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Report: PMA 2007: PT

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    Posted: 12 March 2007 at 00:44
I have returned from PMA 2007. It was a round trip of 1050 miles, plus some more going to Hover Dam.   Did it all in about 36 hours, not much sleep.

I meet Ekaitsou while there. I was nice chatting with him. I put my extension on the subject, so others can use similar format to report their findings.

I will be making a thread or two over in the Lens Forum for specifics to those. This is more general and body related.

My primary reason for going was the mockups and the lack of knobs. I wasn't planning on going. But when I saw the mockups, I had to do something, so driving there through the night was what I had to do. So can't say I didn't try to get them back.

So PMA is interesting, it's not as big as it sounds when you read reviews. You can really bust through all of it in a few hours. 95% of the booths are pointless. It's really amazing how much pointless stuff comes there. People trying to sell frames, or software and other products no one cares about. Of course it's primarily for industry use and setting up sales connections, but still. And then booths you want to see, well, some just are not there. I was looking for Really Right Stuff, and they were not even there.

I can report Sony definitely had the premier booth. It was in the middle of everything. Right off an open space by escalators. You come down them and the first thing you see is "the case". So that makes an impression. It was also big and nicely laid out. Definitely better than Canon or Nikon. It was also just packed with Sony folks. Very nice folks. Lots of stuff to see. I think they definitely responded to the negative response to their Photokina booth. You would have to be dead to not be impressed with the showning.

I talked with Several Sony Reps. All very nice folks. Of course, no matter what you try, you really can't get anything out of them. They are either very good, or know nothing. I was largely given the impression that just don't know the answers. It did not appear that Sony had told them anything about what is in "the case" or other info. They were either very interested in talking with me, or they just had nothing better to do. Still I had some good talks with them. Of course my primary goal was to "Save the Knobs" so I probably said some combination of "knobs" "return" "must" and so forth a few thousand times.

To start off, I asked if Sony reads the forums, and the answer is Yes. They do come here and read (didn't think to ask if they post). One of the individuals I talked to for a long time reads Dyxum. So info is getting in the front door. I want to thank him now for his time, and I hope I do not mis-represent anything here. Of course you could always make yourself known to correct me :) . All around, the individuals where very nice and friendly. And well, pretty honest (as in more than I would expect). They were not PR robots. Unlike Oly's booth which well, that experience was like a hybrid of walking into a best buy, and having super Oly fan boy jump you. Or Canon who had a little counter with some cameras for people to play with and that was about it. Didn't spend much time in Nikon land, but most of it was behind glass, wasn't very inviting. Sony had plenty of stuff, some cameras laying around. Exploded bodies, cut aways, "the case", and a "heritage case".

So they really didn't know much about the new lenses. I figured some stuff out through measuring. Save this for the Lens post. But in general. What they showed, showed more Zeiss coming. More G's, new G's. New Minolta-Sonys (I can't say a new model is all Sony, since we know they are minolta on the inside). You could also start to see a look to the lenses, a darn nice one. Also, from my end analysis. There is not 2 Gs in that case, but there is 4. And only 2 Zeiss, not 3.

The 3 black ones on the right side you see in everyones photos are of course the 3 Phil Askey had info on. Interesting that not even everyone in the booth was aware that info was out, they didn't know that info. They looked to be finished. The had little tags on the back "Not for sale or lease", only those 3 had them.

The bodies. Well, they look great. What you see is made of wood. (the big white lens is too a woody). In person, they look really nice except for the top plate area. From the Sony folks, the impression that these are concepts was very firm. I left definitely expecting things to change some. Most the body looked to be a finished look. The exception is the top plate area on both looked very un-finished. My guess is there must be an internal debate going on. I was pushing darn hard to get the knobs back. Pointing to my 7D and showing how it should be. My guess is when they come, they look similar, except for the top region. I couldn't get any name info out of them. Everytime I would use A10, A1 they would give me the "thats not official name" line. One joked about the idea of how some people think it would be A200. As he pointed out, that would be the name for a A100 replacement. I think we will be waiting for a while for these bodies. These are do overs. Not re-designed 7DII and 9D. One rep said to the effect their would be no way to get a body out sooner since they have only been at it for 6 months. I asked about all that KM would have done, and the response was company politics lead to a scrapping of what KM had. So that explains a lot. Looks like Sony had to start fresh.

