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Lately I've been looking into buying a DSLR to get into photography more seriously. A friend of mine heard about this and gave me an old pair of lenses: a Minolta AF 70-210 and a Minolta AF 50. From what I've read online, these lenses aren't great, but aren't bad either - good starter lenses.

Which currently available bodies would allow me to use these lenses?

I've read that Minolta doesn't make cameras anymore, and sold their line to Sony. Should I buy a Sony DSLR body? Which models would be compatible? Do any particular choices stand out?

(Peripherally: are these good lenses to start with?)

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1 Answer 1

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Sony no longer makes DSLRs but they do make cameras, which they call SLT, that directly accept A-mount lenses. Those lenses will work fully with any such camera. If you go with the full-frame SLT-A99 (high-end model), they will show exactly the same field-of-view as with a film camera. Otherwise, you can get a cropped-sensor model with a focal-length multiplier of 1.5X such as the SLT-A77 (mid-range model) or SLT-A58 (entry-level).

The other possibility is to go for a Sony mirrorless E-mount camera and buy an adapter, which Sony makes. One of them even has a built-in phase-detection autofocus system that lets those lenses focus quickly.

Those lenses are reasonable but neither the best nor the worst. At this point you should ask yourself if you want get into a compatible system, and for that I suggest you look at available cameras. They are very different from DSLRs of other manufacturers. This is not a bad thing at all; it is a different thing, with both distinct pros and cons. To decide you need to consider the type of photography and subjects you will be shooting, as well as what other lenses you would need and see if those are available.

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As a hobbyist photographer I don't have a specific type of subject; that is, I would be better off with a general use DSLR that is not highly specialized. What I've read about about Sony's cameras say that the stabilization is supposed to be very good and that they are more simple (less customizable). Would it make sense, since these lenses are free, to go with a less expensive Sony body now, then switch to a more specialized camera when I'm more experienced/have more disposable income? –  Alexander Gruber Jul 20 '13 at 18:13
    
The good news is that without any specific use, all current DSLRs are good. Only, Sony does not make those anymore. So, if you want to reuse your lenses, you have to settle with a mirrorless, whether of the SLT variety or not. I would at least go see one of those in the flesh because some people love, hate or do not mind the EVFs which, as I have said, have pros and cons. If you decide to go with a DSLR, there are plenty of questions on this site about how to choose one for a beginner. –  Itai Jul 20 '13 at 20:21
    
Thanks for your help. I'll look into it. –  Alexander Gruber Jul 20 '13 at 20:31
    
I'd use a term "System camera" instead of DSLR here. That way Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax etc fall into same category. –  Esa Paulasto Jul 20 '13 at 21:44
    
If you like your lenses, do look at Sony. I have a Sony A57 which I use with a Tamron AF28-300 (1990s vintage). Image stabilisation works extremely well. I have used it hand-held at 300 mm (450 mm with the A57 sensor) and digital zoom of 2.0 for an total effective focal length 900 mm!! And I love the electronic viewfinder. –  hdhondt Sep 5 '13 at 1:56

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