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Author Topic: Sony Alpha 850  (Read 21842 times)
jasonrandolph
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« on: August 27, 2009, 10:36:43 AM »
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This camera may be the game changer.  With the announcement of this camera (and the almost unanimous rave reviews the A900 got), I'm sure Canon and Nikon are rethinking their strategies.  Sony is here to stay.  They have the brand recognition and the product quality to directly compete with the big two.  The fact that they are driving the price war is incredible, and I think we all stand to benefit.  As a Nikon shooter, I already use a Sony sensor, and unless they put their D3X sensor in a D700-size body, and offer it at sub-$2300, I may have to change.  Since I'm still in the DX world and don't have the FX glass yet, I'm positioned almost perfectly to move into FX full-force.  The clock is ticking, Nikon.  You have until Christmas!  
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2009, 10:54:53 AM »
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Good for Sony, cranking up the competition. I still think the lack of sensor-based LiveView is a fatal flaw for serious tripod work in the field or in the studio though.
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Pelao
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2009, 11:14:15 AM »
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It's definatlely attractive. The Live View may be an issue for some.

A question: the A900 does not show ISO unless the ISO button is pressed. This is a big deal for me (and something that bugs me on my 5D). Does anyone know if the A850 has added permanent ISO in the viewfinder? I doubt it, given that the A950 doesn't have it, but one can hope.

At some stage  my 5D will pass on, and most likely I would stay with Canon given my lens investment, but I have to say this is attractive: an A850 with the Sony / Zeiss 50/1.4, 24-70 and 70-200 would be really nice: the $2k price tag on the body helps a lot.

Of course, Canon and Nikon will respond. Interesting times.

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MarkL
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2009, 11:28:07 AM »
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It's good to have 3 major players in the higher end dslr market.

I probably would have preferred the A900 instead of my D700 but I already had manual focus nikon lenses and the prices of the sony lenses were too much to justify. The flash system is a relative unknown too (for me) whereas nikon's is well proven and I understand it.
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jasonrandolph
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2009, 11:45:51 AM »
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I think the real value is in the response from Canon and Nikon.  I really don't want to switch from Nikon, because I know it and like it.  If the A850 drives Nikon to introduce a D700X/D800/whatever at an affordable price, I will stay with Nikon.  For those of you who have big investments in full-frame glass, when it comes time to replace your D700/5D, you'll have Sony to thank in part for making the new bodies much more affordable.  So, to echo Michael's comment, "Well played, Sony."
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Pelao
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2009, 12:04:23 PM »
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Quote from: jasonrandolph
I think the real value is in the response from Canon and Nikon.  I really don't want to switch from Nikon, because I know it and like it.  If the A850 drives Nikon to introduce a D700X/D800/whatever at an affordable price, I will stay with Nikon.  For those of you who have big investments in full-frame glass, when it comes time to replace your D700/5D, you'll have Sony to thank in part for making the new bodies much more affordable.  So, to echo Michael's comment, "Well played, Sony."


I agree. I will now hope my 5D lasts a while longer, to see what Canon comes up with as a 5D Mk3 or some other model.
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BJL
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2009, 12:25:37 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I still think the lack of sensor-based LiveView is a fatal flaw for serious tripod work in the field or in the studio though.
That is mysterious, since the new Sony A500 and A550 do both have sensor-based LiveView, under the name "MF check Live View", and Sony's EXMOR CMOS sensors are capable of LiveView. Sony seems committed to the idea that a camera with LiveView must include its "fast AF Live View" option, which requires a second sensor in the OVF and forces the use of a low quality, rather low magnification penta-mirror OVF, not suitable in a $2,000 body.

Otherwise, I like Sony's approach to 24x36mm format of leaving the high frame rate action camera sector to Canon and Nikon and instead pursuing the high resolution, low to medium ISO speed "medium format replacement" market. I wonder how well the new 28-75/2.8, apparently a modified version of the $400 Tamron, will keep up with the sensor.
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jwhee0615
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2009, 12:44:30 PM »
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My concern is that every Sony product that I have owned over the years has been crap. It has broken prematurely and they like to charge high flat rates for repair. I wonder if these DSLR's will be of higher quality. I agree that the best for me is to force Canon to get on their game and compete aggressively with Sony.
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pete_truman
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2009, 01:08:57 PM »
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I think this is excellent news and should hopefully prevent the complacency that Canon and Nikon appear to have (had?). It's interesting how quickly the Sony machine have come from nearly nowhere to become a clear competitor with the DSLR market. Will not be switching, but will not say never!
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Pete Truman
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2009, 01:16:44 PM »
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Quote from: pete_truman
Will not be switching, but will not say never!


