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Author Topic: Sony A900  (Read 34930 times)
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2008, 12:23:21 AM »
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Hi!

I put an order on the Alpha 900 with 24-70/2.8 ZA, I buy a Sigma 12-24/4.5-5.6 as WA lens because I'm not really a wide angle guy. I have some good Minolta glass, 80-200/2.8 and 400/4.5 which I keep. I would be interested in the 70-300G SSM, mainly because of the SSM.

Thanks for sharing experience!

I have a small question, when you are comparing the 24-70/2.8 on A700 and A900, are you looking at a pixel level or at prints? The Alpha 700 and the 900 should be pretty similar at the pixel level, theoretically.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: aaykay
Great review that is uniquely perceptive.  

I find both the Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8ZA and the 70-300G SSM, as excellent performers on my A900.  The Zeiss 85mm f/1.4ZA is excellent too and so is my Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro.  

I will be adding the Zeiss 135mm f/1.4ZA Sonnar and the upcoming Zeiss 16-35 f/2.8 ZA to my list and I should be pretty much set as far as my lens requirements are concerned.  

Maybe it is my imagination but the performance on the A700 with these lenses, never wowed me at all (even though they were terrific images) but on the A900, they are standouts, probably because the lenses are deploying their full optical signatures onto the A900 images.
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2008, 12:46:23 PM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
I am still going to keep my D300, mainly so I can use my Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR on it, the bokeh of that lens is top notch and it makes a beautiful portrait lens with the D300.  Now my question for you is how is the bokeh on the Zeiss 85/1/4 ZA?  Do you have any sample shots that would convince me to sell my Nikkor?

TIA

If you want bokeh you probably want the 135 STF which is the same on full frame as an 85 on the APS-C.

http://www.dyxum.com/columns/articles/lens...5F28_review.asp
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tamerlin
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2008, 01:32:54 PM »
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Quote from: ejmartin
If you're now saying that your reply to my post was unrelated to what I wrote, that's fine.

It wasn't intentional, but my response wasn't entirely related because I misinterpreted yours.
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Plekto
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2008, 02:13:32 PM »
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What has me impressed by it isn't how it deals with low light, but the following areas:

Price.  Honestly, Nikon is on crack if they think their new $8000 camera isn't going to rot on the shelves when this is $3000 and like comparing Honda versus Toyota - far more similar than the $5000 price difference would suggest.

Full Frame.  Yes, it's nothing new to this type of camera, but no more crop factor and ability to use old film lenses makes for dead-simple utility if you are like me and tend to only use prime lenses.  Sony finally has a contender here.

Wide range bracketing.  Finally.  +/- 0.5 is nearly worthless for HDR shots in actual practive, unless you shoot 5-7 shots and take the three that you want out of that mess.  +/- 2.0 maximum and three shots is actually approaching what you would desire, especially for night time bracketing.

The only real negative is that it's heavy.  But for the price, it's a monster and currently on my #1 spot  after Nikon's massive failure.   I was waiting to see what they were coming out with before passing judgment, but $8000 is just la-la land.
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aaykay
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2008, 07:36:03 PM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
I am still going to keep my D300, mainly so I can use my Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR on it, the bokeh of that lens is top notch and it makes a beautiful portrait lens with the D300.  Now my question for you is how is the bokeh on the Zeiss 85/1/4 ZA?  Do you have any sample shots that would convince me to sell my Nikkor?

TIA

I am on a trip currently and don't have any handy samples with the 85mm with me but will post some after I get back home.  The bokeh is excellent with the Zeiss and I don't have any complaints about that.  The Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 is another one of the exceptional lenses available for the Alpha mount, when it comes to portrait lens options.  The 135 STF is a terrific option from a bokeh perspective, if you are willing to work with manual focus.

A couple of reviews/user-reports of the 85mm Zeiss lens are as follows:

http://www.dyxum.com/columns/articles/lens...14CZ_review.asp
http://www.dyxum.com/columns/articles/lens...inolta_85mm.asp
http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/Sony%20/%2...-zeiss_za_85_14
http://www.mhohner.de/sony-minolta/onelens.php?id=af85f14cz

Also, I would guess that the closest Nikkor to the Zeiss 85mm, would be the 85mm f/1.4 ?  And the closest match to the 70-200 f/2.8 VR, would be the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 SSM G ?   I personally like the flexibility afforded by the zoom, when it comes to portrait shooting, especially if you absolutely don't need to shoot at an extra large aperture.


