Poor Sony. Mini review versus full reviews for warmed over Canon andNikon APS cameras

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by RichA, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    RichA, Apr 15, 2010
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  2. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    There is no need for a full review, as it's just a dumbed-down and
    cheapened Sony A900.

    It has inherited the many weaknesses of the A900 and added a few more
    for cheapness. No need to say any more than that. Also, their
    combined sales are so low that they aren't worth wasting time on.

    About two years ago, my nearest independent camera store decided Sony
    Alpha would be its major DSLR brand, replacing Nikon. The owner
    decided that the A900 would give Sony's Alpha range the credibility it
    desperately needed, and that a brand-topping full frame DSLR would
    make people look again at the cheaper Alpha DSLRs.

    Unfortunately, he was wrong, and the store went into liquidation last
    month. He still offers some services working from home, and I am
    still a customer of his. When I asked him about the reasons for the
    closure of his business, he said "I wish I had stayed with Nikon".

    Nikon or Canon, it would have been a better decision than to back
    Sony. Stores who backed Pentax and Olympus DSLRs have also seen a
    decline in sales, although Micro Four Thirds is selling very well.

    The store I use most deals with all DSLR brands except Pentax, and the
    owner tells me that Sony sales have dropped off a cliff in the
    recession. His Nikon and Micro Four Thirds sales are strongly up,
    Canon sales are steady and he has dropped Pentax completely.

    He despairs of Sony. The company introduced the A900 with a fanfare
    but curtailed its investment in new entry-level and mid-range models
    and does very little to support the Alpha range through advertising.
    His Sony sales are now at their lowest since the takeover of Konica
    Minolta. He's given Sony twelve months to come up with a range that
    will sell, or he will cease offering the brand.

    He has been a Minolta enthusiast since the 1960s and a dealer since
    1985. He had a superb Minolta outfit. But he has sold it all and
    changed to Nikon; he now uses a D700 and finds the results are
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
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  3. RichA

    RichA Guest

    It is by far the least expensive high resolution FF DSLR, it deserved
    its own review, especially if they feel they have to review every
    cookie-cutter entry-level camera that comes along.
    RichA, Apr 16, 2010
  4. RichA

    Bruce Guest


    Its sensor performance is almost identical to that of the A900,
    because it has the same sensor. No need to test that all over again.
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  5. RichA

    Rich Guest

    Unlike this one:

    Rich, Apr 16, 2010
  6. This seems to be the case in the US. In many other countries Sony
    DSLRs are doing much better.
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 16, 2010
  7. RichA

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Like it or not, the perception is that Sony is not a camera company
    (or not a serious camera company). It's an electronics (primarily
    audio & video) company. People's first thought when considering
    spending a $1000 on a camera is not going to be Sony.

    I suspect that for Sony to really do well in the camera business they
    would have to be twice as good as Canon or Nikon. They're not and
    never will be.
    Ray Fischer, Apr 16, 2010
  8. RichA

    whisky-dave Guest

    I think this has happened through out Sony rather than just the camera
    I have an old (5 years) DVD recorder of theirs and it still works,
    but a friend who tried to buy one recently went through 3 in as many weeks
    having to send them back because disc wouldn't play (commercially brought)
    they gave up on buying Sony and went with Panasonic.
    whisky-dave, Apr 16, 2010
  9. RichA

    whisky-dave Guest

    That's true but Cameras are seen as electronic devices by most people.
    Even I've been inpressed with their Trinitron line of TVs and monitors.
    Even Apple used them for monitors at one point didn't they.
    True, but there's no reason why they can;t make a good camera,
    the optics is another matter, IU'm not sure if they sub-contract out or not
    or produce their own.
    Or be significantly cheaper and still make a profit.
    whisky-dave, Apr 16, 2010
  10. RichA

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Not by people buying a $1000 SLR.
    Apple may maked fine computers but that doesn't mean that they can
    make cameras. Ditto Sony.
    Irrelevant. Market perception is what counts.
    Suppose you're a professional photographer. You're looking at
    investing in a camera system to last many years which will consist of
    camera, several lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Are you going
    to take a chance that Sony will have all the needed gear, now and in
    the future, and isn't just playing in a possible new business, or are
    you going to go with a company that has been doing cameras for
    decades and already sells all the gear you might need?
    Cheaper isn't enough. If you've wasted $10,000 on equipment that is
    no longer supported then it's no consolation knowing that you "saved"
    Ray Fischer, Apr 16, 2010
  11. The trinitron tvs were fine (mine bought in '95-a 20" one is still up and
    running). But the monitors sucked-a friend had one, and the two wires
    linking the mask were visible. I think that Sony is a good consumer
    electronic manufacturer-my 29" CRT, DVD player, boombox and camcorder are
    awesome. But , I have a Canon photo-printer, and a Samsung 20" LCD monitor.
    Tzortzakakis Dimitris, Apr 16, 2010
  12. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    You're right. Unlike that one, because there are very significant
    differences between the D300S and its D300 predecessor.

    In contrast, the differences between the A850 and A900 are relatively

    It's good that you are beginning to understand these things.
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  13. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    How is it then, that sales figures for point and shoot digital cameras
    have gone down in the last year, while sales figures for DSLRs and
    Micro Four Thirds cameras have actually gone up?

    Unfortunately, Sony missed the boat.

