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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:21 pm 
Hi everyone! I am newly registered here because I have read so many reviews that my head is spinning...and I still don't know what to do. I hope some of you can help point me in the right direction.

Here's the story: I need a good dslr for a beginner who has been shooting film with an old Minolta and is ready to move to digital. Budget is a big consideration (about $400 to spend); I don't mind refurbished.

I've been looking mainly at the Canon eos rebel xs and the Sony alpha 230/290 because they fit the budget and seem to be a solid choice. I want the opportunity to grow with whichever camera I choose. I do realize I will be buying into the system and I intend to learn and grow. For now, I will be shooting landscapes, architecture, and maybe some action shots.

So, my question is this--Is one of these cameras (or systems) better than the other or should I consider something else.

Thanks for any help...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:29 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:52 am
Posts: 861
Location: Surrey, UK
Hi Dragonfly and welcome to the forums.

Your budget of $400 would get you a brand new canon xs. If I were you I would look at a used/refurbished camera. Check out the Canon 500d/t1i, 40d and 50d and see what you can afford and like. The best camera there is the 50d and the prices are dropping considerably as the 60d has just been released.

As far as Sony dslrs go I am not the person to talk to as I know hardly anything about Sony cameras. However when I bought mine I was concerned about smaller brands like Sony. I wanted a camera from either Nikon or Canon as they are the big 2. There are more lenses available for Nikon and Canon cameras and that should always be taken into consideration.

Also which country do you live in (I am guessing not the UK as you used dollars, but I may be wrong).

_________________
Camera: Canon 550D with battery grip
Lenses: Canon 24-105mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm,
Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


Oh that is so lame, every hot girl who can aim a camera thinks she’s a photographer -Stewie Griffin


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:33 pm 
Thanks for your reply. I live in the U.S. but came across this site in my research and love the wealth of information here.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:52 am
Posts: 861
Location: Surrey, UK
This is exactly how I found this website. It is the best photography website and I have learnt most of what I know from this website.

_________________
Camera: Canon 550D with battery grip
Lenses: Canon 24-105mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm,
Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


Oh that is so lame, every hot girl who can aim a camera thinks she’s a photographer -Stewie Griffin


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8032
Location: UK
I've been there too... went Sony initially then later switched to Canon.

Do you have any Minolta lenses of any worth still? Are they alpha mount?

Sony have in body stabilisation which works with any lens, which can come in handy with big aperture lenses since they just don't get the IS treatment in Canikon land. But, the lower models if memory serves me correctly, uses their CCD sensor which degrades into noise more rapidly at higher ISO compared to Canon. I think the old Sonys do give slightly better colour though. If you can get up to the more recent models (A4xx or higher) new or used they can give a bit better output at higher ISO.

Does the Sony model you're looking at have live view? It's not essential for sure, but it is a nice to have to get the most accurate manual focus at times if that's needed.

The bigger picture is the rest of the system for if or when you might upgrade in future. That's always hard to tell what will happen, and when. Sony do currently have a gap in their lineup in the so called "semi-pro" area, with their A700 replacement way way overdue, which in part persuaded me to go Canon.

_________________
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: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:58 pm 
Hi Popo,

My minolta lenses are from an srt 101 so they won't autofocus on the alphas. Live view isn't on the sonys I am looking at, but that isn't a deal breaker or maker for me. I'm really just looking to spend my little as wisely as I can.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:52 am
Posts: 861
Location: Surrey, UK
I agree with what popo is saying but remember once you buy a camera you start to build your lens collection. It eventually gets to the point where switching brands would cost you a lot of money. So make sure you are totally convinced with the brand before you buy.

_________________
Camera: Canon 550D with battery grip
Lenses: Canon 24-105mm f/4L, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 18-55mm, Tamron 70-300mm,
Accessories: Manfrotto 055XPROB with 808RC4 head, Canon 430ex II speedlite, Lowepro Nova 180AW and Lowepro Pro Runner 450AW


Oh that is so lame, every hot girl who can aim a camera thinks she’s a photographer -Stewie Griffin


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 827
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
A few points I'd throw in, which may help narrow your decision.

First - having been shooting Minolta film cameras, do you still by chance have your Minolta kit, and if so, is it an AF/Maxxum series? If you do have Minolta AF/Maxxum lenses, they will be 100% compatible with any Sony DSLR body, and could save you a penny or two when building the lens collection. And the bonus perk is - with Sony incorporating stabilization in the camera body, old Minolta lenses will all be stabilized, even primes.

