Following on from an earlier posting, I went to the local Jessops store today and returned my Konica-Minolta 5D for (essentially) store credit. The manager was quite pleasant, and gave me 500 quid in vouchers – the camera value plus the extended warranty I had purchased. I then played with a few cameras, primarily the Sony Alpha and the Nikon D80. The Sony, to me, is totally outclassed by the Nikon. I’m tempted to go back this afternoon and play with the Canon 30D as well, however the reviews on DPreview.com for the Canon show that it has a few issues that would really bug me – like the camera turning off when you remove the CF card. That may have been fixed in a firmware release, so I’ll have to go scour the net a bit.

There were three things that made the D80 stand out over the Alpha 100 to me:

  1. Build quality – the Nikon just felt better, complete with textured thumb rest. The Sony is smooth plastic (which some tape would fix).
  2. Viewfinder – the Nikon is much brighter than the Sony. Reading on DPreview, they used a prism instead of a mirror.
  3. Top LCD – the Nikon has one, the Sony doesn’t. ‘nuf said.

There are other factors now that I’m home, including the fact that there’s a much better lens selection for the Nikon. Sony said they’d have a wide range of lenses out by the end of last year, and I certainly haven’t seen any, and the store manager hadn’t seen any either. If I really want to be pedantic, Sony were also responsible for that rootkit debacle last year (though it was another division of Sony).

I told the manager that I would probably take a few days to decide. I’ve got to work out what to do with my zoom lens that Dad gave me for the KM5D – he’s suggested asking the place I got it from if they’ll take it back for second-hand sale and trade-in value on a new lens from them for whichever camera I pick (assuming I don’t go for the Sony). That store is closed at the moment, and their web-form tries to pigeon-hole your request (and they don’t have the right hole for my question) so I’ll have to do that on Monday.

Changing Cameras, part the first
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