Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Specifically for the discussion of the A-mount DSLR range
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bakubo
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bakubo »

Enjoy your Nikon. Looks good.
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bfitzgerald
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bfitzgerald »

It's perhaps a better camera than some of the reviews give it credit for - I can see some of the complaints, on paper it doesn't seem like a big step up from a D750. There are a lot of improvements, the live view in particular. It becomes more obvious with playing around, using the touch screen is a big step up on usability.
I can see how some might want a native grip/built in flash, and I'd agree with that, though I never really use the grips I bought on cameras. I think I used the A77 grip about 4 times over 6 years!

It's an all rounder type of camera, aims to do multiple things well, not a specialist camera like the 1DX series which is for action. So far the AF seems to be very good, even in low light. Buffer is so deep, very unlikely I'd run it out. Nice to have a good UI and interface. Getting along with something is important, the A99 is still a nice enough camera. Things have moved on a bit in many ways, those 2-3 seconds boot up seem so long and annoying on Sony cameras. The way I look at it, this cost less than a good condition A99II used, and I get 5 years warranty. Seems like a pretty good deal from where I stand. I have 3 lenses so far, so half a system - not bad really. Sony limited the new adapter, and it's far too costly to buy an A7IV, hence for the price of that I've moved over - that's an obvious blunder by Sony, but hey I think we knew the A7III was never going to be updated, nor was anything else. If you put the bar too high on your current older A Mount users, you can expect to lose some of them. That's exactly what happened here. I wish I had moved sooner, oh well...
classiccameras
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by classiccameras »

I think Nikon hit the spot with the D780, have you got used to twisting the lens the other way to remove and fit it, It threw me when I first picked up a D5100.

There are some excellent 3rd party lenses out there for Nikon and Canon, the worlds your Oyster with Nikon, I had a standard mode on shutter noise and a quiet mode on the D5100, Very useful in certain situations.
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bfitzgerald
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bfitzgerald »

It's weird, but you get used to it. Same for the live view, I put the camera up to my face - when in live view and the result is darkness! I spent so long using SLT/EVF's it's habit I think!. I was, and continue to use the KM5D, prior to this to get used to it again. I don't find it "horrible and stone age", as some suggest, and I don't have the "I can't go back" thing going on either.

I have used other EVF's, somewhat better than the A99 -though that was a good improvement on the A77 in terms of dynamic range/noise. There is no cut and dry statement for EVF v OVF's. There are good/bad points of each, well known and debated. Yes EVF's gain up in low light, you can see much better in very dim conditions, you have your exposure preview, ability to use magnify/peaking for manual focus. I have not used an EVF that didn't drop frames, or give a juddering experience for action shooting. I'm sure the new swanky £6000+ ones are much better. The R6 is said to be good for cont/sport shooting.

An OVF has clarity to it, that I've not seen in an EVF. And we probably won't see unless they have ultra high resolution ones available I think they need a lot more resolution. The A1 is 9.44 million dots, that's 2048 x 1536 . Many are 3.69m which is 1280 x 960. I just can't see very fine details in landscapes with an EVF, the dynamic range can also be a problem, though it's less than it was. The downside to increasing the resolution is battery drain, becomes a real issue, more dots more power is being sucked.


Just for fun I did some comparisons with the A99 and D780 at high ISO
I've found the A99 at identical settings is about 2/3 stop less exposure. Though the lenses might have different T stops, slight difference in viewing angle too etc. I did 0 on the NR sliders, but can't guarantee there isn't some kind of on chip NR as there is on many sensors these days.
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Adjusted 2/3 stop in post to match Nikon
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As shot same settings
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bfitzgerald
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bfitzgerald »

I adjusted the exposure in the A99 to compensate for the difference
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The A99 is broadly in line with modern APS-C sensors for low light performance, that is my experience. When I had the A6300 there was very little difference between them. It is very close to the Canon 5D MkII for high ISO having shot both, though clearly the DR is far better on the Sony. I've not been unhappy with the A99, the IQ is good and the low light is quite a lot better than the older A77, which was difficult to work with above ISO 3200. But the A77 ISO numbers are more accurate, to their stated values. The A77II was a bit more off, and the A99 was even more.

I did read a blog post from someone who had the A900 and A99, and noted the exposure difference, and said that the A99 was only slightly better compared to the A900, when you matched the exposure difference. I've never owned an A900 so can't say. I would rarely go above ISO 6400 on the A99, of what they call ISO 6400. ISO 12800 was a bit tricking though not unusable to work with in raw, though the Jpegs were better than expected. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume the Nikon is 2 stops better in low light. In this case I have a lens which is 1 and 1/3 stop faster at F1.8 v the F2.8 Sony 28mm. So if I have gained just over 3 stops, that sort of compensates for the loss of steadyshot, though I am still a fan of IS in body. Perhaps if I get zoom lenses I will get OIS/IS ones.
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bfitzgerald
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bfitzgerald »

I was out shooting some marathon photos again..
I took both the A99 and D780 out. The plan was to use as I have done the 100-200mm mostly and the A99 - then I thought I would so some wide angle stuff with the 28mm F1.8 and the Nikon body. The 80-200mm is gone, much as I liked that lens. I'm down to a basic A mount set up, which over time will be sold off. Still for the meagre outlay, the 100-200mm delivers the goods quite well, it's fast enough for daytime shooting, and optically very respectable.

