The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?

Started May 7, 2012 | Discussions
IcyVeins
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The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?
May 7, 2012

I see here in the beginners section that there is a great rift between perception and reality. The perception among those asking questions is that there are exactly two colossi of the cameraverse, Canon and Nikon, from which to choose an entry level DSLR-style camera. The reality is that Sony also makes a DSLR- style camera, which they just recently announced, the A57. This is in contrast to Canikon whose cameras are 12 to 15 months old and old technology. The Sony has many features and specs that appear to a logical thinker to clearly outclass yesteryear's competition. Yet the questions ans answers in this echo chamber of a forum are utterly dismissive of the A57 and only deal with Canikon. It's like asking which German car to buy, Volkswagon or Audi? You're missing a real, real important choice there, and one that is quite possibly the best choice for most people.

So this is the question that absolutely must be answered right here, right now. The Sony A57: IS IT OR IS IT NOT SUPERIOR TO CANIKON'S T3I AND D5100? YOU CAN'T MAKE THE QUESTIONS GO AWAY THEY WILL HAUNT YOU UNTIL YOU STARE THEM DOWN AND ANSWER!

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LightRoom
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Re: The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?
In reply to IcyVeins, May 7, 2012

It doesn't matter. It depends. I personally think the Pentax K5 is a better camera. So that's the one I got. I think you'll find it difficult to get someone that chose a different camera from your beloved Sony A57 to agree with you.

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Bjorn_L
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troll much?
In reply to IcyVeins, May 7, 2012

Your statement was both too broad and as far as I can see only designed to start flamewars.

Is a grape superior to a peach? Not if you are wanting a peach.

The a57 is a different camera. It has some features the others lack and lacks some they have. So it is not a 1:1 comparison.

For openers (in comparison to both the Nikon and Canon, there is no such thing as a canikon or a Sonex or whatever other foolish concatenation you wish to try):

The a57 does not focus and track as well in sports shooting. FPS is not sports shooting. For some the very fast general focus ability and the consistent focus be it via the EVF or rear LCD is a very important.

The a57 has an EVF. EVF's suffer in lower light. They have tearing when panning. They cause the camera to consume considerably more battery power. They also allow use of the viewfinder during video and preview exposure settings. Many hate EVFs, some like them some don't care which VF type it has.

The a57 turns off stabilization during video. Seemingly the sensor wiggling was causing overheating. Lens based stabilization does not cause this issue and so they provide full stabilization during video (which is probably why Panasonic also uses it)

The a57 uses in camera stabilization. This is handy for lenses which would not otherwise have stabilization (such as fast primes) but not as good as in lens and according to Canon even a perfectly implemented in body solution (which does not exist) could not match the amount of stabilization provided on lenses 200mm or longer. How good or bad this is depends on how you shoot. Fast primes in low light = good to have in camera stabilization. Long telephoto, video or very demanding shooting = good to have in lens. For most applications it won’t matter much if at all.

The a57 also uses a translucent mirror to send the data to the EVF. Unlike the way the data is delivered to the EVF in Panasonic. This results in a 1/3 to ½ loss of light.

Customer service for the big two is good. Customer service for Sony, according to Alphoid (a knowledgeable Sony user) is not as good.

Lens selection is considerably smaller. Not an immediate impact to most, but a long term impact to many. This is in fact the reason I do not shoot Minolta/Sony any more was my finding that the lenses I was going to buy back when I was considering upgrading my 7d to an a700 or a900 did not exist.

Which camera is best depends more on your personal wants and needs. I think the top companies sell more because they address the needs and wants of more people. Sony has made a lot of headway, is very forward thinking. But that Sony has managed to anchor the #3 spot and seems to be growing in market share seems to say there is a niche they are filling too. It just need not be the same niche as Canon and Nikon.

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Barry Fitzgerald
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Light sucking mirror..
In reply to Bjorn_L, May 7, 2012

Is a marketing blunder of epic proportions from Sony

They've also abandoned their OVF users too, no current production A mount DSLR bodies for these folks.

We can argue the SLT mirror doesn't hit IQ much but it's a perception which will hurt Sony and something they simply didn't think about properly.

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konradsa
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Re: troll much?
In reply to Bjorn_L, May 7, 2012

Honestly, about 1/2 the points you listed there are wrong for the A57, you answers would be correct for the A55 however. For instance, video stabilization is not turned off during video (it just uses electronic sensor shift now) and also tracking/focusing is not an issue. The light loss is negligible, especially considering how good the 16 MP sensors is, but you gain other advantages like no mirror slap.