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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2008, 07:45:11 PM »
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There is one error in the review which I had hoped MR would have corrected by now. I'm sure it's just jet lag that caused him to overlook the PC cord connection on the front of the camera (just under the orange alpha logo but covered by a plastic cap) As for the proprietary flash shoe, there are some of us who feel it is more secure. But for those who wish to use other non-OEM flashes or levelers, e-Bay has a profusion of cheap ($5-$20) adapters that mimic the Minolta FS 1100 adapter. I would recommend anyone who is considering moving to the Sony system and wants a pro level flash to investigate the 58. It has a unique head rotation to compensate when rotating the camera from landscape to portrait mode. To my mind the biggest deficiency is a wide angle zoom. There is nothing to compare with Nikon's 14-24. I use a Sigma 12-24 but can't wait for the imminent release of the Zeiss 16-35. Oh well, that's what post-processing is for.
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aaykay
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2008, 07:48:29 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
I have a small question, when you are comparing the 24-70/2.8 on A700 and A900, are you looking at a pixel level or at prints? The Alpha 700 and the 900 should be pretty similar at the pixel level, theoretically.

The comparison was done at the whole picture level and on prints....as we know, pixel level stuff matters very little, when it comes to the "effect" that a certain lens produces, primarily because a lens design is never homogeneous across the frame.  The overall effect that the designer targets, includes a certain effect at the edges, certain other effects in the middle regions and certain other effect at the centre.   The overall effect intended by the lens designer from the design (when it is a Full-frame lens design), is then captured by the Full-frame image.  A central cropped region (that the APS-C camera captures), only considers what the lens designer, "designed" into the central portion of the lens, and thus does not capture the "optical signature" of the lens, that a FF imager does.

Also obviously, the A900 offers the ability to go really large with your prints, well beyond the point where the lower resolution models have given up and I have not printed larger than 12"x18", yet.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2008, 11:20:57 PM »
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Thanks for the explanation! I'll also do some experiments once I get my Alpha 900 and 24-70/2.8, ordered yesterday.

Your comments, among others, were quite helpful when I decided to buy the 24-70/2.8. I'm going to share my own findings.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: aaykay
The comparison was done at the whole picture level and on prints....as we know, pixel level stuff matters very little, when it comes to the "effect" that a certain lens produces, primarily because a lens design is never homogeneous across the frame.  The overall effect that the designer targets, includes a certain effect at the edges, certain other effects in the middle regions and certain other effect at the centre.   The overall effect intended by the lens designer from the design (when it is a Full-frame lens design), is then captured by the Full-frame image.  A central cropped region (that the APS-C camera captures), only considers what the lens designer, "designed" into the central portion of the lens, and thus does not capture the "optical signature" of the lens, that a FF imager does.

Also obviously, the A900 offers the ability to go really large with your prints, well beyond the point where the lower resolution models have given up and I have not printed larger than 12"x18", yet.
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J. Paul
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« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2008, 06:51:36 AM »
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This camera sounds like a tremendous bargain, but the low battery life (if it is true) is a deal killer.
J. Paul



Quote from: Tony Beach
I am still going to keep my D300, mainly so I can use my Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR on it, the bokeh of that lens is top notch and it makes a beautiful portrait lens with the D300.  Now my question for you is how is the bokeh on the Zeiss 85/1/4 ZA?  Do you have any sample shots that would convince me to sell my Nikkor?

