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Old 08-24-2008, 01:27 AM   #91
Code
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I'm officially a Sony DSLR shooter now. When I decided to upgrade my Olympus E-510, I came to the conclusion after much internal debate that the E-3 was not for me, but I wanted to stay in the body-stabilization camp so that I could get fast and stabilized glass for less than a mortgage payment each (third-party glass), and also keep my stabilized primes and wide-angle that I have come to love. I debated between Pentax and Sony for several weeks, and I admit that Sony is probably the last place I thought I would end up, but it grew on me and the sensor is fantastic, and Pentax struck out with me for various reasons... so here I am, and I'm really happy!

I've been very patient building my new kit.. first, I got an excellent deal on a new-in-box A700 from when Best Buy did their blowout clearance of this model.. I got it from someone reselling one they bought for profit, and still ended up saving almost $500 off retail price. Since then I've patiently waited for used deals on all the lenses I wanted, and I got them all except one that I had to buy new because I ran out of time. Without further ado, here's my stuff:



On the left side: Sigma 30mm f/1.4, Sony 50mm f/1.4, and Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (the legendary "beercan").
Mounted on the camera: Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 (the only lens I had to buy new).
On the right side: Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, and Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro.

The only thing left to get is an f/2.8 telephoto, I will either get the new Tamron 70-200 or Sigma 70-200 HSM when they come out for this mount, but they will probably have to wait for finances to catch up anyway, and that could take quite a while. The beercan is great in the meantime.

I admit that searching for used deals has been quite a task, and I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but I managed to save a large chunk of change VS new prices.

But the camera and lenses aren't all... I've wanted to start a basic off-camera lighting setup since about 2 minutes after I started reading Strobist.com last year, and I finally did it:



The umbrellas (convertible between shoot-through and reflector) and stands are from MPEX, the flashes are both Sigma EF-500 DG Super that I got used. They can be used on-camera too. I'm hoping to get good enough doing portraits that I can make a side-job out of it, but I have a LONG way to go on that goal.

I'll be taking this camera down to the World in 13 days, indeed our trip is the reason I had a deadline to get everything and I was successful Hopefully I'll have some great stuff to share when I get back! Also look for the live report I will likely be doing here on the photo board while we are down there.
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Old 08-24-2008, 02:29 AM   #92
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What an awesome setup you've aquired so far! Can't wait to see some pictures from your trip.

When I got my Sony one of the first things I did was plan a trip to DL. And that meant I had to pick up a couple of lenses quick (a new Sigma 30mm f1.4 and a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8). Since then I've been able to add a couple more including some used Minolta (love the beercan). Next on my wishlist is a macro, a wide, fast zoom and a flash. Little did I know that my great Best Buy deal would lead to this!!!

In the end though I am just so pleased with the Sony and love the pictures I get. Congratulations on yours!
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Old 08-24-2008, 01:09 PM   #93
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Good for you. Congrats.
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Old 08-24-2008, 04:13 PM   #94
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Hello everyone. I'm glad I came across this thread. Great info, and I enjoyed looking at the photos.

I've been contemplating getting a DSLR for awhile now. After reading alot of reviews, and a whole lot of thought, I'm pretty sure that I want a Sony Alpha model...mostly because of the in body stabilization, dust reduction feature, and the compatibility with the Minolta A mount lenses.

So at first, I was decided on an A200. But then I had to chance to play around with a Nikon D40, and realized that I really missed the Live View feature. So, then I decided on an A300 model, with the 18-70 and 55-200 kit lenses. This is selling for $799 right now on Amazon (no tax)

However, I saw in the Best Buy paper today that they have the A350 model, with the 18-70 lens and the 75-300 lens for $899. That's only $154 more (including tax at Best Buy) than the A300 kit, and the 2nd lens is more powerful, as well as jumping up from a 10 to 14 megapixel camera.

Now, I've read various reviews that the 14 megapixel in the A350 is basically overkill, and that it also slows down the speed of the camera. So, I'm debating because of this.

Another option I considered is just buying the A300 with the 18-70 lens (kit lens) off Amazon for $599, and then adding the Sony 75-300 lens for $229. Or, I could save some money and go with a Tamrac lens instead for a savings of about $90.

