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Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by gphoto, Sep 16, 2007.
Sony Page Link
Sony released a pro dSLR.
just came back from vacation and saw it on shootalpha.com
looks interesting but US$1399 is pricey. i'll wait for reviews and my next bonus to deide if i need it
anyway, i'm happy with my a100. and if the a700 is as good as the a100 was then it will be a top seller. especially if they have low noise with the new c-mos sensor. and the feature list is impressive. canon and nikon will soon release their answer. good times to buy a dslr right now because of the intense competition.
You could call it a prosumer camera. Not bad but their lens line-up is still pretty shallow.
Canon and Nikon have already answered FYI, Canon 40D (which just hit shelves) and Nikon D300 (supposed to hit shelves in November). Both of which, IMO, are better cameras than the A700. The D300 AF module should prove to be ahead of both competitors too since they gave it the pro CAM3500. We'll have to wait and see how well it performs.
Noise should be better but nothing spectacular. You just can't do Canon 5D/Nikon D3 noise levels at that pixel density.
If Sony expects to compete, they'd better release some unbelievable cameras, invent something revolutionary, or expand into a less competitive niche.
Remember, they (Sony) are only at ~8% market share because of the foundation/legacy Minolta built.
Eh, Sony has some more lenses to make (acquire) before its market expands enough. However, the service plans for normal repair and accidental damage are really alluring.
$179 for 4 years including accidental damage? That's pretty awesome.
How can you have this opinion before the cameras are even released? Have you been comparing the sample photos? On paper at least, the D300 will be the best (at a higher price), while the 40D and Alpha 700 are around the same.
No, but this camera is more like a Nikon D300 and 40D than anything else. Since the D300 uses the same sensor, it won't have a disadvantage in the sensor it's using. The only disadvantage will be the amount of experience they have at noise reduction, where Nikon is fantastic (and Canon has their exclusive CMOS patents that nobody else is allowed to touch).
I have looked at the pictures on Sony's Japanese site, and that A700 looks to be a joke (just like the current Alpha is a joke, with its thunderous mirror slap and a faux metal mode dial).
Things that immediately turned me off (in random order) are:
*mode wheel with no less than 6 "idiot modes", and even a "green" mode. they are highlighted as being "major features". While the "just don't use them" logic certainly does apply, this mis-feature subtracts from the overall ergonomics of the camera, and adds nothing of value.
*no multisegment LCD on top. Only main screen display - which is not articulated! The space on top, where the multisegment display could have been, is simply empty (save for a few haphazardly placed buttons). This means that to get an idea of the state the camera is in, I need to lift it/ turn it every time. Just like the much cheaper 400D and D40.
*a bloody JOYSTICK for main menu control. And you actually have to press it too to select functions. "Designers" who put these joysticks of cameras are simply clueless. Why not use a wheel system like Canon, or well spaced buttons like Olympus?
*"proven" dust reduction system... That does not reduce dust. Yes, it is the one that shakes the sensor using IS actuators.
*Extremely poor choice and very high pricing of lenses (especially of reasonable focal length). There is no fast "standard" zoom, for example. There is nothing like the Nikon 17-55 f2.8, or the Zuiko 14-54 f2.8-3.5.
There are no nice wide angle lenses (given the 1.5 crop factor). Nothing like the Canon 16-35 f2.8 L, or the Oly 7-14 f4.
Then there is that $350 50mm lens - probably the old Minolta design. The most expensive non-macro 50mm out there, bar none.
Then there are a few very expensive primes with "Carl Zeiss" slapped onto them - and they are just not worth it for what they do. Why would I want a 1k+ 85mm Planar on a 1.5-crop camera?
The only USM lenses for the system are the ones made by Sigma. All the rest is the bzzzt-motor-type. Not critical, of course.
And none of the Sony lenses are weather-sealed. Yet the A700 is advertised as having weather seals - which means this camera weather sealing is useless.
Minolta used to be great back in the film days... But I don't think Sony know what they are doing.