Don't want to start a flame war here, but fan boys are pretty blind on either side of the aisle.

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konradsa
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Re: Light sucking mirror..
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, May 7, 2012

Troll

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Wally626
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Re: The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?
In reply to IcyVeins, May 7, 2012

two colossi of the cameraverse, Canon and Nikon, from which to choose an entry level DSLR-style camera.

The A57 does look to be a good camera but it is not entry level. The A35 (and soon the A37) fill that slot for Sony. Sony used to have a 2-level camera in the standard SLT models but I think they are letting the bottom of the NEX line take over that price point.

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Barry Fitzgerald
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Re: Light sucking mirror..
In reply to konradsa, May 7, 2012

konradsa wrote:

Troll

Wrong truth
SLT is a turn off for many and it is a mistake that Sony has made.

They've abandoned their FF customers too no current FF model many will buy a D800 and leave A mount.

So many mistakes from Sony they've really thrown away any potential they had

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IcyVeins
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Re: Light sucking mirror..
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, May 7, 2012

Barry have you done any kind of polling about OVF and EVF preferences among Sony users?

I bet that the vast majority of Sony's "OVF users" (basically all their users since before EVFs existed) found that the EVF is quite capable and that the advantages offset or even outweigh the disadvantages, at least for uses other than extreme action photography. I would bet that you are in a small minority of old people who just can't get a handle on the new technology.

You're wrong about Sony and FF, they are on a four year product cycle just like Canikon and the new FF camera is slated for launch in fall of this year, exactly four years after the A900 and three years after the A850. Sorry to put a damper on your anti-Sony spin but those are the facts.

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

konradsa wrote:

Troll

Wrong truth
SLT is a turn off for many and it is a mistake that Sony has made.

They've abandoned their FF customers too no current FF model many will buy a D800 and leave A mount.

So many mistakes from Sony they've really thrown away any potential they had

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unravel
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Re: troll much?
In reply to Bjorn_L, May 7, 2012

Bjorn_L wrote:

Your statement was both too broad and as far as I can see only designed to start flamewars.

Is a grape superior to a peach? Not if you are wanting a peach.

No, we are comparing entry level DSLRs and for all intents and purposes the a57 falls into this category. No entry user is going to discern sony from nikon entry level based on some completely minute features that are completely objective

The a57 is a different camera. It has some features the others lack and lacks some they have. So it is not a 1:1 comparison.

for all intents and purposes, it is, it is aimed at the entry level, etc

For openers (in comparison to both the Nikon and Canon, there is no such thing as a canikon or a Sonex or whatever other foolish concatenation you wish to try):

The a57 does not focus and track as well in sports shooting. FPS is not sports shooting. For some the very fast general focus ability and the consistent focus be it via the EVF or rear LCD is a very important.

Where do you get this information? Not saying you're wrong, but id like some kind of proof of that especially since a57 is new and different from a55.

The a57 has an EVF. EVF's suffer in lower light. They have tearing when panning. They cause the camera to consume considerably more battery power. They also allow use of the viewfinder during video and preview exposure settings. Many hate EVFs, some like them some don't care which VF type it has.

EVFs DO NOT suffer in lower light, not sure where you get this from, as a matter of fact my screen UPS the exposure and i can see everything a LOT better. I just did a 5 hour bat mitzvah job in which my EVF allowed me to see everything, comparing this to an entry level d5100 or t3i small OVF will not yield better results in that situation, guaranteed.

a57 fixed the power problem a55 had, which had a smaller battery. I went on one charge for a 5 hour job taking 1k pictures, thats decent enough performance in my book.. i used my LCD for some shooting as well in that session

I'm personally PRO-EVF camp but i understand why some may not like it, but when you compare a FF OVF vs entry level OVF, in my opinion, EVF of a57 is a lot bigger and a lot better.

The a57 turns off stabilization during video. Seemingly the sensor wiggling was causing overheating. Lens based stabilization does not cause this issue and so they provide full stabilization during video (which is probably why Panasonic also uses it)

a57 does not turn off SSS during video, sorry

The a57 uses in camera stabilization. This is handy for lenses which would not otherwise have stabilization (such as fast primes) but not as good as in lens and according to Canon even a perfectly implemented in body solution (which does not exist) could not match the amount of stabilization provided on lenses 200mm or longer. How good or bad this is depends on how you shoot. Fast primes in low light = good to have in camera stabilization. Long telephoto, video or very demanding shooting = good to have in lens. For most applications it won’t matter much if at all.

