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Author Topic: Sony A900 replacement?  (Read 14242 times)
fredjeang
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2010, 04:11:14 AM »
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The quality of the high-end Sony are not in question here IMO. We all agree that these are fantastic cameras. I've been really impressed at the time by the Minolta 7D and the Sony are made from that wood. I do not own one, but had some files reacently and there are outstanding.
The ergonomics is more in the line to what I expect a camera shoul be (but it is a personal feeling)

What worries me, is precicely that it is a new player, and they need to do better comunication and more efforts in that segment than would have to do CaNikon. Specially, the fact that high-end and pro segment is a small but prestigious one. To me, it looks like Sony is not going to play strongly in that segment, it smells that, but of course it is a interpretation that I do, based on to external factor.
Because here we are not talking about a little company like Pentax. Sony have the power and structures to do things fast and impose the Brand in that segment. I have the sensation that they came into it, but now that they have changed the route.

I'm not a CaNikon lover, but have to admit that when I see the amount of options available for these gears, both new and second-hand, as a consumer,
I'll think twice in going to Sony High-end at the moment if I had limited incomes and had to choose one stable system thinking long term.

Will Sony surprise us very soon ?

Fred.
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pegelli
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« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2010, 06:44:09 AM »
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I think if there's a mistake Sony made with the A900 and A700 is that they let them go out of production before being sure of the successor, and thereby making them harder to find for people looking into that segment.

However with a bit of effort very reasonable priced NIB A700's and A900's can be found if you really want one and the A850 is only deficient in frame rate (I think 100% or 98% viewfinder coverage isn't significant).

Wrt video or live view, the community is still split on those options. For some it's absence is a deal breaker while others want a "pure" photocamera. Can't please all.

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pieter, aka pegelli
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2010, 07:25:13 AM »
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Quote from: pegelli
Wrt video or live view, the community is still split on those options. For some it's absence is a deal breaker while others want a "pure" photocamera. Can't please all.

Why would someone NOT want LiveView on a 20+mp camera?
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fredjeang
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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2010, 09:09:59 AM »
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Quote from: EPd
Because one doesn't need it, perhaps? LV does suck up battery power, by the way. In the nearly 1.5 years that I am using the A900 now I haven't had a single occasion that I thought I needed it. Not that I would mind having it in a camera, just like video, but I didn't need it. I would especially like it if it came for free. But LV needs to be implemented technically and that will come at a price. The A850 is so very well priced partly because a choice was made of what to leave out. Note that the Nikon competitor using the same chip does have LV, but lacks built in anti-shake. At a much higher price even. Anti-shake for a FF chip is a major technical tour-de-force. The lack of it is something I personally consider a dealbreaker when buying a DSLR.

There is no such camera that will make any type of photographer happy. Even when it had all the bells and whistles that all high-end DSLRs have combined it would not be the perfect camera, because nobody would use ALL these features, while in the meanwhile they would clutter the user interface. I consider myself quite a broadly oriented photographer, but there is no way that I would benefit from having it all under my hands in one camera. On the other hand: my perfect personal camera would probably combine features that you will not find in any existing model currently available. As long as there are no built-to-order DSLR's we'll have to pick one from what is pre-configured for us by the different brands. So for one person a Canon will do best while for the other a Sony or a Nikon will be the preferred type. For me the Sony A900 happened to be the best fit for my needs. By lucky incident, because otherwise I would have had to invest in an all new system from another vendor.

Seen in the broad perspective I think that Sony's A700/A850/A900 are the most "purely photographical" cameras in a more traditional sense. Image quality is superb, with much better colors than Canon or Nikon have. Handling of the Sony's is very photography driven, which you will experience after some extensive use. This is a field where Minolta used to shine traditionally. All emphasis is put into making a well-exposed, well-focused, well-colored still image in the most comfortable way. The engineers clearly did not think about such a completely different thing such as video. And even live view was probably considered as some sort of video. Instead the engineers came up with a very smart type of preview where you can experiment with different camera settings after having taken the test shot. This is especially very convenient if you work hand-held. You won't need to keep your camera pointed at you subject to see what a different setting is going to do. I have used this function a lot. How would I get this convenience with the Canikons?
I agree with your points. But in the case of Sony, live view is specially important. The reason is that there is a lot of manual Minolta lenses, and the current offers from Sony-Zeiss is still limited (and expensive). I work only with manual primes, and if the green light confirmation is, let's say, "reliable"    in many cases, live view is not an extra secondary feature IMO.
Going video is another story, but a "pure" camera should have live view facility IMO.

