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Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by DaveG40, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    I recently posted a topic within the Sony Forum about the superzoom lens I had for my A55, basically the 18-250 was used as a travel lens, which meant it did'nt see much action, I decided to sell the lens and with the addition of £70 I bought a brand new Panny FZ48 & a brand new 85mm F2.8 lens for my A55, thereby getting a very good travel camera with a much wide focal range and a very good/highly rated prime for my DSLT.

    I've been with Sony ever since the first dslr appeared (the horrible & clunky A100), and have now got a good range of lenses (50mm F1.8, 85mm F2.8, F2.8 tamron 90mm macro, tamron 70-300 usd, tamron 55-200 (lightweight travel alternative to the usd), 18-55 kit lens and a minolta 70-210 f3.5-f4.5 which I'm trying to sell.

    Instead of using my dslr for everything I've decided to use it for sports, low light, portraits, "fine" macro work & where IQ matters, for everything else I have the Fz48 and a Sony Hx9, every year I look at the big two and wonder if either currently has anything better than I already have or can get from Sony, hence why I got the A55 as imho NOTHING from anybody could touch the A55 for the asking price when it came out, I'm currently looking to upgrade but to what?, I want a camera that is very good for sport (fast, near faultless focussing), has very good iso control and produces excellent IQ straight out of the can (I don't do raw), I feel my A55 is lacking on the focussing front & could do better IQ wise, going to the A65 would be the easiest & cheapest option, but is the iq & focussing better ?, being a regular user of high iso's the 24mp sensor concerns me, I'm not a fan of the D7000 (fixed screen etc), but do like the 60D, but again is it better than the A65 and what of the lenses; I reckon a 60d with a 85mm f1.8, 70-300 (of a usd vc standard) and the 18-135 would do me initially, has anyone got any ideas?, anyone used an A65 and a 60d ?, anyone know of a good comparison/group test (not snapsort), would the canon lenses suffice, if not any other recommendations?, are the A65, 60d & d7000 etc likely to be replaced soon ?.

    Many will say improve your lenses first, I believe I already have the best lenses that I can afford; cost & performance wise, I have tried many lenses over the years and what I've got now I'm happy with, granted the cz16-80 would be a nice addition, but it also demonstrates that to replace my existing lenses with better ones would easily cost 4 figures (not an option).
  2. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    You can look at the Sony sensors as being of two types, the 16MP -better for high ISO - and the 24MP - better for high resolution. Takes your pick. Lots of makers use them, Canon excepted in particular.
  3. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    I've narrowed my choice down to the following:

    Sony A57 18-135 or Sigma 17-70 plus current lenses held
    Sony A65 18-135 or sigma 17-70 plus current lenses held
    Canon 650d lenses: 85mm f1.8, 70-300 is usm & 18-135 kit
    Canon 60d lenses: 85mm f1.8, 70-300 is usm & 18-135 kit.
    Pentax K30 18-135 wr, 55-300, prime ???. or 18-55wr, 50-200wr, sigma 70-300 apo & prime ???.

    At a stretch:
    Sony A77
    Pentax K5

    Having narrowed my choices I'm now out playing, thus far I've looked at the 650d & 60d, the 60d felt really good, re-assuring & classy, the 650d was better than the Nikon D5100 which I also tried, the 650d was good to hold but being a spectacle wearer ovf access wasn't great, button layout was clear and functional and the kit lens felt smoother than the Nikon's. It's swings and roundabouts with these camera's, as is the case between the 2 Sony's BUT all i'm really interested in is this; which has the quickest & best focussing system & equally as important (for me); which produces the BEST jpeg photo's ?.

    My very first camera was a Pentax MG, (I still have it along with it's 50mm f1.2 50mm lens) as a result I do have a fond admiration for Pentax, it's WR lenses are clearly defined and Pentax camera's always seem to command respect and do very well in group tests, wdc's £700 group test being a prime example, BUT the lens catalogue does concern me, it seems very small in comparison to Sony and Canon's and a lot of lenses seem to be near Zeiss price territory.

    So does anyone have any idea as to which of the above is the best for fast action photography ?, very fast burst rates are not important (at most I take 5 frames with my A55, half it's ability), locking on and getting the very good to excellent jpeg image is what I'm after, as previously mentioned I feel that as good as my A55 is it's missing some great shots (not focussing fast enough).
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  4. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Er no, The new 24MP APS sensor performance almost as good as the 16MP. :)


    The A65 has a few more focus point ie 19 from 15 on the A55.

    But they are both classed as entry level.

    I have seen some cracking football shots from the Nikon D7000.
  5. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    Oh don't get me wrong, I have some very good football photo's, my photo's and 2 mate's both with Canons, a 40d & a 550d with high end canon lens (vs my A55 & Tamron 55-200) have been compared, and let's say; I'm not unhappy ;-), however the camera has "just" missed out on a fair amount of some pretty spectacular shots, that extra millisecond was the difference, apparently the A57 is a big improvement and I too have heard that although the A65's overcrowded sensor is noiser than the A57's there is very little in it. I'm not a fan of the D7000, which tbh has the same sensor as the A55, i.e it's IQ isn't a huge improvement, it does'nt have a tilt screen, live view isn't as good and then there's cont af in video and yet it costs nearly twice as much as an A55?.

