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

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Discussions
zackiedawg
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to MikeNannie, Apr 2, 2013

MikeNannie wrote:

I agree that I certainly could study up more. I've tried off camera flash / bounces, and other diffusers over the years, and a Stroboframe as well. Results are just so inconsistent. I've used about every camera setting as well and it just seems to me that you should be able to setup the camera to get a reasonably good result consistently using a flash and TTL.

I usually dial in about -.7 flash compensation too in order to prevent getting a blown out foreground. But then sometimes you get an image that's just too dark, and then the next one is fine - just extremely frustrating inconsistent results - across all my recent cameras.  It's almost like the TTL system isn't working correctly with the 5600 HS flash - it's just that inconsistent. I've sometimes wondered if there isn't a problem with my 5600 HS, even though I bought it new and it's never been abused.

It certainly sounds like the camera and flash aren't communicating properly - maybe indeed the TTL system isn't functioning properly.  This should not be an area of concern with the A580.  Though I'm typically a natural light shooter, and do not prefer to use flash in my regular photography because I like shadow and color cast and other interesting effects in low light, I do also occasionally do hired shoots of events, tournaments, etc. including indoor shooting, for which I need to use flash.  I use my A580 and my HVL-F42 flash for these occasions, and have not had any problems like yours.  I do not need to dial in any flash compensation, no blown out bits, no motion blur or too-slow shutters - the flash seems to sync perfectly with the camera and is quite reliable.  I usually bounce my flash in indoor shoots to avoid hot points and redeye.

I'm thinking either your flash isn't working properly on the camera, or maybe try reading up on flash to see if different settings might help.  Even the el-cheapo F42 flash works perfectly for me with indoor event shooting - which often involves 'candid' and random shots of folks moving, dancing, eating, talking, etc., not just posed portrait shots.

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Justin
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MikeNannie
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to oklaphotog, Apr 2, 2013

oklaphotog wrote:

If High ISO is a concern, go A99. It's much better than an A77. The 24-85 is a very good lens, breathing down the neck of the 28-70/2.8 G, and should serve the A99 well until you can upgrade. It's every bit as good as the 28-75/2.8 SAM, so the only way to really get better is to go to the 24-70 Zeiss.

As far as the flash, did you have the 5600HSD re-calibrated? There was a known problem with with the 5600HSD resulting in over exposure when the 7D came out and Minolta was recalibrating them for free. If it hasn't been fixed, I would suspect it has issues on your a580 as well. KM gave me the very first 7D in the US and I bought two more of them afterwards. Once all of my 5600's were calibrated I never had exposure issues with them. Matter of fact it was more consistent than any of my current Canon gear.

Also the A77 has issues with flash exposure where the A99 does not. The A99 although more expensive, is leaps and bounds above the A77. FF is the cats meow if you don't mind the weight or price. When Sony originally bought KM, they had no plans for FF or for professional gear, so at that point I went to Canon and FF. Since I made the switch to FF, I still keep a crop body for more reach when needed... But otherwise I'd never go back. If you don't mind the screw drive, there is a ton of great FF Minolta lenses out there as well as the more modern Sony offerings. I almost picked up an A77 for it's speed and reach, but the chroma noise in deep shadows at high iso's was too much for me. A bit of luminance noise is ok, a lot of it goes away in print and what is left gives some character and feel. But high chroma noise just looks bad. The A99 has very little chroma noise compared to the A77.

If you can afford it, go A99. It really is the best all around body under $3k. If I didn't have such an investment in Canon glass, I'd buy one myself.

I didn't know that about the 5600 HS flash issue and therefore never had it re-calibrated. I really wonder if that's been the problem all along. Maybe my next step is to rent a newer flash and see how it performs.

I really appreciate your comments about the 24-85 mm lens. I always thought it was a pretty good lens and bought it based on solid recommendations back in the late 1990s. I really wonder if I'll be disappointed with it on an a99. After all, I'm use to my CZ 16-80 which to me is an amazingly sharp lens.

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
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MikeNannie
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to zackiedawg, Apr 2, 2013

zackiedawg wrote:

MikeNannie wrote:

I agree that I certainly could study up more. I've tried off camera flash / bounces, and other diffusers over the years, and a Stroboframe as well. Results are just so inconsistent. I've used about every camera setting as well and it just seems to me that you should be able to setup the camera to get a reasonably good result consistently using a flash and TTL.

