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Author Topic: MFT: the decline of the empire  (Read 30754 times)

fredjeang

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MFT: the decline of the empire
« Reply #60 on: May 14, 2010, 02:05:37 pm »

Quote from: feppe
I meant DPReview forums are filled with mostly useless conjecture rather than meaningful discussion.

Since we started: I think you're reading Sony's NEX wrong. The feature set and price of both NEX3/5 places it securely in a lower-tier market segment than current MFT offerings, and as such MFT and NEX are not direct competitors. Further, making high-quality fast primes is more expensive for NEX 1.5 crop sensor than the much smaller MFT sensor. Finally, as has been pointed out by others, lenses with similar FOV than their MFT equivalent are larger, making the camera larger than a similarly equipped MFT camera.

Therefore I can't see fast primes being in demand in the NEX niche right now. Primes are hard to sell to prosumers with dSLRs with so many "good enough" zooms out there, and they're even harder sell to enthusiasts and snapshooters on a camera like NEX which is more about price and size than IQ.

Whether Sony has any plans to expand to the higher tiers to compete more with MFT, and whether Canon or Nikon see enough ROI in the segment remains to be seen. The high pricing of E-Px and Panny MFTs compared to APS-C cameras, combined with the low price of E-PL1 suggests they have very lucrative margins in the high end which might draw CaNikon in - but since there already three competing systems in the segment (MFT, NEX and I think Samsung has a similar system coming) I doubt they'll want to enter yet another crowded and untested segment until it has proven to have wings. MFT sales have shot up like a rocket in Europe in the last year, but it takes a year or two for us to see if there's staying power, or whether they will be the camera equivalent of a netbook (ie. small and cheap but not enough power and ergonomics are questionable).

I've already voted with my euros by buying into MFT and am very happy with the choice - hoping there will be more high IQ primes in the future.

Ok, enough speculation...
Sorry Feppe, you are right. I probably lack your inteligence to be on the right level of the debate so I'll check this DP review forum if they accept meaningful guys like me.
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BJL

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« Reply #61 on: May 14, 2010, 02:05:43 pm »

Quote from: douglasf13
I completely agree. Once both formats reach their full potential in small size, the m4/3 will be smaller.  I guess we each have to weigh what IQ to size ratio is appropriate for our own shooting.
And I agree that in turn the larger format will have some IQ advantages, mainly in low-light+shallow DOF situations, so I utterly agree with your last sentence!

And to deja's comment on the Samsung 30/2: my guess too is that eventually these systems will tend to offer lenses with about the same combinations of FOV and minimum f-stop (except at the telephoto extreme), like some f/2 or slightly faster primes and mostly f/3.5-5.6 zooms, leading to the above discussed weighing of size vs low-light and low DOF options in system choice.

But let us not get carried away with the current fashion for pancake primes; I doubt that any system will offer more than one or two of those, and they can only ever cover only a tiny fraction of the focal length and speed needs of most likely customers. (A proposed rule of thumb: if neither Canon nor Nikon bothers with a product category, it cannot be that important to the photographic market overall!)

If you wish to speculate about how well any of these systems will do at winning customers (as opposed to winning praise in forum posts) and what sort of customers will prefer which system, my advice is to "Follow the zooms."
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 02:09:19 pm by BJL »
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feppe

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MFT: the decline of the empire
« Reply #62 on: May 14, 2010, 02:17:35 pm »

Quote from: fredjeang
Sorry Feppe, you are right. I probably lack your inteligence to be on the right level of the debate so I'll check this DP review forum if they accept meaningful guys like me.

