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Topic ClosedSony a850 - when

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ab012 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Sony a850 - when
    Posted: 02 August 2009 at 09:15
thread closed in favor of alternative a850 thread
to keep discussion on a850 centralized. Thanks for your understanding!
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soaringclauz View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 04:27
Originally posted by roweraay roweraay wrote:


I was ready to pick up another A900 as a backup body, but this is great news, from my perspective, since I will pick up the A850 instead (assuming the price is sub-$2K).....I would have been happier, if this were a 14MP Full-frame, since that would have complemented my A900 better.


Well, now that all the mumbling about the A850 being or not a FF camera is finished, there's new food for thought for the a800...
A500-A550 won't take much time before we get the replacement for the A700
A7xx will place higher (better af, at last?) than A700
A8xx One is now clear, but will it stay alone on its 8-stand?
A900 ...as above
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 04:16
I have no say in this as I am no crystal ball reader and no sony mole but I think it would be a shrewd move if they could sell the baby full frame 850 at the price point of the D300s and introduce simultaneously an A900MK2 updated with bells and whistles for half the price of the D3.... this would get everybody's mouth shut for a while
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douglasf13 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 03:46
Who knows? Maybe Sony gave in and weakened the CFA and the A850 is a lowlight camera?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 03:12
Originally posted by Bass Bass wrote:

I am happy though, as I'm sure many others are; a FF for a decent price. A900 owners might not be so happy though....


I was ready to pick up another A900 as a backup body, but this is great news, from my perspective, since I will pick up the A850 instead (assuming the price is sub-$2K).....I would have been happier, if this were a 14MP Full-frame, since that would have complemented my A900 better. I am also glad that the Alpha system has got the potential to expand significantly, with such a product announcement.....longer term, it will mean that more attractive products will enter the product pipeline in the future.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 03:01
Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:

It may get some more photographers who are cost conscious and looking for the "best value," but at prices like $1999 or whatever the A850 will cost, I think these are more educated consumers (usually) who also are interested in the performance capability of the camera.


It is precisely because they are educated consumers, that potential purchasers who pick up an A900-type camera, with everything that comes with it (sealed magnesium alloy body, high resolution Full-frame), will realise how much of a roaring bargain would it be, at $1999.


Nikon's sales of the D300 did not seem to suffer although it was significantly higher priced than any of the other top-end APS-C cameras from Canon, Sony, or Pentax.


Yes, for Nikon shooters, the D300 was a D2X at less than half its price. Everything in the D300 was an UPGRADE over the prior Nikon flagship.


The A700 is $600 less expensive than the D300, but its sales pale in comparison for cameras producing the same basic image quality.


The A700 was hit from all sides by the RAW-NR fiasco - one of Sony's blunders that they learned from and resolved via the FW Ver.4. And once such a product is reviewed by all the review sites and panned in such a manner, the A700 as a product was doomed from a sales success standpoint. The later release of FW.Ver.4 was just damage control....the basic war was lost.
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Bass View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 02:50
Thinking about what we 'know' about the A850, perhaps we are reading to much into it? I mean, what if the only difference between the A900 and the A850 is the viewfinder? It would not be hard to 'limit' the camera to 3fps but still use the original architecture and it makes more sense for Sony to just keep producing the A900 as is, put a cheaper viewfinder in (which is only going to save a few dollars), reduce the fps and re-label it as A850.

The specs are so similar, this has to be what is going on. The only reason to adjust a few details is to save a backlash from existing A900 owners (who paid full price) and to have to admit they made a 'mistake' with A900 and got the market wrong.

Seriously, in this economic climate, with Sony's financial performance YTD, I would put money on the fact that the A900 has not sold enough to recuperate the investment and there is millions of $ worth of stock (parts, raw materials, electronics etc) sitting around. A decision has been made to claw back the investment and move on.

This has to be a financially motivated move. Honestly, a company with Sony's expertise don't launch a product that is identical to another of it's products (it might as well be) this early and sell it for a lot less. It does not make sense.

This is the equivalent of a yard sale. It is stock shifting, nothing more.

I am happy though, as I'm sure many others are; a FF for a decent price. A900 owners might not be so happy though....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 02:37
Originally posted by douglasf13 douglasf13 wrote:

I would think that if the A850 is priced the same as the D300s, it would be a very compelling choice: IQ vs. Performance. Fo my shooting, I'd give up nearly every option for better IQ, but ymmv.