    I have also managed to take some pretty good raptor photo's, but again it feels as if the camera is holding me back.
  6. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member


    I went into Swindon today (first time this year) in order to play with my shortlisted dslr's, I visited 4 good stores, including the new look Jessops store, well impressed, gone are the days of asking to be able to handle a camera, you can now get your grubby hands on all of them, well chuffed :), and here's what I discovered today: despite owning an A55 I actually don't like the A65/A57, the evf is slightly larger and more detailed, but I did'nt like the handling and trying it in store definetly highlighted a pitfall for the evf; low light, my thoughts about the D7000 were confirmed today; I like even less now that I've handled one, personally I think the D5100 is better.

    The A77 on the other hand oozed class and is of the same build qaulity/size as the 60d, now that camera did feel good, yes it has an EVF but it's better than the other 2 Sony's.

    Pentax; as you know big admirer and in tests always does well, big problem; where are they, all I managed to see was a KR. And a chat with a very nice man in Jessops confirmed what I'd already thought; The K5 is an excellent camera and would be an ideal replacement for my A55, however lens choice is not great and of all the camera's I shortlisted the K5 remains the only camera I haven't seen or handled.

    So here's the shorter short list ;-) ;

    Sony A77
    Canon 60d
    Pentax K5 (if I could actually get my hands on one).

    I gather that these 3 would definetly deliver what I seek; VERY FAST ACCURATE FOCUSSING & EXCELLENT IQ.

    The following may be of some use to others in the same boat;

    The 7d bashing A77 can be had for only £829 (body only).
    The 60d can be had with the 18-135 for £849 (just £57 dearer than with the 18-55???)
    Pentax K5 can be had for only £700 with the 18-55 wr

    If you had a budget of £850, already had some decent Sony Glass (but no wide lens) what would you go for ?.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
  7. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    I think you're asking a rhetorical question....
  8. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Until very recently the A77 was the flagship for Sony. :)

    But I have read reviews that say it still suffers from issue that A55 had for sport stuff.

    In some cases shooters have preferred the D7000 over it.

    They don't seem to have cracked the continous view on the EVF while shooting 8/12fps. Which to me undermines the design concept of a SLT system. Probably a question of processing grunt.
  9. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Changing systems is traumatic and expensive, I would say stick with Sony your budget will go further because it can all go on the camera body.
  10. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    Oh it's defintely not a done deal / rhetorical decision.

    Having done quick reviews, going out and handling the cameras I've now got down to 3 camera's, in doing so I'm now thinking long and hard about camera's that not only have received excellent reviews but also feel right for me, (I'm guessing that I'd like the pentax, as every review I've read has mentioned handling, and as it's IQ is reported as being fantastic, as a result it's outputs are probably the best of the 3 camera's, as is it's high iso noise control). So no, definetly not rhetorical.

    What I am hoping for is a pro out there who's been lucky enough to actually use all 3, to pass on their wise experience; which was best at focussing for example, unless of course someone can point me in the direction of an unbiased group test.

    Yes the A77 would be the easier option because of my lenses, but is it actually better at focussing than my A55 and the other 2 camera's?, would the k5 feel right in my hands, is lens choice/availabilty a big pentax problem, If the K5 had a better selection of lenses I probably would'nt be writing this now. And given that I already know which Canon lenses I'd go for, should I get a 60d, should indicate that I'm keen on all 3, have done a lot of homework but have yet to see a direct comparison. Only people who work for a mag or who've used all 3 can really answer that, which is why I'm asking for help.
  11. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Sony A77 is consider a semi-pro camera where as the A55 is considered entry level.

    That might tell you something. :p

    Nikon D7000 again considered semi-pro as is the Canon 60D.

    As for a pro who has used all three cameras. That's Mr Sibley of AP and has scored as follows:

    A77 90%
    60D 86%
    D7000 85%

    Look up his reviews on the hompage.

    So given the A77 is 90% and you are a A55 owner surely it fits the bill.

    You could PM Mr Sibley he might help, but he covers the cameras pretty well in the reviews.
  12. Alex1994

    Alex1994 Well-Known Member

    And Tim Coleman gave the K5 85%!

    And there are 30 Pentax lenses listed at Warehouse Express, i.e. Pentax branded, which is only slightly less than Sony (31). Plus 31 Sigma and 8 Tamron.

    I think you ought to try to find one before you decide - if you don't there could always be that nagging doubt. One other thing. The K5 has a fixed LCD monitor, if that's an issue.
  13. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Some reviews have said that the AF is better on the D7000 in comparision to the K5.
  14. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    What part of "I don't like the D7000" don't certain people understand, lol.

