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View Full Version : Sony's new DSLR - Alpha DSLR-A100


ZiggyB
06-05-2006, 09:50 PM
So finally, some official hands on reviews are starting to pop up. All reviewing pre-release hardware, but some interesting things coming out none the less.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/sonydslra100/
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/sony/dslr_a100-review/

Some of highlights include:

o Compatibility with Konica Minolta Lenses
o Built in Anti-Shake system (Now called Super Steady Shot) - So every lens now has image stablization

But of course a DSLR is useless without lenses and some of the stuff announced sounds really interesting. But according to the review much of it is just cosmetic updates to older Minolta lenses, but some of the new Sony lens also look really interesting, especally if they live up to the Carl Zeiss name.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/sonydslra100/page3.asp

My only worry is that the lens prices seem kind of high. But of course things are pretty "new" and this is Sony, so things tend to be more expensive.

I'm mostly a Canon person so that's obviously what I'm comparing it too. What do others think? How do people who've used Minolta in the past think of the new announcements?

jtnishi
06-05-2006, 10:43 PM
As discussed with a friend, those lens prices are list price, rather than street price. Expect to pay significantly less for those lenses.

For example, Canon's 70-200/2.8 IS also lists for about $2400. However, it doesn't take much effort to find that many dealers sell that lens for about $1500-$1600. It wouldn't surprise me if that 70-200/2.8 prices about the same. Of course, that does make the lens comparatively more expensive, since the competitive lens from Canon is actually about $1000 street, not $1500.

In any case, the body looks like a good first effort to me. Now, if only they could pay attention to the other segment of the market that wants something between that and their R1 (as in interchangeable lenses, anti-shake, anti-dust, but live preview with the large sensor), and invest some development money there, they might open up a serious new segment of prosumer camera.

Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of these floating around before the year is up at the various conventions.

TomodachiFriend
06-06-2006, 03:01 AM
Minolta made some of the best glasses, there's not a strong incentive for many old Minolta users to go out and buy a Carl Zeiss if it has the same specs as an existing Minolta lens. Half a year ago, prices for used Minolta lenses on eBay were very low. They'll probably go up now. :(

jtnishi
06-06-2006, 10:45 AM
Minolta made some of the best glasses, there's not a strong incentive for many old Minolta users to go out and buy a Carl Zeiss if it has the same specs as an existing Minolta lens. Half a year ago, prices for used Minolta lenses on eBay were very low. They'll probably go up now. :(
::begin geekiness:: I can't speak much to the quality of Minolta glass, but the respect for the quality of Zeiss glass is widespread. Their reputation is relatively well-founded, and you'll have to trust me when I say that there are a number of people who have enough respect for the quality that comes with the Carl Zeiss branding to pay the premium for that glass. A lot of the same can be said for Leica's rangefinder lenses. ::end geekiness::

Oklahoma
06-06-2006, 12:21 PM
I had known Sony was going to get a dslr out eventually. I have and still use a Sony Cybershot even though I have a 20D (it just isn't practical to cary sometimes). Despite what people say about Sony and them not being a CAMERA company so they wouldn't trust equipment from them; they accually do make rather nice cameras.

Zeiss glass is very nice glass. I have heard lenses made with it compared to being as good as or better than canon L series lenses. The main reason Sony cameras are as expensive as they are is because they use Zeiss glass and that is what you are paying for.

Overall I feel Sony makes cameras comparable to many Canons and Nikons and I feel this one will be no diferent.

staereo
06-06-2006, 12:39 PM
I kind of agree with Jason. Zeiss has in the past been a standard of quality glass.

So when comparing minolta glass to zeiss, unfortunately I have to say that zeiss had been a level above. (Coming from a guy that used an old minolta for his first 8ish years of photographic endevours.)

I think there is a problem that is specifically higher in the photographic community, about allowing the reputations and characterstics of brands of yesterday affect what we make for opinions of those same brands today. Over the past 50 years, that's fine. The problem is, In the last 10-15 years, companies and production methods have, in fact, changed drastically, also shifting widely the characteristics of photographic technology today.

Companies that used to be household names of quality (Leica, Rollei, Voigtlander, Zeiss, and even powernames like Hasselblad, etc..) have lost market shares. Today many of the 35mm consumer/prosumer camera manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, etc) have taken a step into the professional line, making VERY high quality lens lines at costs equal to or often less than these formally idolized brands.

I think that we are getting to a point where each product can be compared individually to its competitors, because so many brands are offering lines of very precise glass. To really bulk a professional brand is very hard to do.

Whether this is the case with k/m and zeiss, I can't say first hand. But In the world of dSLR, and even medium format digital, the lines that used to mark brand quality are becoming VERY fuzzy, and many of the late comers to hte photographry race have quality that challenges and even surpasses the heavy hitters with established market shares..


Well... at least thats how I see it.

After saying all that, I'm with Jason. Of course, to say that their history doesnt affect my judgement, is silly. I am both human, AND a photographer. I'm doomed to take past into consideration, even when I try very hard to remember the above.

