I think I’ll clarify a few things that I mentioned yesterday, since some people may not understand what I’m talking about. One; I said I’d buy a full frame camera before I’d buy a second APS-C body (that is, if I didn’t already have one). Two; I’d rather have the A700 because of better features, instead of the new “mid-level” A550/500 APS-C bodies.
If you’re thinking of moving up to a full frame body, be aware of a few issues that full frame coverage (in most cases) exacerbates. The corners will be softer at the same apertures if you’re using the same full frame compatible lens, You’ll also see more intense lateral color fringing, more light fall-off, and more distortion, that’s just the nature of the design; you’re only using the middle portion of the lens (the best part) with APS-C bodies. Then why would I buy one? I like the big, bright viewfinder that shows everything (A900, not sure about the A850), I also like the “real” focal lengths, not the equivalent, which many times is too long, like 70mm on a 70-300mm SSM lens, where 70mm is still useful with full frame, but turns to 105mm coverage on a cropped sensor camera, and that’s a bit too long for me. I don’t worry too much about sharp corners and the other stuff mentioned, probably because I don’t enlarge my images to poster sizes. Bottom line; if you stare at your images blown way up on your computer screen and worry about the corners, you’d be better off sticking with an APS–C camera.
The second item concerns the A700 specific features and differences with the newer Sony APS-C cameras. I said I’d rather have the A700 instead of the A500/550. The A700 has two control dials, front and back. I use the two control dials nearly every shot, and with the A700, I can customize both, the other bodies have only one front dial. I set the front to aperture, and the rear to exposure compensation. I also use the dedicated AF/MF button, (also not available on other bodies), which I set to one click on, one click off. In addition to those items, I use the ±3.0 stop exposure compensation, as opposed to the lesser ±2.0 on all other APS-C bodies. I use ±3.0 for indoor exposure blending in real estate shooting, and often when testing lenses, 2 stops sometimes aren’t quite enough (The A550/500 have auto HDR, but only combine two frames). If you don’t use the above mentioned items, then by all means consider the new cameras, which have the flip screens and live view, which some people can’t live without.
Hope that clears things up. Stay tuned for the Minolta AF 75-300mm F/4.5-5.6 “Big Beercan” review in the next couple of days