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A sad time for Sony/Minolta DSLR users

 
 
Bruce
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      05-29-2012
Last week we sold our last Sony DSLR. We sell very few, but because
of the store's long history as a Minolta specialist we have always had
at least one in stock. I was surprised to learn today that Sony no
longer has any stock of DSLRs and no more will be made.

All is not lost because the Alpha SLTs are still available to take
Minolta and Sony Alpha A mount lenses but they are extremely slow
sellers. There is no shortage of cameras. The problem is the
shortage of customers. No-one wants to buy them.

Sales of NEX mirrorless cameras were strong but have been dropping
recently because the lens range is so poor. There is only one lens
that can realise the potential of the 24 MP sensor in the NEX-7, the
Zeiss 24mm f/1.8. But that lens is eyewateringly expensive,
especially when compared with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 for Micro Four
Thirds, which is optically just as good at *one third of the price*.

We will wait and see what Sony has to offer us for 2013 then make a
decision whether to continue stocking the brand. Several of our
competitors have now dropped Sony products from their ranges because
of the disastrously low sales figures. I would not be surprised if we
went the same way. We have limited display space and there are other
brands which can deliver a much better return on that space.

The forthcoming Canon mirrorless system is likely to do considerable
damage to sales of Sony NEX and Micro Four Thirds.

It is sad to see the (Konica-)Minolta brand descend to such depths.
Several years ago, we had a lot of very loyal Minolta customers who
were excited by the thought of what Sony's investment might do to help
develop the range. I doubt any of them expected Sony to kill it off,
nor quite so quickly. We still have many of those loyal customers.
but they now buy brands other than Sony.

 
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RichA
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      05-29-2012
On May 29, 1:42*pm, Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Last week we sold our last Sony DSLR. *We sell very few, but because
> of the store's long history as a Minolta specialist we have always had
> at least one in stock. *I was surprised to learn today that Sony no
> longer has any stock of DSLRs and no more will be made.
>
> All is not lost because the Alpha SLTs are still available to take
> Minolta and Sony Alpha A mount lenses but they are extremely slow
> sellers. *There is no shortage of cameras. *The problem is the
> shortage of customers. *No-one wants to buy them.


Kind of funny. I was in a store the other day and some guy was
lamenting that he'd owned two Sony's, both failed on him so he's
moving to Canon. I wonder how much of that is really peer-pressure
and his Canon-owing buddies made sport of him?

> Sales of NEX mirrorless cameras were strong but have been dropping
> recently because the lens range is so poor. *There is only one lens
> that can realise the potential of the 24 MP sensor in the NEX-7, the
> Zeiss 24mm f/1.8. *But that lens is eyewateringly expensive,
> especially when compared with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 for Micro Four
> Thirds, which is optically just as good at *one third of the price*.


Arbitrary comparisons don't always work. Zeiss won't be selling
lenses for $300.00, ever, no matter what.

> We will wait and see what Sony has to offer us for 2013 then make a
> decision whether to continue stocking the brand. *Several of our
> competitors have now dropped Sony products from their ranges because
> of the disastrously low sales figures. *I would not be surprised if we
> went the same way. *We have limited display space and there are other
> brands which can deliver a much better return on that space.


I'd think hard about discontinuing them. Like the head of Walmart
said, 80% of people buy white toilet seats, but they still have to
stock 18 colours or people won't buy anything. Sales psychology at
work.

> The forthcoming Canon mirrorless system is likely to do considerable
> damage to sales of Sony NEX and Micro Four Thirds.


Especially in Canada as many are Canondroids here. Personally, I
don't believe in rewarding companies that have foisted so much flawed
product onto users.

> It is sad to see the (Konica-)Minolta brand descend to such depths.
> Several years ago, we had a lot of very loyal Minolta customers who
> were excited by the thought of what Sony's investment might do to help
> develop the range. *I doubt any of them expected Sony to kill it off,
> nor quite so quickly. *We still have many of those loyal customers.
> but they now buy brands other than Sony.


