Beginner DSLR Canon T3i/600D or Sony SLT Alpha A-57?
Hi, I am planning to get my first DSLR sometime in the month of April or so and after doing some research on websites, forums and blogs, I have concluded that the two cameras that I have my eyes on are the Canon T3i/ 600D and Sony SLT Alpha A-57. Most of the sites that I have visited highlights A-57 as the better camera to own.
That is correct, IMO. Features, IQ, Value all add up in Sony's favor. The Alpha series is excellent. I used to shoot Nikon then Canon, I now shoot Sony, and am very happy I've switched. It is true, I shoot with the NEX7, but I could be equally happy with an A57 or A65. Infact I've thought about picking up and A57, simply because it's such a good deal right now. If you scan my posting history, you'll see that up until recently I taught photography classes for 8 years. (My new job requires a bunch of over time, so I had to give up my part-time "fun" job.) Over the course of my 8 years, I've had the opportunity to test out and use a lot of gear from every manufacturer. I like Nikon in general, I owned a D40 and almost picked up a D300s. However, their budget line is just too feature lacking for me right now. Then I bought a Canon T2i (essentially the same thing as a T3i) and hated using it. To avoid sounding like a broken record, you can check what I've written at length about regarding the Rebels poor metering system and my frustrations in using the T2i. To be brief, the metering in the Canon was so bad that I've now sworn off Optical Viewfinders. The EVF on my NEX7 and on other Sony's I've used are amazing and show me exactly what I want to see in the Viewfinder.
I know not everyone likes them, but there are thousands of people like myself that do. You need to try it for yourself in order to know if it's for you. As for me, I like having a live histogram (if I want to), I like having a level (if I want to), I like seeing the changes I make to exposure compensation (although with the higher Dynamic Range sensors, I don't use this all that often), I like adjusting the WB, Creative Styles, Picture Effects and see the changes happen live. I like havign an Electonic Viewfinder to film video. I can put my eye up to the EVF and the LCD shuts off making it so I don't disrupt people at peformances. I've got nothing against people who like OVFs instead of EVFs. But use a camera with mediocre metering one time and you think the EVF is a God-send. I know the EVF in my sony has helped me get the shot I wanted, the first time, without having to go back and with later.
Sony is being tempting but despite that, I don't really think I will be utilizing most of the function it offers. I love taking picture of landscapes, nature, occasional random things I see in town and not a fan of taking self-portrait.
There again, Sony will do better. I shoot the exact same things as you; Landscape/Nature and random things around town are probably 75% of what I take pictures of, the remaining 25% are of people. I choose Sony because it could do what I wanted better than everything else. I use the HDR feature all the time when I talk Landscape photos, It's add so much detail to the sky and to shadow area with ZERO increase in noise. I like it much better than Canon's Highlight Tone Priority or Nikon's Active D-lighting (I also like Sony's DRO feature better than them too). The sweep panorama is fun and I do use it on occasion. The stitching performs very well and makes for some impressive shots I can print at 12"x36" w/o adjustments. I like the Dynamic Range that my NEX7's sensor has (the A57 is pretty similar); Sony's do a great job with this (as do the newer Nikon's). The Canon Rebel models lag far behind the pack here.
The other thing I like about the A57 (and similar Sony models) is their AF speed. The rebels (or any Canon) with USM lenses are very quick, but the Alpha are faster - at least comparing with kit lenses and some pretty good stuff to. The only lens that isn't a speedy is the Zeiss 16-80, but it's Image Quality is so good that I can over look it (it's still faster than anything I have for my NEX, but AF speed doesn't matter much to me).
So I am hoping to get some reviews on either camera. Thanks in advance!
There is a lot of great cameras and lenses out there; The A57 Sony is just another great choice among many. The A57 has loads of features, plenty of lens options, a 100% accurate EVF that will help you get the look you want out of your shots - before you even take the picture. And it's a great value right now.
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