I usually dial in about -.7 flash compensation too in order to prevent getting a blown out foreground. But then sometimes you get an image that's just too dark, and then the next one is fine - just extremely frustrating inconsistent results - across all my recent cameras.  It's almost like the TTL system isn't working correctly with the 5600 HS flash - it's just that inconsistent. I've sometimes wondered if there isn't a problem with my 5600 HS, even though I bought it new and it's never been abused.

It certainly sounds like the camera and flash aren't communicating properly - maybe indeed the TTL system isn't functioning properly.  This should not be an area of concern with the A580.  Though I'm typically a natural light shooter, and do not prefer to use flash in my regular photography because I like shadow and color cast and other interesting effects in low light, I do also occasionally do hired shoots of events, tournaments, etc. including indoor shooting, for which I need to use flash.  I use my A580 and my HVL-F42 flash for these occasions, and have not had any problems like yours.  I do not need to dial in any flash compensation, no blown out bits, no motion blur or too-slow shutters - the flash seems to sync perfectly with the camera and is quite reliable.  I usually bounce my flash in indoor shoots to avoid hot points and redeye.

I'm thinking either your flash isn't working properly on the camera, or maybe try reading up on flash to see if different settings might help.  Even the el-cheapo F42 flash works perfectly for me with indoor event shooting - which often involves 'candid' and random shots of folks moving, dancing, eating, talking, etc., not just posed portrait shots.

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Justin
galleries: www.pbase.com/zackiedawg

Thanks Justin. I think you and others may be onto something with there being an issue with my flash. I'll have to rent another and do some testing.

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
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oklaphotog
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to MikeNannie, Apr 2, 2013

MikeNannie wrote:

I didn't know that about the 5600 HS flash issue and therefore never had it re-calibrated. I really wonder if that's been the problem all along. Maybe my next step is to rent a newer flash and see how it performs.

I really appreciate your comments about the 24-85 mm lens. I always thought it was a pretty good lens and bought it based on solid recommendations back in the late 1990s. I really wonder if I'll be disappointed with it on an a99. After all, I'm use to my CZ 16-80 which to me is an amazingly sharp lens.

I doubt the CZ 16-80 is much better. I shot both of them side by side on a A700 at one point, and the difference was small. On an A900 it seemed pretty darned good, almost as good as my 24-70 L on a 5D2, which is quite a feat considering what the 24-85 goes for these days. The 24-85 has a bit of distortion on the wide end and a little CA on the edges, but that all corrects out easy in raw. It's much sharper than the famed beercan 70-210, even wide open. No lens is perfect, but the 24-85 has a lot going for it. It's very sharp wide open and gains little by stopping down, it's small/compact, relatively fast aperture, very fast focusing, and great color/contrast. The color saturation and contrast of this lens is one of the things that makes it so great. I think it would work plenty good enough until you can justify going to the CZ 24-70 at some point.

FWIW here are the photodo tests of it and the 28-70 G on a blad optical testing bench. They are very close and nobody ever thought the 28-70 G was soft. The G's only problem was slow focusing. Anything 3.5 or higher in these tests is pretty good. Using the beercan as a guide, it was originally made by Minolta and branded as a Leica for the R system. The tested R lens scored a 3.3.

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Minolta-AF-2485mm-f3545-901

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Minolta-AF-2870mm-f28-G-905

And for kicks, the "Secret Handshake" that everyone raves about it's sharpness, yet it has a lot of CA.

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Minolta-AF-28135mm-f445-906

Guide to what the numbers mean:

http://www.photodo.com/topic_136.html

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MikeNannie
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to oklaphotog, Apr 2, 2013

oklaphotog wrote:

MikeNannie wrote:

I didn't know that about the 5600 HS flash issue and therefore never had it re-calibrated. I really wonder if that's been the problem all along. Maybe my next step is to rent a newer flash and see how it performs.

I really appreciate your comments about the 24-85 mm lens. I always thought it was a pretty good lens and bought it based on solid recommendations back in the late 1990s. I really wonder if I'll be disappointed with it on an a99. After all, I'm use to my CZ 16-80 which to me is an amazingly sharp lens.