This sounds like what happened to Olympus DSLRs in Toronto, even
though they had the fantastic lens line-up.
 
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Bruce
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      05-29-2012
RichA <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On May 29, 1:42*pm, Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Last week we sold our last Sony DSLR. *We sell very few, but because
>> of the store's long history as a Minolta specialist we have always had
>> at least one in stock. *I was surprised to learn today that Sony no
>> longer has any stock of DSLRs and no more will be made.
>>
>> All is not lost because the Alpha SLTs are still available to take
>> Minolta and Sony Alpha A mount lenses but they are extremely slow
>> sellers. *There is no shortage of cameras. *The problem is the
>> shortage of customers. *No-one wants to buy them.

>
>Kind of funny. I was in a store the other day and some guy was
>lamenting that he'd owned two Sony's, both failed on him so he's
>moving to Canon. I wonder how much of that is really peer-pressure
>and his Canon-owing buddies made sport of him?



I can't speak for Canada, but Sony after-sales service here is
atrocious.


>> Sales of NEX mirrorless cameras were strong but have been dropping
>> recently because the lens range is so poor. *There is only one lens
>> that can realise the potential of the 24 MP sensor in the NEX-7, the
>> Zeiss 24mm f/1.8. *But that lens is eyewateringly expensive,
>> especially when compared with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 for Micro Four
>> Thirds, which is optically just as good at *one third of the price*.

>
>Arbitrary comparisons don't always work. Zeiss won't be selling
>lenses for $300.00, ever, no matter what.



True, but the point is that there is only one good lens in the range.
Apart from the CZ 24mm, the only good prime lenses available for Sony
NEX come from Sigma - the 19mm and 30mm. Of course the build quality
is the usual junk, but optically they are better than anything for NEX
sold under the Sony brand.

Sony had a very good roadmap for NEX lenses then the investment was
pulled. As a result, NEX is now struggling.

That is totally unnecessary. The camera bodies are excellent - we got
the new NEX-F3 to try this week, and it is really good. But where are
the decent lenses?


>> We will wait and see what Sony has to offer us for 2013 then make a
>> decision whether to continue stocking the brand. *Several of our
>> competitors have now dropped Sony products from their ranges because
>> of the disastrously low sales figures. *I would not be surprised if we
>> went the same way. *We have limited display space and there are other
>> brands which can deliver a much better return on that space.

>
>I'd think hard about discontinuing them. Like the head of Walmart
>said, 80% of people buy white toilet seats, but they still have to
>stock 18 colours or people won't buy anything. Sales psychology at
>work.



But people already aren't buying anything. Alpha DSLRs have just died
(R.I.P.) and the SLTs are almost impossible to sell despite the low
prices we offer them at. They are troublesome in every way, and don't
make us anything like the profit we need from the area we have devoted
to them.


>> The forthcoming Canon mirrorless system is likely to do considerable
>> damage to sales of Sony NEX and Micro Four Thirds.

>
>Especially in Canada as many are Canondroids here. Personally, I
>don't believe in rewarding companies that have foisted so much flawed
>product onto users.



I think that "foisted so much flawed product onto users" applies to
many companies, certainly not just Canon.


>> It is sad to see the (Konica-)Minolta brand descend to such depths.
>> Several years ago, we had a lot of very loyal Minolta customers who
>> were excited by the thought of what Sony's investment might do to help
>> develop the range. *I doubt any of them expected Sony to kill it off,
>> nor quite so quickly. *We still have many of those loyal customers.
>> but they now buy brands other than Sony.

>
>This sounds like what happened to Olympus DSLRs in Toronto, even
>though they had the fantastic lens line-up.



Well, there were other reasons for that. Kodak must take a large
share of the blame for Olympus being stuck with poor sensors. If
Panasonic hadn't rescued Olympus with the excellent LiveMOS sensors,
Four Thirds would have died altogether and Micro Four Thirds would
have been a Panasonic-only format.

