirely out of reach. I'll check the Sony range out this weekend, hauling my lenses with me, and come back here looking for a "click here to buy" link. I assume you have one.
And yes, it's hard to beat the FZ20. I'm going to keep it. It's a perfect example of why lenses count more than "megapixels".
Caution on the "adapters" for MD era Minolta to Sony Alpha bodies. I'm pretty sure they require a lens inside, which magnifies the focal length by 1.4X (or more). This is in addition to the 1.5X that comes with a crop body. But the NEX adapters for MD era may be lens free, and are the same sensor size as the A580.