Welcome Sonny to the Camera Labs forum! Good to have you join the Sony crew! Leuk ook om nog een Nederlander in ons midden te hebben!
Consider signing up to Flick as well. From what I've seen, most users use a Flickr account (free) and they'll be able to comment on your photos more easily.
About your reasons to upgrade:
- flash power: NOOOO. You don't want to use the pop-up flash. Get yourself a flashgun instead. You'll get much better light and much more power too!
- more AF points: sure, that can be useful if you shoot moving subjects a lot. The camera needs to track those with as many AF sensors as possible.
- faster AF: you'll probably want to get a lens upgrade for that. Look into SSM lenses, they're fast and ultra-quiet. An A700 does have a more powerful AF motor, but the difference won't be worth the upgrade. The autofocus of the A700 might be more reliable though, more precise.
- higher continuous shooting: I love that, personally. But you shouldn't upgrade for a higher framerate unless you really need it. It's useful for sports and action photography, but also for portraits. Shooting a burst of photos raises the chance of getting a good shot.
- extra megapixel: you said it yourself, the pixel count doesn't add much. However, the sensor technology of the A700 is different, it's CMOS (instead of CCD), which is better. You'll get less noise (theoratically) and better image quality. The sensor in a mid-range camera is definitely a reason for upgrading!
- ergonomics: that's a very good reason. I've tried the A200 in a store once, and I can tell you the difference between that and the A700 is vast. The A700 feels more like a pro camera and is great to shoot with. Another good reason to upgrade.
The .3 difference in aperture isn't really worth getting the Sony version. There might be quality differences though. Do some googlin' to see how the Sony 50mm compares against the Minolta and decide with the information you found in the back of your mind. It's not a cheap lens, and for optimal results, you'll have to stop down to f/2 to f/2.8 anyway.
If you want more help deciding what your next upgrade should be, please tell us what lenses you have. If using flash is something that's important to you, a flashgun is a highly recommended accessory. I don't use my flash very often (rarely actually), so I could have better spend my money on lenses, but hey...
- Bjorn -