Selecting my new camera

In my Getting back into Photography posting I outlined my research in selecting which DSLR/SLT camera to get. The main features I was after were:

  • Minimal delay to take the picture
  • P/A/S/M modes
  • Fast autofocus
  • Continuous auto-focus when taking multiple or sequential images
  • GPS Geotagging
  • Image stabilization
  • Good selection of lenses

I ended the article mentioning that my last step was to talk to some family members and friends that are active photographers about their experience and views with their cameras they are using which are Canon, Nikon, Minolta and Sony. So which one did I pick?

Before answering that question, I should mention that I before the consulting with a few photo colleagues I was leaning towards a Pentax DSLR, such as the Pentax K-7 or K-r.

The Pentax K-7 featured a rugged compact new body design, a 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor, and advanced features such as HD Movie Capture and new, unique-to-Pentax camera controls. The Pentax K-x is a 12.4-megapixel camera with a 720p movie mode. Both have with sensor-shift image stabilization, Live View mode, and are compatible with every Pentax lens ever made, an abundance of long-anticipated new and improved features that are exclusive to the cameras and combine to make it a tremendous photography tool. The downfall for the K-r is the lack of an AF-point display overlay, which means that no LEDs will light up in the viewfinder when you half-press the shutter button to focus.

I did change my mind after speaking to my photography friends and selected the Sony Alpha 65 as my new camera. Why you may asked?

Foremost it provided all the features I was after, in addition this camera was the best in its price range compared to the Pentax K-5, Canon t4i or Nikon D3200. In terms of speed and image quality the SLT A65 is competitive with cameras, such as the Canon 7D and Nikon D7000 semi-professional cameras, at half the price.

Compared to the Pentax K-5/K-x, my original choice, the SLT A65 shoots much faster, has much higher true resolution, significantly larger viewfinder, takes 3D photos, full-time DSLR like focusing speeds, plus an excellent Live View system with 100% scene coverage and an amazingly fast continuous shooting rate of 10fps.

I bought the camera with the kit lens 18-55mm and 70-300 tele lens. This camera takes great stills. I have not used the HD video feature since I prefer to use a dedicated video camera for the simple reason of the power zoom controls. My initial usage showed that pictures with both lenses are super crisp. Focusing is incredible fast and continuous because the camera’s translucent mirror.

I really like the size and feel of this camera since it fits the hand nicely and is quite small. The large 24 megapixel sensor is great and should insure that the camera will not become outdated as the competition catches up. The one drawback with this camera is that it has so much and many controls that will require some time to figure out.

My first opportunity to learn more about this camera came during a seven day photo trip last October traveling through Yosemite, Bodie, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam/Lake Mead, Grand Canyon (North & South Rim and East Entrance at Page), Mojave Dessert and Central Valley. But that is for another posting.