lattiboy 8:35am, 17 November 2008

So I've done the math, and I can sell my current A700 setup and it will exactly cover the price of an A900. I'd keep my backup lenses:

Big Beercan
50mm f/1.7
50mm Sigma

and get the A900. I read reviews, seen samples, and all of these lenses perform great on the A900.

So, does this make sense? My biggest draw is the viewfinder and the increased dynamic range. DR is really the selling point for me, is it really that much better? I read the dpreview data, and it seems to get almost 4 stops (!) extra DR in RAW.

Can somebody provide a real world example of this?
snack happy 8 years ago
I'd say that using a 28-135 minolta lens on a full frame camera will be enough to make the transition worthwhile.
Aar☆n [deleted] 8 years ago
What glass are you talking about selling?
lattiboy Posted 8 years ago. Edited by lattiboy (member) 8 years ago

CZ 16-80mm (replaced by 28-135mm)

70-300mm G (replaced by Big Beercan)

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 (replaced by 50mm f/1.7 or possible purchase of a f/1.4)

Tamron 35-105mm SP f/2.8

It's tough to think about because I have what could be easily considered the BEST 3 lens combo imaginable. I've got the 2 sharpest zooms they make and an excellent super-low light prime. I realize I'll be using "lesser" glass, but I'm hoping the sensor on the 900 will make up for this.

I know you can't specifically list ads here, but if anybody wants a heads up on any of the stuff listed, PM me and I'll tell you before the auction starts. US only, use the power of cashback!
lattiboy 8 years ago
One more thing, I like shooting landscapes, and that's the main reason I'm looking at the A900. The (huge) increase in DR and detail seem great.... on paper. I'm looking for an A900 owner who upgraded from the A700 to post a thought if possible.
Richard Brown 56 PRO 8 years ago
I would say if you can run with it keep the 70-300G as its great partner for the A900
photobuf PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by photobuf (member) 8 years ago
If you have to start selling off everything, just to get a body which will drop in price faster than lens prices, I don't think it's worth it. Wait prices will drop by itself, and people will start switching systems or selling off A-900's, and you'll find buys on used ones.

28-135 Minolta is okay, but has it's quirks. Not sure it's the greatest for landscapes with it's rotational front element, no lens hood was ever made for it, and if you put a wide angle rubber one, it's only effective at 28mm. Little on the heavy side also. Sold mine a while back after using for years on film. Results are good, but today's designs are lighter, non rotational front elements, and have digital lens coatings. It's sort of a dated design.

Big Beercan over the 70-300 G, not a choice I'd make.

Patience is virtue. Better to enjoy the A-900 with some better glass, if the A-900 is what you are after.

Collect the FF lenses you really need for the A-900, before making your upgrade. Sell off the c sensor lenses.
tango_28 PRO 8 years ago
28-135mm Minolta kicks the Sony CZ 27-70mm in IQ on the A900.
ShawWellPete 8 years ago
Photobuf is making a lot of sense. The FF sensor will show up the limitations of your lenses and before you know it you'll be looking to upgrade them again.

I reckon bodies depreciate by 25-40% a year! lenses, if bought carefully, have negligible depreciation.
photobuf PRO 8 years ago
- I had a 28-135 for 20 years, I know how it performs, but as I said it's dated and has it's quirks. I doubt it beats the Zeiss 24-70 F2.8. The Zeiss 24-70 F2.8 is rated a bit higher than the Nikon 24-70 F2.8, which is also an excellent lens.
tango_28 PRO 8 years ago
Liquid Stereo 8 years ago
Do not sell the 28-135. The 28-135 has been shown to be excellent on the A900.

During ten days I had the opportunity to test the 24MP full frame Sony alpha 900 simultaneously with all the six classical professional zooms from the Sony / Minolta system (3.5/17-35mm G, 2.8/24-70mm Zeiss, 2.8/28-70mm G, 4-4.5/28-135mm, 2.8/80-200mm APO, and 2.8/70-200mm SSM - thanks to J. Nemecek for providing the 17-35mm G and the 28-70mm G, and thanks to Sony Overseas AG, Schlieren/Switzerland, for providing the Zeiss 24-70mm). In this section you will find test images of the following zooms at f=70mm: Minolta AF 4-4.5/28-135mm (1985), Minolta AF 2.8/28-70mm G (1993), Minolta (Sony) AF 2.8/70-200mm APO G (D) SSM (2003), and Zeiss Vario Sonnar 2.8/24-70mm ZA (2008).

