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Author Topic: Sony Alpha 55/33  (Read 15285 times)
laughingbear
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« on: August 24, 2010, 06:37:07 AM »
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Exciting and breakthrough new technologies on the horizon make me feel that little bit more confident to have invested my humble bucks into a Sony alpha system. The A55 being a very tempting proposal to join my bag in deed!

Does anyone know about crop factor? How would the 70-400G translate on this latest alpha 55?

Thanks Michael for yet another interesting preview, and I fully agree, the head-in-the-sand phenomenon is nothing that will help anyone counteracting recession at all, no Harvard MBA required for that insight. ;o) Your video example of the barrel rider triggered jaw dropping!

Best
Georg
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 06:54:36 AM »
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Thanks Georg,

The crop factor is 1.5X (APS-C), so as just about everyone else (some are 1.6X).

Michael
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laughingbear
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 07:00:51 AM »
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Thanks!

 Grin  600mm with probably very acceptable ISO 1600 at a whopping 10fps.... this alone is a reason for me to jump on the train.

Makes me forget about casino capitalism and recession for a while, this is good news!


Always look on the bright side of life.... <whistling>  Cheesy
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 07:08:25 AM by laughingbear » Logged
dng88
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 08:07:56 AM »
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Thanks Georg,

The crop factor is 1.5X (APS-C), so as just about everyone else (some are 1.6X).

Michael


A bit not sure and may be video is really out of my depth a lot.

But given the issue you take about the 25p, is this camera video mode should be mentioned more?  The reason I ask is that in the dpreview site, it did mention that the camera is capable of 1080p-25p (under MP4 though) or 1080i-50fps (in the other mode) which I guess is actually 25p behind the scene.  Understand that depends upon NTSC or PAL.  But should this be mentioned in the review, especially after you talked so much about the other Sony cam.

Just wonder.




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michael
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 09:15:11 AM »
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Read my Sony VG10 review, published a few days ago. It explains what Sony is doing with frame rates.

Michael
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Patrik
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 09:45:08 AM »
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Does the EVF display histogram ? I know it displays gazillion of data on aperture battery etc. but I haven't seen it mentioned.
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michael
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 12:49:27 PM »
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Yes it does.
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aaykay
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 02:40:06 PM »
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What excites me about this product is the thought that since there is no moving mirror in such a product, a Full-frame version of such a product is just a hop and a step away.  

I would guess that all they need to do is to stick a Full-frame sensor in such a body and have a "translucent" mirror, shutter and the sensor-stabilization mechanism that is full-frame sized.  The rest of the mechanicals can be shared with the APS-C product and of course if they make it a more pro oriented body, then they might have to beef up the capabilities of the underlying electronics and a few other knick-knacks.  Of course other than the translucent mirror, the rest of the mechanicals can be borrowed from existing FF models, even though I would hope that they would have improved/updated the AF-module's performance to the level found in the existing higher-end 2010 models.

They already have a decent number of FF lenses, along with more on the way.  Should provide a solid counterpoint to the folks who are using a Canon 5DII to shoot video.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 02:44:47 PM by aaykay » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 04:17:17 PM »
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Interesting specs indeed. There seem to be clear advantages for many usage patterns.

You've got to love Sony's approach to innovation and the speed at which they are able to roll out new innovative models. They are way faster than both Canon and Nikon in how they are able to put available technological building block together to release new models.

Now it remains to be seen whether the pellicular mirror really causes no dust issues for landscape shooters changing lenses in the field on a regular basis. I do not believe that these shooters are the target audience for this camera, but it could be usable.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 04:24:56 PM »
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Interesting move from Sony..
However I think we'll have to accept that that the pros of using a fixed mirror bring drawbacks as well as advantages.
Personally I've never got along with EVF's so I'll be sticking to the good old OVF's.
And before somebody tells me I won't have a choice years down the road..I'll have to point out you won't have a choice but to view these images and viewfinders with your analogue eyes ;-) (lol)

Really depends on what you want or need. Don't need fast FPS, and video is a minor sideshow to me. I know it's important to some though.