Fred.


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Theresa
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2010, 09:38:41 AM »
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Quote from: EPd
Because one doesn't need it, perhaps? LV does suck up battery power, by the way. In the nearly 1.5 years that I am using the A900 now I haven't had a single occasion that I thought I needed it. Not that I would mind having it in a camera, just like video, but I didn't need it. I would especially like it if it came for free. But LV needs to be implemented technically and that will come at a price. The A850 is so very well priced partly because a choice was made of what to leave out. Note that the Nikon competitor using the same chip does have LV, but lacks built in anti-shake. At a much higher price even. Anti-shake for a FF chip is a major technical tour-de-force. The lack of it is something I personally consider a dealbreaker when buying a DSLR.

There will be live view because the market demands it.  Whether I need it or not, and I don't, it will have it.  There will be much better high iso performance, which I do want but can probably do without.  I think eventually all there will be is EVFs, no OVF.  I will probably have my a850 a long time as I prefer its excellent viewfinder.  It is cheaper because they won't need a pentaprism (or pentamirror) or a mirror and probably not a mechanical shutter.  I'm hoping that these will be available in ff.  FF is a real fringe market for Sony with very little demand.  I'm hoping that there is a fan of FF at Sony, which it seems they do what with the excellent a850/a900.  I think the a850, which I have, was created to use up the part supply for the a900.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2010, 10:10:43 AM »
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Quote from: EPd
Because one doesn't need it, perhaps?

Guess you've never used it then?

But it is pretty obvious you are a die-hard Sony fan ... so I won't get into it with you ... but you should really try LV before you knock it.

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feppe
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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2010, 11:07:36 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Guess you've never used it then?

But it is pretty obvious you are a die-hard Sony fan ... so I won't get into it with you ... but you should really try LV before you knock it.

I kept saying I don't need no stinking Live View holding on to my 30D, but when I got 450D with LV and used it once, I got it immediately. It's perfect for tripod work. And it's indispensable for low light work as AF doesn't function and I bet even FF viewfinders aren't bright enough to focus accurately especially with high-megapixel cameras.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2010, 11:31:12 AM »
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IMHO the only reason somebody using a high-MP DSLR for tripod-based shooting wouldn't want live-view is because they've never used it. There is no better way to achieve critical focus on a DSLR than live-view. That's especially true for manual-focus and tilt/shift lenses, but even with AF lenses I've found the contrast-based live-view AF to be more precise than phase-detect AF. Plus you can set your focus point anywhere in the frame. And the higher the MP count in a camera, the more important focus accuracy becomes.

And I don't buy the 'cost' argument. Entry-level consumer DSLR's and P&S cameras have had live-view for years, it certainly wouldn't have affected the price point of the a900. Sony left it out because they mis-judged it's value to shooters in this market segment. The lower-level Sony's have a much-praised "live-mos" LV implementation that is great for hand-held, P&S-style shooting; but when Sony couldn't scale that up to full-frame they said they'd rather wait to add LV until they could do it "right". But LV isn't for P&S-style hand-held shooting in a camera like the a900, the whole point is being able to focus off the main sensor, so their argument that LV off the main sensor isn't worth bothering with is completely wrong-headed. Fact is since the time-frame of the Nikon D300/D3, LV has become a standard feature in CMOS-based DSLR's, with the two Sony full-frames being the only exception that I can think of.

As for the "preview" function Sony added in lieu of LV, all it really does is fave you the step of manually deleting your test shot. A small convenience, but hardly ground-breaking or indispensable IMHO.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 11:34:55 AM by JeffKohn » Logged

Marlyn
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« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2010, 11:55:52 AM »
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I'm in the "addicted to Live view" club.     Shooting Landscapes with a 90 or 24mm TS-E lens on a 1DS-3, it is just brilliant for accurate focusing, especially when messing with Tilts.    Its a deal breaker now (for me at least) for the high rez cameras with manual / TiltShift lenses.

