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  1. #1
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    Post Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    Not sure where to turn but to all of you...I am slowly "breaking" into the world of photography - working towards it as a career. I am unsure which Digital SLR to purchase:
    Nikon D200
    Sony's new Alpha A100
    Canon EOS 30D
    Any help will be most appeciated. Pricing doesn't influence my decision...seeking high quality/resolution, performance, etc....

    Thanks in advance!
    LR

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    Regarding those three cameras, I think the image quality from the sensor will be pretty comparable. So the real question is going to be features and the system you're buying into. Both the Canon and the Nikon come from richer, more established professional systems. And Nikon and Canon are the current standard for professional photographers. On the other hand, the Sony has image stabilization at the sensor level, which means you'll have image stabilization available regardless of the lens you're using. That's pretty compelling. Sony is also very serious about their new system and I have no doubt they'll be throwing a lot of money at it and trying to make it competitive as quickly as possible. I don't know if they'll seriously go after the pro market, though. That may or may not matter to you, anyway.

    So where does that leave you? Don't worry about resolution. It's a non-issue. I guess it might help to know what you plan to do with the camera. If you want to shoot sports, I'd stick with Nikon or Canon. If you want something different, go with the Sony. And if you think having image stabilization available all the time will help you, then the Sony is also a good choice. I'm not sure I'm getting anywhere with this. Got a preference?

    Just in case you haven't seen it, I wrote an editorial about the new Sony Alpha. It might be useful to you:

    Sony Alpha Digital SLR >>

    Let me know if you have more questions.
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Check out our D300 Pro Review! deckcadet's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    the A100 is not exactly in the same league as the other two. Nikon and to a slightly lesser extent Canon's offerings above are a tier above Sony's if you look past Megapixels. The A100 is more likely to compete directly with the new Nikon coming in a little over 2 weeks (see the sticky in the Nikon forum).

    The D200 is a true semiprofessional body- a digital analogue of the F100 film camera. It really does offer 90% of the D2X professional camera in a smaller, lighter package. The imager is not the same between the D200 and A100, the D200 has a significant advantage in speed due to its sensor having a 4-channel readout, and it has a professional grade shutter capable of 5 frames per second with a huge buffer.

    Images from the A100 reviews so far have not given me any confidence in its image quality beyond a certain point... I do not believe the Sony processing is nearly as good as the Nikon or Canon processing.

    The EOS 30D replaced the popular 20D and has some notable improvements as well. It, too, is a generally higher level body, though it competes more with cameras at the level of the A100 as well.

    What we're really looking at here though is not just a camera but an overall system. The Sony system, while building in anti-shake into the body, is more expensive to buy into. Prices for their equivalent lenses are quoted at being very high.

    And notably, AS in the camera will not be as good as AS in the lens. The reason for this is the AS is moving the camera's sensor. This means for framing, focusing, composition, and such, you cannot tell just what will be seen on the sensor. This is especially problematic with a telephoto lens. VR/IS in the lens will be superior in this regard in that the whole lens moves, letting you see what is happening to stabilize your picture and maintain your framing and focus point.

    I will wholeheartedly endorse the Nikon D200- having owned it since its release, it has served me faithfully for 7 months and nearly 17,000 frames. The Nikon system is huge and has some of the best lenses and cameras made, plus their flash system is legendary- and quite useful. Incidentally, the D200 built in flash can be used to control multiple banks of speedlights independently for advanced wireles lighting.

    The D200 is a pro camera wrapped up in a smaller body...still built like a tank though.

    All things considered if you want high quality and performance now and down the line, stick with Nikon and Canon, not Sony.

    And if of all people I am telling you to go with canon over something, I have a good reason.
    Harrison
    Nikon Forum / Digital SLR Forum Moderator | moderator bio
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  4. #4
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    I'm tickled pink with my A100 and I've always had good service from Minolta stuff (a 7000 and a 700si). That said, if I were looking to go pro one day I'd be terribly tempted to go for the D200.

  5. #5
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Already Got One?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ltgk20
    I'm tickled pink with my A100 and I've always had good service from Minolta stuff (a 7000 and a 700si). That said, if I were looking to go pro one day I'd be terribly tempted to go for the D200.
    You already have one? Could I please press you to post a review for it? I believe you would be the first:

    Sony Alpha A100 Reviews >>

    Thanks in advance for the review!
    Photo-John

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  6. #6
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Wait till end of summer

    Quote Originally Posted by hplmom
    Not sure where to turn but to all of you...I am slowly "breaking" into the world of photography - working towards it as a career. I am unsure which Digital SLR to purchase:
    Nikon D200
    Sony's new Alpha A100
    Canon EOS 30D
    Any help will be most appeciated. Pricing doesn't influence my decision...seeking high quality/resolution, performance, etc....

    Thanks in advance!
    LR
    Camera manufacturers are about to announce a few new models which might interest you:

    - the Nikon D80 (or whatever) should line up against the Sony A100 and to some extent the Canon 30D
    - the Canon 40D (or whatever) should line up against the Nikon D200

    Any of these cameras should suit your needs, though the pros usually go for Canon or Nikon. This is your first step into a system and once you've started to invest in it then you don't want to change. Best first step is to take the 30D and D200 in your hands and see which one you are most comfortable with, the controls make sense, etc.

    Charles

  7. #7
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    Remember that most (if not all) of what is posted with the a100 so far has been made with "prototypes", and kit lenses. It really is a matter of what you want to do. It won't be great for sports, and I am finding that lighting systems are hard to aquire for KM/Sony systems. That's not to say that Sony won't handle the situation, it just means that at least in the short term, your light options may be limited.

