In April 2008, the Sony Alpha A200 had some incredible and unique features. My research found it to be unique among many similar cameras for in-camera stabilization (SSS), dynamic-range boost (DRO), a screen whose info rotated when held vertically.. all sorts of things that were swiftly implemented in one form or another elsewhere. My A200 years were quite happy ones, but one small problem haunted me: Best Buy's decision to clear out the A700 occurred about two months later. This was a superior camera in every way, and for only slightly more money - but my return period had passed so I pretended to get over it.
The A200 was indeed the camera I had sought. Images in low light were now stabilized and shadow-boosted as needed, depth of field was a factor again, and I was having fun with photography. I played in RAW mode and bought some Elements software to tweak images more to my tastes. It came with me camping, backpacking, stargazing and nearly everywhere. On very few occasions did I look at the shots and feel that the camera had let me down (I cannot think of any times, but I suspect it must have so 'very few' will cover that :^). I especially liked shooting in RAW+jpg mode with the Monochrome 'style' - I had fine mono jpgs and a RAW file to adjust later.
My lens collection grew, mainly with Minolta lenses from the '80s. I really liked each one for its special reasons, but none of them could do it all. My main 1-lens solution was first a Tamron 18-250, then later a Sigma 18-200; I preferred its small size & lack of 'creep', and it came along on the Sierra hike. Other favorites were Sigma's 17-70 and Minoltas 100-200, 50 f/1.7 and 35-105 Macro, all 1st-generation AF classics.
Some of the most special Alpha images can be found at these links: beach - Sierra & Crater Lake - San Juan islands
Well, that completes the historic cycle - now for my Pentax transition go back to my June 2010 post.