Bruce

TomodachiFriend
06-06-2006, 01:21 PM
::begin geekiness:: I can't speak much to the quality of Minolta glass, but the respect for the quality of Zeiss glass is widespread. Their reputation is relatively well-founded, and you'll have to trust me when I say that there are a number of people who have enough respect for the quality that comes with the Carl Zeiss branding to pay the premium for that glass. A lot of the same can be said for Leica's rangefinder lenses. ::end geekiness::

Yes, I know about their reputation, but what if I tell you that Minolta is as higly regarded as Leica for many of their lenses? In fact, some Leica lenses were rebranded Minolta's or made by Minolta under specs from Leica.

But that's mostly history and there's still that huge mythos surrounding Zeiss as you guys pointed out. Just like some people will buy Leica instead of Panasonic, there will be people going for the name. I still believe they will be a tiny minority.

gmontem
06-07-2006, 03:36 AM
Hahaha yes! It's about time Canon and Nikon got another competitor. Here's hoping for lower prices and better cameras.

jtnishi
06-07-2006, 01:15 PM
Yes, I know about their reputation, but what if I tell you that Minolta is as higly regarded as Leica for many of their lenses? In fact, some Leica lenses were rebranded Minolta's or made by Minolta under specs from Leica.

But that's mostly history and there's still that huge mythos surrounding Zeiss as you guys pointed out. Just like some people will buy Leica instead of Panasonic, there will be people going for the name. I still believe they will be a tiny minority.
I won't dispute you on those facts. Yes, it's quite possible that the Minolta lenses will be sharper than the Zeiss lenses, though having used a Sony digital camera that had Zeiss glass, I'll admit the sharpness from that lens is spectacular. And I've seen more than a few Leica branded lenses on digital cameras that are relative wastes for the Leica name. In fact, the only digital camera I've seen that even remotely does justice to the Leica brand happens to be the only camera that can use Leica's best lenses: Epson's R-D1.

But more than a few people do buy glass for the name, or for what it can put out, even if a fair equivalent can do as well, for a significantly better price. I'm guilty of it more than my fair share of times, buying Canon brand-name glass when a lower equivalent would probably work, and still produce excellent results. I probably didn't need to spend $600 on a Canon telephoto. I could've spent $100 more, and gotten a Sigma lens that has a one stop advantage. But I put trust in that name, and the lens is pretty damn sharp, so I have no regrets.

I do see a fair number of people buying Zeiss glass for the Minolta, because it has the Zeiss name. Objectively, it might not be sharper than the Minolta glass, or the difference in quality might not justify the difference in price. And for the mass consumer market, that'd matter, since odds are given that this camera will be marketed at the lower level consumer & hobbyist end, rather than the higher level professional end, the cheaper glass will win out. But trust me, the hobbyists will probably make for fair sales of the Zeiss lenses, because it's Zeiss. A minority, certainly, but there's almost certain to be enough to actually make a profit on the line. And just wait until they finally get the Zeiss lenses out for the Nikon mount. Woo boy.

Eriol
06-07-2006, 09:42 PM
Konica Minolta (KM) announced in Janurary that they were getting out of the digital camera business, and they sold their assets to Sony. Sony's initial DSLR line will be using the KM lens mount, so KM lens owners can still use some of their lenses on Sony's DSLR.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0601/06011901konicaminoltaout.asp

The thing with Sony is that they put a price premium on a lot of electronics, but not all their electronics are that good. Sony should muck around with KM's technology too much or their reputation will go down. I hope Sony doesn't push the Memory Stick on these cameras.

I'll agree that more competition is good, but since Sony joined this DSLR market (using KM technology) and KM left the market, the net number of competitors is still zero. :-)

staereo
06-07-2006, 09:46 PM
heh. YAY memory stick duo! :rolleyes:

Eriol
06-07-2006, 09:57 PM
heh. YAY memory stick duo! :rolleyes:

Well, at least there is a Compact Flash adapter for the Duo, but I wouldn't buy a camera that only supported Sony's Memory Stick.

staereo
06-07-2006, 10:11 PM
lol.. there are so many sides to sony that make me feel silly for owning the other sides. memory stick is one of them.

Eriol
06-14-2006, 09:55 PM
Ken Rockwell has some comments about this camera.
http://kenrockwell.com/sony/a100.htm

He says that most of the important photographic settings are not easily accessible on the camera, and you have to go through menus to change these settings. If that is the case, I agree with Ken in that this is not a serious DSLR. An active DSLR photographer will often need to change settings on the fly, so having the important settings buried in menus instead of command dials and camera buttons is not a good idea.

TomodachiFriend
06-14-2006, 10:06 PM
I always thought it was meant to compete with the Rebel XT and 50D. That doesn't really surprises me. I'm just hoping the images will be less noisy at 400 and higher with the final firmware without going for strong noise reduction. I hate the noise reduction on the KM 7D. It can't compare to what's done on a computer. It doesn't take as long though. :)

Eriol
06-23-2006, 12:56 PM
I stand corrected on my view of the A100.

There is a review with photos of the camera on all sides:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/alpha100.html

This camera appears to be fine.