I totally agree with you that IQ comes first and that's the reason I was so hard on Sony when they gave us the A700 while others found excuses for Sony such as Raw converters or that will not been seen in a print size so and so. ironically Sony addressed that issue with firmwares that so many were dismissing that it even existed and the same people were happy with that

so not every one agrees on what IQ is in the first place
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 02:15
I would think that if the A850 is priced the same as the D300s, it would be a very compelling choice: IQ vs. Performance. Fo my shooting, I'd give up nearly every option for better IQ, but ymmv.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 01:53
Originally posted by roweraay roweraay wrote:

Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:


The price of the new camera will indeed be very interesting, and a key. I've certainly been wrong before, but I would be surprised if there is a $600 price difference (e.g., $2000 vs. $2600 for the A900). If there is, it would be evidence of what I, you and some others have written about the cost of a 100% viewfinder.
.


I have mentioned this in a couple of threads but the real cost savings will not come from the 100% viewfinder, even though that will yield some savings.

The real savings will come from the electronics. Having 3FPS, essentially means the data pipeline architecture can essentially be IDENTICAL to the one in the A700. A single BIONZ will more than suffice to process such highly reduced amounts of data.

Bottomline, the savings will all be from the electronics. Sony is essentially taking away the D3X/D3 or 1DSMKIII class of specification in the electronics of the A900 (permitting 5FPS in a 25MP camera) and replacing it with a 5DII or D700 spec of electronics in the A850.....their reasoning being, why put a 500HP V12 into a car, when not a single reviewer seems to even point it out as a big enough feature and all others are winning kudos with 100HP 4-cylinders in them ? That is the biggest differentiator between the A850 and the A900, even though the common people will not miss a beat and simply focus on the 98% Viewfinder. The electronics are where the money will come from.


I agree that the difference in the electronics is also likely a significant cost saver. But it goes beyond that, I suspect, to other things like the shutter and mirror mechanisms that don't have to be built to the same tolerances as units designed to work at 5 fps. All of these savings will add up, and the price will be interesting to see. It will be an indication of just how much relatively small operational differences can cost, and why pro cameras are much more expensive for what many perceive as small performance gains.

The bottom line is that I am not a typical Sony photographer, both in terms of what I shoot and my expectations for the direction I want to see the system go. I do understand that and hope that readers here will keep that in mind when reading my comments. But, I'm also the type of photographer that one hopes Sony has some interest in retaining and, more importantly, bringing into the fold and increasing in our numbers.

It would certainly seem that Sony is trying to restructure the system. Assuming that is right, there remain lots of holes in the system and questions for which we don't know the answers. But the lack of any performance upgrades or improvements in the newly positioned cameras is, or should be a huge concern to many. I can understand why Sony would undertake such a restructuring, but in the process it should also be improving the products that are part of the restructuring as they represent the next generation of products that will be available for the next year or so (or more). But it's not.

What does that say about Sony or its plans? Particularly if it has any interest or hope of trying to bring more "pros" or higher end shooters into the system. If its products are falling further behind the competition as Sony "stands pat" in features and design (or goes backwards), while its competitors continue to move forward, it will have little chance of doing that. Frankly, I find this a bit shocking coming from Sony.

It may get some more photographers who are cost conscious and looking for the "best value," but at prices like $1999 or whatever the A850 will cost, I think these are more educated consumers (usually) who also are interested in the performance capability of the camera. Nikon's sales of the D300 did not seem to suffer although it was significantly higher priced than any of the other top-end APS-C cameras from Canon, Sony, or Pentax. The A700 is $600 less expensive than the D300, but its sales pale in comparison for cameras producing the same basic image quality. I am not sure that Sony yet understands that cameras at this level are photographic tools and that performance counts, not just price. It is not like the consumer electronics products, including P&S cameras, with which it has far more experience.

I really do wonder what Sony is thinking and what it hopes to achieve. The new products are sending very mixed messages.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 01:18
Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:


The price of the new camera will indeed be very interesting, and a key. I've certainly been wrong before, but I would be surprised if there is a $600 price difference (e.g., $2000 vs. $2600 for the A900). If there is, it would be evidence of what I, you and some others have written about the cost of a 100% viewfinder.
.