I think there's a language barrier as I'm having hard time parsing this.

fredjeang

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MFT: the decline of the empire
« Reply #63 on: May 14, 2010, 02:20:41 pm »

Quote from: feppe
I think there's a language barrier as I'm having hard time parsing this.
Maybe. Sometimes I edit my posts 3 times with grammar mistakes and have a digital translator.  
I guess my english is far from perfect, but I'm working on it.
Cheers
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douglasf13

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« Reply #64 on: May 14, 2010, 03:04:28 pm »

Quote from: BJL
Firstly, are you once again looking only at the size of bodies, or only with lenses of shortish focal lengths? Because as soon as you look at complete cameras with commonly used lenses, in particular lenses with telephoto reach significantly beyond normal, the lens size becomes the main factor in camera size, and APS-C format requires focal lengths about one third longer, leading to a significant size difference. (And when it comes to my favorite lens, the 50-200/2.8-3.5, the APS-C lenses needed to realize the low light advantage of a larger sensor would be about 70-300mm and still f/2.8-3.5, and nothing close to that exists, at least in my price range, and any such lens would be far heavier and more expensive.)

What is more, the size issues with 4/3 SLR lenses at shorter focal lengths are in large part due to the lens design constraints of the 38mm lens mount depth, so much longer than the 22mm sensor diagonal that it requires some highly retro-focal lens designs. That issue completely goes away with any of the mirrorless systems, as shown already by the size of current m4/3 zoom lenses compared to their NX and NEX counterparts: Olympus 14-42mm vs Samsung or Sony 18-55mm; Panasonic 14-140mm vs Sony 18-200mm. In all these comparisons, the f-stop ranges are the same, so that comparisons at equal ISO speed are legitimate as comparisons of low light performance.

  Agreed, although I do think that the NEX zooms were made unnecessarily large.  As far as primes, the difference in size between the Olympus 17mm and Sony 16 is mostly down to just diameter.  The Samsung 30mm isn't particularly large, either.

  Ultimately, as I've mentioned before, this battle between system sizes hinges between the size of the cameras with primes, for me.  When I was playing with the EPL-1 with zoom the other day, I was rather surprised by the overall size of the thing.  It wasn't small enough for me to seriously consider taking the IQ hit vs. my DSLR.  The EPL-1 with prime is a better option for me.  The NEX with prime is even smaller, but I don't have a lot of interest in a 24mm equivalent prime as my main lens.  Sony needs a standard pancake lens before I consider it a viable system option, but, for fun, I may still get one to play around with M lenses (although I know they're not particularly small in some cases, either.)  I really like the up and down swivel screen on NEX.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 03:12:01 pm by douglasf13 »
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BJL

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« Reply #65 on: May 14, 2010, 04:57:56 pm »

Quote from: douglasf13
As far as primes, the difference in size between the Olympus 17mm and Sony 16 is mostly down to just diameter.  The Samsung 30mm isn't particularly large, either.

At the cost of repeating myself:
- the size difference is due to the focal length difference of lenses covering the equivalent FOV; it is no surprise that lenses of roughly equal actual focal length but different FOV are roughly equal in length!
That is one reason why I pointed to the zoom lenses, which match up for FOV. And the Samsung 18-55 is bigger to so I do not buy this idea that "Sony set out to make the NEX system as small as possible, advertises its small size like mad ... and then screwed up and made the zoom lenses bigger than they need to be". Can we accept the simple natural optical fact that increasing the focal length and effective aperture diameter by about one third is likely to increase the linear dimensions of the lens by a similar factor.

- the size issue is mostly for lenses offering telephoto focal lengths: size is not much of an issue with pancake prime lenses of a normal to wide focal length and smallish maximum aperture, like that Samsung of 30mm focal length and 15mm effective aperture diameter.
That is another reason why I pointed to the zoom lenses, and why I added my skeptical comment about over-emphasis on pancake lenses, which will account for only a very small fraction of total usage.
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feppe

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« Reply #66 on: May 14, 2010, 06:02:42 pm »

Quote from: BJL
That is another reason why I pointed to the zoom lenses, and why I added my skeptical comment about over-emphasis on pancake lenses, which will account for only a very small fraction of total usage.

