Mirrorless rumours

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Rodney Brown
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Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby Rodney Brown » Sun May 26, 2013 12:01 pm

If the rumour about Sony abandoning all but mirrorless is correct - there's one positive outcome. The brilliant A99 will drop in price and be within reach of more of us Alpha mount/Zeiss devotees.
Let's face it - the only reason we joined this community and use A-mount in the first place was because we are loyal to the Zeiss (and maybe Minolta) lenses. Nobody seems to be a fan of Sony itself. I was using a Contax with Zeiss 50mm Planar all through the 80s and 90s and nothing could touch it (according to reviews) apart from medium format and Leica.
The bottom line is - as long as A-mount survives we have grounds to be content.

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Sun May 26, 2013 3:18 pm

The re-sale value on all bodies drops due to age, even brand new models that have been out a while drop. A65/77 if they remain in production this year will get quite a bit cheaper (that's if Sony want to sell them) A77 might hit £600 or lower...
The A99 has yet to break the £2000 barrier, let alone the £1500 one. If Sony do go with this new non SLT design then yes it will drop prices esp if they try to clear stock before a new model arrives. If you buy an A99 now you're in for a hefty bath I would think in 2014 on re-sale value.

On the other hand there is no reason to assume the A99 is going to be much cheaper for quite a while, if it's taken this long to get to £2000 from the stupid initial release of £2500, if you compare the price decline of the D600 it's fallen far quicker and much more in price than the A99 has. The 6d has dropped a bit but was priced a lot lower than the Sony was at first release. Even right now the A99 is "more expensive" by about £100 than the D800!

Even if Sony get the A99 down to £1500 body only (still too high IMO) By that time the 6d and D600 will be probably around £1100 odd if not skirting around that magic £1000 FF price point.
Sony have shown no signs that they are willing to price relative to their competitors (ie to actually be competitive in the FF market), I see no reason to assume that the A99 will be as cheap as you hope it will be end of this year or early next year. It will probably be more expensive than it's Canikon rivals even with a no mirror body turning up next year.

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby Greg Beetham » Sun May 26, 2013 5:05 pm

I suppose the question is where is Sony taking the A-mount now? And is that direction going to enhance the survival of the mount? I’m not sure the arrival of the SLT and the discontinuation of DSLR’s progressed the A-mount to new heights, Sony might have won quite a few new customers but I think quite a few might have drifted off at the same time, so after the dust settled Sony might not have actually gained much.
I agree the Zeiss connection to the A-mount is the one thing that I would expect to prolong the life expectancy of the mount, Sony seems to have watered down the connection to the KM optical plant (still retained by KM), that was (is?) making lenses branded for Sony, maybe the cost of ‘on selling’ at a double margin meant that that arrangement wasn’t ideal so alternatives were sought. Maybe KM still wants to license the screw drive application as far as lenses are concerned who knows?
Whatever the exact situation with the KM/screw drive lens production is it’s hard to guess, but the thrust seems to be definitely gravitating towards SAM or SSM type focusing as there has been no new screw drive lenses introduced for quite a few years, (at least one I know of has been discontinued, maybe there are more), and the few screw drive Zeiss lenses already in existence have for some reason not been upgraded/redesigned as yet.
If and when they are upgraded that should indicate a couple of things, one: that Sony is intending to phase out the screw drive part of the A-mount at some point, and two: Sony does intend to keep the A-mount around in some form or other for some time yet.
The alternative is those screw drive Zeiss lenses are at some point discontinued without being replaced by redesigned versions… that would be an ominous sign I think, but perhaps not likely seeing as how Sony has introduced a new A-mount 25 Zeiss not so long ago and is about to introduce the most expensive 50 Zeiss in the known universe.
One would also have to take into account the recent update of the 300/2.8G II (was originally a Minolta design), the update of the 70-200/2.8G II (originally a Minolta design as well), the update of the 70-400G II (origin of the previous version unknown), popular opinion has it that Sony does not possess an optical plant capable of designing and making such a lens, assembling yes, making no, the origin of the 500/4G is a mystery, where the design came from and who make the optics for it is unknown by me at least.
Sony could have bought the designs of the 300/2.8G and the 70-200/2.8G from KM and now have an alternate means of making and producing the optics and barrel parts for the II versions…maybe.
In any case the mere fact that those very expensive lenses have received extensive attention means that Sony is fairly serious about the A-mount, but I’m not sure if Sony being serious about something means we will get what we wish for, and there is no guarantee that Sony being serious about something will get Sony what Sony is wishing for either.
Greg