This camera may be competition for Oly E510, or Rebel XTi, or the D80 (which are all much cheaper - and look like even better deal if we factor the lenses in)... But comparing it to 40D or D300 is just silly. Sad but true. The 40D has all the body of Canon lenses behind it, and D300 is simply a work of art.
wow, we have a real sony hater here. i can only say the a100 is great for me and other people and i'm very happy with the ergonomics and built quality. and i'm not very careful with my equipment. i use it, bang it around, get it dirty, throw it on the floor. you have some valid points but we will have to see if the joy stick/weather seals/noise reduction works well or not. in general i like the ergonomics of sony cameras (P&S and the A100). i think it will definately be successful with hobbyists. don't know about the pro users. sony will have a hard time to enter that market of course.
regarding the dust removal: i don't understand the fuss. it works for me quite well. it removes the large dust particles that really show in pics quite well in the field. small dust almost doesn't show in pics. and pollen is quite sticky and hard to remove with any system. i know that test in the link but i fail to see the problem in my camera. in one year i had to blow clean the sensor once manually and i change lenses wherever i want. my friends with canon or nikon have more dust problems. don't have a friend with a olympus to compare though.
Haha, and speaking of useless weather sealing, I'm guessing valiar hasn't seen the piss-poor, worthless weathersealing on the 40D yet. Canon just gave you the weather-sealing feature to shut Canon users and critics up, but they didn't give you something decent. At least Sony did, and used rubber!
So to turn the statement on its head: What's the point of having weather-sealed lenses if your camera can't cope with rain?
Actually, my main camera is the venerable Olympus E1 (soon to be the E3 when it comes out in a month). All the Oly lenses I have (14-54 2.8-3.5, 50-200 2.8-3.5, 50 2.0, 7-14 4.0) have awesome weather sealing.
The 40D has the same problem as the Sony. It may be sealed, but none of the EF-S lenses are weather sealed. I completely agree with you here.
In response to a previous poster: I am by no means a "Sony hater" - in fact, you can probably call me a "Minolta fan". I used to have their gear back in the film days, and really loved it. I also think that the 7D was a nice camera body. When A100 was released, I literally ran to the store to try ot out. I returned home very much disappointed.
Sony Alpha system is something of a misnomer as a whole.
The flash mount is very much proprietary, and the A100 does not even have a standard X-sync socket. The flashguns that are available do not even support FP-TTL, yet they are hideously expensive.
There are no nice wide-angle lenses, and no fast normal zooms.
The 70-200 f2.8 is - hold your breath - $2400. Not stabilized either. Is it made of pure gold or what?
The only fisheye available is a 16mm job. Which is a whopping 24mm in 35mm film equivalent. This makes the lens in question more of a poorly corrected wideangle - not a real fisheye.
And then they have the $1300 85mm Sonnar, the $1400 135mm Sonnar, and an $700 consumer zoom (16-80 f3.5-4.5) with Carl Zeiss brand slapped on all three of them. Who in their right mind will want to pay $700 for a zoom like that, Carl Zeiss or not?
Who is going to buy all of these lenses?
And who is Sony's intended target audience?
I don't know for sure - but I have a guess. Probably an affluent buyer, who is upgrading from an expensive P&S, who knows nothing about photography, and yet has heard that Carl Zeiss has to be good.
The A100 body is horrible.
* It has extremely poor mirror dampening (in my unscientific testing, I estimated that the mirror slap costs about a whole f stop, if you want to avoid camera shake). I think my full-frame, ancient, mechanical Minolta X-700 was better in this respect. Even with motor drive attached.
*To add insult to injury, there is no bloody mirror lock-up! At least, I could find it nowhere. No, IS is not a substitute for a real MLU function. IS is most effective for longer lenses, and shorter shutter speeds. But for such applications as shooting night cityscapes, real MLU is a must. How hard can that be to implement?
*There is no LCD on top - just the main screen. Given how much the A100 cost when it came out, this is simply inexcusable. The D80 has such an LCD. How hard can that be?
*There is only one function dial. Furthermore, there is no provision to save "custom" modes.
*As I mentioned earlier, there is no X-sync terminal, hotshoe is ultra-proprietary, and Sony's flashguns do not do FP-TTL.
