Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

Started Nov 4, 2014 | Questions
RickLT Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

I like to take outdoor photos (birds & other wildlife, landscape, and macros) and have a good selection of   Minolta Maxxum lenses that work well with my A55.  I would like to upgrade to a camera with higher ISO capabilities to increase exposure choices for the slow (f stop) lenses. Since I like to hike with a camera (and am 77) , I would like one (with an evf) that is a least as small as the A55 that will autofocus with the Maxxum lenses.

Any recommendations?

Thanks, Rick

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JimmyMelbourne Senior Member • Posts: 2,471
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

RickLT wrote:

I like to take outdoor photos (birds & other wildlife, landscape, and macros) and have a good selection of Minolta Maxxum lenses that work well with my A55. I would like to upgrade to a camera with higher ISO capabilities to increase exposure choices for the slow (f stop) lenses. Since I like to hike with a camera (and am 77) , I would like one (with an evf) that is a least as small as the A55 that will autofocus with the Maxxum lenses.

Any recommendations?

Thanks, Rick

They do not make the a55 form size anymore. The most recent one was the a37 which you could pick up second hand, but you might not see a huge difference. The best best is probably the a58 but it is a slightly bigger body. The a77ii is really a superb upgrade but might be too big, it is a medium sized camera. The alternative is to switch over the E mount, perhaps the a6000? You will need an adapter for your glass.

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sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 18,558
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

RickLT wrote:

I would like to upgrade to a camera with higher ISO capabilities to increase exposure choices for the slow (f stop) lenses.... I would like one (with an evf) that is a least as small as the A55 that will autofocus with the Maxxum lenses.

If the A55 size is a definite requirement, the only other A-mount model to consider as an 'upgrade' would be the A37... but the sensor performance is essentially identical for the two. The differences involve things like viewfinder specs, LCD type, LCD articulation, video stabilization, burst speed, studio flash support, and GPS. Study those differences carefully when deciding if the A37 would provide any important improvements for you - or if it would actually represent a downgrade.

If you will accept a larger body size or an E-mount camera with an adapter, the situation changes.

Regardless, any improvements over the A55 in high ISO capabilities provided by Sony's recent APS-C models will be moderate rather than dramatic.

TSeiler
TSeiler Regular Member • Posts: 198
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

I shot an a55 for three years and I loved the size. But recently I have replaced it with a Fuji S1, a bridge camera. I sold both my Sony DSLRs and all my lenses and replaced it with one camera with one lens for under $400. Yep, pixel peepers will find issues but not me. I love it. Especially the weatherproofing. It is the only dslr or bridge camera that is weather proofed.

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OP RickLT Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

Thanks for the prompt responses.

The specs. and size of the A6000 with the focusing adaptor look good except for the loss of image stabilization. Would you consider the absence of IS to be a major loss when photographing birds with a 400mm (f 6.7) or the 500mm reflex (f 8) lens with faster shutter speeds that might be achieved with higher ISO capabilities?

Rick

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sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 18,558
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

TSeiler wrote:

I shot an a55 for three years and I loved the size. But recently I have replaced it with a Fuji S1, a bridge camera. I sold both my Sony DSLRs and all my lenses and replaced it with one camera with one lens for under $400.

Convenient and inexpensive, yes... but the OP says he wants something that delivers good high ISO performance. Unfortunately, the S1 won't do that.

TSeiler
TSeiler Regular Member • Posts: 198
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

sybersitizen wrote:

TSeiler wrote:

I shot an a55 for three years and I loved the size. But recently I have replaced it with a Fuji S1, a bridge camera. I sold both my Sony DSLRs and all my lenses and replaced it with one camera with one lens for under $400.

Convenient and inexpensive, yes... but the OP says he wants something that delivers good high ISO performance. Unfortunately, the S1 won't do that.

That is not exactly what he said:

I would like to upgrade to a camera with higher ISO capabilities to increase exposure choices for the slow (f stop) lenses.

With the S1 he doesn't have to worry about slow lenses. The S1 comes with an f/2.8. I think the S1 does better than the a55 in low light.

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sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 18,558
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

RickLT wrote:

The specs. and size of the A6000 with the focusing adaptor look good except for the loss of image stabilization. Would you consider the absence of IS to be a major loss when photographing birds with a 400mm (f 6.7) or the 500mm reflex (f 8) lens with faster shutter speeds that might be achieved with higher ISO capabilities?

