Author Topic: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...  (Read 4133 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Simon [aka springtide]

  • Article Contributor
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 2445
  • Gender: Male
The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« on: October 29, 2008, 12:25:15 PM »
continued from ....
http://www.dynaxdigital.com/index.php/topic,7283.60.html

Interesting bit on sensor design and the micro lenses at:
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/canoneos5dmarkii/page3.asp

What they are basically saying is that the further off center you are, the sharper the angle of light that will hit the sensor.  This reduction in light is partly why they say some of the older film lenses don't perform very well on digital.  The 'Digital Intergration' was supposed to (among other things) design the lens so that it improved the angle of light onto the sensor.  So if you think of the 'V' of the light entering the lens, the DI was supposed to focus the light so that the last focus stage focused the light as straight as possible (i.e.  comes off the last element as close to 90deg as possible) to hit the sensor (I hope that made sense).

I'm very fond of David's articles, but he has been testing not exactly the best glass with the A900 (and lots of older glass for that matter), which isn't exactly showing the A900 at it's best.
NEX-7

flickr

Offline winjeel

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 5413
  • Gender: Male
  • Gelight
    • japanesephotos
    • JapanesePhotos
    • JapanesePhotos.Asia
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 12:41:43 PM »
Actually, as I was reading Bill's explanation, it reminded me of a book I read, that described the sensors as buckets that can get filled up. However, if you've been to the beach, the angle of the sun can shed light in on only part of it... anyway, I think we all get the picture.

So, some lenses have been 'optimised' for aps sensors, and so, could we expect the next generation of Sony lenses to be optimised for these bucket-like sensors? That is, they'd keep the light spead (some how) and have more of it falling more directly or more parallel with the sensor photo sites?
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 Simon [aka springtide]

  • Article Contributor
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 2445
  • Gender: Male
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 01:26:14 PM »
Actually, as I was reading Bill's explanation, it reminded me of a book I read, that described the sensors as buckets that can get filled up. However, if you've been to the beach, the angle of the sun can shed light in on only part of it... anyway, I think we all get the picture.

So, some lenses have been 'optimised' for aps sensors, and so, could we expect the next generation of Sony lenses to be optimised for these bucket-like sensors? That is, they'd keep the light spead (some how) and have more of it falling more directly or more parallel with the sensor photo sites?

In Tamron speak, the Di and Di II lenses have been 'optimised' for Digital.  Di are APS-C and FF, while Di II are APS-C.  Tamron used to have some diagrams, but I can't seem to find them anymore.

So basically all lenses designed for Digital will have had this as part of the design consideration (in addition to other digital aspects, like lens coatings etc).  How well it's done will (I guess), depend on the lens in question - thats why Photozone have the same lenses tested on both Film and Digital (and sometimes get different results,  i.e.  a great film lens, but poor on Digital.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008, 01:29:38 PM by springtide »
NEX-7

flickr

Offline Stef.

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 11520
    • Stef's photographs
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 04:09:16 PM »
Springtide- some of the older lenses work actually quite well with the A900- so I can see why David used them. But what worries me for whatever reason quite a few people do have problems with the camera underexposing on a regular basis. Repeat myself: I don't think this is the last model Sony will bring out- I am expecting the "professional" camera to come out soon or why would they insist on calling the A900 a semi-pro???
Stef.
Stef.'s photographs

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/15931938@N05/]flickr


"Dream as if you'll live forever- live as if you'll die today"

Offline Simon [aka springtide]

  • Article Contributor
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 2445
  • Gender: Male
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 05:32:03 PM »
I'm not sure how well the older lenses work, I'm sure they are OK and David is doing some great testing, but I'm not sure it's a great idea showing how great 25MP files look when you are using mediocre glass, for such a high profile person as David.

Switching to this thread (for the Prices coming down....)...

I've read through the review on DP which was much more scientific than Anandtech's review.  DP complained about the High ISO performance with Jpegs, but as RAW files were going much better results they made a comment about a future firmware upgrade. This is why I find it very odd that Anandtech's tested the camera with it's Jpeg setting, which leads me to think that their review is not very credible.

