Sony DSLR's?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Everythingisnt, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #1
    Does anyone know how well Sony brand DSLR's stand up against their competition (i.e. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc.). While I haven't actually seen alot of people recommending them around here, I've seen quite a bit of other people using them, and I really like their video cameras (the Sony Z1's beat their Canon equivalents hands-down).

    Anyways, if anyone could give me a clearer picture (sorry.. pun..) about how well Sony Cameras work, a comparison against other brands, etc., I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks!
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #2
    Most of today's "consumer" dSLRs are relatively comparable image-wise. There are small differences, which may make a difference to one photographer and not a bit to another. Overall, you get better value with the "also ran" companies than with the market leaders in terms of features (which may or may not be all that important to you,) and more flexibility with the market leaders.

    You have to look at the dSLR market in terms of "there are no wrong answers" for a generic camera purchaser. Individual photographers may want options like larger sensors, flash systems, rental capability, sensor cleaning, etc. But that's individual subjective bias- objectively you'd probably be happy with images from any of the cameras, just slightly different levels of happy in side-by-side comparisons[1].

    For me, the big question with Sony is will they continue in the dSLR market? I don't know at what point they decide it is or isn't worth it give the size of the company and the relative size of the dSLR division.

    If you're confident that Sony's in the market for the long haul, then there's no good reason not to get one if that's what you like.

    [1] Side by side comparisons are the biggest way to lose your money in photography- especially in terms of lenses. You'll be perfectly happy with images from a lens until you compare it to the image from a more expensive one, then whoosh, there goes your money! ;)
     
  3. blackstone macrumors regular

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    #3
    Agreed.

    FWIW, I think the chances of Sony remaining in the DSLR market are no better or worse than the chances for the other "also ran" companies. Sony purchased Konica Minolta's DSLR division for the specific purpose of ensuring that they could have a Sony-branded DSLR line and have put a decent amount of marketing resources into building that brand. My guess is that they'll continue to do so as long as they can keep selling DSLRs at a decent rate.

    I've got a Sony A100, mostly because I like the ergonomics (I was a Minolta devotee in the age of film SLRs, and their engineers were always good about making controls easily accessible) and the fact that -- as compuwar pointed out above -- it's a better value than the market leaders. It's a good, well-designed camera that handles well, and I like the images I get out of it. Of course, I imagine I'd also like the images from a Canon, Nikon, Olympus, or Pentax just as well!
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    The DSLR body itself might be OK, but what matters more is the line up of lenses. No one can compare with Nikon and Canon for having a huge selection of very good lenses. SLR bodies don't make images lenses make images the body only records the image.

    Have you looked at reviews of Sony's lenses? Filled with comments like "soft in the corners." and so on. They just don't have the line of pro quality optics.

    And then you have to look at more subtle things like light metring and ergonomics that don't show up in the specs. Nikon is the winner there.

    What about practical matters like software. Does Aperture or any other Aple software work with Sony's RAW format? I don't know.

    Also do you trust them? When I buy a Nikon I can bet that in 25 years Nikon will still be building SLRs and I can continue to keep buying lenses and bodys. Is Sony in the SLR business for the long haul? How do we know. They may drop it or sell it. We don't know they have so little history with SLRs compared to the others.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #5
    Boy is that true. But it applies to audio gear and bicycles too.
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    That's true, particularly about the image quality being quite comparable to each other.

    When you do your research, and a reviewer or forum user posts a really zoomed-in photo to compare image quality between 2 cameras, I want you to think about one thing: Is the difference as big in image quality as the reviewer/users making it out to be, or are these people just obsessed with the small, insignificant difference between cameras?

    I'm not one to care much about these minor differences. To me, it's like when people compare 2 cars, and one has 347 HP, while the other "only has" 320 HP. Or how about when a computer undergoes a speed test, and one computer gets a somewhat arbitrary score of 147.8 on some random test, while another gets a score of 157.1. In either situation, I would truly and honestly don't care. I'd just say "they're pretty much the same", and only people truly into their stuff would care.

    Meanwhile, I'm worried about usability. I like cameras that make all the features I find important to be easily accessible, either via buttons on the body, or quickly in the menu system. I like cameras with good ergonomics, good weight (medium weight is better than lightweight, in my opinion), and good size (not too small). I like cameras that feel familiar 2 minutes after I pick it up for the first time.


    EDIT TO ADD: Oh, I really liked the A700 when I used it briefly, although I liked the D300 more. ;) The A300 should be a real winner. And regarding lenses, companies like Sigma are making many of their lenses available for Alpha users, so you'll have their lenses to choose from as well.
     
  7. Everythingisnt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #7
    Thanks guys :)

    On the whole, the entire DSLR market is really bewildering to someone with little experience in this sort of thing (like me). On all the different forums and review sites I look at, I see tons of stuff about the various differences and strengths of individual brands/cameras. There also seems to be a big trend of people either siding with Canon or Nikon, and then arguing almost exclusively for that brand..

    However, I guess it comes down to what Abstract says. As long as it's functional and intuitive I guess you can't go too wrong. Also, if Sigma is making its lenses available to sony, then that's a plus (I have a few old sigma lenses for my film SLR which I really like).
     
  8. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #8
    Slightly off topic but SONY is bringing out a 24 mega pixel full frame camera aren't they? I would say that shows commitment.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #9
    If you're old enough to remember Betamax as a consumer video format, you'll understand that Sony will ditch a losing horse no matter what sort of money they put into it if it doesn't do well in the market.

    Another issue is that the camcorder business unit may be larger, and is definitely more established and may decide that stills from video are the way to go- now which division wins? (Remember Sony Music vs. the mp3 player from the Electronics Division?)

