OK, I have had the camera for a couple of weekends now, and I think I have got to grips with it. So here's what I currently think of my new camera.
I'm not going to do anything in depth, thereare plenty of reviews like that out there. And to give you a bit of background, it's my first DLSR and my previous camera was a Fuji superzoom,the S9600. My main reasons for upgrading were that I wanted access to RAW files, and access to other lenses. My main area of interest is panoramics, and I'm mainly using a Sigma 10-20mm lens.
I took my old and new cameras outside by side for a direct comparison.
Things I like a lot, in no particular order:
- Solid construction
- Very clear bright viewfinder.
- Sigma lens is VERY impressive.
- The camera is superb at shooting into the light, even if the sun is within the field of view.
- Colours are deep and very good. Minimal adjustment is normally needed in Photoshop.
- Exposures are consistent and give great results on sky, (important for panoramas).
- The battery life is insanely good - they say 750 shots, but if you are not using flash, that's a serious underestimate.
Things I like:
- Nice firm 'clunk' when taking a photo!
- Info display is very clear and easy to read, even in bright sunlight.
- Raw+JPG options are handy.
- The camera knows if it's portrait or landscape, and so does my software that reads the image later.
- Anti dust system seems very effective.
- Raw files have thumbnails on Windows.
- Very fast taking JPG's only.
- The built in flash has surprisingly good and even coverage.
Things I dislike a bit.
- With lenses, it all gets (unavoidably) very heavy and bulky.
- 'Auto' setting option forgets function settings.
- More expensive Compact Flash storage used, instead of SD cards. (What is it with Sony and formats? I guess I should be happy they didn't start another new one...)
- RAW + JPG can only do 2 photos before you have to wait and slow right down for the buffer to clear.
- No live image display on the rear.
Things I dislike a lot:
- Autofocus is almost worthless, I only got consistent results once I switched to fully manual focus.
Just to expand a bit - I can't overstate how good it is for skies, my panorama software is now consistently getting automatic control points on clouds, and the colour is consistent to the point where there is no banding in sky colour most of the time,even with no exposure lock!
Panoramas will often unavoidably have a VERY wide range of lighting conditions to handle, and to get a good image throughout is now massively easier.
The only point that really winds me up is the focus - initially I was not giving it enough time, and not checking of it had acheived a good focus, but even after thes, when I was more careful, it frequently struggled, which is a royal pain when you are trying to work rapidly around, before lighting changes or clouds move. I was much happier once I manually set it close to infinity, and left it there. Shame that
there isn't the option to use hyperfocal distance, and leave it at that...
Maybe I was spoilt with my Fuji - I think I can honestly say it ALWAYS got a good focus on auto, even on really tricky things like a tiny aeroplane in a clear blue sky. You can forget handing this camera to a stranger to take a photo of you and your partner.
But overall I am very pleased - it is definitely exceding my best hopes in the panorama area, by a considerable margin.