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Sony a7R teardown! Roger Cicala gets his hands dirty

By dpreview staff on Jan 30, 2014 at 09:00 GMT
Sony a7R teardown!
1 11 12 13 14 15

Sony a7R teardown!

Finished! Roger sums up:

"The completely disassembled Sony A7R consists of about a dozen major pieces, held together with 29 screws of just three different sizes. A typical DSLR has around 120 screws of 11 different sizes.

You might not care less about that, but do you know what I thought about? How much easier it will be to fix this camera when it breaks. How much simpler it must be to perform all the calibration that must be done during assembly. And how much simpler it must be to assemble the A7R in the first place. In other words, how much cheaper it must be to make this camera, than to make a DSLR."

Pictures and text courtesy of Roger Cicala and Aaron Closz

Source: Lens Rentals
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Comments

Total comments: 136
12
Col Hanzaplast
By Col Hanzaplast (2 months ago)

Sigma DP1 uses only two different screws and Nikon Coolpix P2 near 30.

1 upvote
DER747
By DER747 (2 months ago)

For a Photography website I must say these photos are pizz poor. You couldn't have stopped it up a bit to get SOMETHING in focus?

1 upvote
Sir Corey of Deane
By Sir Corey of Deane (2 months ago)

I could probably do just as good with my Kodak CX7300 :).

1 upvote
Sir Corey of Deane
By Sir Corey of Deane (2 months ago)

'Stopped it up a bit'? I've got to stop DOWN to increase depth of field on my cams but perhaps you're into reverse engineering too! :).

1 upvote
qaz111111
By qaz111111 (2 months ago)

AWWKK!!! I can't stand to look at these pictures of the tear down!

0 upvotes
knize10
By knize10 (2 months ago)

But still a work of art. I am convinced now

1 upvote
knize10
By knize10 (2 months ago)

Trying to identify the Made In China parts for sure ?

0 upvotes
wkay
By wkay (2 months ago)

What's the point? Does this guy have a fetish for tiny parts and intricate assemblies? I'm a semiconductor engineer and can guarantee him he wont learn anything.

0 upvotes
shaocaholica
By shaocaholica (2 months ago)

Stop being a white collar engineer elitist. Nobody said they reversed engineered the ICs. Every discipline has its virtue.

0 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (2 months ago)

Fixed rubber grips!
From a man who is sick of paying Nikon to replace the rubbers and now resorts to a pair of scissors to trim 'The Growth'. This A7R just got that bit more pleasing to my eye :-)

0 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (2 months ago)

It is said that in the WW2 when Goering inspected the first shoot down Spit and saw its nuts and bolts he said that these screws could be the reason why Nazis will loose the war.
Sony and presumably Pana, no matter what they bought/cooperated or whatsoever (Minolta, Leica, Zeiss, Schneider etc) seems they went back to to the drawing board and started from a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, so t say.
Older firms just tried to put it in, producing a huge batch, I think that they divorced their original creativity in enginnering.
No matter the gentle memories we have some of us from some of them, it's more than obvious why they are quickly disappearing as brands.
I think this is called natural selection, no?

0 upvotes
jwkphoto
By jwkphoto (2 months ago)

Minolta disappeared because Honeywell sued them for patent infringement on the auto focus system in 1992 and Minolta lost and had to pay $121 million. It made no difference that Honeywell could not make autofocus work well and Minolta did. Minolta was the most innovative of all the camera companies but because of the millions they paid, there was nothing left for new designs. Many of the Minolta designers went to work for Sony and that's part of the reason Sony is moving ahead with so many changes.

2 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (2 months ago)

Sounds like a plan! if you know of copyright infingement on your design, say nothing until the the infringer makes a gazzillion dollars from it, then swoop in and take the money they worked their ar*e off to make :-)

0 upvotes
write2alan
By write2alan (2 months ago)

This is what the American companies do best these days too. LOL....

0 upvotes
duchamp
By duchamp (2 months ago)

Since 1992 Minolta made some really great stuff that sold for hundreds of millions $ worldwide. The 1998' Maxxum 7 rivaled Canon EOS 3. Not to mention Maxxum 9.