I doubt the CZ 16-80 is much better. I shot both of them side by side on a A700 at one point, and the difference was small. On an A900 it seemed pretty darned good, almost as good as my 24-70 L on a 5D2, which is quite a feat considering what the 24-85 goes for these days. The 24-85 has a bit of distortion on the wide end and a little CA on the edges, but that all corrects out easy in raw. It's much sharper than the famed beercan 70-210, even wide open. No lens is perfect, but the 24-85 has a lot going for it. It's very sharp wide open and gains little by stopping down, it's small/compact, relatively fast aperture, very fast focusing, and great color/contrast. The color saturation and contrast of this lens is one of the things that makes it so great. I think it would work plenty good enough until you can justify going to the CZ 24-70 at some point.

FWIW here are the photodo tests of it and the 28-70 G on a blad optical testing bench. They are very close and nobody ever thought the 28-70 G was soft. The G's only problem was slow focusing. Anything 3.5 or higher in these tests is pretty good. Using the beercan as a guide, it was originally made by Minolta and branded as a Leica for the R system. The tested R lens scored a 3.3.

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Minolta-AF-2485mm-f3545-901

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Minolta-AF-2870mm-f28-G-905

And for kicks, the "Secret Handshake" that everyone raves about it's sharpness, yet it has a lot of CA.

http://www.photodo.com/lens/Minolta-AF-28135mm-f445-906

Guide to what the numbers mean:

http://www.photodo.com/topic_136.html

Thanks for the links and info. Like I said, I always liked that lens until I tested it against my 16-80z on my a580. But, I did have some problems with the 16-80 and/or the a580 and ended up sending them both to Sony for 'recalibration'. Sony ended up sending me a new 16-80 ultimately to correct the issue. Now, I don't remember if I tested my 24-85 before or after that re-calibration. If before, and there was a back focus issue with the camera, then that might explain the softness in my testing. I'll have to try it again sometime.

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
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Michael Fritzen
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to MikeNannie, Apr 2, 2013

Hi,

it may sound bold but going for the A99 is a "different experience in photography" - sounds good doesn't it? Perhaps I should contact Sony's marketing department. But kidding aside, coming from A700 and A850 (this one I still own) to the A99 I'd say there's hardly any individual feature over the A580 which will warrant "better photographs".

It's FF against APS-C - what may have some slight influence on high ISO performance but I have my doubts if it's that relevant. The A580 was among the best in its class. Of course the sensor of the A99 is from another generation. But from the pure shooting aspects I see the differences more in DR and of course the DOF-stuff related to the larger sensor. Pixel count would be important only when larger prints would be needed on a regular basis - and still 16MP vs. 24MP isn't that much. However starting to shoot with the A99 things get different than shooting with an OVF camera (as my A700, A850). Add the great hinged LCD, the lack of mirror slap and the electronic first curtain. Low weight (considering the natural bulk of a FF camera), handling (with and w/o grip - and I can only recommend the grip for both improved handling with larger lenses and for having juice for a whole day's shooting). Video - well I don't really care. GPS for sure a nice-to-have. All the info in the EVF: great even better with the levelling gauge enabled. Two-cards-slot with a lot of writing options.

MikeNannie wrote:

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?

As said above, probably not that much. To reveal detail light is needed and not higher ISO. Of course there are moments for candids w/o flash. However flash has its place and thoughtful use could make the difference between a great shot or people/subject in dull light where details dispute space with noise.

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

Improved DR helps. Also more pixels for printing big. However when shooting from different/arkward positions, the hinged LCD makes a big difference.

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.

For high ISO shooting I see A580 > A77 so this doesn't seem to me a very reasonable step.

I'd say unfortunately this case may not be solved by reasoning only. For me it has a lot to do with the pleasure of working with a great tool, so a pretty large portion of emotions, feelings. Of course the "tool" has to deliver. Perhaps best way would by renting the A99. Then you'd get a feeling whether this camera works for you or not. And if the feeling is positive, if you're ready to put the cash on the table - unfortunately one of the biggest disadvantages of the A99. Best wishes for your decision.

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Cheers,
Michael Fritzen

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mrmjs
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to Michael Fritzen, Apr 2, 2013

Mike, I was able to take a few test shots today with the a99 at iso 1600, 3200 & 6400. The a99 was shot with a Sony 85f2.8 and the a77 with my 16-50f2.8. I took the a99 shots as jpgs, I don't think I'd be able to open the raw files. Both these images below were shot at iso 3200.

The shots are nothing special, I didn't get much time to mess with the camera...