TIA
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douglasf13
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« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2008, 08:45:43 AM »
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Quote from: J. Paul
This camera sounds like a tremendous bargain, but the low battery life (if it is true) is a deal killer.
J. Paul

Michael's battery performance is odd.  500-600 shots a charge is the norm from everything I've seen. Sony rates it at 670, I believe.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2008, 02:29:33 PM »
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Does anyone know how much those Hartlbei TS lenses are going to cost? Does anyone want to buy a couple of modified Nikkor PC-E lenses? No, I'm not really soliciting a sale here, I'm trying to make a point, because this is where Nikon will really lose me for good. Once I sell off the Nikkor PC-E lenses and start buying those Hartlbei lenses, I will be more vested in the Sony system than the Nikon system; and switching back simply isn't going to happen. For Nikon this is a critical moment, I believe they just might slip to third in DSLRs over the next two years if they don't deliver a reasonably priced "D700x", and deliver it fast because for a lot of us the clock is now ticking.
The PC-E lenses are the main thing keeping me with Nikon right now, although the lack of LiveView on the a900 would also give me serious pause, because for me it's critical for manual focusing. I don't really consider the Hartblei lenses an alternative, because they seem to be vaporware. They're also very expensive, at 9,000 Euros for the 3-lens set (which BTW includes 40, 85, and 120mm - is 40mm really going to be wide enough for you?).
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Tony Beach
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2008, 09:09:21 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
The PC-E lenses are the main thing keeping me with Nikon right now, although the lack of LiveView on the a900 would also give me serious pause, because for me it's critical for manual focusing.

I've tried Live View a couple of times on my D300, and concluded that I was getting better results focusing with the viewfinder.

Quote
I don't really consider the Hartblei lenses an alternative, because they seem to be vaporware.

So is a "D700x", or whatever Nikon follows up the D3x with that is "affordable".  What's worse, I have no way of knowing how much I will be paying for that lower priced alternative.

Quote
They're also very expensive, at 9,000 Euros for the 3-lens set (which BTW includes 40, 85, and 120mm - is 40mm really going to be wide enough for you?).

I found the price list:  http://www.hartblei.de/en/pricelist.htm  That's $8300 euros, which is about $10,000 (USD).  That's a lot, but if the optics are better than the Nikkors and I get independent control of the alignment of the shift and tilt functions, then it wouldn't be unreasonable.  My Nikkor 45/2.8 PC-E could just save the day for Nikon with me, it is the best lens at that focal length I have ever seen; but when I shift it the performance at the edges of the image circle recorded by my D300 takes a significant dive (oh my, that's not even all the way to the edge of the lens' image circle); so as I already stated, if the Hartblei can retain better image quality than it is probably worth the premium.  As for 40mm versus 24mm at the wide end, I have to say that I am a little underwhelmed by the Nikkor 24/3.4 PC-E, but then I'm comparing it to my Nikkor 14-24/2.8, so that may not be fair.

Overall, I'm noticing a premium on a lot of the Sony lens prices compared to the very good Nikkors they would replace.  As I start to add them all up, it makes a $500 or even a $1000 discrepancy between a "D700x" and an A900 look not unreasonable -- especially if the "D700x" has the better image quality that many are expecting from the D3x.  I'm not going to be rash about this and will weigh my options; because I have several great Nikkor lenses in hand already my position is more complicated than many who might be pondering their options.  I would say right now the A900 looks like a very good option for a lot of people and I wish my situation was less complicated so I could just go out and buy it now.

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Slough
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« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2008, 04:08:40 AM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
I've tried Live View a couple of times on my D300, and concluded that I was getting better results focusing with the viewfinder.



So is a "D700x", or whatever Nikon follows up the D3x with that is "affordable".  What's worse, I have no way of knowing how much I will be paying for that lower priced alternative.

I think we can say with absolute certainty that there will be a D700 style camera with a D3x style sensor, at a price to compete head on with the A900 and 5D2. It is a case of not if, but when. In 2 years time I think we will see significant price drops, and such cameras will be much more common.

Quote from: Tony Beach
I found the price list:  http://www.hartblei.de/en/pricelist.htm  That's $8300 euros, which is about $10,000 (USD).  That's a lot, but if the optics are better than the Nikkors and I get independent control of the alignment of the shift and tilt functions, then it wouldn't be unreasonable.  My Nikkor 45/2.8 PC-E could just save the day for Nikon with me, it is the best lens at that focal length I have ever seen; but when I shift it the performance at the edges of the image circle recorded by my D300 takes a significant dive (oh my, that's not even all the way to the edge of the lens' image circle); so as I already stated, if the Hartblei can retain better image quality than it is probably worth the premium.  As for 40mm versus 24mm at the wide end, I have to say that I am a little underwhelmed by the Nikkor 24/3.4 PC-E, but then I'm comparing it to my Nikkor 14-24/2.8, so that may not be fair.

