Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:32 pm Posts: 2548 Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
I was in the DFW area's most popular independent brick-and-mortar camera store today, picking up some goodies for an upcoming trip, when I had a brief conversation with the salesman. At the check-out I noticed a shelf full of second-hand A mount lenses; classic Minolta AF lenses, Sony kit lenses, and some fast third-party glass, too. The salesman told me that it had all belonged to a single user who switched systems, because of "that damn shoe."
The salesman went on to tell me about another encounter with a pro shooter--director of photography for professional sports team in this area--who happened to be in the store at the same time as a Sony representative. The Sony rep was showing the new NEX cameras at the time, so the salesman seized an opportunity and asked of the pro-shooter, "If you could change one thing about Sony, what would it be?"
According to the salesman telling me the story, the pro shooter replied, "That damn shoe!"
The salesman then identified that the pro shooters rely on brackets to switch between portrait and landscape shooting formats, keeping their flash guns aligned over the lens axis, and the expense and relative unavailability of mount adapters for these brackets. I was already familiar with these brackets, but what flashed through my head was Sony's clever vertical grips, and the quick-shift bounce flash system. And I thought how nice that set-up is rather than the huge and heavy flash bracket I had used when I borrowed a friend's Nikon setup, and how my arms were too tired to hold onto the steering wheel when I drove home again after using that piece of kit. Thinking again of his mention of the sports shooter, I asked him "Are those flash brackets really used that much?"
"Yes." the salesman said flatly. I didn't ask if he had any brackets to sell me, but I wondered whether pro acceptance of Sony was really dependent on the form-factor of the flash shoe.
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:20 am Posts: 122 Location: Maryland, USA
Interesting. I have a flash bracket for my a-mount cameras that does exactly what the pro wanted, easily changes orientation and keeps the flash aligned over the lens. I just use the old Minolta OS/FS adapters. And its fairly compact and not that heavy. I think the bigger problem is that Minolta and now Sony, just toss the products into the wind and let the users figure it all out for themselves.
Since most shops that carry (carried) a-mount equipment don't carry a full line of accessories, the sales folk certainly don't have a clue and if anything help perpetuate the "damn shoe" attitude. I think that if pros had access to the adapters and if Sony would work to get the third party manufacturers to make remotes for a-mount, the pro's would see the advantage of the one-click on/off shoe. (and Sony needs to fix the slop in the flash mount.)
If nothing else Sony needs to produce (and offer widely) a brochure on their flash system with examples of how to use it. One of the things that impressed me about Canon was their technical brochures for the higher level cameras (I have the one for EOS 3 and 1V.)
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