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New Camera or better glass?

edited December 2012 in other systems
I know many of you use Canon and Nikon gear...I also used Nikon, but of late, for various reasons have migrated to Sony. I have posted this in other forums and gotten varying replies. I shoot mostly indoor events. I need better Low light High ISO results. I currently have a Sony NEX 7 and a Sony A550. Should I upgrade the A550 to the A99 FF which is much better in Low light High ISO situations, or simply keep my current setup and just buy a better glass...I.E. something in the range of 85mm F1.4- F1.8. A Mount Lenses I currently use are: Minolta 200mm F2.8 APO HS G, Minolta 50mm F1.7, and Minolta 28-75mm F3.5 macro. And when needed I slap on a Kenko 1.5 M/AF tele-converter...but not indoors of course.
I did own a Nikon D700 and should have kept it, but that's water under the bridge. And yes, I do miss it...I have the option of Getting the newer Sony A99 ($2700.00), buy Faster glass,($500.00-$1500.00) or just buy the Nikon D700, or for less then the Nikon D700, (used-$1400.00), or I can go to the Nikon D7000. again...I do have the Sony LAEA-2 Adapter, so in the event I switched back to Nikon, I can still use all my Minolta lenses on My NEX 7, which by the way is one awesome camera!. What are your thoughts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I do hate making decisions and regretting them later for lack of proper research or advice. Thanks in advance.


  • Short but direct. Seems to be the general reply in a lot of forums. Thanks
  • A99's pelicle mirror steals that extra light that you would be getting from f1.4 glass. It's an interesting camera for a lot of reasons, but it's not a pack leader for low light. It's really more of an awesome video camera that takes still pictures.

    Check out Nikon's D600. It's got modern auto-focus, good in low light, plus free megapixels! Yay
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited December 2012
    Mgarber said: Check out Nikon's D600. It's got modern auto-focus, good in low light, plus free megapixels! Yay
    Agree with that, specs are awesome and if I wanted a lower priced back-up would get this no hesitation. Check reviews.

  • edited December 2012
    so aside from going back to Nikon D700, would buying the better glass (Sony, Minolta), achieve the same results with my current Sony gear? Everyone says go to Canon or Nikon..That's the easy answer, I am aware...Wouldn't good glass (fast) say F1.4, F1.8 give me the low light high ISO results I am looking for while keeping my Sony NEX7 and Sony A550? Easy answer is buying new gear, but that's not always an option...Dumping my Sony gear and going back to Nikon would be an expensive venture, given some of the Minolta glass I have...The Minolta 200mm F2.8 APO HS G lens I have is 25 years old...and one hell of a performer...even ones that are beat up, but in good working order go for $1000.00 and up...Would hate to just get rid of it, simply to switch back to Nikon..VERY expensive venture...

    Mgarber, D600 good in low light...does that mean better then D700? All those new features I have zero use for...I simply want better IQ from pictures taken in low light utilizing High ISO.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    You are right, good glass is necessary to achieve better IQ, but you also need a comparable body to go with it or at best a good medium to high range one, but glass is of the utmost.

    I know nothing about Sony and therefore could not comment on it, and you did state maybe a choice of going to Nikon ergo the advice offered re Nikon cameras.

    I also believe you re the Minolta glass of the older lenses was simply superb as you stated, since I had a friend with one and it was brilliant.

    It's something you, the purchaser, has to consider, and having some opinions sure helps.

    Is the Sony A99 the latest version? Search for some image samples and see if they look good, and of course read reviews like anything you can find and then make an informed decision.

  • Trev,

    Supposedly The Sony A99 SLT/DSLR has the best Low light High ISO IQ. I've seen online iso comparisons and the Nikon D700, still beats the A99, probably because of the light loss due to the Translucent mirror, as user Mgarber stated. But it's almost $2700.00. A used Nikon D700 cost in the range of 14-1600. And from everything I've read so far, it still seems the D700 is much better, without all the bells and whistles of the A99. Also I've read that the older Sony A57 SLT ISO is better. And, it's quite cheap...but the body is also quite Cheap...Feels like a toy. Small body...all plastic...doesn't feel good in your hands. Also the Sony A580 DSLR, which is one step above my a550, has better ISO performance...also all plastic, like my A550, and it has video. but as I stated, don't need those features..Trev, your comments are greatly appreciated, so please don't take anything I said as disrespectful of your reply in trying to help me.

    Does anyone who frequents this site know much about Sony Cameras?

    Really trying to get a handle on it...

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    penndragonn2001 said: Trev, your comments are greatly appreciated, so please don't take anything I said as disrespectful of your reply in trying to help me.
    Oh, absolutely not, did not enter my head at all, and I certainly hope you are able to make an informed correct decision. :)

    Let us know if you decide to get something else though, always good to see other gear and opinions.

  • Trev,

    Thanks so much for understanding and helping out. I started a small Home Portrait Studio, and just about any camera will suffice in that situation...but recently gotten into events, small ones, and a good low light camera would give me best of both worlds. I think I'm going to keep my Sony Gear, and add to it with better glass, and perhaps re-acquire a Nikon D700. I did a birthday party with my Sony A550 mounted on a tripod with the Minolta 200mm F2.8 APO HS G lens and the candid shots were quite good. All the close ups were done with the NEX 7 and a 18-200mm F3.5 and 50mm F1.7 at around ISO 1600 and 800 respectfully, and they were also quite usable. Client was VERY happy with the results...So, for now, what I have is serving me well. Additional Good Glass...First on the agenda! Thanks again.
  • edited December 2012
    Let me put this another way I'm still in a fog over this. Say I keep my sony a550, and use a minolta 50mm f1.4 lens. Will it be better or worse then say a Nikon D700 with a 60mm F2.8 in Low light at high ISO...Flat out, which would be better...Forgo all the technical stuff, as that just makes my head hurt! :-)
  • StephenStephen Member
    edited December 2012
    Wouldn't be wise to try to rent a Nikon D700 with that lens for a weekend and do an informal test yourself? I don't think many of us have both the Nikon and the Sony to give you any concrete advice on your decision.

    I am still using a Nikon D700, and I haven't had any serious problems with low light situations. It's still a good camera despite its age.
  • Do you mean Wouldn't it be nice to rent? Typo I'm guessing. Loved the D700 I had and should have never gotten rid of it...ah, the mistakes we make, you'd think we'd learn right? Thank you for the reply Stephen.
  • No, I actually meant 'wise.' I don't know your financial situation, but I would think you could rent a D700 and a lens from one of those rental places for a weekend and take low light shots with it and your Sony. That way, you can get some real-world tests done to help you decide whether to stay with Sony or go back to Nikon in the long term. Renting is certainly better than spending money switching back to Nikon and realizing you liked Sony after all.
  • Switched back to Nikon....done deal! Thanks guys

    Still have the NEX 7 though..Great IQ, nice to have for carry around, small package when you don't have a need or want, for the whole DLSR package.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I also think it makes long-term sense to migrate back to Nikon.

    You're buying into a system.
  • Yes indeed neil. Now I'm saving for a used Nikon D700
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