Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sony A100 vs Nikon D80 more worthy than Sony A100 vs DSC-H9/H7

My favorite Sony Alpha100 stacks up well against Nikon D80 and not just in savings of two hundred. Sony's advantages include self-cleaning CCD whereas D80 has software dust mapping but this takes both forethought and post-production trouble, on-the-fly dynamic range fixes. Nikon's D-Lighting can only boost shadows and only after the shot. Sony's CCD-based anti-shake can work with any lens whereas Nikon's Vibration Reduction is available in only a few lenses. The Sony's AF is slightly faster throughout the EV range, although the Nikon AF, still better in motion tracking, has more zones, and can focus down to EV -2. Their TTL flash capabilities are comparable. The Nikon has the clear advantage in image quality (10 percent higher resolution and awesome noise control-moderately low at ISO 3200, a sensitivity the Sony doesn't even have), better in-camera color controls, and a much bigger lens list. For Nikon D40x, Canon EOS400D / RebelXTI and Pentax K10D inf. look through my previous post: Canon EOS400/XTi, Nikon D40x and Pentax K10 pros& cons; SLR over SLR-like triple benefits.
Nikon D80
($886-1000 body only; $1000-1100 w/Nikkor 18mm-55mm f/3.5-to-f/4.5 AF-S DXS lens; $1108-1120 w/Nikkor 18mm-135mm f/3.5-to-f/5.6 ED-IF AF-S lens)
The good:
- Excellent color rendition and noise levels, large feature set
- lightning-fast performance, fast autofocus and excellent continuous shooting mode
- Good build quality, very solid feel in the hand, large and deep handgrip, great design
- Large, bright and sharp 2.5” LCD with backlight
- Useful features for beginners like D-Lighting, redeye removal, help system
- 18-135mm kit lens appears to be of high quality, lots of aspheric surfaces and ED glass in it
- Full manual control
- Excellent viewfinder
- AF assist lamp
- Superb battery life
The bad:
- Full raw editor costs extra
- Flash sync of 1/200 second
- Contrast adjustment has limited range, needs to go further in the low-contrast direction
- Switch to Secure Digital card media is a hassle for users who have invested in Compact Flash
- Default lens has some chromatic aberration issues, anti-shake lenses also cost extra
- Shutter speed slightly reduced
Conclusion: Nikon D80 is an enthusiast's dream and is incredibly worthwhile, offering excellent image quality and a bevy of solid feature set. It will suit both experienced photographers and even SLR beginners. Along with other Nikon’s SLR it has a huge step up from the cheap lenses typically found in kits (and a huge step in their prices) to worthy lenses. Unfortunately D80 is more expensive than Canon Rebel XTi and Sony Alpha100. But it’s a Nikon! For more look through $1000 Sigma lenses for Nikon D40x or NikonD80.
Sony A100
($609-700 body only; $650-800 w/ 18-70mm F/3.5-5.6 Lens)
The good:
- Very good image quality, loads of detail, In-camera sharpening does a nice job of delivering crisp images with no sharpening artifacts, good color accuracy
- Built-in, body-based Super SteadyShot image stabilizer system works well and means every lens you use gets the IS advantage
- Dust reduction system
- Great ergonomic body with cozy hand grip; small, comfortable and light weight
- Large, bright and sharp 2.5” LCD , Info rotates on screen as you move the camera
- Full manual control
- Dynamic range optimization, no redeye
- Good lens selection
- Support for RAW image format
- Long battery life
The bad:
- Images look noisy from ISO 800-1600
- Color saturation/exposure changes when ISO goes from 800 to 1600
- Long exposure noise reduction produces gradient effect in night scenes
- Combination of Wide AF and Multi-Segment Metering produces exposure variations, particularly with high-contrast subjects, Minor (~1/3 EV) random exposure variation may be associated with the kit lens
- A lot of great lenses such as Carl Zeiss are much expensive
- Proprietary Hot-shoe
- Manually opened flash
Conclusion: Sony's Alpha DSLR-A100 deserves consideration whether you're looking for an alternative to Canon and Nikon has taken a large leap into the market of digital SLRs. Alpha100's many features and intuitive controls will please amateurs shooting for professional-looking photos. A100 is a good result of the Konica Minolta and Sony marriage and in my opinion can be the best choice for beginners. I deliberately published Sony A1 instead of Sony A100 so that you could see Sony Alpha SLR progress. Find more details in my Battle of the Giants. Sony’s ‘company’ Alpha tries to extort a piece of DSLR-market from Canon and Nikon. Other SLR models are in Sony A100 vs Nikon D80 worthy than Sony A100 vs DSC-H9/H7.


Julia said...

What is this monster 'The next Alpha'? How much is it and what can we do with it?

fototramp said...

This is a very expensive (I think abt.$3000) professional camera Sony A1. For more look at the link in the post.

Anonymous said...

You wrote that SonyA100’ sensor is almost certainly the same as that in Nikon’ SLR D200 or D80 and Pentax K10. But the sensor is only a part of SLR’s system.

chrispycrunch said...

I've had this camera for a month now and the anti-shake has really worked well for me. I would pick a camera that can take photos at ISO100 + anti-shake than at ISO800/1600 at higher shutter speeds, if the situation allows. With Nikon or Canon, you need to spend more on lenses to get the same solution as Sony's.

fototramp said...

Hi chrispycrunch
I like this SonyA100's feature too because it allows me to shoot with a cheap 75-300 Tele. I'd recommend you wait for a new Sony A10. For more look through Battle of the Giants. Sony’s ‘company’ Alpha tries to extort a piece of DSLR-market from Canon and Nikon. I think that the new A10 can satisfy any request.

Anonymous said...

Samsung, Sony and Panasonic probably make good cameras but they are not in the camera business like Canon and Nikon are. As a result their cameras are designed like electronic gizmos, not necessarily as cameras.