I should mention that my current camera is a Canon S2-IS, so I've been spoiled by the large 12x zoom on that.

So...which option should I go with:

1) A300 model, with the 18-70 and 55-200 kit lenses. Selling for $799 right now on Amazon (no tax).

2) A300 with the 18-70 kit lens off Amazon for $599 (no tax), and then adding the Sony 75-300 lens for $229 (no tax). (Or, I could save some money and go with a Tamrac lens instead for a savings of about $90.)

3) A350 model, with the 18-70 lens and the 75-300 lens for $899 + $54 tax = $953 , a sale at Best Buy this week. That's $125 more (with tax) than the A300 with the same exact lenses.

I appreciate any advice that you all can give me. Thanks!
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Old 08-25-2008, 02:27 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherry7 View Post
Hello everyone. I'm glad I came across this thread. Great info, and I enjoyed looking at the photos.

1) A300 model, with the 18-70 and 55-200 kit lenses. Selling for $799 right now on Amazon (no tax).

2) A300 with the 18-70 kit lens off Amazon for $599 (no tax), and then adding the Sony 75-300 lens for $229 (no tax). (Or, I could save some money and go with a Tamrac lens instead for a savings of about $90.)

3) A350 model, with the 18-70 lens and the 75-300 lens for $899 + $54 tax = $953 , a sale at Best Buy this week. That's $125 more (with tax) than the A300 with the same exact lenses.

I appreciate any advice that you all can give me. Thanks!
Hi!

Will fps make any difference to you? Along with the megapixel difference the A300 shoots at 3 fps and the A350 at a slightly slower 2.5 fps which may be what you referred to in mentioning the slower performance of the A350. For me that would influence my decision as I like to do some action shots and being able to get more pictures quickly is important.

Also, you might look at B&H Photo. They have the same deal as the Best Buy option #3 but depending on where you live you may be able to avoid the tax. There would be shipping though. They also have the same A300packages as the ones from Amazon.

Between your 3 options I'd probably select #2 but with the Tamron lens and then take the $90 and pick up a used Minolta 50mm 1.7 for around $100 on ebay or somewhere that sells used equipment. Then you'd have a nice fast prime lens as well!
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:23 AM   #96
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Glad someone bumped up this thread - I've been here for a few weeks now, but never saw this thread until now.

My current kit is an A300, with the SAL 18-250mm as my all-purpose walkaround lens, a Minolta 50mm F1.7 for low light, and a Tamron 200-500mm for wildlife and birding. I keep it all in a Kata R102 bag purchased to handle the huge 200-500 lens installed on-body. I have a remote shutter cord as well for tripod work. Love the camera, and having lots of fun with it since I got it back in April or so.

A few weeks ago I had my first Disney trip with the A300, and thoroughly enjoyed playing around and pushing the limits of the camera with the wonderful Disney scenery:























It was a shorter trip, and several days were either rainy or threatened rain, so I didn't get as many photo opportunities as I'd have hoped this time around. But for a first chance with the new camera, I was most interested to try dark ride photos, since I've never really had that capability before picking up the A300 and the 50mm F1.7 lens. And I didn't bring the Tammy 200-500 to any of the parks since it is a big and heavy lens and it was too hot to be lugging it around! The 18-250 had enough reach to get to the gorillas, which was enough for now...when the weather's cooler, I may bring it into AK for a few animal closeups. All shots above are with the 18-250, except the Pirates of the Caribbean and Universe of Energy shots which are with the 50mm.

