Warning Before Buying Sony

Started Sep 29, 2011 | Discussions thread
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jamesdylangoldstein
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Warning Before Buying Sony
Sep 29, 2011

I recently sold my Sony gear and wanted to make sure anyone considering a Sony system knows the caveats.

First, the A55 was my first interchangeable lens camera. I fell in love with photography and shot around 15k images in a few months. I also shot probably 6 hours of video. I started with the Sony 18-250 and then switched to Zeiss 24-70 and the Sony 70-400.

If you are buying an SLT and sticking with a cheap zoom and don't plan on upgrading to primes or fixed aperture zooms, buy the SLT and have fun. It's a great camera for a novice. Being able to see the exposure in real-time will help you master setting aperture, iso, and shutter manually.

Do not buy a Sony SLT if you might want to become more than an occasional shooter.

1) The OVF sucks, once I looked through a 5D viewfinder I was stunned at what I was missing. I don't care what the resolution is, it can be better but not as good as an EVF. There is absolutely no comparison.

2) Photography is about light and the SLT robs light. The image quality is worse on the SLT than on the 580 for a reason. If you are paying over $1000 for a fast lens, why would you give up light! You bought the camera to take photos, don't give up the most important thing for extra FPS!

3) The video overheating is under-reported by the media. It will drive you insane if you work outside or in any environment that isn't blasting AC. Be prepared not to get Sony's reported 31 minutes. Turn steady-shot off, it helps a bit, but it will drive you crazy when you're filming a local performance and the room is hot. The camera will shut down and you will start cursing.

4) Sony's lens selection isn't any good. They don't care about pro lenses, primes, etc. Most of the lenses are rebadged Minoltas and Tamrons that will never be updated. If you own a Nikon or Canon and live in a metro area you can rent lenses for whatever occasion. Sony has been talking about the 500mm forever. Many of the top-dollar Sony lenses, including the Zeiss, have coffee-grinder focusing systems. SAM is garbage. Record a video with a SAM lens, awful! When do you think they'll update the 70-200? Never. Lenses are what make photos, Sony has a slow, drawn-out roadmap that neglects serious hobbyists. How about a Sony wide-angle for APS-C? You're stuck with a lens everyone considers junk.

5) Steady-shot isn't as good as in-lens. Google it. And you don't need it in a wide-angle anyway, thus defeating the purpose of in-body.

6) Sony is obsessed with megapixels. I printed good 24x30 images with my 16mp. They would have looked even better coming from a 580 or D7000. And they would have looked even better if I was a better photographer. The 24mp image is going to slow your computer down and fill-up your hard drive. It's not going to make a better picture or help with enlargements. Do you think the A77 will produce as good of a low-light image as the D7000 without a flash. No way. Everyone compares the A77 to the 5D, the 5D is over 3 years old!

7) FPS means nothing. If you want to capture sports, it's about position, lenses, and timing. Try taking a picture of a guy catching a line-drive with the A77 set on 12fps. We're talking about hundredths of a second. I shot much better images at 4fps with the proper lenses and a better since of timing then clicking and holding at 10fps. And the Sony's gadgetry always seems to be slower than advertised and has to wait for a buffer.

8) Most of the reviewers won't tell you the truth. They don't test the product for long enough and they won't ever tell you something isn't good because Sony underwrites their advertising and sends them free cameras.

9) If you own Sony gear and are more than occasional snapper, hope that the 580 isn't the last SLR.

10) The advanced setting on Canon and Nikon are for pros, the advanced settings on Sony are for consumers. I'd rather have custom, complicated white-balance settings than 3D panoramas.

11) The in-body flash is junk on all cameras so you need hot-shoe. Canon's flashes are e-ttl II and amazing. The Sony's aren't nearly as good or as smart. Canon is releasing new, updated, smarter flashes with build in radio soon, when will Sony do that?

12) Sony A55's white balance isn't as good as my 3-year-old 5D. Yellow walls, blue highlights, yuck! I spent a lot of time fixing that in Aperture.

13) Autofocusing in video is over-rated. Your video will be a lot of grinding and Attempts to find the focus if you use autofocus. The A55 would micro-refocus when I was shooting panel discussions, thus causing the horrific grinding noise. The remedy a $250 mic or $1400 lens.

So, in conclusion, if you want to take a lot of pictures and video, experiment with lenses, keep a system and add to it over 10 years, don't buy a Sony. If you're going to buy an SLT or NEX with one lens, shot pictures of your family in bright light, and not do anything besides download the pictures, Sony is fine. The 580, 700, 850, and 900 are still worth considering if you own Sony lenses and serious (obsessive) about photography. I bought a 5D instead.

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