The a57 also uses a translucent mirror to send the data to the EVF. Unlike the way the data is delivered to the EVF in Panasonic. This results in a 1/3 to ½ loss of light.

negligible, especially for an entry level consumer, come on now ...

Customer service for the big two is good. Customer service for Sony, according to Alphoid (a knowledgeable Sony user) is not as good.

Lens selection is considerably smaller. Not an immediate impact to most, but a long term impact to many. This is in fact the reason I do not shoot Minolta/Sony any more was my finding that the lenses I was going to buy back when I was considering upgrading my 7d to an a700 or a900 did not exist.

for ENTRY level lens selection is better, nikon d5100 doesnt even have an AF motor... i bought a 50mm minolta prime for $60, a 35-105 20yr old zoom for $60 that is incredibly sharp for what it is, and a 70-210 famed beercan f4 throughout for $120. Thats what, a little over $200 for 3 lenses? Good luck with that in nikon land for example for that type of quality glass.

Which camera is best depends more on your personal wants and needs. I think the top companies sell more because they address the needs and wants of more people. Sony has made a lot of headway, is very forward thinking. But that Sony has managed to anchor the #3 spot and seems to be growing in market share seems to say there is a niche they are filling too. It just need not be the same niche as Canon and Nikon.

Canon and Nikon are a lot more established, people want to go with established, a lot who do their research before the purchase do give sony credit for what they are doing. Truth is, get either t3i or d5100 or a57 and you will have comparable picture. Everything else is preference, and my preferences personally were in line with what sony has to offer and i couldnt be more happy. But i dont like any nikon/canon bias spreading that simply isnt true... considering you have experts who dont have experience with a57 to talk about it.

ps before my purchase ive used d5100 for two weeks each (friends) and t2i (girlfriends). both are great cameras, but i chose sony

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Barry Fitzgerald
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Re: Light sucking mirror..
In reply to IcyVeins, May 7, 2012

IcyVeins wrote:

Barry have you done any kind of polling about OVF and EVF preferences among Sony users?

No do you though?
I'm sure other sites to though
I'd wager a good portion of A mount uses have or will walk away from Sony

I bet that the vast majority of Sony's "OVF users" (basically all their users since before EVFs existed) found that the EVF is quite capable and that the advantages offset or even outweigh the disadvantages, at least for uses other than extreme action photography. I would bet that you are in a small minority of old people who just can't get a handle on the new technology.

I'm not old in fact a lot of younger folks just prefer an OVF

You're wrong about Sony and FF, they are on a four year product cycle just like Canikon and the new FF camera is slated for launch in fall of this year, exactly four years after the A900 and three years after the A850. Sorry to put a damper on your anti-Sony spin but those are the facts.

Sony have no FF DSLR in production the A850/900 are discontinued.

I'm sure some SLT thing will arrive later this year, but D800 will have conquered many A900 users.

Sony are not consistent and never have been they did this with the A700

Back to the light sucking mirror yes it's a huge problem for Sony it puts people off, and ....those 24mp SLT Models are behind rivals for low light work

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asdf photographer
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A tough sell with that viewfinder
In reply to IcyVeins, May 9, 2012

Sure it might have snappy FPS, excellent video autofocus and
photoshop effects. But its awful viewfinder and confusing menu
will be its ultimate undoing at the stores.

As these "beginners" attack the worldwide DSLR displays, that
initial first viewfinder experience will make them spike that camera
like a football. In stark contrast the competition with their glorious
pentaprism viewfinders + stabilized lenses. This compromise might be
tolerated by a niche photographer seeking specific features, but
not by the hoi polloi.

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NowHearThis
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Re: The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?
In reply to IcyVeins, May 9, 2012

IcyVeins wrote:

I see here in the beginners section that there is a great rift between perception and reality. The perception among those asking questions is that there are exactly two colossi of the cameraverse, Canon and Nikon, from which to choose an entry level DSLR-style camera. The reality is that Sony also makes a DSLR- style camera, which they just recently announced, the A57. This is in contrast to Canikon whose cameras are 12 to 15 months old and old technology. The Sony has many features and specs that appear to a logical thinker to clearly outclass yesteryear's competition. Yet the questions ans answers in this echo chamber of a forum are utterly dismissive of the A57 and only deal with Canikon. It's like asking which German car to buy, Volkswagon or Audi? You're missing a real, real important choice there, and one that is quite possibly the best choice for most people.

