A700 and A55 compared -500mm lens birding

Started Nov 11, 2010 | Discussions thread
OP Ron Co Senior Member • Posts: 1,574
hi Paul65 of Germany

Boy these forums cover the world don't they

and now off to Africa too - I like your choice of lenses- I might have wanted a wide angle for some shots but then it is unlikely i will ever got out of Tasmania now even trips to the big island above us are a pain - I hate travel- and have yet to go overseas -how about that for parochial -- not really, I just like it where I am at this stage of my life (between birth and death) covered most of Australia - that's enough for one person anyway

Seriously your outfit sounds good -light easy to tote - very sensible- I get a huge laugh at the typical photographer so burdened down by cameras -no wait a minute--- that was me on my trip to Queensland some years ago !!

Sony video camera (large Video 8) Nikonos for underwater , two Leica M4s with 21 mm to 135 mm lenses , Hasselblad with 3 lenses- -tripods - and of course a swag of film too -no wonder I came back exhausted

Imagine if I had had the A33 or A55 - one camera and a lens or two - bliss!!
Paul65 wrote:

I took the A33 on a safari in Africa and I am really in love with this camera. While on safari I have been using just 2 lenses: The 135F1.8 and the 500F8.

The A33 worked well with these 2 lenses. Focus was mostly accurate with the 500mm. Using the higher ISO modes I was able to use the 500 even in less than perfect light conditions.

Compared to the 135mm the images taken with the 500mm appear less colorful and contrast is also visibly lower.

Usual for any mirror lens but not a problem with a bit of PS work- as I am sure you know

Sharpness of the 500mm was great. Sitting in a Landrover the size of the combination camera+lens was about right. Anything much larger or heavier would have been difficult to use.

Before the trip I was concerned if the small battery of the A33 would be a problem. Would this little camera be able to drive the focus of the large lenses? There was no problem and also battery life was not really a problem.

Stil testing mine - only on my third day - charged each night

The A33 did overheat once when I was using bracketing sitting in the sun at temperatures of about 40°.

No worries about that in Tassy -when we got South Australia it may be a problem

I have used the 25200 ISO mode with the camera handheld a couple of times. The results were quite good. It would have been better if the camera was faster. I am look forward to the A77 sometime next year for an improvement in this regard.

Isn't tomorrow a great day for technology - I have not tried the real high settings yet- perhaps tonight?

I did not use manual focus with the 500mm

Manual focus with the 135mm worked very well. When focusing the camera highlights the points in focus in the view finder.

And that view finder is the best feature of the A33. With the 135F1.8 attached it is very bright. As I am wearing glasses I always have difficulties reading values displayed at the border of the viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder shows the values where I can see them without shifting the camera before my eye. Also focus control works very well and I like the level display that helps me keep the camera upright. And last not least: What I see in the electronic viewfinder looks more "image-like" than a real SLR optical viewfinder.

I got used to it on my old Sony R1 too - and this is bigger and clearer still

The A33 is certainly not a tool for a professional fotographer. For a keen amateur it is a very fine camera, in my opinion.

Only point we disagree on -unless you need something the A33/A55 cannot do (waterproof body ?) I see no reason why it cannot be used professionally -and at the price you can carry spares too- two or three spare bodies in the car boot!!:-) Still less than my brother in law paid for one Nikon D3- plus if they improve you can just pick up the latest each 3-6 months -perfect-- always at the leading edge - the image quality does not have to apologise to anyone

In future cameras I will look for better High-ISO modes. With that I could use the 500mm even more often. Since this is a pure electronics problem, I expect some progress with every new sensor.


I did not write much about the 135F18. Wrong topic. Just one sentence: That lens made me stop using my 70-300 G zoom lens.

I know that feeling - I have given away several cameras over the last few years -as I got better ones I foundI just could not be bothered with the old ones - better to give them away than clutter the place up - I must test the 135 if I get a chance - not that I do a lot of portrait work currently the Leica 90 mm was my favourite lens for 30 years!

thanks for contributing Paul


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