Sony Alpha A-100 - Quality?????

Discussion in 'Sony' started by infiniteMPG, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    I recently purchased a Sony Alpha A-100 DSLR camera and just learning
    the ins and outs. I have the following lenses with my old Minolta
    Maxxum 9000 that I have been using with it.

    Phoenix 1:4.0-6.3 28-300mm 77mm face thread
    Minolta AF 28-80 1:3.5(22) - 5.6 D 55mm face thread
    Vivitar 500mm f/8 1:2.7 x Macro Focusing 72mm face thread

    The main lens I have been using is the Phoenix as the zoom range is
    good across the board. I have had the camera a couple months and so
    far I have been rather disappointed with the quality of the shots. I
    have used it indoors with the Minolta AF lens and those shots appear
    much higher quality then the Phoenix but I got good shots with the
    Phoenix with the 35mm Maxxum 9000. The 500mm (and I have a doubler to
    make it 1000mm) is just too much magnification even when using it on a
    tripod.

    I had a Konika Minolta Z3 that I had been using for years and got
    crisp clear shots all the time and with the 10X optical and super
    macro I had the whole range across the board. I was thinking the
    A-100 would improve the quality of my shots but so far it's not proven
    itself to me. Not sure if it's the lens, the settings or the operator
    (I know a lot is the operator but he's learning).

    On the automatic setting many of my shots are washed out so I learned
    how to manually step down the aperture but on the small camera screen
    it's hard to tell exactly the effect you had. On the Z3 you could see
    the captured image in the eyepiece and since ambient light was blocked
    out you could get a good feel for what you just did.

    But the main thing is the images do not appear very crisp, even when
    taken in full sunlight. And often the auto focus is not focused very
    well at all. I have been playing with the focus settings for spot,
    etc, and ISO settings (using 100 for outdoor stuff) but still don't
    see the quality I'd like. Not sure if the lens, or maybe the filter,
    might have something to do with it, too.

    Any suggestions or hints would be greatly appreciated!!!!
     
    infiniteMPG, Nov 29, 2007
    #1
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  2. infiniteMPG

    Frank Arthur Guest

    One answer about the lenses is that a 28-300mm Canon lens is about
    $2,200 and
    a 28-300mm Phoenix lens is abou $200. The Minolta is the only lens in
    your collection that is in the same league as the Sony Alpha A-100.
    Perhaps you should limit the extreme range of focal lengths and
    concentrate on a high quality lens with a zoom range that you most
    likely would be using. One that I know of that might be a steal is a
    used Nikon 70-300AF ED lens which goes for under $200.
     
    Frank Arthur, Nov 29, 2007
    #2
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  3. infiniteMPG

    Frank Arthur Guest

    There is a brand new MINOLTA AF 28-80MM 3.5-5.6 D LENS F/ SONY
    ALPHA/MAXXUM


    being offered at Ebay now at $5.50. I wonder how good it is?
     
    Frank Arthur, Nov 29, 2007
    #3
  4. infiniteMPG

    acl Guest

    Hello,
    It's hard to say like this. Could you possibly upload a couple of the
    photographs that you don't like somewhere, and link to them? That's
    way it's easier to work out an answer.
     
    acl, Nov 29, 2007
    #4
  5. infiniteMPG

    Mr. Strat Guest

    I've never thought much of any Sony product. Their digital cameras use
    oddball memory sticks and the quality just isn't there.
     
    Mr. Strat, Nov 30, 2007
    #5
  6. Ignore the trollery about oddball memory (as you know, it takes CF
    cards) etc. The A100 is capable of slaughtering the Z3 in image quality,
    but not with a cheap pre-digital Phoenix superzoom 28-300mm. Even Sigma
    had to redesign their entire range for digital, improving the coatings
    and enhancing contrast and resolution, in the DG and DC series lenses.
    The Phoenix is a film-era dinosaur; the results looked good because film
    is such a vague and tolerant medium, and you don't examine the pictures
    as closely. Digital is critical - anything poor is shown up immediately
    - and you look at the images as if they were all 20 x 16 prints.

