November 20 2008 - Photo Jottings

November 20 2008


It looks like the Sony (DSLR/accessories) unilateral pricing policy (June ’08) is making the executives sweat at night, and in an effort to avoid following in the footsteps of Konica Minolta, they’ve lowered the prices on most camera bodies, and nearly half of their lenses.  I’ve always thought Sony high-end lenses and accessories were over-priced, and it looks like Sony agrees with me.  Maybe they visit my site!  Since I’m not on their payroll, I don’t have to worry about being cut-off from their loaners and junkets by stating my opinion.  Check out the price reductions below,
which come from the site.   B&H photo, and Adorama are both using the dubious “instant rebate” on the price reductions, but based on past experiences, and what the Sony website is doing, the price cuts are permanent.  Only one “DT” lens gets a lower price, the 11-18mm

* 11-18mm F/4.5-5.6, $599  ↓ $50  (still $75 high)

* Both Teleconverters, 1.4x, 2.0x, $399 ↓ $50  (still $100 high)

* 100mm F/2.8 macro, $599 ↓  $50  (still $100 too high)

* 50mm F/2.8 macro, $399, ↓  $50  (about right)

* 70-200mm F/2.8 G, $1699, ↓ $100  (still $100 too high)

* 70-300mm F/4.5-5.6, $749, ↓  $50  (good price)

* 35mm F/1.4, $1199, ↓  $100 (about right)

* 16mm F/2.8 fisheye, $749, ↓  $50  (still $100 too high)

* 20mm F/2.8, $509 ↓ $50  (still $50 too high)

* 135mm F/1.8 CZ, $1299, ↓ $100  (still $150 too high)

* 85mm F/1.4 CZ, $1199, ↓  $100  (about right)

* 135mm F/2.8 STF, $1199, ↓  $100  (about right)

* 28mm F/2.8, $199, ↓ $50  (good price)

Again, these are all the lenses that Sony is having trouble selling.  The first dollar amount is the new retail price, the down arrow indicates how much the price was lowered, and then I add my personal opinion after that.  I’m not trying to kick Sony when they’re down.  I’ve always said Sony camera bodies are very competitively priced, now it appears they’re trying to adjust their ambitions against reality.

Oddly, the 300mm F/2.8 is apparently selling briskly at $6000, they seem to be on continuous back-order.  I would’ve thought $4000 as a fair price. I guess I’m wrong.  I’m surprised at the $50 reduction of the new 70-300mm SSM, I thought the old price was a deal.  Also, the two Carl Zeiss primes are not flying off the shelves as expected.  This all may be due to current economic conditions, we shall see.

Camera body prices; Sony A200 two lens kit, $549, Sony A700 body only, $1099, Sony A350 body only, $649, all good prices.

Check out the latest lens review, the Minolta AF 28-70mm F/2.8 G.  On the A700, the lens turned in a stellar performance.  Full frame results are similar, with more light fall-off, distortion, and corner softness, but not enough to worry about.  The only troublesome issue is flare and ghosting, which is very strong.  You’ll have to block the sun with your hand when the sun is close to the image, when the sun (or any bright light) is part of the image, you’re pretty much SOL.  I’ve noted in the review if you want great pictures
of shots which include the sun, as in a sunset, you should use the Sony kit lens, as it’s about as good at controlling flare and ghosting as it gets.  I threw in a comparison shot also.

Next up will be full frame results using the Konica Minolta AF 17-35mm F/2.8-4.  This is another lens which has great difficulty controlling flare/ghosting.

The next full lens review will be the Konica Minolta AF 28-75 F/2.8, you see these on eBay selling for $350-$450, about half of the G lens on the right.  I thought the timing would be good as I can compare it to the Minolta AF 28-70mm F/2.8 G and see how close they are optically.  Build quality is not even close, but AF speed and flare control may raise some eyebrows.  Look for that review in a week or so.

Click for review page.
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