Agreed. As much as we love and shoot primes on LL (me included), we are not the main target market for these cameras. The enthusiasts and prosumers moving up from point&shoots won't even look at the pancake again when they realize it doesn't have a zoom "feature."

douglasf13

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« Reply #67 on: May 14, 2010, 06:15:00 pm »

Quote from: BJL
At the cost of repeating myself:
- the size difference is due to the focal length difference of lenses covering the equivalent FOV; it is no surprise that lenses of roughly equal actual focal length but different FOV are roughly equal in length!
That is one reason why I pointed to the zoom lenses, which match up for FOV. And the Samsung 18-55 is bigger to so I do not buy this idea that "Sony set out to make the NEX system as small as possible, advertises its small size like mad ... and then screwed up and made the zoom lenses bigger than they need to be". Can we accept the simple natural optical fact that increasing the focal length and effective aperture diameter by about one third is likely to increase the linear dimensions of the lens by a similar factor.

- the size issue is mostly for lenses offering telephoto focal lengths: size is not much of an issue with pancake prime lenses of a normal to wide focal length and smallish maximum aperture, like that Samsung of 30mm focal length and 15mm effective aperture diameter.
That is another reason why I pointed to the zoom lenses, and why I added my skeptical comment about over-emphasis on pancake lenses, which will account for only a very small fraction of total usage.

  I agree, and that's why I made the point of saying "for me."  I have little interest in zooms for any of these systems, personally.  To tell you the truth, I think the Panny, Samsung and Sony zooms are all too big to make sense for a small system for me.  Olympus' folding design is the only one that seems to make sense.  Obviously, if each of these systems gets down to their smallest potential, m4/3 will be smallest.  The lenses are there, so now they just need to cut down the body.  I have no doubts that a Sony 30mm f2 would be somewhat similar in size to the Samsung version, which is what I'm hoping for.  I thought about getting into the Samsung system, but I prefer the EP-1, GF1, NEX design over the "mini-DSLR" approach.  

  For those interested, here is a nice pic comparing size of NEX and Olympus with primes:  link
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douglasf13

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« Reply #68 on: May 14, 2010, 06:18:48 pm »

Quote from: feppe
Agreed. As much as we love and shoot primes on LL (me included), we are not the main target market for these cameras. The enthusiasts and prosumers moving up from point&shoots won't even look at the pancake again when they realize it doesn't have a zoom "feature."

Absolutely.  At the same time, those moving up from P&S will probably not worry about lens size differences, either.  Things like sweep panorama, face detection, auto HDR, simple menus, etc. will probably make more of a difference, but we'll see.  Plus, Sony has a much bigger share of the P&S market, so the name might be enough.  All of those memory sticks have to be used somehow. lol.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 06:20:46 pm by douglasf13 »
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BJL

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« Reply #69 on: May 15, 2010, 02:46:35 pm »

Quote from: douglasf13
those moving up from P&S will probably not worry about lens size differences
The camera makers clearly think otherwise: the size advantage over DSLR's is prominent in marketing from all four makers of the new mirrorless camera systems. As you said above in a different context, "... size matters".
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douglasf13

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« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2010, 03:29:31 pm »

Quote from: BJL
The camera makers clearly think otherwise: the size advantage over DSLR's is prominent in marketing from all four makers of the new mirrorless camera systems. As you said above in a different context, "... size matters".

 Oh, I agree with that.  What I mean is that the Sony NEX body size may trick newcomers into thinking it's a smaller system.  That's why it may be a win-win situation for Sony.  Newcomers may be attracted because of the P&S simplicity, features, and the small body size, while experienced photographers may be attracted to it because of APS-C and the small system size when using primes.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 03:33:05 pm by douglasf13 »
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BJL

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« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2010, 03:52:31 pm »

Quote
What I mean is that the Sony NEX body size may trick newcomers into thinking it's a smaller system.
Only those beginners stupid enough to buy a camera without looking at it, which I am not so arrogant enough to accuse most potenetial m4/3 or NEX customers of. As usual, by "camera", I mean the whole functioning camera with zoom lens. So I doubt that the "bait and switch" visual trickery of Samsung and Sony, hiding the size of their zooms by heavily emphasizing the bodies and pancake lenses in advertising, will be very successful in the long run.