The Minolta AF 4-4.5/28-135mm delivers at f8 clearly the best image quality of any zooms tested here - at a second hand price of 1/10 of the Zeiss. The contrast wide open is a bit low, but stopping down just 1/2 - 1 stop solves the problem. Be aware that some of these lenses were used heavily by professionals; their zoom mechanisms may be worn out. If you need a lens with perfect center resolution, high detail contrast and virtually no koma at f2.8 (!), or if you need the 24mm wide angle, the Zeiss Vario Sonnar 2.8/24-70mm will be appropriate - at least as long as you don't mind its weight and size;). And: the Zeiss T* coating is outstanding. If you are looking for a well balanced f2.8 "normal zoom", the Minolta 2.8/28-70mm G may be right. Its design and size fit perfectly to the alpha 900, it's smaller and lighter than the Zeiss, it offers slightly more tele range, and it is sold second hand at roughly 1/3 of the Zeiss' price. Due to it's softer image characteristics it may be more useful for portraits than the Zeiss.
Aar☆n [deleted] 8 years ago
Nah... I'll not get rid of my good glass in favour of a camera body... not much point IMO... I am waiting to see whats gonna fill the gap between the A700 and A900...
ShawWellPete 8 years ago
I am waiting to see whats gonna fill the gap between the A700 and A900

That's my plan, hoping for Nikon D3 noise with 5D mkII movie mode and A900 Dynamic range. Maybe too much to hope for?
paolo palmero 8 years ago
Don't sell the 70-300G! You'll find yourself shopping for one very soon...
snack happy 8 years ago
This has turned into a funny thread with strong opinions on lenses. Me, I rated the 28-135 VERY highly on A700 and would also say a big beercan over a 70-300~G is a sound money-saving old skool choice (I've tried both too). If you're like me, then you rarely use filters so rotating front elements are not a deal breaker.

Of all the sensibly priced modern lenses, I'd take most seriously the Sigma 50 1.4 HSM and the Tamron 70-200 2.8 macro. IMO new Sony lenses are overpriced.
lattiboy Posted 8 years ago. Edited by lattiboy (member) 8 years ago
Thanks all, but I accidentally turned this into a lens thread! I'm looking to hear from people who moved from the A700 to the A900.

This move is as strategic as anything. I just don't know if my wildly expensive crop-sensor glass is going to hold it's value. I also don't think we'll be seeing big price drops with the A900 anytime soon. Maybe a couple hundred $$, but nothing drastic.

PS I know everybody loves the G, but it's just not for me. I like my big beercan!
Andreas Helke 8 years ago
You definitely will get much more resolution from a full frame sensor because it is less impacted by diffraction softening.

The larger circle of confusion also mean that you you still get better images with second rate lenses if those lenses don´t have too soft corners.

4x5 inch photographers never worry about lens quality. With such a large image area even a mediocre lens creates excellent sharpness and detail.
photobuf PRO 8 years ago
Interesting in regards to the 28-135, true is is not a bad lens, as I said, I had one for 20 years, quite sharp. It was the result of a joint Minolta/Leica effort and was actually made in the same plant where the Minolta 'G' lenses were made. It's very well made but does as I said before have it's quirks and shortcomings. Considering that originally in 1986 it was a $550-$600 lens compared to the beercan which was about $250, it's price has actually dropped, and for the quality today it is a bargain. Beercans and 50mm F1.7's go for the price of 22 years ago, but not the 28-135.

For Landscape use -

Front element rotates, making it difficult to use a polarizer, and graduated ND filters.

No lens hood was ever made for it by Minolta, and if you use an aftermarket rubber one, it has to be a wide angle one, which is only of benefit at 28mm.

For outdoor use in the sun, not being able to use a proper lens hood, is a negative.

Macro feature at 28mm (of little benefit).

For Portraiture -

Not overly fast at F4 -4.5, so not an ideal portrait lens.

When it was released, many film portrait photographers used to use filters, and attachments on lenses for portraiture. With the rotational front element, it made this lens, not of great benefit in film days as a portrait lens.

