Making the jump to DSLR... advice?

Started Oct 3, 2013 | Questions
davewilliams000
Forum MemberPosts: 68Gear list
Like?
Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
Oct 3, 2013

I currently have a Panasonic FZ20 bridge camera (5MP 36 - 432mm equiv. F2.8), and I'm wanting to make the jump to DSLR to get better shots and learn more about photography.

I am pretty much sold on the Sony D-SLTs as I think I would find it strange going to an optical viewfinder.. i.e. not being able to see the effects of exposure/apeture/etc through the viewfinder.

After reading some reviews, I'm thinking of going for the A-65 (which is really at the limits of my budget) with the standard 18-55mm lens, and then adding the tamron SP 70-300 after a few months, as without that I think I'd miss the zoom from the FZ20.

The A-58 is probabbly more in the price range of what I should be spending right now(!) but this camera is going to have to last me many years (I've had the FZ20 for 8 years now), and I feel like there is a lot of things that would be missing from the 58 compared to the 65 [not necessarily straight away, but after I've gained some knowledge].

Just wanting to get some thoughts if this sounds sensible, or am I starting with too expensive a camera for a beginner? I've looked at the A-57 as on most accounts its somewhere inbetween the 2 with features, but the prices are around the same as the A-65.

Thanks for your input,

Dave

 davewilliams000's gear list:davewilliams000's gear list
Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II +8 more
ANSWER:
kpenner
Regular MemberPosts: 171Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 3, 2013

Before I bought the A77 I went to the local store, looked at the A57 (which I was ready to buy), and it was okay. I then looked at the A65 and was blown away with how much nicer the viewfinder was. Got the A77 in my hands and loved the way it felt. On the viewfinder alone it was worth going to the A65 in my opinion.

As for the viewfinder not showing things it's quite the opposite. It will show the photo EXACTLY how it will look before you take it. I pulled out my old Sony A300 with an optical viewfinder and I felt somewhat lost. It also made me realize how lucky I was to have the EVF.

 kpenner's gear list:kpenner's gear list
Sony SLT-A77 Sony 85mm F1.4 ZA Carl Zeiss Planar T* Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM Sony Alpha DSLR-A300 +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
eastriding4310
Regular MemberPosts: 226
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 3, 2013

It appears that Sony is abandoning the slt design and moving to mirrorless in 2014.  It might make sense to wait and see how this all plays out. The new technology may be better and not much more money.  In the mean time, you have three more months to save!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mick787
Forum MemberPosts: 83
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to eastriding4310, Oct 3, 2013

Whatever you choose, it's addictive and once you get the bug, you'll not stop! First it will be the body then you'll start upgrading on the glass. I love getting results I like, sod the experts, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just be prepared!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
RichV
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,955Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 3, 2013

I think your satisfaction with results is going to be based on both your education (and practice) and the quality of the lenses you own.  For the education part I can't recommend Gary Friedman's ebooks enough; get it and go through it from (virtual) cover to cover.  As for the lenses, sometimes you can get excellent quality in a good used lens, so don't leave that option out.  You can visit dyxum.com to see owners' reviews on a broad array of lenses that are compatible with your camera; I'd suggest you take some time to do so.  Best of luck in your new adventure!

-- hide signature --

Rich

 RichV's gear list:RichV's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony SLT-A77 Sony SLT-A99 Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G Sony 50mm F1.4 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
davewilliams000
Forum MemberPosts: 68Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to kpenner, Oct 3, 2013

kpenner wrote:

Before I bought the A77 I went to the local store, looked at the A57 (which I was ready to buy), and it was okay. I then looked at the A65 and was blown away with how much nicer the viewfinder was. Got the A77 in my hands and loved the way it felt. On the viewfinder alone it was worth going to the A65 in my opinion.

As for the viewfinder not showing things it's quite the opposite. It will show the photo EXACTLY how it will look before you take it. I pulled out my old Sony A300 with an optical viewfinder and I felt somewhat lost. It also made me realize how lucky I was to have the EVF.

