shakyone: I really enjoyed the article. I'm a long time GIMP user, and it does what I need, when I need to get my hands dirty.
Not meant to argue with the author, but it is worth knowing, GIMP v2.10 will have 16/32 Bit color support. It is working in the development version(http://www.gimpusers.com/news/00422-16-bit-goat-invasion-ready)
You can get GIMP for OSX at: http://gimp.lisanet.de/Website/Download.html
I'm glad to see DPReview finally acknowledge GIMP as a usable alternative. It much more capable than most realize.
It has a steep learning curve, but so does Photoshop. If you are starting from ground zero, there are plenty of tutorials on the main website and on the web to get you going. There is also a great book by Akkana Peck about how to use it. It is a fantastic reference for novice advanced photo editors.
I like many of the other proposed options.
One more suggstion: A free RAW editor to consider is RawTherapee.
Try RawTherapee, v4.0.10 was just released in March, it's free.
It is aimed squarely at at Aperture and LightRoom
I really enjoyed the article. I'm a long time GIMP user, and it does what I need, when I need to get my hands dirty.
soniccruiser: I am also eagerly awaiting your full review. And here is another wish if that is allowed :-) I would be most interested how the multi frame noise reduction (MFNR) performs. Is that usable (for static images) or only a gadget? How many images can be merged? And is it possible to combine MFNR with HDR (high dynamic range) bracketing? Thinking for instance of shooting in a church, very dark and but also bright, no tripod allowed ...
FWIW, last night I shot a photo of my backyard with my A99 at max ISO (25,600). It was dark out to my eye. I was using 50/1.4 @1.4 and it required 1/15 shutter speed. So I steadied it on my railing. There was a light off in the distance. The end result image was my playground which I could barely make out, looked like it was in daylight, almost DRO was in Auto mode. I was rather shocked. Looking ahead, I do not think you will need as much help as you think. Yes there is HDR bracketing. I do not believe the MFRN can be combined. I will follow up, if I'm wrong.
SiliconVoid: Sony steps up to the plate, knocks the dirt from their cleats, a practice swing to loosen up while assessing their competitor...Its a swing, and miss! Strike Two..
I understand completely the 'digital age photographers' only have to see the technologically lazy marketing tags on a product (Digital, Electronic, Power Drive, EVF, etc) and think xxx product is the end all be all, the next greatest thing... but I'm sorry.. with no real viewfinder - not even some hybrid implementation with optical for standard and wide angle lenses, then an EVF mode for zooms - is a major fail at this product level. And please do not even attempt to argue the pixels the EVF has.. The human eye (by comparison) has an infinite pixel level, and therefore no EVF will produce the clarity and zero-lag of an optical viewfinder.
This toy, like Sony's recently announced ~$2700 fixed-lens mirrorless keychain fob, represents only one, functional, thing - fostering competition.For that alone I applaud Sony.
@ Francis Carver
The DPReview A57 review just went up today (It got a GOLD award). They felt the same was as you do about the tearing. They acknowledge it is much less of an issue in the A77. The difference is the OLED though. So it does matter. It annoys in the A33 too. Clearly EVF tearing isn't a factor in the overall grade from DPReview.
I agree, EVFs are not perfect. I never said they were.
I do feel EVFs enhance my situational awareness regarding what is going on with the camera as I shoot. Additionally they display more helpful information efficiently versus a traditional OVF readout below the viewfinder. (FWIW I have tried many other DSLR cameras, aside from the 5D).
I see your point about the "Nose against the backside." I have the A33, and it protrudes a little more than the A57 appears to, (as well as more than the A99 probably will). I can deal with it after 6 years with a Minolta 5D, which, like almost all DSLRs, doesn't protrude at all.
JackM: EVF on an SLR is just wrong.
Plastek is right... it takes a little time, but I will never go back.
I've been using a SLT-A33 for the past year as a stop-gap waiting for this camera. My previous DSLR was damaged beyond repair. I wasn't keen on the idea of an EVF. I'm now a convert. Bottom line,
My guess is, you have never used a "Good" EVF, and just blasted out your opinion.
I don't miss the optical viewfinder anymore. DPR stated it beautifully in the SLT-A77 conclusion, and I couldn't agree more:
"...its full-time live view system, and as we've already stressed at several points in this review, the system works extremely well."
"The A55's EVF was extremely good, but the A77's is a revelation. Quite apart from the crispness and detail of the live view image (which is excellent), the mere fact that shooting data, gridlines and a level gauge can be overlaid in the finder, plus of course 'live' exposure simulation make it inherently more useful in many respects than even the best optical design."
My guess is they would know better than you, given it is their job.
kevin_r: No sweep panorama shooting? REally strange.
It has it.