If one compares the 2004 Maxxum 7D, EOS 20D and D70 he will see they al on par.

I don't know the reasons why Minolta sold they photographic business to Sony in 2006 but surely not because they payed 14 years ago $121 million.

1 upvote
Alithenake
By Alithenake (2 months ago)

We see how easy is to convert this camera to an IR dedicated one

0 upvotes
Anthony20D
By Anthony20D (2 months ago)

This reminds me of the Blendtec "will it blend" videos, only slightly more useful.

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (2 months ago)

Poor camera. So many people who would like to have this camera, and here we see the bodies to be autopsied. RIP

1 upvote
speculatrix
By speculatrix (2 months ago)

Apart from wrecking the rubber grips, I imagine he probably managed to put it back together and make it work.

0 upvotes
riegel
By riegel (2 months ago)

Between all the comments regarding nuts, screws and bolts ( i.e let's go the tech way) and the philosophy of sancta simplicitas on the other hand, maybe a thought about how many times a brand new product is the one chosen to be completely knocked down, in order to find out how its envisaged deus ex machina might look like, comes to one's mind.
Not very often I think, and in this respect, kudos to Sony and Roger !

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (2 months ago)

I thought this was another "I dropped my camera six feet to a cement sidewalk and it still works...thank you Sony!" thread.

At least I now know what to do if I find sensor dust on my camera.

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
1 upvote
lenseye
By lenseye (2 months ago)

Is there a point to this stupid exercise by some one who is in over his head?

1 upvote
wisep01
By wisep01 (3 months ago)

Roger Cicala does this....DxOMark does that.

Nice bromance, guys!
Keep it up.

1 upvote
springsnow
By springsnow (3 months ago)

Cool! Now put them back together. :D

1 upvote
markie_jan61
By markie_jan61 (3 months ago)

I'm impressed. Nice explanation for the layman.
--

2 upvotes
Jim F
By Jim F (3 months ago)

I'm trying to figure out what's the point of Roger disassembling this body? What's the objective here? Not being critical. Just curious.

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (3 months ago)

How about curiosity?

1 upvote
Mario G
By Mario G (3 months ago)

"Just curious", that was their point ;-)

They would have needed to disassemble one of them at the first fault anyway, and they would have estimated the additional risk of disassembling a functioning camera vs. a faulty one to be small enough for them to let their curiosity prevail.

3 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (2 months ago)

Because it's there?

0 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (2 months ago)

They service a lot of their rentals, and in some cases a better understanding of serviceable parts expedites repairs rather than sending things back to manufacturers which can take longer than they can afford.

iFixit as an example does these teardowns not merely out of curiosity, but to determine if they can sell parts for self repair.

4 upvotes
fenceSitter
By fenceSitter (2 months ago)

Did you not take your dad's camera apart when you were a kid?

0 upvotes
UnitedNations
By UnitedNations (3 months ago)

It's a damn computer!

0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (3 months ago)

Nice article from lense rentals.

1 upvote
Ben Stonewall
By Ben Stonewall (3 months ago)

How much are Sony charging him for repair?

1 upvote
Haim Hadar
By Haim Hadar (3 months ago)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article - and of course, looking at photos. Roger and DPReview - Keep up the good work! The only thing that disturbed me is thought of what would have become of this fine camera if it had the misfortune of me trying to handle it. Also brings back the pain of not properly discharging the built-in flash capacitor (My poor old film Pentax' revenge)

2 upvotes
sierranvin
By sierranvin (3 months ago)

Having observed and analyzed the disassembled the Sony A7R, we must note it's serious lack of elegant screws and overly simplified architecture. Why, this preposterously deconstructed design brings shame to the traditional elegance of the dslr! We give it a score of
32 % , Tin Award, for "too much messin' with a good thang"!

4 upvotes
new boyz
By new boyz (3 months ago)

Some say Sony or Samsung will never be able to make a good camera because they are electronic based companies, not photography based like the big two. This article reminds us that maybe an electronic company actually makes better camera, from hardware point of view. Now, where's the firmware update, Sony?

