Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: mbridgers on September 09, 2008, 09:22:31 AM

Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: mbridgers on September 09, 2008, 09:22:31 AM
DPReview has the details:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08090902sonyalpha900.asp (http://www.dpreview.com/news/0809/08090902sonyalpha900.asp)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: DarkPenguin on September 09, 2008, 09:25:35 AM
And a sample gallery.  Not real sure how to judge a 24.6mp camera's output but it looks pretty noisy to me.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 09, 2008, 10:57:29 AM
Quote
And a sample gallery.  Not real sure how to judge a 24.6mp camera's output but it looks pretty noisy to me.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=220326\")

Sample galleries are perhaps the worse way to judge a camera's potential output.  Here's a DPR gallery sample of the 1Ds MkIII at ISO 200:  [a href=\"http://a.img-dpreview.com/gallery/canoneos1dsmkiii_samples/originals/0t7h0942_acr.jpg]http://a.img-dpreview.com/gallery/canoneos...t7h0942_acr.jpg[/url]  I didn't see any A900 samples at DPR that looked that noisy at ISO 400 or lower
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: geesbert on September 09, 2008, 11:06:50 AM
MAN! what an ugly camera!!! can't belive it. is this designed by Lada?


http://www.akvarij.net/forum/uploads/ZEC/Lada.jpg (http://www.akvarij.net/forum/uploads/ZEC/Lada.jpg)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: mbridgers on September 09, 2008, 11:17:24 AM
Nick Rains has a hands-on report under the "What's New" section here on L-L.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: DarkPenguin on September 09, 2008, 11:17:37 AM
I was just looking at chroma noise.

Anywho, here's my question - how do they print?  I've never printed a file that gigantic.  How big do you have to go before any of that stuff shows up in a print?
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Christopher on September 09, 2008, 01:05:21 PM
Now I only hope Canon has the guts to answer with a 5D/3D/7D (or whatever the name will be) offering us the full 21Mp for a price around 3k.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: lbalbinot on September 09, 2008, 01:13:30 PM
Quote
MAN! what an ugly camera!!! can't belive it. is this designed by Lada?
http://www.akvarij.net/forum/uploads/ZEC/Lada.jpg (http://www.akvarij.net/forum/uploads/ZEC/Lada.jpg)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220345\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ahahahahaha, good one :-) I didn't like the design either. What's the deal with the pyramid top? Maybe some sort of Zen device to calm down the electrons and reduce noise?

Luis
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: schrodingerscat on September 09, 2008, 02:17:02 PM
Quote
Ahahahahaha, good one :-) I didn't like the design either. What's the deal with the pyramid top? Maybe some sort of Zen device to calm down the electrons and reduce noise?

Luis
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220379\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It's the shape of a solid glass penta-prism, which gives you the full-field bright view found in SLR's before they turned into plastic blobs with mirror assembly finders. Form follows function.

It works well but may not impress the neighbors.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: macgyver on September 09, 2008, 04:28:29 PM
Quote
Now I only hope Canon has the guts to answer with a 5D/3D/7D (or whatever the name will be) offering us the full 21Mp for a price around 3k.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220378\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I only hope they don't! I want my ef mount d700.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: kers on September 09, 2008, 07:25:01 PM
If this camera will cost only 3000$ it will shake up the market-

Wonder how much a Nikon D3x will cost with the same 24mp chip...
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: cricketer 1 on September 09, 2008, 08:06:11 PM
Quote from: kers,Sep 9 2008, 06:25 PM
If this camera will cost only 3000$ it will shake up the market-

I agree, and would not underestimate Sony's ability to continue it's penetration of the DSLR market, based on an ability to manufacture high quality imaging products with many innovative features.  As far as the new Sony being an ugly camera, I don't recall the Nikon F3 and F4 SLR's, with their large high eye-point viewfinders being so named.  If it performs as well as the specifications suggest, it may give the Nikon D700 and Canon equivalent a run for their money.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Christopher on September 09, 2008, 08:09:00 PM
Quote from: cricketer 1,Sep 9 2008, 07:06 PM
Quote from: kers,Sep 9 2008, 06:25 PM
If this camera will cost only 3000$ it will shake up the market-

I agree, and would not underestimate Sony's ability to continue it's penetration of the DSLR market, based on an ability to manufacture high quality imaging products with many innovative features.  As far as the new Sony being an ugly camera, I don't recall the Nikon F3 and F4 SLR's, with their large high eye-point viewfinders being so named.  If it performs as well as the specifications suggest, it may give the Nikon D700 and Canon equivalent a run for their money.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220458\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Well it will sell under 3k, street price.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: kevin2i on September 09, 2008, 08:24:11 PM
Thanks LL for the timely review.

The DP'ers are going nuts reviewing sample jpg's - and forming some rather strong opinions!

I'll wait for more raw files and processing options . . . .

I will note that the sony looks good in the comparison of the building under construction.  (look at the 95 sign and lettering)

The major drawback I see is the close spacing of the focus points - my main criticism of the 5d.  Curious how accurate and usable the screen is for manual focusing.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 09, 2008, 09:24:31 PM
Quote
MAN! what an ugly camera!!! can't belive it. is this designed by Lada?
http://www.akvarij.net/forum/uploads/ZEC/Lada.jpg (http://www.akvarij.net/forum/uploads/ZEC/Lada.jpg)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220345\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This is of major concern to those who like to wear fine jewelery. It could be quite upsetting to feel compelled to wear an ugly necklace in the interests of fine art   .
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Derryck on September 09, 2008, 09:37:29 PM
The camera might be a bit on the ugly side but those sexy Zeiss lenses make up for it. Going to see if we can get a copy of the camera in the studio this week to make my own comparisons as we are supplying the studio lighting for the launch in Shanghai today.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 09, 2008, 11:01:09 PM
Quote
Wonder how much a Nikon D3x will cost with the same 24mp chip...
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=220454\")

It would cost more, same as the D3 costs more than the D700 (think features and performance).  However, a D3x (or whatever Nikon calls it) may not use the same sensor, it might use a better one.

Quote
  If it performs as well as the specifications suggest, it may give the Nikon D700 and Canon equivalent a run for their money.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220458\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sony DSLR-A900                   
-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps    
5 fps                                  
100-1600, (up to 6400)                                             
24.6 million pixels = 2.9 MP/cm²                                

Nikon D700
-5 to +5 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
8 fps (with battery pack)
200-6400 (100 - 25600 with boost)
12.1 million pixels = 1.4 MP/cm²

I like oranges better than apples; I have never considered if I could get more apples for my money.

Quote
This [the "ugliness factor"] is of major concern to those who like to wear fine jewelery. It could be quite upsetting to feel compelled to wear an ugly necklace in the interests of fine art   .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220468\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It could be an ergonomics issue for some:

[a href=\"http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/nikond700/images/inhand2.jpg]http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/nikond7...ges/inhand2.jpg[/url]

http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/SonyDSL...ges/inhand2.jpg (http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/SonyDSLRA900/images/inhand2.jpg)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Dennishh on September 09, 2008, 11:05:01 PM
Sony is using some major noise reduction at all ISO's, reminds me of the Kodak 14n. They might as well put those Zeiss lenses on a holga for all the good they are going to do for this ugly thing.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 09, 2008, 11:06:33 PM
There are 3 slightly worrying issues about this camera that spring to mind.

(1) No Live View for ultra accurate manual focussing. However, I can see the reason for this. Without image stabilisation in the lens, Live View is not as useful unless the camera is on a tripod. That's one disadvantage of the anti-shake sensor compared to the lens image stabilisation.

(2) The f stop latitude due to the anti-shake sensor is described as 2.4 to 4 stops.

What do they mean by this? What causes such a variation in latitude? It is assumed that, whether or not anti-shake is activated, the final result will depend in part on the amount of camera shake present at the time the shutter is pressed, whether or not that degree of shake is due to a Parkinsons disorder or the motion of a moving vehicle along a bumpy road.

If the IS specification refers to a latitude, then that implies it is in relation to whatever camera-shake conditions apply at the time. If Sony means that the variation of 2.4 to 4 stops is dependent upon the focal length used, then they should say so. Perhaps at either 16mm or 400mm one can't expect better than a 2.4 stop latitude, whereas at 100mm or 150mm one might expect as much as 4 stops latitude.

(3) The noise at high ISO in the images I've seen so far, do not look impressively clean, even aty well below 100% magnification on the monitor.

I'm reminded from previous dpreview comparisons between the Sony A700, A200 and A350 that high ISO noise is not as good as the equivalent Canons. At ISO 1600 and 3200, if noise in the Sonys is as low as the Canon equivalent, it's usually at the expense of detail, and vice versa. If detail is on a par, then the Sony images are noisier.

This worries me a bit. First impression tend to confirm that this trend is continued in the A900. Nikon has already set the benchmark for low noise from a full frame sensor. It is expected (by me, at least) that the soon-to-be-announced successor to the 5D will match the high-ISO low noise performance of the D3 and D700.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 09, 2008, 11:13:07 PM
I noticed that the A900 has the second largest viewfinder in a DSLR, EVER !

At 100% with 0.74x magnification, the viewfinder is larger than that in a Nikon D3 or D700.  It is also larger than the Canon 1DSMKII or 5D.

Only the 1DSMKIII at 100% and 0.76x magnification is a bit larger.

Also, at 5FPS at its full 24.6MP resolution, the data pipeline architecture is SOLID and is a dimension apart from a camera with say a 12-14MP sensor at 5FPS.  The sensor would be generating around 300MB per Second, if shot RAW+JPEG.  That is very impressive for ANY price !

