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Author Topic: A900 One Year Later  (Read 14513 times)

feppe

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A900 One Year Later
« on: December 26, 2009, 01:47:15 PM »

Nice update, which are always welcome as most reviews concentrate on marketing points and highlight incremental improvements, rather than reporting how the camera performs in real use. It shows that A900 is stll a compelling product, especially given its price.

I was looking at A900 seriously a year ago before I paid for a 5DII (which I'm finally getting a refund for, long story), but decided against it. The A900 lacks Live View - I wonder if they're going to fix that. Also, I'd have to sell my Canon lenses at a considerable loss, which would make a chnage even more expensive, eliminating the price difference of the body. And the lack of good wide lenses was the final straw.

Since the 7D doesn't offer much (if any) IQ improvement over my 450D and I'm not willing to pay several hundred euros for UI upgrade and video, I'm skipping that. The follow-ups to Sony A900 and Canon 5DII are obvious competitors with probably a significant jump in IQ.

wolfnowl

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2009, 02:18:49 PM »

I also appreciated the post.  Been giving serious consideration to an A900.

Mike.
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Brammers

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2009, 02:25:14 PM »

The 300G should autofocus with both TCs - the 1.4x and the 2x.  That his doesn't is a mistake - something is faulty.

One possible explanation is that he's using old Minolta TCs instead of Sony ones or later Minolta ones.  If his TC has 5 contact pins instead of 8 it won't auto-focus with SSM (USM) lenses - the extra 3 pins control the SSM.  It's only the original, 1985 Minolta TCs that have 5 pins, both the later Minoltas and all of the Sonys have 8 pins.

Assuming he is using compatible TCs then something is faulty and he should take the lens and TCs into his dealer.

Apart from this, nice article.
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feppe

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2009, 02:33:49 PM »

Quote from: Brammers
The 300G should autofocus with both TCs - the 1.4x and the 2x.  That his doesn't is a mistake - something is faulty.

What's a TC?

francois

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2009, 02:39:12 PM »

Quote from: feppe
What's a TC?
Tele-converter (or extender).
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Kenneth Sky

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2009, 03:10:03 PM »

I can only add about the reliability of the body and 24-70 lens. I am just finishing a 6 week stay in New Zealand and have "shlepped" it from sandy beaches with high humidity to mountain crossings with high cold winds and have experienced no problems.
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Bill Caulfeild-Browne

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2009, 03:10:57 PM »

Quote from: Brammers
The 300G should autofocus with both TCs - the 1.4x and the 2x.  That his doesn't is a mistake - something is faulty.

One possible explanation is that he's using old Minolta TCs instead of Sony ones or later Minolta ones.  If his TC has 5 contact pins instead of 8 it won't auto-focus with SSM (USM) lenses - the extra 3 pins control the SSM.  It's only the original, 1985 Minolta TCs that have 5 pins, both the later Minoltas and all of the Sonys have 8 pins.

Assuming he is using compatible TCs then something is faulty and he should take the lens and TCs into his dealer.

Apart from this, nice article.

Several people have kindly pointed out to me that the TCs should autofocus with the 300/2.8. They are right, and they do.

What I should have said is that the TCs won't permit autofocus with the 70-400 or the 70-300, or any lens when the resulting effective aperture is smaller than f5.6.

My apologies,

Bill
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ErikKaffehr

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2009, 04:43:23 PM »

Hi,

I'm quite happy owner of an Alpha 900.My experience is mostly positive. What I lack is "live view".

Regarding lenses I have a few old minolta lenses and a few new ones. I own the 24-70/2.8 ZA and the 70-300/4.5-5.6 G and both are quite good. I also own an old Minolta 20/2.8 and it works very well on the Alpha 900. On the extreme wide angle side I have the 12-24/4.5-5.6 Sigma and it's not really a good lens, but I have taken some nice pictures with it. I'm not really a wide angle shooter so I didn't want to invest in the 16-35/2.8.

I have an old Minolta 400/4.5 AF APO, a good lens that works fine with the Minolta 1.4x APO extender. Autofocus is quite slow and not using SSM. I also have a 2X APO converter but that's MF on the 400. Live view would be most helpful.

My guess is that the Alpha 900 is about in the same league as the Canon 5DII at low ISO. Regarding lenses it's more about sample variations, in my guess, than real differences. Regarding user interface the camera is nice.

I have published some early tests here: http://www.pbase.com/ekr/a900_test

Best regards
Erik





Quote from: feppe
Nice update, which are always welcome as most reviews concentrate on marketing points and highlight incremental improvements, rather than reporting how the camera performs in real use. It shows that A900 is stll a compelling product, especially given its price.