 
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RichA
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-30-2012
On May 29, 3:20*pm, Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I can't speak for Canada, but Sony after-sales service here is
> atrocious.


Some of it is outsourced in Canada.

> >Arbitrary comparisons don't always work. *Zeiss won't be selling
> >lenses for $300.00, ever, no matter what.

>
> True, but the point is that there is only one good lens in the range.
> Apart from the CZ 24mm, the only good prime lenses available for Sony
> NEX come from Sigma - the 19mm and 30mm. *Of course the build quality
> is the usual junk, but optically they are better than anything for NEX
> sold under the Sony brand.


I know they don't sell, but how do you think Samsung has done?

>
> Sony had a very good roadmap for NEX lenses then the investment was
> pulled. *As a result, NEX is now struggling.


Stupid move on their part. Build it and then kill it by inches.


> >I'd think hard about discontinuing them. *Like the head of Walmart
> >said, 80% of people buy white toilet seats, but they still have to
> >stock 18 colours or people won't buy anything. *Sales psychology at
> >work.

>
> But people already aren't buying anything. *Alpha DSLRs have just died
> (R.I.P.) and the SLTs are almost impossible to sell despite the low
> prices we offer them at. *They are troublesome in every way, and don't
> make us anything like the profit we need from the area we have devoted
> to them.


I think part of what I meant was that getting rid of Sony might hurt
sales of other brands. Who wants to shop in a store that only stocks
two brands? As odd as it sounds, people who do not yet have systems
want choices presented even if they've decided to by from the big two.

> I think that "foisted so much flawed product onto users" applies to
> many companies, certainly not just Canon.


Canon has no excuse really. They had more problems than other brands
in the last 10 years. Nikon's resurgence wasn't only because of its
sensors.

> Well, there were other reasons for that. *Kodak must take a large
> share of the blame for Olympus being stuck with poor sensors. *If
> Panasonic hadn't rescued Olympus with the excellent LiveMOS sensors,
> Four Thirds would have died altogether and Micro Four Thirds would
> have been a Panasonic-only format.


I don't think I saw any shortages of Olympus cameras, but the brand
was definitely ignored by retailers because selling Canon and Nikon
was easier and probably more lucrative. But, reports of performance
probably hurt Olympus as well, but it had more to do with the
responsivity of the bodies and not so much the sensors, at least at
normal ISO's.
 
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RichA
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-30-2012
On May 29, 5:35*pm, Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

> Which all but ignores the "SLR" camera segment. *The real issue is the
> money losing television business as well as others. *The camera business
> is in the noise, somewhat.
>


Volumes sometime matter more than profits, for a while. The
smallness of the camera division makes it easy to cut.
 
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Bruce
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      05-30-2012
RichA <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On May 29, 5:35*pm, Alan Browne <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>
>> Which all but ignores the "SLR" camera segment. *The real issue is the
>> money losing television business as well as others. *The camera business
>> is in the noise, somewhat.
>>

>
>Volumes sometime matter more than profits, for a while. The
>smallness of the camera division makes it easy to cut.



It also makes it easier to ignore losses, because even a high
percentage loss on a relatively very small turnover is not significant
compared to Sony's overall losses.

However, the disposal of Sony's TV manufacturing interests will also
mean the disposal of a large chunk of the company's losses. At some
point, the Sony board will notice just how lamentable the performance
of the photo division really is. At that time, cutting its losses
will be a no-brainer.

I should also point out that when Sony bought the (D)SLR business of
Konica Minolta, it was fully expected to grow rapidly and become a
very significant part of Sony's overall business. Their target was a
whopping 25% share of the worldwide market. <wry grin>

As we know, this was never approached, let alone achieved. The
product was never good enough. It would seem reasonable to have
expected some greater synergy between Sony's camera division and its
highly successful sensor manufacturing division.

Sony makes some outstanding sensors, but its own camera division seems
determined to make them underperform. Every Sony sensor seems to
perform better in other brands of camera than it does in a Sony
camera.