Also, since the camera comes with body-IS, all the 35mm primes, the 50mm primes, the 85mm primes, the 135mm primes are all stabilized.  Also stabilized are the 24-70 f/2.8, the 16-35 f/2.8 and all other lenses in the range.  The specs state between 2.5-4 stops of handholdability....applicable to all lenses.

I think this is a very competitive product and at the price, is a literal steal.

I noticed that Nick (who reviewed it here in LL), mentioned that there are no dedicated macros in the lens range.  Actually, there are 2 macros: 50mm f/2.8 Macro and 100mm f/2.8 Macro - both dedicated macro lenses.

I also understand that there are a few other lenses going to be announced shortly.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 09, 2008, 11:17:06 PM
Quote
(2) The f stop latitude due to the anti-shake sensor is described as 2.4 to 4 stops.

What do they mean by this? What causes such a variation in latitude?

Good question.  Actually it is directly related to the FL of the lens mounted.  The 400mm etc would have around 2.5stops of handholdability, while the 135mm, the 85mm, the 50mm, the 35mm etc would have higher stops of hand-holdability....upto 4 stops.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 09, 2008, 11:27:32 PM
Quote
I'm reminded from previous dpreview comparisons between the Sony A700, A200 and A350 that high ISO noise is not as good as the equivalent Canons. At ISO 1600 and 3200, if noise in the Sonys is as low as the Canon equivalent, it's usually at the expense of detail, and vice versa. If detail is on a par, then the Sony images are noisier.

This worries me a bit. First impression tend to confirm that this trend is continued in the A900. Nikon has already set the benchmark for low noise from a full frame sensor. It is expected (by me, at least) that the soon-to-be-announced successor to the 5D will match the high-ISO low noise performance of the D3 and D700.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220480\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The A700 and the A900 use CMOS sensors, while the others (consumer bodies) use CCD sensors.  As we know, the biggest advantage of CMOS is the ability to accomodate NR circuitry into the sensor itself, which is the key advantage that a CMOS has over a CCD, specifically at higher ISOs.  A CCD cannot accomodate any on-chip NR circuitry.  Thus the CCDs are arguably better than a CMOS at the lowest ISO, but quickly lose steam once the ISOs climb.

But Sony, in addition to the on-chip NR done to the A700 (like all other CMOS manufacturers including Canon does), was also applying NR to the RAW files, AFTER they got generated, unlike the Nikon D300 (which also used the same sensor), which did not apply this "second NR on RAW" in their files.  Sony was taken to the cleaners for this (and the A700 sales suffered due to the bad rap from this), by every single site who tested the A700.  That story was as of a couple of days back.  

But as of YESTERDAY (just before the release of the A900), Sony completely revamped their image processing approach in the A700 (Firmware Ver.4) and using the Nikon playbook, completely removed the NR they were applying on RAW and also made several improvements to the treatment of the images, and the results have essentially proved to be stunning.  In one move, they turned the clock back and equalized the image quality with the corresponding Nikon (D300).  The dpreview Sony SLR forums are all on fire due to this but the news has not yet gotten to the reviewers.

The A900 uses the same sensor design as the A700/D300 but has slightly larger pixels, due to which the noise is expected to be better than the D300/A700.  But the forthcoming detailed tests should reveal how much of an improvement is there.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Kagetsu on September 10, 2008, 01:48:14 AM
Quote
Also, at 5FPS at its full 24.6MP resolution, the data pipeline architecture is SOLID and is a dimension apart from a camera with say a 12-14MP sensor at 5FPS.  The sensor would be generating around 300MB per Second, if shot RAW+JPEG.  That is very impressive for ANY price !
It's not a whole lot different from the 1Ds, baring in mind that the Sony creates a raw with 12bits depth, and the Canon produces a raw of 14bits depth. In fact, after calculating it, they were practically on par (as far as data throughput is concerned)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 10, 2008, 02:22:43 AM
Quote
Good question.  Actually it is directly related to the FL of the lens mounted.  The 400mm etc would have around 2.5stops of handholdability, while the 135mm, the 85mm, the 50mm, the 35mm etc would have higher stops of hand-holdability....upto 4 stops.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220483\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's what I thought was probably meant. However, it would be useful to know what the 'sweet spot' is for the 4 stops latitude. If that claim is not sheer hyperbole, then it's an amazing performance.

I consider that I could take a sharp shot with an 85mm lens at 1/160th second, without using IS. If 85mm is the sweet focal length for 4 stops latitude of exposure, then I should be able to get an equally sharp image at 1/10th second exposure using anti-shake. Amazing if true!

Even if I need a 1/320th sec exposure at 85mm for a truly tack sharp image, then the same tack sharp result at 1/20th with anti-shake enabled, is still amazing.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Christopher on September 10, 2008, 04:21:44 AM
Quote
That's what I thought was probably meant. However, it would be useful to know what the 'sweet spot' is for the 4 stops latitude. If that claim is not sheer hyperbole, then it's an amazing performance.

I consider that I could take a sharp shot with an 85mm lens at 1/160th second, without using IS. If 85mm is the sweet focal length for 4 stops latitude of exposure, then I should be able to get an equally sharp image at 1/10th second exposure using anti-shake. Amazing if true!

Even if I need a 1/320th sec exposure at 85mm for a truly tack sharp image, then the same tack sharp result at 1/20th with anti-shake enabled, is still amazing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220510\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

and ? you can take razor sharp images with a 70-200 @ 200 at 1/50th .... the only new nice thing is that you could use every lens.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: barryfitzgerald on September 10, 2008, 08:20:04 AM
This one is sure to appeal to the high res stock photo crowd, probably less to the everyone else.

Good to see sony have done nice work on a big OVF, sure to impress. Have to say, as a Minolta user, this isnt the direction I wanted them to take. 24mp is overkill for most, and the jpeg samples are not too impressive (ok you can shoot raw, but still) Imaging resource hints at less than spectacular DR as well. High ISO isnt as good as expected.

Another nail in the megapixel is the only judge of IQ coffin.

Still, least they did something, roll on that D700 esque sony!
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 10, 2008, 09:04:25 AM
Quote
There are 3 slightly worrying issues about this camera that spring to mind.

(1) No Live View for ultra accurate manual focussing. However, I can see the reason for this. Without image stabilisation in the lens, Live View is not as useful unless the camera is on a tripod. That's one disadvantage of the anti-shake sensor compared to the lens image stabilisation.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220480\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why? The optical viewfinder is not stabilized, but live view would be if it uses the actual sensor image, which would be the only way to get accurate focus information anyway.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: mas55101 on September 10, 2008, 10:18:58 AM
Quote
It would cost more, same as the D3 costs more than the D700 (think features and performance).  However, a D3x (or whatever Nikon calls it) may not use the same sensor, it might use a better one.
Sony DSLR-A900                 
-2 to +2 EV in 1/3 EV steps 
5 fps                                 
100-1600, (up to 6400)                                         
24.6 million pixels = 2.9 MP/cm²                               

Nikon D700
-5 to +5 EV in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
8 fps (with battery pack)
200-6400 (100 - 25600 with boost)
12.1 million pixels = 1.4 MP/cm²

I like oranges better than apples; I have never considered if I could get more apples for my money.
It could be an ergonomics issue for some:

http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/nikond7...ges/inhand2.jpg (http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/nikond700/images/inhand2.jpg)

http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/SonyDSL...ges/inhand2.jpg (http://a.img-dpreview.com/previews/SonyDSLRA900/images/inhand2.jpg)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220476\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
It's not reasonable to compare a 24mp camera to a 12 mp camera, except maybe to show that the technology for the 24mp isn't there yet.  That however is disproven by Canon.  The Mark 3 is the one to compare with the 900.

Think of it this way - with 12mp (d700) we're at least into 645 film quality.  I think, now, we're just looking for 6x7 quality.  So how fast film could we use without graininess?
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 10, 2008, 01:10:18 PM
Quote
It's not reasonable to compare a 24mp camera to a 12 mp camera, except maybe to show that the technology for the 24mp isn't there yet.  That however is disproven by Canon.  The Mark 3 is the one to compare with the 900.[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=220572\")

Well, some want to compare a 24 MP DSLR to a 12 MP DSLR based on price and resolution alone while ignoring other considerations, and that's what prompted my comparison of some of those other considerations.  I also do not think comparing a $7000 camera to a $3000 camera is relevant; indeed, factoring in the price, in my opinion the A900 is far and away a better value compared to the 1Ds MkIII based on the published specifications and features.

I do not think Canon has "disproven" that you can't equal the output and performance of a 12 MP DSLR with that of a 24 MP DSLR.  The 1Ds MkIII still only gets 5 fps, the D3 gets 9 fps (11 fps if you don't need AF), and the D3 and D700 are the undisputed kings of high ISO performance.  It comes down to what is more important to you:  resolution or ISO performance.

Quote
Think of it this way - with 12mp (d700) we're at least into 645 film quality.  I think, now, we're just looking for 6x7 quality.  So how fast film could we use without graininess?

