April 20 2011 - Photo Jottings

April 20 2011


Don’t wait for a phantom camera or lens.

It should be clear by now that Japan’s camera (and related accessories) manufacturing is going to be very slow to recover, but it will recover and be prosperous again, just not right away.

This brings up a good question, and one that I’ve been asked many times recently; do you delay buying a camera or lens that’s currently available, and simply try to wait it out, and hope that Sony comes out with the latest and greatest cameras and lenses this summer or fall, or do you just buy what’s on the shelf now?  For me, it’s an easy answer; you buy what’s available now!  Who knows, due to the current demand, and the inability of retailers to restock items, there may be shortages coming up this summer, (not to mention later on this fall and holiday season), which could drive prices up and over the suggested retail prices, and on top of that, you worry about the pent-up demand for the new stuff that will eventually come out, and the shortages that will result from it, so no matter what, you’re probably in for trouble in a few months if you wait.
Again, my advise it to either keep what you have and enjoy it, or buy something now.  I’ve been using the Sony A580 for a couple of months now, and find the image quality is very impressive, especially when recording in RAW.  It has a great feature set, like HDR and panorama, both are very well implemented.  High ISO noise reduction is very good, and easily beats the A700/A900 above ISO 1600.  The A580 also uses the same battery as the A900/A700 and some other Sony DSLR cameras, so you don’t need to buy a spare if you already have the NP-FM500H, that’s why I bought it over the A55, which is basically the same but has no optical viewfinder, and uses a different battery.
Of course, the A900/A850 are super good, even though they’re two years old.  If you’re in to pixel peeping, and want the best image quality at the best price, get the A850.
In my opinion, camera image quality hasn’t improved much from the last few years, and probably won’t in the near future.  Yes, mirror-less NEX and translucent cameras are cool, because they’re smaller and offer gimmicks.  Good high ISO performance, HDR, Pan, and some trick modes are nice, but are not a necessity, and can still be done in advanced image editing software.
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