Whilst I can often focus fine with the viewfinder and focus confirmation, I find LV +10x zoom,  + DoF preview does a much better Job on those tricky landscapes (especially with tilts).   I'm shooting at F11 to maximise resolution / minimise difraction so I need to be quite carefull with DoF, especially on the 90.  

I was also in the camp of 'sounded like a nice gimmic'  until I used it.   Since then, never going back.

Regards

Mark
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2010, 02:03:32 PM »
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Hi,

What focusing screen are you using?

I have two issues with manual focus. One is that the AF lenses are not that easy to focus manually, the other we have now another variable, focus plane alignment of viewfinder screen, mirror and sensor. A third issue is that I just cannot see that viewfinder magnification is really good enough for critical focus. Focusing an 400/4.5 with 2X extender is very difficult on the A900.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: EPd
O yes, I have used it (Canon 1Ds mIII). And no, I am absolutely not a Sony fan. I have avoided the Sony brand as long as I could, but since they took over the Minolta legacy I had to look into them because of my investment in Minolta glass. I am definately not interested in anything else from them than a FF DSLR. (My video cameras are all Canon, as is my pocket cam.) But I have to admit, with somewhat grinding teeth, that their A900 is a really outstanding camera, which I cannot avoid to like. A big chunk of my income is based on that single camera and believe me: I do not take any quality risks with my business. So I taped away the Sony brand on my camera (how's that for a "die-hard Sony fan"?) to get rid of Canikoner's unsollicited comments that keep you from doing your work, and shoot away happily.

Regarding the idea that the viewfinder might not be good enough to focus a 24MP camera like this: I get very accurate focus by using the viewfinder. Maybe you should try a really good viewfinder (with a very good ground glass above all) for a change? If my camera had LV I would probably use it sometimes, just because I could. And yes, I am quite sure that Sony will put LV and video in their future flagship cameras, even if only for the me-too whiners from DPR. If you truly believe you cannot live without LV now, do not buy a Sony FF.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2010, 05:09:25 PM »
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Quote from: EPd
I'm using the Acute Matte L-screen. (Acute Matte is a classical Minolta patent for a christallized surface structure that ensures maximum light efficiency with very clear focus "pop". Also used in the later Hasselblad focusing screens.)

The AF lenses that I have all have normal to good focusing rings, so no problem there.

Alignment of focus plane, sensor and ground glass should be perfect. This is what you may expect from a camera like the A900. (A side note: the main difference between the A900 and the A850 is the level of manual labour (= direct labour costs) involved in the adjustment of things like the 100% viewfinder image. The A850's viewfinder is exactly the same, but not manually adjusted to show the exact recording area. I would assume though that the focusing planes are adjusted to the same standards in both models.) Wherever I focus on my screen, that is always where best focus is achieved. For very critical situations (low light with little contrast for example) I use a viewfinder magnifier. There is a separate one and there is one built into the angle finder with a switch. Highly effective. I have to say though that my eyes have exeptional high resolution, so in most cases it is easy for me to see exact focus in my viewfinder, even of very small details.
Must be some screen ... I have essentially 20/10 vision and can't always nail it in the viewfinder.  My hit rate with LV is 100%, my hit rate with my eyes is significantly lower than that.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2010, 06:47:19 PM »
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Quote from: K.C.
One guy in some camera store says he can't get one. Maybe he can't get another one because there aren't any in the channel, but there will be in another month. All the major vendors have them in stock, supply is not an issue if you have capital.

I gotta laugh at how people hear what they want to hear.
That's not quite correct, but it may be what you wanted to read? (subtle poke in the ribs, and all in jest).  However, since I started this ball rolling...

What I said was that a clerk at a local camera store (Kerrisdale Cameras) - which is one of a chain of stores - said that the A900s were discontinued and they couldn't order them.  I knew Sony had discontinued the A700 but I hadn't heard anything about the A900, so I was wondering.  I sent an e-mail to Sony Canada and asked them, and the person who replied confirmed that the A700 has been discontinued but the A900 is still current.  They are available for purchase through the Sony website.  Last Friday I was in another store (London Drugs) - one of a chain of stores also, and as I was walking by the camera desk I noticed they had an A900 there 'on sale' for $200 less.  I asked the clerk there how long the A900s would be on sale and she replied that they only had the one A900 body and it was on clearance as they were being discontinued and Sony is planning to bring out something new.  That's all I know, and that's essentially what I posted.  When I was at the London Drugs store today I walked by the camera counter and that body has been sold.