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-Matt

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mrmjs
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to mrmjs, Apr 2, 2013

a99 iso 6400 jpg 100% crop

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-Matt

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony SLT-A77 Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) +18 more
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MikeNannie
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to Michael Fritzen, Apr 2, 2013

Michael Fritzen wrote:

Hi,

it may sound bold but going for the A99 is a "different experience in photography" - sounds good doesn't it? Perhaps I should contact Sony's marketing department. But kidding aside, coming from A700 and A850 (this one I still own) to the A99 I'd say there's hardly any individual feature over the A580 which will warrant "better photographs".

It's FF against APS-C - what may have some slight influence on high ISO performance but I have my doubts if it's that relevant. The A580 was among the best in its class. Of course the sensor of the A99 is from another generation. But from the pure shooting aspects I see the differences more in DR and of course the DOF-stuff related to the larger sensor. Pixel count would be important only when larger prints would be needed on a regular basis - and still 16MP vs. 24MP isn't that much. However starting to shoot with the A99 things get different than shooting with an OVF camera (as my A700, A850). Add the great hinged LCD, the lack of mirror slap and the electronic first curtain. Low weight (considering the natural bulk of a FF camera), handling (with and w/o grip - and I can only recommend the grip for both improved handling with larger lenses and for having juice for a whole day's shooting). Video - well I don't really care. GPS for sure a nice-to-have. All the info in the EVF: great even better with the levelling gauge enabled. Two-cards-slot with a lot of writing options.

MikeNannie wrote:

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?

As said above, probably not that much. To reveal detail light is needed and not higher ISO. Of course there are moments for candids w/o flash. However flash has its place and thoughtful use could make the difference between a great shot or people/subject in dull light where details dispute space with noise.

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

Improved DR helps. Also more pixels for printing big. However when shooting from different/arkward positions, the hinged LCD makes a big difference.

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.

For high ISO shooting I see A580 > A77 so this doesn't seem to me a very reasonable step.

I'd say unfortunately this case may not be solved by reasoning only. For me it has a lot to do with the pleasure of working with a great tool, so a pretty large portion of emotions, feelings. Of course the "tool" has to deliver. Perhaps best way would by renting the A99. Then you'd get a feeling whether this camera works for you or not. And if the feeling is positive, if you're ready to put the cash on the table - unfortunately one of the biggest disadvantages of the A99. Best wishes for your decision.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Michael Fritzen

Thanks for the input Michael.  I think you're right, it is an emotional decision for sure. If  I hold off on my purchase, I like your idea of renting an a99 for a week or so. Might be fun on our next vacation!

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
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MikeNannie
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to mrmjs, Apr 2, 2013

mrmjs wrote:

a99 iso 6400 jpg 100% crop

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-Matt

Interesting quick comparison Matt. Looks to me like the a99 image is considerably less noisy. Pretty good image for iso 6400. But, the lighting looks pretty good too.

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
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Michael Fritzen
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to MikeNannie, Apr 3, 2013

MikeNannie wrote:

Thanks for the input Michael.  I think you're right, it is an emotional decision for sure. If  I hold off on my purchase, I like your idea of renting an a99 for a week or so. Might be fun on our next vacation!

Don't do that, don't rent it! I'm afraid you won't give it back.

I played with it on the Photokina in Cologne and got the "virus".

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Michael Fritzen

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fossil1950
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to MikeNannie, 11 months ago

Well, with the A78 being delayed to next year, I have jumped in and bought a used A77 in mint condition, waiting for delivery tomorrow. Tried to buy a refurb from Sony, but after trouble with their site accepting payment and customer service not calling back went elsewhere. Can`t wait for postman!!

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MikeNannie
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Re: a580 to a99 - Crazy to upgrade? or go with an a77?
In reply to fossil1950, 11 months ago

fossil1950 wrote:

Well, with the A78 being delayed to next year, I have jumped in and bought a used A77 in mint condition, waiting for delivery tomorrow. Tried to buy a refurb from Sony, but after trouble with their site accepting payment and customer service not calling back went elsewhere. Can`t wait for postman!!

What camera did you have prior to ordering your a77?

Please post an update of your experience with the a77 once you have time to play with it.

 MikeNannie's gear list:MikeNannie's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
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Gionni Dorelli
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go for it! why do you care?
In reply to MikeNannie, 11 months ago

I could not read your post, it is way too long.

But, If you can afford the a99, just get it!

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