Second - both cameras will be fine for daylight and general photography, both OK but not groundbreaking for low light work, and both good entry level cameras. Ergonomics might be something worth consideration - as you might find one camera particularly comfortable or uncomfortable in your hands. They are different sizes, weights, and grip designs, and you should be comfortable with what you are going to be shooting with so often.

Third - Features to consider...The Canon has a video capability, the Sony does not. The Sony has stabilization in-body, the Canon does not. Do either of these matter to you at all? That's up to you. For refurb, it would certainly be worth considering the next models up for each of these cameras to see if going used/refurb can get you more capability at the same price - I'd strongly recommend looking for good prices on refurb or used Canon T2, Nikon D5000, or Sony A500/550...all of these will have much better frame rates, much better high ISO performance, and more customizability and control. If you could find them refurbed/used for the same price, you'd get much more camera. If not, the ones you are considering are still solid entry-level cameras and can serve most needs.

Fourth - lenses. Yes, Canon has the largest lens selection of any maker. However, a few things to consider on that topic. First off, Canon has a large number of overlapping lenses with slight feature differences - they'll have standard and L versions, IS and non IS versions, standard and USM versions, and slightly faster aperture versions of the same focal length. So where there might be 6 or 8 models of 50mm F1.4 to look at with Canon, versus only one with Sony, that focal length is covered by both. Taking into account current Sony lenses, all compatible Minolta lenses, and third party manufacturers, there are roughly 300 lenses compatible for Sony A-mount cameras. This number is smaller than that of Canon and Nikon, but still likely sufficient for the needs of most photographers unless you have a very specialized need that isn't satisfied. Just something to keep in mind. And with the stabilization in the camera body, all lenses are stabilized - so Sony doesn't have to make IS and non-IS versions of lenses. Likely, you'd be fine in either camp.

You should always consider all options in the market - no reason to limit yourself to just two. Certainly check out what Nikon and Pentax have to offer as well. When it comes down to it, they're all so close in performance that it's a virtual draw - the photographer will make the bigger difference. Whether you go new entry-level, or refurbed/used enthusiast mid-level model, is up to your budget or your comfort level. Which brand you choose doesn't really matter too much, other than you should be comfortable with it, happy with it, and get all the features you'll want or need at your budget level.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 827
Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
Adn in reviewing after my post, looks like some questions have been answered - so nix any duplicate info I may have included - I was typing my book when those last 3 posts came in. ;)

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:41 pm 
Thanks, Zackiedawg. There is so much to think about. It seems like I can't make a bad decision with either camera. I just wanted to make sure there isn't any big reason not to purchase one or the other.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
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Location: UK
Some minor clarifications to Justin's reply.

The Canon XS doesn't have video. It does have main sensor live view though, but its already been said that wasn't important.

Canon do have a bigger choice of *current* native lenses, and the duplication isn't bad at all, since it does give you a choice of what feature level and price to go for. Only if you include non-current lenses does the level of near duplication rapidly increase. On that note, do compare any interesting lenses for your local pricing. Locally to me Sony lens prices are not so competitive compared to Canon for a given spec. Canon also have a much more dynamic used kit market here if you need to keep costs down.

On the other hand, I can instantly name 3 lenses that Sony have and Canon don't! The 30mm macro offers the potential for some interesting close up perspectives, the 35mm f/1.8 is a handy low price lens to have, and the 135STF is unique if ultimate bokeh quality is the goal. Trading against that, Canon do have a nice selection of tilt-shift lenses although that's probably one for later as even used they're not cheap!

_________________
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: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:36 pm 
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Location: bit east of Melbourne
I have got two older Minolta Film camera and my wife has one, mainly various kit lenses and filters. Sony seemed like a good choice 4-5 years ago, but when I went to upgrade from the Sony A100 the lenses and cameras aren`t supported by Sony as much as I would like. Also the quality lenses are more expensive and very few retail outlets carry Sony DSLR`s or their lenses.
So where do you go to try them out? Staff in shops aren`t really helpful either, its not a big seller. Sony needed to have worked harder to gain market share, but more importantly with their quality lenses by dropping the price. Now they are too specialised and I wasn`t going to risk spending more money on a path with no obvious support from the manufacturer.
Hate to say it, but stick with the mainstream, Canon or Nikon. Unless you have a clear idea of what you want, or have a good existing lens collection. This isn`t to say that Sony, Pentax or Olympus aren`t excellent options, but you got to understand what you are in for.
Fitting Sigma or tamron lenses on Sony cameras defeats the purpose.

Olympus, Pentax and Sony for that matter, all can build excellent products, but it appears to have become a two horse race in the DSLR world. Still if I had to choose one of the three I would most likely pick Olympus, that system has got more potential in my opinion.