11 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (3 months ago)

Those 'some' probably don't know (or remember) Sony has been partnershipping with photography company for almost two decades now, that even before that they already made nice video cameras (hardware-wise as well) and that, most recently, they bought Minolta. Or maybe those 'some' know but continue to ignore the facts. Sony has coming a long way. Truly investing in being a real competitor. It wasn't overnight.

But, there's something curious about that being (probably) cheaper to produce, because it means Sony's been making a heck of a profit out of their mirroless full-frame line. But, they're alone. What can they do but overvalue this category "of theirs"?

9 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (3 months ago)

Sony is an electronics manufacturer... they could use a bump in their optics dept, which they've done with partnerships with Ziess + Olympus.

0 upvotes
backayonder
By backayonder (2 months ago)

Sony have been making excellent Broadcast cameras for years

2 upvotes
wb2trf
By wb2trf (3 months ago)

Although the story naturally compares complexity of this camera to high end dslr's, the simplicity message is most relevant in the low end market. A tear down of the A3000 vs the d3200 would show how brutal is the problem for dslrs in the high volume low margin end of the market. Fundamentally all dslrs are of similar manufacturing complexity. I'll bet that the contribution to overheads from the sale of each A3000 at $369 is 2x that of the entry dslrs that it competes with, and the image quality is as good or better.

Nikon's situation is particularly untenable unless they get help from some external factor: they're wedded to an obsolete electo-mechanical design and they are dependent on Sony for their best sensors. Whatever they do, Sony can match IQ in higher margin lower cost product. They need to offer a professional mirrorless camera soon. I think they will do it, but maybe not soon enough.

4 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (3 months ago)

Nikon and Canon has a mirrorless cards up their sleeves which they did not use yet. Namely, EF and F mounts, which make a lot of sense for FF cameras, mirrorless or not. Canon also has another, the Dual Pixel AF.

0 upvotes
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (3 months ago)

"Nikon and Canon has a mirrorless cards up their sleeves which they did not use yet. Namely, EF and F mounts, which make a lot of sense for FF cameras, mirrorless or not. Canon also has another, the Dual Pixel AF."

They'll have to do better than that- also, FF is not the end all be all of everything photographic.

2 upvotes
gefrorenezeit
By gefrorenezeit (3 months ago)

@peevee1: who really would like a mirror less with a mount which does have such a large flange distance like EF or F mount? That leads to a too big camera IMHO of course.

2 upvotes
kimvette
By kimvette (3 months ago)

> They'll have to do better than that- also, FF is not the end all be all of everything photographic.

Canon probably reaps more net income in a single day than the gross wages of all the folks on here who keep saying "canon has to do better than $foo" and "canon is going to die if they don't $bar" added up.

Look at their financials - somehow I think they're doing just fine.

3 upvotes
Hojomo
By Hojomo (2 months ago)

not soon enough is my bet. V3 will be a big move in the right direction, but that's a small compact ILC. I don't think we'll see FF mirrorless from Nikon any time soon because they are too conservative of a company.

That being said, no one has been able to make a FF mirrorless that does AF as well as a DSLR. That's a huge requirement for many professionals. Olympus has done it with M/43, but Sony isn't very close with the A7r/A7. But 2014 could change that.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
binauralbeats
By binauralbeats (3 months ago)

Nice to see somewhat serviceable cameras in this age of disposable electronics. Good job sony.

11 upvotes
Daniel Bliss
By Daniel Bliss (3 months ago)

The sooner Nikon and Canon can adopt these production techniques for their DSLR range, the better. One particularly noteworthy thing about this -- in all likelihood, there's no such thing as "beyond economic repair" with the A7 or A7R.

3 upvotes
kimvette
By kimvette (3 months ago)

Have you ever priced out replacement components from Sony? They charge outrageous prices for replacement parts. As an example, I had a really awesome (feature-wise) DVD player from Sony - the flagship at the time (it was around 2000) and the optical sleds had a bad rep of going bad just after the warranty ran out. I could not find a replacement DVD player at any price that had similar quality front-panel controls (you actually didn't need the remote for it) PLUS it was a model that had lots of CD-play specific features . Well I tried sourcing the part and they priced more for that assembly than for a new DVD player. Nor would they budge on the price of the optical sled despite that they had shipped $400-$500 DVD players with a known defect.