Well I agree with you, I hope we don't drag a "film versus digital" debate into this discussion.  In terms of graininess, there is no competition.  I have an ISO 800 sample from one of the Imaging Resource shots converted by Iliah Borg, which according to Iliah is one stop underexposed (if you are thinking in terms of ETTR), and that suggests that you could have gotten the same results from an ISO 1600 shot.  If you want to check it out (it's 8 MP), it is here:  [a href=\"http://photos.imageevent.com/tonybeach/mypicturesfolder/sharing/AA900hSLI0800.jpeg]http://photos.imageevent.com/tonybeach/myp...00hSLI0800.jpeg[/url]

Since Nick Rains mentioned in his review that he would like to have compared the 1Ds MkIII directly to the A900, he (and others) might be interested in this:  http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29267635 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=29267635)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: douglasf13 on September 10, 2008, 02:34:24 PM
Quote
Well, some want to compare a 24 MP DSLR to a 12 MP DSLR based on price and resolution alone while ignoring other considerations, and that's what prompted my comparison of some of those other considerations.  I also do not think comparing a $7000 camera to a $3000 camera is relevant; indeed, factoring in the price, in my opinion the A900 is far and away a better value compared to the 1Ds MkIII based on the published specifications and features.

I do not think Canon has "disproven" that you can't equal the output and performance of a 12 MP DSLR with that of a 24 MP DSLR.  The 1Ds MkIII still only gets 5 fps, the D3 gets 9 fps (11 fps if you don't need AF), and the D3 and D700 are the undisputed kings of high ISO performance.  It comes down to what is more important to you:  resolution or ISO performance.
Well I agree with you, I hope we don't drag a "film versus digital" debate into this discussion.  In terms of graininess, there is no competition.  I have an ISO 800 sample from one of the Imaging Resource shots converted by Iliah Borg, which according to Iliah is one stop underexposed (if you are thinking in terms of ETTR), and that suggests that you could have gotten the same results from an ISO 1600 shot.  If you want to check it out (it's 8 MP), it is here:  http://photos.imageevent.com/tonybeach/myp...00hSLI0800.jpeg (http://photos.imageevent.com/tonybeach/mypicturesfolder/sharing/AA900hSLI0800.jpeg)

Since Nick Rains mentioned in his review that he would like to have compared the 1Ds MkIII directly to the A900, he (and others) might be interested in this:  http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29267635 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=29267635)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220614\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

  Tony, are you saying that when you downsize the A900 file to 12MP to match the D700, the D700 is still much cleaner?

  As far as the live view is concerned, I think Sony did make a mistake in not including the mirror-up type.  I have a feeling they are trying to draw a line in the sand in relation to what Sony thinks real live view is. AKA, the A350 type.

  As an aside, the A900 actually has a feature I will use much more than live view: Intelligent Preview.  Hit the DOF button (or focus hold button on lens if you choose,) and the camera takes a pic that is stored in the buffer.  You can then change WB, Exposure and DRO, and the pic shows the changes.  In M mode, you can actually adjust the Shutter speed and Aperture, and the exposure shows the changes, albeit without actually changing the DOF.  I think this will be great for studio strobe shooting, personally.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Nick Rains on September 10, 2008, 05:54:10 PM
Quote
Since Nick Rains mentioned in his review that he would like to have compared the 1Ds MkIII directly to the A900, he (and others) might be interested in this:  http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29267635 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=29267635)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220614\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I did compare to the 1DsM3, at least as far as was possible - what I need to see is the two camera's files processed through the same software. One independent RAW processor developer is looking at the A900 files as we speak so maybe I'll have some news on that front soon.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: MatthewCromer on September 10, 2008, 07:32:36 PM
Quote
I did compare to the 1DsM3, at least as far as was possible - what I need to see is the two camera's files processed through the same software. One independent RAW processor developer is looking at the A900 files as we speak so maybe I'll have some news on that front soon.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220684\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Sony RAW software is shite, as is their jpeg engine.

There are some really impressive conversions linked at DPReview at ISO 1600, 3200 and even 6400 that look comparable to the 1DsIII, so hopefully the Alpha 900 will measure up to the other full-frame cameras when full RAW support becomes available
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 10, 2008, 08:46:10 PM
Quote
Why? The optical viewfinder is not stabilized, but live view would be if it uses the actual sensor image, which would be the only way to get accurate focus information anyway.

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220552\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bernard,
I'm glad you've picked me up on this point because I probably don't fully understand the issues and don't own any anti-shake DSLRs.

I've assumed that the normal anti-shake sensor design does not have any effect on the image as seen through the viewfinder. How could it, since the light path is through the lens, bounced off a mirror and into the viewfinder, completely bypassing the sensor?

For this reason, I have presumed that the anti-shake sensor is only active when the shutter is fully depressed, as opposed to the in-lens image stabilisation of Canon lenses which is active all the time during focussing, when shutter half-pressed.

I understand that the engineering problems in designing a full frame anti-shake sensor have been formidable. This is another 'first' for Sony. To also provide a Live View facility with real-time image stabilistaion during manual focussing, would result in that sensor bobbing around like a small boat in a storm for as long as it took to focus and take the shot. I think there might be an issue of durability in such a design.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Kenneth Sky on September 10, 2008, 10:27:32 PM
Quote
It's not a whole lot different from the 1Ds, baring in mind that the Sony creates a raw with 12bits depth, and the Canon produces a raw of 14bits depth. In fact, after calculating it, they were practically on par (as far as data throughput is concerned)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220506\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
So what's the excuse for the price differential?
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 10, 2008, 10:46:41 PM
Quote
I did compare to the 1DsM3, at least as far as was possible - what I need to see is the two camera's files processed through the same software. One independent RAW processor developer is looking at the A900 files as we speak so maybe I'll have some news on that front soon.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=220684\")

[a href=\"http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Supported_cameras.html]http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Sup...ed_cameras.html[/url]

The A900 has just been added as a beta version of this software, which was what I linked to above.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 10, 2008, 11:09:54 PM
Quote
It's not a whole lot different from the 1Ds, baring in mind that the Sony creates a raw with 12bits depth, and the Canon produces a raw of 14bits depth. In fact, after calculating it, they were practically on par (as far as data throughput is concerned)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220506\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think the fact that we are talking about this $2999 camera as "practically on par from a data throughput" perspective, with a $8000 camera is impressive all by itself.  Not only throughput, but also the 100% viewfinder (bigger than the 1DSMKII and needs higher tolerances due to the 100%), in addition to the unprecedented I.S in the Full-Frame body, and the engineering around it (which none of the Canons have).

The A700 Full-RAW (not cRAW), is around 19MB in size.  The A900 is twice the resolution, thus the RAW file size should be in the 40MB neighborhood.  At 5FPS, shooting RAW-only, that is 200MB/Sec.  Add another 100 MB/Sec, when shooting RAW+JPEG.

Now let us see what kind of data pipeline architecture Canon would provide the upcoming 5D replacement(s).  If they make it comparable to the 1DSMKIII, I think that will seriously impact the 1DSMKIII market and create a firestorm among the unhappy 1DS owners who paid out $8000 for the body.  

I think Canon will probably introduce 2 Full-frame bodies.   One with the high-end architecture like the A900, but priced much higher and another cheaper body, with lower spec.  Either way, good for the consumers, since it will drive down overall FF prices.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Nick Rains on September 10, 2008, 11:52:06 PM
Quote
http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Sup...ed_cameras.html (http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Supported_cameras.html)

The A900 has just been added as a beta version of this software, which was what I linked to above.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220742\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes I saw that and briefly checked it out. So far it looks very ordinary - slow and the results were average to say the least. To be fair though, I have not given it much of a chance yet. I'll try again when I get some time.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 11, 2008, 12:27:07 AM
Quote
Tony, are you saying that when you downsize the A900 file to 12MP to match the D700, the D700 is still much cleaner?[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220637\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Courtesy Imaging Resource, ISO 3200, resized 1Ds MkIII on right and 100% D700 on left:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/tonybeach/mypicturesfolder/sharing//ISO3200_2.jpg)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 11, 2008, 12:34:03 AM
Quote
Yes I saw that and briefly checked it out. So far it looks very ordinary - slow and the results were average to say the least. To be fair though, I have not given it much of a chance yet. I'll try again when I get some time.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220753\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm not selling it, I'm just suggesting that you could make direct comparisons using the same RAW converter using it.  I expect there are various settings that one would need to familiarize themselves with to get optimum use from it.  I understand your ambivalence about learning to use a new program, the older I get the less patient I become with learning new things (heck, at 47 I have forgotten more stuff than my 19 year old son has learned, one more cellphone and I may just declare senility).  Looking at the ISO 800 sample I linked to at post #31, the results looked pretty decent to me and a significant improvement on what Sony's software achieved.

BTW, I liked your review and I would not hesitate to save up and buy this camera if it were an F-mount.  I expect something similar (price, resolution, performance, and features) from Nikon later next year.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Fine_Art on September 11, 2008, 01:00:49 AM
Imaging Resource review

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA900/AA900A.HTM (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA900/AA900A.HTM)

They have much better shots than DPR which seems to mangle many cameras. They claim at low ISO it beats the 1Ds M3.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: tho_mas on September 11, 2008, 04:05:04 AM
Quote
They have much better shots than DPR which seems to mangle many cameras. They claim at low ISO it beats the 1Ds M3.
based on RAW maybe not just in low ISO:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29264436 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=29264436)
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat...thread=29270850 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1037&thread=29270850)
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=29256050 (http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1037&message=29256050)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Nick Rains on September 11, 2008, 05:48:28 AM
Quote
I'm not selling it, I'm just suggesting that you could make direct comparisons using the same RAW converter using it. 
I have had a bit of a tinker around and whilst the results are not real good out of RPP, what I can see is there is a great deal of fine detail that the Sony RAW processor does not pull out. I'm convinced that a good RAW processor will be able to produce results that are right up there with, if not beyond, the 1DsM3.

