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Old 15th March 2012   #1
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The Future With Sony Alpha???

First this not meant to be a opportunity to whine and complain! So please do not post complaints here. Also please avoid lavish praise of your favourite brand, we all like Sony to a lesser or greater extent - shall we take that as read?

What I am hoping for is an intelligent, constructive and thoughtful consideration of how things are shaping up for Sony Alpha users.

First, I have some concerns that may help to kick off the discussion and they are these:

1) Will "legacy" Minolta lenses still work on near future Sony Alpha bodies? I'd hate to loose the use of my 35/2 for example.

2) Will the EVF really be good enough for people who use their cameras for long periods of time during the working day (eyestrain, etc)?

3) What chance is there that exotic optics such as a Sony 24mm T&S lens become available?

4) Will full-frame be enough of a business success for Sony or will it be dropped in the near future as so many serious users are increasingly getting attracted to Nikon or Canon?

So what do you think?
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Old 15th March 2012   #2
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

All my personal opinions, FWIW:

I am afraid that Sony will obsolete the use of screw AF driven lenses. This is consistent with fast focusing and the ever increasing frames/sec possibilities in their bodies.

EVF and live view are the future. No question about it. Forget OVF.

There is very little hope that there will be innovative optics from Sony (or the contracted Zeiss).

Full frame is going to come and I hope it is a full fledged live view/mirrorless FF and not an SLT only possibility.
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Old 15th March 2012   #3
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

First off, I do not think it is a good strategy to select a system based on what may be as opposed to what is. When selecting the Sony A900 to fill my 35mm DSLR needs, the only unknown was durability compared to proven Nikon and Canon alternatives. After numerous weddings, and other high pressure shoots over the past years, it has proven itself every bit as reliable, if not more so.

Answers (IMO):

1) Do legacy lenses work on the A77? If so, they probably will on the rumored A99, (again, I'm not counting on anything from Sony, and I am fine with my current A900s for a couple more years if necessary).

2) I have the same question, I had a A55 for a while, and it was tiring to use for a whole wedding shoot. The A77 finder is supposed to be better, how much so is the question ... and will the A99 be even better?

3) I personally do not care. I prefer other solutions for T/S work especially wide-angle. If I desired a longer lens with T/S focus control for portraits, I'd probably opt for the Schneider PC TS Super Angulon 50 or 90mm for Sony Alpha.

4) I'm not all that sure the attraction of Nikon or Canon is any greater than it was previously. Both have a huge installed user base. Sony is eating away from the bottom up with very innovative pro-sumer cameras, and eventually those folks will be Sony's installed user base looking to move up.

As far as the possibility of a FF successor to the A900/850, Sony has been a source of Nikon sensors and those Nikon sensors have manifested themselves in Sony models a bit later (like the same sensor used in the A900 and A850 that was used in the Nikon D3X). Sony seems to be relentless in packing high res sensors with more and more pixels. What I do not know is who makes the Nikon D800 sensor ... IF it is Sony, then I'd be surprised if it didn't show up in a FF sony using their processing engine protocols ... which I prefer over Nikon's anyway.

Marc
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Old 15th March 2012   #4
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

Many of the current line of Sony lenses are legacy Minolta lenses. They have simply been rebadged. The new ones have been designed to work on the same system. So I don't see Sony dropping them unless they drop the line of cameras they work on. That would be a huge decision. Sony would be saying they are getting out of the DSLR market and the DSLR market is still huge. Not the kind of move for a company trying to compete with Nikon and Canon.

Sony has proven it self to be innovative. Minolta was also innovative and so there my be some interesting lenses coming out of Sony. Whether they go with a 24mm T/S lens is questionable as it is a large investment with slow return. I am not sure they understand the need for such lenses either.

How well EVF cameras take off is a question. New technology can impact a market, but when the newness wears off, its staying power or market share can drop off as it may not be as wonderful to consumers as initially thought. While I like EVFs, I also like OVFs and sometimes I like OVF much better.
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Old 15th March 2012   #5
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

I think the new EVF FF Sony may well be the "make it or break it" for Sony. Sony certainly seem to be very positive about it and I hope that they are being accurate in their opinions on this new model.

