December 5 2010 - Photo Jottings

December 5 2010


Landscape and interior shooters, now is your time!   For all you landscape/interior shooters that are on a tight budget, and looking for a high resolution, cost effective, great performing camera outfit to buy today, look no further than the Sony full-frame A850, which is priced to sell (for $1899-$1999) at all legit outfits including my favorite; B&H photo. If you’ve been thinking of jumping to a Sony full-frame, now is the time.  Don’t wait for a 30+mp camera that’s still on the drawing board, and might (or might not) be available in a year or two; the Sony A900/850 will be considered high-tech and formidable for several more years.  Whenever I get out my (now two year old) A900 for a shoot, I’m still amazed at the resolution and overall image quality, especially when using a really good lens.  Don’t worry about trivial things like “better” high ISO noise reduction, movie mode, HDR or any number of other foolish gimmicks, if you want a straight-forward camera, with great image quality, at a great price, the Sony A900/850 full-frame cameras fill that niche perfectly.

Another morsel of truth; unfortunately most people don’t realize it, but the (over three year old) A700 is still a very good camera, offering professional features and build quality that even the latest and greatest Sony DSLRs don’t have, and is still superior to the new a33/55 translucent mirror cameras in image quality, I’ll prove that to you in a few days with a comparison page.

Sony A850, now $1899 at B&H Photo and other places.

Low cost, but great performing lenses for Sony full-frame:

Sony 20mm F/2.8  $600  Great super wide-angle, but trim your focus at small apertures for best results.

Minolta AF 28mm F/2  $450-550 used.  Great in daylight stopped down, but has strong coma with a wide aperture.

Minolta AF 35mm F/2  $500-600 used.  Has same qualities as the 28mm F/2.

Sony 50mm F/1.4  $370  Very sharp across the frame from F/8-11, strong coma wide open.

Sony 85mm F/2.8 SAM  $225  Very sharp across the image frame at F/8, but color fringing along the sides.

The lenses above have high quality optics, and are exceptional performers stopped down.  They’ll make a very good match for a 25mp sensor.   All are relatively inexpensive, and the Sony 20mm and 50mm can be purchased used, with a Minolta name, at sometimes half the cost of a new Sony!

If you’re on an extremely tight budget, look carefully at the Sony A850 and excellent Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 zoom lens, (check price here), get both for around $2400.

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