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Author Topic: would you ever buy a Sony?  (Read 20488 times)
jfirneno
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« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2011, 08:36:27 PM »
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There have been alot of good points.  The A900 is an excellent camera and well worth comparing to the D700.  Here's another thing to consider.  Sony has indicated that they intend to innovate the type of digital cameras.  They're currently replacing their APS-C DSLRs with the new translucent mirror cameras (DSLTs).  Chances are if these cameras are very popular then Sony will replace the full-frame DSLR with a DSLT.  Assuming that these cameras have the features you want, this would be okay.  But if you buy the A900 and prefer to continue with the DSLR type camera then you might be unhappy about the direction of that Sony is going.  I have the A850 and am very happy with it and I'm willing to wait and see how the Sony cameras progress.  But some folks are extremely worried about this.

Regards
John
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2011, 11:04:36 PM »
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Hi,

In my view there are a lot of advantages to EVFs. I have an A55, and I freely admit that the OVF on my Alpha 900 is larger and brighter, but on other hand I can enlarge the view 15 times for critical focusing on the A55. Also the A55 has niceties like a virtual horizon and pre capture histogram. EVFs are at an early stage of development, I see no reason that EVFs would not improve a lot in a couple of years.

With an OVF there are a lot of variables in focusing. Viewscreen and mirror must be adjusted within perhaps 20 microns with sensor. Similarly the secondary mirror and AF assembly needs to be aligned with sensor. AF depends on two rapidly moving and rotating parts (mirror and secondary mirror) to be in "perfect" alignment with sensor.


Best regards
Erik


There have been alot of good points.  The A900 is an excellent camera and well worth comparing to the D700.  Here's another thing to consider.  Sony has indicated that they intend to innovate the type of digital cameras.  They're currently replacing their APS-C DSLRs with the new translucent mirror cameras (DSLTs).  Chances are if these cameras are very popular then Sony will replace the full-frame DSLR with a DSLT.  Assuming that these cameras have the features you want, this would be okay.  But if you buy the A900 and prefer to continue with the DSLR type camera then you might be unhappy about the direction of that Sony is going.  I have the A850 and am very happy with it and I'm willing to wait and see how the Sony cameras progress.  But some folks are extremely worried about this.

Regards
John
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pegelli
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« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2011, 12:13:53 AM »
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There's four differences between a900 & a850
1) a900 VF has 100% coverage, a850 VF has 98% coverage
2) a900 has 5fps, a850 has 3
3) a900 has remote control, a850 has none
4) a900 is a few hundred $ more than a850


One more additional detail on 3) The A850 is fully equiped for the remote control drive option, however the controller is not in the box. A few dollars with an ebay shop in Hong Kong solves that.

Despite what some others have said about the Zeiss lenses you'll be hard pressed to find any lens with the quality of the CZ 135/1.8 in any other mount, let alone with full AF/aperture functionality.

Agree with what others have said:
Nikon D700 is for action and low light shooting (better AF, and better high ISO noise, better flash control)
Sony A850/900 is for shooting more quietly in better light (better resolution with great DR and very high colour fidelity)

But, the above comparison is not black and white. I've seen great colour landscape shots with the D700 and with proper exposure/processing have seen very clean ISO 3200 shots from the A850/900 as well as good action shots. So you really can't go wrong with either, as the differences aren't as big as you might sometimes conclude from reading test and user stories on the internet.
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pieter, aka pegelli
Craig Murphy
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« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2011, 09:04:38 AM »
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Yes John.  Good point and one that I have been concerned about.  Where is Sony going with this line of camera?  They come out with a kick ass 24mp camera and its immediately in doubt as to whether or not it will be the last version of it you'll ever see. 
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CMurph
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« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2011, 11:56:03 AM »
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Yes John.  Good point and one that I have been concerned about.  Where is Sony going with this line of camera?  They come out with a kick ass 24mp camera and its immediately in doubt as to whether or not it will be the last version of it you'll ever see. 

