October 8 2010 - Photo Jottings

October 8 2010


October already!!  Time now for some random thoughts on Sony’s DSLR direction, and pdf help needed, see second to last paragraph.

I’ve been getting some mail lately from folks that are thinking about switching systems, like from Sony to Canon or Nikon.  Their concern is the same as mine; is (are) Sony really interested in continuing to developing their intermediate to pro level cameras.  If you recently bought a Sony DSLR beginners model, (anything below the 700 series) in the last year or two, that’s great.  But what do you do if you want to take a step up, and need a more advanced model with quicker access to manual settings, faster and more accurate focusing, an AF illuminator, and full support for wireless flash etc?  Well, you can buy the A850 for $2000, then replace your “DT” lenses with full frame lenses, which will cost you several thousand dollars more depending on what you need to replace, or you can dump your Sony stuff on eBay and switch to Canon or Nikon and buy their fabulous, brand new, just released intermediate models.  If you want an intermediate level Sony DSLR right now, you can buy a three year old used A700 on eBay and hope it works.

Sony’s recent CZ, and newest “G” lenses are really good, and probably just as good if not better than Canon or Nikon equivalent lenses.  What bothers me is their lack of focus on a particular segment
of the DSLR market.  Sony has made no head-way into the sports market or photojournalist market in four years.  In my opinion, Sony should not try to capture those segments.  They’ve been floating a fake 500mm F/4 lens for a couple of years now, and let’s hope they leave that one on the cutting room floor in favor of more useful lenses, aimed at a different, and more manageable segment.  Seriously, how many people are going to look to Sony when thinking about that type of lens, with a probable cost of $8000-$9000?  Can you see a customer at the sales counter; Yes, I’ll take that top of the line Sony A55 for $749, and that 500mm F/4 telephoto lens for $8500; and the clerk says, with tax, that’ll be ten grand!  This is not a likely scenario.

Here’s a scenario I’d like to see soon in a Sonystyle outlet store or any camera shop: customer comes in and says “howdy, I’d like to check out a couple of your tilt-shift lenses, like the Sony Carl Zeiss tilt-shift 16mm F/4, and 24mm CZ T-S F/4.”  “Let’s pull one of the new Sony A970 36mp full frame cameras out of the box too.”  The sales clerk says “no problem, and have you seen our just released CZ 18mm F/3.5, CZ 35mm F/2 and CZ 50mm F/1.4 prime lenses?”  The customer (probably me) says “no, but I’ll take ’em all.”

The scenario above may be fantasy, but it’s the direction I’d like to see Sony go.  There is no 35mm DSLR camera company that really caters specifically to the landscape/architectural/interior photographers, although Canon’s 17mm tilt-shift lens and 5DII is now widely used for interior shoots.  This segment of photography could easily be filled and dominated by Sony, assuming careful research, planing and execution.

Right now, Sony is clearly going for the low-end “wow” factor with the introduction of the NEX system and translucent mirror cameras.  Those cameras have their place, but I’m not interested in them.  Hopefully, they won’t forget about the pro market, if they do, I’ll be jumping ship for Canon.  The Sony A900/850 with the newest lenses give excellent image quality, and in some ways superior to Canon or Nikon, especially of the money.  If you have a good A700 or A900/850 and aren’t in need of a specialty lens that Sony doesn’t offer, there is no reason to switch systems.  If you have a sub 700 series Sony APS-C camera with only a few lenses, and are needing a more advanced APS-C camera very soon, then you may want to look closely at another system.  Try not to give up on Sony yet, they might get their act together in the near future, and come out with some really good intermediate and pro camera bodies and accessories.  I’ll give Sony about six months to please me; I’ll let you know if and when they do!!  What do you think about the thoughts and scenario above; are you in concurrence, or do you think I’m nuts?  email me your thoughts.

On another note; I need help with some very minor pdf work, like adjusting a pdf copy of a lens owner’s manual.  Anybody interested?  let me know. 

Below is a picture of a butterfly and thistle.  I took it while hiking in the local mountains with the Sony Ericsson C905a camera phone.  It’s a crop of the original, and it still looks great!  EXIF is ISO 64, 1/1250s, F/2.8 and -0.30 eV, and macro mode.  If I told you it was taken with the Sony A900 and CZ24-70mm lens, would you question it?

Sony C905a camera phone macro shot
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