Top positive review
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Unleashed at 12.3 megapixels!!!
on February 3, 2010
I'm going to contain my enthusiasm for long enough to get some details down about what I love about the A500. This is one GREAT camera body and I am having a ball using it.
I previously used both a Minolta 9xi (their top of the line 35mm film camera) as well as Mamiya medium format gear which I still use for weddings and portraits. With the advent of good digital cameras and especially digital darkroom (AKA Photoshop) I had become increasingly frustrated dealing with film but had not found a digital SLR that performed well enough for my relatively limited amateur budget so made do with a nice pocket-sized digital Nikon zoom which takes great pictures but is slow slow slow compared to what I was used to. Since I had an investment in Minolta lenses I was inclined toward the Sony line (which takes the Maxxum lenses) but earlier models seemed like too much of a compromise for the $$$. Enter the A500!
Things I love about it:
- 12.3 megapixels
- really easy and intuitive controls, which in a lot of ways are similar to the 9xi so especially easy for me
- fast initial and shot-to-shot speed - I use the 5fps continuous mode for sports all the time
- fabulous low-light performance
- in-body (vs in-lens) antishake - still have not resorted to a tripod!
- very high maximum ISO
- excellent battery performance (covered two school basketball games using Live View with juice to spare)
- high memory capacity - I think I have 8Gb in it, and shooting in "fine" resolution I get about 1450 images and about 500 in "raw" mode. I LOVE LOVE LOVE never having to stop to change film cartridges and never worrying about running out! If the subject matter and final use allowed fewer megapixels or smaller image size I could get 5000+ images on this thing. Woo hoo! Talk about built for news or sporting events!
One nice surprise was how fast I can download the images from the camera - previously downloading images from my 5mp Nikon Coolpix I was prepared to wait a long time to download the larger files from the A500. Much to my surprise it was perhaps even a bit faster. Same computer, same USB port. Nice!
All this for a very reasonable price (and I caught it on a day where the price was $100 off Amazon's usual price - what a deal!). I've still not explored all this baby can do, and look forward to getting to know it better. So far most of what I have been shooting has been sports but next up are some portraits and out to do some landscape/nature stuff. I'm eager to see how my 100-300mm lens does on the A500 with wildlife under the forest canopy, and tripod work to maximize image quality of scenic and nature shots.
Most of the time I use it with the Sony 18-105mm lens, pretty decent but I have not put it through its paces fully. My father-in-law has the equivalent Zeiss and I'm definitely going to borrow it for comparisons. I wish it were faster in the longer focal lengths. Also, I wish there was a prime lens closer to the 35mm equivalent of 90-100mm, my favorite portrait length. For now I'm making do with a Minolta 50mm f1.7 prime, which is equivalent to 75mm on the 9xi - an excellent lens and between f1.7, high ISO values, and the Sony's anti-vibe and low light performance I practically never have to take subject motion or available light into consideration - which means the subject doesn't have to think about the camera and I can focus on letting them do what they do while I capture it. This is just...unleashed!