*There is that smooth plastic area around the shutter release made specifically for fingerprints. Another fingerprint magnet area is the AR-coated main screen. Hard to clean too. No hard screen protector (like on Nikons and Olys) is provided. Of course, this is not a functional complaint.
*The plastic is rather creaky (it is more of an aesthetic thing - all the A100s I have seen have held up to use reasonably well).
I had some hopes for the A700 (after all, they are trying to bill it as a "pro" or at least a "semi-pro" body). But it looks to me it is just more of the same marketing-driven development. At least, it is less of a fingerprint magnet, and there are two dials. And still no lenses!
i agree with some of your points. but you also got the idea how they are going to market their dslr's. it's people with more money than skill. the afluent hobbyist. they (including me) want a good all around model with all the features including the "idiot" modes. it's an expensive toy. but that doesn't mean it's bad. i tried canon, nikon, pentax, olympus and decided that the feel of the a100 for $799 was the best for me. size of body, features and ergonomics fit for me. i have some good minolta lenses and a minolta slr around. the wireless flash from sony/minolta is priceless to me. the pictures are great with the dynamic range optimization. the mirror locks up when you set the a100 to 2 sec delayed exposure.
i think it's good for sony to market along that line because going head on against canon or nikon is too early. sony will need two years to catch up with lenses. the lenses they have are all good but expensive. but of course they need a lot more variety there. in the meantime it's trying to find cheap minolta lenses on craigslist.
the a700 again has all features. maybe not always at its best but all around it looks interesting to me. noise control will make or break this model.
but sony's future for the next five years are consumers. by then they might have the platform to go after canons pro market. canons advantage in noise will melt away till then. and the bodies in the consumer price range didn't appeal to me. it was only the low noise chip that i wanted. not the whole package.
anyway, the future will show. at least the a700 is good enough for most people with a good set of minolta lenses the make it for a few more years. with this a700 they may not be happy. but at least they don't have to switch to a new system and lose tons of money on their lenses.
my 2 cents.
Not really. You can probably get an "inland marine" policy for around that if you're just covering $1400 of equipment. My (similar but not an inland marine) policy costs me $500/yr but covers somewhere around $25,000 of unscheduled equipment (including my MacBook,) rental equipment, on-site damages and $big of liability for accidents during my shooting.
At the rate NANPA members get through randinsurance, $1400 is $32.20/yr, or $128.80 over that time period with a $250 deductible- I can't see the deductible covering 38% of the total cost- what I'm paying for unscheduled equipment is less than that rate. I think you could do better through a local insurance agent.
Does anyone think Sony is in the dSLR, especially the pro end, in the long run? I have nice minolta lenses, and an alpha, at the age of 15, but I don't know if Sony will provide what I need when I go pro.
It does not mean it HAS to be bad.
The Sony R1 is a case in point. I am a big fan of the R1 - it is a really unique, innovative camera - that is actually superior to the entire Alpha system as it is now. Idiot modes, P&S simplicity, small size, lens with Carl Zeiss on it that is actually a good lens... Awesome.
Not so with Alpha.
Can't argue with that.
The problem with older Minolta lenses is that they are available in focal lengths that are not all that wonderful on an 1.5x crop camera. For example, if you have that older "super wide" 20mm - you only get an unispiring 30mm FOV with that 20mm lens. The "normal" 50mm lens is a tele now, and is hardly something you would want to walk around with.
Good to know - but it is still no substitute for a "real" lockup, as everyone else (Canon, Nikon, Oly) does it. Believe it or not, but on my E1 I use MLU when shooting handheld under low light. It really helps.
Sony will never catch up beause they are clueless in this area - and they have proven it multiple times already.
If, for example, they had released a "reasonable" range of lenses to start with, and were complementing it with some interesting and "exotic" glass in order to catch up, your statement would have been valid.
However, they have started by releasing an inconsistent mish-mash of poorly matched and grossly overpriced lenses.
There is only one word to describe that $700 Tokina-made 18-80 "Carl Zeiss" consumer zoom, and that word is "bling".
