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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:54 am 
I'm new here and i seek advice... :oops:

I'm saving up for my 1st dslr which is the sony alpha 300.
I have made my choice because of its easy to use live view(i'm still a noob btw).
The live view is to help me start off easy then maybe in the future i'll use the viewfinder.
I have read a few reviews about the a300 and all of them have one thing in common. They all talked about how unusually small the viewfinder is. Is this a huge problem? or is the live view good enough for full time use? If so i've heard that there are uhm magnifiers for the viewfinder. Could i have some recommendations?

And also, i've noticed that the dslr users here talk about f1 or f4 or something like that in a lens? I would like to know more about this. I will be getting the kit lens which are 18-70mm and 55-200mm and both f4-f5.6. what does f4 anf f5.6 means? And are the lens i am getting good for a beginner like me? I take macro, portraits, some wildlife, some fast indoor and outdoor sports and indoor events. Some say that its better to use a 18-200mm or 250mm lens for its flexibility. I would also like some advice about this.

Edit: I've found a Tamron AF18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 for a very cheap price. Should i take that offer or stick to the kit lens?

I don't have a very big budget so i intend to get a lens that will suite my need for a while.

Any suggestions is welcomed.



 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:44 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:40 pm
Posts: 87
Location: The Netherlands
Welcome to the Camera Labs forum.

The a300 is a fine camera. And yes, the viewfinder is a bit small. But I never experienced any problems with it ( I use a a200).

The f-value that you read about, are the Maximal aperture settings of the lens. A lower number means that more light can pass through the lens and reach the sensor. So you will still be able to take pictures with less light. With a f1 lens you should be able to take pictures with the light from a single candle. A higher number (f4, f5.6, f8) means that you need better lighting conditions to take pictures. Keep in mind that lenses with a aperture of f1 are really expensive.

If I were you, I would stick with the 2 kit lenses for a while. Get a feel for the camera, and how it works. You can always buy better lenses at a later time.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:56 am 
thanks for the quick reply....

So if i were to take indoor shoots i would be looking for a camera with a high f-value?

And about the lens...
If i have 2 lens does that mean that i can't take macro shots with the 55-200mm? I sat on my couch for a moment and realize that i would have to bring and additional lens with me where ever i go. i would want the whole camera to cover all aspects without adding bulk as i am moving for a compact to a dslr.

Another thing.
I've seen people talk about the "exposure time".
How does that effect the shot?

Thanks :D

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:07 am 
If you can get the 18-200 mm cheap, I'd get it. If by any other chance you manage to get your hands on the 18-250mm lens, get that instead.

The kit lens is "decent". If you're starting out, it'll do you just fine. That said, the 18-200mm has much better image quality than the kit lens *AND* it gives you the flexibility of covering your entire zoom range with only *one* lens. You don't need to swap lenses, which means that you can go from a wide angle shot to an up close portrait shot in seconds.

That flexibility is why I would buy the 18-200mm and keep the kit lenses as a backup.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9978
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Nigel, you can find out about lens specs in our lens guide here: ... uide.shtml

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:55 am 
Thanks Gordan..
I'll go with the Tamron 18-200mm...

Thanks Guys..

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:09 am 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8087
Location: UK
I have both the A350 (effectively same as A300 apart from resolution) and also an Olympus E-510, which also has a smaller than average viewfinder. I don't find either to be a problem. Maybe it'll be more of a problem if you're used to using other cameras with bigger ones. To be sure, try and get down to a store and try it out yourself.

Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:14 pm 
may i suggest something?

instead of getting the 18-200 by tamron, or the 18-70 and 55-200...
get the camera with only the 18-70 (cheap package) and spend an extra $150 or so on a tamron or sigma 70-300 macro. They are inexpensive lenses that have very decent image quality (same, if not better than 18-200 or 55-200) and great reviews for the price and will give you a pretty good macro capability along with 150mm (100mm x 1.5 for the cropped sensor) of extra zoom for your sports and wildlife photography.

And if I'm not mistaken you should come away spending less that you would for the first two options.

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