I can't comment on noise yet but judging by the Imaging Resource results the noise is much the same as the 5D up to 800ASA, which is pretty good. Past that I'm not really interested - no camera is perfect.

Used as a tripod camera for max print quality this camera is awesome and the lenses are stunning.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: 01af on September 11, 2008, 06:43:15 AM
Quote
Actually it is directly related to the focal length of the lens mounted. The 400 mm etc would have around 2.5 stops of handholdability, while the 135 mm, the 85 mm, the 50 mm, the 35 mm etc would have higher stops of hand-holdability ... up to 4 stops.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220483\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
This is not true.

Actually the variation in the quoted latitude of 2.5 to 4 f-stops (or actually, speed stops) is due to (1) the amplitude and frequency of the user's shaking (as always), and (2) the diameter of the lens' image circle. Longer lenses have wider image circles ... so a 400 mm telephoto lens will see a 4-stop advantage easily. It's the full-frame wide-angle lenses where the image circle is tighter---but on the other hand the amplitude of their shaking is smaller, too. So it's hard to predict which lens will see the least advantage from the in-body image stabilization ... and furthermore, image circles get wider at smaller apertures.

New Sony SAL lenses (including those which have been designed lately) will be designed with a few additional millimeters of image circle for sure. If issues arise (the operational word here being 'if') then it will be with older Minolta wide-angle lenses used in full-frame mode at full aperture. But I'm sure even those will benefit from the image stabilizer even if it may (MAY!) be only 2.5 stops here.

Don't be fooled into thinking that in-body image stabilization systems in general must be less effective at longer focal lengths. That's not true.

-- Olaf
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ronny Nilsen on September 11, 2008, 06:53:10 AM
Quote
Don't be fooled into thinking that in-body image stabilization systems in general must be less effective at longer focal lengths. That's not true.

-- Olaf
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220795\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm afraid it is. For the same angular shake, the sensor will have to move twice as
far for a 200mm lens as compared to a 100mm lens. There is a finite limit on how
far the sensor can be moved around inside the camera, and that limits how effective
in-body image stabilization can be for longer focal lengths.

Ronny
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 11, 2008, 07:22:29 AM
Not correct. The sensor moves only a few pixels, each about 6 microns. Even a 1 mm of movement would correspond to around 80 pixels.

C't, a German magazine did tests based on a special vibration rig with a Sony Alpha and it was among the best of the combinations tested, the scope of the test was limited to a single lens, a 24-105.

I think that in lens stabilisation has advantages, it can be optimised for each lens. One disadvantage is that one lens or lens group is getting decentered.

Erik

Quote
I'm afraid it is. For the same angular shake, the sensor will have to move twice as
far for a 200mm lens as compared to a 100mm lens. There is a finite limit on how
far the sensor can be moved around inside the camera, and that limits how effective
in-body image stabilization can be for longer focal lengths.

Ronny
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220797\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: 01af on September 11, 2008, 07:42:31 AM
Quote
I'm afraid it is.
But you are wrong. Wherever your theoretical reasoning might arrive at---the proof is in the pudding, as the British say.


Quote
For the same angular shake, the sensor will have to move twice as far for a 200 mm lens as compared to a 100 mm lens. There is a finite limit on how far the sensor can be moved around inside the camera, and that limits how effective in-body image stabilization can be for longer focal lengths.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220797\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Everything you're saying is correct---but you are still wrong. You are falsely assuming the sensor will hit the physical limits of its moving range at the longer focal lengths. But it doesn't---at least not at those focal lengths you'd dare to hand-hold anyway.

As a matter of fact, the in-body image stabilizer in my four-year-old Konica-Minolta Dynax 7D gives me three stops of additional hand-holdablity at focal lengths of 400 mm, 500 mm, and 600 mm. The latest in-body systems give about one stop more than that, i. e. four stops, at the same focal lengths. And by the way, upgrading to the latest generation of in-body image stabilizers requires the purchase of just one new camera body.

-- Olaf
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ronny Nilsen on September 11, 2008, 08:05:42 AM
Quote
As a matter of fact, the in-body image stabilizer in my four-year-old Konica-Minolta Dynax 7D gives me three stops of additional hand-holdablity at focal lengths of 400 mm, 500 mm, and 600 mm. The latest in-body systems give about one stop more than that, i. e. four stops, at the same focal lengths. And by the way, upgrading to the latest generation of in-body image stabilizers requires the purchase of just one new camera body.

-- Olaf
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220805\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If in-body stabilization can do effective 4 stops for a 600mm it should have
enough movement latitude to do effective 7.5 stops for a 60mm lens.  

Based on my own 300mm lens with IS, I would guess that the sensor would have to
move more than 1mm in each direction to get the same stabilization, and that would
leave a useless border of 1mm around the image. But I have never tried a body with
an in-body systems so I can't really compare.

Ronny
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Rob C on September 11, 2008, 08:11:42 AM
Quote
But you are wrong. Wherever your theoretical reasoning might arrive at---the proof is in the pudding, as the British say.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220805\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]




Close, but the thing the British say is this: the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Rob C (in pedant mode).
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: 01af on September 11, 2008, 08:28:43 AM
Quote
If in-body stabilization can do effective 4 stops for a 600 mm it should have enough movement latitude to do effective 7.5 stops for a 60 mm lens.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220808\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The underlying calculation is correct but the statement is not. Things don't scale up in that linear fashion here. In fact, I get more or less the same number of additional stops out of an in-body image stabilizer, regardless of focal length (i. e. three stops with my four-year-old camera; four stops with a current one). Don't ask me why that is; I don't know. Anyway, the number of stops doesn't decrease at long focal lengths.


Quote
But I have never tried a body with
an in-body systems so I can't really compare.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220808\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
So you should stop propagating uninformed theories.

-- Olaf
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 11, 2008, 09:03:01 AM
Quote
As a matter of fact, the in-body image stabilizer in my four-year-old Konica-Minolta Dynax 7D gives me three stops of additional hand-holdablity at focal lengths of 400 mm, 500 mm, and 600 mm. The latest in-body systems give about one stop more than that, i. e. four stops, at the same focal lengths. And by the way, upgrading to the latest generation of in-body image stabilizers requires the purchase of just one new camera body.

-- Olaf
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220805\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Olaf,
Have you actually compared shots with and without stabilisation at these focal lengths? 3 stops latitude seems impressive. My longest focal length is 400mm which becomes effectively 640mm on my 40D. For a really sharp image I use a shutter speed based on the 1/FL rule x2, ie. 1/2FL or 1/1200th with a 600mm lens without IS. The IS on the 100-400 provides a latitude of about 2 stops, which brings a 1/1200th shutter speed down to 1/320th.

If the A900 could provide 4 stops of IS with my Sigma 400/5.6 (Minolta-fit) I would be very pleased. That would translate to 1/80th exposure and might help compensate for the disappointing noise of the A900 at high ISO, at least with a stationary subject    .
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Kagetsu on September 11, 2008, 09:06:18 AM
Quote
I think the fact that we are talking about this $2999 camera as "practically on par from a data throughput" perspective, with a $8000 camera is impressive all by itself.  Not only throughput, but also the 100% viewfinder (bigger than the 1DSMKII and needs higher tolerances due to the 100%), in addition to the unprecedented I.S in the Full-Frame body, and the engineering around it (which none of the Canons have).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220745\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Agreed... I'm certainly not going to dissagree with that reasoning.
The price difference is certainly huge, and really, one has to wonder if the extra 5K is really worth the extra '2bits' of data per pixel, and the built in grip.

I will say though, in fairness though, the 1D also has the same throughput, as well as the D3 does too (roughly the same), but their prices aren't really that much higher then the likes of the A900 (Sure, resolution is different, but looking on the technology side).

I've always believe Sony would ruffle feathers, but baring in mind Sony's track record when it comes to intial prices, and tend to undercut their hardware price substantially even continuing to make losses (ala PS3, PS2) and making up for it in software sales, or perhipheral sales. When you look at the cost of their Zeiss lenses, they tend to be quite a bit more expensive then the equivalent from either Canon or Nikon too (personal observation).

Personally, I can't see how Canon can keep their 1Ds III price as high as it is now with such a 'competitor' on the market, especially when the 5D replacement will have to compete directly with it along with the D700.
And I think Canon is going to have a hard time all be it, not a hugely hard task, of working out a price that's going to save them face, while preventing the earlier adopters (because the 1dsIII isn't even a year old yet) the worry of having purchased the camera for as much as it costs now (back then).

Personally, I feel that once the descission is made, that's it. I made that choice, i spent the money... Now I have to get over it, and just put up with it. Technology progresses. What makes a 1ds III owner any different to say, someone who bought a 40D only to have seen a replacement a few weeks ago? (aside from say 6-7K)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: 01af on September 11, 2008, 09:50:02 AM
Quote
Have you actually compared shots with and without stabilisation at these focal lengths?[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes, I did. Specifically I am talking about the AF Apo 100-400 mm 1:4.5-6.7, the AF Apo HS 400 mm 1:4.5 G, the AF Reflex 500 mm 1:8, and the 400 mm lens with 1.4× TC which on the Dynax 7D are equivalent to 600 mm, 750 mm, and 840 mm, respectively, on 35-mm format. I also tried them on a Sony A700 which I had for a few days where I found out the A700 is giving about one stop more of latitude than the old 7D.


Quote
Three stops latitude seems impressive.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
It is impressive!


