The Sony Alpha 100 has been a good camera for me and I have gotten some very good results. Overall, I simply cannot complain. Still, I find myself jonesing for something new in my camera world and the desire runs the gamut from just just buying a new lens or upgrading my current camera to the Alpha 700 all the way to changing platforms completely to the Nikon D300 or the Canon 40D.
Side by side feature comparison of the A700, 40D and the D300
These cameras stack up VERY well next to each other in terms of features and capabilities. But try to make a decision based on unbiased opinion? Forget it! Discussion forums are littered with evangelists for each of the brands. Nikon and Canon devotees seem to be the worst. They bash Sony for simply being Sony and project a brand loyalty comparable to religious zealotry. Ask a Nikon user what to get, he’ll tell you Nikon and that’s that. Same for Canon users. And there’s a growing number of Sony-heads joining the fray.
So I’m left doing a ton of research on my own, educating myself and looking at samples and reading reviews and so forth which is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, at a moment when I was feeling rather overwhelmed and somewhat frustrated I did have a camera nerd/geek moment when I found a discussion thread announcing the upcoming release of the Nikon D90. In reading the specs I started to get a little excited thinking this is what I’ve been waiting for! As I kept reading my enthusiasm turned to confusion and then I just burst out laughing! Read for yourself.
I needed a good laugh at that point and that article delivered in spades.
There are many things to consider in staying with Sony, not the least of which is the financial commitment I have made in purchasing my lenses. Obviously to stick with Sony means less money out of pocket. The Sony A700 has dropped to around $1,300 whereas the Nikon D300 hovers up in the $1,800 range. The Canon 40D comes in the least expensive of all at around $1,200. But when you factor getting some good image stabilization and/or prime lenses for either Canon or Nikon and the cost of upgrade via platform hopping is moves close to, if not well into, the 4 digit range.
And really, would spending a ton of money changing brands yield better photographic results? Would I see such a difference in my output? Would someone really look at a picture and think “wow, great shot! If only that picture had the enhanced highlights and color depth of a Canon! Or the ever so slightly sharper detail of a Nikon with the uber-expensive lens?”
I am thinking “no”
Also, Sony has indicated their top of the line or “flagship” dSLR will be released later this year. The “Alpha 900” was announced by Sony for release later this year so there is hope that they are in this for the long-haul.
Keep in mind that I am by no means ready to drop $3,500 to $5,000 on a pro camera yet…Canon, Nikon OR Sony. But knowing that there’s an upgrade path remains a strong consideration. And who knows what will be on the market when AND IF I decide to take my camera gear to the budget disintegrating professional level?
There’s some pretty cool stuff happening with digital video that could completely change the landscape of professional photography. As Tom Petty says; “The future is wide open” (unintentional photo pun there).
I was thinking maybe I could the put aside the idea of any large purchase by just keeping what I have now and that’s when I started looking for lenses for the A100 as a possible pacifier for my desire to get something new.
In my research I found the Tamron SP AF 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5 DI II LD Aspherical (IF) and thought OOOOH! Super wide angle zoom! That would be cool. But then I saw it was just announced and is not available yet.
So here I am, musing the whole thing over and browsing the web and I keep learning more while spending nothing. And maybe that’s the best upgrade of all.