Quote
experienced photographers may be attracted to it because of APS-C and the small system size when using primes.
I also suspect that "prime lens only" enthusiasts will be disappointed in their dreams of any of these new compact mirrorless digital systems offering more than one or two primes. A mass market oriented array of smallish zooms, mostly f/5.6 or slower at the long end, and a few primes. all f/2 or slower, is my prediction for NX and NEX.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 03:58:08 pm by BJL »
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douglasf13

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« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2010, 05:53:04 pm »

Quote from: BJL
Only those beginners stupid enough to buy a camera without looking at it, which I am not so arrogant enough to accuse most potenetial m4/3 or NEX customers of. As usual, by "camera", I mean the whole functioning camera with zoom lens. So I doubt that the "bait and switch" visual trickery of Samsung and Sony, hiding the size of their zooms by heavily emphasizing the bodies and pancake lenses in advertising, will be very successful in the long run.


I also suspect that "prime lens only" enthusiasts will be disappointed in their dreams of any of these new compact mirrorless digital systems offering more than one or two primes. A mass market oriented array of smallish zooms, mostly f/5.6 or slower at the long end, and a few primes. all f/2 or slower, is my prediction for NX and NEX.

  I'm not calling anyone stupid.  In fact, I'm not convinced that you yourself have a sense of the scale of the NEX-5.   It seems you think that the difference in size of the Panasonic and Sony kit lenses is extreme, but it isn't.  The Sony lens looks bigger than it is, because the camera is so darn small.  Obviously, the folding Olympus kit is shorter than both, but the Sony lens isn't huge, and the Sony and Panny with kit lens attached are quite comparable in length (don't forget that part of the mount is exposed on the NEX, making the lens look longer.)  We're talking a few millimeters either way.

 
 
 

 
  Samsung already released their lens roadmap at PMA, and they're doing 3 primes.  link to PMA

  I guess I'm what you call a "prime enthusiast," and, for me, 2 or 3 primes is all I need for any format I shoot with, from medium format to NEX.  Sony themselves said that Zeiss is getting involved in NEX, and I'd be shocked if they didn't release at least a couple of primes.  There are many shooters like me who only need a wide, standard, and tele prime (like Samsung's roadmap.)  Heck, I could probably get by with only a standard.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2010, 06:01:41 pm by douglasf13 »
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KevinA

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MFT: the decline of the empire
« Reply #73 on: May 17, 2010, 08:54:48 am »

Quote from: fredjeang
Dear all,

People who read my posts here know how much I respect Michael Reichmann's opinions, specially when it comes to photographic industry vision, equipment field reviews etc...
But there is a point where I've always been in complete disagreement with him: MFT enthousiasm.

Don't get me wrong, when Michael "promoted" Micro four third, he was right IMO. Because that was the only serious proposal in what was a desert land.
None of the Sigma DP saga or Leica X could be taken seriously compared to MFT.
Untill now...

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/NEX5/NEX5A.HTM

This, is exactly what I thought will happen soon or later.

I had an Olympus E1, and was a sort of fan of FT...but then, I read at that time an article of MR here: http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/came...lympus-e1.shtml and as a current FT user, I was aware of what Michael was pointing.

When they did MFT, I was sure that history was about to repeat again soon or later, this time yes, later than sooner but here we are: Sony's first quick fire.
And IMO, they got it right in the middle.

The MR's comments about FT actually happened.
Example of this surrealist situation.
Madrid shop,
Competent Olympus E3 body is sold today at 1500 euros.
FF top level Sony Apha 850 is sold at 1650 euros... no need more explainations.

The promised land of FT was: size will be reduced, IQ will be optimised for digital, and price will be kept low: none of these factors where true.

The promised land of MFT was exactly the same, the only difference is that they started in an empty space in that niche product.
Yes, they where the very first and they did a sort of well done rescue of their FT system with this nice alternative.
But the terrain was already a minefield.

Does not take too long to see that Sony's design is offering a smaller gear, a bigger sensor with the overall increment in IQ, specially in low light,
at a price on par with the MFT. Very very attractive option really.