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Sun May 26, 2013 8:43 pm

On the screw drive side, there is no reason why they cannot continue with support for that, mirror or not it makes no difference AF can still be done no problems.
If they continue support in bodies is another point, there was talk of this in the past from our pal Toru who now seems to be out of the picture. They know about Nikon's little in body AF motor removal (and metering limitations) on their lower end bodies. It's not a cost thing, it's a selective feature thing.

My own view is those legacy screw drive lenses help Sony more than hinder them to sell bodies, but Sony's cut and chop mentality of late isn't encouraging. Sony also have a lot less lenses than Nikon do so they might not try to pull that one on folks, or they might just rip the motor out and offer it only on higher priced bodies. You can be certain this is the kind if thing Sony will think about!

On the lenses well we all agree work has to be done here. But the real problem is as I say above, you need to get people onboard buying decent bodies before you can sell them the lenses. IMO all the "big" action is going to be FF from now on for the next 5-10 years FF is going to be a revolution for the DSLR in the same way APS-C became affordable to most. APS-C will still be around but mostly entry to mid level, very unlikely in the future I can see high end £1000+ bodies bar a new 7d Canon might bash that out, but it's almost certainly going to be the last pricey crop body they offer.

Sony need to start bagging FF users and "now" not next year or the year after. And they only way they can do that is out price rivals in the FF market. Gillette style sell the bodies cheaper, and gain the profits on those premium lenses. The only body they have right now is the A99 IMO Sony have misread the market in a spectacularly bad way. Alpha has next to no chance of bagging pro level users or in any serious numbers so releasing a consumer FF at near pro level prices is a blunder and a big one. A99 needs a massive price cut, right now it's likely not selling in any serious numbers and not even competing for the FF budget end.

But Sony as ever won't be told, they'll tick along this year with a mostly out of date model range, hope to charge a premium in 2014 maybe new sensor tech but still no mirror products, which probably won't make any difference to their market share at all. The only time Sony did fairly well in the DSLR market was when they were selling entry DSLR's like the A200 at bargain prices. In 2013/2014 the only effective way to get more users in any serious numbers is to out-price rivals and offer incentives where people might overlook the EVF side of things, ie in their wallet.

If they don't do that (and they probably won't) the FF band wagon will just pass them by. People won't buy mirror less products at a higher price than conventional cameras, and until Sony work that out they're in for a real hiding in the camera market. Sony are not a premium brand in the DSLR arena, we know it and if they don't then they need to hire some new people and pretty fast!

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby pakodominguez » Mon May 27, 2013 4:52 am

Rodney Brown wrote:Let's face it - the only reason we joined this community and use A-mount in the first place was because we are loyal to the Zeiss

By "we" you meant?
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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby classiccameras » Mon May 27, 2013 8:34 am

Nikon certainly didn't give you an opportunity to use legacy Nikkor lenses on their DX cameras, big mistake in my view.

I had a Zeiss Planar 50-mm F/1.8 on my Rollieflex SL35 and it was superb, but
Canon and Minolta with their FD and Rokkor glass would certainly challenge top spot as they did many times in the 35-mm format.
Its great that Sony and Zeiss are linked for lenses. However, things are quite a bit different now to the early German factory production. Apart from the really high end primes, most Zeiss lenses including most zooms are contract made namely by Tamron.
I don't think the Zeiss connection encouraged me to move to or stay with Sony, for me any way it was a little of oh no, not Canikon again, every one and his brother has one, but also a system that was refreshingly different and great to use and produced lovely pictures.
I may be wrong but Sony just bought the KM company camera line lock stock and barrel, but never bought the right to use the KM name and that I believe still remains with Konica Minolta who are still making lenses.
Now that would be interesting if that name was resurrected as KM but not by Sony.