BTW prices for similar (but not compatible) parts for competitors' players was in the $15.00 range.

Needless to say that was the last Sony product I ever purchased.

It may be serviceable but have lube on hand to make payment easier. ;)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
leonche64
By leonche64 (2 months ago)

You really can't use a 15 year old DVD player situation as a plausible example of a multinational corporations' ability to service it's customers a decade and a half later. This camera division did not even exist back then.

1 upvote
kimvette
By kimvette (2 months ago)

Um, no, the DVD player was /just/ out of warranty at the time. It was not 15 years later.

0 upvotes
arhmatic
By arhmatic (3 months ago)

Nobody doing the "does it blend" jokes?

2 upvotes
Benarm
By Benarm (3 months ago)

Too bad its not an A7R burn down. DPR would give gold for that! ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Marksphoto
By Marksphoto (3 months ago)

Sony could stand on their head upside down to impress us. I own canon and nikon lenses and thus I can't and won't buy a Sony, they missed their train long time ago but thanx for the circus.

They would be far more ahead if they manufactured camera bodies compatible with my lenses, nobody is stopping 3rd party lenses to be made for my cameras, why is there nobody stepping up, we need some competition in 3rd party camera manufacturing.

Fuji used to make cameras for Nikon lenses, I would buy a fuji DSLR in a heart beat.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Rocky Mtn Old Boy
By Rocky Mtn Old Boy (3 months ago)

Remember when Carl Zeiss made cameras? And then they didn't as other more companies could do at least more profitably, if not better.

You'd better buy your ticket for the CaNikon "train" then... because if they don't adapt, the market will vote with their feet.

Mate, the circus is in town to stay, lol.

5 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (3 months ago)

Why? Because money is in lenses, not in the bodies. Canon/Nikon bodies are subsidized by their lens sales.

2 upvotes
AFishEye
By AFishEye (3 months ago)

@Marksphoto
You’re right Sony should do that, just like Nikon and Canon are making their bodies compatible with everybody’s else lenses.
Oh, wait a minute…

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
14 upvotes
pcblade
By pcblade (3 months ago)

You're funny : I've myself drop bad camera : Canon and bad new lenses : Nikon for a Sony A7.
Now I can use my L Canon lenses with autofocus/focus peaking and my old AI Nikon lenses on my Sony.
Wait...I also can use my olympus lenses and my lenses designed for leica mount...

7 upvotes
Chronis
By Chronis (3 months ago)

@marksphoto

It is because of "sheep" mentality like that, that once you buy into a system you are kept hostage to the system, made to buy whatever crap your system throws at you.

No other industry has such vendor lock in like photography... And we have canon and nikon to "thank" for that as the ring-leaders of the scam.

We should aplaude products like the A7 (btw I am a canon hostage made to save until I can buy a 5d mkiii instead of having a choice to pick what s best in the market for my budget at any one time)...

Beeeeeehhhh

13 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (2 months ago)

Battery powered power tools have a vendor lock-in. Its all based around the battery system.. baby sat batteries can do you good for up to five years, so power tools may have a shorter lock-in period but a lock-in still exists

0 upvotes
DH2000
By DH2000 (3 months ago)

While I am admiring Sony’s engineering marvels. It occurs to me that DPReview staff may have a different take. Following summary may appear in the upcoming A7r review:

“Despite being a high-end, full-frame camera (and one which uses the same sensor as the Nikon D600/D610 and Canon’s 6D), the company's latest casing, dubbed Bionz C for reasons that presumably made sense to someone, uses only two different screw sizes. A typical Nikon or Canon camera has four to seven different screw sizes by this point. We are a little bit surprised by Sony’s strategy here, as a7r suffers from many of the same issues as Sony's compact cameras. These issues include a far too compact layout, to the point that one particular screw is neither visible nor easily reachable. While this may not be a problem for some photographers, the aforementioned issues will become more noticeable if you 'push' the boundary of the case. “

30 upvotes
wb2trf
By wb2trf (3 months ago)

No doubt. How did you get that text ahead of time?