I was looking at A900 seriously a year ago before I paid for a 5DII (which I'm finally getting a refund for, long story), but decided against it. The A900 lacks Live View - I wonder if they're going to fix that. Also, I'd have to sell my Canon lenses at a considerable loss, which would make a chnage even more expensive, eliminating the price difference of the body. And the lack of good wide lenses was the final straw.

Since the 7D doesn't offer much (if any) IQ improvement over my 450D and I'm not willing to pay several hundred euros for UI upgrade and video, I'm skipping that. The follow-ups to Sony A900 and Canon 5DII are obvious competitors with probably a significant jump in IQ.

JimU

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2009, 05:07:58 PM »

Quote from: Brammers
The 300G should autofocus with both TCs - the 1.4x and the 2x.  That his doesn't is a mistake - something is faulty.

One possible explanation is that he's using old Minolta TCs instead of Sony ones or later Minolta ones.  If his TC has 5 contact pins instead of 8 it won't auto-focus with SSM (USM) lenses - the extra 3 pins control the SSM.  It's only the original, 1985 Minolta TCs that have 5 pins, both the later Minoltas and all of the Sonys have 8 pins.

Assuming he is using compatible TCs then something is faulty and he should take the lens and TCs into his dealer.

Apart from this, nice article.

Actually the 1985-1988 TCs that 5 contact pins were meant for non highspeed autofocus lenses.
The 1988-2003 TCs also had 5 contact pins and were meant for highspeed autofocus lenses (200 HS, 300/2.8 HS, 300/4 HS, 400/4.5 HS & 600/4 HS).
The 2003-2006 TCs had 8 pins & were meant for SSM lenses (of which there were only two:  the 300 SSM & 70-200 SSM)

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/amount-telecon..._topic2100.html
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2009, 08:36:29 PM »

Quote from: feppe
... a year ago before I paid for a 5DII (which I'm finally getting a refund for, long story)...

Hey, good to hear that. I remember your thread about the initial troubles with the refund. Nice to know stories like that could have a happy ending too.

laughingbear

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2009, 06:10:08 AM »

+1 on Bill's report, very happy user here as well, since July 08, using Zeiss 24-70 f2.8, 135 F1.8, Sony 70-400G and 16mm fisheye. On the latter, the lense cap is a pest, made from leather and really not useful!

Yeah, a new TC that works with autofocus on the 70-400 would be great in deed. As for the 70-400, I also was more than surprised on the sharpness of this somewhat ugly finished lense. Then again, there are rather expensive camouflage covers on the market to deal with that silver finish.

Funny how you mentioned the thing with the red dot when changing lenses, it was always bugging me like crazy.

My biggest concern when buying into this system was on reliability, but luckily, I also have zero complaints in this department.

Looking forward to a next generation model in 2010, could be an interesting step up or not, remains to be seen. I for one, have zero interest in build in video applications. A few more Zeiss or G grade lenses would be nice as well.

Best wishes
Georg
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feppe

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2009, 07:34:33 AM »

Quote from: Slobodan Blagojevic
Hey, good to hear that. I remember your thread about the initial troubles with the refund. Nice to know stories like that could have a happy ending too.

Thanks! I'm posting the results and lessons learned from that debacle after I'm finished with it, hopefully within a month or two. Main learning: never pay by bank transfer on eBay even to reputable professional resellers with good feedback scores.

Quote from: laughingbear
Looking forward to a next generation model in 2010, could be an interesting step up or not, remains to be seen. I for one, have zero interest in build in video applications. A few more Zeiss or G grade lenses would be nice as well.

Good point: it might very well be that the next model introduces video, while still photography improvements take a back seat. Too bad if that happens, as video would be a nice-to-have novelty for me.

ErikKaffehr

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2009, 05:44:39 AM »

Hi,

Just a few comments...

1) The 300/2.8 lens is way to expensive, at least here in Sweden (about 9000 ), twice the Canon lens
2) I'm a happy owner of a Minolta 400/4.5 APO, but I considered buying the Sigma 500/4.5 APO before I got my 400/4.5. The Sigma lens may also be an option.
3) The 400/4.5 works well with the original Minolta 1.4 APO converter with full autofocus

I actually have a Minolta 300/4 APO and that lens also works with the 1.4X APO converter with full AF. I have not used it for quite long, so it may go to EBay, sooner or later.