Of course, the Alpha and I will be there again in a few weeks, so hopefully I'll have more opportunities to play around - and we'll be there again in December when the weather's cooler, and lugging around a full kit won't be as tiring!
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Old 08-25-2008, 05:25 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherry7 View Post
So at first, I was decided on an A200. But then I had to chance to play around with a Nikon D40, and realized that I really missed the Live View feature. So, then I decided on an A300 model, with the 18-70 and 55-200 kit lenses. This is selling for $799 right now on Amazon (no tax)

!
the live view feature is nice if needed, but keep in mind that to get the sharpest pictures it's best to use the viewfinder,

It is much esier to eliminate camera movement using the viewfinder, than it is using live view..
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Old 08-25-2008, 11:13 PM   #98
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Hey zackiedawg.. thanks for sharing your pics. I talked to you briefly over on the Sony dpreview forum when you posted your "high ISO torture test" photos. Now you see what I'm headed down with Maybe we'll bump into each other, I'd love to have a look at the 18-250. I know it has excellent reviews in terms of superzooms... I've just never been able to bring myself to make any compromise, even though it would be so much more convenient. But your pictures look excellent.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:14 AM   #99
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I'd be happy to share any info on the 18-250 if we should happen to run into eachother. Keep your eyes out for a big guy with an A300 and you are welcome to give the 18-250 a tryout.

We're both coming in on the 5th and I'll be at Disney until the 9th (last two days of my trip are for a conference, so likely no Disney time on Tues or Wed). My schedule is unplanned and my pace is very laid back, so check out all the shady spots and chill out areas in the parks near bars or soft drink stands!
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:29 AM   #100
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Nice pictures zackiedawg - thanks for sharing! One question about your 18-250. Have you gotten much, if any, vignetting with it? I've read a a couple of comments from people that mention getting it when they use the lens wide open and that may be what's happening with mine. It's subtle enough that I have only noticed it when I've been shooting with sky as the background.

Otherwise I find it very sharp and like the colors it produces a lot. Unless I'm shooting in low light it's the lens I have on my camera that most! It provides such a great range and is so nice IMO.
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Old 08-26-2008, 09:44 AM   #101
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Quote:
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Nice pictures zackiedawg - thanks for sharing! One question about your 18-250. Have you gotten much, if any, vignetting with it? I've read a a couple of comments from people that mention getting it when they use the lens wide open and that may be what's happening with mine. It's subtle enough that I have only noticed it when I've been shooting with sky as the background.
Not really any problems with vignetting - I have seen very faint traces of it at full wide if shooting nothing but blue sky - and even then, it's not really noticeable unless I process the photo, or attempt to clone something out and realize that the sky color is a grade or two different in the far corners.

The first shot I posted, at AK of the view down the river, was shot at full wide with alot of sky - no real vignetting to speak of there...and the shot of the train station at the front of MK is also full wide with all sky at the top...I don't find any vignetting to speak of.

Do you use any filter with your lens? I suppose some filters might create some minor vignetting...but compared to other cameras or lenses I've had, the 18-250 is surprisingly free from vignetting. And I've only experienced low purple fringing in extreme contrast situations, much less than in previous cameras and only in a small handful of photos with bad backlighting. It's a very solid all-round lens.

Quote:
Otherwise I find it very sharp and like the colors it produces a lot. Unless I'm shooting in low light it's the lens I have on my camera that most! It provides such a great range and is so nice IMO.
Agreed. The lens grew on me. When I bought my camera, I was using the Tamron 200-500 lens alot for wildlife shooting, and hadn't really given the 18-250 a workout. The Tamron was so sharp and colors so excellent, that I didn't appreciate the flexibility of the 18-250. But once I started using it for longer sessions or trips, and got such good, sharp results and used it in far more situations than I ever thought I could (like indoor low light situations)...plus the fact that I can grab wide shots of building or ride facades one moment, then telephoto out to the gorilla's face the next, all in one compact lens...makes it a wonderful all-purpose choice when you can bring only one lens with you.
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Old 08-26-2008, 08:51 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KAT4DISNEY View Post
Hi!

Will fps make any difference to you? Along with the megapixel difference the A300 shoots at 3 fps and the A350 at a slightly slower 2.5 fps which may be what you referred to in mentioning the slower performance of the A350. For me that would influence my decision as I like to do some action shots and being able to get more pictures quickly is important.

Also, you might look at B&H Photo. They have the same deal as the Best Buy option #3 but depending on where you live you may be able to avoid the tax. There would be shipping though. They also have the same A300packages as the ones from Amazon.

