Beating a dead horse - HELP with DSLR choice please!


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Feb 11, 2009
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I'm sure this has been posted over and over, and it's been beaten into the ground - but I need help. I've read reviews, I've researched, and I'm stumped.

I am making the step into DSLR from P&S superzoom. I own three Minolta AF A mount lenses from the 90s that I know will work with the Sony Alpha bodies.

I'm on a budget!! Looking to spend $750 - tops - and will want a zoom lens.
I'm a quality freak - crisp sharp images, no abberation, no noise, good color... and so I really like what I see with the Nikon D60 and D80. I'm stumped and I've run it into the ground and still can't decide. Please assist me - I need advice and opinions from real life users. thanks!
If you have the Minolta lenses, you might as well go with the latest Sony DSLR that fits your budget (I'm not up to date on those models, sorry).

crisp sharp images, no abberation, no noise, good color
This has just as much or more to do with the lens, your technique and processing than it does with the model of camera body.
What are the Minolta lenses that you own?

Don't buy a D60, get at least a D80.
tsaraleksi brings up a good point, it depends on what minolta lenses you have to decide if it is worth it to keep with A-Mount cameras
You could get the D80 and if your lenses are nice primes you could sell them on Craigs for more equipment funding.
What are the Minolta lenses that you own?

Don't buy a D60, get at least a D80.
tsaraleksi and nickisonfire: Nothing too spectacular - two 'stock' Minolta lenses that are about 15 years old - a 35 - 80mm that came with the Maxxum package, and a 70 -210 f/4.6, plus a Sigma (that weighs a ton) 75 - 200mm f/2.8 that I bought after market about 13 - 14 years ago. All AF.
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My advice would be to go with the Sony Alpha - whichever model fits your budget. I have the Sony A100, but there is a 200, 300, 350, 700 & I believe they just came out with a 900. Not sure of their prices or features.

You have three lenses that will work on the Sony models - why trash or sell them to go with another brand camera and then have to replace the lenses as well? The fact that between my husband and I we had numerous Minolta lenses from our film cameras, made my decision to go with Sony quite easy, it was the obvious choice, especially since I was on a tight budget. Sony is a good camera.

Everyone has a preference of brands, and it usually goes Canon, Nikon, or Nikon Canon [:)] and down from there, but it doesn't mean another brand is not as good - though many will argue the point I'm sure.

Good luck -
the 35-80 is nothing to get excited about, i have it but rarely use it because it's not that sharp (at least that's how mine is)

the 70-210 f/4 is probably the greatest lens minolta ever created, also referred to as the 'beercan' it's very sharp and quite fast

if you get an a200/3xx you should be good to go with the 70-210 and the kit lens that comes with it. that would be my suggestion.


If your against sony for some reason you can sell your 70-210 (probably for over $175) and buy into another system, if you have something in mind other than sony

hope that helpss
To all of you who've looked at this thread, and especially those of you who've responded - thank you! I've spent my evening looking at galleries, and I think I've managed to nail it down to the Sony. I KNOW there are things I won't like about it, but I've got the glass and that's important. If I'm that unhappy I will sell it all and start all over. As much as I'd much rather have a grand (or ideally more) to spend, I am limited. I'm considering the A200 two lens kit. As much as the live view is great on the A300, I don't know if I'll use it.

Nick - talk me into why I NEED to buy the a300 with the live view? I know this is a stupid question, but is it LIVE live? - will it give me a preview with my current settings so I'll know exactly what the image is going to record like? For shooting I NEVER use an LCD screen - always a viewfinder, and I suppose that goes back to my film roots. Can't seem to get comfortable using the LCD. My nifty rotating screen on my Canon S3IS never gets opened... or at least very rarely. If this will offer me more than what the standard LCD will do, fill me in. That could be a determining factor to the A300. I can get a 200 kit with a 300mm zoom for what my budget has, and that's tempting. But do I need it? I'm going shopping tomorrow at lunch at my local Wolf/Ritz store.
okay as you know i have the a300, with the live view. I bought the a300 because at the time it was only a couple bucks more than the a200, so i figured "what the hell, i might as well get it"

So i do actually use the live view quite often, more than i thought i would. I find with my dslr i'm now taking a lot of different shots from weird angles and stuff, not just snapshots where it's no inconvenience to put your face up to the viewfinder.

So what i'm saying is, if you think your going to be taking just snapshots and things where you won't be bending over inorder to look into the viewfinder, then go for the a200,

for example when i shoot water macros or something like that where i have my camera on the tripod and it's lower than eye level i love having the tilting screen and liveview because it saves me from having to bend over just to check everything is framed correctly

answering your other questions:

yes the liveview is live, when you adjust the whitebalance, exposure and everything else your screen will pretty accurately show how the picture will turn out.

Also there is no delay in autofocus such as in canon liveview, where the screen will go black while autofocusing

i hope that answers some of your questions
I have the Sony A350 with 14.2 megapixels. To make use of the extra megapixels, good glass is mandatory. Initially I had to force myself to use the live view instead of the viewfinder when it was warranted but after a while it came more naturally.

High and low camera angle shots are much easier to shoot with live view. Street photography is almost completely anonymous when the tilting live view screen is used at waist level. I once braced my camera against an overhead beam in a mine shaft and used the tilting screen and live view to compose the photo. A viewfinder shot would have been impossible. Holding the camera over your head in a crowd to catch a celebrity is also possible with the live view on the Sony Alpha.


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