    Finally, I'd bet the sensor fab division is run separately and isn't managerially tied to the dSLR folks other than in a slightly incestuous customer relationship (hence Sony reportedly fabing sensors for Nikon.)

    In fact, in Q4 '06 the semiconductor business unit results were reported primarily as increased profits based on "sales of PS3 chips" prior to the reporting of the PS3 sales Obviously, if Sony America and Sony Corporation think that reporting sales to themselves is significant for that business unit, then they're not all that tied to the other individual business units, or they'd have reported the increases sales more visibly under the unit selling PS3s.

    Laptop battery replacements hit Sony very hard financially, and they're closing plants, ending lines and laying off workers- it's not LIKELY that they'll drop the K-M investment that quickly, but the picture isn't all rosy:

    Anyway, I don't think Sony's got an impending problem that'll make them ditch the K-M purchase, but long-term I wonder if it's profitable enough and if it will fit in strategically with the other units and partnerships.

    Edit: FWIW, I wonder a lot at the practicality of Sony bringing out a high megapixel FF body- Canon's FF high-end sales aren't that significant, and all the MF players are starting to drop prices pretty significantly- what's the size of the "Have Minolta lenses, need an ultra-high resolution body" crowd? The argument that new photographers looking for a FF high-res body are going to go Sony over Canon with an impending Nikon body this year doesn't look all that good to me. Therefore, I see it as more of a marketing move than a product move- though I suppose if they're (theoretically) going to fab for Nikon, they'll have the sensor source and it's not all that big a deal to add a body to their own line based on parts/line availability.
     
  10. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #10
    Taking into account what I said about SONY in my last post, I wouldn't ever buy one of their products anyway. I was trying to be fair and play devil's advocate.
     
  11. Everythingisnt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #11
    Well, as long as you're talking DSLR's I'd see your point. Their Video Cameras are an entirely different area, though (they're pretty much the market leaders at any point, from TV production to point-and-shoot home movie camcorders)..
     
  12. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Sony is a brilliant electronics company, but if I want a good dSLR camera, I'm going to buy it from a camera company.

    Hard for me to take Sony's committment to serious photography seriously. I suspect they'd shed that division in a heartbeat if it didn't toe the mark.

    TV's....you bet. A serious dSLR with its lens, flash and accessories systems....? Never.
     
  13. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I would go with someone like Canon and Nikon it's what they do best they're cameras are really nice but the Lenses are what you really want.
     
  14. superted666 Guest

    superted666

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    #14
    Lots of good comments here..

    A lot of Sonys new lenses are getting good reviews (prosumer upwards)
    At the moment there more costly than the cannikon counterparts however thats just while volume is ramped up.

    The A700 is a cracking camera and if you dont mind buying second hand then the Minolta lenses work great on the A-Mount ... cheap as chips and minolta have some incredible lenses on offer in terms of IQ... the 85 1.4 / 30 f1.4 and the 135 STF come to mind...
     
  15. cube macrumors G5

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    #15
    Sony is a rootkit/DRM retrofitting/region crippling company.
     
  16. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #16
    Sony did buy a camera company. It was Minolta, the A100 was certainly a Dynax body with sony bits added.
     
  17. Hmac macrumors 68020

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    #17
    That doesn't make Sony a camera company, it makes them an electronics company that bought a camera company.
     
  18. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #18
    Isn't Canon also an electronics company, they are not exclusive to making cameras either, unlike say Nikon who are.
     
  19. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Yeah but they make things that go with cameras. Printers, Scanners Camcorders and Cameras.
     
  20. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #20
    I've got a bitchin' Canon pocket calculator! It doesn't exactly go with the camera stuff though. Still it's very accurate and got me through 11th grade pre-calculus handily!

    I also heard that they make some of the world's finest coreless DC micromotors, and digital presses.

    Still I'll stay away from the plastic fantastic (Rebel series)!

    SLC
     
  21. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

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    #21
    Have you ever worked in the Department of Redundancy Department by any chance?:)

    Seriously though they also offer Calculators, Binoculars and Projectors, neither of which relate to photography. Also when you say printers, most people would think inkjets or something, when they also make photocopiers and other professional office products + sell professional services all of which don't relate to photography, I would say they are an electronics company, but known for their cameras.

    Just look here at their product list: http://www.canon.co.uk/Products_Solutions/index.asp

    They are just not a SONY, who do 50 other types of electronics. I would also say Nikon are truer to your statement, not Canon.
     
  22. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #22
    Even Nikon and Pentax aren't solely photographic companies, nor is Olympus. I work in healthcare and some of the most sought after medical optics our physicians use are made by Pentax. Endoscopes and all sorts of other long tubular cameras that physicians can use to do their work in a minimally invasive manner are another big part of the Pentax brand. Nikon makes great microscopes along with leica and schneider and many of the other european camera companies. Pentax and Nikon also make some of the best and most expensive binoculars and spotting scopes available. My family has a long history (100+ years) of being the outdoorsy cowboy types and Pentax and Nikon spotting scopes are the dream of every one of them.

    Thing is, Pentax and Nikon and Leica and Schneider and Zeiss all specialize in optics and their applications and not electronics. That's the difference I see.

    Olympus also makes other electronics, they've got some really nice personal voice recorders so does Sony and Canon I think.

    SLC
     
  23. Everythingisnt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #23

    I'm pretty sure that Zeiss makes the lenses for Sony video cameras (for example, most high-end Sony cameras use CARL ZEISS VARIO-SONAR lenses)...
     
  24. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #24
    Nikon and Pentax's optics are good, but they're not "dream" material if it comes to binocs or spotting and rifle scopes. Swarovski, Leupold and Leica all make "dream" stuff.
     
  25. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #25
    Well, that's just what my uncles and cousins all want. They're talking $1,500+ for a good Pentax or Nikon Spotting scope.

    SLC
     

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