I have mentioned this in a couple of threads but the real cost savings will not come from the 100% viewfinder, even though that will yield some savings.

The real savings will come from the electronics. Having 3FPS, essentially means the data pipeline architecture can essentially be IDENTICAL to the one in the A700. A single BIONZ will more than suffice to process such highly reduced amounts of data.

Bottomline, the savings will all be from the electronics. Sony is essentially taking away the D3X/D3 or 1DSMKIII class of specification in the electronics of the A900 (permitting 5FPS in a 25MP camera) and replacing it with a 5DII or D700 spec of electronics in the A850.....their reasoning being, why put a 500HP V12 into a car, when not a single reviewer seems to even point it out as a big enough feature and all others are winning kudos with 100HP 4-cylinders in them ? That is the biggest differentiator between the A850 and the A900, even though the common people will not miss a beat and simply focus on the 98% Viewfinder. The electronics are where the money will come from.

Edited by roweraay - 02 August 2009 at 01:24
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 01:10
Mark - keep in mind that companies love the physcological effect of pricing something at xx99, because people always see it as much cheaper. I would hope camera people buying a $2000 camera aren't that gullible, but there may be some.

as for the downgrade - it will be ok as long as a higher spec camera comes out of it as well; then the slightly lower A850 will make sense. if they just make it the A850, i will be baffled.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 01:07
Originally posted by roweraay roweraay wrote:

Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:

I certainly was wrong in my thinking about what the A850 would be, but then I was hoping Sony would actually show an interest in providing a more effective tool for photographers. On the contrary, what it is showing with the A850 and the "dumbed-down" A2xx/3xx cameras is a reduction in capabilities or at best maintaining the status-quo, but no improvement. That is a real concern to me, and I suspect many other photographers hoping that Sony would address and improve the operating characteristics of its cameras. The D300s gets criticized for providing not many improvements over the D300, but at least there are improvements, and no reduction in features or capability. That's not the path Sony seems to be taking.


Mark, you have to realize that there are tons of talented photographers, who aspired/aspire to own a Full-frame DSLR but simply could not afford the price of entry. If, as expected, the A850 comes in at a sub-$2K price, these people will finally be able to afford their dream product.

For yourself (and lots of others), a much more advanced AF-module might be the ticket but for others, such a camera with a solid build, "good enough" AF, high resolution etc may be meeting their entire needs. In fact, as far as I am concerned, the A900 will serve my needs for the foreseeable future - it is just perfect, exactly as it is (except of course for main-sensor Live-view as you pointed out, which is a pet peeve of mine too). Your needs are different of course (being a wildlife shooter), and a highly specced APS-C like say the D300 might have been a better bet for you. I think your disappointment is partly due to your expectations of the A850 being a high-end APS-C model being dashed by this new model. If I were a betting man, I would say that Sony has just such a camera in the wings, the upcoming A7xx, which will probably be what you really would want (I doubt Sony would leave a big hole in their lineup, with a model like the A7xx not being present).

From my perspective, the A850 is a brilliant, strategic move from Sony.


The price of the new camera will indeed be very interesting, and a key. I've certainly been wrong before, but I would be surprised if there is a $600 price difference (e.g., $2000 vs. $2600 for the A900). If there is, it would be evidence of what I, you and some others have written about the cost of a 100% viewfinder.

Assuming it is $1999, how many more people will be willing to buy in who would not buy in at $2600? We are talking about a niche product. If it does come in at that price it certainly will become the buzz of discussion forums, at least for a while (most such forums don't focus in on the types of things I've been talking about - pun intended ). Will it get more folks to switch to the Alpha system? I doubt it. Just how brilliant a move it is we'll probably know about a year or so after the camera hits the market.

But for now, I remain concerned that all of Sony's efforts appear to be going into making cheaper, but not better, cameras.

Edited by vbpholaw - 02 August 2009 at 01:09
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 August 2009 at 01:04
Originally posted by vbpholaw vbpholaw wrote:


As an aside, I find it strange that all this has happened over a weekend (Saturday here, Sunday in Asia). I wonder when the manual went up on the HK site.


I think someone in the HK Sony headquarters, messed up a bit and loaded up the A850's manual into the site. I believe it happened today morning (US time).

I would think the A850 will be kitted with the previously announced 28-75 f/2.8 SAM lens.
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