_________________
Canon Powershot S95, Canon 6D,7D, Canon 40 2.8 STM, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, Canon 17-40 L, Canon 15-85, Canon 85 1.8, Sigma 30 1.4, 50mm 1.8, Canon 100 2.8L Macro, Canon 70-300L +Kenko 1.4 Pro 300DGX, Canon 430EX II and RS 4 Classic


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:18 pm 
Thanks, Maxjj. I guess that is why I haven't been able to decide. The Sony is certainly attractive for the present but will it be the best choice for the long run?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:31 am 
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Location: bit east of Melbourne
I guess that is why I recently bought a Canon 7D with the 15-85 and a 50 prime and a 100 macro. A big zoom will be next, I have been holding off for a while and had money saved up.

_________________
Canon Powershot S95, Canon 6D,7D, Canon 40 2.8 STM, Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC, Canon 17-40 L, Canon 15-85, Canon 85 1.8, Sigma 30 1.4, 50mm 1.8, Canon 100 2.8L Macro, Canon 70-300L +Kenko 1.4 Pro 300DGX, Canon 430EX II and RS 4 Classic


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:25 pm 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
That's the part only you can answer - what's best for the long run for YOU.

My personal experience - and only mine so not meant to refute anyone else's...

Sony DSLRs are fairly readily available in my area, so handling them and trying them out isn't a problem. I haven't had any support issues with Sony cameras personally. I find the quality lenses with a Sony badge on them can be pricey, but the quality lenses on the used market are actually a bit cheaper than other brands' equivalents, especially considering whatever lens you get is stabilized.

As for 'support' from Sony on the DSLR front - Sony has released 9 APS-C cameras in just 1 year, with 2 more clearly in the pipeline, and another fullframe rumored soon too. They've just firmwared their NEX and their A850/900, which seems to hint at continued support. When it comes to professional-grade support...that's something Canon and Nikon can offer for their pro bodies, and Sony cannot - so if you're going pro and full frame, stick with those two. But remember that Canon's entry and mid-models don't get that same pro level support, and a large majority of shooters aren't professional photogs who will need a replacement $25,000 lens flown into Tanzania by helicopter same day. For regular customer service, repairs, etc...I've personally had very good experience with Sony on the only camera I've ever had to send in for repair (F717 to replace sensor under warranty recall, after 4 years). I can't really say if they've gone downhill since, as I've never experienced any other failure or repair need with 9 Sony cameras over 13 years.

I had no existing lens collection, but I saw a clear availability of the lenses I wanted to expand to within the Sony mount, and cheaply, which is what made me decide on them. I was able to pick up a good travel zoom (18-250) for $750 - stabilized, a megazoom wildlife lens for $700 (Tamron 200-500) - stabilized of course, which isn't available for this lens in other mounts. I got a 50mm F1.7 for $50 - stabilized. Picked up a 30mm F1.4 for $400, stabilized. Got a 10-24mm UWA for $450, stabilized. Picked up a solid Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro for under $100, stabilized. My beauty lens I've lusted after, the Minolta 300mm F4 G APO, I picked up for $900, stabilized. So without an existing lens collection, Sony still offered a solid path to upgrades for little money.

Since my first Sony body, which was a great performer for good light, but not great in low light, and was a bit slow for burst mode and lighter on dedicated controls, I then upgraded to an excellent high ISO performer with very fast AF and burst and more dedicated controls...and the newest DSLRs recently introduced have upped the spec even more over my current body, making the upgrade path in bodies look pretty good for me.

Personally, I don't really understand the comment about fitting Sigma and Tamron lenses to a Sony body 'defeating the purpose'. If the purpose is to get good lenses at good prices to get good images, I find Sigma and Tamron, and Tokina too, have some very nice lenses well worth the purchase, no matter what camera brand you are using. And I enjoy that all are stabilized to boot on Sony mount. I've got good lenses from Sony, Minolta, Tamron, and Sigma in my collection, and see no reason that any of them are better or worse than any other. I've seen some junky Tamron and Sigma lenses - but I've also seen junky Canon, Nikon, Sony, Minolta, and Pentax lenses. Everyone makes some cheap lenses and expensive lenses, cheaply built lenses and solid tanklike lenses. Sigma and Tamron are no exceptions. Again, just my opinion.

If you are not going to feel happy, or secure, with a particular brand, avoid it. It's that simple. Some people will only feel good if they buy the best-selling brand - if that's you, head to Canon and be happy - they make fine cameras. Otherwise, check out all available brands, hopefully in person and in-hand if you can, and figure out which one seems like it will work best for you. You won't go wrong - they all make good products and have fine lenses available for them.

_________________
Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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