So this is the question that absolutely must be answered right here, right now. The Sony A57: IS IT OR IS IT NOT SUPERIOR TO CANIKON'S T3I AND D5100? YOU CAN'T MAKE THE QUESTIONS GO AWAY THEY WILL HAUNT YOU UNTIL YOU STARE THEM DOWN AND ANSWER!

Here's my take.

Yes, I much prefer the A57, A65, and even the A55 to the T3i and D5100. I'll qualify my reasons and you can take what you will from it.

On paper, the many of the specs are better.
• Faster AF and AF in Video (Yes Nikon has it, but it's not as good.
• Stereo Mics built-in, not left channel audio.
• 1080p 60p Video
• Much faster continuous shooting, 12 and 10 fps vs 3.7/4fps for Canon/Nikon.
• Jpegs correct for CA's, Vignetting, Distortion, not just 1 of them.
• Kelvin WB option.
• Wireless flash (D5100 lacks this)
• High Speed Snyc (D5100 lacks this)
• Larger Viewfinder that is also 100% accurate

• EVF (you may hate this but you do get a histogram or dual axis level which I like)

• IBIS, this is also a matter of preference, to some being able to stabilize any lens is a plus.
• In camera HDR. This feature is amazing.
• DRO is better implemented in the Sony.
• Sweep panorama (smaller files than I'd like but still quite good)

• Battery last longer than the T3i, lasts longer than either in Live View (or shooting movies)
• Picture Effects, while some are gimicky, some are fun and rather useful.

• Face Detection, again with fast AF and faces do not have to be right on an AF point. (Love this feature)
• Better body design/grip (this is a matter of taste, but the A57 is excellent)

In the real world and not just on paper or shooting test charts...

• IQ on all 3 can be excellent, the Nikon probably has the best high ISO noise performance, although I would use it in its upper range, not to mention that I've never seen a worthwhile shot from it in those high ranges. Upto ISO 1600 it's generally a wash between them. I've found the metering (exposure) from the Sony's and Nikon's to be better than Canon by quite a bit.

I'll expound further if need be (especially about the EVF which I'm sold on), but the A57 really is a great camera for the money, one I would prefer over the T3i or the D5100.

P.S. your topic was a bit inflammatory. Had you said: "Thoughts on the A57 vs T3i and D5100". Or: "What are the Pros to getting an A57 over..." This would probably have kept a few people from calling you a "Troll".

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NowHearThis
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Re: A tough sell with that viewfinder
In reply to asdf photographer, May 9, 2012

asdf photographer wrote:

Sure it might have snappy FPS, excellent video autofocus and
photoshop effects. But its awful viewfinder and confusing menu
will be its ultimate undoing at the stores.

Sony SLTs sell better in my store than the Nikon or Canon SLRs do; people really like the EVF, and the menu is easy to understand. The NEX line maybe not so much, but I don't find those difficult either.

As these "beginners" attack the worldwide DSLR displays, that
initial first viewfinder experience will make them spike that camera
like a football. In stark contrast the competition with their glorious
pentaprism viewfinders + stabilized lenses. This compromise might be
tolerated by a niche photographer seeking specific features, but
not by the hoi polloi.

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IcyVeins
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Re: A tough sell with that viewfinder
In reply to asdf photographer, May 9, 2012

asdf photographer wrote:

Sure it might have snappy FPS, excellent video autofocus and
photoshop effects. But its awful viewfinder and confusing menu
will be its ultimate undoing at the stores.

As these "beginners" attack the worldwide DSLR displays, that
initial first viewfinder experience will make them spike that camera
like a football. In stark contrast the competition with their glorious
pentaprism viewfinders + stabilized lenses. This compromise might be
tolerated by a niche photographer seeking specific features, but
not by the hoi polloi.

You mean PentaMIRROR viewfinders, right? Because that's what the D3200, D5100, and T3i have. You know, the ones that give 95% coverage so you can't even SEE the edge of your image in the VF.

I think it's funny that you think everyone is going to recoil in horror at the sight of an EVF when that's essentially what they are looking at in the LCD of any compact camera, except that the A57's is a much better quality.

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TrojMacReady
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Not really.
In reply to asdf photographer, May 9, 2012

asdf photographer wrote:

As these "beginners" attack the worldwide DSLR displays, that
initial first viewfinder experience will make them spike that camera
like a football. In stark contrast the competition with their glorious
pentaprism viewfinders + stabilized lenses.

