Sony's Vision?

Started Jul 10, 2013 | Discussions
BJames777
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Sony's Vision?
Jul 10, 2013

After talking with Sony today about a lens that will go beyond 500, it appears they do not have any plans for doing what Minolta had done in the past. I recently re-purchased a Minolta 600mm AF F4 for use with my A77 and A99. Fantastic lens and wish I never sold my original one in the first place. This purchase made me think about the longevity of a lens that was made in 1989 and what is the future with Sonys current line up and the reluctance of other manufacturers to offer alternative lens. Talking with Sigma today they also have no future plans to offer anything beyond 500mm and are considering not producing any more of their A mount 500mm prime specifically due to the fact that Sony seems to not really care about the Alpha line, as far as marketing goes, to the same extent that Cannon or Nikon cares about their lines thus affecting sales. I absolutely love the A77 and the A99 but I am wondering what are the thoughts out there for the future of the Alpha line? Coming from a Minolta background the progression to Sony was a no-brainer. Now......not to sure.

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steelhead3
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

Other than weight and no one to fix it, the 600 f4 can compete with any of the big lenses from other manufactures.  Its photos have a certain character which the 500 f4 seems to lack.

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brian14478
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

time will tell I guess..

one consolation being  that many 20-25year-old lenses still functioning as new, many out-resolving and putting out nicer color/bokeh than many newer counterparts at a substantially lower cost, though used.

sony has been 'riding minolta' for quite a while and really is just beginning(as a whole) to put out their own high performance cameras and equipment in overall performance...

low light shooting and 'okay' lenses did nothing for sony for many years...then the 70-200g and 70-400 started to change that.

sony shot themselves in the foot also I think with the a55/a33 sigma compatability 'issues'. you can say it wasn't sony's fault but it very possibly was intentional.   now sony has alliances with tamron/Olympus/cz and god only knows how many other camera/lens manufacturers. -that is probably a good thing.

great imaging generally at lower iso only  until possibly the a580 did nothing to attract sports/wedding/or even portrait photographers..

sony is really a 'newborn' compared to Nikon/Olympus/pentax/canon and Fuji....the a99, the a58(sensor processor) cz and g-lenses and all of the nicer Minolta and third party glass will hopefully keep sony in the running and eventually gain a more loyal a-mount base.

I think sony is listening to dlsr/a-mount owners, time takes time I guess. its not happening overnight or as fast as we would like but it has been happening.

and I can only wish* someday to have the minolta600 f4-it has to be sweeeeet, thank you,brian

sorry about the long rant/blab*

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headfirst
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

BJames777 wrote:

Talking with Sigma today they also have no future plans to offer anything beyond 500mm and are considering not producing any more of their A mount 500mm prime specifically due to the fact that Sony seems to not really care about the Alpha line, as far as marketing goes, to the same extent that Cannon or Nikon cares about their lines thus affecting sales.

There maybe a bit of disingenuity here - the 500/4.5 DG is only made in Sony & Pentax mounts whereas the Canon & Nikon are DG HSMs. From a manufacturing pov I can see why having to buy/make parts for a low volume model may not be worth it. On the other hand I suspect that if they gave us the DG HSM in MAF they would sell more. It's the same story with their 300/2.8.

I strongly suspect that once you start reaching these levels of expenditure most people (for whom a 500/4 or similar is a significant commitment) look at lens options first & then the body to fit it.

As for a 600/4 with increasing ability to crop as sensors put more & more MP  on target I'm not sure that there is going to be an ongoing need. & that's even without mentioning TCs or weight/size.

I'm pretty sure that Thom Hogan prefers using a 500/4 over a 600/4 for the above reasons.

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artlmntl
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to brian14478, Jul 10, 2013

Brian, what makes you think Sony is listening to A-mount customers? I don't see any evidence of that.

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brian14478
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to artlmntl, Jul 10, 2013

artlmntl wrote:

Brian, what makes you think Sony is listening to A-mount customers? I don't see any evidence of that.

everyone was disappointed with noise...so well sony went and wiped-out a bit too much until the a57 came with the refined bionz processor and larger pixel size in the sesnsor. a weather -sealed body..the a77.  something a bit more compact..the a55/35/65/..less expensive? a37/a58

resolution lacking at high iso/noise? the new 20mp holds detail and handles noise...just not the 'one' for many for now.  the hot-shoe bs? -I believe the a58 went to a standard hot-shoe and imagine that will remain with the next alphas.  sigma lens incompatabiliy problems??? even some 20year old lenses now work on a65/a77's and many a57's that never were compatable.

but if they were truly listening  sony would get me a cup of coffee....guess i'll have to do that myself ha ha ha...( I think they are trying and doing...many irons in the fire that little sony company)

thank you,brian

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seilerbird666
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

Anything beyond 500 mm is redundant. I have used a Tamron 200-500 for years and I can crop the crap out of it. A $1000 lens and cropping is a lot better than an $8000 lens and a Sherpa....