Yeah that's exactly what I meant, the FZ20 has an EVF so I think I'd be lost without one.

 davewilliams000's gear list:davewilliams000's gear list
Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
K E Hoffman
Senior MemberPosts: 3,570Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to eastriding4310, Oct 3, 2013

eastriding4310 wrote:

It appears that Sony is abandoning the slt design and moving to mirrorless in 2014. It might make sense to wait and see how this all plays out. The new technology may be better and not much more money. In the mean time, you have three more months to save!

Why wait?

The SLT works well.. you can take thousands of great shots..  Love my a77.. just got it for $900.  But had lenses.. and coming from A700.. really didn't look at the rest so can't help between the two cameras you are looking at.  But enjoy.. and get Gary Friedman's book.. best way to learn a Sony camera on the planet.

enjoy the camera vs waiting. because as soon as they release a new Mirrorless.. you should wait for some firmware upgrades..  (actually my strategy now after being a pre-order for the A700)

Then just when all the firmware updates optimize the camera and the camera gets a bit more affordable... there will be rumors of a better camera in a few months

-- hide signature --

K.E.H. >> Shooting between raindrops in WA<<

 K E Hoffman's gear list:K E Hoffman's gear list
Canon EOS 450D Nikon 1 J1 Sony a77 II Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
davewilliams000
Forum MemberPosts: 68Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to K E Hoffman, Oct 3, 2013

K E Hoffman wrote:

Why wait?

Couldn't agree more! I don't like to wait, especially when I've decided what I want lol

 davewilliams000's gear list:davewilliams000's gear list
Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Michael Fritzen
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,718
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 3, 2013

Hi,

case you're still counting the pennies for entering into the DSLR/SLT world here comes an idea of how to improve your cash flow: you could cancel your gym subscription because from now on you may do your exercises by hauling around your gear in a great and heavy bag whose weight tends to increase over the time.

Be adviced that many around here (including me) suffer already from GL (GearLust) or GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrom) both highly adicitve.

Some serious side notes:

1) When you're on a budget you can save some serious money when you prefer the previous model over the most fancy recent one.

2) Bodies come and go but (good) lenses most probably serve you for many years so it's worth to invest in the best you can afford.

Welcome and good luck.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
Michael Fritzen

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
masticina
Forum MemberPosts: 87Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 3, 2013

I will give you the most basic and best advice anybody can give you. Go to an actual store, hold the camera, make sure they have a charged battery around so you can experience the EVF, the feel of the body. the weight and the size.

SLT might be smaller but still is SLR sized and looks like it to.

Personally I did look between the A57 and A65 and did go with the A65. Why? That EVF is just better, yeah it is a WYSISWG and it works. Also I have the V model with GPS. Not needed but still, back screen is nice to.

Though the A77 even looks nicer with its weatherproofing, slightly more functionality, a screen that goes even higher up for selfies.

Really what choice you are going to make depends really on holding it in the shop and just feeling it. The kitlens will be [unless you buy the expensive 16-50mm f2.8] just a kitlens. Nothing special so to say. And 18 to 55 is a bit short, you might want to spend into an 18-135 so you have a nice start.

Also it doesn't hurt to have 2 memory cards for it and 2 batties. So you always have a backup, no don't worry it isn't like Sigma draining quick. But all that electronic Viewfinder and Liveview mode does drains the battery faster then an equally placed Nikon or Canon.

Hey you get WYSIWYG, it is going to take you some more battery power.

Results are awesome no matter what SLT model you buy, good sensors, fast FPS, chock full of functions.

Just remember compared to your superzoom the DSLR lenses are bigger, heavier and more expensive. Yup bigger sensor does needs more glass

And my advice 18-135mm is a good idea to look at for buying. It is still a kitlens, it is not the best image quality IN THE WORLD.. but it has a nicer range then the 18-55mm.

If possible look into learning to shoot Raw and invest $100 in lightroom. Just saying, Sony makes some awesome sensors, their JPG's on the other hand are not always the best.

 masticina's gear list:masticina's gear list
Sony SLT-A65 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
davewilliams000
Forum MemberPosts: 68Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to masticina, Oct 3, 2013

masticina wrote:

I will give you the most basic and best advice anybody can give you. Go to an actual store, hold the camera, make sure they have a charged battery around so you can experience the EVF, the feel of the body. the weight and the size.