Agreed. This is a very compelling offering - certainly coupled with the 24-70 Zeiss.

[Thinking out loud] Say that the 850 plus 24-70 is $3600, what would I want to pay for a D3xlite / D700x body for use with my existing Nikon lenses 24-70, 70-200 and 14-24 (and SB900), bearing in mind a couple of advantages that the new Nikon (think flash, AF) will presumably have over the 850?

Mark

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douglasf13
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2009, 01:47:19 PM »
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Quote from: jwhee0615
My concern is that every Sony product that I have owned over the years has been crap. It has broken prematurely and they like to charge high flat rates for repair. I wonder if these DSLR's will be of higher quality. I agree that the best for me is to force Canon to get on their game and compete aggressively with Sony.

  FWIW, I can say with full confidence that Sony DSLRs, at the very least, are no more problem prone than Canon or Nikon, and the repair rates are competitive.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2009, 01:58:49 PM »
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Hi,

I had three Sony Alphas, 100, 700 and 900. No problems, so far.

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: markhout
Agreed. This is a very compelling offering - certainly coupled with the 24-70 Zeiss.

[Thinking out loud] Say that the 850 plus 24-70 is $3600, what would I want to pay for a D3xlite / D700x body for use with my existing Nikon lenses 24-70, 70-200 and 14-24 (and SB900), bearing in mind a couple of advantages that the new Nikon (think flash, AF) will presumably have over the 850?

Mark
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2009, 02:57:29 PM »
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I echo Erik's findings with the A100, A700 & A900. QC matches Nikon & Canon. Since no one mentioned, I suspect the A850 does not have a built-in flash for fill-in & wireless triggering. However, Sony has solved this problem with with the F20-AM (slightly overpriced but more effective than a built-in unit). As for lenses, my only regret is that Nikon doesn't make the 12-24 available in an A mount;) The issue of LV is that Sony offers a post production view. To get an LV with as low a shutter lag as Sony offers in their entry level and 5xx series required a pentamirror. Apparently they do have a patent using a pentaprism but the recent economic crisis prevented them from introducing it on an A700 or A900 replacement. Perhaps they're reserving it for future DSLR's that will feature the Exmor R sensor. For those of you who want to get a sense of how good the technology behind Exmor R and what a leap forward it will offer to DSLRs, sauter over to a Sonystyle store and try the HDR-XR500 camcorder. Obviously Sony is ready to up the ante even further than the A850.
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lisa_r
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2009, 04:52:51 PM »
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I don't see how this changes the game when there is no video (!), no live view, slower shooting rate than the a900, more high-ISO noise than the Canon/Nikons and it's not that much cheaper than the 5D2.
(Sure you save $500-$700 on the body, but you give up any hope of renting if something goes south, Canon/Nikon's slew of lens options, etc., etc.)
I agree that this new Sony looks like good value, but a game changer? What am I missing here?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 04:55:32 PM by lisa_r » Logged
douglasf13
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2009, 05:01:07 PM »
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Quote from: lisa_r
I don't see how this changes the game when there is no video (!), no live view, slower shooting rate than the a900, more high-ISO noise than the Canon/Nikons and it's not that much cheaper than the 5D2.
(Sure you save $500-$700 on the body, but you give up any hope of renting if something goes south, Canon/Nikon's slew of lens options, etc., etc.)
I agree that this new Sony looks like good value, but a game changer? What am I missing here?

 Better low ISO than 5dii (DR, no banding, color separation, resolution,) higher flash sync (1/250,) bigger/brighter VF (with built-in shutter,) built in stabilization, better build, slightly better AF.  It was worth it to me to pay $300 more for the A900 vs. 5Dii for those things, and now the A850 for 25% less than the 5Dii seems like an incredible deal. I've never shot the A900 over 1fps, personally. Regardless, any new FF breaking the $2K price barrier is a big deal.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 05:02:17 PM by douglasf13 » Logged
lisa_r
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2009, 05:12:59 PM »
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Good points Douglas, but I guess for me as a pro, the lack of lenses and lack of rental support could be deal breakers. And no video is a real let down - I am just now starting to tinker with video, and there is no turning back. Video is being asked for by many clients these days...and it can be very lucrative.
Anyway, how are you liking the a900? I handled it a couple times and it seemed pretty nice. (the noise some people were getting off of that chip scared me out of buying it though.) Which is the best RAW converter for it?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 05:13:55 PM by lisa_r » Logged
frugal
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2009, 05:34:27 PM »
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It's definitely tempting for me. I'm just about to dive into a FF DSLR and the a900 did have a nice feel the little bit I used it and I don't have any existing kit to carry over (still shooting on Olympus OM system). It's funny because I'd pretty much settled on the a900 but then started to be tempted by the d700 and thought to myself, "if it were $1000 cheaper I'd by the Nikon". Now we have the a850 that's pretty close to that much cheaper without too much compromise, for that price difference and the price difference in the ZA 24-70 compared to the Nikon I can pick up a 50 1.4 and the 70-300, or am pretty close to the ZA 85 or 135, so that's a very compelling package.