It's a shame makers don't put more effort into better optical finders the other 2 Sony DSLR models have a rather unimpressive 0.80x magnification.
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feppe
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2010, 05:09:10 PM »
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You've got to love Sony's approach to innovation and the speed at which they are able to roll out new innovative models. They are way faster than both Canon and Nikon in how they are able to put available technological building block together to release new models.

I've pointed this out elsewhere: many of the biggest and boldest innovations are coming from the new entrants, Ricoh, Sigma, Panasonic et al., while Canon and Nikon churn out generation after generation of identical products with slight incremental improvements. There is room for a nimble newcomer with enough capital and access to good sensors to carve a niche for themselves, and seems that Sony is the most aggressive by trying to enter most segments in the camera market.

As for Sony's cameras, it's inconceivable how clueless they seem to be when it comes to the incomplete and inconsistent feature sets of their latest cameras (mainly talking about NEXs and the motion and still cameras Michael just previewed, haven't really looked at their flagship DSLRs). I suspect in the motion camera case it's mostly about protecting their higher-margin (semi) pro product line, but not sure what it could be with NEX and A55. I understand Sony's camera division is essentially former Minolta who have a long pedigree, so it can't be inexperience or not knowing what the market needs.

Perhaps the cameras are just not designed for LL photographers, but for the masses who wouldn't know aperture from a RAW. If that's the case there is hope in the future for those who are looking for what Michael Johnston of TOP calls the Decisive Moment Digital (DMD) camera. Some of us have already found it in MFT cameras.
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Michael LS
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2010, 06:23:17 PM »
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Indeed, these are cool new cameras, and I too am impressed with Sony's moxie and inventiveness.
Any doubts about Sony's commitment to dslrs should be hereby dispelled...assuming of course all
that passion and techno-mastery spills over to their full-frame ambitions.

I'm hoping they announce an a900 refresh or nextgen ff camera at Photokina.
C'mon Sony, I'm ready to spend some of my shrinking recessionary $$...if you get it right!
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2010, 06:52:43 PM »
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There are still some doubts in my mind. This convergence might be celebrated by some/many..but for primary stills shooters (ala myself) it's indeed somewhat worrying that there are compromises involved here and that Sony are indeed ok about sacrificing IQ (loss of light due to the mirror not moving) in order to achieve a viewfinder for video shooters (and phase detect AF, which is also compromised too for video)

The danger of convergence is that you have products that might appeal to a broad market but may not satisfy the specific needs of photographers or even video shooters. A jack of all and master of none. That's what I'd be concerned about.

As for Sony and FF who can say what is going on..not very much at the moment anyway!
I've no problems with products like this as choice is great for everyone..but if this is the direction Sony hammer out long term and drop traditional DSLR's then I'd have to say I'd run a million miles away from the system.
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billh
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2010, 07:15:44 PM »
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Hi Michael,
Would you mind clarifying, or elaborating a bit on the AF tracking performance of the A55?
You wrote,  “ According to Sony it can track a moving subject at between 30-40 MPH while shooting 16MP stills at 10 FPS. When shooting 1080P video it can continuously track a moving subject at up to 50 MPH. I'm not usually given to hyperbole in these reviews, but this is a stunning capability, and has to be experienced oneself to be really appreciated the breakthrough that it represents!”
Did you reach the same conclusion after using the camera, or is this Sony hyperbole?
and
“ The A55 has a newly developed 15-point AF system with three cross type sensors. This is a nice step up from previous Alpha AF systems but in my brief testing doesn't appear to be quite up to the continuous phase detection autofocus system discussed elsewhere in this report. “
Are you referring here to the issue of phase detection only working with the lens wide open, or is it lacking in other areas?
I ask because in the dpreview review, they talked about being disappointed in the AF tracking performance, saying it was almost always slightly behind the action.
It would be a great dual purpose (or single purpose) camera for many people if the AF tracking was as good as Sony says it is. It sounds like it would at least be equivalent to the D3s for stills. Perhaps expecting it to match a camera like the EX1 with its smaller sensors it too much, but it would be very interesting if it could do this. (I mention those two because I use them and know you also have them).
Thanks very much,
Bill
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michael
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2010, 07:56:35 PM »
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I stand by what I wrote. But, three days with three different cameras simply isn't enough to be to definitive.