2 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (2 months ago)

Either way if your camera looks like this you're screwed.

0 upvotes
Mark Roberts
By Mark Roberts (3 months ago)

Ahhh, reminds me of the days I spend modifying Nikon 990s, and then D70s. Multiple wires to desolder/resolder, assemblies shoved into nooks and crannies. Good times. The new Sony looks positively civilized!

Clearly this design took a lot of work to make look simple. This was no slap dash effort to make a camera to tiptoe into a new corner of the market. They appear to be serious about making these cameras.

This is a different spin on reviewing a camera, and I like it! Thanks for the article.

7 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (3 months ago)

As someone who has done a few IR conversions, I can understand why it would distress someone to see this. What can be really distressing is if the little surface mount connector latches holding the ribbon cables get brittle with age and shatter when you try to open them.

0 upvotes
B1ackhat
By B1ackhat (3 months ago)

How much does Cicala pay to get his advertisements disguised as articles posted here? I'm just curious.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (3 months ago)

?

21 upvotes
Rocky Mtn Old Boy
By Rocky Mtn Old Boy (3 months ago)

I found it very interesting. If the moderators of this site want to quid pro quo for this and other write-ups, I for one applaud them for their ingenuity... content is king.

If you don't like it, I'm guessing you know where the door is.

7 upvotes
Rmano
By Rmano (3 months ago)

Sorry you feel like that. I think that Roger Cicala's blog entries are among the most interesting, well documented, objective and instructive posts you could find in the photo-web. Without mentioning fun and well written. So I for one would kindly ask to DPR to continue to refer to them.

9 upvotes
ldog
By ldog (3 months ago)

The advantage of simple is not just cheaper. It is a profound concept. I own an electronics manufacturing business and we strive for simplicity in all of our designs. Not only does it keep costs down as Roger says BUT it greatly increases reliability. The more tweaky something is to assemble the higher the likelihood of failure. Simple does not happen by accident. It is the highest of design and manufacturing skills.

42 upvotes
Deanaaargh
By Deanaaargh (3 months ago)

I am excited to see someone take this information and offer an IR or multi-spectral version. It seemed that the sensor stack was pretty easily accessible, and if you can switch out the sensor cover glass... too bad I don't have a clean room to work in, or a sacrificial A7R.

1 upvote
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (3 months ago)

As a design engineer I can say: superb, clever design & packaging with top-level materials ( That's what I call "design for efficient manufacturing and assembly" ). Very well done, Sony - IMHO this is the dawn of a new era in imaging capture gear!

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
20 upvotes
kjhants
By kjhants (3 months ago)

don't do this at home boys & girls, just say no kids.

2 upvotes
Ad B
By Ad B (3 months ago)

Lens Rentals,
nice pictures to look at, well done.

2 upvotes
Ian SS
By Ian SS (3 months ago)

I am always impressed with how complicated the camera can be and the amount of engineering. We always think that the camera is not worth the price but we might think otherwise after looking at this.

4 upvotes
Sergey Kostrov
By Sergey Kostrov (3 months ago)

I'd like to express my concerns regarding DpReview progress on some outstanding and Not completed Previews of many cameras.

Even if these pictures are very interesting they have Zero-value ( at least for me ). I clearly see that after DpReview launched GearShop number of reviews went down and DpReview is No longer a site that does fast reviews for new cameras.

For me, you're like some kind of "Proxy" of news related to digital photography.

A little bit more and Cameralabs.com with Imaging-resource.com will be my primary websites.

3 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (3 months ago)

DPR has never been about fast reviews, and they have never aimed to review every new camera. But the cameras they do choose to review get very thorough and comprehensive reviews, that involve using the cameras extensively for several weeks. Much like Imaging Resource, in fact, who aren't exactly the fastest in the business either; neither do they turn every preview into a full review, and they also publish a lot of other content besides previews and reviews.

