The upside to A-mount popularity going down

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ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 7,792
The upside to A-mount popularity going down

I'm usually in the adapted lenses forum, but given the recent Sony removal of A-mount stuff from their WWW site, I was wondering what the response here was. The answer seems to be the end is being met "not with a bang, but a whimper." However, I think there's actually a lot positive about this for folks here.

First, a little personal history. In the 1970s, I used a Minolta SRT-101 and XK... and I didn't switch to Minolta AF until it became Sony A mount and I bought an A100. The A100 is still a pretty impressive camera, but I was very happy with the advances in my A350, and even more pleased with my A55. The camera in the OVF of the A350 was a clever way to get live view on the rear LCD, but the EVF and SLT combo was simpler and worked better. However, speaking as an engineering professor and computational photography researcher, they were clearly evolutionary steps toward mirrorless... and we're there now. My NEX-5 was outperformed by my A55, but that was a battle SLT couldn't win for the longer term.... Most of my autofocus lenses are A mount, but I now use them mostly on E/FE bodies.

So what do we have now? Well, to begin with, we now have FF mirrorless bodies that cost less to make than SLTs. I now have two A7RII, and the second one cost me under $1300 new last year -- which is also what they're selling for now. An A7RII, plus an LA-EA4, is basically a high-end A-mount SLT body for less than the very-comparable A99II. You can argue for/against the different ergonomics, but there's much less difference between those two than there was between, for example, my A350 and A55.

From Sony's point of view, I'm sure the LA-EA5 was really the game changer. EVF + SLT was a big step forward, but we finally have an official Sony adapter that allows A mount glass to in every way outperform what it could do using SLT technology. For lenses with motors in them, we had it from the LA-EA3, and the kit to modify an LA-EA4 removing the SLT also gave that to screw drive A-mount lenses, but the LA-EA5 is an official Sony product. There are some annoyances in that the LA-EA5 doesn't fully support all lenses nor all E/FE bodies, but it looks like going forward, it probably will work with all new bodies. If you care about A-mount lenses going forward, I'd suggest buying an LA-EA5 soon, because they might only sell them for a respectable transitional period....

So, here's the summary of what's really happening:

  • Sony has finally completed the transition of A-mount to a mirrorless implementation that outperforms all previous A-mounts. An LA-EA5 on an A1 is wildly better than any "native" A-mount body.
  • Body cost has effectively come down, with emphasis on FF and more options (e.g., the super-pro A1, video-centric S models, general-purpose, high resolution R models, or even compact with the A7C).
  • Lens cost is gonna dive. There will be a lot of folks getting rid of their A-mount lenses at really low prices, so it's gonna be a great time to buy rather than sell.

In summary, I look forward to seeing you in the adapted lens forum.... 

 ProfHankD's gear list:ProfHankD's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX530 Olympus TG-860 Sony a7R II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Sony a6500 +30 more
Nikon Coolpix A100 Sony Alpha DSLR-A350 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony SLT-A55
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