Really, on the outside, the differences between A10 and A1 are small, the top plate and view finder are about it. Some other minor changes on the mounts between the two, my guess would be that is just more of the FF adjustments.

On the A10. There should be some photos showing up with my 7D above it. Basically, the cameras are the same size, but the A10 is a bit cleaner all around. I would expect it to weigh a little bit less. Really, it's much like many of us had guessed it would be all along. Completely new, but the soul of the 7D is there. Just like the A100 is all new parts yet is very similar to the 5D, the same can be said here. Once you move past the knob area, they are very similar all around in shape and layout. So its got Soul....7D soul. If they get the knobs back, everyone will see it as a 7 series.

I did my best to take photos through the glass, but even with polarizer and such, the lighting did not help. I will try to not repeat images we have all seen. This was me playing with the 135ZA . Nice lens.




A few things on both caught my eye. One was the new lens release button. It's tight to the mount, looks nice. Be curious how well it works. I don't think any previous MAF cameras had it like that.

The other thing to see in this photo is in my mind the most important thing. It was one of the reasons I had to go see them in person, since I couldn't tell if I was seeing things in pictures, But I can confirm now. They have tweaked the mount. It's bigger in diameter. To me it is clear what is going on. They made it bigger so they could fit weather seals to future lenses. This gives them a contact face. It's much bigger then the old. These bodies are clearly sealed. Everything is behind proper doors and flaps. Way to go sony. This is a big thing. Us outdoor shooters will enjoy this a lot. Of course it doesn't change out old lenses.

Notice the button and ring, also the nice doors and the color shift alpha logo


You will notice my shutter speeds. While shooting a person came up and asked me if I was getting any good shots cause he could hear how slow my shutter was. I responded it was fine since AS works very well. Heard a "huh" (the kind you do when you hear something interesting), turned around, it was a Canon person (like as in from Canon). :) Actually, there was a lot of people from Canon walking around in the Sony booth and talking to the Sony folks. Maybe they are in Fear.

They also had some great cutaways, An exploded A100 was fun.





A photographer doing it right



Sony had a "heritage" display. A case with old minolta bodies and lenses. With some mated to Sony lenses and bodies. From talking to reps. Sony is now trying to push the connection. It sounds like they now are seeing they need to stress this connection. People are thinking Sony is new, forgetting about Minolta, and not paying attention to Sony. Now they are trying to show the connection. In talking with one of them, the rep confirmed what we knew and that Sony really bought them for the Mount. They even used Oly as an example, how starting a new mount is very hard. With Minolta, they had a mount to leverage. Of course, the mockups were also to show how Sony is serious and to get Minolta users into things more.

They had Beercan in there. Yes, if you say Beercan in front of a Sony person, they know what you are talking about. One smiled when I called it that. I'm guessing Sony showing a beercan is the closest thing to a "Sony Beercan" you will ever see Beercan Lovers.



The Case was full of stuff, Gs and all over the map.

Of course, you could buy some new in box minolta lenses at a different booth. They are still out there. :)


Oh, and Minolta was there in full force as you can see below.   :(


Now here is a part many will love. Not only did they have the case with Minolta stuff, but they had a 4/300 Minolta in the case of new stuff for people to play with. The rep pointed out how they want people to know about that stuff too. He was mentioning how they get request for that lens, the 200 and so forth. Now, the fun part is Sony had to buy those KM lenses. They bought them off ebay, and he commented on how he thinks they overpaid. So Sony too is paying the insane prices just to get copies of their own.

It looks like good things coming for the G lenses. More are coming. When talking to the accessories rep. I pointed out things like the drop in Polorizer. He said sony will be bringing that and filters. They realize they need to bring all that stuff, there is just only so much they can do at once. You can note the big telephoto mockup has a mock up drop in.

He was interested in what people will want. He was looking at my Domke bag and such, eyeing it up and asking if it's something people like me would buy (I had to explain I don't buy stuff with company logos on it and such). Still, they are working on things. I spend a long time demoing the RRS Acra Swiss L bracket on my camera and the importance of those coming out with the bodies. I told him how I won't buy a camera till the bracket is out. I was trying to get them to work with companies like RSS to get brackets out quick. He began wondering if Sony should get into making them. I was also pointing out the importance of designing the cameras for such things. He had never seen such brackets, but another rep had and mentioned how great they are. The first guy though was amazed to hear how I wouldn't buy a camera till such a thing was out. Apparently they hadn't really thought about how people won't buy things if supporting items are not there. As I explained, "how can I use the body if I can't mount it to the tripod".

