2 more lenses and a (pleasant) dilemma.

Sony SLT-A55V

Yesterday I bought two more lenses for the Sony A55. The 35mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.8. Again both are very light, very small, very plastic, very inexpensive and very good.

Sony SLT-A55V

Someone posted on a forum "If you're a Sony Alpha user, its difficult to think of reasons not to buy these lenses!" I'd certainly go along with that. I took them out yesterday for a brief test and both performed very well indeed. Excellent sharpness, and very good wide open. Not much more to say really except both are a bargain currently. 

I'm really pleased with all the lenses I have for the A55, one kit zoom and four primes now. Combined with the A55 they all give excellent results. Hence the dilemma.

Sony SLT-A55V

The more I use the A55, the more I'm beginning to realise that it has virtually everything I want in a camera. If you had said to me a week ago that I would be writing that sentence I would have questioned the sanity of us both! However its come as a (very pleasant) surprise to find that the A55 fulfills most of my needs and does this in a seriously good way.

In no particular order its advantages for me are:-

1. Its very light and small - No back strain here.
2. High quality - High Resolution images.
3. Relatively Inexpensive.
4. Good lens range - Surprisingly good price / quality ratio.
5. Extremely good high ISO performance.
6. Fast AF and overall very slick performance.
7. Sweep Panorama Function - The amount of time this will save me is incalculable.
8. Excellent Handling and layout for me. The more I use it the more I realise this.
9. Video. The first video I shot with it was both the easiest to do and the best in terms of the end result. It suits my video needs perfectly.

Sony SLT-A55V

Disadvantages / Possible Problems for me?
1. Not particularly attractive - though I'm warming to it!
2. Possible build quality issues?
3. Overheating for Video?

The last two are unknowns. I won't know how the build quality will stand up until I use it more, and I haven't encountered the overheating problem yet. 

I would just mention here that my metal, hand made, built like a tank (NOT!) Leica 90mm f2.5 Summarit-M lens has decided of its own accord to disengage the aperture stops and the aperture selection mechanism is now loose and useless. The lens (bought in April of this year) is on its way back to Leica for repair under warranty. Maybe polycarbonate isn't that bad after all.

Sony SLT-A55V

The "dilemma" is obviously what to do about my other cameras, and micro four thirds in particular, since the A55 seems to do what most of them do plus some "extras" and in many ways do it better! 

(The one thing it doesn't do is take pictures that are better than my Leica M9, so I'm leaving that out of this altogether, that camera is going nowhere!)

As an enthusiast for m4/3 I am reluctant to abandon the system as it has served me well and the future looks very bright. However the Sony's 16MP and better dynamic range do have its attractions as do the cheaper fast prime lenses which are every bit the equal of the more expensive Panasonic and Olympus lenses. 

I haven't made up my mind completely but its looking like I'm going to be working towards an outfit which consists of the Leica M9 + 2 lenses, Panasonic GH2 + lenses to be determined and the Sony A55 + the lenses I have bought in the past few days with the possible addition of the Zeiss 16-80mm in place of the kit lens. This means no E-P2, no GF1 and no X1. The X1 is a lovely camera but very slow and its high ISO performance has now been overtaken by the A55. I'm always reluctant to get rid of any camera but otherwise I would be unable to move for gear and in serious debt!

The A55 has changed a lot of my thinking and I'm incredibly impressed with it. This constant re-evaluation is to be expected with the nature of digital cameras. In my film days I only changed cameras every few years, now thats down to a few months or even weeks. The camera companies must be rubbing their hands with glee by constantly presenting us with new and improved options. However I earn my living in a pretty competitive field and obviously have to consider any piece of equipment that will allow me to do my job in a faster and easier way. The A55 does just that, which is why I like it so much. Added to this are the tax concessions I receive for the equipment I buy which means the price I pay in real terms is much less than the list price. So this constant changing of equipment doesn't mean I'm constantly loosing money. In fact its cheaper to buy and re-sell than to hire in the majority of cases and if I need a piece of equipment for a particular job then thats what I will do.

Using a three camera outfit without a DSLR is not quite what I imagined I'd be doing at the end of 2010 but if thats what I have then thats OK with me. How long that lasts I cannot say and I've given up predicting anything in terms of the gear I use. We'll see how long it lasts.


Sony SLT-A55V