6 upvotes
69chevy
By 69chevy (3 months ago)

You should demand a refund!!

11 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (3 months ago)

@ Sergey - you do keep on banging that drum, but I'm afraid the facts don't support your assertion. Check out our reviews hub and buying guide page (in which you'll find several detailed roundups). We're putting out considerably more content per year than ever before.

Also - GearShop is managed by a separate team. It's not a drain on dpreview editorial.

13 upvotes
Sergey Kostrov
By Sergey Kostrov (3 months ago)

Barney, There are 14 cameras in Preview state ( some of them since 2011 ).

0 upvotes
VikingPhotographer
By VikingPhotographer (3 months ago)

SONY A7/A7R are much too pricey compaired to DSLRs, stop buying them till prices gets cheeper !

1 upvote
macky patalinghug
By macky patalinghug (3 months ago)

Ain't the A7 in the same price range as the D610 and the 6D?

6 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (3 months ago)

A7 is the cheapest Fullframe digital camera ever at Launch Price in the latest 5 years... And with the A7R you get a fullframe sensor with 36MP way cheaper than D800, the only other camera with a 36MP sensor module.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
11 upvotes
AlexBakerPhotoz
By AlexBakerPhotoz (3 months ago)

Very interesting! There's something to be said for a company that makes many different types of electronics making a camera. Engineering expertise is transferable knowledge.

2 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (3 months ago)

I took apart my NEX5N to remove the IR filter. There were not many screws, but, the way the bits go together can be very complicated. Its very efficient packaging.

1 upvote
AstroStan
By AstroStan (3 months ago)

Were you successful in removing the IR blocker? And getting it all back together into a working camera?

If so, then several people (incl myself) would be interested in a web page of instructions and cautions.

0 upvotes
Hampi
By Hampi (3 months ago)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWKPLAtdLaw
look here

0 upvotes
Charles Marlow
By Charles Marlow (3 months ago)

I love it and I want to buy it, but I am still struggling to believe that the lenses I want to buy for it will be useful in five years. Or ten for that matter. That's the one thing that might lead me to go in the direction of Canon or Nikon.

6 upvotes
Heaven is for real
By Heaven is for real (3 months ago)

why it won't be? lens last forever, I am still using my Minolta beercan 70-210 F4 which was launched in 1985...

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (3 months ago)

Two reasons why modern lenses might not have the same life expectancy is that they do not have any aperture ring and that they are partly electronic. I see some future incomptibility problems there.

3 upvotes
new boyz
By new boyz (3 months ago)

"they do not have any aperture ring and that they are partly electronic. "

The Beercan he mentioned doesn't have aperture ring and is partly electronic. I a proud owner of one.

But I think you're partly right. Modern consumerism is all about disposable gadget.

1 upvote
quezra
By quezra (3 months ago)

If you're featuring interesting stories, how about the DxOmark rating of the FE 55/1.8 since they're your partners? It is a pretty landmark lens and a pretty landmark score

15 upvotes
DDWD10
By DDWD10 (3 months ago)

I wish I could see a teardown for every new high-end camera, iFixIt-style.

7 upvotes
Heaven is for real
By Heaven is for real (3 months ago)

If they are the same dinosaur DSLR not needed since we have seen them before unlike the compact A7r, what a marvelous engineering to fit everything inside!

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (3 months ago)

You can see tear-downs (partial) of many old cameras at Lifepixel in the DIY section.

0 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (3 months ago)

@Heaven is for real

The Canon 5D mkII and 5D mkIII are radically different in terms of construction with the mkII being a proper metal chassis and the mkIII being plastic with metal panels.

0 upvotes
Petroglyph
By Petroglyph (3 months ago)

Yeah, it only has 29 screws but they didn't count the 11 that rolled off the table and fell into the heater grate. Still works okay after reassembly though.