I seriously doubt they will go out of their way to reengineer that 16mm "fisheye", or that they will drop the price of their $2400 70-200 by 2/3 overnight (Canon, Nikon, and Oly analogs of that lens are all $800-1200-ish).
It is not about making more lenses - it is about having an actual clue.
For example, when Oly introduced the 4/3 system in 2003, the first lenses they came up with were the 14-54 2.8-3.5, and 50-200 2.8-3.5. Even if they were not to release any more lenses for 2 years, these two have provided coverage of most photographic needs right out of the box. After that, they have started "catching up" by releasing the 7-14 f4.0, 90-250 f2.0, etc. Right now their lens lineup compares favorably to the lineup of Canon EF L glass - and that is after less than 4 years on the market with entirely new system.
Compare that to Sony's approach of releasing "bling". By the way, they have also raised prices for their rebranded lenses substantially (compared to what Minolta used to sell them for). Minolta 50mm did not sell for $350.
They have the variety all right. Nothing like Canon, of course, but they do have numerically more different lenses than Oly or Pentax. The problem is, they are not very usable lenses. And for the price of a full Sony A700 system I can almost get an identical Canon 5D system. No, I am not exaggerating here - just factor in the prices of Canon's 24-70 2.8 L and 70-200 2.8 L, and then price the Sony to get an equivalent FOV coverage. A D300 system will also come out cheaper!
I would disagree here. Even the A100 is as good as noiseless... As are most current DSLRs. They all have close to zero noise at ISO 200 and below, and produce noisy images at ISO 800 and above. Canon's ISO 800+ images are generally the least noisy - by a small margin. It is indeed a nice feature for some applications. But do you really shoot at ISO 800+ all that often? I know I don't, and most people don't. I expect the A700 to be very nice in the noise department - but i doubt many will care.
Right now the Alpha system looks, for the lack of a better word, "blingy", and does not show any visible indications of getting better. It is a real shame too, because in good old days Minolta was definitely giving Canon and Nikon a run for their money. They even had a "walkaround" f2.8 zoom for crop bodies (where is it now?). I was seriously considering the 7D right before KM have exited the photography business... But I would not consider the A700 if I were buying a new DSLR today.
It might bea fun toy if you always shoot in one of the scene modes with a kit lens. But then something like an R1 will be a much better value.
You could make the same argument about Canon and Nikon. Not many people shoot full frame. They only have two FF cameras, the 1Ds and 5D, and neither sell in loads.
Also, the crop factor may be a benefit, depending on what you're shooting.
They haven't had much of a chance to do that. They haven't proved anything yet, but they haven't disproved it either. They bought Minolta and spent time adapting those lenses. I'm sure they're now working on new lenses, but it takes time. If it only takes 1 month to produce a new lens, I certainly wouldn't trust it.
See above. The only thing I agree with is the "overpriced" bit. They are overpriced, but they'll become cheaper as they sell in higher quantity.
They did so because they had to. They invented a new mount, and didn't have any lenses to borrow from, unlike Sony (with Minolta lenses).
I wouldn't disagree. Noise will make or break this model. It may not be important because the differences will be small, but since there's probably so little to pick at when comparing models, you're going to see more people jump into the noise game.
Those R1s focus slowly, and are just slower and clunkier...in typical point and shoot fashion. The lens was flawless, but that's it. The CMOS sensor wasn't so great.
This new A700 will be much better, and the lenses available from Sony, old Minolta, and 3rd party vendors (which I do include, since I like some of the glass from Sigma and Tamron) are plentiful. There may not be as many 3rd party lens models available for the A-mount, but there are still a large variety to choose from.
Anyway, I think the Sony is aiming for the new crowd of SLR photographers, like andiwm2003 said. Sure, I guess you don't "need" shake reduction in every lens you use. A tripod is still better. However, we're probably in an era where new photographers will probably never consider buying a $300 tripod plus head from Manfrotto, or know that monopods even exist. In-built shake reduction may not be taken seriously by serious photographers, but they certainly are by the masses.
No, you could not.
Both Nikon and Canon have dedicated "crop" lenses, and they were quick to introduce them too. Nikon's 17-55 f2.8 DX, for example, or the Canon 11-22 EF-S are the lenses that come to mind.