I think we will see the A mount for some time yet as Sony who are as insular as you can get to public critisism and suggestions are not that stupid to stop it at the risk of losing many customers to other brands. This was the same predicament Olympus found themselves in when they dropped 4thirds for m4thirds. They had to make a promise that all the 4thirds lens owners round the world will have a new up to date body to use thus keeping that section of their market allive and not risking a mass dessertion.
I have the feeling that Sony are trying in may be a subtle way to move A mount users over to NEX, well that is one big risk because most SLR [SLT] users want to stay SLR users and if Sony no longer provides that choice people will move to other brands. If Sony can't see that, then they deserve every thing they get.

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby Dr. Harout » Mon May 27, 2013 9:43 am

I don't think they will drop the A-Mount.
NEX might be their general line, but as long as they will manufacture long tele lenses A-Mount would still exist.
Even some lenses prefer longer flange than short. The opposite holds true too.
But the general, majority of production would probably be NEX line.
A-Mount would become strictly FF (or even square, 36mm x 36mm, who knows?)
A99 + a7rII + Sony, Zeiss, Minolta, Rokinon and M42 lenses

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Mon May 27, 2013 11:14 am

Nikon segment their models so the D3200/5200 have a number of limitations, no HSS flash on either, no wireless flash support, won't meter with older non D lenses, no AF for screw drive lenses. Those are the 4 big ones, and despite recent updates to the 3/5 range Nikon still won't even add HSS (major limitation IMO) That is why I don't recommend these bodies to anyone, they are too cut down and lack very basic things esp for flash work.

Nikon probably do this to push people up to the D7k range (where you get all this) It's not cost cutting, AF motors cost little, it's just segmentation and model differentiation. It would be a serious step back for A mount if Sony followed that strategy, whilst Nikon could argue it has many AF-S lenses..Sony still have quite a few screw driven ones. And taking AF away from most legacy Minolta lenses would be a major turn off.

A mount probably will be around, but if it offers what people want is open to debate. It can't be FF only, that is too expensive and will stop adoption by being priced too high for many people. Anyway NEX is said to be offering a FF body next year so that mixes things up a bit.

It's really about Sony finding how to become a viable alternative to the top 2 makers, and so far I think they've lacked direction, fiddled around too much with cybershot features (which are not that important) Sony still don't really understand why enthusiast DSLR users has very different needs to consumer cybershot user. Until they work that out they will have a hard time making any real impact. The Zeiss element isn't a bad idea at all, but first people have to want to buy the bodies.

I still think the EVF aspect is throwing away 70% of your potential customer base straight off. How many D600/6d/5d MkIII didn't buy one because it had an OVF? As said many times, you have to make a product that the target market wants. If Sony continue to ignore that then they can have as many wow amazing features as they want, it's won't make any different. They have to eat humble pie and offer a number of OVF models esp high end APS-C and FF

Then you read stuff like this and it makes you even more nervous Sony will drop in body AF motors:
http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sr4-sony ... unt-sales/

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby classiccameras » Mon May 27, 2013 1:00 pm

The EVF didn't put people off buying the Panasonic G series cameras, although sales figures are patchy depending on what part of the world you live in, that system was the biggest seller in Japan, some other far East countries and the UK. The US is still heavily glued to the DSLR.
I have to admit I was very dubious about going down that road for years, but now I have, its more useful [to me] than an OVF.
As the editor of one review site said, the photographic public and in particular the enthusiasts are a conservative bunch of people, ironically they go head over heals for all these IPads, IPhones, tablets wizardry etc but its a sharp in take of breath if you mention anything revolutionary in the camera world.
If Sony do decide to re introduce an OVF, it will have to be at least as good as a Pentax if not better, I some how think they won't. If Olympus can take that plunge I don't see why others can't.