Quote
My longest focal length is 400 mm which becomes effectively 640 mm on my EOS 40D. For a really sharp image I use a shutter speed based on the 1/FL rule x2, i. e. 1/2FL or 1/1200th with a 600 mm lens without IS.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes, this is a sensible thing to do because the 1 / FL rule is intended to yield 'sufficient' sharpness, not perfect sharpness, similar to the degree of sharpness you'd get at the ends of a depth-of-field range. For perfect sharpness it's advisable to use a faster shutter speed than the rule suggests---at least twice as fast, some even say four times as fast, particularly on digital which is more demanding than film with regard to lens sharpness.


Quote
The IS on the EF 100-400 provides a latitude of about 2 stops, which brings a 1/1200th shutter speed down to 1/320th.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
With all the telephoto lenses mentioned above, the old Dynax 7D gives me perfectly sharp images at 1/200 s and shorter and mostly sharp images at 1/100 s - 1/200 s. For example, I feel perfectly confident with the AF Reflex 500 mm lens at 1/125 s. At speeds slower than 1/100 s, the success rate drops rather sharply. But even at 400 mm (= 600 mm-e) and 1/15 s, the occasional sharp image does happen.

And then the other day I fired a few frames with the AF-DT 11-18 mm (D) lens at low light and 1/10 s. All shots came out just perfectly sharp. Try that with Canon (or Nikon)! In-lens image stabilizers just don't exist in super-wide-angle lenses ...


Quote
If the A900 could provide 4 stops of IS with my Sigma 400/5.6 (Minolta-fit) I would be very pleased. That would translate to 1/80th exposure ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I am sure this will work.


Quote
... and might help compensate for the disappointing noise of the A900 at high ISO ...[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Huh!? What makes you think the A900's noise was 'disappointing'? Are you judging a new DSLR that hasn't even hit the dealers' shelves yet by JPEG images shot with pre-production models? Don't do that!

-- Olaf
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 11, 2008, 10:23:08 AM
Quote
Huh!? What makes you think the A900's noise was 'disappointing'? Are you judging a new DSLR that hasn't even hit the dealers' shelves yet by JPEG images shot with pre-production models? Don't do that!

-- Olaf
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] (http://index.php?act=findpost&pid=220831\")

Imaging Resource seems to have gone to a lot of trouble comparing jpegs from the A900 with jpegs from the 1Ds3, with NR on and NR off.

Their results, which can be seen at [a href=\"http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA900/AA900HI_ISO_NR.HTM]http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA90...00HI_ISO_NR.HTM[/url] clearly demonstrate that at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 the 1Ds3 produces cleaner and sharper images.

Of course, you are right that the situation might change once RAW converters and production models become available, but I'd be surprised if it changes much. All previous Sony or Konica-Minolta DSLRs have lagged behind Canon on the noise front at high ISO.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: qwz on September 11, 2008, 11:01:26 AM
in my experience AS (in A1 and 7D and A300) benefit in stops is

a) statistical thing - if sony claims about 2.5-4 stop advantage - it will be in most cases, see below

 depends much of shooting style and steadyness of particular photographer and camera/lens balance - you need to add "bonus" tops to your own rule (not always 1/FL!)

for instance my A1 (first camera with sensor stabiliser but without swinging mirror and with leaf shutter) can shoot on wide angle 28mm (in 135 SLR terms) with 1/3s easily, sometimes 0.4"

on 7D 1/8 on same 28mm, slightly better with 2s selftimer
on A300 maybe 1/6s

on a700 and a900 i think is same or better
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: lovell on September 11, 2008, 12:25:47 PM
Quote
The camera might be a bit on the ugly side but those sexy Zeiss lenses make up for it. Going to see if we can get a copy of the camera in the studio this week to make my own comparisons as we are supplying the studio lighting for the launch in Shanghai today.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220469\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

But are those lenses really Zeiss?  I suspect Sony just bought the name, the usage of the name, and I really don't think those lenses share the same attention to quality, and detail that the true Zeiss lenses had.

So did Zeiss sell out in the name of big profits and quality be damned?

My Sony Camcorder has a "Zeiss" lens too..it's craaap!
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: lovell on September 11, 2008, 12:29:00 PM
Quote
Imaging Resource seems to have gone to a lot of trouble comparing jpegs from the A900 with jpegs from the 1Ds3, with NR on and NR off.

Their results, which can be seen at http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA90...00HI_ISO_NR.HTM (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/AA900/AA900HI_ISO_NR.HTM) clearly demonstrate that at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 the 1Ds3 produces cleaner and sharper images.

Of course, you are right that the situation might change once RAW converters and production models become available, but I'd be surprised if it changes much. All previous Sony or Konica-Minolta DSLRs have lagged behind Canon on the noise front at high ISO.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220837\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray, I think it silly for that site to test those two bodies by shooting jpg...far better to shoot raw and compare the two images BEFORE any post processing is done.  I really don't understand these sites that analyze noise via jpgs!
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 11, 2008, 12:53:22 PM
Hi,

Most Zeiss lenses are quite good. Photozone has tested the 24-70/2.8 ZA and found that it was probably best of the lot, but that was on APS-C. The only good zoom in the ultra short range seems to be the new Nikon 14-24/2.8 and the venerable Sigma 12-24.

Regarding Zeiss lenses they can also have issues, and wideangle zooms are very hard to design. There is always a balance between quality, size, speed and cost.

I would not say that Zeiss lenses ever have been the summit of optical construction, Zeiss lenses have certain design characteristics, one of them is actually that they try to avoid very expensive constructions. Other characteristics are very high contrast but bad MTF at the edges at full aperture.

If you compare MTF curves of old Hassy Zeiss lenses with the new Fujinon lenses for the H# cameras the fujinons are generally significantly sharper.

Erik


Quote
But are those lenses really Zeiss?  I suspect Sony just bought the name, the usage of the name, and I really don't think those lenses share the same attention to quality, and detail that the true Zeiss lenses had.

So did Zeiss sell out in the name of big profits and quality be damned?

My Sony Camcorder has a "Zeiss" lens too..it's craaap!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220855\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: MatthewCromer on September 11, 2008, 02:36:17 PM
Quote
All previous Sony or Konica-Minolta DSLRs have lagged behind Canon on the noise front at high ISO.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220837\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Actually the Alpha 700 is very much comparable with the equivalent Canon from a year ago, when used in RAW.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: douglasf13 on September 11, 2008, 02:42:06 PM
Two things:

  Firstly, Zeiss ZA lenses are very much Zeiss.  They are designed and tested by Zeiss, and are built in a Japanese factory with Zeiss QC.  Zeiss ZF are also built in Japan, as well as many Contax Zeiss lenses.  Comparing ZA lenses with camera phones are camcorder lenses has been an en vogue talking point lately, but it's ridiculous.  

 Secondly, Sony's jpegs have never been great.  There is quite a difference between JPEG and RAW on the A700, so while I agree that Sony needs to get this under control, their jpeg should not be used for comparison for most users.  Also, I haven't been able to confirm what RAW NR setting that Imaging Resource used for their A900 RAW shots.  I'm worried they used "LOW" or "Normal" rather than "OFF," which could affect the detail of the shots.  I believe the A900 will ship with the RAW NR set to "Normal," which may cause some fluctuations with reviews, because some will have the good idea to turn it off.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: MatthewCromer on September 11, 2008, 02:42:29 PM
Quote
Imaging Resource seems to have gone to a lot of trouble comparing jpegs from the A900 with jpegs from the 1Ds3, with NR on and NR off.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220837\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't know any landscape photographers who shoot in jpeg.

Sony jpegs are terrible out of camera, and have been since the Sony 828 five years ago.

Fortunately, the RAW images are usually quite good, and I expect the same will be true of the Alpha 900 based on what I have seen so far on some preliminary conversions posted to DPR.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 11, 2008, 04:37:21 PM
Hi,

I did not do any systematic testing but I'm quite confident that IS works well with my 400 mm lens, even if I use 1.4x extender.

Best regards
Erik



Quote
Olaf,
Have you actually compared shots with and without stabilisation at these focal lengths? 3 stops latitude seems impressive. My longest focal length is 400mm which becomes effectively 640mm on my 40D. For a really sharp image I use a shutter speed based on the 1/FL rule x2, ie. 1/2FL or 1/1200th with a 600mm lens without IS. The IS on the 100-400 provides a latitude of about 2 stops, which brings a 1/1200th shutter speed down to 1/320th.

If the A900 could provide 4 stops of IS with my Sigma 400/5.6 (Minolta-fit) I would be very pleased. That would translate to 1/80th exposure and might help compensate for the disappointing noise of the A900 at high ISO, at least with a stationary subject    .
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220820\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Let Biogons be Biogons on September 11, 2008, 05:11:49 PM
A Sony executive is on record saying the Sony designed the Zeiss lenses.  Sony also is in total control of the manufacture, marketing and sale of the lenses -- contrary to Zeiss' previous arrangements with camera makers.

I would no go so far as to agree with the suggestion that Sony is just using the Zeiss name.  But I do believe, from all evidence to date, that Zeiss' role with the ZA lenses is more as a collaborator, or as a consultant, who has some sign-off authority on the final design.  But make no mistake, Sony is in total control of this show from start to finish.  Sony's name is even large on these lenses than Zeiss' -- and when have you EVER seen anyone else's name on a Zeiss lens but Zeiss'?