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BJames777
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to seilerbird666, Jul 10, 2013

seilerbird666 wrote:

Anything beyond 500 mm is redundant. I have used a Tamron 200-500 for years and I can crop the crap out of it. A $1000 lens and cropping is a lot better than an $8000 lens and a Sherpa....

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I have to respectfully disagree.  I can crop the crap out of  pictures as well but let me ask you....would you rather be able to crop the crap out of a zoom lens at 500mm or a prime at 600, 800, or more? Although zoom lenses especially G Series are fabulous in terms of quality, My preference would be to have a larger selection of bigger glass to chose from rather than having to justify my pics up to and only to 500mm, prime or zoom. Same principle of why I bought an 800 and 1600mm Minolta mirror lens to compliment my 500 reflex. All three are great and produce astonishing shots when used correctly but the difference from 500 to 800 to 1600 needs no explanation. 600mm AF F4 that weighs in around 12 pounds.................I will slog it around until something newer comes along that goes beyond the limit we have of 500mm.

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Dennis
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to brian14478, Jul 10, 2013

IMO, that's all knee jerk reactions to a lot of screaming.  If something is a big enough problem and enough people whine about it for a long enough period of time, Sony will do something about it.  That's not the kind of listening I appreciate.  I'd rather they find out what it is photographers want before producing the product.  I don't think they talk much to photographers and certainly not to many with widely varying needs.

- Dennis

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brian14478
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to Dennis, Jul 10, 2013

Dennis wrote:

IMO, that's all knee jerk reactions to a lot of screaming. If something is a big enough problem and enough people whine about it for a long enough period of time, Sony will do something about it. That's not the kind of listening I appreciate. I'd rather they find out what it is photographers want before producing the product. I don't think they talk much to photographers and certainly not to many with widely varying needs.

- Dennis

I  agree with that assement..its a tough market and many 'shooters' not so much photographers are still a big influence due to a future market and an initial draw.  a lot of photographers especially those who have had a film base could care less about many of the additions to what originally was meant to 'stop-time' and capture an image.-

gps/special effects...panoramas..all things many shooters would gladly do without for a more focused imaging body/lens system.

but these decorations so to speak sell cameras...especially with new and up and coming shooters. I find some nice myself but rarely use them(except maybe mfnr...which I would like to not want /have to use**in the first place.  and its nice to shoot five frames a second ,years ago either you had the fastest thumb in the west or you bought a winder

I for one hope* to never see Wi-Fi and facebook uploading on an alpha but its probably going to happen. then again who knows... by then maybe I will think its cool and useful.

Fuji and Olympus  went 'old-school' with camera bodies and has garnered respect/quality because of it. maybe sony will do the same??

knee jerk reaction....?-mostly yes, thanks brian

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artlmntl
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to brian14478, Jul 10, 2013

At least it seems Sony is doing *something*, even if we don't really know what that is (yet).

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Gato Amarillo
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In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

I'm betting that Sony will be the first out with a truly modern mirrorless lineup, and that it will support A-mount lenses for at least 5 more years - which is farther into the future than any of us can see in digital photography. Long range I expect the future is E-mount (and likely smaller sensors), but I expect to get my money's worth from my A equipment before the change.

I put my money behind it to the tune of a A99 and a number of Sony and Minolta lenses. But as to 600mm lenses, these are a tiny market and I doubt anyone makes any significant profit from them. If I needed specialty lenses I might well have gone with one of the Big Two. Maybe someday Sony will get there, but they have more important holes to fill first.

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headfirst
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to brian14478, Jul 10, 2013

You may not like some or all of those but there is no doubt that some of them are potentially useful to some people (in my case GPS & possibly wifi if it gives us remote viewing & control).
It's better/cheaper for Sony to make a body with several features to appeal across the market at a price point than having several at the same price level with only what you need, only what I need, only what someone else needs etc.

& tbh committed photographers are only a small % of the annual DSLR body sales.

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Dennis
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to brian14478, Jul 10, 2013

brian14478 wrote:

I agree with that assement..its a tough market and many 'shooters' not so much photographers are still a big influence due to a future market and an initial draw.

Yes, though while I can gripe about aspects of Sony systems that are not photographer-oriented, the fact is they're highly functional cameras and while the lens lineup may not immediately appeal to many enthusiasts, it's getting better and the compromises become more acceptable to more photographers over time.  Meanwhile, the consumer market is bigger than the enthusiast market in terms of numbers (I don't know about profit when you're comparing a 1-time purchase of a 2-lens kit versus all the gear that a gearhead buys over a few years).  Fuji went all out for the enthusiast and I appreciate that (I haven't bought a Fuji, but would factor that in) ... but is only starting to get around to trying to market to a bigger audience with a cheaper body.

I for one hope* to never see Wi-Fi and facebook uploading on an alpha but its probably going to happen. then again who knows... by then maybe I will think its cool and useful.

It's a fluff feature for me, but I can see the purpose - Thom Hogan writes frequently about camera makers needing to fight mobile phones based on what users want to do.  My wife now has to snap a picture of something even if I've shot it with my camera, because she can share it instantly rather than wait for me to download it and put it on a flash drive for her.