I really don't think anyone doubted that until probably 24 months after it was released.  hardly "immediately".
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ronkruger
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« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2011, 12:17:09 PM »
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A lot of the downplay of Pentax and Sony is due to advertising hype and fanboy dedication from snobish Canikons. They are all good, with assets and liabilities according to intended use. Canon and Nikon are comparatively more expensive, because you are also paying for name recognition and advertising budgets.
It took me decades to discover that the glass is what really makes a difference, and Zeiss glass is hard to beat. Sony makes sensors for many manufacturers, and when you combine that with a Zeiss eye, Sony become a serious IQ consideration.
I don't happen to shoot Sony. When I decided to drop Nikon a few years ago, I considered them, but decided against them, but that was before they made a deal with Zeiss.
The body gets you there, but it is the eye (lens) that sees.
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In the end, the only things that matter are the people we help and the people we hurt. Google Ron Kruger and click on any link to Photoshelter
MalcolmL
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« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2011, 02:59:43 PM »
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I have a Sony A850 and my lenses include Pentax M42, Sigma, Minolta and Sony G. Its a great camera - especially for landscape work and there is really a huge range of lenses. Just think outside of the Sony lens line up box.
I have a Sigma 24mm f1.8 that outperforms the Zeiss equivalent.
Cheers
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 12:04:21 PM by MalcolmL » Logged
NashvilleMike
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« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2011, 06:16:25 PM »
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I laughed when I saw this post, because in the LL forum community, asking whether to consider a Sony is akin to being in the Vatican and openly pondering whether Catholicism is a worthwhile religion.

That being said, being the equivalent of an orthodox jew in a seventh day adventist church and thus totally out of favor given I'm a Nikon user in a foreign land here, I will offer my answer and it's real simple: No, I won't buy a Sony. They're not horrible cameras by any means, but I have my own reasons, based upon a multi-decade experience with many brands and formats.

a) I don't like and never liked Minolta reliability. Guess who Sony bought. I've been shooting for over 30 years. Over that time, without question, the number one brand that repeatedly time and time again seems to give people reliability issues that myself and my colleagues have witnessed is Minolta. If it had been just once or twice that I had to listen to your basic mom and/or pop who saw me with my expensive gear and tell me how their Minolta (of anything from SRT vintage to Maxxum and beyond) broke down, I'd say it's just luck  of the draw, but when you hear it consistently over a few decades, I tend to think that's a trend. You don't see the guys whose living depend on the gear shooting Sony, and I think that's part of the reason. That doesn't mean it's junk, but I do think it means they've got reliability issues when the gear is pushed. Perhaps Sony has addressed these and I hope for the Sony fans they do, but this is one aspect I'm not interested in dealing with. I need a reliable system and Nikon, in 30+ years, has never let me down, and I've beat the hell out of their gear. My colleagues with Canon tend to feel the same way. In my mind, if you're serious, it's a two player race, and it's for a reason. Proven performance and reliability over time.

b) You buy into a camera system, not a particular body. Even if the Sony stuff were to be perfectly reliable, I still find their system limited. Sure, the Zeiss glass is nice, but so is other glass (see item 'c' coming next). But I need a 200/2 for stage and theater work when I get it. Oops. Can't find that in Sony (or Pentaxes) system. It is in both Nikon and Canon systems though. Top tier tilt-shift lenses. Same thing. Got a few choices in Nikon and Canon. A fully evolved flash system. Once again, a Nikon strength. Over time I need to know that the system I buy into is going to be around, and produce the gear I need. Two players have a dominant position in the marketplace, and frankly, those are the only two players I consider for this reason. Sony hasn't even gained substantial market share even after cutting the prices of their 24mp full frame bodies. They haven't publicly committed to growing their full frame bodies. Sorry, but I want no part of this. I need someone who is going to be there in the future for me, not the "alternative" camera for the folks who sneer at the major players and want to play contrarian.

c) Lenses? Sure - for a while, the Zeiss stuff might have held an edge - if they had a lens in the focal length range you needed, which isn't always the case. This has started to change. Newer glass like the Nikon 85/1.4G or the 24/1.4 and 35/1.4 G lenses will match up quite well, and IMO in some aspects, particularly OOF rendering, are superior to, anything Zeiss (or anyone else) currently offers. The new Canon 17 TS is amazing, and the Canon 70-200/2.8 L-II is a monster, a wonderful, wonderful lens. Thing is, the big boys know that the limiting factor in the equation with all these high resolution bodies that have come down the pike, even bodies like the affordable Nikon D7000 or the Canon 7D, is the quality of the lens. It's no surprise that the latest efforts from Nikon have been supremely excellent, as have several of the latest "L-II" options from Canon. The newer glass from the two major players is simply better, as it needs to be, than the older stuff. This diminishes the supposed "Sony/Zeiss" advantage.