The MFT empire is now about to decline, exactly like what happened with the FT.

I won't be surprised even if Oly won't survive that blow in the next 3 years.

This NEX 5 is the first MFT "killer". More wolfs are about to come to the feast soon or later.

Can't wait the Michael's review (if there will be one) about that Sony.

Regards.
Like most of these sub pro cameras the Sony over complicates and hinders photography. Why can they not build a camera that gets the basics right. The basics for me would be a shutter and aperture control you can see, use and set without waiting for the camera to do anything and a viewing system that works in sunlight and shows you what will be in the final picture. Add to the list the ability for the bloody thing to actually take a picture when you press the button, not some time after when the computer says "yes ok then, might as well". I can't think I need much else in a camera but these days they are usually omitted for weight space and cost, but oh you get sweep panorama and other less important  tat bundled in to make the marketing look better.
I can see the Sony might be the answer to  something, I just have no idea what the question could be.
Kevin.
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barryfitzgerald

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« Reply #74 on: May 17, 2010, 10:13:44 am »

Sony don't over complicate..they just copy compacts for handling and these NEX models look very much like that. Problem there is most compacts have pretty lousy handling..with a lot of stuff buried in the menus. That does not help for WB and ISO settings etc.
Sony's actual strategy APS-C DSLR wise has been to rip out a lot of menus, so much so that they have almost no customisation at all for the end user. (A5xx models for example)
They've also had a bit of a hit and miss affair with button placement.

So no shocks the NEX is p&s ish based. Sony have not worked out how to do good handling & easy to use. They are convinced sub 1000 buyers DSLR and this NEX are not enthusiasts nor interested in bang per buck. I find that an obvious mistake.
Look at what's going on..it's very clear what the company is doing at least sub FF wise.

The latest entry model is evidently the A290..and it's based on the poor handling A230-380 series..with a better grip, a dated 14mp CCD sensor and a miserly number of on body controls. For users looking for something a bit souped up NEX wise..you're likely to be waiting for a while.

I doubt the NEX will dominate the market..bigger sensor or not. What it might do is force micro 4/3 to be a bit more competitive on price.
Don't get me wrong Sony have a lot of potential, they just have a very limited and narrow minded view of the market, and IMO the wrong team in charge.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 10:15:19 am by barryfitzgerald »
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BJL

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« Reply #75 on: May 17, 2010, 12:11:00 pm »

Quote from: douglasf13
I'm not calling anyone stupid.  In fact, I'm not convinced that you yourself have a sense of the scale of the NEX-5.   It seems you think that the difference in size of the Panasonic and Sony kit lenses is extreme, but it isn't.
It is time for me to give, up, because your arguments change in every post. You previously said that "Sony ... may trick newcomers into thinking it's a smaller system". To me, that is an accusation of stupidity, both through the use of the work "trick" and since your photographic comparison clearly shows to all but a very stupid person that not even the tiniest NEX body, with no flash, gives a smaller "camera with zoom" than the E-LP1, whose slight extra depth provides room for its pop-up flash. So now your argument shifts from being smaller, to being not so much larger, if you do not mind having to carry an add-on flash, which when attached makes the camera even messier to slip into a bag.

I agree though that my two primes was an underestimate; I was thinking of two regular rectilinear primes, overlooking special purpose lenses like fish-eyes and macros. So here are the facts:

- m4/3 has "regular" 17/2.8 and 20/1.7 lenses and a 45mm, f/2.8 macro, with Panasonic having also announced plans for a wider 14/2.8 and an 8mm fish-eye this year, for a total of four primes from Panasonic, five from the two makers: http://photorumors.com/wp-content/uploads/...s_1-534x400.jpg

- Samsung NX has a 30/2, and has announced plans for second wider regular prime, 20/2.8 and a 60/2.8 macro lens.

- Sony NEX has one wide 16/2.8 prime and has announced two supplementary lenses to convert it to wider rectilinear coverage and to fish-eye respectively, but with no announcements of plans for any other prime lenses.