I don't see Sony changing its approach (designing for the consumer rather than the photographer) and I don't think that will necessarily doom it to failure.  It's not like the 1980's where you're fighting for upgrades of mature products against competitors who have mature products.  There are niches everywhere.  Based on my past experience with Sony over the years, Sony seems to do best when they can develop products that are mainstream, yet with technology or design that makes them sufficiently different from the competition that you can't really do an apples to oranges comparison, and then price them a big higher.  It's not really working in the Alpha line with EVFs as the differentiator, but I think they're coming into their own with products like the RX100 and RX1.

- Dennis

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39 Steps
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Re: Sony's Vision? What about the User's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

I went with the A57 in 2012, and then a second A57 body on April 1st of this year when Sony started dumping them, because my aging vision needs live view EVF with associated data display in a dark box.

The way I "see" it, Sony is inadvertently enticing older buyers to hang around with the SLT EVF design, while at the same time providing the younger market segment, including legacy Sony fans, with a reason to avoid the A mount and purchase other brands.

So both the SLT design and the Minolta flash shoe design needed to go away not for technical reasons, but for marketing reasons. If the new A mount cameras don't focus as well as a Canonikon, so be it.

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artlmntl
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Re: Sony's Vision? What about the User's Vision?
In reply to 39 Steps, Jul 10, 2013

39 Steps wrote:

The way I "see" it, Sony is inadvertently enticing older buyers to hang around with the SLT EVF design, while at the same time providing the younger market segment, including legacy Sony fans, with a reason to avoid the A mount and purchase other brands.

So both the SLT design and the Minolta flash shoe design needed to go away not for technical reasons, but for marketing reasons. If the new A mount cameras don't focus as well as a Canonikon, so be it.

You have an interesting viewpoint. I don't understand changing the hotshoe without having a flash to go with it. That adapter is so cludgy. Seems stupid, as if they're telling customers to go away.

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winedarksea
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 10, 2013

I am not at all sure with whom you may have been talking who said definitively that Sony has no plans for a 600, or that Sigma also has no plans for long Sony-mount glass. It would have had to have been the head of Sony's Imaging Division. People who are available to be talked seldom know anything whatever about corporate plans, even near-term.
However, Sony's new president has repeatedly and forcefully said that he is counting on the Imaging Division, including the Alpha division, to spearhead Sony's recovery. And he has specifically said, repeatedly, that he will move Sony forcefully into professional sports photography. This was not PR, but something he has been telling his stockholders & the financial press.

These statements have been supported by Sony's continuous work on improving AF, and otherwise increasing the usability of Sony cameras for sports photography, and by Sony's introduction, over the last several years, of a series of excellent long primes and zooms. I believe that Sony will continue that effort, on all fronts, because I believe Kaz Hirai, that sports photography (and by extension wildlife photography) will play a big role in Sony's future.
And, by the way, I know that Sony has been working with wildlife and sports photographers in furtherance of this vision.

Though we don't know much at all about them yet, the upcoming E- and A-mount FF cameras, and the other upcoming A-mount cameras, sound very exciting.

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Robert Hoy
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to BJames777, Jul 11, 2013

BJames777 wrote:

After talking with Sony today about a lens that will go beyond 500, it appears they do not have any plans for doing what Minolta had done in the past. I recently re-purchased a Minolta 600mm AF F4 for use with my A77 and A99.

But using a 500mm lens on your A77 is really like a 750mm lens as used on a Minolta film SLR. So use your A77 for telephoto work and the A99 for wider stuff.  Sounds good to me!

Fantastic lens and wish I never sold my original one in the first place. This purchase made me think about the longevity of a lens that was made in 1989 and what is the future with Sonys current line up and the reluctance of other manufacturers to offer alternative lens. Talking with Sigma today they also have no future plans to offer anything beyond 500mm and are considering not producing any more of their A mount 500mm prime specifically due to the fact that Sony seems to not really care about the Alpha line, as far as marketing goes, to the same extent that Cannon or Nikon cares about their lines thus affecting sales. I absolutely love the A77 and the A99 but I am wondering what are the thoughts out there for the future of the Alpha line? Coming from a Minolta background the progression to Sony was a no-brainer. Now......not to sure.

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BJames777
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to Robert Hoy, Jul 11, 2013

Robert, I get your point and and that is exactly what I am doing. I do know personally the thought process and all the factors involved in bringing a new product to market as I am involved in doing this daily. However, I am still hoping that Sony will look into making bigger glass and at some point. Its nice to have hope.

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BJames777
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Re: Sony's Vision?
In reply to winedarksea, Jul 11, 2013

I talked to quite a few people way up the chain in both companies, although not anyone called a CEO in Japan for either company. Regardless of the persons title or position in the company, sending out information like I got is not a way to keep a customer especially when the same customer was calling to check in on the construction of his new 300mm prime lens. Don't get me wrong. I love the stuff that Sony is producing however, Sony needs to be a little more proactive in promoting the true plans they have for the consumers of their professional line of products.

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