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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Money Money Money!...Guys, I currently own a Sony Alpha 200, and I have to say I really like it. Its easy to ...
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Old 26-01-2010, 01:27   #1 (permalink)
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Money Money Money!

Guys, I currently own a Sony Alpha 200, and I have to say I really like it. Its easy to use and I enjoy the results after PP. I currently work around the camera, using the lower lengths of the kit lens gives decent results, and also avoiding night shots when possible. If I do shoot at night then its with ISO100 with extended shutter speeds requiring tripod useage.

However, the lens and camera dont produce "pin sharp" images, even in bright light and the night performance and range of lenses is dissapointing me.

In the coming few months there is a fair possibility ill have a few pennies to spend, but it could be from 300 up to 600, maybe more.

I dont know whether to get better glass, with a standard focal range (18-55mm or something) or wider but more expensive (18-200+mm). The other option is to totally move away from Sony onto a more mainstream brand- Nikon or Canon. The first benefit is the wider lens range, 2nd hand gear is more common etc.

Its not going to be in the next few weeks when ill be getting the money, but some opinions and ideas would be appreciated on my predicament!

Thanks,

1mag1n3
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Old 26-01-2010, 10:03   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

Regarding the choice between Sony and another brand there are two things to keep in mind. First, there really is very little difference between cameras from all manufacturers these days. All have a few strengths and a few weaknesses and all can take excellent images. Second, and a question I always ask when people talk about the 'limited' lens range for Sony, how many lenses do you need? Last time I checked Sony have 28 lenses available, plus almost every Sigma lens, plus almost every Tamron lens, and, for second hand, every Minolta AF lens ever built. If you can't find what you need in there you will never find it, unless you are looking for some very esoteric products. So what is missing that you can't find?

The 18-70 lens can be a bit hit and miss in quality so it's possibly you just have a poor one, though bear in mind that no kit lens is ever going to give you 'pin sharp' images. It's also possible if every image is bad that there might be a problem with the camera. Bear in mind that cameras are mass produced products churned out in huge numbers - every once in a while a bad one sneaks through. It might help if you posted a few examples so we can see what you are getting.

I also own an A200, I've had it for two years now and I have no intention of trading it in for anything else. It's a fine camera and does all I need. I use it almost exclusively with the Tamron 17-50/2.8 lens and it is an excellent combination, though I have also heard good things about the Sigma 17-70. I've never used the all in one type zooms so can't comment though the Tamron 18-250 and the related Sony 18-250 both review well.

One thing to keep in mind - since the Sony has in body stabilisation, switching to Canon or Nikon means that you will either have to give up on stabilisation or work with a smaller range of lens options since only some of the own-name lens from these companies are stabilised and only some of the Tamron and Sigma lens are stabilised. I had the opportunity to use a D700 recently - fantastic camera - but with two non-stabilised lenses and it was a very frustrating experience. On the Sony (and Pentax and Olympus) every lens you use benefits from the stabilisation system - including for Sony all the old Minolta lens.

You can find examples of images taken with my A200, including hand held and tripod based low-light and night shots, at my photoblog. Older ones are mostly taken with the kit lens, newer ones mostly with the 17-50. A few are taken with the Sony/Tamron 55-200 which falls somewhere between the other two in performance. You can also find information, user reviews and links to professional reviews for every lens for Sony cameras (including non-brand and Minolta lenses) at Dyxum.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Last edited by olli; 28-01-2010 at 00:48. Reason: Correcting spelling
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Old 26-01-2010, 10:31   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

Not all pictures are sharp when they leave the camera you may have to spend a little time editing the best pictures to get the best results from your camera.....and of course it just might be worth looking at the type of monitor you are viewing your pictures on!... my laptop pictures look far sharper than my desk top pictures... so don't just rush out and spend money needlessly.....and you just may need an eye test...my glasses are the best bit of viewing kit that I have got.......
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Old 26-01-2010, 20:54   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

I have the A350 + the Sigma 70-70mm 2.8 and its a very good combination; the in camera IS works very well indeed plus the tilting screen monitor is a boon in lots of ways; there are loads of good quality lenses available from variouse manufacturers . My set up works great and used examples should be available cheaply. I recently aquired the new Sony 30mm 2.8 macro and I have to say for the price its great value. The results are vert good indeed, I'm also considering the Sigma 50-150 mm 2.8 which I understand is a very impressive performer and a lot cheaper than some of its OEM equivlients!

Last edited by samleo; 26-01-2010 at 21:59.
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Old 27-01-2010, 00:54   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

Thanks for the replies. The main thing I dont like about the camera definately seems to be stemming from the glass up front. Having looked at acutal size images its clear the lens is not a sharp model. They are not "pin" sharp and are even a little blurry when on a tripod with a fast shutter speed and high fstop. Also the corners of images are terribly unsharp and there is substantial barrel distortion and blue/red fringing.

