Moving up from SLT-A55

Started Feb 14, 2013 | Discussions
PhilS34
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Moving up from SLT-A55
Feb 14, 2013

I'm new to photography but since buying my first decent camera a year ago I've learnt a lot. I've got the A55 with 18-55 kit lens and a cheap 70-300 Sigma. I'm now keen to move to something with significantly better usability (the A55 is a bit fiddly to change settings quickly) and much better image quality particulary in low light use. I'm getting the hang of better composition but am frustrated by the poor image quality i'm getting. The options I'm thinking are

1. Buy some decent lenses (doesn't solve the usability problem)

2. Upgrade to A77 and buy some decent lenses

3. Switch to Canon and buy a full frame 6D (and some decent lenses)

I'd like to go full frame Sony as I'm used to the benefits of SLT but it's too pricey. The image quality at high ISO of the 6D looks very attractive. i appreciate this forum isn't going to tell me to switch form Sony, but it might tell me why I shouldn't.

Does anyone have any advice about option 2. Would I get much better image quality from the A77 and how would it compare to the 6D?

Phil.

 PhilS34's gear list:PhilS34's gear list
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rpmarques
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

What do you mean with "poor image quality I'm getting"?

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brian14478
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

These were all taken with an a55 and an older sigma 70-300 macro super...Not the greatest but i had them in my gallery. I shoot low iso most of the time as that is where the a55 performs best.

One thing to try is to set noise reduction to auto, it functions better than 'weak'. I do not use alot of the features especially dynamic range as image quality will generally suffer in a way that is hard to explain. I set sharpness+2 standard color and go from there.

Your best bet by the sound of it is to maybe get an a57 as the new processor and sensor will give better performance at higher iso with more detail kept along with sharpness in the image.

To jump to an a77 seems a bit sudden and an a57 will probably get you by for quite a while.

Maybe try a few different settings for a bit and then decide? Anyway best of luck,..brian



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TrojMacReady
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Show us an example of what you're disapppointed with.
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

PhilS34 wrote:

I'm new to photography but since buying my first decent camera a year ago I've learnt a lot. I've got the A55 with 18-55 kit lens and a cheap 70-300 Sigma. I'm now keen to move to something with significantly better usability (the A55 is a bit fiddly to change settings quickly) and much better image quality particulary in low light use. I'm getting the hang of better composition but am frustrated by the poor image quality i'm getting. The options I'm thinking

Can you show an example (including EXIF)?

That way we might be more helpful in the decision process.

And tell us what you like and don't like about the SLT concept.

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Newgumshoe
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

I had an A55 which was stolen and I replaced it with an A57. The controls are similar although it does have dedicated ISO button. Image quality is definitely improved and is better at high ISO. I would say that although I'm not a very experienced photographer it seems to me that the lenses you are using are not fast lenses. For low light work you really need a lens that goes down to F2.0 or less. These tend to be prime lenses. I bought a Minolta 50mm 1.7 off ebay for about £50 and it's great in low light.

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PhilS34
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

Thanks for the comments, I hadn't looked at the A65 and notice that the A77 has worse high iso noise. Here's an image that i like but just doesn't seem very sharp to me. I'm sure I could do a lot better with a faster lens - just not sure how much.

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PhilS34
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

sorry - now the same image with Exif.

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rickztahone
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

If you are looking at the a77 I'd say wait. It's rummored that it's successor, in aps-c format will come soon. From a trustworthy member source fyi

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sybersitizen
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

PhilS34 wrote:

Here's an image that i like but just doesn't seem very sharp to me. I'm sure I could do a lot better with a faster lens - just not sure how much.

You shot that at f/13 and ISO 400, so you are inviting the unwelcome effects of diffraction and noise.

You don't need a faster lens for such things... you could have tried f/7 at ISO 100, for example.

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Sonyshine
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to sybersitizen, Feb 14, 2013

The A55 is a cracking camera capable of taking excellent shots. Keep practising and improving your technique. Changing the camera is probably not going to improve your photography - above all keep on shooting and have fun!

Taken with my A55:

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PhilS34
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to Sonyshine, Feb 14, 2013

Good advice - thanks

Phil

 PhilS34's gear list:PhilS34's gear list
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TrojMacReady
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A few points.
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

A lot of the compensation done in Lightroom wasn't required had you shot this at say F7.1, which would have given enough DOF too but allows you to stay out of diffraction (which softens the image) territory and allow for a faster shutterspeed and/ or lower ISO:

  • You added considerable sharpening and "clarity", which increases artirfacts and noise, which would have been much less required at a larger aperture and/or faster shutterspeed.
  • You lifted the exposure by almost 2 stops and considerably lifted shadows on top of that, which would have shown less noise at 1 or 2 stops lower ISO (with a similar shutterspeed) and more dynamic range (more detail and less noise in deep shadows).

Asside from the above, you also apply a lens profile from the NEX 18-55 (SEL) OSS lens, which is a different lens from the one you're using (DT 18-55 SAM). I'd imagine that doesn't improve things either.

And best results for shots like these are still obtained at (native) base ISO with a tripod (most DR least noise, most sharpness), regardless of the camera you shoot with.