DP I wouldn't call 'anti Sony', but they 'say it as it is' (or how they see it) and this upset a lot of Sony folks.  But I thought the A900 got a very positive review at DP.

We'll have to wait for more reviews i guess, but I seem to remember people complaining about the High ISO performance of the A700 compared to the 7D (and D300/40D) when it came out.

TBH from my point of view, I take 98% of my shots at ISO200, 1.5% between 400-800 & 0.5% of shots at ISO1600.  I never use anything above ISO1600.  If I need more light I'll either use flash or do a long exposure.  I'm sure I could find a use for using ISO3200, ISO6400 or ISO12800 on occasion, but I wouldn't buy a camera specifically for Super High ISO performance.  I'm sure other people would, just it's not something that I'd really need.

I also don't think I need 25MP, but would be very handy for stock images - not having to mess about for hours trying to upscale the images to get them accepted.
I would like a larger viewfinder, a very sharp ultra wide angle lens (I'm thinking CZ16-35), and more control over DOF - I find f/2.8 not that shallow on APS-C - which is limiting sometimes.

You are right though, there will be a Pro Camera from Sony - but I would say we have a while to wait.  There's not much point in bringing out a weather sealed body unless the lenses are also weather sealed.  Sony is also missing the long tele lenses, which makes me wonder what the point of a Pro body would be if these lenses were not available.  Sony will get there, but they are building their empire 'from the bottom up' IMO
NEX-7

flickr

Offline winjeel

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 5413
  • Gender: Male
  • Gelight
    • japanesephotos
    • JapanesePhotos
    • JapanesePhotos.Asia
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2008, 08:38:34 AM »
I do think they're building things up, and there'll be a 'pro' level camera. The alpha / dynax / maxxum FIVE was the mid-range work horse of the past, and we're yet to see such an equivalent from Sony. I'm hoping that it'd be a full-frame, a simple A500, but that's just a dream.

Going back to the full frame issue, how you lose one stop or so because of the wider area the photosites take up, compared to aps. If the photo sites on the outer side really weren't getting as much light as the aps does, then wouldn't some sort of vignetting, or darkening of the corners be seen? Looking at these samples (that Stef found, thanks), I don't see either. Is it really an issue?
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.

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 11520
    • Stef's photographs
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2008, 05:31:52 PM »
Just one quick comment: here in Canada apparently they have a 7 day return -full refund policy. So yes you have to pay it initially but if you have a credit card than you don't pay until the end of the month anyway? So you can go out "buy" one and give it a thorough try. This is not only for the A900 but in fact anything. I have never thought about it this way but it gives you a "free" rental for seven days! Well... guess you can't do that on a regular basis but at least before committing to buying a new expensive thing. This includes also lenses- so in future there is a way to try things out before you are really committing. I came across this when reading from somebody who had returned his A900 within that week!
Just a thought!
Stef.
Stef.'s photographs

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/15931938@N05/]flickr


"Dream as if you'll live forever- live as if you'll die today"

Offline Simon [aka springtide]

  • Article Contributor
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 2445
  • Gender: Male
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2008, 10:31:56 PM »

OK, so apart from the fact that the A900 seems to take great photos even at high ISO's (doesn't seem much in it even at ISO6400 if you are prepared to downscale).

The problem that some of us have (apart from buying the camera in the first place) is that we can only have a single body (I couldn't justify having two digital bodies)

So what are the disadvantages of the A900?  (apart from people wanting the extra range and/or DOF that the crop factor gives)

I see no disadvantages at the moment - apart from the cost obviously :)
NEX-7

flickr

Offline Stef.