Overall, I'm noticing a premium on a lot of the Sony lens prices compared to the very good Nikkors they would replace.  As I start to add them all up, it makes a $500 or even a $1000 discrepancy between a "D700x" and an A900 look not unreasonable -- especially if the "D700x" has the better image quality that many are expecting from the D3x.  I'm not going to be rash about this and will weigh my options; because I have several great Nikkor lenses in hand already my position is more complicated than many who might be pondering their options.  I would say right now the A900 looks like a very good option for a lot of people and I wish my situation was less complicated so I could just go out and buy it now.

I recently bought the Nikon 24mm PC-E lens, and it seems to have comparable IQ to the 14-24mm which I also own. At least that is the case when stopped down. I was quite impressed with the close up performance.

Does Sony provide a sufficient range of lenses? 100mm micro? 200mm micro? 600mm? Wide zoom? 70-200 VR equivalent? Macro flash? The system is rather limited. And the Zeiss lenses look somewhat variable. The 18mm gets excellent reviews, and the 21mm might be a gem, but images on dpreview taken with the 24-70 F2.8 zoom are not overwhelming.

How big do you print? For A3 12MP is surely enough, or am I mistaken?
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Rob C
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« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2008, 04:39:37 AM »
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How big do you print? For A3 12MP is surely enough, or am I mistaken?
[/quote]


Well, Slough, I have a much more modest D200 and print within 25cm x 37.67cms limits on A3+ and that´s only - only? - around 10mp from the camera. I have to say that the results are very good indeed, and I wouldn´t be tempted to change camera for prints within that format. However, I am tempted to change up to FF and the D700´s reported quality at higher ISOs is the main reason, that and the relief of getting back to understood expectations for 35mm system lenses.

It would be pleasant to be able to use a digital camera like fast b/w used to be used...

Rob C
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Tony Beach
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« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2008, 11:05:14 AM »
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Quote from: Slough
How big do you print? For A3 12MP is surely enough, or am I mistaken?
I would like to be able to print larger with minimal or no stitching -- perhaps even A1.

The Sony 16-35/2.8 ZA and a 50mm prime would cover most of what I want to do with the A900.  I would still have my D300 and converted D200 cameras for many applications.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2008, 11:39:56 AM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
I've tried Live View a couple of times on my D300, and concluded that I was getting better results focusing with the viewfinder.
You must have super-human eye sight, if you can judge critical focus more accurately through a DX viewfinder than with LiveView zoomed in to 100%.

Quote
I found the price list:  http://www.hartblei.de/en/pricelist.htm  That's $8300 euros, which is about $10,000 (USD).  That's a lot, but if the optics are better than the Nikkors and I get independent control of the alignment of the shift and tilt functions, then it wouldn't be unreasonable.

The $8300 Euros was a promotional price on the "prototypes" which I'm not sure they ever actually shipped. I think the final lenses will be priced somewhat higher. I call these vaporware because they announced them quite some time ago but apparently have made no progress towards actually shipping them. At least when know Nikon is capable of shipping a D700x if they want to.

Quote
My Nikkor 45/2.8 PC-E could just save the day for Nikon with me, it is the best lens at that focal length I have ever seen; but when I shift it the performance at the edges of the image circle recorded by my D300 takes a significant dive (oh my, that's not even all the way to the edge of the lens' image circle); so as I already stated, if the Hartblei can retain better image quality than it is probably worth the premium.  As for 40mm versus 24mm at the wide end, I have to say that I am a little underwhelmed by the Nikkor 24/3.4 PC-E, but then I'm comparing it to my Nikkor 14-24/2.8, so that may not be fair.
My 24 PC-E is better than my other lenses at 24mm (24-70 AF-S, Tokina 12-24), although it's very close with the 14-24 (which has slightly better contrast, but I think the PC-E has the edge in most other regards).
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2008, 11:42:18 AM »
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I think we can say with absolute certainty that there will be a D700 style camera with a D3x style sensor, at a price to compete head on with the A900 and 5D2. It is a case of not if, but when. In 2 years time I think we will see significant price drops, and such cameras will be much more common.
I don't think the pricing or time frame is at all certain. I don't see how they can possibly release a D700x in 2009 that would be price-competitive with the a900/5DII unless they drastically reduce the price of the D3x. They can't sell a D3x for $8K and a D700x for $3.5K, it makes no sense.
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Slough
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« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2008, 12:30:24 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I don't think the pricing or time frame is at all certain. I don't see how they can possibly release a D700x in 2009 that would be price-competitive with the a900/5DII unless they drastically reduce the price of the D3x. They can't sell a D3x for $8K and a D700x for $3.5K, it makes no sense.