Plus I laugh at all these folks who pixel peep comparing sharpness of their Zeiss vs Canon or Nikon lenses, looking for tiny bits of sharpness advantage, never realizing that a) the dot gain of the printing process often masks much of this supposed advantage, and b) unless they are shooting in lab-like conditions on a top tier tripod/support system, have learned how to sharpen and post process properly, and are shooting in clear atmosphere, that this sharpness obsession isn't going to be realized in real life shooting. It's funny - just to take a non Nikon guy so I don't appear too Nikon biased - look at what Art Wolfe (A Canon shooter) shoots with - and the results he gets out of it - and tell me straight to my face that he needs to dump all his gear and only shoot Sony/Zeiss or Zeiss glass? I call Bulls**t on that. Most pros do well with the basic configuration of the pro 2.8 zooms and a few selected primes plus a long exotic or two, and produce excellent work from this. I'm not arguing that good glass isn't essential - but at the current time, there is no significant across the line advantage to the Sony/Zeiss lineup that makes it uniformly better than the best Nikon or Canon has to offer, particularly when real life usage is taken into account. Maybe if you're into photographing resolution charts and comparing review graphs to prop up your self esteem of what camera brand you bought, but not for those out there taking real images.

So you want to buy a Sony - go ahead, they're not bad cameras at all, and heck, they're reasonably priced. A couple of those Sony/Zeiss lenses are really special (the 135/1.8, if you can get it focused spot on). But you asked if I would ever buy one, and the answer is no. They're not a major player, aren't likely going to be one in the professional space, and thus, I want no part of them. I'm a Nikon guy, but if I had to, I'd go Canon and not lose a whole lot of sleep over it. Both of those brands have complete systems, are dedicated to their lineups and advancing them, and have been proven over time. Sony can't claim that. Perhaps when the Art Wolfes, Jay Maisels, Bill Frakes, Walter Iooss's of the world are all shooting Sony and Nikon/Canon has been relegated to the bit player role, I'll have a different opinion. But it hasn't happened, probably isn't going to happen, so I'll stay with the big players for now.

(As an aside, do you know why the D700 is so popular amongst Nikon users? It's because it's a balanced design that has enough resolution for most real world applications, can shoot in a damned cave if you need to, has an AF system that can track whatever it has to, has files that can be manipulated and massaged to no end in post processing, and ultimately is a camera that lets you concentrate on creating images as a photographer instead of being a gear head - it gets out of your way the way a truly good car lets you concentrate on the road you happen to be driving on. I wouldn't give mine up if you gave me a pair of A900's for free)



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Plekto
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« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2011, 06:30:35 PM »
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The low-down on the Sony brand is really this:

1 - Sony bought Konica/Minolta.  They basically didn't understand anything about SLR cameras and decided to leave the Minolta people as-is and just have corporate oversight.  Same workers, same plant, same everything, other than where they could cooperate with other divisions in Sony, of course.  They aren't advertising it, but the "big three" Canon/Nikon/Minolta choice of old still is there - just it's now Canon/Nikon/"Sony".  Quality is the same.  The Lens/image specialties(strengths) issues are identical as well. (Canon is better for telephoto and action, and so on) Nobody that I know who has bought one has had an issue with it - it's a proper professional SLR camera.  YMMV, naturally, but my three old Minoltas were problem-free throughout their lives(barring abuse and accidents, naturally), as were most people who I knew who had Canons and Nikons.   

2 - All of the old Minolta AF (full-frame/35mm) lenses will work and 90%+ of them are re-branded but the identical product with a Sony label on them.  This gives you a plethora of options for alternate used and NOS OEM lenses as well as 3rd party options like Sigma and so on, which in some cases will make better specific offerings.

3 - There are two giant lens databases online devoted to the line, which makes a lot of the guesswork fairly easy to do.
http://www.dyxum.com/lenses/index.asp - All 3rd party lenses ever made for Minolta (plus some OEM data).
http://www.mhohner.de/sony-minolta/lenses.php - OEM/Sony list.  Notice the direct copy/overlap in virtually all cases.