So if working entirely with primes is your goal, perhaps you should be looking into either MFT or NX!

By the way, one draw-back of the "small looking body at all costs" NEX approach is that to add a half-decent built-in flash (which would have to pop-up to see over the bulky zoom lenses) or a conventional hot-shoe, some extra body depth would need to be added, making the bodies as deep as MFT or Samsung NX bodies ... just as enthusiast oriented compact digital cameras with flash hot-shoes (e.g. the G11) have deeper bodies that P&S compacts without hot-shoes (e.g S90). The NEX shallow body trick (and "trick" is your work, not mine!) only works if the body is stripped down in capabilities.

The fundamentals of the NEX system are clearly not designed with the needs of experienced, prime lens only using photographic enthusiasts in mind --- even less so that the other two mirrorless systems.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 12:13:18 pm by BJL »
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MatthewCromer

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« Reply #76 on: May 17, 2010, 05:46:28 pm »

Quote from: BJL
- Sony NEX has one wide 16/2.8 prime and has announced two supplementary lenses to convert it to wider rectilinear coverage and to fish-eye respectively, but with no announcements of plans for any other prime lenses.

So if working entirely with primes is your goal, perhaps you should be looking into either MFT or NX!

By the way, one draw-back of the "small looking body at all costs" NEX approach is that to add a half-decent built-in flash (which would have to pop-up to see over the bulky zoom lenses) or a conventional hot-shoe, some extra body depth would need to be added, making the bodies as deep as MFT or Samsung NX bodies ... just as enthusiast oriented compact digital cameras with flash hot-shoes (e.g. the G11) have deeper bodies that P&S compacts without hot-shoes (e.g S90). The NEX shallow body trick (and "trick" is your work, not mine!) only works if the body is stripped down in capabilities.

The fundamentals of the NEX system are clearly not designed with the needs of experienced, prime lens only using photographic enthusiasts in mind --- even less so that the other two mirrorless systems.

The NEX 3 and 5 are just the first NEX bodies.  There is good evidence that NEX will include FF bodies at some point, and a rumored NEX-7 this year with a bigger body, built in antishake, more buttons and controls, and a real hotshoe (although it may be the Minolta flavor).  

Sony has announced that CZ lenses are coming, which will almost certainly include some fast primes. . .

The idea that the "The fundamentals of the NEX system are clearly not designed with the needs of experienced, prime lens only using photographic enthusiasts in mind --- even less so that the other two mirrorless systems." is quite arguable, given that the current NEX sensor features 60% more area and about 2 stops better performance at high ISO, and there is a strong indication that FF NEX bodies will be coming in the future -- 4 times the light gathering area of 4/3! We just need some more lens announcements (no doubt coming at Photokina).  Frankly I would not dream of using a hotshoe on a sub-compact body, yecch!

I think it is clear that Sony plans to use the E mount as the future for its video-oriented and compact interchangable lens offerings.  I foresee a LOT of investment on Sony's part.
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DarkPenguin

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« Reply #77 on: May 17, 2010, 05:50:52 pm »

Quote from: MatthewCromer
The NEX 3 and 5 are just the first NEX bodies.  There is good evidence that NEX will include FF bodies at some point, and a rumored NEX-7 this year with a bigger body, built in antishake, more buttons and controls, and a real hotshoe (although it may be the Minolta flavor).
What evidence?
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MatthewCromer

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« Reply #78 on: May 17, 2010, 07:05:46 pm »

Quote from: DarkPenguin
What evidence?

Huge mount for APS. . .

Sony will be going to NEX for their new pro video mount and this mount is likely the (longer term) future of their still photography also.

Sony already makes and sells FF sensors for their dSLRs.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 07:08:05 pm by MatthewCromer »
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DarkPenguin

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« Reply #79 on: May 17, 2010, 08:18:05 pm »

Quote from: MatthewCromer
Huge mount for APS. . .

Sony will be going to NEX for their new pro video mount and this mount is likely the (longer term) future of their still photography also.

Sony already makes and sells FF sensors for their dSLRs.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp...essage=35309023
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