SLT might be smaller but still is SLR sized and looks like it to.

Personally I did look between the A57 and A65 and did go with the A65. Why? That EVF is just better, yeah it is a WYSISWG and it works. Also I have the V model with GPS. Not needed but still, back screen is nice to.

Though the A77 even looks nicer with its weatherproofing, slightly more functionality, a screen that goes even higher up for selfies.

Really what choice you are going to make depends really on holding it in the shop and just feeling it. The kitlens will be [unless you buy the expensive 16-50mm f2.8] just a kitlens. Nothing special so to say. And 18 to 55 is a bit short, you might want to spend into an 18-135 so you have a nice start.

Also it doesn't hurt to have 2 memory cards for it and 2 batties. So you always have a backup, no don't worry it isn't like Sigma draining quick. But all that electronic Viewfinder and Liveview mode does drains the battery faster then an equally placed Nikon or Canon.

Hey you get WYSIWYG, it is going to take you some more battery power.

Results are awesome no matter what SLT model you buy, good sensors, fast FPS, chock full of functions.

Just remember compared to your superzoom the DSLR lenses are bigger, heavier and more expensive. Yup bigger sensor does needs more glass

And my advice 18-135mm is a good idea to look at for buying. It is still a kitlens, it is not the best image quality IN THE WORLD.. but it has a nicer range then the 18-55mm.

If possible look into learning to shoot Raw and invest $100 in lightroom. Just saying, Sony makes some awesome sensors, their JPG's on the other hand are not always the best.

Thanks for the reply

1) I will definitely go to a store to have a go with one before buying

2) I will go for the version with GPS, as I can easily see myself being a map nerd. I would tag all my photos with my current camera but it just takes too long to do it afterwards!

3) will look at the 18-135, just depends on cost and availability here in the uk. 2nd battery (and probbably card) will be on the must have list straight away. What size card would you recommend?

4) Will definitely be looking at shooting raw almost straight away.

 davewilliams000's gear list:davewilliams000's gear list
Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
masticina
Forum MemberPosts: 87Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 4, 2013

I use 2 cards rated at 45MB/s UHS-1 and rated at at least writespeed of 10Mbyte. [class 10]

Both are the same, sandisk Extreme 16Gbyte

That sounds like allot of space but with the A65 not only are the Raw files 25Mbyte big yet there always is shooting movies.

Performance wise it is pretty decent, write speeds are good. And its sandisk so its is a good brand. With the A65 I can put about 622 images on an empty card.

GPS is not super accurate but it will put you in the neigbhourhood of where you need to be. Compared to some external GPS recievers it just isn't that accurate. But as you will find out having GPS even if it puts you 20 feet away from where you actually are.. is a blessing indeed.

GPS works quicker at finding if you sync to the camera the GPS helper data. For that you need to use the software Sony provides, it loads a files that gives the reciever hints about where to look for signal.

Another nice part it is fully functional 2 speed burstrate setting. Depending on the model you buy you get different burst rate options. On the A65 it is Lo 3fps Hi 8fps with a 10fps mode on the dial. Both the Lo and the Hi shoot bursts with working metering and autofocus. The 10fps mode locks the focus and metering to allow it to shoot those extra frames.

Hi is pretty useful for sports to say the least. Finding a Canikon that does something like that for the money the Sony costs.. you are not going to do it. Another gain of the SLT, quicker burstrates. Even the A37 has some utterly lovely burstrates if you ever photograph sports..or quick animals like fishing cranebirds. 7 frames per second is pretty awesome for a camera in that price range.

But hey best is if you find all that stuff out for yourself. First year with a DSLR is a whole new experience. And years after you still learn about little functions and tricks.

 masticina's gear list:masticina's gear list
Sony SLT-A65 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
DaPonti
Regular MemberPosts: 394Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 4, 2013

davewilliams000 wrote:

The A-58 is probabbly more in the price range of what I should be spending right now(!) but this camera is going to have to last me many years (I've had the FZ20 for 8 years now), and I feel like there is a lot of things that would be missing from the 58 compared to the 65 [not necessarily straight away, but after I've gained some knowledge].