Best regards
Erik

aaykay

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2009, 10:20:52 AM »

I too am a happy owner of the A900.  However, I am not a wildlife shooter and my interests are on the wider and mid-range FLs.  The lenses I shoot with being the Carl Zeiss 16-35 f/2.8, CZ 24-70 f/2.8, Sony 50mm Macro, CZ 135mm f/1.8 Sonnar, CZ 85mm f/1.4 Planar and the Sony 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye.  I have the Sony 70-300G SSM too, but that is VERY seldom used.

I truly wish Sony had gone with providing live-view in this model and that would have removed my last complaint about it.   I have no desire for video, however.  In fact, there is hope that the hardware/circuitry in the A900 is already capable of live-view (main-sensor liveview and not the secondary sensor based liveview like in the A300 or A500 series) and all that would need to be done is to turn it on via a firmware upgrade.  A firmware upgrade of the A900 is long overdue, having been moved forward several times.

PS:  A reliable source on dyxum has already indicated that a 500mm f/4G SSM is on the way in 2010.  In fact, 2010 is supposed to see around 10 Sony lens introductions (some of them being Zeiss designs), which will fortify the system considerably.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 10:22:10 AM by aaykay »
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kers

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2009, 03:46:06 PM »

Hello,
being owner of the more expensive Nikon D3x that came out a little later, I am glad to hear Sony made such a good product at such a low price.
It is good for the competition that Sony stept in the way they did and for sure they know how to put video in the camera. ( better than Nikon i guess)
I would like that the D3x would have the viewfinder of the A900, wich i find a important part of a camera. It seems the shutter makes just as much noise as the D3x shutter ( mirror)  does, wich rules out violin concerts...
I would like an option for not using the mirror (semi-permanent lockup)
What I would miss in the A900 is Live view, that  i first thought to be a novelty of low importance but at 24mp it turns out to be the only way to really find sharpness.
Furthermore I would miss Tilt lenses that they do not have ( yet)

regards,

Pieter Kers
« Last Edit: December 30, 2009, 07:46:53 PM by kers »
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Quentin

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2009, 12:27:44 PM »

Quote from: kers
Furthermore I would miss Tilt lenses that they do not have ( yet)

regards,

Pieter Kers

They desperately need a decent tilt-shift lens.  Much as I like my A900, the absence of any affordable tilt-shift options is the most likley reason why I might reconsider staying with Sony.

Quentin
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ErikKaffehr

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2009, 12:56:58 PM »

Hi,

There is a TS-lens from Arax in the Ukraine.

http://www.araxfoto.com/specials/tilt-shift-35/

They have also a tilt adapter for older Pentacon & Kiev lenses, these can be found on E-BAY.

I have a tilt adapter and a 40/4 (I believe) lens it's usable and optically quite OK.

Sony would have difficulty producing a auto aperture lens, however, as it is mechanically connected.

We have to wait and see what the nest decade brings...

Best regards

And A Happy New Year!

Erik Kaffehr



Quote from: Quentin
They desperately need a decent tilt-shift lens.  Much as I like my A900, the absence of any affordable tilt-shift options is the most likley reason why I might reconsider staying with Sony.

Quentin

kers

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2009, 06:09:40 AM »

Quote from: Quentin
They desperately need a decent tilt-shift lens.  Much as I like my A900, the absence of any affordable tilt-shift options is the most likley reason why I might reconsider staying with Sony.

Quentin

I think the problem for Sony (zeiss) is that the development of a serie of tilt lenses is very expensive because only few will buy them.
Even for Nikon and Canon it is hardly profitable I can imagine. They are made to complete the line-up.
The Nikon serialnumbers of my PCE lenses indicate only few thousand are made.
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douglasf13

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2009, 10:50:03 AM »

AFAIK, the Schneider 28 PC or a Mirex with 645 Pentax 35mm is about as wide as your gonna get with tilt or shift from the A900. There are more options for standard and tele lengths.
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BJL

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A900 One Year Later
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2010, 05:10:01 PM »

Quote from: kers
I think the problem for Sony (zeiss) is that the development of a serie of tilt lenses is very expensive because only few will buy them.
Even for Nikon and Canon ...
Low volume is always a problem for more specialized lenses from any except the one or two market leaders: Sony (and Pentax and Olympus) also lack in high end super-telephoto options, and what is offered (like 300/2.8) is far more expensive than Canon and Nikon equivalents. Offering a wide selection of high end lenses will probably be the greatest problem for a company that wants to challenge Canon and Nikon for "all around professional level systems". Sony probably needs something of a "niche" approach to 35mm digital ... and maybe is doing that already.
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