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 11520
    • Stef's photographs
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2008, 02:01:59 AM »
1.You should/have to shoot RAW- so it takes more time to process if you want the best quality possible. You need a very strong computer- mine has 4GB and it works fast but sometimes PS CS4 has problems with handling the file sizes. And no it's not the opening up of a 16bit raw converted file which gives you already a file size of 139,5M but once you copy the background layer and make a couple of adjustments or even use the new stack tool in CS4... well than we are talking quickly about 400+M files...
2. you need really the best lenses- quality is awesome though!
3. your lenses get "shorter"- no more 1,5 crop factor but than- hey you got double the pixels and can therefore crop into your image as if you used a 2x lens in the first place compared to the A700 (kind of 2x factor considering having double the pixels)
And there will be more I am sure.

If I could have only one I would go for the A700. BUT... the quality side by side of the A900 is outstanding and beats the hell out of any other one when used correctly and PRINTED. If you never print and use your images purely for web- why go for this amount of pixels that you have to downsize and degrade by compressing the file to Jpeg?

For anybody serious into making money from photography- well than the A900 is superb.
Stef.
Stef.'s photographs

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/15931938@N05/]flickr


"Dream as if you'll live forever- live as if you'll die today"

DonSchap

  • Guest
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2008, 02:31:44 AM »
I think that if they back off that horrid pricepoint (especially in the current economy), they may be onto something ... but when you have to buy a $450 '58 flash, the $379 vertical grip, $400 for a warranty and then pony up $3000 for the body, just to get started ... not even considering the supporting computer equipment ... I mean ... like wow!  Where did the checkbook go?

Offline tpe

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 3842
  • Gender: Male
  • tpe, aka tim
    • Scientific reference pictures and other stuf
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2008, 08:08:26 AM »
A second body for me is not something difficult to justify even cost wise.

It is so easy to loose shots by not having the right lens on. When you are doing telephoto work at the races and the owner of the team ends up standing next to you with the race winner you dont move 30m back so you can get them in frame or ask him to stay there whilst you dismantle your tripod mounted camera to change lenses and get the backpack out. You just use the other body with the wider lens on, simple. FF is also much more for wide to normal shots so it is clear that you can also save a little money as all the medium focal lenght glass will end up with the same specs as all that really high end wide glass. If you were concidering a 35/1.4 a 20 2.8 16mm you can nearly pay for the body by getting 24/x and up etc.

Depending on you lens use going FF could even make quality landscape photography cheaper.

The downside is for macro sport and wildlife. Stick to APS better dof and reach for lower prices. So it does look as if it will almost be necessary for a rounded camera bag to have two bodies in. We all knew when we bought digital that the life expectancy is low, so had to be prepared for it some time anyway and why not make it an expansion rather than just keeping up with the jonses.

Having said that my next body may well be a micro anyway 4/3rds just because of the macro possiblilities :).

tim

Offline Simon [aka springtide]

  • Article Contributor
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 2445
  • Gender: Male
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2008, 09:50:07 AM »

I've said this before, but I think the file size negative point is pretty irrelevant as in 'relative terms' both processing and file sizes were longer and larger when we were using the 6MP 7D.

32bit Windows -> 64bit Windows transition.  I am so glad that I've made the jump to 64bit.  The main reason for not upgrading before was the lack of drivers etc that were available.  And the main reason why they were not available was that there was a lack of demand for 64bit.  We now have demand.  This is not only for Digital Photography, but for High Def Video and others.
For the people who 'master' the majority of photos in Lightroom (i.e.  only convert to TIFF or Jpeg for additional processing and/or printing) then personally I see myself switching from RAW to cRAW (if or when I get an A900)

Lenses, I think most people noted that when they switched from their 7D to the A700 it was noticable that their 'not so top glass' let down the body. The point that I think is worth a mention here, is that the same lens attached to the A900 will not look worse than an A700, just it won't get the most out of the 24MP body. I guess what I'm saying is that when upgrading the body to a higher spec, needing better lenses will always be a factor.  It didn't put people off upgrading to the A700, so I don't really see it as a major factor 'not to upgrade' to the A900.

I can the advantages of having a second body for sports or wildlife etc, but as I never do any of this and the closet I come is taking the kids to the local zoo. Personally I just want a single workhorse, that will do everything.