Now it MAY be that Sony is discontinuing the A900, or it may not.  Based on the responses of two clerks in two different corporations, that's what's been implied to me.  It may be different in the US than it is in Canada.  Anyone who knows for certain is likely covered under NDA.  Sony isn't saying, and if they did, it's theoretically possible that people would stop buying A900s in favour of whatever they MAY be bringing out and they'd be left with their current stock.  The A900 is available from sonystyle.ca and it's also available and in stock at B&H.  I'm not accusing Sony of hiding their (potential?) upgrades, only playing their cards close.  Neither am I criticizing their policies.  In their place I might do the same thing.

I like the A900 as a camera, but I'm not in any particular rush to purchase one so I can wait a month or two.  I like the in-body stabilization, and I like the general look and feel of it.  They have some great lenses, and Sigma and others also make good lenses.  I've never used Live View, but I can see how it might have some potential for macro and/or landscape work, which is mostly what I do.  I've made a couple of 'family' videos using my walk-around Fuji camera, but I've been a photographer for so long I keep trying to shoot video in portrait mode and it doesn't work overly well.

And that's all I have to say about that!

Mike.  
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 06:50:16 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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pegelli
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« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2010, 07:04:02 PM »
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Quote from: pegelli
Wrt ..... live view, the community is still split on those options. For some it's absence is a deal breaker while others want a "pure" photocamera.

Looking at the reactions sofar I think this was a valid point.

My philosophy is:

If you want Live View (insert any option in here) don't let anybody on the internet tell you that you don't need it

If you don't want Live view (insert any other option in here) don't let anybody on the internet tell you that you do need it

Only look at attributes and see if you want to change your mind or try it.
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2010, 11:50:27 PM »
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Hi,

Starting this thread was OK in my humble opinion. It generated a few comments which may have been helpful for potential Sony buyers.

Regarding the situation I guess that there is a shortage of Alpha 900-s. One reason may be the Alpha 850, which for most people may be a better choice. My guess is that Sony only has a small production capacity geared to the top level cameras and that they are in process of manufacturing a stock of a new model before introduction. They would obviously be tight lipped about the new models, so not to kill off sales of the existing models.

From the news I didn't really expect a new model "real soon now", your observation may indicate it could be around the corner.

Regarding the Sony Alpha I'd suggest that you check out the lenses you may be interested in. It seems that Sony has generally quite high prices. It's reassuring that at least some folks on the forum prefer the Sony lenses compared to other lens lines they also have experience with.

Best regards
Erik






Quote from: wolfnowl
That's not quite correct, but it may be what you wanted to read? (subtle poke in the ribs, and all in jest).  However, since I started this ball rolling...

What I said was that a clerk at a local camera store (Kerrisdale Cameras) - which is one of a chain of stores - said that the A900s were discontinued and they couldn't order them.  I knew Sony had discontinued the A700 but I hadn't heard anything about the A900, so I was wondering.  I sent an e-mail to Sony Canada and asked them, and the person who replied confirmed that the A700 has been discontinued but the A900 is still current.  They are available for purchase through the Sony website.  Last Friday I was in another store (London Drugs) - one of a chain of stores also, and as I was walking by the camera desk I noticed they had an A900 there 'on sale' for $200 less.  I asked the clerk there how long the A900s would be on sale and she replied that they only had the one A900 body and it was on clearance as they were being discontinued and Sony is planning to bring out something new.  That's all I know, and that's essentially what I posted.  When I was at the London Drugs store today I walked by the camera counter and that body has been sold.

Now it MAY be that Sony is discontinuing the A900, or it may not.  Based on the responses of two clerks in two different corporations, that's what's been implied to me.  It may be different in the US than it is in Canada.  Anyone who knows for certain is likely covered under NDA.  Sony isn't saying, and if they did, it's theoretically possible that people would stop buying A900s in favour of whatever they MAY be bringing out and they'd be left with their current stock.  The A900 is available from sonystyle.ca and it's also available and in stock at B&H.  I'm not accusing Sony of hiding their (potential?) upgrades, only playing their cards close.  Neither am I criticizing their policies.  In their place I might do the same thing.

