Saturday, August 12, 2006

To Buy Or Not To Buy: Nikon D80 vs. SONY Minolta-based DSLR Alpha

I had sworn off buying SONY products because of their shoving the unnecessary and more expensive than the popular SD cards Memory Stick in all their products. It's as if SONY never learns from their BetaMax mistakes.

I have bought several Nikons, from the great Coolpix 5700 (see some of the pics taken from the 5700 at http://imran.com ) and also the S5 and Wi-Fi S6, and love them. The picture quality, the shades of color they can capture, of sunsets and blue skies, of skin and hair, are amazing.

But I still have lots of investment in my old but great Minolta Maxxum 7000i (1991 or so) and lenses. When Konica Minolta shut down their operations and sold the camera business to SONY, I knew SONY would make decent cameras but if they had Memory Sticks and didn't do better than Nikon D70 models, I was likely to go with Nikon, or with the higher model Canon.

Then, SONY surprised me with the launch of their new Minolta based Alpha 100 DSLR at 10.2 Megapixels AND a price that will be comparable to Nikon and Canon cameras of lower resolution. (August 24, 2006 Canon has released as similar camera EOS Kiss Digital X in Japan and Rebel XTi in the United States in the 10 MP under $800 price range, but I do not believe it offers built in image stabilization).

On top of that, the camera has image stabilization built-in (as Minoltas did) so all my old Minolta Maxxum lenses benefit from IS without any additional cost to me.

And, SONY actually decided to not make Memory Sticks the required memory card for the camera... and that has got me seriously considering finally getting a SONY (other than a Sony Ericsson P900 mobile phone that I love --- though NEVER bought a single Memory Stick for above the 48MB or whatever it came with).

If you are looking at the New Nikon D80, I would stronly urge you to also take a look at the SONY DSLR before you make a decision, unless you have a Nikon investment in lenses and equipment. Check these comparisons.

While you are here, do check some other items of interest.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I partially agree with your conclusion, but it should be noted that both Canon and Nikon have been in the SLR game much longer than Sony. Because of this, it will be a long time before Sony will compete with Nikon or Canon in terms of flash system capabilities/flexibility and lens selection.

Imran Anwar said...

Thanks for your comment, but I respectfully disagree. Sony actually makes the electronics of even the major players in the DSLR field. AND, remember, this is not a Sony CyberShot turned into a DSLR. This is a Minolta DSLR rebranded and pumped up to even better specs by SONY with a tonne/ton more INEXPENSIVE great quality lenses and accessories from the Minolta Maxxum line already out there. They all become "image stabilized" simply by being mounted on to the Alpha 100.

Sony will have other issues... how it lost the music market to Apple and iPod, how it lets Microsoft fight it in video games yet still sucks up to Windows by selling VAIO computers running Windows instead of licensing Mac OS X, Dell laptop batteries that catch fire --- which is what most of Dell machines are worthy of. What do you think?

regards

Imran

Anonymous said...

I am a current Nikon user (D70 & D50) and I haven several lenses for it. I too got interested with the Alpha 100 mainly because of its built-in stabilizer. I tried the Sony DSLR at local photo store and the stabilizer really works good. My only problem with the camera is that it looks and feel cheap and even the sound of the shutter and mirror is not to my liking. It does not sound like an SLR. Now that the D80 will soon be available I probably will wait for it and see how much I really care about that built-in stabilizer.

Imran Anwar said...

That is an interesting comment. I saw some half page ads in the Wall Street Journal for the camera, so it seems SONY is taking it's marketing seriously. I also feel from their advertising that they are counting on the "16 million" existing lenses out there to be a driving force. So, though generally I have NEVER seen a Sony product that looked or felt "cheap", I cannot comment on your assertion until I actually play with the camera. I too do not expect to buy the version of the SONY yet, but possibly a version that comes out after this one. Just my 2 Centences Worth™. Thanks for commenting.

Imran