a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Discussions thread
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MikeNannie
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a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
Mar 31, 2013

Okay, been struggling with the new Sony sale all day today and decided to seek some opinions.

I'm primarily a landscape / travel photographer, with some occasional wildlife photography, not pro. I also shoot family photos at gatherings and a once a year family portrait shoot outdoors.

Current equipment:

Camera: a580 (also have a Minolta 7D and a Minolta 800si film camera)

Lenses: CZ 16-80, Sony 35mm 1.8, Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di USD XLD, Minolta AF 24-85 3.5-4.5

Flash: Minolta HS 5600 Flash (and a 5400 HS non digital flash)

Misc: Gitzo G-1228 MK2 Tripod, RRS BH-40 ball head, flash stand, umbrella, and other misc stuff.

The a580 and 16-80mm lens were huge improvements in image quality over my 2004 Minolta 7D. But, when I bought my 7D, I though the images from it were outstanding using the 24-85 lens. Interesting how your perception changes when you get better technology and lenses   I've never ownd a full frame digital camera. Been a Minolta/Sony shooter since my x-700 back in the early1980s.

I do my post processing with LR and PS 5.
Most disappointing is indoor flash photography. It's always been a struggle using my older Minolta cameras and also with my new a580. I honestly don't know if it's me, or my equipment, but I'm tired of blurry images, or blown out flash shots of family members. I've tried about everything to get better flash shots, with moderate success, but very inconsistent results.

When Sony announced the deals today on the a99 (with flash and grip) and the reduced prices on the a57 and a77, I started to think maybe it's time to upgrade from my 2 yr old a580 (which I do like, a lot).

I'm not attached to the OVF and actually like the idea of being able to see what my image will look like before the click of the shutter using an EVF. That's the main reason to stay with Sony  vs Canikon.

I'm considering the a99 for better high ISO shots, indoor family photos, and for better quality images for my landscapes. I could sell my a580, 16-80 and 35mm lenses, along with my 5600 HS flash to help offset the cost. (At this point, I'm not sure what I can get for those items or how to go about selling them. ) I'd probably sell the a99 vertical grip too - never had one before.  I'd likely use the 24-85 mm lens for a while on the a99 until funds allow me to purchase something better / faster, something in the same focal range.

My questions are for those who have made the switch to full frame.

1) I assume that I would be able to shoot indoors with higher ISO and get better images than from the a580, but how much better? Significant, or not so much? Still need a flash most of the time?

2) For landscape photography, is there that much difference between a crop sensor and a full frame sensor like the a99? Advantages?

3) Would I be better served buying an a77 and keeping my lenses and flash? My concern is a potential drop off in high ISO performance moving from the 16 mb a580 to the 24 mb a77 sensor.
About 40% of my reasoning for considering an upgrade is the answer to question 1 above.

I've always told myself that better photography is based on my skills more so than my equipment. Better lenses are more helpful than a better camera body. But, I also believe better equipment produces better results, even for an average photographer.

I know my skills need to improve and I can do that with any camera. I"m sure that many of you have had similar conversations in your head and I'm wondering what you decided and how you feel now?

I'm in the information gathering stage with the idea of making a decision in the next few days.

Thanks for your thoughts, sorry for the rambling.

Mike

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony a77 II Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM
Canon EOS 7D Sony SLT-A57 Sony SLT-A58 Sony SLT-A77 Sony SLT-A99
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