I agree; you get what you pay for.
I agree; the "free" kit lenses are dire.
I agree; Premium glass offers the opportunity for the best result.
I agree: "old" glass without digital coatings may suffer from CA and flare.
I agree: some "old" glass is as bad as the current kit lens.

but there is good "old" glass out there to be had and
With the right "old" glass I still expect terrific results. I may be proven wrong but I remain an optimist.

When I got the A700 I couldn't wait to try it out (obviously) so I took some shots in the garden to try out my new toy.
The attached picture (iso 100, f5.6, 1/250th, 100% crop, no post processing, heavily (7) compressed for posting)
was taken with a 20+ year old Minolta 35-70mm f4 zoom available on eBay for ú35 ($50)

My Rose Bush is looking a bit worse for wear (amazing it's still got blooms in November) but
I believe (IMO) it's sharp within the DOF, the colour's great and the Bokeh reasonable. The Bokeh has suffered from the compression and looks much better on the original.

Now I'm not offering it up as a masterpiece, just saying that, considering the lens and
that not a lot of thought went into the shot, it stands up quite well. My 28-135mm f4/4.5 should be better.

I'm certain a "G" lens or Zeiss optic will give better results when I can afford it
but in the meantime I'm far from unhappy and if I have to work a bit harder to get a keeper, thats no bad thing.
Working with a less than perfect optic, understanding and allowing for it's shortcomings can only make for a better photographer.