3 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (3 months ago)

In D7K teardown Cicala said: "I’m pretty comfortable saying there’s at least as much profit in the $700 mirrorless as in the $1200 SLR, probably more". Looking at this one (and having a7R pricing in mind), just tinkering how difficult it is to justify the price tag put on some new mirrorless cameras. Apart from the sensor and the shutter, not much more is left.... On the second thought, I may not be the only one expecting something substantial and 'more complicated' for the money, thus growing skepticism if this is supposed to last or will get discarded/abandoned by manufacturer like 2 years old smartphone...As a conclusion (apart from being nice shiny new thing that works nicely), if it is really that simpler to make (and maintain, adjust, calibrate etc) than the traditional DSLR, why does it bear the DSLR counterpart price? Oh, I think I know - because THEY can....

1 upvote
carabas
By carabas (3 months ago)

Yes, because price can only be justified by no longer technically justified Rube Goldberg-ian mechanical contraptions.

It's well known that integrated circuits R&D and production costs nothing at all, that software is free.

9 upvotes
Mark Roberts
By Mark Roberts (3 months ago)

Factor in the number of cameras they will actually sell, then divide that into the amount of money they spend in engineering to come up with such a clean design! I'm an engineer/company owner myself, and can only imagine the cost of development! I'm generally shocked we can buy equipment as cheaply as we can.

5 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (3 months ago)

Software is not free. It takes many thousands of hours create, debug and fix. Reproduction might be free, but salaries still have to have to be paid, and this is how we get newer and better cameras.

6 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (3 months ago)

Of course software and R&D aren't free but I look at it as incremental R&D, not something done from the scratch. Moreover, with 'classic" DSLR the software can be even more complex, integrating more circuitry etc: the bottom line, every DSLR now-days can act as mirrorless if put in LV (let's not nibble how well this works compared to 'true' mirrorless). R&D costs are spread across 'planned' number of units, you are implying that Sony's plan to sell these isn't as ambitious compared to DSLR counterparts? If we take Sony out of equation (due to 'constant' change of direction they are heading to/ read mount/), we can apply the same logic to Olympus (OK, they did sharp turn as well) but pretty much stick to m4/3 now - we see just incremental changes to late models compared to earlier (based even on the more-or-less same sensor), still asking premium price tag. If they want to win over the market, they'd have to do something about it - be realistic and less greedy...

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
1 upvote
sierranvin
By sierranvin (3 months ago)

@ZorSy - Sony Corp (symbol SNE; NYSE) had net losses four of the last five years. Everyone likes a bargain, but to my assessment the evidence is solid that Sony needs to RAISE prices somewhat where it can if the corporation is even to survive. Perhaps you should redirect some of the generic anti-corporate zeal I feel in your posts above at the fat-bonused execs for money center banks and Wall St. firms! They really deserve scrutiny, a bearing of responsibility, and potentially, prosecution!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (3 months ago)

@sierranvin ...not anti-corporate zeal in general; I would like to embrace new technologies (almost inevitable) as fully aware the mount I've been 'loyal' is showing its age and imposes many restrictions to keep going 'as is'. But the same mount has outlasted many other mounts, not to mention brands... Starting from the scratch (no legacy) despite its advantages is expensive and does not build 'loyal base' - not anymore. At the moment we have at least 3 very capable and interesting cameras appealing to almost the same base: if I have to choose one, I'd go with Fuji. So far no sharp turns leaving customer base with bitter aftertaste. Perhaps Nikon should go with their X mount this time.... BTW I wouldn't like to see either Sony or Olympus (even Pentax/Ricoh) go out of camera business. Competition is good and moves things forward.But no adapters (or gaffer tape) as 'alternative' solution....

0 upvotes
hip2
By hip2 (3 months ago)

there is also the issue of perceived value and worth.
if it is priced too low, the potential customers will think the product is junk, simple as that.
if you get it for free, you will think there is a catch, too good to be true, and walk away to spend your money on the most expensive product you can afford :)

0 upvotes
Artpt
By Artpt (3 months ago)

Thank you Roger Cicala for this great article....I tried to tear down a GH1 some time ago with a plumbers wrench and tin snips in the basement. Sadly, I did not experience the same excitement in the process as your article conveys....

0 upvotes
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