I was quite taken aback recently to hear the salesman in my local Currys store extolling the virtues of the SLT over the OVF fitted on a Canon or Nikon to a potential customer. I never stayed to see the out come but most of what I heard him say I agreed with. I don't think the EVF is all negative, it has many virtues over and above an OVF.

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bfitzgerald
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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby bfitzgerald » Mon May 27, 2013 1:18 pm

Having used the EVF more recently I am still of the view it is a mixed bag overall. There are times I appreciate the MF ability of an EVF, and it can be useful to preview the exposure at times. On the other hand there are moments where you simply need to see the subject and clearly, with no delay at all. In hard light all the SLT models I've tried do poorly (and there are times you have to shoot in this light), and that slight delay can also be an issue at times.

It's not that I have not adapted to using an EVF, I can for "some types of shooting" and it can be an advantage for those. It's the times it doesn't do well that cause problems. It's ironic in some ways for people/some shots I find I more often than not now keep the other eye open so I can see things better!

From the people I speak to very few seem to be that interested in EVF's for these types of cameras (esp not FF users), even the polls on various sites suggests 50/60% of folks want an OVF. (Dyxum and SAR polls) That seems like a really risky strategy for Sony to offer just EVF cameras. Like I said above people might be willing to accept them more for a price incentive. At £1200 odd the A99 might do pretty well. Just Sony are kidding nobody trying to get £2000 for it!

Pay less get less fussy always been the same way. Even with lower prices, for some applications and users (esp high level users PJ's etc) I can tell you right now Sony have no hope of making any progress in that market. I've no problems with a mix of EVF and OVF cameras, but I think Sony are seriously out of touch if they think an EVF only range is meeting the needs of enthusiast DSLR users. It looks to me like they are just trying to cut costs and save money, but not pass this on to the customer. There is no way an A99 can cost more than a D600 to manufacture, it has less parts and probably is quicker to make.

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Mon May 27, 2013 1:49 pm

In the early days of digital the only way to get any kind of decent image without huge expense was the EVF - Minolta Dimage, Canon Powershot, Nikon Coolpix, Kodak P880, Fuji S series etc. So I got very used to using EVFs. There was one camera make which went the other way, Olympus with the Camedia (1400?) using an optical finder fed from midway through the zoom design (a final lens group beyond the mirror position imaged on to the small sensor). Even then, despite the Camedia being relatively low resolution, we loved the optical SLR finder. EVFs were something you put up with because you had to.

Last week I found a major disadvantage of the A99 EVF, working outdoors with Frank Doorhof giving a seminar in which he use the A99 (I was unaware he was a Sony sponsored lecturer before going). I should have asked him what settings he was using for the viewfinder gain, when working outdoors with flash and creating underexposed sky behind a lit model; I think he must have turned normal gain off, and used auto gain, because when I tried the set-up with my A99 I literally was unable to see the model at all. My camera was set to underexpose the sky/background between 1 and 2 stops, the model was within a zone of shadow to the left of the image, lit by a single Elinchrom 44cm square dish.

This is the scene without flash, at the adjusted background exposure (the darkest variation):
darkview-12mm.jpg
darkview-12mm.jpg (19.25 KiB) Viewed 3696 times


This is the picture shot - which I find unacceptable, as the EVF did not allow me to see the ugly shape made by the model's pose (shoulder and face) from my angle.
flashview-12mm.jpg
flashview-12mm.jpg (30.15 KiB) Viewed 3696 times


Of course I had the option to change to auto gain, but even with normal exposure, it's surprising how dark and lacking in visible detail the shadows were. Photographers using OVFs could see exactly what was happening in their pictures, and for fashion/model/portrait/wedding shots this really matters - a lot. I find the EVF is excellent for travel and landscape but an impediment in the studio and for all kinds of people work.