I pretty much agree with what has been said so far, lets see what others have to say.
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Old 15th March 2012   #6
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

Well, the A77 works with screwdriver mount lenses, and several excellent current ones work like that (including the stellar 135 f1.8). I don't see any reason why they would stop supporting them (sounds like suicide to me).
Using an A77 EVF all day is no more tiring than using an OVF. I doubt there will be any more optical viewfinders. For better or for worse.
I'm pretty sure that full frame is here to stay especially as they are making the sensors for others. Sony seem serious about their ambitions, and they can afford and need a flagship.
Pre-Sales of the Nikon D800 would imply that it might even become profitable!
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Old 15th March 2012   #7
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

I haven't noticed any eyestrain issues with my A35, but I took a couple of minutes to fuss with the diopter control and have it set up so that my eyes are relaxed and basically focused at infinity when viewing through the finder. Very important, else you probably will give yourself a raging headache.

No doubt there's room for refinement in today's EVFs, but I think this is the future. Makes for a lot of flexibility in camera form factors while still providing a bright and spacious view, and an unprecedented flexibility in what you can display, and how you can display it.

FF? That would be nice, but I wonder if the real action is taking place with APS-C and smaller sensors.
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Old 15th March 2012   #8
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

Had to laugh, alphaman.

On your #4, perhaps forget C and N, and take a look at the titles of the threads on this very page, that of the 'Sony forum'. How many do not contain the word 'NEX'?

Alpha is so, like, yesterday, dude. For the overwhelming mass of forum members, in any case.
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Old 16th March 2012   #9
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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Originally Posted by philip_pj View Post
Had to laugh, alphaman.

On your #4, perhaps forget C and N, and take a look at the titles of the threads on this very page, that of the 'Sony forum'. How many do not contain the word 'NEX'? ...
You may have a point here, this seems to have become the "de facto" NEX forum, whereas the Dyxum forum seems to be the Alpha stronghold ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by philip_pj View Post
... Alpha is so, like, yesterday, dude. For the overwhelming mass of forum members, in any case.
I hope not. I need a DSLR/SLT full frame type camera for work and if you were right it would have to be a Nikon - which while attractive, is not really what I want.

That said, my NEX7 is my "weapon of choice" when I'm not working and I could accept a full frame NEX with an alpha mount as a possible alternative to an A900, maybe this is what the A99 will be?
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Old 16th March 2012   #10
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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Originally Posted by philip_pj View Post
Had to laugh, alphaman.

On your #4, perhaps forget C and N, and take a look at the titles of the threads on this very page, that of the 'Sony forum'. How many do not contain the word 'NEX'?

Alpha is so, like, yesterday, dude. For the overwhelming mass of forum members, in any case.
FYI, the Sony NEX IS an Alpha

The Sony Alpha NEX gets the attention here because there is more NEW activity, and there are a lot of folks adapting lens systems to it, especially Leica M users with a stable of lenses that benefit from focus peaking.

What Alpha 35mm DSLR users are waiting for is the FF version (a Sony-fied D800?) to use with their Zeiss ZA lenses ... when that shoe drops, the crop frame Alphas including the NEX will be so 25 minutes ago ... dude.

-Marc
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Old 16th March 2012   #11
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

+1 to the Alpha definitions.

Alpha A

and

Alpha E

Two mounts, both Alpha.
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Old 18th March 2012   #12
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaman View Post
1) Will "legacy" Minolta lenses still work on near future Sony Alpha bodies? I'd hate to loose the use of my 35/2 for example.
Well, entry-level bodies might come without screwdriver-AF now (there are rumours about an A37) - but for "better" APS-C and (in case they come) FF-bodies I personally expect full support for the next years (there is no way to look 5+ years into future - for all brands).

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaman View Post
2) Will the EVF really be good enough for people who use their cameras for long periods of time during the working day (eyestrain, etc)?
My 2cents: not for the next 2 or 3 years - in 5 years? Maybe... EVF will become better from year to year - and I do not expect bigger improvements for OVF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaman View Post
3) What chance is there that exotic optics such as a Sony 24mm T&S lens become available?
No idea - I don't expect that, but you never know...

