Sunday, September 16, 2012

My almost new Sony A230 DSLR or how to shop for the right DSLR.

I was going to get a DSLR at some point, it was just a question of when and, most importantly, what. I had the chance to get my hands on a Canon 40D from my cousin as a loan for me to play with, I didn't like it. A bit surprising since I've owned a lot of Canon products and I'm very comfortable with their interface.
Sony A230 with Sigma AF 70-210mm lens
It turns out that the slow f/5.6 lens was not up to par for me and all the bells and whistles that come with it are not necessary for me. So back to square one and research. This is what I found out. The one thing you need to know before shopping for a DSLR is that there is roughly 2 types. The full frame camera that has a sensor the same size as a 35mm negative, hence "full frame". These go for thousands of dollars and are mostly used by pros. If you're not doing photography to earn a living or don't have wads of cash lying around, not really for you.

Taken with the Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens

One step down are the APS-C sensor DSLRs. In this category you have everything from the entry level camera to the semi-pro stuff. The bottom line is, they all have the same size sensor. So unless you like bells and whistles, the entry level camera should do the job the same as the expensive one.

Taken with the Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens

I looked around and decided on a Sony Alpha series for a few reasons. Every review mentioned they were simple to use. The camera comes with a stabilizer in the body, so you can use any lens and it will be stabilized. Also, all AF Minolta lenses are a direct fit on them, I have 2 of them lying around on the shelf.

Taken with the Sigma AF 70-210mm lens

A brand new Sony Alpha is around $600 with tax around here so I decided to shop on Kijiji for an older low use model. I found the A230 for $300 with only 1200 shots taken and it was in pristine condition. I took a few shots with the 18-55mm lens that came with it and quickly tossed it. The fast Minolta AF f1/7 50mm lens is just amazing and my Sigma AF 70-210mm does a fantastic job. Confirmation of the saying that if you spend bucks, spend it on lenses. The interface is simple to use. It took me less than 24 hours to get proficient and getting amazing shots on the first day. The only bad note about this camera for me, is the Sony specific flash hotshoe but there's a way around that.

Taken with the Sigma AF 70-210mm lens
So that was my experience for shopping a DSLR, hope it helps someone out there in their quest. I've taken my art to the next level.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)


  1. I do agree with you on many points regarding the DSLRs. As a matter of fact, the sensor is the essential criteria in selection one's digital camera. Full frames are expensive big time and are mostly designed for pros. The smaller frames do the job all right most of the time but it is important to check out for two things (IMHO): the noise at low light. Concerning this very specific aspect, I wish I was more knoledgeable... ;)

  2. Reviews for low light noise on this camera were not that great. However, shooting in RAW has helped a lot and I can live with what I get out of it. I'm certain that pros would not go for this one but I'm quite happy with the results I get.