I think Ill invest into a new lens, possibly a 17-55mm worth about 300 since I dont use the longer lengths often, and I would assume the results would be far better. It would be amazing if someone could post shots from a Sony camera at a crop of actual size, to compare it to the results Im getting.

Then if I do need a wider range I can always buy a 55-200mm or something similar.

Thanks for the advice!

PS- anyone know which is the best 18-200+mm?

Last edited by 1mag1n3; 27-01-2010 at 01:04.
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Old 27-01-2010, 08:31   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

There's a review of the Tamron 17-50 for Sony at the Photozone website. On the third page there are sample pictures taken with the lens on an A700. Click on these thumbnails to see a bigger version and then click again to see the original full-size version.

Not having used the all in one zooms I can't make any personal comment but when I was considering the category the impression I got from the reviews was that the Tamron/Sony 18-250 was the best of them. (Sigma have just announced their own 18-250 which I haven't seen reviewed yet). You can look up any of these lenses on Dyxum and find links to professional reviews and plenty of user reviews.

Last edited by olli; 27-01-2010 at 09:17. Reason: Extra information added
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Old 28-01-2010, 00:43   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

I think olli is right - there is very little difference between the manufacturers. The most important thing is to feel confortable with the camera you have, if you don't get a different one. I like my A100 and find it comfortable to hold and easy to use, coming from a film background and with enough 'twiddley bits' to challenge my photographic ability.

As has been said there are many alpha mount lenses going back 25 years. Some are very good and some are not. Here's a guide to some older but very good Minolta lenses that will give excellent results without breaking the bank eBay Guides - Top Minolta Lens Picks for a New Sony Alpha Enthusiast.

As ever prime lenses tend to give sharper images than zooms, for the same money but at the expense of versatility.

I bought a 50mm F1.7 prime (1985 vintage) for about 80 and with care the images are razor sharp, even for a 25 year old lens. The 50mm lens becomes a 75mm lens on an aps-c camera, a very usefull portrait lens. It shows what my A100 can achieve. The standard 18-70 zoom was versatile but difficult to get really good results.

To be honest the weakest bit of kit I have is me. It's my ability to spot a good composition and my imagination that limits my photgraphic achievements and that would be the same with a Canon or a Nikon or however much I care to spend on kit. It's the challenge of occasionally overcoming it and taking a good photo that keeps me hooked on photography.

Your A200 is more than good enough to take great photos, better lenses will help but not guarantee good results. The last bit is down to you
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Old 28-01-2010, 00:43   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

My appologies, I managed to do 2 posts the same

Last edited by Steve_Turner; 28-01-2010 at 00:45. Reason: 2 similar posts
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Old 28-01-2010, 15:36   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_Turner View Post
I think olli is right - there is very little difference between the manufacturers. The most important thing is to feel confortable with the camera you have, if you don't get a different one. I like my A100 and find it comfortable to hold and easy to use, coming from a film background and with enough 'twiddley bits' to challenge my photographic ability.

As has been said there are many alpha mount lenses going back 25 years. Some are very good and some are not. Here's a guide to some older but very good Minolta lenses that will give excellent results without breaking the bank eBay Guides - Top Minolta Lens Picks for a New Sony Alpha Enthusiast.

As ever prime lenses tend to give sharper images than zooms, for the same money but at the expense of versatility.

I bought a 50mm F1.7 prime (1985 vintage) for about 80 and with care the images are razor sharp, even for a 25 year old lens. The 50mm lens becomes a 75mm lens on an aps-c camera, a very usefull portrait lens. It shows what my A100 can achieve. The standard 18-70 zoom was versatile but difficult to get really good results.

To be honest the weakest bit of kit I have is me. It's my ability to spot a good composition and my imagination that limits my photgraphic achievements and that would be the same with a Canon or a Nikon or however much I care to spend on kit. It's the challenge of occasionally overcoming it and taking a good photo that keeps me hooked on photography.

Your A200 is more than good enough to take great photos, better lenses will help but not guarantee good results. The last bit is down to you
Absolutely spot on,I,m pretty much in the same situation ,for me thats what its all about!
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Old 28-01-2010, 19:40   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Money Money Money!

There is no doubt that I am pleased with the results, but I think they could be better with either a better camera or a new lens. I can edit the photos to get them sharp when resizing to 1600 pixels which is sufficient but when I want to print them large for my wall they look a bit soft.

I think when I do get the money Ill invest into a brand new 17-55mm lens, and then a longer reach lens, say to 200mm.

I am looking with wide eyes at those second hand lenses... They are ever so tempting! My money may be leaving my pocket soon!
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