First - this isnt really a technical question so if you dont like discussions on general topics I apologise but this forum seems to be realllllly slow lately and I thought I'd like to see some discussion. Secondly - my post is pretty long, if you like short and sharp stuff, again, I apologise in advance. Why am I a Minolta man? - ok so its Sony now but that doesnt roll off the tongue as nicely. I have been taking more and more photos, really enjoying the process from capturing the image, playing with it and then going back to review and pass around the photos - which is really like reviewing and passing around bits of my life. So I decided to upgrade from my very simple, three and a bit year old point and shoot to a DSLR. A review of the finances, ability and the market reduced me to three possible contenders, Canon 400D, Nikon D80, and Sony A100. After reading a single article I found myself gravitating towards the Sony for two reasons ? in body image stabilisation and the Minolta connection. The stabilisation issue is purely technical and self evident but I wanted to talk briefly about why the Minolta connection attracted me. First ? and this was first ? there was no reason not to be. After poring through many reviews, carefully picking through sample images, trying out the contenders I came to the conclusion that there really arent too many bad DSLRs, no matter which brand you pick you arent going to get a dud (and conversely no matter which one you pick you arent going to get one that blows the others out of the water). Also, a constant theme in a lot of articles is that a DSLR shouldn?t be considered as an end in itself ? merely an entrée into a whole system of lens, filters, flashes, etc. So when thinking about the Minolta (now Sony) the question is will the system support what I want? What do I want, decent quality lenses that go from around 18mm to 400mm that cost less than $1000 a throw, decent flashes, filters and thats about it. Minolta has that in spades and now its been bought by Sony its reasonable to assume that in ten years there will still be lenses, flashes and bodies to buy so its viable. That explains why I didnt run from Minolta, but not why it attracted me. What attracted me were the other Minolta Men (and the odd Minolta Maam). When I read articles such as the one on this site talking about how to build a DSLR system I was struck by the arrogance of the Canon/Nikon crowd. The blanket assumption that their system is the only one to consider, that their lens choices are the only ones to buy, that their way of taking photos is the only way to take photos. When Canon and Nikon users are asked what lenses I might need on their forums they were quick to tell me, firstly without bothering to ask what I wanted to do with those lenses and secondly without any question of what I could spend. The Minolta crowd was very different. Firstly almost no one wanted to recommend a lens until Id described how I wanted to use the camera. Secondly, no one has tried on any forum Ive visited to tell me I should take different photos (though I have received advice how to take the photos I want to take better). Finally, Im not being told the only solution is to buy US$1500 brand new lenses, instead Ive been inundated by suggestions as to how I can get good quality lenses cheaply from a range of old Minolta systems. As a guy who has - mostly - built a replica of a mid 70s Lancia rally car because it was cool instead of just another turbo AWD this really really appealed to me. So there you are, having stripped away all the technical issues I found that really most of the camera systems were good enough ? the issue became solely which group of users most matched the way I look at my hobby.