It doesn't stop Canon doing likewise. In the UK the 5D2 and 1Ds3 are about £2200 and £4400 respectively i.e. a factor of 2. Canon justify this with lower performance AF and FPS on the 5D2, oh and no built in grip. And the 1Ds3 has been on sale some time, and was priced much higher before the 5D2 appeared, and about the same as the 3Dx at launch. The 3Dx will come down in price too, once initial demand (ha ha) has been satisfied. I would not be surprised were the price to drop as soon as stock appears. That is what happened with the D700 after all.

The question then is how will Nikon differentiate the D700x (or whatever it is called) from the 3Dx.

Of course these comments are no more than internet nonsense, and worth exactly what you have paid for them.  
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 12:30:45 PM by Slough » Logged
Farmer
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« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2008, 03:58:10 PM »
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Quote from: Slough
Does Sony provide a sufficient range of lenses? 100mm micro? 200mm micro? 600mm? Wide zoom? 70-200 VR equivalent? Macro flash? The system is rather limited. And the Zeiss lenses look somewhat variable. The 18mm gets excellent reviews, and the 21mm might be a gem,

They have a 100mm macro, no 200mm.  600mm is available only if you look at older Minolta glass at the moment.  Wide zoom is coming from Zeiss (16-35) and already exist from KM/Sony in 17-35 as well as various 3rd party lens makers.  70-200 exist (and ALL lenses on the Sony system are effectively VR).  

In flashes it supports wireless built in, with 2 external flashes, 1 ring flash and 1 twin-macro flash system plus flash cables and external battery packs etc.

There's no doubt they lack lenses compared to Nikon and Canon at the moment, but having teamed up with Zeiss and with access to all of Minolta's designs and existing lenses, plus 3rd party options then given a little time I would expect the lens options to grow nicely.  At the moment, the only real shortcoming is at the very long tele end where you need to source old Minolta glass at the moment.

Quote from: Slough
but images on dpreview taken with the 24-70 F2.8 zoom are not overwhelming.

Hmmm, this is considered by pretty much everyone who has used and tested it as one of the best lenses going around.
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Slough
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« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2008, 04:06:24 PM »
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Quote from: Farmer
They have a 100mm macro, no 200mm.  600mm is available only if you look at older Minolta glass at the moment.  Wide zoom is coming from Zeiss (16-35) and already exist from KM/Sony in 17-35 as well as various 3rd party lens makers.  70-200 exist (and ALL lenses on the Sony system are effectively VR).  

In flashes it supports wireless built in, with 2 external flashes, 1 ring flash and 1 twin-macro flash system plus flash cables and external battery packs etc.

There's no doubt they lack lenses compared to Nikon and Canon at the moment, but having teamed up with Zeiss and with access to all of Minolta's designs and existing lenses, plus 3rd party options then given a little time I would expect the lens options to grow nicely.  At the moment, the only real shortcoming is at the very long tele end where you need to source old Minolta glass at the moment.


Hmmm, this is considered by pretty much everyone who has used and tested it as one of the best lenses going around.

Yes, having checked the Photo Zone test, and sample images, the Zeiss 24-70 looks to be excellent.

I have to admit that Sony - with the help of Zeiss - are making a good attempt at a 35mm camera system, and could do quite well. It is interesting to see how a highly respected German optics company can team up with a well respected Japanese consumer electronics maker.

Still, no tilt shift lenses, no 200mm micro (my favourite lens), no D3/D700 class body (which is arguably appealing to a wide market than the A900), so they have some way to go yet.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 04:06:53 PM by Slough » Logged
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