    First of all, get a single decent lens - even your Minolta 28-80mm is
    pre-digital, and one of the cheapest kit lenses they made, if not bad on
    film. The Konica Minolta 18-70mm or the new Sony 18-70mm (both can be
    found for under $100 used, or even new) makes a much better matched
    standard zoom.

    However, there is one lens which will make this camera sing - the Tamron
    18-250mm f3.5-6.3. It's not quite 300mm, but it is long enough, and the
    optical quality is a quantum leap ahead of earlier 18-200mm/28-300mm etc
    designs. It can be obtained for about $400 (I think - it is £299 in the
    UK) and while that sounds a lot, you end up with one lens which will do
    pretty much everything you will ever need, and do it much better than it
    deserves to.

    Go into the camera menus and set VIVID sRGB for your JPEG style. Use the
    DEC menu to set +2 sharpness instead of the default of 0, if you want
    the images to look more like the Z3. To really see what the camera can
    do, try shooting RAW and buy a copy of Photoshop Elements 5.0PC/4.0Mac
    or later which will give you very fast conversion of the raw files - or
    load up the Sony software, which is good for colour quality, but a bit
    slow and with a poor user interface.

    David
     
    David Kilpatrick, Nov 30, 2007
    #6
  7. And while you are at it, visit

    www.photoclubalpha.com

    and read a few of the articles on the A100, and see some of the pix.
    Also try visiting

    www.dyxum.com

    which is a community very much able to show you what the A100 can do.

    David
     
    David Kilpatrick, Nov 30, 2007
    #7
  8. infiniteMPG

    Bob Guest


    First of all - you need a good lens to get good shots... I think some of your
    lenses should be junked... get something good that will suit your needs. I use
    mostly the 18-200 Sony lens, but I plan to get a good 24mm 1.8 some day... will
    cost more than the camera!

    Next... use RAW pictures with this camera, the jpegs tend to suck... see my site
    here:

    http://www.pbase.com/flintstonestudio/sony


    And over here you will see how the camera functions as a "snapshot device"...

    http://www.pbase.com/flintstonestudio/railway_maintenance

    Since I was kind of working at the time, I could only use the camera in P-auto
    mode.

    Note I am also only learning to use this camera, but I am quite happy with it.
    One thing I do know - TRY other settings! Sometimes the logical setting is not
    the best!


    Bob
     
    Bob, Nov 30, 2007
    #8
  9. infiniteMPG

    Frank Arthur Guest

    And Mr Strat's quality?
     
    Frank Arthur, Nov 30, 2007
    #9
  10. infiniteMPG

    Mr. Strat Guest

    My Canon is made far better than any camera Sony has ever made.
     
    Mr. Strat, Nov 30, 2007
    #10
  11. infiniteMPG

    Frank Arthur Guest

    Thus spake Strat!
     
    Frank Arthur, Nov 30, 2007
    #11
  12. infiniteMPG

    Pboud Guest

    in his humble, non subjective opinion..

    :)
     
    Pboud, Nov 30, 2007
    #12
  13. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    Thanks for all the great info, and we all have differring tastes so
    not expecting everyone to have the same opinion. Many thanks to David
    for the massive detailed information. We'd heading up to a state park
    this weekend and the weather should be great so it will be a good
    chance to try some new settings. Yeah, west central Florida, weekend,
    mostly sunny, no chance of rain, high in the lower 80's. Good
    shootin' weather :O)

    I actually thought the Minolta was a post digital lens but I have been
    wrong with other things. I was looking at some lenses that were
    Minolta's around 18-200 (or something around that) as I really like
    the close focal range but seeing as they are "Minolta" they were
    probably pre-digital. I'll search around for the Tamron and see what
    I can find. I am willing to get a decent lens and if the broader the
    range the better. Probably post what I find in here as it sounds like
    a lot of experience is floating around. I will probably pick up some
    macro extension tubes, too, as I really like close-up macro shots and
    that way I can haul them around with worry as they don't have glass.
    And AF doesn't do too good with close macro work and that's fine with
    me. Is there any issues with dust or debris getting in the body when
    changing lenses in the field? I took some shots last weekend and had
    a smudge spot on the same place on all the images. Wasn't on the
    lense so I gently blew dusting air towards the camera without a lense
    on and snapped the shutter. The spot was gone... whew! Only had this
    a couple months so hopefully not in need of a cleaning yet.