Not really. The direct competition has small and dark peepholes, pentamirror viewfinders. The first pentaPRISM viewfinders are found in the semi pro cameras. A whole different class in many ways (price not being the least factor).

The competition has stabilized zoomlenses, but their budget primes lack stabilzation, where every lens on the Sony benefits from in body IS.

Add full HD 60P stabilized video with the option of usable AF, both of which all competitors lack and it's not such a bad offer for beginners/newbs and more demanding amateurs afterall.

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gwlaw99
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Re: The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?
In reply to IcyVeins, May 9, 2012

The difference in image quality between cameras are small compared to improving your skills as a photographer so get the one with the features you want. One thing to consider is the more advanced features some cameras have that you may not want now but may in the future. For example, I had a D3100, but when I wanted to learn studio portraiture, I had to upgrade as the D3100 can't control Nikon's lighting system.

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picthis
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Re: The Sony A57: Is it or is it not a superior camera to Canikon?
In reply to NowHearThis, May 9, 2012

Personally, I always prefer Canon's IQ, especially their tone & color. Of course personal preference aside, if you put 50 random pictures taken by the 3 cameras, even the best pros would have a hard time differentiating the cameras that took them.

I think it is best if you highlight which (features) are more important to you. Obviously Sony has better video resolution (60fps vs 30fps @ 1080). In the real world this may be a deal breaker for some, while not even a factor for others.

If you prefer speed. And use it mostly for action/sports, then you need to pick the one with the faster fps (along with a faster AF system).

Also you have to consider what the lenses cost. I mean the camera is only as good as the lens. A good lens on a T2i will beat a mediocre lens on a top-level DSLR.

Personally, for me, I think Canon's lens cost less. At least I can always find them for a lesser price. For example, the nifty Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II can be had for less than $100 while Sony Alpha 50mm f/1.8 DT SAM costs average of $130. And aftermarket lens available on Ebay are 100:1 in Canon's favor. That means you are more likely to find bargain priced lenses for upgrade. But if the slight difference doesn't bother you, then don't let this be a factor.

Perhaps it is more of a personal issue and maybe nothing to do with the quality of Sony's cameras. But from my personal experience, whether it be Sony Vaios (top end models), Sony Cybershot cameras - though they are usually spec'ed better than competitors, and have all sorts of whistles & bells, but they usually cost more and the build-quality is questionable at best. I find myself parting with Sony products not long after I purchase it. 1-2 years to be exactly. I may not be the most careful person in the world, but I'm not a bumbling idiot either. My other laptops, point & shoot cameras usually last twice as long. I remember being quoted outrageous prices for simple repairs by Sony, that was when I realized I'm just buying into their disposable fancyware. These bad experiences have tend to make me avoid Sony products, because they are just too fragile/overpriced for me.

On the other hand, the Canon G6 I bought 6 years ago, after being dropped dozens of times, sometimes down flight of stairs, still take picture as beautiful as 1st day I bought it. Though I don't use it as much, it is a testament to their decades of camera craftsmanship. Perhaps the Canon t3i I bought isn't built like before, but I rather take chances with Canon because the best camera is the one you paid for and get to enjoy it for years.

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Barry Fitzgerald
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SLT viewfinder big but..
In reply to gwlaw99, May 9, 2012

Ultimately quite poor really. DR is bad it blows out and crushes shadows aplenty frankly very annoying as the DR is far worse than you get on the final image. Very noisy image view in low light too (SLT A-77) which is currently "the best" Sony can offer

I agree the tiny entry level VF's are poor, but the SLT ones have as many if not more problems. Not to mention far lower battery life v normal DSLR's

Sony's biggest mistake though was dumping on their OVF users for that they paid a heavy price many have already left A mount because of this.

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IcyVeins
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Re: SLT viewfinder big but..
In reply to Barry Fitzgerald, May 9, 2012

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:

Ultimately quite poor really. DR is bad it blows out and crushes shadows aplenty frankly very annoying as the DR is far worse than you get on the final image. Very noisy image view in low light too (SLT A-77) which is currently "the best" Sony can offer

I agree the tiny entry level VF's are poor, but the SLT ones have as many if not more problems. Not to mention far lower battery life v normal DSLR's

Sony's biggest mistake though was dumping on their OVF users for that they paid a heavy price many have already left A mount because of this.

And many more already joined A-mount because of this. Sony was not at all competitive with Canikon in DSLRs before they switched to EVF. Now they offer something unique and different.

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