What about going the other way: buying something real cheap (second-hand a3x/a5x) for a start, with maybe a slightly better lens, and use the difference to buy a better body once you've outgrown yours and know exactly what you need, even if it's only in 18 months?

 DaPonti's gear list:DaPonti's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Pixelmator Chameleon
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
seilerbird666
Senior MemberPosts: 1,101
Like?
don't do it
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 4, 2013

My advice is to stay with the bridge camera. Getting a more expensive camera will not make you a better photographer. Learn to use the camera you now have. DSLRs are a royal pain compared to bridge cameras. Changing lenses is not fun. With a bridge you pretty much have ever lens you ever need right on the camera. With a DSLR you have to carry a backpack full of lenses. DSLRs are very expensive and bridge cameras are very inexpensive. About the only thing you will get by switching is a depleted band account.

However if you wish to shoot fast action sports or BIF then a DSLR is your only real option.

I don't think you will learn more about photography by getting a DSLR. All the rules of photography apply with either type of camera.

However since you have had you Panny for 8 years you should consider upgrading to a newer bridge camera.

-- hide signature --

My photos:
picasaweb.google.com/seilerbird

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
brian14478
Senior MemberPosts: 3,541
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice?
In reply to davewilliams000, Oct 4, 2013

I am selling my new a65 for another a58...The last a58 had focus problems.

My advice to you and trust me on this one is to get an a57 and make the best of it...The straight out of camera jpegs and features being somewhat new to dlsr is going to far outweigh the nicer viewfinder and lcd.

The a57's is great as is the lcd...if the resolution of a finder is more important then by all means get an a65 .

or an a55..

An a55 wouldn't be a bad choice either maybe even better for you. These are with an a55. It has gps 10 frames a second excellent iq and decent high iso performance along with a great screen/viewfinder. Good luck..brian

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
davewilliams000
Forum MemberPosts: 68Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice? [Update]
In reply to davewilliams000, 11 months ago

For anyone who is still reading this thread, I did wait a while due to funding issues. However, I ended up getting (2 weeks ago) an a58. I did look at a57, and was aware of the reduced capabilities of the a58 from a57, but to find an a57 that wasn't silly money was difficult, and I'd rather buy new with a warranty (PC World/Currys in the UK do a 2yr waranty on all their DSLRs). I also couldn't justify spending the extra £200 to get the a65.

I've invested in some glass, the tamron SP 70-300 which I mentioned in the original post. I've also ordered Sony's DT 50mm f1.8 prime lens for doing portraits and indoor, as my partner and I are expecting our first child in June (which I don't think I knew when I first made the post).

Here's a shot of one of my cats that I took on the first day...

 davewilliams000's gear list:davewilliams000's gear list
Sony SLT-A58 Sony DT 35mm F1.8 SAM Sony DT 50mm F1.8 SAM Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM II +8 more
selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
MikeInOr
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice? [Update]
In reply to davewilliams000, 11 months ago

Babies are one of the BEST reasons for owning a DLSR/DSLT! You will have a MUCH better images to document your new family members life than you would with your old bridge camera. Enjoy your new camera!

 MikeInOr's gear list:MikeInOr's gear list
Sony SLT-A33 Sony SLT-A77 Sony DT 55-300mm F4.5-5.6 SAM Sony 20mm F2.8 Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
nandbytes
Senior MemberPosts: 3,700Gear list
Like?
Re: Making the jump to DSLR... advice? [Update]
In reply to davewilliams000, 11 months ago

I am actually selling my A57 if you are interested (and are able to return A58). I wasn't planning on selling it so soon but I have come across another deal atm.

Regardless, A58 is a good camera, and I am sure you'll enjoy it. Also for the price I don't think you can get a better camera in terms of features and usability. Also the kit lens with the A58 is better than the one with A57

 nandbytes's gear list:nandbytes's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-5N Sony Alpha 7 Sony a77 II Sony E 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony DT 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 ZA Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads