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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 1:07 pm 
Hey all,

Looking to expand my kit with a second body and a lens. Currently I have two options:

-A700+Sony 50mm f1.4
-A200+Sigma 24-70 HSM

These kits would cost roughly the same in total (about $1400.00), but I am not sure which would offer the best bang for the money. My needs are as follows:

- A second body for redundancy (most important) and to also mount a telephoto while the other body mounts a wider angle.
- Large aperture for good low light shooting (reduces my need to go high ISO).
- Fast focusing speed (my current minolta lenses do take a while to focus, particularly in low light, and I have missed a couple of shots because of it).

With the A700 option, I would get a much improved viewfinder, better build quality, better noise (well, based on looking on sample pics, I think the A700 deals with noise a lot better than my A300), more controls (without fiddling with the menu) and memory recall (which I really like a lot). The 50mm is a reasonable lens, but I've never shot with primes before and I am not sure how limiting this would be for me.

With the A200 option, I get a body very similar to what I currently have, so it can share a battery grip and I would be able to get a HSM lens with fast focusing, excellent build and a reasonable aperture.

Its currently 50/50 and basically boils down to either favouring the body (A700) or the lens (Sigma).

Any suggestions would be appreciated especially if there is another option that I might not have considered.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:29 pm 
Hello! premitive i think this question is a sound of success in you carrier?

for the body A200 is ccd and A700 is Cmos thats a diference but in our stage you can deal with it cause your similar to a pro level...

well... the i hav'nt shot with a prime too but you will hear Tons o good thing about em' sure of it.

cause i got a700 i am more biased and say get a 700 and the Prime.... but there are good things if you get that A700/...


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:59 pm 
As a general rule, lenses outlast bodies. However, the A200 may not handle that well when paired with the 24-70mm as it's a fairly heavy lens and my A200 used to creak when paired with a heavy lens. It's most likely down to the all plastic construction.

Unless you have a pressing and immediate need, I'd wait to see what the successor of the A700 brings. It'll either be a good camera worth upgrading to, or it'll push down the price of the A700. It's a win-win situation for you as far as I'm concerned.

Final note, while primes are nice to have they're by no means necessary. I went through a "prime phase" but I've settled for fast zooms as you give up too much flexibility with primes for it to be practical when covering events.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Personally I'd lean towards the A700+50mm f/1.4.

The 50mm f/1.4 is a lens I've grown to love. The f/1.4 light gathering ability is whole two stops more than f/2.8, so for really low light that cuts your exposure time to a quarter of that, combined with the A700's better high ISO performance I think this will open up new low light possibilities.

The A700 also has faster continuous rate which may or may not be of use. As it is reaching the end of its market cycle, you're not going to get more bang for the buck than it at the moment. Even if you want to avoid it, it has better high ISO performance (at least, processed from raw) so you might be able to make use of it where you wouldn't on the A300.

The A200 is very similar to the A300 so you don't gain much there. While I'm sure the 24-70 is a nice lens, the question you have to ask is do you want the zoom or the aperture? I have the Tamron equivalent, and I don't find I use it at all compared to the 50mm f/1.4. That big aperture really is something worth ditching a zoom for, providing it fits your usage of course.

Also consider you could get the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 if you really want HSM although it costs a little more.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:46 pm 
Didn't think about the A200/A300 creaking under the weight of a big lens ... that is slightly worrying :shock:

Not sure if I can wait for the A700's successor either, since I urgently need a backup body (tried renting, and that was a disaster), latest by the end of September. I have actually been turning down work because I really cant risk working with only 1 body.

I've also noticed a trend with Sony (maybe with other vendors as well), seems like the older models go up in price when a new model is released. Maybe a lot of people are thinking the same way and buy the older model with the hopes of saving some cash...but I guess that ends up driving the price up rather than down.

I am concerned about working without a zoom though, particular (as pqtips said) at events, where physically moving in and out to compose might be impractical. A 50mm would be good for artsy shots though, shallow depth of field and dramatic natural light. So, that might not be too bad.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:43 am 
primitive wrote:
Didn't think about the A200/A300 creaking under the weight of a big lens ... that is slightly worrying :shock:


Not a big a concern then how it's put to be. I have the 24-70 non HSM sigma which weights more, and it's real sturdy.

As for the lens over body statement; it's becoming archaic. Digital sensors today matter much more than they used to, be it delivering better noise control and generally better processing. No longer is the lens the exclusively to blame for image quality; today's sensors do too by a large amount to produce detail.

That said, your choice is a tough one, the sigma offsetting the quality of the a200 or the a700 with a relatively limited range and ability. My choice: a200 and 24-70HSM.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:59 am 
sigma 24-70mm hsm and a200


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:36 am 
What lenses do you have right now? Unless you have a ton of lenses already I think two good lenses will serve you better than 1 good body and a good but limited lens and a great lens but limiting body.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:03 am 
Sublimity wrote:
As for the lens over body statement; it's becoming archaic.