    Your are spot on Alex, if I decide to get something else there will always be a nagging thought, what about the K5?, which is why I've made a genuine attempt to find one, another question worth posing is this: ever since my A500 disintegrated a supposedly top notch Sigma lens I've steered well clear, no one knows for sure which Sigma lenses won't shred their gears and as far as HSM goes I believe DSLT's do have compatability issues, hence why I don't have a single Sigma lens, getting an A77 is'nt a problem regarding lenses (use what I've already got), however does anyone know of any lens issues with the 60d & K5, for example Alex has quite rightly mentioned 31 sigma lenses for the Pentax but will they fall apart on the K5, or is that just a Sony issue ?.
  15. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    If you change systems you have to dispose of all your Sony/Minolta kit, not just lenses but accessories, spares, straps etc. These will, obviously, be sold for less than it will cost to obtain a replacement compatible with your new system. Some of the things you have, unless you are very unusual, you won't know you need to replace until you need them.

    When I switched from Olympus to Nikon over 20 years ago it took about five years to get back to where I had been with Olympus. That is two bodies, a range of prime lenses, several flash guns, leads and assorted spares. Selling the Olympus kit raised enough to almost buy one camera body!

    Unless there are compelling reasons to do so I would NOT change camera systems. In my case, Olympus had just pulled the rug out from under the OM system by discontinuing the import of rechargeable battery packs for the motor drives. Having three bodies with motor drives I wasn't amused particularly as the packs I had were failing. Only you can determine whether you have a compelling reason to change systems.

    One other consideration, if you change systems I would recommend that you try to stick with OEM lenses. There is nothing wrong with buying Sigma but if you later upgrade your camera body you may find that there are compatibility issues. I had a problem with an elderly Sigma 28-70 f2.8 that refused to work properly with my D3, a later example, also from Sigma, also displayed issues. On switching to a Nikon 28-70 f2.8, of similar vintage, the problem went away. Most manufacturers will make their new models backwards compatible to some extent. They have no obligation to make them backwards compatible with third party lenses.
  16. nspur

    nspur Well-Known Member

    I've recently sold all my Canon equipment in two lots. And there was a lot of it, the reason for sale being I've retired from paid work (mostly). I no longer have a dSLR but if I did want one I think it would probably be a Pentax K-r as I have several good K-mount manual lenses from earlier times. But I don't think I want a dSLR if I can use an optical viewfinder on other equipment. So I have moved over to Fuji and have an X10, X100 and X-Pro1 which are very satisfying, plus a Sony NEX 5n because it is in a better league for video. I think a lot of us are thinking about switching platforms because there is such a good choice of alternatives out there.
  17. DaveG40

    DaveG40 Well-Known Member

    Well it's one month since my original post, seeking help over which camera to replace my A55 with, after lots of research, soul searching and playing with lots of camera's my shortlisted line up shrank & increased as I looked about, I was open minded and fully prepared to jump ship from Sony. In short I wanted a more customizable camera with fast focussing and with which I could progress, in truth having owned the cheaper Alpha's I was getting bored and although the A55 is a good camera I needed more, if that makes sense ?.
    Anyways during the month I learned quite a lot, in my expereince Sony replied to questions and queries quicker than Canon, Nikon users appear to be down to earth and not ashamed to bash their camera, reviews can only really give you snippets of information, which is why I read so many, individually you think wow or crap but collectively you learn quite a lot about a camera, without actually using it yourself (e.g what af drive mode to put the A77 in when shooting at 8fps or that until the latest firmware, which comes out this Thursday ;-) you can't disengage the movie button like you can on the A57).
    After much pondering I made the common sense choice, I've ordered the A77 and at £749 for body only, think it's a good price. Only time will tell if it was the right one, however having seen Digital Camera Magazine's latest group test in which the A77 beat the 60d & D7000, my choice would seem to be vindicated, especially as I consider the publication to be blatantly biased towards Canon & Nikon.
    Here's what I thought of my other short listed cameras;
    D7000 on paper brilliant thanks to that AF, however fixed screen & widely reported focussing issues put me off.
    60D, slow indecisive canon responses to a huge concern for me (card reader fault), which although widely known about on the net, is'nt ?, slow burst rate & only 9 af points did'nt help.
    K30/K5; WR deffo deal winners, BUT i still have'nt seen a K5, lens prices are not far of Zeiss Prices, fixed screen, concerns over focussing (hence K5 II), this is the camera I really wanted to play with and while wr lenses can clinch the deal, I did realise that yep weatherproof but what are the photo's like when the optics are covered in water ?.
    A57; getting this would be a slight improvement over the A55, but again it would be base level dslt and I would'nt be progressing.
    A65; Why get an A65 when for £120 more you can get an A77 ?.

    Many will think it was a foregone conclusion or that I was simply asking a rhetorical question, the fact that It took me a month, would indicate otherwise, at the start the 60d was favourite ;-). The biggest surprise for me was Pentax: they've been going for years & produce great camera's and optics but for me the format appears to be rarer than an honest politician and digital lens prices seem high even though the camera's themselves would seem to provide great value ?.

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