Some interesting observations, switching between both cameras.
Ergonomics are decent on both, but the Nikon overall is better no question hands down. - due to more dials and controls. In particular the AF/MF switch has a button, you press this and cycle AF-S/A/C and the AF modes Single, dynamic modes 9/21/51, group and 3d tracking. You can use the front/rear dials to quickly move between AF modes. I need to spend more time to figure out which ones work best, the 3d tracking does have a face detect through the OVF, and it does sometimes pick up eyes. There is a lot more intelligence v the basic Sony AF system, though I've found it pretty good, it is also a bit limited in tracking options, and I found single point AF on the Sony only alright for action, the single point on Nikon is much better. Group AF on the Sony can work fairly well

Using the drive button is alright, but the drive collar on the Nikon is a way better solution. Sony made a mistake by abandoning well proven Minolta ergos. Out in the field I can very quickly use that collar to switch single/cont drive modes. I can also specify the low fps rate from 1-6fps (it is 7fps top on the OVF), I can't do that on the Sony.

Biggest difference is the view, the Nikon OVF is so much brighter v the dim Sony EVF in sunlight, it was quite shocking how much difference there was. I forgot how dim the A99 is in daylight. The level of details is vastly superior on the OVF, the blackout is much shorter taking burst shots. In short for action, the Sony is harder to use. I got fine enough results, but the "stuttering" EVF, even on single shots is annoying.

The Nikon 28mm is one of a range of fast F1.8 primes from Nikon, they do 20/24/28/35/50/85mm focal lengths. I like a 28mm as it's wide, not too wide though. 35mm I'm not as excited about it, it's neither wide or tele. So my prime set up so far is 28mm/50mm/105mm.

Here is a shot at the finish line on the 28mm Nikon. It is a nice lens, usable wide open, obviously it's better than the old Minolta 28mm F2.8. It's quite light similar to the 50mm F1.8G, I don't mind, just if you were paying the €700-800 price tag new - you might feel it could be more"beefy". These lenses are worth a look though on the used market.
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classiccameras
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by classiccameras »

Looks like the Nikon is a keeper, talking about bright OVF. I had a look through my friends Pentax KP, WOW, it reminded me of what I used to love and gave up for EVF.
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bfitzgerald
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bfitzgerald »

Yes a good Pentaprism is quite bright. The old 7 film has an exceptional one at 0.80x magnification, huge. Though it's not 100% coverage
This is still very good though 0.70x about normal for this type of camera. There are larger ones aka D850 etc, just a bit overkill for me pixels and weight.

It's interesting the pros and cons reverse. EVF's having the advantage in very low light, gaining up - yet are nowhere near as bright in normal or daylight conditions. The ones I have used anyway. I'm not going to debate the obvious advantages of an EVF, accurate manual focus, extra information. Yet there are also significant drawbacks, perhaps less on the new super expensive ones, still there is no cut and dry on either side of the debate. OVF Just feels immediate, with an EVF I always felt a bit detached for some reason. The niggles with Sony add up too, that 2-3 second delays powering the camera on, yet this is just ready to go instantly.

With the lack of GPS, the Snapbridge app I can pair it to the camera and get location data embedded into the files. On medium setting it's about as accurate as the A99/77 GPS, you can increase the accuracy it's fine though. The remote camera control works (you go into wifi mode for this), it was horrible on the A77ii, forcing you into full auto - you couldn't change settings, couldn't GPS tag and it wouldn't give you anything more than a 2mp image on the phone. Total waste of time from Sony, Wi-Fi was useless on the A77ii, I put it in airplane mode. The A6300 was also pointless with the app, again can't GPS tag images, didn't even work half the time. Maybe they got the A99ii to work better, ship has sailed for me though

A99 is still a solid enough camera, worth a shot on the used market they are reasonable cost. When you add up the small annoyances with Sony, it becomes much more apparent how far behind they really are. The menus are comprehensive and easy to navigate. Poor old A99ii users didn't even get a my menu tab added, 3 grand + camera, shocking really.
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bfitzgerald
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by bfitzgerald »

One thing I have noted, the additional sealing on the DSLR. The A99 has a bare cover for the battery compartment, and no seals around the memory card slot (though it does have a lip which should prevent water seeping in). The sealing is much more obvious on the Nikon, right around the card compartment in multiple areas, and a thick gasket on the battery door.

Just something I noted, not that I am pushing weather sealing on cameras - I have in the past been fairly careful with the Sony's in wet weather. Many of the Nikon lenses have the lens gasket seal too.
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classiccameras
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Re: Back to SLR thoughts and ramblings

Unread post by classiccameras »

Better attention to detail with Nikon, Canon similar and Pentax excellent
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