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Robsphoto
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Keep your A55 until problems solved
In reply to rickztahone, Feb 14, 2013

rickztahone wrote:

If you are looking at the a77 I'd say wait. It's rummored that it's successor, in aps-c format will come soon. From a trustworthy member source fyi

I hope it's a 16mp or 18mp successor, do you have any further details? I own the A55 and the image quality is great and also very good at low light. I also own the A99, but I won't sell my A55 as it's really good as a travel camera. So, I suggest you keep your A55 because if you are getting disappointing results, I think you need to clearly identify the reasons why this is happening before expecting a lot better from a more expensive camera.

Cheers

Rob

www.robsphotography.co.nz

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tbcass
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A55 slightly better at high iso than A57 according to DXO
In reply to brian14478, Feb 14, 2013

brian14478 wro

Your best bet by the sound of it is to maybe get an a57 as the new processor and sensor will give better performance at higher iso with more detail kept along with sharpness in the image.

To jump to an a77 seems a bit sudden and an a57 will probably get you by for quite a while.

Maybe try a few different settings for a bit and then decide? Anyway best of luck,..brian



Not true. According to DXO the A55 actually performs slightly better at high iso. (816 vs 785). Please research before you post.

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someguy50
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Re: A55 slightly better at high iso than A57 according to DXO
In reply to tbcass, Feb 14, 2013

tbcass wrote:

brian14478 wro

Your best bet by the sound of it is to maybe get an a57 as the new processor and sensor will give better performance at higher iso with more detail kept along with sharpness in the image.

To jump to an a77 seems a bit sudden and an a57 will probably get you by for quite a while.

Maybe try a few different settings for a bit and then decide? Anyway best of luck,..brian



Not true. According to DXO the A55 actually performs slightly better at high iso. (816 vs 785). Please research before you post.

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Take a look at these two using dpreview's studio shot comparison page. A57 looks to be more than a bit better...

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Chimere
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Moving up from an A55 probably is not the solution
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

You appear to be too short in this business to think that good equipment like the A55 is the limit for your art. Posting one picture only does not much to substantiate your suggestion. The problem might be thaat you have not good enough lenses.

I would suggest for you think instead where you want to apply yourself in photography, and to invest into a well composed selection of lenses which will help you to go forward on that road.

Upgrading right now, just before the next set of upgrades (A59, A67 ?) is around the corner, might not be a good idea. The A57 would be choice if you can not wait. But, perhaps put your money on lenses instead ...

Most of all: keep shooting, keep posting, do not play around too much with PP. Consider that most good photographies excell in CQ (composition quality) and not IQ.

Chimere

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JeffS7444
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

Shoot raw and expose correctly 

If anything, shoot a bit "hot", because underexposed photos tend to look crappy if you try and correct in post-processing, whereas slightly overexposed ones will probably correct just fine. The A55 has a very good live histogram display: Get to know it! It's one of your most powerful tools.

What features are you finding fussy to access? I'd like a 2nd control wheel and more dedicated controls overall, but I can access manual focus, ISO, white balance, shutter speed, exposure compensation and aperture pretty quickly, and I love the small size and light weight of the camera.

I've had the 18-55 kit zoom, and own the current $150 70-300 apo Sigma. I wouldn't say that either is stellar, but they're compact, lightweight, and if you stop them down to f/8 or so, they can do a good job.

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RedFox88
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 14, 2013

PhilS34 wrote:

I'm now keen to move to something with significantly better usability (the A55 is a bit fiddly to change settings quickly) and much better image quality particulary in low light use.

Are you sure  you've explored the camera you have fully?  SLR cameras usually have controls for the user to change settings quickly, such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture.

And are you sure the a77 is better in low light?  DPR's studio tool comparison images don't show that.  They look like the a55 has less noise at high ISO.

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Ed at Ridersite
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Re: Moving up from SLT-A55
In reply to PhilS34, Feb 15, 2013

Lots of good advice in this thread.  You have a good eye for composition.  In fact, your result isn't all that bad.  I can assure you, it's not the camera causing your disappointment.  Don't just throw money away hoping for better results.  A tripod, lower ISO and better exposure would have reaped huge benefits here IMO.  A little better lens would have possibly helped, but there is no fault with the camera at all.

Maybe spend a little money on a good lens, but keep working on your technique.  Looks like you're off to a good start to me.

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brian14478
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Re: A55 slightly better at high iso than A57 according to DXO
In reply to tbcass, Feb 15, 2013

tbcass wrote:

brian14478 wro

Your best bet by the sound of it is to maybe get an a57 as the new processor and sensor will give better performance at higher iso with more detail kept along with sharpness in the image.

To jump to an a77 seems a bit sudden and an a57 will probably get you by for quite a while.

Maybe try a few different settings for a bit and then decide? Anyway best of luck,..brian



Not true. According to DXO the A55 actually performs slightly better at high iso. (816 vs 785). Please research before you post

At 800 the a57 holds more detail...a bit anyway. At1600 and 3200 quite a bit of resolution is lost with the a55 and raw samples are no better. Sure  there may be less noise,..because your image is starting to be 'eliminated' at high iso.

In many cases alot of 'cross-research' is needed to come to a truer conclusion when considering photography equipment. Sometimes the consensus is off.

I have never seen you 'correct' anyone who says getting an a57 has helped with high iso shooting after comming from an a55

And now you do not have to bother........brian



and i like my a55 btw

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