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February 2, 2013

I finally made the jump. The Sony a77 will soon be joining the team. I had to think a lot about my next move. The a900 was available to me, one of the best FF sensor to date. With give or take the same budget, the a77 was also here. I have spent hours, days, talking about this choice, reading through forums, reading reviews, comparisons, I’ve put a lot of thought into it.

One thing I found out is that a lot of you out there have had the very same questions about this very same choice. So here’s how I chose.

I had to think about what gear I already have, about what I do, about what I like to do, about what I’d like to do. I considered a FF because it was sort of an obvious step after three years with an APS-C. Most of my lenses are FF compatible, the only ones that wouldn’t work are the 18-55, and a lot of would say that it doesn’t matter, and the 8mm fisheye. This one would be a shame to replace. I just love it.

But this isn’t why.

Those of you coming here often know the kind of photography I like and the kind of photography I shoot. Some things about the a900 are not in line with this. First of, the fps capacity. 6 fps is not that much when you like to shoot animals, birds, anything moving fast. Like I do. On the other hand, the a77 is supposed to go up to an impressive 12 fps at its best (with some options turned off and a fast SD card).

Focus peaking is also a very nice appeal. Not only for animals but for other purposes. Take moon photography. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have an accurate focus on a moon shot with the Minolta 500mm f/8? I personaly think it would. I also love wide open shots. Hard to focus when your focus range is as big as a pinhead. Focus peaking will help.

Now. One of the main debate about this choice. EVF versus OVF. The a450 has an OVF. Not the best one ever, on the contrary, but it’s still a pretty good one. The a900 has one of the biggest and brightest OVF on the market to date. Even compared with OVF FF the competition has. 100% coverage isn’t nothing. Sony’s latest EVF is the best around, not as “natural” as an OVF but still really impressive. How about using focus peaking with the EVF’s focus magnifier to have an even more precise focus? Something I will be able to do with the a77.

Now FF versus APS-C. Everyone has an opinion on that. Everyone thinks one is better than the other. Professionals use FF. Apparently. I know a lot of professionals that use whatever they need to get the work done. And this doesn’t automatically mean FF. I don’t need photography to bring food on the table, I sometimes receive money for my work, but that’s it. As long as photography doesn’t help me pay the bills, I am putting more money into it that I’m getting from it. This was my budget, and I’d rather put more money into glass than body. That’s how I see it.

And I don’t have an opinion on FF versus APS-C mainly because I don’t need to have one. I own four film cameras. I.e. FF film cameras. I know what a FF viewfinder looks like, I know how luminous and beautiful it can be. I already have four of those and I don’t use them as much as I should. So I’d rather invest on a good, latest technology, APS-C body, and get back to my rolls, while being able to do whatever it is I like to do on the side. And the a77 will do exactly that.

I have seen a lot of complains about high ISO and what not. I shoot RAW. I know how to use Lightroom, Photoshop, I know how to reduce if not eliminate noise. And I don’t need to shoot above ISO 1600, 3200 tops.

I had to be blunt and rational in my choice. I don’t plan on quitting my full-time job for photography anytime soon. I don’t need to print posters, I don’t get paid for that. For now, I want to be able to do what I love without any limitations. The a450 had some, the a77 probably has some others. But nothing that could prevent me to enjoy photography. I will invest in a FF if and when I will need one. Right now, I just don’t. The technology advances the a77 is offering right now are what made me decide when comparing bodies. My personal development and needs made me decide between FF and APS-C. The only other body capable of doing what I wanted is the a99 and I don’t want to spend that kind of money.

That’s what made me go for the a77. Pretty simple I’d say. I know it won’t give an answer to all the questions those of you in the same situation might have. But it’s what I can give right now. I will come up with a review or something alike sometime soon. Until then, my a450 and my Minolta x-500 will be right fine.

Let me know what you think, ask me questions if you have any. I must be biased, I know I am. I could have switched to some different Canikon body I presume, I just didn’t need to. I have been a Minolta/Sony rather happy user from the beginning. Whenever this will change, I will look into something else. Right now, I’m right where I wanted to be. Things can only get better.

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