    What is the file size difference between RAW and the JPEG? Not
    worried about the conversion process but does a RAW converted toi JPEG
    on a PC have better quality then starting with a JPEG on the camera?
    I only have a 2Gb card right now but I can see a need for more
    memory. Got a nice little Toughbook laptop and a 720Gb USB drive so I
    can offload the images on the road. I'll play with the setting this
    weekend but it gets tough when my GF is wanting to hike on and I find
    a good shot and start fiddling with the settings. We usually
    compromise :O)

    I do have examples of my Z3 work at http://www.infinitempg.com/pix and
    getting up to speed with the A-100 is something pretty high up on my
    hit list.

    Thanks to everyone for the info.
    Scott
     
    infiniteMPG, Nov 30, 2007
    #13
  14. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    GREAT SITES!!!! I can see I won't be getting much work done this
    afternoon.... :O)

    THANKS!
     
    infiniteMPG, Nov 30, 2007
    #14
  15. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    First of all - you need a good lens to get good shots... I think some of your lenses should be junked... get something good that will suit your needs.

    Agreed! On my shopping list (and my Christmas list)

    Something in that 18-200/250 range I think is what I need. Good
    universal range. What would you be using the 24mm 1.8 for and why so
    pricey?
    Good shots even if for work. Nice crisp and clear. What do you use
    to do the RAW-->JPEG conversion?
    I am definitely just scratching the surface. THANKS!!!!
     
    infiniteMPG, Nov 30, 2007
    #15
  16. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    And Mr Strat's quality?
    Actually my Konika-Minolta Z3 fell off my kayak and sunk to the bottom
    of the Manatee River (not in anything, just splashed in), fell out of
    my pack on my mountain bike down a trail, was dropped out of my
    unclosed backpack and bounced (in pieces) across my concrete driveway,
    is held together with JB Weld, Superglue, a piece of a paper clip, and
    a cut section of bicycle tire tube (holding the battery case shut) and
    it still takes good pictures. But none of that helps me take better
    pictures with my A-100 :O)
     
    infiniteMPG, Nov 30, 2007
    #16
  17. infiniteMPG

    Mr. Strat Guest

    Feel free to buy a Sony digital camera, and then tell your friends that
    you have pro-level gear. They probably won't know that you're talking
    out of your ass.
     
    Mr. Strat, Nov 30, 2007
    #17
  18. infiniteMPG

    Mr. Strat Guest

    I don't believe I specified a model number. I use a DSLR.

    You'd have been best off leaving the Konica at the bottom of the river.
     
    Mr. Strat, Nov 30, 2007
    #18
  19. infiniteMPG

    infiniteMPG Guest

    You'd have been best off leaving the Konica at the bottom of the river.

    The dried out patched together dinky Z3 has won me a state photo
    contests here and in NC, been published in several magazines, map
    cover images for printing companies, newpaper front pages and a few
    other things, and considering I'm a total hack just dragging the thing
    along on hiking/kayaking trips between engineering jobs, I'm
    satisfied :O) Some of us make do with what we have and photography
    as an art is as much, if not more, in the eye and the imagination of
    the photographer as the equipment he or she uses.
     
    infiniteMPG, Nov 30, 2007
    #19
  20. infiniteMPG

    Bob Guest

    The 18-200 Sony is a good walking around lens, there is also a Sigma 28-300 you
    could consider, only around $400 I think and a good "tourist" lens. (It's on
    sale at Amazon).
    The 24 becomes a 36 in the camera, a very useful wide angle lens, and it
    probably will do macro focus as well. The 1.8 is to get very narrow depth of
    field or lots of light or both... this will be a good lens for closeups and for
    scenery.

    Whenever you see a 'f' number of 1.8 or so, be prepared to open your wallet!
    The Sony converter that comes with the camera is the best I've seen, better even
    than Lightroom from Adobe that I tried.
     
    Bob, Dec 1, 2007
    #20
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