Author Topic: Review A900  (Read 3270 times)

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Offline Stef.

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Review A900
« on: October 25, 2008, 02:27:12 AM »
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra900/

Might be interesting to some of you?
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Offline winjeel

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2008, 04:36:44 AM »
Actually, I remember reading that. It's a nice read (especially for full frame fans)
JapanesePhotos.Asia; Some basic photographic how to's.
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Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2008, 10:07:58 AM »

I liked the review and more importantly the summary..  key points were:

Overall conclusionThe Alpha 900 represents in a nutshell the almost schizophrenic nature of Sony's digital camera division, which can market compact cameras with smile detection and a Playstation style user interface at the same time as this, perhaps the most pared-down, frill-free and unashamedly 'serious' DSLR we've seen in a long time.

You can't help feel that Sony's long-held worry that as a consumer electronics giant it will never be totally accepted as a serious camera manufacturer has been instrumental in shaping a flagship camera that studiously avoids the creeping 'gadgetization' of DLSRs and concentrates on old fashioned stuff like picture taking.

..
..

In conclusion this is, more than anything else at this end of the market, a true photographer's camera, with at least one totally unique feature (the Super SteadyShot stabilization) and one that offers the best viewfinder and highest nominal resolution (and the lowest 'cost per megapixel, incidentally) in its class. It's capable of stunning results at up to ISO 400 (and is fine at ISO 800-1600 as long as you're not printing posters), and it is incredibly fast and responsive in use. If Sony had managed to keep the price nearer to the $2000 mark (even if this meant fewer megapixels) I think it would be flying off the shelves. As it stands it will, I fear, struggle to make a serious impression on anyone other than the Sony/Minolta faithful. One thing is clear, however: anyone who thinks a consumer electronics giant can't make a heavyweight photographic tool is seriously misguided.

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Offline winjeel

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2008, 11:07:21 AM »
It's not surprising that the A900 should be well received, especially as Sony has dominance in the professional video camera market. But it annoys me that they keep mentioning Play Station! To me, it devalues the Sony dslr line, but then, the PS is a heavy weight in its own market.
JapanesePhotos.Asia; Some basic photographic how to's.
Sony the200, Minolta 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 70-300mm Gregarious, 100mm 2.8 macro.

Offline Stef.

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 05:10:20 PM »
But it annoys me that they keep mentioning Play Station! To me, it devalues the Sony dslr line, but then, the PS is a heavy weight in its own market.
LOL! You should talk to my 15 and 8 year old sons... they think the DSLR line devaluates their PS3... I think this is a actually a good thing- they are doing some fantastic work in the play industry/ tvs/ computers/... this can only be good for us as Sony (I think ) seems to be quite keen to break into the DSLR industry in a big way and they have the money in the background- let's not forget they are money wise the biggest player in the game! This means money for research...
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Offline kombizz

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2008, 09:53:59 PM »
UNFORTUNATELY, I was not able to see the conclusion of their review by listing PRO and CON points.

So I am not sure if DP Review, Recommended it, or HIGLY Recommended it based on their testing chart.

Detail Rating
Build quality ?
Ergonomics & handling ?
Features ?
Image quality ?
Optics ?
Performance (speed) ?
Value ??


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Offline Simon [aka springtide]

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2008, 11:02:48 PM »
Taken from: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra900/page36.asp

Conclusion - Pros
Class-leading resolutionv (as long as your lenses are good enough)
incredibly solid build quality, environmental sealing
Intuitive operation and uncluttered control and menu system
Excellent out of camera JPEG results with superb tonality, dynamic range, color
Excellent raw dynamic range gives lots of headroom
Almost 100% reliable metering and exposure
Very fast and responsive body - remarkable burst mode (5fps RAW+JPEG, 24.6 MP)
In-body image stabilization that works well (around 2 stop advantage)
Wide range of image parameters and custom 'Creative Styles'
Dynamic Range Optimizer Advanced works well
Superb screen and attractive menu system
Excellent 'Quick Navi' control system
AF micro adjustment (per lens)
User-selectable noise reduction (though see cons, below)
The best (biggest, brightest) optical viewfinder on the market, 100% frame coverage
Excellent handling and ergonomics
Excellent battery life and percentage battery status display
HDMI output
Three custom modes on main mode dial
Remote control included
Fast USB transfer and card writing (with a fast card)

Conclusion - Cons
Noise reduction settings applied to raw as well as JPEG files - cannot be 'turned off for raw but left on for JPEGs' (as is normal practice)
Relatively high levels of noise at anything over ISO 400 (ISO 6400 is of very, very limited use)
Destructive noise reduction on high ISO JPEGs removes too much detail
JPEGs a little soft by default (some loss of detail due to NR visible even at ISO 200) - you really need to shoot raw (and use ACR or similar) to get the best out of the sensor
Default color settings can produce red clipping (very saturated)
Top panel LCD very limited compared to all competitors
Less customizable than most competitors (though a lot less confusing for it)
No live view
No in-camera vignetting control
Intelligent preview of limited use in the real world (cannot check focus, for example)
Focus speed not up to other cameras in this class (though it is very accurate)
AF zone only covers a small part of the frame (not unique to this camera, of course)
No intelligent use of multiple cards (you have to switch manually)
Supplied raw processing software doesn't get the most out of the files (and is slow)
Proprietary MS Duo slot (we'd much prefer an SD slot), though I should be clear: two card slots is a positive