What concerns me is there are still a few cons that I'm not sure are deal breakers for me, the non-standard flash shoe for instance and the vastly smaller system (lenses, flashes, accessories, etc) that go with the whole package. I also really liked the d700 and obviously pick up a very substantial system there but I'm not really sure I can justify the extra costs compared to what Sony brings to the table.

The big question is what Nikon will do to compete since Sony supplies their sensors so I doubt they'll be able to put something with a 24mp sensor in the exact price bracket and it's hard to say if they can even put it out in the same price range as the 5dII. If they put too much of a premium on it (either due to costs or to prevent cannibalising the d3x's sales) then I suspect they'll have a hard sale on their hands. Now if they could drop the d700's price into the same territory as the a850 and put out a 24mp d700 body (call it the d700x or d800, or whatever) at a price comparable to the 5dII is then they might be on to something (they'd likely have to drop the d3x price as well and I'm not sure if keeping the d3 would make much sense at that point).

Canon seems to be in a better position as they do manufacture their own sensors, I could see them trimming down the 5dII a bit and putting it up against the a850.
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K.C.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2009, 05:36:01 PM »
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The option to shoot image stabilized with glass such as this matters far more to me than video.

I have a video camera for that.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2009, 05:42:06 PM »
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Quote from: lisa_r
Good points Douglas, but I guess for me as a pro, the lack of lenses and lack of rental support could be deal breakers. And no video is a real let down - I am just now starting to tinker with video, and there is no turning back. Video is being asked for by many clients these days...and it can be very lucrative.
Anyway, how are you liking the a900? I handled it a couple times and it seemed pretty nice. (the noise some people were getting off of that chip scared me out of buying it though.) Which is the best RAW converter for it?

  Yeah, Lisa, the noise thing with the A900 is there, but overstated.  About the same as 5dii at ISO 800, and starts loosing ground at ISO 1600 or so.  Still, it's way better than many cameras before it at high ISO.  Hilariously, I sometimes shoot at ISO 1600 on purpose, because I like the subtle grain, but my normal shooting never goes much above ISO 400-800, anyways.  Video is quite a cool feature for the 5Dii, and I guess it really depends on what you shoot.  My work requirements are pretty simple in that I only ever shoot a 24-70, 50mm and 85mm, and Sony is doing well in that regard.  Their main weakness is t/s and long primes.  As far as rentals, I have to know a little ahead of time to do it through the mail, but, like I said, I don't use a large number of lenses (product of medium format photography.)  I guess if I had an emergency, I could just rent a Nikon or Canon body along with lenses in a pinch, but I haven't really ever been in that situation (or I could break out the Hasselblads and rent MFDB.)  

  As you can see, I'm probably a narrower market of intended users, and the A900 was a perfect fit for me, but the 5Dii, while not exactly being the best at some things (outside of video,) is very good at most things, and it sounds like the perfect fit for you.  The A900, like the D700, is a little more specialized.  I happily paid $3k for the A900, so the A850 seems like an outrageous price to me

  As far as RAW converters, that is a huge subject on its own, but I use C1 Pro for large batches and Raw Therapee for smaller ones.  C1 is great, but the color is a bit off in the A900 profile. RT is outstanding. Adobe really kills the A900, especially at high ISO.

 Take care, Douglas

 

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douglasf13
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2009, 05:44:47 PM »
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Quote from: frugal
...What concerns me is there are still a few cons that I'm not sure are deal breakers for me, the non-standard flash shoe...

  FWIW, there is a small, cheap adapter available on ebay for <$10 that works with Pocket wizards and such.  I use them all the time. Or....there is the $100 Sony branded adapter. lol.
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