Ekaitsou was there with me during this. The sony folks took interest to the vertical grip he had modified to work on his 5D. I think we were trying to get to them the importance of such options. To Sony's credit, they were quick to point out the grips on the mockups. And I commended them on how it's great to see a pro body with it optional. Not much other add on info to mention, though I did hear from them that they are working on getting more of the old KM items out. One of them is the adapter for using ISO flashes on the Minolta Hotshoe. It's coming. As they pointed out, the only current option is a thing sold on ebay. They are working the issues, it just takes time.

I mentioned GPS too while there. One reaction was sorta an "yeah, that would be nice" with a smile. From it I got the impression the new bodies could be packing. But the accessory guy was quick to point to the GPS thing they have. Of course, he wants to sell stuff like that, not have things built in. I told him how I have no interest in such things, and it's short comings (JPEG only, Windows only, not a nice integrated solution). He seamed to understand. So who knows what we will get there. I think I drilled the point home when I mentioned how it it's not built in, I still won't buy the Sony GPS thing.

All around, they looked to be addressing the current complaints.

On a popular one "prices", it sounds like you shouldn't expect anything soon. The Lens guy pointed out how 70-200Gs are still made 1 lens a day. Same goes for the 300G, 135ZA, 85ZA. All made 1 a day.   So, what can you expect for something like that, same folks, or even person making every single one. Sounds like it is more then 1 guy making the 70-200, but still they only roll out at 1 a day.

When the subject of rebadges came up. They wanted to make it sound like many were more then that. Somehow the Crop Duster (24-105) came up. The rep insisted it wasn't just badging. I later tried out the focus ring, and sure enough it has a truly different feel. So their may be more changes then we are aware of on these things. I believe David Kirkpatrick has mentioned similar with the 18-70.

I asked if the new lenses have anything to do with Tamron, and the basic answer seemed to be no. On the 18-250. Even though it sounds the same as the Tamron, you see the two lenses, their is no way they are related. The sony is an internal zoom 18-250. It's huge. So I don't think there is a connection. I had my 28-75 on all day. I asked both Sony and Tamron who made it and both quickly said flat out "Tamron" so that ends that one. When I asked about the DT lenses. No answer. I left with the impression that KM very well was possibly in the driver seat on those lenses. This very well explains why the 17-35 and 28-75 are gone. They want things to be in-house stuff.

Something else was lenses many ask about. Ekaitsou was sporting an original 2/35. The sony folks didn't know what it was till we explained. We went into how that lens, the 2/28 are very popular with folks. The sony rep responded with, to paraprase, maybe Ekaitsou can do better "yeah, well if you like that we have an even faster one with the 1.4". We explained how great the 2 is and how people like the slower ones since they are small and cheaper. This event raised one of my fears. Sony is stuck on speed. Look at the line. They got rid of all the slow stuff. I wonder if they think fastest is everything. I don't think it looks good for those wanting such things. Slower smaller lenses may not have a future with Sony.   

As Many of you know, I want the 4.5/400 to return, and I made this known many times. I took a tap measure with me to measure lenses in "the case". I can say with 99% certainty what the big one is. It is a 2.8/400. It is 350mm long, and 155 mm at the front. This is a dead on match for the Canon 2.8/400.   To be fair, KM could have used such a lens. But if a 2.8/300 cost 6K, what will this cost? I hope they are not ditching the 4.5 and going for a 2.8.

I will give more info on the lenses elswhere. But I can say with great certainty the big boy is 2.8/400, the other white is the 4/200 Macro.   The 2 wide primes are Zeisses, the other fast zooms are new Gs.   The lens guy helped me out on what I was allready heading towards.   Zeiss lenses will be the super gloss black, all metal and have a certain look. Some Gs will be blazing white. But It looks like to me there will be non white Gs, just like there was before. And they will be lite-black. Notice how the "fast wide zoom" and the "fast standard zoom" are off-black. But still different from the consumer grade stuff. I think this is the new non-white Gs. To go with this. I'm questioning the 2.8/24-70. You know how things said it was a ZA back in june. But we never saw it till now, and it's not listed as ZA, and what sony told phil had no mention of ZA, and said it was in house. I think that lens is a G, not a ZA. Might explain why nothing came of it since the early news. I think 2 of those lenses are replacements for the long dead Minolta G zooms. Going further, I think what we have there is a 2.8/17-35G SSM, and a 2.8/24-70G SSM. How is that to get people going?