Between your 3 options I'd probably select #2 but with the Tamron lens and then take the $90 and pick up a used Minolta 50mm 1.7 for around $100 on ebay or somewhere that sells used equipment. Then you'd have a nice fast prime lens as well!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MICKEY88 View Post
the live view feature is nice if needed, but keep in mind that to get the sharpest pictures it's best to use the viewfinder,

It is much esier to eliminate camera movement using the viewfinder, than it is using live view..
Thanks for the opinions, Kat4disney and Mickey88. I finally bit the bullet, and ordered the A300 (with just the 18-70mm kit lens) from Amazon for $599. I paid a few bucks extra for 2 day shipping, so I'll have it Thursday...in time to play around with it for the weekend.

I want a decent zoom lens, but I'm still undecided on which to get. I'm coming from a Canon S2 (with 12x optical zoom), so I've been somewhat spoiled by a big zoom. I understand that to get a comparable amount of zoom, I'm going to need a 300mm lens, right?

I'm considering the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD lens, $172 at Amazon. See here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...X0DER&v=glance

Does anyone have any opinions on this particular lens? Or, any different recommendations? I'm still very uneducated about lenses. Would this be a good "walk around" lens, or should I consider something else? Like I said, I really, really want the extra zoom power though.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:00 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zackiedawg View Post
Not really any problems with vignetting - I have seen very faint traces of it at full wide if shooting nothing but blue sky - and even then, it's not really noticeable unless I process the photo, or attempt to clone something out and realize that the sky color is a grade or two different in the far corners.

The first shot I posted, at AK of the view down the river, was shot at full wide with alot of sky - no real vignetting to speak of there...and the shot of the train station at the front of MK is also full wide with all sky at the top...I don't find any vignetting to speak of.

Do you use any filter with your lens? I suppose some filters might create some minor vignetting...but compared to other cameras or lenses I've had, the 18-250 is surprisingly free from vignetting. And I've only experienced low purple fringing in extreme contrast situations, much less than in previous cameras and only in a small handful of photos with bad backlighting. It's a very solid all-round lens.
It's only jumped out at me on 3 photos - all sky shots. After asking the question I finally decided to do a couple of quick tests and it does only happen when I'm shooting wide open and disappears after stopping down 1-2 aperatures. I don't have a filter on so it's just the lens. Here's two examples...





Considering all the pluses of this lens it doesn't bother me- it just surprised me a bit b/c it happens at 18mm or 250mm and I thought I'd see if you had experienced it.

I had originally purchased the 18-200mm when I bought my camera and it was nice but it wasn't spending as much time on my camera so I returned it after finding this 18-250mm. I'd recommend it without hesitation and now that I've finally figured out the vignetting that does occur on my copy I'll know what to expect.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:57 AM   #104
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I'll have to test it wide open at 18mm - that's probably part of the factor why it's never bothered me. When shooting in good daylight, I'm rarely at a very wide aperture, so it probably hasn't popped up on me for that reason.

I'm certainly willing to accept some vignetting - I'd actually expect some flaws at one end or the other of this lens...it's just hard to believe any SLR lens can cover such a huge zoom range without suffering some issue!

Having shot with a superzoom P&S for years, I loved having that massive range from normal/wide to supertele...I just didn't expect to be able to come respectably close with a single lens on a DSLR. The 18-250 is quite a piece and a bargain considering how versatile it is. It's probably on my camera 70% of the time.

When I get a chance to shoot a few wide aperture 18 and 250 shots, I'll let you know if I see any vignetting.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:32 AM   #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KAT4DISNEY View Post
It's only jumped out at me on 3 photos - all sky shots. After asking the question I finally decided to do a couple of quick tests and it does only happen when I'm shooting wide open and disappears after stopping down 1-2 aperatures. I don't have a filter on so it's just the lens. Here's two examples...





Considering all the pluses of this lens it doesn't bother me- it just surprised me a bit b/c it happens at 18mm or 250mm and I thought I'd see if you had experienced it.

I had originally purchased the 18-200mm when I bought my camera and it was nice but it wasn't spending as much time on my camera so I returned it after finding this 18-250mm. I'd recommend it without hesitation and now that I've finally figured out the vignetting that does occur on my copy I'll know what to expect.
have you tried a test shot withut a lens hood, to see if it's the hood causing it
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