Minimum focusing distance was 4'9"

The 28-135, was never a pro lens (built like one - but lacked some pro features), but just a high end regular line lens in the Minolta lineup.

I used this lens a lot, I admit, and it took great pictures, but it was far from perfect. Loved the 28-135mm range, probably a big reason why I prefer the Sony 16-105 over the Zeiss 16-80 today, since I was spoiled by the 28-135.

Not a bad Minolta lens to hang onto, I had mixed feelings about selling mine since I had it since new. It was one of my favourites even with it's quirks. Definitely a lens better suited to FF than c sensor.
photobuf PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by photobuf (member) 8 years ago
@Lattiboy - I think c sensor cameras are going to be around for a while, and I doubt you are going to see dramatic drops in value of c sensor lenses. Personally I'd like to have a FF and a c sensor body, each has it's advantages.

Set your goal, and slowly switch your c sensor lenses to FF, as you sell them off.

Everytime I've bought the latest greatest digital camera, I only sit back and watch the prices go down. Lenses on the other hand have maintained their value very well, and some old Minolta glass has skyrocketed in price.

If you have to sell off lenses to buy a body, is it really worth it. FF prices will drop, and you will have an expensive body with minimal lenses. Good glass is important and far outlasts the body.
Aar☆n [deleted] Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Aar☆n (member) 8 years ago
APS-C Sensors are not going anywhere,

The nature of the production process of sensors, is for as long as we still use silicon chips going to be about surface area costing money. The larger the surface area, the less sensors you can produce on a given wafer, thus full frame will ALWAYS command a premium,

There will NEVER be a time where everyone has a full frame body IMO,

The APS-C format will continue to improve within its price point, as will the Full Frame format.
J. Albano Photography 8 years ago
I wonder if they will make something between a 1.5 and a FF sensor, maybe like a 1.2

Make it a little cheaper, help a bit on the long end, and not really affect the performance of a Wide Angle. A 16mm would still be WIDE and if you could use the sigma 10-20 it'd be a little useless at 10mm, but could give a cool effect

Or, since I really have no idea what I am talking about, this may be completely unreasonable. LOL

Wouldn't, theoretically, a 1.2 Crop Factor be a cheaper and a good compromise?
Aar☆n [deleted] Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Aar☆n (member) 8 years ago

Its been done I think, the early (olympus anyone?) I think DSLRs had an in-between size sensor,

Thing is I dont know HOW MUCH cheaper it would be,
You can get near double the amount of APS-C sensors on a wafer, vs FF sensors,

I dont think the 1.2 would be very worth it, because the thing is camera manufacturers know, if you want FF you will pay for it, otherwise APS-C is good enough, and makes them plenty of money,

APS-C is improving all the time too, look at the canon 50D sensor, 15 megapixels, good noise control, its got the lot.
lattiboy Posted 8 years ago. Edited by lattiboy (member) 8 years ago
Thanks for all the input guys. Question to Photobuf:

It seems one intrinsic advantage to FF, a much shallower DOF would be very interesting, although this would seem to be a problem for landscapes. I'm so CONFUSED!

PS The reason I'm looking so hard is because I can get an A900 for $2640 right now.

That's almost $400 cheaper than anywhere else and likely to be a good price for some time to come.
Jerry Coffin 8 years ago
A format more or less halfway between APS-C and 35mm would make some sense. For normal chips, the usual figuring is that the cost is proportional to approximately the cube of the area, a fact of 1.2 would really save quite a bit compared to a FF sensor.

One thing that has always puzzled me is their clinging to the 2:3 aspect ratio of 35mm film. This wasn't something anybody ever really wanted, it was more or less an accident of Leica starting out using movie film, and 35mm cameras since have followed suit.