I'm not a birder, so am probably not best qualified to answer. Still, I will say this: SteadyShot in the A55 is typically giving you two (sometimes more, sometimes less) additional stops in terms of shutter speed... but I doubt that the A6000's sensor will provide two additional stops of noise improvement over the A55's sensor.

Remember, though, that SteadyShot works when the problem is your own ability to keep the camera still. It doesn't provide much help if the camera is tripod mounted or if your target is in motion - like a bird in flight. In those cases, a better performing sensor would win.

sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 18,558
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?
1

TSeiler wrote:

sybersitizen wrote:

TSeiler wrote:

I shot an a55 for three years and I loved the size. But recently I have replaced it with a Fuji S1, a bridge camera. I sold both my Sony DSLRs and all my lenses and replaced it with one camera with one lens for under $400.

Convenient and inexpensive, yes... but the OP says he wants something that delivers good high ISO performance. Unfortunately, the S1 won't do that.

That is not exactly what he said:

I would like to upgrade to a camera with higher ISO capabilities to increase exposure choices for the slow (f stop) lenses.

With the S1 he doesn't have to worry about slow lenses. The S1 comes with an f/2.8.

f/2.8 at the wide end on the S1 sensor is about equivalent to f/11 on an APS-C camera. (If this is unfamiliar to you, I won't take the time to go over it all here, but the explanations on this page will cover the basics.) And the S1 lens gets much slower than that as it gets longer.

I think the S1 does better than the a55 in low light.

Online samples and test results (and logic) tell a very different story.

tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 47,999
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?
1

I thank you are seriously overstating the capabilities of that Fuji. The A55 with even a slow lens will do better.
--
Tom

Look at the picture, not the pixels
------------
Misuse of the ability to do 100% pixel peeping is the bane of digital photography because it causes people to fret over inconsequential issues.

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OP RickLT Contributing Member • Posts: 516
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

I should have mentioned that in addition to the A55, I have an FZ200 which is a great "super zoom" camera and satisfies my needs for that type of camera, but would like to upgrade my  A55 to another Sony camera that has the small size with faster autofocusing, higher ISO capabilities, image stabilization, and compatability with Minolta lenses. . .or give up one of the criteria just mentioned.

Thanks for your valued opinions and information, Rick

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J Birn Contributing Member • Posts: 935
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?
1

RickLT wrote:

I should have mentioned that in addition to the A55, I have an FZ200 which is a great "super zoom" camera and satisfies my needs for that type of camera, but would like to upgrade my A55 to another Sony camera that has the small size with faster autofocusing, higher ISO capabilities, image stabilization, and compatability with Minolta lenses. . .or give up one of the criteria just mentioned.

Thanks for your valued opinions and information, Rick

If you're willing to give up on small size a bit, the a77ii has faster AF, slightly better high-ISO performance, steady-shot, and compatibility with your lenses. It has a good number of features that the a55 was missing, from AF Micro Adjust to wifi to pair with your smartphone and gain app support.

Sony has really been focusing on making their e-mount cameras be the really small ones, and since making that small-but-powerful a55 (that tended to overheat and shut down if you ran it for too long, especially with the steady-shot turned on) they've been making most of the newer alpha-mount cameras a little bigger than that.

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Jeremy Birn

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Ralf B
Ralf B Veteran Member • Posts: 8,639
They don't make 'em like that any more
1

RickLT wrote:

I should have mentioned that in addition to the A55, I have an FZ200 which is a great "super zoom" camera and satisfies my needs for that type of camera, but would like to upgrade my A55 to another Sony camera that has the small size with faster autofocusing, higher ISO capabilities, image stabilization, and compatability with Minolta lenses. . .or give up one of the criteria just mentioned.

Thanks for your valued opinions and information, Rick

My opinion: Give up the small size and go for the a77II at current 900$ body only in the U.S.. In case you have a Sony flash, you will need an adaptor as the flash shoe has changed.

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Cheers,
Ralf
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RonWA Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

Rick,

I was hoping someone had the silver bullet for you because I am in the same situation. Maybe more so because I have two a55s. I love the camera in most respects, especially the size. I have never had problems such as overheating, or any other problems for that matter; I would just like better high ISO capability. I have five good lenses running from 8 to 500 mm so I am in no hurry to change systems. The a6000 is intriguing but the lens adapter seems cumbersome and there is the loss of stabilization. I have decided there is no such solution as we are seeking and, while the a77II sounds great, the larger size is a deal breaker for me.