I expect to receive an A55 for longer term testing and use within a week or so, and then expect to be able to write more as I have time to test particular features.

But regardless of the nuances of performance, the A55 is a stunning achievement.

Michael
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billh
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2010, 08:16:09 PM »
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Thanks very much for replying. You did find the AF tracking to be good - and I correct? I hope you will be able to share more with us after you have had more time with the camera. I really appreciate your taking the time to test and share your opinions on video cameras. When I jumped into this strange new world a year or so ago, I ended up buying the EX1R, based largely of your use of the camera. You use the camera in the way most of us do, and I have always found, when you are talking about a camera I own, that I see things the same way.
Bill
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2010, 01:12:17 AM »
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Now it remains to be seen whether the pellicular mirror really causes no dust issues for landscape shooters changing lenses in the field on a regular basis. I do not believe that these shooters are the target audience for this camera, but it could be usable.

Cheers,
Bernard

It appears the concept of the mirror is to overcome focusing issues with live video, and in reading about the camera on their website, it appears strongly targeted to video shooters that are using 5dmk2 and 7d cameras.  It seems to talk more about the video advantages than anything.

But as a landscape shooter I'm not finding much that appeals to what I do. Nice price point, but focusing is something I would prefer to do manually via live view most of the time, and giving up 1/3 to 2/3rds stop of light ... tough say, but not sure I would like that either, since many of my exposure times are in the 1/15th to 1 second range as it is.

I can't imagine the mirror not building up a least a micro coating of dust over a long period of time, but maybe they've solved that with some technology.  Time will tell.  But it sounds like sensor dust/spots might be non-existent, since with this mirror design the sensor might be completely sealed.

So while the appeal to landscape purists (by purists I simply mean those that shoot only landscape) may be somewhat limited, overall it looks like the camera has a lot of appeal to many types of photographers.
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2010, 05:50:26 AM »
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With danger of being a little bit destructive seeing all this enthusiasm:

I still am waiting for a FF EVIL without any mirror thingy.
Or maybe even a MF EVIL?
Why?
No mirrorbox (be it pellicular or traditional reflex) means
- smaller lenses, less bulk
- possibility for better lens designs (symmetric), especially in wide angle and
- faster lenses.
Means: M9 with a usable EV.

That would be the definitive coolest setup as far as I can overview.
And that for MF would be truely revolutionary.

Wouldn't it?
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Dan Vincent
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2010, 06:45:15 AM »
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Michael, you said you had a chance to use the A560.

Did the two-second self timer (or the focus check live view) have mirror lockup at all? I figure it would be the first thing you check...  Wink
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kwalsh
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2010, 07:03:44 AM »
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Michael, thanks for the as usual interesting and informative report!

With regards to someone's post about possible compromises in still IQ for the sake of video performance with regards to the mirror:

- I think part of the point of the fixed mirror is to be able to do 10 fps in a camera under $1000.  That is a feature for stills technically.
- Someone has already noticed in the DPR samples fairly clear ghosting caused by reflections within the fixed mirror.  Definitely an IQ problem, the degree to which it matters will be clearer with more samples and more use.  The examples showing it most obviously are around lights in night shots and near specular reflections in daylight.  Many of the specular cases could be considered pixel-peeper problems, but one of the street light examples is obvious even when viewed at only 20%.

With regards to the AF performance:

- The DPR review was not happy with the AF performance.  They felt it had trouble tracking in burst stills mode.  I wonder about two possible differences between Michael's experience and theirs.  First off, DPR could be shooting differently and seeing a different problem - e.g. maybe they are trying to track a subject moving both towards them and across the field where they could simply be failing to keep the AF sensor on the subject.  Or, perhaps the difference is between video and stills.  In video, with the aperture forced wide open there really is continuous AF tracking.  In stills it seems the camera must stop AF during exposure because when the aperture is stopped down for the exposure the AF system won't work.

Anyway, glad to see something interesting and innovative in the market.  Probably not the camera for my particular uses though.

Ken
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