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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:53 pm 

I've been reading what seems like hundreds of reviews and think the CameraLabs forum is the first I've encounter. Kudos for the great web site.

I'm currently debating between purchasing the new Sony A100 and the Cannon 400D. I tend to take a lot of landscape and architecture shots, both at bright sunlight, sunset and nighttime city scapes and architecture when I travel. I also do a lot of up close, macro photos of flowers and plants. I like to enlarge these to 10x14 and bigger if possible, up to 11x17 and 14x14.

I'm considering the A100 because of its price point, 10MP resolution and the fact that I currently have a Minolta 35MM film camera and two lenses for it. The A100 would be the logical choice for me. My old lenses (35-80 and a 70-200 macro) would fit and any new non-digital lense that I purchase should also work on my old film camera, though that's not a huge consideration.

I'm also considering the 400D because of its price, resolution, and the fact that I use one extensively at work and am famaliar with it. It produces great photos, even enlarged, although it does feel a little plasticy and light compared to my film camera.

My concern though, is that the Sony's noise problem at higher ISOs might hinder some of my night time shots when I blow them up (although night/sunset/twilight shots might only make up a small fraction 10-15% of all the shots I take).

Now granted, with film I almost never shot over 800 ISO and only used ISO 800 pretty rarely, and didn't have too many problems.

Are the noise problems at 800 and 1600 in the A100 such a concern that I should consider switching to a Canon system? My gut tells me that I won't be using ISO 1600 at all and 800 only a small percentage of the time. But I'll be very disappointed if ISO 800 is very noisey at large prints.

How big of a concern should the A100's noise problems be to me? Could a get a brighter lens with the Sony so I wouldn't have to use ISO 800 or 1600?

Or maybe I should wait and see what Sony come out with in 2007, though I'm ready to make the move to digital now.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:21 pm 
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Hi Roffesenden, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

Have you seen our group test which compares the Sony and Canon (and Nikon) models? ... DSLR_test/

You can see the noise performance for yourself in the results pages, but only you can decide if it's acceptable or not. Certainly at 800 and 1600 ISO the Sony will give a noisier result than the Canon or Nikon, but depending on the size of your print, you may not notice it too much.

And remember these are samples of JPEGs from the camera. You could smooth out noise, albeit at the cost of some detail, using programs like noise ninja, not to mention shoot in RAW for greater flexibility in post-processing.

One thing's for certain, the Sony's built in anti-shake will let you shoot at least 3 stops slower than normal, which could mean the difference of shooting at 100 or 200 ISO when the Canon would have to be at 400 or 800 ISO respectively. Of course fitting an IS lens to the Canon would give the same advantage, but it'll also increase your cost of entry.

If possible I suggest going to a friendly camera dealer with your own CF card and taking some photos with the A100 at all ISOs, then taking them home and printing them out. This will allow you to see for yourself how it performs. If you don't have a CF card yet, they might even lend you one for use in the shop then you could print them out there using their kiosk (or printing service), or perhaps burn the images onto a CD.

If you rarely shoot at 800 ISO or above though, I think noise will rarely be an issue for you with the A100 - especially with its anti-shake. And yep, you could of course also give yourself an extra stop or two with a brighter lens if necessary.


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