    As for glass, Sony has some interesting pieces coming soon. If I had to choose right now, it would be either the D200, or 1D, possibly 5D.

  8. #8
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    notably, AS in the camera will not be as good as AS in the lens. The reason for this is the AS is moving the camera's sensor. This means for framing, focusing, composition, and such, you cannot tell just what will be seen on the sensor.
    If you're shooting so tight that a few pixels movement will ruin the framing or composition, I'm astonished. Sensor AS is only going to move a small amount, whether piezo electric or electro magnetic.
    PAul

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

  9. #9
    Check out our D300 Pro Review! deckcadet's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    According to what i've read, AS can move the sensor up to 1/4", which may be an excessive report, as expert Thom Hogan has not seen any hard information as to how much each moves...VR./IS can move the elements enough that we can see the image swim in the VF. However the sensor has to move more than an infinitesimal amount to compensate for shake and motion in a lot of situations. It won't be such a biggie with wider angles to probably 135mm or so but past 200mm you'll start to see a difference. I've used wides with VR, and I've used telephotos with VR. No matter what, if you're unsteady that image moves some, and its nice to see how its framed With the wides it doesn't hardly affect composition- in these cases you are certainly correct. Perhaps i'm a bit biased because I seem to be headed more in the telephoto direction now...but I'll tell you this, I bought into DSLRs partly to see my precise composition in the finder. VR does that for me and I would be lost without it using my 200 f/2 VR, which is a huge lens and tough to handhold, especially since I do a lot of work with it near minimum focus distance and eventually with TCs and tubes as well, where slight moves can cause big changes in composition. This brings me to another point- It will also have more effect with the longer lenses at short distances with the subject filling the frame.

    In practice the most people who will probably have a chance to see any of this will be using lenses like their expensive 70-200mm with a teleconverter, or 3rd party long lenses. And in some cases it won't bother them. It won't be an issue in good light. But I still will take in lens VR over in body any day.

    One more thing I forgot to mention was that Sony/Minolta have that odd hotshoe.....
    Harrison
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  10. #10
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    I think through further research and based some responses, I am now leaning towards the Nikon or Canon (leaving the Sony a100 behind). What basically are the
    differences between the D200 and the one replacing the D70? And, of
    course, there's Canon 40D which I think will be released soon....

    I will visit the photo store this week to get a feel for both the Canon 30D and Nikon D200 -
    but, in your opinion, would you wait for the new releases to come out
    before purchasing?? I want a camera which I won't have to worry about
    upgrading for quite some time - one that will grow with me as I grow with my
    new career.
    Thank you!!!

  11. #11
    Hardcore...Nikon Speed's Avatar
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    ...working towards it as a career.

    If you're considering going pro, then I'd stick with the Nikon or Canon systems. Handle the D200 and the 30D and see which one "fit's" you. A system that fits your hand like a glove, and the controls makes sense (particuarly placement), will go a long way toward advancing your photography.
    Nikon Samurai # 1


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  12. #12
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    I would think that at long focal lenghts the lense based IS might have an advanteage but the body stuff seems to work well for me from what little playing I've done and it's convenient.

    I've been thinking about the ability to see the IS when looking through the camera (as on a lense based system) versus not being able to see it on the body based system. I realize this is probably purely theoretical and may have no relevance on anything but I wonder if seeing the lense effects would, over time, not press the photographer to be his/her absolute smoothest because they wouldn't be able to decifer their own steadiness vs. that which is added by the lense. On the body based system the shooter would see clearly their own shake and "should" then be pressed to constantly improve their skill and the actual pic should exceed their expectations based on what they'd seen.

    Just something about which I've been wondering.

  13. #13
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by hplmom
    I think through further research and based some responses, I am now leaning towards the Nikon or Canon (leaving the Sony a100 behind). What basically are the
    differences between the D200 and the one replacing the D70? And, of
    course, there's Canon 40D which I think will be released soon.
    I would try to avoid getting caught up in any speculation about what might be coming. No one really knows much yet about the new Nikon besides the resolution. Sometimes people end up being way off in their predictions. Better to decide which available camera works best for you. The truth is, digital SLRs are good enough now that if you don't get the next one, it isn't going to make much practical difference. My cameras are ancient by digital standards. And they're still bringing in money for me. And keep in mind that the new Nikon will only be announced in August. We don't know when it actually be available. If I were considering buying a Nikon right now, it would be either the D200 or the D2X. And if you're interested in a Canon, and you don't need speed, the 5D would be my choice.

    I think it's probably good that you're deciding to go with Nikon and Canon. I think the Sony A100 is probably going to be a very solid camera. However, there will be some question about it for quite a while. They have to prove the reliability and validity of their new system (even if it is based on the Konica Minolta system). Buying Nikon or Canon will bring you piece of mind and entry into a rich system - whichever manufacturer you decide to go with.
    Photo-John

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  14. #14
    Check out our D300 Pro Review! deckcadet's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D200 v. SonyA100 v. - which to buy?

    PJ, I'm thinking that the new DSLR will be out pretty quickly after announcement...nikon has been working on that lately, and the time from announcement to hitting the streets was 1.5months for the D200, down to a few weeks for the D2Xs, and I believe it was also measured in weeks for the D50/70S.

    I think they're already ramping up production as we speak to build up stock.

    as for LTGK20, I see what you're saying, but I've found that in practice, VR makes you more conscious of your technique, as if you don't use proper technique VR has no advantages whatsoever. Once people get a grasp of the proper way to use VR/IS, their images improve drastically.
    Harrison
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