We have sold our Nikon D600 outfit now, and the A99 remains a kind of problem. Last week, because a very good price came up, I bought a used but very recent (last of the line) Japanese made Sony 24-105mm. I sold my original Minolta D 24-105mm after getting the A900, because the chromatic fringed and distortion were way too strong. But when using the A99 and A900 with the 28-75mm, I saw that the A900 produces much worse CA. Guess what - the A99 and 24-105mm combo has very little CA, the distortion is now easy to correct (must make a profile) and the sharpness is perfect even wide open over the important central zone of the plane of focus. So I'm not keen to sell the A99, but aware that it had restricted uses.

David

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby Heidfirst » Mon May 27, 2013 3:36 pm

David Kilpatrick wrote:
We have sold our Nikon D600 outfit now

Why did you sell the D600?

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby classiccameras » Mon May 27, 2013 3:49 pm

To answer an earlier comment, I don't think Sony can compete with the big 2 or in fact do they want to, possibly on camera performance but not on sales.
There is now so much lost ground between Sony and the others that it is an impossible task trying to catch up, if they tried it would be a futile attempt in my view. So what for Sony's future, who knows but the only way I can see is be different rather than following the usual design formats.

I still like OVF but after my experiences with Olympus, it was like looking down a tunnel I moved over to EVF. Try looking through a Nikon, Canon or Minolta [to name just a few] 35-mm film SLR view finders and then any DSLR's you care to choose, there is no comparision.

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby bakubo » Mon May 27, 2013 10:25 pm

David, in that situation it would be very hard for an EVF to do as well as an OVF. Something that would probably help some though is to use DRO (as long as you are shooting raw). I have been using the Olympus equivalent with my EM-5. It helps to open up the shadows in the EVF.

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Re: Mirrorless rumours

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Tue May 28, 2013 8:58 pm

Heidfirst wrote:
David Kilpatrick wrote:
We have sold our Nikon D600 outfit now

Why did you sell the D600?


Oil and dust problem, partly, but also because Shirley was simply not getting anything better on average with the D600, relative to the A580. The Nikon 28-300mm is only equivalent to an 18-200mm, and she's used to the Sigma 18-250mm; also, the Sigma is a much better lens than the big Nikon, which is only sharp across the whole frame if stopped down to f/16. The Sigma on APS-C is sharp at f/8. Shirley was used to using centre spot focus, but on the Nikon the size of the individual AF sensors is so small that if you hit the edge of a subject, you can easily end up focused on the background; I guess that's what happens when you put so many sensors into an APS-C area on a full frame camera.

Whatever the results, we sent the Nikon to have a shutter change and new baffles installed to stop the constant spattering of new dust/oil/debris spots on to the upper left sky area of every shot (made worse by the need to use apertures smaller than f/11 to ensure decent sharpness). That in turn meant working at ISO 400 to get shutter speed to stop action.

So, we left the Nikon behind and Shirley took the A580 to Morocco instead. Whatever the scenes, it delivered the goods, and where the Nikon shots needed scaling down in size most of the time the A580 shots can be exported to 25MP size and you would not notice. After returning we sold the Nikon outfit, but not before considering this carefully for a couple more weeks.

Our main worry was the ethics of reselling a Nikon D600 when the cameras have a known defect that Nikon don't openly acknowledge (and which we were entirely unaware of when initially reviewing the camera - otherwise, it would never have been bought). Therefore we sold it for a small loss despite having paid a discounted (trade/journalist) price, ensuring that the buyer got an exceptional deal - £1650 for body, two Nikon batteries, Solmeta GPS, 28-300mm VR and a really top grade Sigma 77mm thread HSM 17-35mm. And including proper VAT in that too.

It looks as if the BJP reviews will no longer be any source of income for me, or for Richard K (which has depressed him a great deal) as they seem to have dropped all hardware related content. These reviews did, at least, cover the cost of losing money on changing equipment occasionally in order to keep up with technology. So I'm not likely to be venturing back into Nikon.

David


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