The excellent 16 MP Exmor sensor produced sparkling results in the
Pentax K-5, K-30 and K-01 and Nikon D7000 yet all the Sony cameras
using identical sensors lag way behind on image quality, especially
dynamic range.

How could Sony have got this so wrong? The Minolta DSLR designers
managed to get the very best out of Sony sensors. Results from the
Dynax/Maxxum DSLRs were at least as good as those from other brands
*using the identical Sony sensor*. So what went wrong?

How was it that Sony supplied outstanding 24 MP full frame sensors for
the superlative Nikon D3X DSLR but gave their own camera division
desperately noisy 24 MP full frame sensors for the flagship Sony A900?
The A900 (and the cheaper A850 version) were a joke. Despite their
low price - a steal compared to the only other 24 MP full frame DSLR,
Nikon's D3X - they never sold well. It took more than *two and a half
years* to sell the final batch.

As you say, while Sony has even greater problems to worry about, the
camera division is left to its own devices. But when Sony finally
gets rid of those problems over the next 12-18 months, Sony's board
will have the time to look harder at every division, not just the
worst loss makers, and the performance of the camera division will
come under the closer scrutiny it has so far escaped.

When this happens, there will be a bloodbath.

 
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Bruce
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      05-30-2012
Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>RichA <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>On May 29, 3:20*pm, Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> I can't speak for Canada, but Sony after-sales service here is
>>> atrocious.

>>
>>Some of it is outsourced in Canada.



Most or is outsourced here too.


>>> >Arbitrary comparisons don't always work. *Zeiss won't be selling
>>> >lenses for $300.00, ever, no matter what.
>>>
>>> True, but the point is that there is only one good lens in the range.
>>> Apart from the CZ 24mm, the only good prime lenses available for Sony
>>> NEX come from Sigma - the 19mm and 30mm. *Of course the build quality
>>> is the usual junk, but optically they are better than anything for NEX
>>> sold under the Sony brand.

>>
>>I know they don't sell, but how do you think Samsung has done?



That's something of an enigma. Samsung CSCs sold very well last year,
partly due to their being able to take advantage of Japanese and Thai
supply problems following earthquake/tsunami and floods respectively.

However, sales have dropped since then and Samsung doesn't seem to be
making headway. The product is good, with great features and
performance. The prices are good. But it isn't selling as briskly as
it might. Brand image or what? I don't know, and no-one else seems
to know either.


>>> Sony had a very good roadmap for NEX lenses then the investment was
>>> pulled. *As a result, NEX is now struggling.

>>
>>Stupid move on their part. Build it and then kill it by inches.



That sums it up pretty well.


>>> >I'd think hard about discontinuing them. *Like the head of Walmart
>>> >said, 80% of people buy white toilet seats, but they still have to
>>> >stock 18 colours or people won't buy anything. *Sales psychology at
>>> >work.
>>>
>>> But people already aren't buying anything. *Alpha DSLRs have just died
>>> (R.I.P.) and the SLTs are almost impossible to sell despite the low
>>> prices we offer them at. *They are troublesome in every way, and don't
>>> make us anything like the profit we need from the area we have devoted
>>> to them.

>>
>>I think part of what I meant was that getting rid of Sony might hurt
>>sales of other brands. Who wants to shop in a store that only stocks
>>two brands? As odd as it sounds, people who do not yet have systems
>>want choices presented even if they've decided to by from the big two.



In the UK, Sony tried to take advantage of short term problems at
Pentax and negotiated a major deal with Jessops (UK's major photo
store chain - think Ritz). It appears there were special terms if
Jessops stopped selling Pentax and gave Sony near-equal presence to
Canon and Nikon in stores. Sony was duly given pride of place and
Pentax was dropped for the first time for decades.

The result of this was that Sony sales were a spectacular flop. Pentax
is now back and the display cases that were formerly Sony-only are
displaying other brands.