Going to a 4:5 format (for an obvious example) would have substantial benefits. It's the ratio used for most frame sizes, so (for example) you could produce an 8x10 with no cropping. Outside the US, the exact sizes differ, but the ratios are still closer to 4:5 than 2:3 if I recall correctly. A 4:5 ratio would also fit more closely with the (round) image produced a a lens, so IQ falloff at the corners would be reduced.
**Ewie** PRO 8 years ago
I tend to sit and wait.. I'm very happy with my A700 and will more than likely add a full frame body to my kit.. if you like the A900 then sit tight, wait until they're rumored to release an upgrade and then buy it when it's at a good price. Look at how A700 prices dropped just before the A900 was released....
Liquid Stereo 8 years ago
lattiboy, the price will only decrease. If you need it go for it. Otherwise wait :)
photobuf PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by photobuf (member) 8 years ago
I fully agree with the others, sit and wait. It's happened to me twice with Sony cameras (once with a point and shoot and now the A-700), prices have always fallen. I've never seen camera body prices go up. Lens prices have always remained constant, just fluctuating because of currency exchange on the open market. Sony's flash prices have also been constant. The new Sony flashes are now where the previous ones were (initially they were higher).

Work on your lens collection, and be selective, switching to just FF lenses, in preparation for when prices come down. That's what I'm doing. So far I have only 1 c sensor lens in my small lens collection. But I still hope to hang onto my A-700 as a second body, since c sensors have an advantage for long telephoto lenses.

In regards to your question about depth of field. I haven't heard that DOF is less with FF.

Are you sure it's not the other way around. DOF is related to the focal length of the lens, not the sensor size. Example a 50mm on a 1.5X crop factor c sensor camera would have a field of view of 75mm, thus at 75mm it would have less depth of field than a 50mm on a FF, which has a field of view of 50mm. I personally think you have it backwards. FF is the same as a film camera. No disadvantage for DOF and landscapes. For landscapes a FF excels, since a wide angle is really a wide angle. Would love to use a Sigma 12-24 on a full frame. A Sigma 10-20 on a c sensor is 15mm, 3mm narrower field of view. (Still undecide whether to go c sensor or full frame with a super wide, safe choice is the 12-24 for a FF lens).

I'd love to have 2 bodies, c sensor and FF, to have the best of both worlds (wide angle and telephoto).
lattiboy 8 years ago
Good info all. I think my inherent laziness may keep with my A700 ;) I just don't feel like listing 4-5 items and then shipping them, and then making sure everybody is cool.
photobuf PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by photobuf (member) 8 years ago
Smart decision. As I mentioned above, work on your lens collection, switching to just FF, to get the lenses you prefer. A-900 camera body, prices will drop, as they always have. ( I have yet to see them go up)

Market competition will drive the FF prices down also. Remember how expensive they were a couple of years ago. Only the rich and famous and pros could afford them.
Fernando "El Krusty" Meza Posted 8 years ago. Edited by Fernando "El Krusty" Meza (member) 8 years ago
I can always give you my P.O. Box and you just send a random lens you don't want. I'll be cool for sure!

Liquid Stereo 8 years ago
lattiboy: Have you thought of selling to, or your local craigslist?

photobuf PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by photobuf (member) 8 years ago
Myself, I never use ebay, just Craigslist and Kijiji locally, with face to face cash dealings. Works well if you are in a large market. Ebay, you can't see what you are buying, and if faulty, you have to ship it back. As a seller, you have to package and ship it. As a buyer, sometimes bidding wars arise. As a seller bidding wars are a good thiing though.

Selling to dealers, such as KEH and others, you loose the most, they are there to resell, and have to have room to make a profit (it's business). Far better to sell yourself.
ultranalog 8 years ago
try A900 groups on flickr
photobuf PRO Posted 8 years ago. Edited by photobuf (member) 8 years ago
- The writer was explaining it in the opposite manner to me. I was looking at it from the perspective that, for example a 50mm is 75mm on a c sensor, or 50mm on a full frame. At 75mm on a c sensor camera the DOF is less (as stated in the article). The writer, was comparing both at the same focal length. So he's comparing a 35mm lens on 1.5 X c sensor camera, to a 50mm on a full frame, where the 35mm lens would have a greater depth of field. Another way of looking at it.
whitesites 8 years ago
In what kinds of settings would the additional Dynamic Range help? I have always wondered if the extra $ on the a900 is worth it.
dr_obrien 8 years ago
First, remember that DRO only applies to JPEGs although you can apply it to RAW files in PP with the Sony software.

It has the most value in shots with very high contrast between the high and low light levels. Shots taken outdoors on a sunny day where the shadows can be very deep.

The manual DRO settings work very well on the A700 for bringing out detail in shadow areas. It does tend to introduce some noise into those shadow areas. I don't know if this has been improved for the A900.
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