I like the A900 as a camera, but I'm not in any particular rush to purchase one so I can wait a month or two.  I like the in-body stabilization, and I like the general look and feel of it.  They have some great lenses, and Sigma and others also make good lenses.  I've never used Live View, but I can see how it might have some potential for macro and/or landscape work, which is mostly what I do.  I've made a couple of 'family' videos using my walk-around Fuji camera, but I've been a photographer for so long I keep trying to shoot video in portrait mode and it doesn't work overly well.

And that's all I have to say about that!

Mike.  
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ziocan
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« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2010, 07:54:50 PM »
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Quote from: ThomasK
Zeiss has a whole range of manual focus wide angle lenses - but not with the Sony/Minolta attach.
If you are photographing people and want to use manual focus lenses on modern DSLR cameras, manual focus will make you miss the majority of good spontaneous images.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 08:40:33 PM by ziocan » Logged
ziocan
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« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2010, 08:10:49 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Guess you've never used it then?

But it is pretty obvious you are a die-hard Sony fan ... so I won't get into it with you ... but you should really try LV before you knock it.
Some Sony DSLR cameras have the best LV in the market.
The fact that you like working with live view does not mean that in some circumstances, it is not only "not necessary", but would be a nuisance.
BTW the implementations on Canikon that are generally sluggish, on certain circumstances when you need to work fast and spontaneously, live view is definitively not the better option.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 08:11:34 PM by ziocan » Logged
ziocan
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« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2010, 08:18:24 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
I kept saying I don't need no stinking Live View holding on to my 30D, but when I got 450D with LV and used it once, I got it immediately. It's perfect for tripod work. And it's indispensable for low light work as AF doesn't function and I bet even FF viewfinders aren't bright enough to focus accurately especially with high-megapixel cameras.
Majority of people who does not use one, does not know that the a900 (even the a700) can AF in nearly darkness like no Canikon can do.
I was very surprised when I was testing my 1ds mark 2 in studio next to the a900 and under modeling lights from soft boxes, the 1ds was hunting focus and needed the hlep of an extra Arri or Halogen to lock reliably, while the a900 could focus fast and reliably just under the modeling lights.
BTW in studio with modeling light or on low light condition shooting people, live view is not the best option.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 08:27:18 PM by ziocan » Logged
ziocan
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« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2010, 08:25:03 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
The lower-level Sony's have a much-praised "live-mos" LV implementation that is great for hand-held, P&S-style shooting; but when Sony couldn't scale that up to full-frame they said they'd rather wait to add LV until they could do it "right". But LV isn't for P&S-style hand-held shooting in a camera like the a900, the whole point is being able to focus off the main sensor, so their argument that LV off the main sensor isn't worth bothering with is completely wrong-headed.
Well, LV will definitively be very useful if you shoot on tripod on front of a flower or a waterfall and have all the time of the world to peep on it, but how many photographers actually use their cameras like that?

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2010, 10:45:46 PM »
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Me for instance.

I guess that Velbon, Manfrotto, Gitzo and a lot of other tripod vendors were out of business if people like Bernard, Jeff, Michael and well... me were all that unique.

The other way to see it. Live View is a natural for digital. The majority of digital cameras are LV-only. LV would not work with the kind of CCDs used in MFDBs. Not all photographers would use LV and not all the time.

BR
Erik Kaffehr


Quote from: ziocan
Well, LV will definitively be very useful if you shoot on tripod on front of a flower or a waterfall and have all the time of the world to peep on it, but how many photographers actually use their cameras like that?

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JeffKohn
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« Reply #39 on: March 31, 2010, 12:38:11 AM »
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Quote from: ziocan
Well, LV will definitively be very useful if you shoot on tripod on front of a flower or a waterfall and have all the time of the world to peep on it, but how many photographers actually use their cameras like that?
I don't have any hard numbers to back this up, but I would bet that the number of people using 24mp DSLR's for landscape/nature outnumber those using them for portraits or action. If I shot the latter, I'd be using a D3 not a D3x. So your implication that shooting from a tripod is a rarity is not something I would agree with.
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