4 - It's the least expensive full-frame camera on the market.     Unlike Canon, Sony/Minolta decided to keep their mount system backwards compatible (like Nikon).  This alone pushes it ahead of the Canon line for me.  Price does the rest.  I just can't fathom Nikon's pricing structure after the last two years of economic slowdown.  Nikon does make a better camera, but is it worth that much more?  I don't think so, considering that none of this is really medium or large format anyways.  It's almost always to get a job done at a reasonable price and have a decent picture to show for it.  Not to do esoteric artwork.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 06:37:20 PM by Plekto » Logged
JimU
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« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2011, 10:32:23 PM »
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Some people will buy Sony, some people won't buy Sony.  There are very legitmate reasons to and not to (NashvilleMike has valid points). Since 2007 I have bought two Sonys and no Zeisses and am happy but I would also be more than happy with a D700.  Besides the Zeiss ZF line is more appealing than the ZA line.

I don't doubt Minoltas break down, but my dad's Minolta XG-1 produced before 1980 still works perfectly today.

I find it a bit odd that if Art Wolf, Jay Maisel, Bill Frake, Walter Iooss world be all shooting Sony, then one would affect one's purchasing decision.  If it makes any difference, Michael Reichmann shoots Sony.

The Minolta autofocus mount however isn't backwards compatible with the Minolta manual focus mount.
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pegelli
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« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2011, 12:36:40 AM »
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Let me react on NashvilleMike's points, because I think slightly different about some of the points he raises:

a) Typical Canikon FUD stories. Just read the LL Arctic stories (as well as many more references) about how Sony holds up in harsh conditions and how 25% of the Canon 5d2's failed to keep working. Wouldn't say Sony is more reliable but it being systematically worse is b**ls**t
b) True, but for a different reason. It's not the typical gearhead "the lineup or flash system is not complete" argument. It's the lack of a pro support organisation and broad availability of spares in remote places where as a pro shooter you need to be able to find a back-up if something breaks.
c) If lenses don't matter (printers blur it all up anyway  Huh) why rave about all the new Canikon glass having caught up with CZ. Also it might not be an advantage, the CZ and G line lenses for sure don't have any disadvantage vs. the competitive offerings of Canikon
d) Lemmings do miss opportunities because they follow without fully considering broader options

OK I fess up, I'm a Sony shooter but let me also say that I have no problem admitting that Canikon has stellar bodies and line ups that people prefer over Sony. Everybody makes their own choices based on their needs, preferences and the strength of the system they buy into, but I don't understand why some people then need to justify their choice with spreading FUD on other brands.

@ Plekto, just checked the lineup, there's 16 rebranded Minolta lenses and 16 new offerings since Sony took over. So it's more like 50/50 and not 90%+ rebranded lenses
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 12:59:29 AM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
Plekto
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« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2011, 05:01:04 PM »
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Quote
@ Plekto, just checked the lineup, there's 16 rebranded Minolta lenses and 16 new offerings since Sony took over. So it's more like 50/50 and not 90%+ rebranded lenses

If we just look at stuff that was last produced by Minolta just before it was bought by Sony, virtually all of those lenses are being offered today with a different label on them.  And NOS/used "Minolta" lenses are very inexpensive as most people think that they are all but useless.   They have added some new lenses as well, which is great, but using NOS or used lenses with a Minolta label on them is essentially the same at lower cost.(my point was that this is a viable option to save a lot of money, since nothing really changed)
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pegelli
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« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2011, 11:03:17 PM »
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OK Plekto, I understand now what you're saying. I thought you meant that 90% of the current line-up were rebranded Minolta's but you mean that 90 % of the "last" Minolta lenses are still available as rebranded Sony's. Sorry for the confusion.

For those members that will only switch brands if "big names" pave the way this might also be an interesting review: Review link
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pieter, aka pegelli
drcommercialization
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« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2011, 06:31:56 AM »
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Two things to think about: Sony's very, very expensive repair costs, and (what has been for me) their poor customer service.  $540 flat rate for a lens, $500 flat rate for the body, post-warranty.  See my post http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=50496.0

This experience with Sony has pushed me back to Canon and now to the Pentax 645D
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pegelli
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« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2011, 06:52:01 AM »
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This experience with Sony has pushed me back to Canon and now to the Pentax 645D

I hope you will never have a dismal experience like the one you describe with Canon or Pentax service outfits. It's indeed very frustrating and far below any reasonable standard. Did you follow-up on the tip I put in the thread you started to check this other authorised Sony repair center I put in there?

