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  1. #1

    Default New lens or new DSLR (or both)??

    Hi,

    Throughout the 90's I used an old Minolta X-300 that I could not fault at all - absolutely loved it.

    At the start of the 00's the X-300 developed a leak and as I couldn't afford a DSLR (and the quality wasn't that great at that point) and I didn't want another film camera, I went for a fuji compact digital for several years.

    In 2009 I decided that DSLR's were affordable enough and the tech was good enough to be a viable purchase so I plunged for a Sony Alpha 200 (thinking that it would be the closest thing to a Minolta that I could get).

    I've struggled with it really.......I found the Minolta much easier to use and I could figure out why.
    I can get similar results, but the Sony takes a lot more effort.

    After reading around, its dawned on me that big difference is the lens......50mm prime f1.8 on the X-300 and an 18-70mm f5.3 on the Sony.........so my problem has always been getting enough light into the Sony to achieve the same results as the Minolta.

    So, given that the Sony is now 3 years old and a 50mm f1.4 lens is around 300.........should I get a lens or a new camera?

    I guess the camera is ok, no video (but i've got an iphone), 10.2M - so the quality is still good - I guess the only issue is that, If I get a lens, I tie myself into Sony........

    Its a big purchase for me - and for an old camera.......I just want to make sure i'm doing the right thing??

  2. #2
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    hi and welcome you should be able to get good pictures with the standard lens i think you will find its f3.5 -5.6. so can you explain more of your problem.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by wave View Post
    hi and welcome you should be able to get good pictures with the standard lens i think you will find its f3.5 -5.6. so can you explain more of your problem.
    Hi, the problem is that I'm only getting an average of f5.6 at 50mm through the zoom on the Sony whereas I'm getting f1.7 on the standard lens on the minolta - therefore, i'm not getting nearly as much light into the sony.

    I like to take natural 'documentary' style shots and avoid flashes at all costs - therefore most of my pics are in low light situations at ISO 1600-3200.........at f5.6 this is hard work!

    I've only just realised this and come to the conclusion the lens is the what needs to change.

  4. #4

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    Hi Dazza. First let me say that I wouldn't worry too much about the age of the camera. My Nikon D300 is 4 years old new and it still takes my breath away in image quality, so I've no plans to replace it. The next thing is money, if it was no problem then I would replace the Sony with a more expensive camera. Then you would be safe to tie in to a system as your new camera will be top notch for a long time. Most of us are tied in to a system as we buy more lenses to do the job we want then to do.I have 4 lenses for my camera + an expensive flash, but then I'm never going to change brands being thrilled at the one I have. Decision time my friend, all the best. Mike.
    Humility is an endearing quality and gains many friends, whereas arrogance loses them. Mike, 2012

  5. #5

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    @canismajor

    I guess I'd rather not buy a new camera at this stage as (I think) the technology hasn't really changed in a big enough way to justify the spend, I'm fairly happy with the Sony......

    The sell two 50mm lenses, one f1.4 which is 300 and a cheaper f1.8 which has decent reviews, for 120.

    I may well give the cheaper one a go - the only downside seems to be that the mount is plastic.......but if I can get back to taking shots like I used to on the X300, the 50mm very rarely came off.

    ......or maybe I'll go for the 300 one haha.

  6. #6
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    there are some lenses out there for sony by third party sigma do a 17-70 this is a very good it ranges from 2-8 - 4
    but looking at the price the 50 1.8 is still the cheaper option. i would get myself to a store and try both. I did when i got my 70-200 and i am so glad i did i could have had a lens that was to heavy for my purpose

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dazzathedrummer View Post
    @canismajor

    I guess I'd rather not buy a new camera at this stage as (I think) the technology hasn't really changed in a big enough way to justify the spend, I'm fairly happy with the Sony......

    The sell two 50mm lenses, one f1.4 which is 300 and a cheaper f1.8 which has decent reviews, for 120.

    I may well give the cheaper one a go - the only downside seems to be that the mount is plastic.......but if I can get back to taking shots like I used to on the X300, the 50mm very rarely came off.

    ......or maybe I'll go for the 300 one haha.
    Well Dazza, given that you shoot a lot at high ISO's you would be best going for the fastest lens you can afford. As for plastic lens mounts, for me, no thanks. Turning plastic against metal guarantees that the plastic will become a loose fit in time as it wears away. I hope you find a satisfactory conclusion.All the best.Mike.
    Humility is an endearing quality and gains many friends, whereas arrogance loses them. Mike, 2012

  8. #8

    Default

    I'm a big fan of fast primes. Back in film days I carried 7 primes around and no zooms, but for the last few years have been using zooms for their convenience. Recently though I've rediscovered what I knew all along but had forgotten - that fast primes are so much better. Not just in low light, and at wide apertures, but the image quality is so superior across the board. I think everyone should own a 50mm prime even if just the f/1.8 version.
    As for your worries about being tied into a system, this isn't a problem if you're happy with Sony. They do some very good Alpha cameras the A77 in particular is pretty awesome but they now all have electronic viewfinders, so you'll be tied to those in the future. They're a bit of a marmite feature, but if an EVF isn't a problem for you (try one and see if you're not sure) then invest in a fast 50mm prime knowing that you won't have to sell it, along with the A200, when you upgrade, because you'll be staying with Sony.

    If EVFs aren't for you then you'll have to sell any lens you buy now when you upgrade and switch brands. But if you get the f/1.8 you're unlikely to lose much more than 50 on the deal when you come to sell it, so I wouldn't worry too much. If you can find a used 50mm at a good price you may even be able to sell it for more or less what you paid for it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel Atherton View Post
    I'm a big fan of fast primes. Back in film days I carried 7 primes around and no zooms, but for the last few years have been using zooms for their convenience. Recently though I've rediscovered what I knew all along but had forgotten - that fast primes are so much better. Not just in low light, and at wide apertures, but the image quality is so superior across the board. I think everyone should own a 50mm prime even if just the f/1.8 version.
    As for your worries about being tied into a system, this isn't a problem if you're happy with Sony. They do some very good Alpha cameras the A77 in particular is pretty awesome but they now all have electronic viewfinders, so you'll be tied to those in the future. They're a bit of a marmite feature, but if an EVF isn't a problem for you (try one and see if you're not sure) then invest in a fast 50mm prime knowing that you won't have to sell it, along with the A200, when you upgrade, because you'll be staying with Sony.

    If EVFs aren't for you then you'll have to sell any lens you buy now when you upgrade and switch brands. But if you get the f/1.8 you're unlikely to lose much more than 50 on the deal when you come to sell it, so I wouldn't worry too much. If you can find a used 50mm at a good price you may even be able to sell it for more or less what you paid for it.
    That's exactly where i'm coming from!

    I'll check out A77 - thanks.

  10. #10

    Default

    Thanks everybody!

    I ended up getting the 50mm f1.4 second hand from amazon for 250.

    The lens is in new condition (although I suspect its a few years old judging from the box condition).

    Its absolutely perfect - exactly what I wanted, I'm starting to feel back on track with my old Minolta (if only had a split screen for manual focus haha).

    Really great results so far - 1/4000 at f1.4 outside this morning - and with a frighteningly narrow depth of field!!!

    I took this shot this morning, at f3.5 and high ISO so quite grainy and could probably do with maybe half a meter more depth.......I need to have a good play around with it but I'm very happy so far!

    https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20678785/18...75085188_n.jpg

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