I have an old minolta camera gear, a X-700 camera and eight manual lenses, also have a Maxxum 600si with two tamron lenses and one vivitar. I am planning to buy a digital slr camera around $500 - $700...
Option 1 without any doubt.
The old Minolta gear is incompatible with the later Minolta AF mount. The Maxxum AF lenses will work on Sony Alpha (may have some compatibility issues though) but will all behave as if fitted with a teleconverter due to the image sensor being smaller than a 35mm film frame.
Modern lenses are not only designed from the start with digital use in mind, but have all the benefits of the latest computer aided design so are usually optically far better than earlier glass, although the actual build quality is usually unimpressive.
Using your old glass on a new body with an adaptor is like buying a brand new car and fitting it with a motorcycle engine. It isn't always possible, and when it is you'll have all sorts of compatibility and handling issues which will prevent you from using many of the features of your new camera. If you buy a Canon digital SLR then it usually isn't possible at all as the lens register is the deepest of all current brands (completely the opposite to Canon's 35mm SLR's which could use adaptors for most other makes of lenses). Nikon have a similar issue. Four Thirds (e.g. Olympus and Panasonic) mount cameras have the shortest register and can take adaptors for most other lenses, but there will be no data communication at all between the lens and the body and there will be an even greater teleconverter effect: a 24mm wide angle for 35mm film use will have an almost identical angle of view as a 50mm standard (35mm film) prime lens.
All this may seem to be a disadvantage, but it isn't. You are freed from any legacy use concerns of any kind, and can sell your current gear to raise funds for whichever system you prefer!
Optically, they're all more than acceptable and reviews which claim that a lens is poorer than another are true, but in real world amateur use you just aren't going to see the differences unless you regularly use your camera on a tripod and enlarge your images to print at huge sizes.
Just try out a few and see what feels right:-
Canon and Nikon are widely supported but tend to be bigger and bulkier. Both also offer very expensive "full frame" SLR's which have a sensor about the same size as a 35mm film frame: excellent if you're a pro or high-end amateur with a major investment in older lenses. Nikon's have the edge in this respect over Canon as they can still take lenses all the way back to the late 1950's but Canon are limited to lenses made since the late 1980's but it's not a major concern as few want to use glass that old anyway.
Sony have a policy of aggressive pricing, but their offerings are clearly not designed to last any more than a few years (neither are any of the budget/enthusiast SLR's, but Sony haven't made any attempt to pretend otherwise). The curent Sony offerings are also very menu intensive, and fairly basic functions which you'll often need such as white balance tend to need a few button presses rather than the Konica-Minolta approach which was to have a clearly marked and located button.
Four Thirds cameras (and the newer Micro Four Thirds) are very compact and lightweight but have the smallest SLR imagers so the lenses have relatively wide depth of field even at fully open aperture: not good if you like to use narrow depth of field, but can be a creative advantage with other styles of photography. Although I've always been an Olympus user I'm reluctant to invest with them as they left me high and dry with their 35mm range many years ago and then abandoned their 35mm AF system which I'd invested in. Now that Four Thirds has it's own confusing competitor with Micro Four Thirds and there's a limited lens range anyway it's something I'd personally steer clear of but is a superb system if you crave small SLR's and lenses which aren't bulky and heavy.
Pentax seem to be fine and are well priced, they're also best placed to use older K and KA-system lenses albeit with many compromises.
Unless going for Canon or Nikon, don't pay any attention to "in the long run". Digital photography is still evolving at a tremendous pace and so don't expect any equipment to last or be truly useful (some lenses excepted) in six years time.
Buy what suits you now and get shooting: it's far too easy to let the equipment get in the way of that simple aim!
Jan 19, 2010 |
Konica Minolta Cameras