>>> I think that "foisted so much flawed product onto users" applies to
>>> many companies, certainly not just Canon.

>>
>>Canon has no excuse really. They had more problems than other brands
>>in the last 10 years. Nikon's resurgence wasn't only because of its
>>sensors.



I'm not sure I agree about Canon having multiple problems. There have
been problems with the AF system that were inherent in the way the EOS
AF was originally designed. Canon has always had to work around this,
and the workarounds have proved ever more difficult as the number of
megapixels has increased, making focusing inaccuracies more obvious.

What other major problem do you believe Canon has had?


>>> Well, there were other reasons for that. *Kodak must take a large
>>> share of the blame for Olympus being stuck with poor sensors. *If
>>> Panasonic hadn't rescued Olympus with the excellent LiveMOS sensors,
>>> Four Thirds would have died altogether and Micro Four Thirds would
>>> have been a Panasonic-only format.

>>
>>I don't think I saw any shortages of Olympus cameras, but the brand
>>was definitely ignored by retailers because selling Canon and Nikon
>>was easier and probably more lucrative. But, reports of performance
>>probably hurt Olympus as well, but it had more to do with the
>>responsivity of the bodies and not so much the sensors, at least at
>>normal ISO's.



I think you are in denial. The E-1 was a good start with the 5.0 MP
Kodak sensor that competed strongly with the Canon EOS 1D's 4.0 MP.
But Canon leapt ahead with 8.0 MP and Olympus stayed at 5.0 MP. Kodak
supplied an 8.0 MP Four Thirds sensor but it was junk - I helped test
several versions and they just weren't good enough, hence no
replacement for the E-1 for *four years* when the typical DSLR product
cycle is less than half of that.

The Panasonic 7.5 MP LiveMOS sensor saved Olympus, and the later 10.0
and 12.1 MP LiveMOS sensors restored the dignity of the Four Thirds
line, but it was too late. The damage had been done and at least some
of the blame was down to Kodak.

 
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Joe Kotroczo
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      05-30-2012
On 29/05/2012 18:42, Bruce wrote:
> Last week we sold our last Sony DSLR. We sell very few, but because
> of the store's long history as a Minolta specialist we have always had
> at least one in stock. I was surprised to learn today that Sony no
> longer has any stock of DSLRs and no more will be made.
>
> All is not lost because the Alpha SLTs are still available to take
> Minolta and Sony Alpha A mount lenses but they are extremely slow
> sellers. There is no shortage of cameras. The problem is the
> shortage of customers. No-one wants to buy them.
>


Bought an A77 not so long ago, and am happy with it. Don't miss the
flappy mirror. Love the 16-50mm f/2.8 that came with it and which does
not deserve to be called a "kit lens".

--
Illegitimi non carborundum
 
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Bruce
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      05-30-2012
Joe Kotroczo <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On 29/05/2012 18:42, Bruce wrote:
>> Last week we sold our last Sony DSLR. We sell very few, but because
>> of the store's long history as a Minolta specialist we have always had
>> at least one in stock. I was surprised to learn today that Sony no
>> longer has any stock of DSLRs and no more will be made.
>>
>> All is not lost because the Alpha SLTs are still available to take
>> Minolta and Sony Alpha A mount lenses but they are extremely slow
>> sellers. There is no shortage of cameras. The problem is the
>> shortage of customers. No-one wants to buy them.
>>

>
>Bought an A77 not so long ago, and am happy with it. Don't miss the
>flappy mirror. Love the 16-50mm f/2.8 that came with it and which does
>not deserve to be called a "kit lens".



Who on earth would call that a "kit lens"?

 
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nospam
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      05-30-2012
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Bruce
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> How was it that Sony supplied outstanding 24 MP full frame sensors for
> the superlative Nikon D3X DSLR but gave their own camera division
> desperately noisy 24 MP full frame sensors for the flagship Sony A900?


because the sensors destined for nikon are made to nikon's specs and
sony *can't* use that particular design.
 
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