The two big pluses for me with the A900 is the larger viewfinder - I find the A700 impossible to autofocus in low(ish) light, and picking up my newly aquired Dynax 7 film camera makes me really want a lovely large bright viewfinder.

The second thing is a decent fast ultra wide angle lens.  My Tam11-18 is pretty poor in this department, it's OK but not really that sharp or fast.  Not sure about the Sony11-18, but I've read that this is just a rebadged Tam.  The Sigma 10-20 isn't much better from what I've read, my Nikon friend (Gary - bristol_bound) has just upgraded his Sigma to the Tokina 11-16 f2.8.  The Tokina is supposed to be much better and is 'fast glass', but not available in A Mount.

The same goes for the 17-50 range in fast glass.  The only options in f2.8 are the Tamron and Sigma, both of which are not great at f2.8.  The CZ16-80 is much sharper, but this isn't f2.8 (3.5-4.5).

I have so many overlaps with my lenses at the moment, I'm just really frustrated. If I'm keeping the A700 I'd want another copy of the CZ16-80 as I miss it's sharpness, but don't want to sell my Tam17-50 for the F2.8 - even knowing it's soft wide open.

The way I see it is that my end goal is:-

1) A Full Frame Body
2) CZ 16-35 f2.8 (the new one)
3) CZ 24-70 f2.8
4) Tamron/Sigma/Sony/Minolta 70-200 f2.8 (or even the Sony 70-300G)

(And maybe a few other primes for specific purposes)

Yes, yes, yes, I know this is a huge expense, but it does have an end point (and don't have to get there on one go).  At the moment I feel like I've just swapping lenses everytime something a bit better comes out in APS-C land. And as I see myself going FF at some point, investing in APS-C seems a waist of money.


And don't get me started about Sony flashes.  This is a really good reason for switching to Canon or Nikon.

- What's the score with using the Minolta 5600HSD on top of the camera?
- Does this work on TTL?
- And can the 5600HSD act as the master for other 56's?

Personally I have given up on the Minolta/Sony wireless IR TTL system. It just doesn't work outdoors and radio triggers seem to be a much better option (and running in full manual).  It's 'too hard work' to use Sony flashes and radio triggers (mainly due to lack of FS-1200 adapters), so I plan to sell one of my Sony flashes soon and switch to either an old Nikon or Canon flash with a standard hotshoe.

I'm not thinking of upgrading for a while, the A700 is fine at the moment and the A900 without an ultra wide angle is a non starter for me.  Personally I'm waiting for the CZ16-35 which I think will be available in the New Year. And maybe this time next year might be when I upgrade.
NEX-7

flickr

Offline steve

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 914
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2008, 12:25:32 PM »
Hi
Interesting issues raised here about file size and the like.I have to confess most pics i take with my A700 are at the 6 mega pixels size and i can produce stunning A2 prints with a touch of PS interpolation.When printed at A3 i cant tell the differance between a shot at 12 or 6 settings unless i get up close to the prints.

  Regards Steve

Offline Stef.

  • Past Moderator
  • Friend of DynaxDigital
  • *****
  • Posts: 11520
    • Stef's photographs
Re: The A900 or not the A900... that is the question...
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2008, 05:34:46 PM »
Steve- should oyu ever consider sending in images to picture agencies the A900 is godsend. Frankly when it comes to printing I can actually see the difference between my belofed A700 and the A900 pretty much immediately. I go them swaped by a colleague of mine and was able to pick the A900 print immediately without pixel peeping.

Springtide- I agree with most of your points - nevertheless I don't see the A900 as a workhorse comparable to the A700. I know you are not interested in wildlife shots but sa said the A900 needs a much more careful approach (I think) than the A700. But btw so do all the other top end modells as well. None of them perform well as point and shoot cameras.
Stef.
Stef.'s photographs

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/15931938@N05/]flickr


"Dream as if you'll live forever- live as if you'll die today"