A77 or A850?

Started Dec 28, 2011 | Discussions thread
asiafish
Regular MemberPosts: 382Gear list
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Re: A77 or A850?
In reply to Ray Maines, Jan 16, 2013

I just moved from A77 to a very gently used A850 and am enjoying the "back to basics" experience.  Don't get me wrong, I REALLY liked the A77 and have many amazing images to show for the year I had it.  What I missed was prime lenses, especially wides.

Sure, there are plenty of great APS-C lenses out there and all FF lenses work, but very few primes at the desired focal lengths.  I enjoy travel and portrait photography, and my most used lenses are 24, 35, 85 and 135mm.  35 and 135 are easy on either format as the 24 essentially becomes a 35 and the 85 is close-enough to a 135.  The problem is getting 24 and 85 equivalents on crop sensor.  50 translates to 75, which is close to 85, but not quite close enough, while good 16mm primes are rare and expensive.

After selling my A77 and two APS-C zooms (16-50 f2.8 and Tokina 11-16 f2.8) I was able to afford a very complete collection of Minolta primes.  Now I have basically every prime focal length from 20 to 135mm, all at f2.8 or better.  Its also really the best of both worlds with my NEX 7 as a backup.  With the LA-EA2 adapter, it becomes essentially an unstabilized A77 second body, though I usually just leave the E mount Carl Zeiss 24mm f1.8 (my best wide-angle) on the NEX7 and carry the 85mm f1.4 Minolta on the A850, with the Minolta 135mm f2.8 and 24mm f2.8 in a very small camera bag attached to my belt.  I carry the LA-EA2 attached to the 135mm which adds 200mm equivalent to the outfit.

I also have a large backpack that carries all of my primes and my two zooms (35-70 f4 and 70-210 f4 beercan).  When out on a serious shoot, I take the NEX7, but usually only use it for casual photographs of people I'm with (with the E mount 24) and just use the FF primes on the A850.

The A850 is the best camera I've ever owned.  Not for the sensor or even the image quality, which are amazing, but for the very simple UI and outstanding optical viewfinder.  Most important for me, however, is the use of prime lenses the way they were designed to be used.  The crop format always just pushed most primes lenses to the next category, leaving many gaps.  24, 35 and 85mm lenses work well on both sensor sizes, but others like 20mm, 28mm and 50mm get pushed into in-between lengths that are often not quite right.

'China, which we call Red China, just exploded a nuclear bomb, which we called a device' - Tom Lehrer

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