My primary interest is in birds and other wildlife so a question I have to answer is just how much better ISO performance will a newer Sony camera provide? I am sure some on this forum have some quantitative information on that. It has to be a pretty significant improvement to make me change to anything I see available right now. Good luck.

Ron

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JimmyMelbourne Senior Member • Posts: 2,471
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

RonWA wrote:

Rick,

I was hoping someone had the silver bullet for you because I am in the same situation. Maybe more so because I have two a55s. I love the camera in most respects, especially the size. I have never had problems such as overheating, or any other problems for that matter; I would just like better high ISO capability. I have five good lenses running from 8 to 500 mm so I am in no hurry to change systems. The a6000 is intriguing but the lens adapter seems cumbersome and there is the loss of stabilization. I have decided there is no such solution as we are seeking and, while the a77II sounds great, the larger size is a deal breaker for me.

My primary interest is in birds and other wildlife so a question I have to answer is just how much better ISO performance will a newer Sony camera provide? I am sure some on this forum have some quantitative information on that. It has to be a pretty significant improvement to make me change to anything I see available right now. Good luck.

Ron

Maybe take a look at the a37. You lose GPS and a couple of other features but gain electronic first curtain shutter and focus peaking, which are quite useful. It takes a very nice picture at the end of the day. They can be bought lightly used and cheap on the second hand market. Not sure if it is a big enough upgrade for you though, but at least you are getting a newer model.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 47,999
A37 downgrade from A55
1

JimmyMelbourne wrote:

Maybe take a look at the a37. You lose GPS and a couple of other features but gain electronic first curtain shutter and focus peaking, which are quite useful. It takes a very nice picture at the end of the day. They can be bought lightly used and cheap on the second hand market. Not sure if it is a big enough upgrade for you though, but at least you are getting a newer model.

Actually the A37 may be a downgrade from the A55 because of it's low res LCD. Also the A55 LCD flips and twists while the A37 only flips and the A55 does 10fps while the A37 only 7.

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sony-slt-a37/

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Tom
Look at the picture, not the pixels
------------
Misuse of the ability to do 100% pixel peeping is the bane of digital photography because it causes people to fret over inconsequential issues.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/63683676@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25301400@N00/

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JimmyMelbourne Senior Member • Posts: 2,471
Re: A37 downgrade from A55

tbcass wrote:

JimmyMelbourne wrote:

Maybe take a look at the a37. You lose GPS and a couple of other features but gain electronic first curtain shutter and focus peaking, which are quite useful. It takes a very nice picture at the end of the day. They can be bought lightly used and cheap on the second hand market. Not sure if it is a big enough upgrade for you though, but at least you are getting a newer model.

Actually the A37 may be a downgrade from the A55 because of it's low res LCD. Also the A55 LCD flips and twists while the A37 only flips and the A55 does 10fps while the A37 only 7.

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/sony-slt-a37/

Yes I know, but the jpeg engine is probably a little better and as mentioned you get focus peaking and first curtain. If it was me i would keep the a55 as a backup and go straight to a77ii.

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RonWA Regular Member • Posts: 301
Re: A37 downgrade from A55

Thanks for the replies. This prompted me to go back and read earlier reviews of the a55 and I think I still have things to learn about it. I am not against change nor against spending the money. I just don't want the hassle of a bigger camera and new menus unless I am convinced it will lead to a better product.

Ron

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 47,999
Re: A37 downgrade from A55

The new menu isn't that much different but it is improved enough to make it more usable.

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Tom
Look at the picture, not the pixels
------------
Misuse of the ability to do 100% pixel peeping is the bane of digital photography because it causes people to fret over inconsequential issues.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/63683676@N07/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25301400@N00/

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curioustechie Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Would like to upgrade from A55 to ?

I upgraded from the A55 to A77 ii. Early days for me (< 1 week), but the difference in speed of Autofocus is stunning, as is the coverage of the larger number of focus points. It has practically made my Minolta 100-400 APO lens come back to life, wasn't quite happy with its focusing before. Consider these two focusing aspects for birds & wildlife.

Camera size is bigger, but...

Size when paired with a large lens - your Sony 70-400 is larger than the Minolta 100-400 by quite a bit - does not stand out. Its only the budget primes that highlight the size difference (in my case the 50/1.7).

Weight of A77 ii is not bad. Its a bigger camera but not proportionally heavier (specs say 650g vs 500g of A55).

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