    I don't know about markets other than the UK, but here Sony has priced
    its entry-level Alpha models very competitively, but they still don't
    sell. My friendly dealer tells me that his profit margin on an
    entry-level Alpha body or kit is so low that it almost isn't worth
    taking the time to demonstrate them to potential customers.
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  14. They produce their own using Minolta's optical facilities which they
    bought. Their alpha series of DSLRs is based around Minolta's alpha
    mount and is fully compatible with Minolta's old alpha lenses and
    Minolta alpha compatibles from third party makers. Tamron, Sigma, and
    Samyang are among those making Sony alpha compatible lenses. They
    also have contractual arrangements with Tamron and Carl Zeiss. A few
    of the lenses in their current line up are reviewed as being
    unsurpassed in image quality, and a few are unique in what they offer,
    such as their autofocusing 500mm reflex, or their 135mm STF (selective
    transfer function, i.e. adjustable bokeh quality).

    They lack the range of current new lenses of Nikon or Canon, but
    they're working to address that. And being much the fastest growing
    DSLR maker it doesn't look like they're giving up. Especially since
    DSLRs are starting to move into movie compatible territory, and Sony
    are already a market leader in professional movie cameras.
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 16, 2010
  15. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Before taking over Konica Minolta, all Sony lenses were made by
    subcontractors. I don't know whether the former Minolta factory
    facilities were retained after the takeover, but the Carl Zeiss
    branded lenses sold by Sony are made by Cosina. Indeed, all the Carl
    Zeiss branded lenses on Sony cameras from before the K-M takeover were
    also Cosina-made.

    In the UK, the Sony Alpha DSLRs are significantly cheaper than their
    nearest Canon or Nikon equivalents, but they still don't sell. Perhaps
    the problem is that they took over a failed brand (Konica Minolta)
    whose sales were almost non-existent?
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  16. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    There are so many gaping holes in Sony's current and planned range
    that no professional would even consider the brand. The issue of
    whether Sony will still be around five or ten years now is almost
    irrelevant, because the Alpha range is inadequate now.

    So Sony's appeal has to be to the mass market and, to some extent, the
    "prosumer" market. And that's the market they are having great
    difficulty selling to. In other words, Sony Alpha has no appeal.
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  17. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    But that was true of any aperture grille CRT monitor, regardless of
    brand. Yet aperture grille CRT monitors were in strong demand,
    especially at the high end of the market.

    Sony's Trinitron CRT tube was very good indeed, but I think the high
    end monitors from Eizo and LaCie used Mitsubishi Diamond Pro or Plus
    tubes. The best CRT monitors still outperform most LCD monitors by
    quite a margin.

    The barely visible wires supporting the aperture grille were a small
    price to pay for the overall excellence of these monitors.
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  18. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    Nikon did the adjustable bokeh thing all of 20 years ago with the AF
    Nikkor 135mm f/2 DC. There is also an AF Nikkor 105mm f/2 DC for
    people who don't subscribe to the mainly Japanese belief that 135mm is
    a good focal length for portraits. So there is nothing "unique" about
    Sony copying the idea two decades later, and nothing has ever come
    close to the performance of the DC Nikkors.

    Still, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

    Regarding your ridiculous claim that some Sony lenses are reviewed as
    "unsurpassed", the usual caveats about unreliable reviewers must be
    repeated yet again. There is not a single Sony branded lens that is
    not at least equalled by lenses from one or more other brands, and
    they are usually well beaten.

    And Sony cannot legitimately claim the credit for Carl Zeiss branded
    lenses that are designed and manufactured by others.

    You really should learn to keep your sycophancy in check, because in
    this case, it is quite hilariously misplaced. ;-)
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
  19. RichA

    Pete Guest

    Where I live in the UK all local friendly dealers have closed so I have
    to travel quite some distance to visit one: it's a small shop for a
    city. I noticed that Sigma lenses have the biggest (brand) dispaly
    area; Sony kit had the least, possibly because many towns and cities
    have Sony shops, more probably because of the profit margin as you
    said. Here, Minolta had top sales so I've no idea what happened.
    Pete, Apr 16, 2010
  20. RichA

    Bruce Guest

    It's the same for me now: Jessops are the spawn of Satan. :-(

    Sigma lenses have sky-high profit margins. They are very cheaply
    made, so even with a high dealer profit the final selling price is
    still low.

    My friendly dealer showed me the prices he pays for Nikon and Sigma
    70-200mm f/2.8 lenses, in both cases the latest versions, AF-S VR II
    and HSM.

    He then showed me his selling prices. He makes more profit selling
    the Sigma than the Nikkor, despite the much higher selling price of
    the latter. Go figure.

    Minolta dominated the AF 35mm SLR market in the 1980s/90s with the
    5000/7000/9000 and later the Dynax (US: Maxxum) SLRs. But they got
    greedy, and failed to invest, and their market share tumbled as
    Canon's EOS range grew and Nikon belatedly got their AF act together.

    The move to digital nearly killed off Minolta. Minolta DSLRs had some
    good ideas but Canon, and to a lesser extent Nikon, ran away with the

    By the time of the merger with Konica, Minolta's camera division was
    almost bankrupt. Konica was in much the same state. Together, they
    made no headway at all, and the firm deserved to be killed off.

    Then along came Sony, who effectively bought a dead horse and tried to
    flog it back to life. So far, without much success. Their aim was a
    20% market share within two years, but they have never even approached
    half of that target. The Alpha range is an embarrassment.
    Bruce, Apr 16, 2010
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