I'd have to disagree. A decent lens will retain it's value for years/decades while a camera body depreciates in value very rapidly. When it comes to purchases, it's a good idea to prioritize lenses over camera bodies.

In this instance, I think that the A700 would be a decent upgrade. You'll have better ergonomics with direct access buttons to more settings, and I'm guessing the AF module is going to be more accurate. I'm not sure about the A700 so you'll have to check, but most semi-pro DSLRs have 10 or more cross AF sensors while entry level cameras like the A200 have a cross sensor in the centre with bar sensors around the edges. I noticed a tremendous jump in AF accuracy and low light focusing ability when I upgraded, so this is something that you should keep in mind when comparing camera bodies.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:28 am 
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Only when the body is "good enough" can you say the lens dominates. If the body isn't up to the job, the best lens isn't going to save you. The question is, what is good enough?

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:34 am 
This is such a hard decision to make :shock:! Ahhh, tearing my hair out!

:lol:, well, I guess I can't go wrong either way really. I already have 2 minolta zooms, 35-105 and 100-200. They're not great in low light (particularly the 100-200), but so far, have been very good to me. My lens lineup would definitely benefit from either the 50, 24-70 or even the 70-200 and I do plan to change entirely to large aperture lenses over time.

Looking at the weaknesses in my kit, I think the weakest link is the 100-200mm or my noise performance. The 100-200 is slow to focus, particularly in low light and I've missed a couple of shots because of it. My 35-105, I couldn't be happier, and I do have my kit lens (18-70) in the off chance it fails, where as I have no cover for the 100-200 (which is a good range for me, especially in a thick crowd where I need to isolate someone, which so far, is a lot of the times).

I am also irritated by noise a little. A part of my product is a printed 12x12" album. So far, the noise (on the computer screen, haven't gotten the album yet, next week maybe) looks fairly obvious since at those sizes, you're basically doing 100% crops. In fact, thats been a big complaint for me. If the pictures are small (say 5" in a layout), then the noise is hardly visible, but since I like to go large, it has been an issue. I just have to see if anyone else will notice it.

So changing the kit a bit:

-A200+Sigma 70-200 (more practical since that's my weakest focal length)
-A700+50mm

Leaning towards the A700 just for the better noise (unless, the improvement is far less than I hope - can anyone clarify?). I would later need to get the 70-200 & the 24-70, probably in Dec. if all goes to plan. Still uncertain though.

*** Edit ***
grahamnp, I see your point, but I need a body for redundancy more than anything else. Taking money from people and not having a backup body is a risk I am really not going to take. Currently I am trying to build up my rep. and portfolio, so I have done a couple of weddings for free and since it is for free, I clearly state that I only have one body, and if it goes south, well .... sorry about that. Even then, I felt really uncomfortable saying it.

*** End Edit ***


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:46 am 
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Have you tried noise reduction software? It can help the apparent quality a lot.

As a side thought, you could also go to -200 on the cheap: The Tamron 55-200. It really is cheap and lightweight, but the image quality it produces is well up there with much more expensive lenses. It wont help with focusing in low light though.

Also, latest rumours are the new Sony cameras will be announced towards end of next week. Might be interesting to see if they bring any new lenses to the table. The 28-75 f/2.8 SAM is a strong candidate as kit lens for the A850.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:19 pm 
I've tried noise reduction...Thanks to the experiment you and pgtips did, and I did see significant improvements. But, I've done prints up to 11x17 and even with NR, the results aren't as impressive as I would have liked. I don't expect the A700 to be miles above the A300, but the general consensus seems to be that it is appreciably better, particularly if you do some post-noise reduction.

Never considered the 55-200 since I wanted a lens that was good enough in low light, just so that I can avoid going too high up the ISO food chain and also wanted faster focusing, which really sucks when you just need to catch something right now.

Yes, I can't wait for the launch. If the 28-75 has SSM, and between 500-800, I'm sold on it (As long as its not a DT only lens, which I am trying to avoid from this point onwards). But, given the Zies 24-70, I think maybe SSM won't be available just so that they can have a clear distinction between the two. Asides, most reviewers think the Tamron 28-75 has poor focus speed performance.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:24 pm 
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The 28-75 is expected to be SAM not SSM, and as kit for the A850 is it full frame. I have the Tamron 28-75 and the AF speed on that is typical of screw drive lenses.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:28 pm 
Understood. Well, its an option. Since i would probably get the 70-200 first, it will be something to consider down the road.

Occurred to me though, if I got the A200+70-200, I might not need to venture up into the high ISO realms as often, thus negating the need for the slightly improved noise of the A700.


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