Because if you switch brand after every bad service experience I'm afraid you might not have made you last switch yet. The internet fora are filled with good and bad service experiences on many brands and also vary country by country. So for me the trick would be to find a reputable and trustworthy outfit for the repairs and continue to use the equipment of your choice, whatever the brand may be. Also one "bad" experience makes a company totally bad (but the reverse is equally true, one "good" experience doesn't make a whole company good).
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 06:54:52 AM by pegelli » Logged

pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2011, 07:23:04 AM »
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The range of old Minolta 'Beercan' lenses were excellent/very good also the Minolta pro series were brilliant. Go to dyxxum.com to see the range of Minolta lenses.

I had use of an a850, 24/28/35-70 and a 70-210 and got very respectable results.
The focal lengths of 28-80 and 35-70 are not popular but these old Minolta lenses on a FF DSLR are great...50/$75 for the 35-70 and 1000/$150 for the 70-210 f/4 for example.

The above is true.... not an opinion..............
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drcommercialization
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« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2011, 10:25:14 AM »
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Pegelli

Thank you for the tip on the other authorized Sony repair center.  I did give them a look.  I may use them, but I wanted to give Sony the opportunity to positively respond first, and I'll probably try to do the service myself if Sony does not respond.  My gear is insured, so worst case is I file an insurance claim if my own service attempt goes awry.

Also, I don't switch every time I have a bad customer service experience.  I actually really like the product (a900, 2 Zeiss lenses: 24-70mm f2.8, and 135mm f1.8, and the Sony G 70-400mm lens), but if I had known the magnitude of the repair costs and the type of experience that I would have dealing with Sony, I probably would have waited for the Nikon D3x.  Remember, they quoted a total of $1040 to clean the mirror on my Sony a900, and to glue the MF/AF switch back into place on my 24-70mm lens.  $1040 for those simple 2 things.

The only effective way to change bad customer service practices and pricing is to apply pressure and to create awareness within Sony's customer base - enough pressure will cause them to change, or it will cost them customers.  Either outcome is fine with me.  I went through all the customer service escalations that they were willing to make available to me, and in the absence of resolution, my only recourse is to make people aware of what Sony has done.

I think it is important that potential and current Sony camera customers know the life cycle costs that Sony is pushing into the market.  If I had known this, like I said, I probably would have not bought Sony.  Since this thread is about "would you ever buy Sony", my post and my experience with Sony seemed relevant.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 10:30:23 AM by drcommercialization » Logged
spqr
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« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2011, 10:06:27 AM »
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I've read it, and as I can see nothing really talk against buying it, except that it's a SONY Sad

It's a tough decision.



Something to bear in mind is that Sony makes the sensors for a lot of cameras including Pentax and Nikon. And, as others noted, the Sony camera division is basically Minolta. Now, the downside of that is the non-standard flash shoe makes it a pain to get 3rd party flash gear, but the upside, as with Pentax, is that you get access to a lot of old lenses that can be bought inexpensively on sites like Craigslist and they're stabalized in the body.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2011, 10:43:10 AM »
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Hi,

The more advanced models have standard PC sync contacts and there are a lot of different adapters from both Sony and third part for the Sony specific flash shoe. A non Sony/Minolta flash would not be electronically/logically compatible anyway, so I don't really see the issue, unless you want to use a Elinchrom Skyport or similar.

Best regards
Erik


Something to bear in mind is that Sony makes the sensors for a lot of cameras including Pentax and Nikon. And, as others noted, the Sony camera division is basically Minolta. Now, the downside of that is the non-standard flash shoe makes it a pain to get 3rd party flash gear, but the upside, as with Pentax, is that you get access to a lot of old lenses that can be bought inexpensively on sites like Craigslist and they're stabalized in the body.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2011, 12:56:56 PM »
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  Zeiss isn't necessarily about sharpness, but rather a "look."  Some prefer it and see it as a reason to buy into the Sony system, while others don't.  Minolta was similar with their first incarnation of AF lenses up through the early nineties.  With those lenses, careful consideration was taken by Minolta to maintain similar color across the whole range. 


p.s. to answer an earlier poster, Zeiss Jena m42 lenses, ZS lenses and ZF lenses adapted through Leitax also work on Sony.
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