Quote
Two things:

  Firstly, Zeiss ZA lenses are very much Zeiss.  They are designed and tested by Zeiss, and are built in a Japanese factory with Zeiss QC.  Zeiss ZF are also built in Japan, as well as many Contax Zeiss lenses.  Comparing ZA lenses with camera phones are camcorder lenses has been an en vogue talking point lately, but it's ridiculous. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220876\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: douglasf13 on September 11, 2008, 05:22:39 PM
Quote
A Sony executive is on record saying the Sony designed the Zeiss lenses.  Sony also is in total control of the manufacture, marketing and sale of the lenses -- contrary to Zeiss' previous arrangements with camera makers.

I would no go so far as to agree with the suggestion that Sony is just using the Zeiss name.  But I do believe, from all evidence to date, that Zeiss' role with the ZA lenses is more as a collaborator, or as a consultant, who has some sign-off authority on the final design.  But make no mistake, Sony is in total control of this show from start to finish.  Sony's name is even large on these lenses than Zeiss' -- and when have you EVER seen anyone else's name on a Zeiss lens but Zeiss'?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220893\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

  Well, I just got that from the Zeiss website.  I'm sure Sony has a heavy hand in the development and manufacturing process, especially considering these lenses are AF (some are SSM,) but I don't doubt that these lenses are optically Zeiss all the way.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: 01af on September 11, 2008, 05:42:54 PM
Quote
Actually the Alpha 700 is very much comparable with the equivalent Canon from a year ago, when used in raw.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220875\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Have you tried the Sony A700 with firmware v4?  

-- Olaf
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 11, 2008, 08:24:53 PM
Quote
Ray, I think it silly for that site to test those two bodies by shooting jpg...far better to shoot raw and compare the two images BEFORE any post processing is done.  I really don't understand these sites that analyze noise via jpgs!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220856\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The issue of high-ISO noise is of great interest to many of us. The fact that both cameras have an NR ON/OFF mode invites such a comparison. Even if it proves to be the case later that the A900 RAW images are closer in noise levels to the 1Ds3 (or even surpass it), it is still useful to know that in-camera jpegs are unusually noisy (comparatively speaking) and one might speculate as to why this might be the case.

We all know that assessing sharpness of images from in-camera jpegs at low ISO can be misleading due to different default sharpening levels. I'm reminded of all the hype surrounding the Olympus E3 and claims that it produced definitely sharper images than the 40D and even sharper images than the 5D. When dpreview later did their full review of the E3, we discovered that E3 RAW images were actually less sharp than 40D images, using the same converter.

Noise at high ISO is in a different category since any NR applied tends to reduce resolution to some degree and its application is more obvious. In the Imaging Resource comparison, the 1Ds3 images are not only cleaner but have more detail in both sets of comparisons with NR on and NR off, above ISO 800.

However, I agree these are early days and we shouldn't draw any definitive conclusions. You'll find that the first review of the Nikon D3 on this site, by James Russell, was a field test using jpegs, although James made it clear he doesn't normally shoot in jpeg mode. Subsequent claims that the D3 had up to 2 stops of high-ISO noise advantage over any other DSLR on the market appear to have been based on jpeg comparisons. D3 RAW images are only about 1/2 a stop cleaner than Canon 5D images, even when underexposing the 5D images at ISO 3200 to simulate an ISO 6400 or 12,800.

This issue is of particular interest to me because I have a bunch of Minolta A-mount lenses sitting on my shelf unused. From Photodo MTF tests I see that the Sigma 400/5.6 (one of the unused lenses on my shelf) is at least as sharp as the Canon 100-400 IS at 400mm. In fact the Sigma is about as sharp at full aperture as the 100-400 at F8.

When I last went on a photographic trip I used two cameras, the 40D with 100-400 for photographing small birds, and the 5D for wider angle shots. I sometimes carried both around my neck. A camera like the A900 would serve both purposes. An image cropped out of camera, from the 400mm lens and A900, should have approximately equal detail to the 40D with 400mm lens.

I certainly hope these comparisons from IR are not indicative of what's achievable with RAW images from a production A900, because, whether or not I buy this camera will depend upon it.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: MatthewCromer on September 11, 2008, 08:25:15 PM
Quote
Have you tried the Sony A700 with firmware v4?  

-- Olaf
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220898\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You are right, I am comparing the firmware v4 images.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 11, 2008, 09:49:10 PM
Quote
Noise at high ISO is in a different category since any NR applied tends to reduce resolution to some degree and its application is more obvious. In the Imaging Resource comparison, the 1Ds3 images are not only cleaner but have more detail in both sets of comparisons with NR on and NR off, above ISO 800.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220914\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

See posts #31 and #44.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 11, 2008, 10:52:37 PM
Quote
See posts #31 and #44.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220926\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Let's be clear. I would never buy a camera before the full verdict is out. There's a possibility that the A900 will equal or even surpass the low noise levels of the 1Ds3 at high ISO. I want this to happen. But I'm not much into wishful thinking.

I'm not a betting man and I don't buy lottery tickets, but if I were asked to bet on this issue, the odds would be in favour of the 1Ds3.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: hardloaf on September 12, 2008, 12:38:04 AM
There is some misunderstanding around RPP - version 3.7.7 available from regular location http://raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Downloads.html (http://raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/Downloads.html) DOESN'T support A900, even though it does open ARW files from it.

Special beta version,
http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/RPP_Uni_788Beta.zip (http://www.raw-photo-processor.com/RPP/RPP_Uni_788Beta.zip)
DOES support A900 at full. Colors are ok for now, but they'll be better with some future official release (to make it right we need production camera).

Discussion about questionable importance of processing speed in photo development we'll leave for another time.

Quote
I have had a bit of a tinker around and whilst the results are not real good out of RPP, what I can see is there is a great deal of fine detail that the Sony RAW processor does not pull out. I'm convinced that a good RAW processor will be able to produce results that are right up there with, if not beyond, the 1DsM3.

I can't comment on noise yet but judging by the Imaging Resource results the noise is much the same as the 5D up to 800ASA, which is pretty good. Past that I'm not really interested - no camera is perfect.

Used as a tripod camera for max print quality this camera is awesome and the lenses are stunning.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220786\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Tony Beach on September 12, 2008, 02:22:19 AM
Quote
Let's be clear. I would never buy a camera before the full verdict is out. There's a possibility that the A900 will equal or even surpass the low noise levels of the 1Ds3 at high ISO. I want this to happen. But I'm not much into wishful thinking.

I'm not a betting man and I don't buy lottery tickets, but if I were asked to bet on this issue, the odds would be in favour of the 1Ds3.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220936\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You are obsessing about one aspect of image quality.  It is clear that the A900 has more resolution than the 1Ds MkIII and its ISO performance is very good in general and probably much better than MFDBs which is the primary competition for these class of DSLRs.  Even if the 1Ds MkIII is marginally better at high ISO, the price difference is over double, so you would expect it to be better in some ways that justify that cost differential.  If you can afford to spend $3800 more for a 1Ds MkIII because it has maybe a half stop better ISO performance above ISO 1600, then get it; personally I would never shoot either of them above ISO 400.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 12, 2008, 02:59:36 AM
Quote
You are obsessing about one aspect of image quality.  It is clear that the A900 has more resolution than the 1Ds MkIII and its ISO performance is very good in general and probably much better than MFDBs which is the primary competition for these class of DSLRs.  Even if the 1Ds MkIII is marginally better at high ISO, the price difference is over double, so you would expect it to be better in some ways that justify that cost differential.  If you can afford to spend $3800 more for a 1Ds MkIII because it has maybe a half stop better ISO performance above ISO 1600, then get it; personally I would never shoot either of them above ISO 400.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220959\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No obsession at all. I have purely practical concerns. I would have bought the 1Ds3 if it had been no heavier than the 5D. If you'd read my posts on this forum you would see that weight issues are a concern. I travel a lot to exotic locations.

The weight of the A900 is right. The pixel count is attractive. Most of the features are impressive. But a lack of Live View in conjunction with a lack of exceptionally low noise at high ISO would be deal-killers for me.

On my last trip to North Queensland, I found myself trying to shoot Azure Kingfishers on the banks of the Daintree with 400mm lens at 1/80th to 1/125th sec exposure and ISO 1600 (with the 40D). The results were not sharp as you can imagine.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Christopher on September 12, 2008, 06:58:38 AM
Well I use my 1DsMk3 at ISO 800 and 1600 very often. I would say 40%. I love it. The files are nice and a little grainy. I really don't like this pure flat digital look of ISO 100 or 200. If I have time and a tripod I can use my MFDB.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 12, 2008, 07:11:30 AM
Quote
Well I use my 1DsMk3 at ISO 800 and 1600 very often. I would say 40%. I love it. The files are nice and a little grainy. I really don't like this pure flat digital look of ISO 100 or 200. If I have time and a tripod I can use my MFDB.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220982\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The two most critical factors for a sharp image (camera hand-held) are shutter speed and accurate focussing. At small apertures, accurate focussing takes second place and shutter speed becomes paramount.

Any increase in high ISO performance effectively upgrades all one's lenses.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 13, 2008, 09:07:33 AM
Quote
On my last trip to North Queensland, I found myself trying to shoot Azure Kingfishers on the banks of the Daintree with 400mm lens at 1/80th to 1/125th sec exposure and ISO 1600 (with the 40D). The results were not sharp as you can imagine.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220960\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sure, we all have such stories, but what % does that represent?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: Ray on September 13, 2008, 09:44:50 AM
Quote
Sure, we all have such stories, but what % does that represent?

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221205\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bernard,
More than you imply. We all fuss about lens sharpness. I'm careful with my money. I'd like to blow $10,000 on a really good lens, but I can't justify it.

What I find is that very often an insufficiently fast shutter speed is a more common cause of 'unsharpness' than an insufficiently sharp lens.