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaman View Post
4) Will full-frame be enough of a business success for Sony or will it be dropped in the near future as so many serious users are increasingly getting attracted to Nikon or Canon?
I personally expect that complete Alpha-mount might dissappear in 5 to 8 years (and therefore also full-frame - or there will be FF in E-mount?) - with Sony completely switching to E-mount (E-mount cameras must not be that small as they are today...). E-mount has no mechanics - and Sony is on the way to remove mechanics (mirror is away, shutter might follow next, next is AF and diaphragma).

All above is personal opinion - there is of course nothing official. I'm about to leave A-mount (keeping NEX-7 and Leaf AFI), bodys are gone, lenses on the way.

Andreas
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Old 19th March 2012   #13
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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...
All above is personal opinion - there is of course nothing official. I'm about to leave A-mount (keeping NEX-7 and Leaf AFI), bodys are gone, lenses on the way.

Andreas
I have to admit that I'm tempted to do this as well. I "umm and err" about quite what I should do. The grass often seems greener on the other side of the hill, but ...

Looking through my A900, I have to admit it is a pretty good camera and the viewfinder is much better than the NEX7's EVF. I am concerned that the EVF is not ready enough for Sony to be a EVF only company - although I can appreciate the advantages that an EVF would offer (provided that it was as good as the current A900 OVF).

The things that have kept me with Sony so far are the Zeiss lenses and the excellent value for money that the full frame bodies have represented.

I have found the TTL flash in particular to be a disappointment compared to Nikon (my previous system) plus I have found the degree of noise present at ISO's above 400 to be too high. I also have had a great feeling of frustration with the way that Sony discontinue a model without a replacement being available (take the A700 as an example).

As it was when Sony took on Konica-Minolta, it is now - it's a gamble as to whether the EVF will be the undoing of the Alpha system or not ... Having been put through the stress of wondering if my investment into the system was wise then, I find myself at the same place once more. The lure of the Nikon D800 is proving to be quite strong.
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Old 19th March 2012   #14
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

I have published my own take on this affair here. Many of the sentiment you see here are echoed there, plus some other bits. Please feel free to read and comment.
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Old 19th March 2012   #15
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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The DSLR space, despite the number of players, is essentially a two-horse race. Sony wants to join in riding an ostrich. Hence their focus (forgive the pun) on EVF technology...
Definitely some good thoughts in that article. It is speculation, as all of this is, but worth a read.
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Old 19th March 2012   #16
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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Definitely some good thoughts in that article. It is speculation, as all of this is, but worth a read.
Thanks for the endorsement, Bill.
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Old 19th March 2012   #17
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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I have published my own take on this affair here. Many of the sentiment you see here are echoed there, plus some other bits. Please feel free to read and comment.
Great article Carlos. I use an A900, and for MF work, a Pentax 645D. I recently added an NEX 7 for travel, and an "always have a camera" with me. I must admit, I am not a fan of the EVF. Being left eyed, it is a bugger to use in bright sunlight. My A900 (and 645D) run circles around it.
I make big prints, so I am anxious for the next Sony FF. Hopefully it will be Full Frame, 36Mp, and traditional eye level prism finder. I must admit, I was THIS CLOSE yesterday of preordering a Nikon D800E, with MF Zeiss 18mm lens in Nikon mount. If Sony does not announce something soon, I am heading to the D800E. I have a stable of Sony/Zeiss/Minolta lenses, and I love the A900, but Sony needs to step up to the plate, or they lose me. One positive is that the NEX 7 can use anything with an adapter, regardless how I go!
Dave in NJ
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Old 19th March 2012   #18
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Re: The Future With Sony Alpha???

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I have published my own take on this affair here. Many of the sentiment you see here are echoed there, plus some other bits. Please feel free to read and comment.
Thanks for the link to your article. Interesting reading and pretty much what I am thinking.

The interesting thing is whether Sony are ahead of the game with their technology (ie Canon and Nikon will follow in time) or whether they are simply diverted by the notion of going towards a mirror-less approach. Ultimately who knows?

I imagine that mirror-less may well be the future and can see that it offers many possibilities with new designs of camera, etc, but am not sure I like this in-between stage that we are currently "enjoying".
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