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Old Boat Guy Jan 16, 2014 11:08 AM

Sony's Future?
Having been tied down with personal issues for while I find I have missed quite a bit. I was hoping someone could fill me on on the major changes. (have there been any)

I noticed there is now an E-Mount. Is this the beginning of the end for new A-Mount bodies? With the introduction of video to DSLR bodies I was expecting a shift in direction.

I read a thread by Mike talking about full frame bodies and portraits but not much else when it comes to Sony DSLR cameras.


TCav Jan 16, 2014 1:21 PM

The E-Mount is a lens mount with a shorter flange focal distance, permitting a much narrower body. Because of the very short flange focal distance, the lens must bend light more in order to project an image over the entire image sensor. This increases the likelihood of field curvature, distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting. As a result, E-Mount lenses are more expensive, and often bigger and heavier than equivalent A-Mount lenses, and are frequently not as good. (In addition, E-Mount cameras don't have sensor shift image stabilization, so image stabilization must come from the lens, which also makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive.) The issue was somewhat mitigated by the fact that the E-Mount cameras only had APS-C size sensors, but Sony has just introduced the 24MP A7 and the 36MP A7R, which are 'Full Frame' E-Mount cameras. While the existing E-Mount lenses will work, they project smaller images, so the camera will only record the central 10MP (for the A7, 15MP for the A7R). Some 'Full Frame' E-Mount ("FE") lenses are available and more have been promised, but because of the short flange focal distance and the even larger sensor, the propensity for FE lenses to have field curvature, distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting is even greater, so FE lenses are very likely to be much more expensive and/or not as good.

The one thing at which E-Mount cameras do excel is their ability to reuse some older, obsolescent lenses and lenses from other mounts. This thanks to a wide variety of adapters, both cheap and expensive, both good and bad, and some of which actually support autoexposure and autofocus.

The A-Mount is still the flagship product line, though surprisingly, the A-Mount bodies and lenses are frequently less expensive than the equivalent E-Mount bodies and lenses. (It's a world gone mad!)

Nothing much new has happened on the A-Mount, but Sony has been introducing new lenses and upgrading others, so the mount is healthy. And new A-Mount bodies and lenses are rumored to be announced RSN.

lomitamike Jan 16, 2014 9:27 PM

Hey Steve,

I've been hearing for years now that the end of the A-mount is near. I don't pay attention to that stuff anymore. I don't think that the A-mount will be going away anytime in the foreseeable future. And if it does it probably won't be that big of a deal to me anyway because by then I probably won't be able to lift one to my eye.

I've had the opportunity to use the NEX-7, NEX-6 the A99, the Sony RX10 and the Panasonic FZ200 and G5 with a nice assortment of lenses all in the last year or less. The cameras I have to keep are the A900, A850 and the NEX-6 and a Cannon S95 for the pocket. I maybe getting the A99 soon, maybe.

As you see I mostly use Sony stuff and have a pretty good feel for what they can do. As nice as the NEX system is and I haven't used the A7, It cannot match the IQ and performance of the A-mount system. Well maybe the A7 and A7r can match the IQ but I doubt that they can match the AF speed and have the ability to change the settings as quickly. The most valueable part of the NEX system for me is it's size. For the quality of images (APS-C sensor) and the small size of the system including the lenses, It's a great travel system.

Speaking of IQ how good is good enough? I think every camera I have used is easily good enough for me. Heck, I could make do with the Canon S95 only and be satisfied with most of the pictures I get with it.

The updated Sony lenses are a little disappointing. Especially the 70-400G II and the 70-200GII. I have had a chance to use the new 70-400 with the A99 and my A900 and I didn't really notice the focus being faster compared to my 70-400 first version. I'm sure it is but I didn't really notice it being much faster. But it's only $200 more then the original version.
Now I haven't used the new 70-200 but I'm hearing the same thing about the improved AF not being much faster then the first version. And for an extra $1000.
Tamron has come out with a new 24-70f/2.8, 70-200f/2.8 and 150-600f/5-6.3 lens for A-mount. I have not tried them yet. But they sound like there very nice from what I'm hearing.

The Sony DSLR/SLT forum is pretty dead. Maybe there's just not that many A-mout users?

Welcome back, hope everything is getting better.

Old Boat Guy Jan 17, 2014 8:37 AM

I Appreciate the replies.

A "World Gone Mad" is a good description of some of the things I am seeing. My heart skipped a beat when I saw a Minolta 50 mm f1.4 listed for $900.00 on a popular Auction/Comedy site. :eek: I did notice prices for some of the high ticket lenses have dropped prompting this post regarding the health of the A-Mount.

I am not sure what I expected. Megapixel numbers have increased, frame rates have gotten faster but not by a huge amount. Low light and better high ISO performance look like the big gains.

Smaller package units look to have made the greatest gains. Point and Shoot models that make my A-550 look prehistoric. In some ways it is prehistoric. If I have a complaint with the A-550 it is the menu and function menu structure. The reviewers at the time felt more experienced users would find it clunky due to the lack of direct to function buttons such as the ISO and White Balance controls. As I have gained in experience I find myself wishing I had the extra row of buttons. The ability to copy directly to a thumb drive would also be cool.

If you had to pick between the A-850 or the A-900 which would you choose?

I do agree with what Mike had to say in a different thread regarding full motion video to cut stills at ones leisure.

Great explanation TCav. Because the bodies have no mechanical shutter they can be much thinner requiring the new mounting flange? From a marketing standpoint being able to use a wide variety of makers lenses is a great idea.

Thanks again for the replies

lomitamike Jan 17, 2014 2:22 PM


Originally Posted by Old Boat Guy (Post 1366191)

If you had to pick between the A-850 or the A-900 which would you choose?

You need to consider the shutter count and overall condition of the camera.

All things even the A900

As things really are, I would look for the A850 for a target price of around $500 less then an equally used A900.

Then look for the Minolta 28-75f/2.8(D) and you'll have yourself one serious photo taken setup.

TCav Jan 17, 2014 3:18 PM


Originally Posted by Old Boat Guy (Post 1366191)
... Because the bodies have no mechanical shutter they can be much thinner ...

The E-Mount bodies do have a focal plane shutter, just like the A-Mount bodies. What they don't have is a mirror box. That's what lets the lens be mounted so much closer to the sensor.

Old Boat Guy Jan 17, 2014 5:37 PM


Originally Posted by TCav (Post 1366215)
The E-Mount bodies do have a focal plane shutter, just like the A-Mount bodies. What they don't have is a mirror box. That's what lets the lens be mounted so much closer to the sensor.

Thanks for the clarification.

As fate would have it Mike I already own the lens you mentioned. I chose Sony as I had a box full of Minolta lenses from a camera shop venture my father was involved with way back when. I did not have every lens listed in the catalog but came close.

I still have a couple that have not been opened. I have an f4 Beercan and 85 f1.4 new in their boxes. I have an 85 1.4 lens that had been used and sold the Beercan I had open when I switched to the Sigma 50 to 150 f2.8 APO lens. Lighter lens with faster focus speed. Drop the Sigma 1.4 APO TC in my pocket for the same ranges.

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