With my first DSLR, the Canon D60, I very rarely went above ISO 400. With the 20D and 5D, ISO 1600 is very usable, but not perfectly usable. There is a slight resolution penalty as well as a reduction in DR.

If you look at some of the crocodile shots in the 'Show your 35mm images' thread, you'll see that they are sometimes not 'tack sharp', yet I used shutter speeds ranging from 1/500th to 1/000th with a D60 at ISO 400. If I could repeat that experience with a modern camera.....
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 15, 2008, 01:12:21 PM
Quote
A Sony executive is on record saying the Sony designed the Zeiss lenses.  Sony also is in total control of the manufacture, marketing and sale of the lenses -- contrary to Zeiss' previous arrangements with camera makers.

I would no go so far as to agree with the suggestion that Sony is just using the Zeiss name.  But I do believe, from all evidence to date, that Zeiss' role with the ZA lenses is more as a collaborator, or as a consultant, who has some sign-off authority on the final design.  But make no mistake, Sony is in total control of this show from start to finish.  Sony's name is even large on these lenses than Zeiss' -- and when have you EVER seen anyone else's name on a Zeiss lens but Zeiss'?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=220893\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The following is what the Zeiss website says about the ZA lenses:
-------------------
ZEISS lenses for Sony digital cameras are developed by lens designers at the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen, Germany. This includes all required quality assurance measures (test methods, test criteria, test devices, test procedures, lens performance target values, etc.) The lenses are then made in a lens production facility jointly chosen by Sony and Carl Zeiss. Quality assurance specialists from the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen implement the ZEISS quality assurance system in the chosen facility. Many ZEISS optic measuring systems are installed. Carl Zeiss audits the lens production areas on a regular basis.
-------------------

Note that a Zeiss "Sonnar" or "Planar" or "Vario-Sonnar" or "Tessar" etc. are VERY specific  designs with some VERY specific criteria that are completely different between the different designs.  It is not just merely slapping a 'label' on them.

Also note that even in the Sony/Zeiss dSLR lens range, there are 2 categories:  The professional-grade Full-Frame lenses and an APS-C-only DT lens.  These are 2 completely different animals.

The Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 Sonnar ZA, is a HUGE and heavy beast with full metal body and even the hood is completely metal.  The quality from this "Sonnar" design is also mind-blowing and in the "Excellent" range, corner-to-corner, right from wide-open.  You simply cannot get better than that.

The Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar ZA is also full metal body, including the hood.  Extremely high quality professional-grade lens with the same "Excellent" quality from wide-open.

The Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 SSM Vario-Sonnar is another from their high-end Pro-grade range of lenses.  Ultra-high quality that beats down the new Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 in sheer resolution, when tested on APS-C.  Since this is a 2008 design, specifically optimized for FF sensors, I would opine that the quality on FF would also be exemplary.

The newly announced Zeiss 16-35 f/2.8 SSM Vario-Sonnar would also be expected to be of the same ultra-high-end quality as the above mentioned 24-70 f/2.8 Vario-Sonnar.

Now comes the APS-C-only "Zeiss" lens, the 16-80 f/3.5-4.5, which is a whole different level from any of the above mentioned Pro-grade Zeiss lenses.  This particular one is pretty iffy from a build quality-perspective, with a plastic casing and is clearly intended as a high-end kit lens for APS-C products.  The optical performance is however, pretty good, albeit at a different level from the all-out-pro-grade Zeiss lenses in the range.

Note that every single one of the professional-grade Sony/Zeiss lenses, have a unique ZEISS serial#, *in addition to* the unique Sony serial number on the lens.  

I think the fact that the lenses are designed in Germany with all the design criteria surrounding it, and testing methods, and made using the Zeiss-exclusive Schott glass (only pro-grade ones) is a good thing.  

The fact that these German designed lenses are actually assembled in Japan, is even better, since there are none better than the Japanese, when it comes to precision assembly methods and are arguably even better than an equivalent assembly work done in Germany (my opinion).

German design, Japanese assembly - best of both worlds !  
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 15, 2008, 04:25:48 PM
Hi,

Some of the samples published on DPreview are not very impressive regarding corner and edge sharpness on the 24-70/2.8. I have also seen a sample coming from a preproduction sample of 16/35 that were really mush. I'm somewhat sceptical about Zeiss doing any lenses that are magically better then top lenses from other vendors.

I hope that Sony will have a line of lenses that can mach the resolution of the Alpha 900 but we need to wait and see what kind of image quality and consistency their lenses will have.

Sony seems to have a three prong strategi:

1) Tamron lenses in Sony guise
2) The G-lenses which seems to be based on Minolta designs. Who is building them?
3) The ZA lenses with some kind of involvement from Zeiss.


What I have seen in tests this far:

On APS-C (Photozone.de)

16-80/3.5-4.5 Probably belongs to top of it's class, but not as good as Nikon's corresponding lens.

85/1.4, Good but no way perfect, mush when fully open

135/1.8, close to perfect

24-70/2.8 is excellent on APS-C. Both tested samples have significant centering problems.

Swedish Foto monthly, tests MTF at Hasselblad factory:

16-80/3.5-4.5, good but way below expectations, not as good as Sigma 18-50/2.8.
85/1.4 Not top class
135/1.8 Top class

24-75 not tested

Erik
Quote
The following is what the Zeiss website says about the ZA lenses:
-------------------
ZEISS lenses for Sony digital cameras are developed by lens designers at the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen, Germany. This includes all required quality assurance measures (test methods, test criteria, test devices, test procedures, lens performance target values, etc.) The lenses are then made in a lens production facility jointly chosen by Sony and Carl Zeiss. Quality assurance specialists from the Carl Zeiss plant in Oberkochen implement the ZEISS quality assurance system in the chosen facility. Many ZEISS optic measuring systems are installed. Carl Zeiss audits the lens production areas on a regular basis.
-------------------

Note that a Zeiss "Sonnar" or "Planar" or "Vario-Sonnar" or "Tessar" etc. are VERY specific  designs with some VERY specific criteria that are completely different between the different designs.  It is not just merely slapping a 'label' on them.

Also note that even in the Sony/Zeiss dSLR lens range, there are 2 categories:  The professional-grade Full-Frame lenses and an APS-C-only DT lens.  These are 2 completely different animals.

The Zeiss 135mm f/1.8 Sonnar ZA, is a HUGE and heavy beast with full metal body and even the hood is completely metal.  The quality from this "Sonnar" design is also mind-blowing and in the "Excellent" range, corner-to-corner, right from wide-open.  You simply cannot get better than that.

The Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar ZA is also full metal body, including the hood.  Extremely high quality professional-grade lens with the same "Excellent" quality from wide-open.

The Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 SSM Vario-Sonnar is another from their high-end Pro-grade range of lenses.  Ultra-high quality that beats down the new Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 in sheer resolution, when tested on APS-C.  Since this is a 2008 design, specifically optimized for FF sensors, I would opine that the quality on FF would also be exemplary.

The newly announced Zeiss 16-35 f/2.8 SSM Vario-Sonnar would also be expected to be of the same ultra-high-end quality as the above mentioned 24-70 f/2.8 Vario-Sonnar.

Now comes the APS-C-only "Zeiss" lens, the 16-80 f/3.5-4.5, which is a whole different level from any of the above mentioned Pro-grade Zeiss lenses.  This particular one is pretty iffy from a build quality-perspective, with a plastic casing and is clearly intended as a high-end kit lens for APS-C products.  The optical performance is however, pretty good, albeit at a different level from the all-out-pro-grade Zeiss lenses in the range.

Note that every single one of the professional-grade Sony/Zeiss lenses, have a unique ZEISS serial#, *in addition to* the unique Sony serial number on the lens.   

I think the fact that the lenses are designed in Germany with all the design criteria surrounding it, and testing methods, and made using the Zeiss-exclusive Schott glass (only pro-grade ones) is a good thing. 

The fact that these German designed lenses are actually assembled in Japan, is even better, since there are none better than the Japanese, when it comes to precision assembly methods and are arguably even better than an equivalent assembly work done in Germany (my opinion).

German design, Japanese assembly - best of both worlds ! 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221577\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 15, 2008, 06:32:45 PM
Quote
Sony seems to have a three prong strategi:

1) Tamron lenses in Sony guise
2) The G-lenses which seems to be based on Minolta designs. Who is building them?
3) The ZA lenses with some kind of involvement from Zeiss.
What I have seen in tests this far:

True.  The difference is that the Tamron lenses are exclusively localized to the APS-C space.  Almost like Sony does not want to spend any more resources than absolutely necessary, when it comes to non-Full-frame lenses.

Quote
On APS-C (Photozone.de)

16-80/3.5-4.5 Probably belongs to top of it's class, but not as good as Nikon's corresponding lens.

Clearly the 16-80 is an imperfect jewel.  Piss-poor build but decent optics.  

Quote
85/1.4, Good but no way perfect, mush when fully open

I got to call the above as total hyperbole  :-).  Both the Center and the Borders, WIDE OPEN (f/1.4) are in the "Excellent" range and improves a bit, when stopped down.  No other 85mm f/1.4 from ANY manufacturer or the Canon 85mm f/1.2, matches, this EVEN corner-to-corner resolution.