Overall Conclusion
The Alpha 900 represents in a nutshell the almost schizophrenic nature of Sony's digital camera division, which can market compact cameras with smile detection and a Playstation style user interface at the same time as this, perhaps the most pared-down, frill-free and unashamedly 'serious' DSLR we've seen in a long time.

You can't help feel that Sony's long-held worry that as a consumer electronics giant it will never be totally accepted as a serious camera manufacturer has been instrumental in shaping a flagship camera that studiously avoids the creeping 'gadgetization' of DLSRs and concentrates on old fashioned stuff like picture taking.

And hey, for the most part this is no bad thing; the Alpha 900 is uniquely approachable for a camera in this class, has the best viewfinder on the market and produces, as long as you don't venture into the higher reaches of the ISO range range too often, very appealing output indeed. It feels and acts like a camera - in stark contrast to many of Sony's compacts, which seem to be designed to act like a cross between a camera phone and a games console - without offering the utility of either. Looking through the huge viewfinder you get the full advantage of the full frame format; the engulfing view makes you feel totally involved in the picture taking process.

No doubt about it, there is much to like about the Alpha 900 - from the quality of images it produces to the extensive control over image parameters and, as I've already mentioned, the excellent, intuitive and uniquely user-friendly handling. The built-in image stabilization is a real boon and makes the Alpha 900 a no brainer purchase for anyone with a sizeable Minolta 35mm camera lens collection. The only 'frippery' I found myself missing was live view (we do a lot of work in the studio where magnified live view, when done well, can be a real time saver), though not everyone will care.

Of course we can't talk about the Alpha 900 without talking about its 24.6 megapixel sensor; currently the highest resolution you can get in a 35mm format body (borne out by the class-leading resolution figures in our tests). What real advantage that gives most users is harder to say, especially when you factor in the rather disappointing high ISO performance that is the inevitable consequence of such a high pixel density, and the demands it puts on any lens you put in front of it - not to forget the fact the immense files will choke all but the most powerful PC and fill your hard disk in no time. But let's not knock Sony's achievement; at low ISO settings the Alpha 900 offers more resolution than any other digital SLR on the market, period - and for serious studio or landscape shooters this, combined with the excellent dynamic range, makes it an appealing option at a (relatively) affordable price point.

The biggest challenge to the Alpha 900 is probably the as yet untested Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which promises a similar resolution and a bag full of features (live view, video mode and so on) at a price that's around 10% lower. There's no doubt that existing Sony SLR and legacy Minolta film SLR users now have a fitting flagship model to salivate over and save up for, but in the face of such strong competitors the Alpha 900 may have a tough job persuading anyone to switch systems for it.

In conclusion this is, more than anything else at this end of the market, a true photographer's camera, with at least one totally unique feature (the Super SteadyShot stabilization) and one that offers the best viewfinder and highest nominal resolution (and the lowest 'cost per megapixel, incidentally) in its class. It's capable of stunning results at up to ISO 400 (and is fine at ISO 800-1600 as long as you're not printing posters), and it is incredibly fast and responsive in use. If Sony had managed to keep the price nearer to the $2000 mark (even if this meant fewer megapixels) I think it would be flying off the shelves. As it stands it will, I fear, struggle to make a serious impression on anyone other than the Sony/Minolta faithful. One thing is clear, however: anyone who thinks a consumer electronics giant can't make a heavyweight photographic tool is seriously misguided.

As long as you take into account our reservations about the high ISO image quality (which we'd more easily forgive on a camera that wasn't the best part of $3000), the Alpha 900 is a camera that just, by the skin of its teeth, offers enough to gain our highest award.

Detail (D-SLR)  Rating (out of 10)
Build quality 9.5
Ergonomics & handling 9.5
Features 9.5
Image quality 8.5
Performance (speed) 9.0
Value 8.5

Highly Recommended

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Offline winjeel

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Re: Review A900
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2008, 01:30:51 AM »
Interesting to hear about noise still being an issue with the Minolta / Sony system. I'd have thought they'd have that mostly sorted out by now. Would it take another four firmware upgrades to get a handle on it? Though, I'm pleased to hear that they sacrificed focus speed for accuracy. And, I feel that installing live view (in this generation) would probably mean that there'd need to be a comprimise else where; luckily there isn't live view, and they didn't include this as a buying incentive.
JapanesePhotos.Asia; Some basic photographic how to's.
Sony the200, Minolta 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 70-300mm Gregarious, 100mm 2.8 macro.