No doubt about that. One can design faster or lighter lenses for "crop" cameras with the same FOV as a 35mm lens would have. Olympus ZD lenses are a case in point.
They have just changed the silkscreen, and discontinued some/outsourced the production of other old Minolta models. I think the only "G" lens remaining now is the 35mm one.
There was no "adaptation" done. Compare the claimed characteristics (elements/groups, MTF) of the old Minoltas and new Sony branded glass. Everything is the same - according to Sony themselves.
Only at a higher price point.
And I have already mentioned those "Zeiss" lenses. Probably there was some development done there... A 85mm lens for a 1.5x crop camera is a very important lens indeed. And a slow 18-80 zoom too (as long as it sells for $700).
The A100 did not come out a month ago.
The new A700 kit lens is again a god-awful slow consumer zoom.
They are not even promising anything at this point - not even a hint.
And even if they were to come out with a few of those "reasonable" lenses, I would expect these to be "Zeiss"-branded. With corresponding monetary consequences.
So why could not Sony do that? In a year and a half? Maybe even more?
There is still nothing like the ZD 14-54, or Nikon's 17-55 2.8 DX. Not even "Zeiss". There were no prototypes shown at the last Photokina. Of course, Sony has a 85mm T* Sonnar available.
Minolta-branded 70-200 never used to sell for $2400.
Canon's 70-200 2.8L is not a "high volume" lens (no $1k or more expensive lens is "high volume") - yet it costs less than half of what Sony tries to charge. Nikon somehow manages to sell their version for 1/3 the price.
I will not even touch the Oly 50-200.
It is not about volume - it is about conscious market positioning. Sony, unlike Minolta, markets their Alpha system not as a practical (maybe somewhat mundane) photographic tool, but rather as something of a status symbol - "bling", if you will.
What was wrong with R1's sensor in your opinion? Can you point me to any particular examples? Does it suffer from excessive noise at ISO 100, or, maybe, poor dynamic range? From what I have seen myself, that sensor is no better and no worse than the one used in A100. AF speed is indeed better on A100, but R1's lens is significantly better than the A100 kit lens. If you only shoot with your kit lens, it is a big argument.
It is my distinct impression that Sony are trying to market their Alpha not just to "new SLR photographers", but rather to people who are looking for expensive toys. Nothing fundamentally wrong with that, but marketing-driven development does not make for a usable photographic tool. Which Alphas, sadly, are not.
Yep. To all of that.
And I haven't seen many "pro cameras" (let's not argue on the definition of pro) on the market with an APS-C sensor, only 11 AF points, or a 5fps frame rate/17 image RAW buffer (excluding the 1Ds, Hasselblads, and Leicas, all completely different animals).
Oh, and claiming that an in-body image stabilization system is complete BS. Not even a Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS can do that. Gimme a break.
So does that mean Nikon never sold a pro camera? After all, they had only APS-C sized sensors until 3 weeks ago. In fact, they still haven't sold a FF DSLR. Lots of pros used the D200, and your description above pretty much matches that. Same could be said about the Canon 40D and 5D. Depending on what type of shooting you had to do, 11 AF points and 5 fps is quite respectable, even for those who make money from their work.
What does a Canon lens have to do with in-body stabilization?
Why does it matter that Sony hasn't offered smaller "DX" lenses? My full frame Nikon lenses still work in the APS-C world. I also get an image from the sharpest, least distorted part of the lens, so I prefer the larger lenses.
My point was yes, you can say that both Nikon and Canon also sell lenses that are "an inconvenient length on a 1.5x crop camera", since they still sell mostly non-EF-S, non-DX lenses. Also, even a DX lens like the Nikon 17-55 mm "suffers" from the effect of the 1.5x crop factor, so even by making a DX lens, all they've done is make it physically smaller, increase vignetting, and given you a lens that will produce softer corners.
Also, have you considered the fact that Sony decided not to offer smaller lenses with the thought that at this stage of the game, they're not going to join the reduced frame lens game because they see themselves being forced to equip half their DSLR line with full frame sensors to stay competitive? Maybe they considered it a waste of resources. They could offer some wider FF lenses, which would be nice.