Check the below out since that is what you seem to be referencing (incorrectly):

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-l...a_85_14?start=1 (http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/374-zeiss_za_85_14?start=1)

Quoting from Klaus's conclusion of the "highly recommended" review of the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar:
----------------------
The Zeiss ZA Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 is a great lens but we expected no less than that anyway, didn't we ? :-) It is already able to produce exceptionally sharp and contrasty results straight from f/1.4. The excellent performance peak is reached around f/4. The center to border quality is very even (although that's a lesser issue regarding the typical applications of such a lens). The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is buttery and about as good as it gets. Distortions, vignetting and lateral CAs are non-issues in field conditions. Nonetheless there's also bug - longitudinal CAs, sometimes also called "Bokeh CAs", are very pronounced at large aperture settings but that's a fate the Zeiss shares with fellow lenses such as the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L and Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D. Thanks to an all-metal body the lens feels very solid. If you're nit-picky you may criticize the focus ring which shows a little play when changing the focus direction. The AF speed is fine although nothing to rave about. At around 1200EUR/US$ the Zeiss ZA 85mm f/1.4 isn't cheap but definitely worth a deep thought regarding its optical qualities.
----------------------

Quote
135/1.8, close to perfect

Agree.  Just like the 85mm f/1.4, Klaus in Photozone, was literally gushing about the 135 f/1.8 Sonnar and went out of his way to "highly recommend" both of these Zeiss primes in the Sony range.

Quote
24-70/2.8 is excellent on APS-C. Both tested samples have significant centering problems.

Centering problems appear in every lens manufactured.  But look at the sheer quality and resolution (even WIDE-OPEN).  He seems to point out issues with the bokeh at 70mm under some exceptional lighting conditions:

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-l...2470_28?start=1 (http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/380-zeiss_za_2470_28?start=1)

SLRgear.com also have been gushing about the Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 (just like popphoto), while being less than impressed (to put it mildly) about the consumer-grade 16-80.

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct...uct/1181/cat/83 (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1181/cat/83)
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct...duct/973/cat/83 (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/973/cat/83)
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 15, 2008, 07:45:42 PM
Hi,

I see your point. Problem is that Photozone tests are done with APS-C sensors, and most aberrations grow exponentially close to the corners. I did not check the Photozone test before responding, I read it a long time ago. Klaus had objections about the LOCA aberration but I think that in hindsight it can be said that almost all if not all large aperture lenses he tested share this problem.

I have seen a very detailed test in "Foto", it's the same equipment and methods they use that were used in the original "Photodo" tests. Their MTF figures go from center to edge on FF. In their test MTF is definitively quite low at full aperture on 85/1.4. Their tests can be downloaded but they are subscriber only.

The reasoning I object to is the assumption that Zeiss optics on 24.5 MPixels will match the resolution of the 24.5 MPixel sensor. I don't necesserily believe in that until it's proven by independent tests.

At least one the pictures on the DPReview sample page is less then impressive. It's the picture of the Tower bridge, taken with the 24-70/2.8 at f/8.0. I hoped that it would be sharp corner to corner but it is obviously not.

Best regards
Erik



Quote
True.  The difference is that the Tamron lenses are exclusively localized to the APS-C space.  Almost like Sony does not want to spend any more resources than absolutely necessary, when it comes to non-Full-frame lenses.
Clearly the 16-80 is an imperfect jewel.  Piss-poor build but decent optics. 
I got to call the above as total hyperbole  :-).  Both the Center and the Borders, WIDE OPEN (f/1.4) are in the "Excellent" range and improves a bit, when stopped down.  No other 85mm f/1.4 from ANY manufacturer or the Canon 85mm f/1.2, matches, this EVEN corner-to-corner resolution.

Check the below out since that is what you seem to be referencing (incorrectly):

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-l...a_85_14?start=1 (http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/374-zeiss_za_85_14?start=1)

Quoting from Klaus's conclusion of the "highly recommended" review of the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar:
----------------------
The Zeiss ZA Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 is a great lens but we expected no less than that anyway, didn't we ? :-) It is already able to produce exceptionally sharp and contrasty results straight from f/1.4. The excellent performance peak is reached around f/4. The center to border quality is very even (although that's a lesser issue regarding the typical applications of such a lens). The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is buttery and about as good as it gets. Distortions, vignetting and lateral CAs are non-issues in field conditions. Nonetheless there's also bug - longitudinal CAs, sometimes also called "Bokeh CAs", are very pronounced at large aperture settings but that's a fate the Zeiss shares with fellow lenses such as the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 USM L and Nikkor AF 85mm f/1.4D. Thanks to an all-metal body the lens feels very solid. If you're nit-picky you may criticize the focus ring which shows a little play when changing the focus direction. The AF speed is fine although nothing to rave about. At around 1200EUR/US$ the Zeiss ZA 85mm f/1.4 isn't cheap but definitely worth a deep thought regarding its optical qualities.
----------------------
Agree.  Just like the 85mm f/1.4, Klaus in Photozone, was literally gushing about the 135 f/1.8 Sonnar and went out of his way to "highly recommend" both of these Zeiss primes in the Sony range.
Centering problems appear in every lens manufactured.  But look at the sheer quality and resolution (even WIDE-OPEN).  He seems to point out issues with the bokeh at 70mm under some exceptional lighting conditions:

http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-l...2470_28?start=1 (http://www.photozone.de/sony-alpha-aps-c-lens-tests/380-zeiss_za_2470_28?start=1)

SLRgear.com also have been gushing about the Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 (just like popphoto), while being less than impressed (to put it mildly) about the consumer-grade 16-80.

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct...uct/1181/cat/83 (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/1181/cat/83)
http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct...duct/973/cat/83 (http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/973/cat/83)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221630\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 15, 2008, 09:43:58 PM
Quote
Hi,

I see your point. Problem is that Photozone tests are done with APS-C sensors, and most aberrations grow exponentially close to the corners.

Absolutely true.  Exceptional results on 1.5x APS-C is no guarantee for high-performance on FF.  In fact dpreview has 2 different results for APS-C and FF, for every lens they test but Photozone only tests with APS-C sensors.  

Quote
The reasoning I object to is the assumption that Zeiss optics on 24.5 MPixels will match the resolution of the 24.5 MPixel sensor. I don't necesserily believe in that until it's proven by independent tests.

Now that the Sony FF is here, all of these lenses will be put to the test, under the unblinking glare of a high pixel density FF sensor.  We will see how the tire measures up, when the tread hits the road.    Since all of these lenses are designed/developed in the digital age (as opposed to film-era designs), I doubt any of these will have any problems in out-resolving the requirements of these sensors, either at these or even higher resolutions.  We will see.
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 16, 2008, 01:23:14 PM
Hi,

These are from the swedish Foto tests. They regarded the 135/1.8 "Top Class" but not the the 85/1.4.

I have some issues with Foto tests, they measure MTF down to 60 lpmm but only present results for 20 lpmm for full format and 30 lpmm for APS-C. The reports are based on all mesurements.

What I can see from these measurements is that:

1) MTF on 85/1.4 is low on full aperture in absoulte terms, not compared with other lenses.

2) Both lenses have singnificant astigmatism, even at aperture 8. Astigmatism means that sagittal and tangential structures don't have the same plane of focus.

There are other parameters than MTF, for instance flare and ghosting.

Best regards
Erik


Quote
Absolutely true.  Exceptional results on 1.5x APS-C is no guarantee for high-performance on FF.  In fact dpreview has 2 different results for APS-C and FF, for every lens they test but Photozone only tests with APS-C sensors. 
Now that the Sony FF is here, all of these lenses will be put to the test, under the unblinking glare of a high pixel density FF sensor.  We will see how the tire measures up, when the tread hits the road.    Since all of these lenses are designed/developed in the digital age (as opposed to film-era designs), I doubt any of these will have any problems in out-resolving the requirements of these sensors, either at these or even higher resolutions.  We will see.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221656\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Title: Sony A900 Announced
Post by: aaykay on September 16, 2008, 04:15:18 PM
Quote
2) The G-lenses which seems to be based on Minolta designs. Who is building them?

Just a clarification here.  Please note that Minolta/Konica-Minolta was a top notch lens designer/manufacturer and was second to nobody, in that business, including making their own optical glass.  Some of their designs, like the 135mm STF etc are classics, unmatched by anyone else till date.

Their "G" line of lenses (70-200 f/2.8G, 300mm f/2.8G, 600 f/4 APO G, 300 f/4 APO G, 400 f/4.5 APO G, 200 f/2.8 G  etc)  are  high-end lenses comparable to a Canon 'L' and the equivalent high-end Nikons.  

KM sold their entire photography assets, including camera factories, lens factories and the whole shebang to Sony, when they got out of the business.  Their entire Photography and optical design staff also moved en-masse into the Sony fold.  Their Alpha 900 design team itself included 200+ engineers, a signficant portion of whom moved in from the legacy Konica-Minolta organization.

Sony however, did pay some royalties on some patents that they did not purchase outright (I assume they don't intend to use those patents for too long).  Some of the patents were purchased by Sony out-right, which I assume was because they intended to use them long-term or develop them further.

So, if someone wants to know where Sony builds their high-end lenses in Japan, you won't have to seek too far....Sony has had the ability to build dSLR lenses in-house, for around 2 years.    The professional-grade Zeiss lenses may or may not be built at these Sony (legacy KM) plants (they have not published where exactly those are assembled), since they have to follow the Zeiss manufacturing standards and use Zeiss equipment for the manufacturing and also testing/QA and also have to house Zeiss staff for audit/QA.  

They probably get their consumer-grade lenses (and also the Tamron-rebranded-Sony APS-C lenses), sub-contracted out to Tamron.  Even the Sony designed 16-105 APS-C-only lens is also (probably) sub-contracted out to Tamron.