Oh, speaking of crazy lenses. The sigma is freaking insane. This is no optical trick, the ladies shoulder is practicaly against the thing. It's huge.




And speaking of 3rd party lenses.

I stopped by Tokina. I asked for you all about A mount. The rep says they get 5-6 Emails a day on them. Mainly the 12-24. The answer is no dice. In short, it all depends on Sony. Sony has to get their market share up before they will commit. Also, this rep said that Hoya is only buying the medical part of Pentax, they will not have anything to do with Pentax cameras, much like many of us expect, it looks like the Cameras will be part of Samsung before long.

As Sigma, same deal. I asked if there was any tech issue, they didn't seem to think so. But like Tokina, they said it was all about market share. Until Sony gets it up. No HSM.

Looks like both want to see Sony like 20-30% first. Same for HSM for Pentax.

Sound rounding things up.   I went in an made my case best I could for getting the knobs back and other such features from the 7D and the importance of getting stuff out and prices. They sound like they realize they ignored Minolta folks early on and now are addressing that. I made the case for the 2/28, 2/35 the Soft Focus, a new 4/70-200G, the other Gs, add ons, weather seals, GPS, improve the flash system, AF speed and just about anything else people bring up all the time.

It was great to talk to the Sony folks. They are nice people. Definitely the most friendly of the camera makers, definitely had the best booth. Definitely looked serious. They made a good showing.

Full Gallery of Shots
Gallery

Edited by PhotoTraveler - 12 March 2007 at 00:52
 



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Bob J View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:07
Wow, thanks for a great summary... Nice to know Sony observe here. I guess that if they are speed obsesed to begin with, they might look at a range of 'sensible' lenses (between the ones we fantistise about and the entry level ones) - I suppose a part of this is about how much of a market there is for primes - I love 'em, but I'm also a bit tight...

BOb

Edited by BobJanesSE2 - 12 March 2007 at 01:08
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maffe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:08
-Puh!
This was interesting reading, Well done!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Shercando Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:14
Well done Phototraveler. It'll be a painful wait to see how soon they get these gems to market and hopefully they will be more affordable. I know it was a tough assignment and I suppose some hard driving too. Thanks a lot!
Shercando
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PhotoTraveler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:25
Oh, I forgot something important.

The main guy for Precision repair was there and we talked. We talked about the early problems He talked about how at the start, they had no parts, and they had a truck of 7000 KM cameras needing repair showed up (all models, not just SLR). KM has now got them parts for everything, and sony is making new replacement parts for stuff too. All is running well, they have parts and they will keep fixing stuff with no time limit set to when things won't be able to be repaired.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kiklop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:25
Great report !!
Question; can i make a webpage out of this ?
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sandyw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:30
Looks really promising, thanks for the report.

A bit sad that nothing body wise is just around the corner, can't help feeling that a 7DII or similar would have helped keep their market share. Still I can save a bit more as I won't be tempted by new gear just yet!

A700 A900 A77 A99 & a bunch of Sony & Minolta AF Lenses

NEX-5n NEX-7 [Canon EOS 5D] plus a menagerie of MF lenses



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Post Options Post Options   Quote FADEC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:32
Another WOW!!!

I think Sony should enroll you as a messenger between user and company. I have been reading many of your posts the last couple of months in many various forums (even Canon on DPR), and I must say I am impresed with what seems like a great commitment to the KM community.

"Never has anyone done so much for so few"
Or maybe you British guys can correct me on this one?

Best Regards Phototraveller from a Swedish guy in France
I'll take my beret off for you!

Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PhotoTraveler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:33
Kiklop,   of course.

I'm working on some lens stuff now.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:38
Thanks for your efforts.Well done.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kiklop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:54
It is On-Line now; thanks !!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote momech Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 01:59
Great report. It sounds like they are making a real effort to go after high end users.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aarif Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 02:07
thank you for that detailed report well-done
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Post Options Post Options   Quote almassengale Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 March 2007 at 02:17
Thanks for the report. Sounds like they are very serious about the market!
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