Furthermore, I'm sure for many people who need longer focal lengths, the crop factor is not an inconvenience for them. It really depends on what you shoot.
Yes, I know this. All I meant was that they'll release more lenses to fill those holes in due time. Granted, they haven't worked as fast as Olympus at designing new lenses, but arguably, neither has Nikon, and I am really getting impatient with them as well. They've had a lot more time than Sony to update their lenses, but they haven't.
Yes, and most kit lenses from other brands are slow.
You're right, they're not high volume lenses either, but at their price, I'm sure that's expected. Sony's version of such a lens would be even LESS likely to sell, and they'd be selling at an even smaller rate because of market size and such.
I'm not saying Sony isn't ripping people off. They clearly are. However, I'd expect prices to drop once more people become interested. I also expect prices to drop because I think Sony will smarten up when they realize they aren't selling any of their own lenses (which is where the money is).
The R1 doesn't have an ISO 100 -- it starts at 160. What I meant when I said the CMOS used in that camera was "not so good" was that compared to the Nikon D50 and Canon 350D, the sensor in the R1 was worse than other APS-C sensors found in those other 2 cameras. Sure, it was 10 MP, which was more than the other 2 cameras, but if you're asking about noise and performance, then I'd rather have the sensor in a Canon 350D or Nikon D50. If Sony had stuck with a 6 or 8 MP sensor, maybe things would have been different, but it isn't what happened.
Also, dynamic range drops dramatically at higher ISO....more than that experienced on a Canon 350D, according to DPReview.
You're right, it is. However, an A-100 is basically an R1, but slightly improved, IMO. Maybe some enjoy the ergonomics of the R1 more, and the swivelling LCD, but like I said, when I used an R1, it was slow and clunky compared to a DSLR. Speed and response are big reasons I like DSLRs, so if I had a Nikon without those things, I'd essentially have an R1.
Sony, like Minolta will never have a professional camera. They'll run up to it, but they'll never go there because they'll be easily dismissed.
Minolta in the film days had adequate cameras and adequate lenses but they never went too far, never far enough to find excellence. They were more concerned about features than photography. In the digital age, they fell further away from the crowd.
I'm not saying that you can't get good photographs but their design methodology was always one of saving money and pricing their equipment accordingly. Sony, being the misers that they are, still design by cost but they no longer price the equipment accordingly. They want a bigger profit. At some time when their investment is satisfied, they might lower prices but it's unlikely.
The A700 will be a "nice" camera but nice is an adjective you use when you don't have anything better to say. Hopefully, it will be better than the A100, but it's a nice camera, also.
Fair enough points, but the D200 is a few years older than the A700 and also had some of its own great features like CLS/commander mode, weather/dust sealing, and great high-ISO performance. The Nikon also had some good lenses to be used with...
The fact that lens based IS is superior to in-body IS, and only the absolute best IS lenses can save 4 stops.
Sony, no thank you. If you are even semi serious about photography you will avoid SOny like the plague.
Its easy to say..... dont choose sony but in real terms it is a large percentage of the previous minolta engineers who built this and in the same factories.
You may or may not agree with sony as a company but the a700 so far looks to be a good camera, great in fact as its only there second as a company.
The a100 in my opinion is in the top 2 begginer SLR's out there at present.
People need to ignore brands and look at camera's when looking at this kinda thing.
If its not to your liking then dont buy it in november ill be looking at it against the d300 and 40d. i expect the d300 to be better but it all depends on the price difference in that case. Had a go with a 40d already and its a great camera but i think the a700 will match it at a decent price point. november will come and i will make my choice but i wont go posting my choice as fact on canon or nikon forums etc....
Does anyone know if older Minolta lens will fit/work on new alpha 700? I have an old 1.4 lens from a Minolta SRT 101 and was wondering if anyone had tried using analog lens on new cameras.
Check this website: http://www.dyxum.com - great for reviews/forum.
Also the usual dpreview - CLICK ME
BTW - I have Alpha 200 and it's great! Just bought myself a great "Beercan" - and it's brilliant