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Old Jan 4, 2010, 10:46 PM   #1
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Default Sony A450

Looks like Sony just released ANOTHER entry-level DSLR to sit between the A5xx and A3xx.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 12:00 AM   #2
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Good grief! How many entry level models does Sony intend to saturate the market with?
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 5:22 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that the market has been shifting from point and shoot to dSLR models for a while now (the point and shoot segment has been decreasing, at the same time the dSLR segment has been increasing). So, users that would have bought a point and shoot model a few years back due to price constraints, are now looking at entry level dSLR models instead.

Look at a major manufacturer's point and shoot lineup. For example, you'll find some 41 different listings for Canon point and shoot models at a vendor like buydig.com. Some of that is color variation. But, they still have some 16 different models for sale (A1100, A2000, A480, G11, S90, SD1200 IS, SD780 IS, SD890 IS, SD940 IS, SD960IS, SD970 IS, SD980 IS, SX1 IS, SX10 IS, SX20 IS, SD200 IS), and they're missing a couple of models you may find elsewhere like the new D10. That's just one manufacturer's point and shoot models still offered in new condition from one vendor. :-)

Yes, you'll find a lot of overlap between models. But, you see the same thing in other product lines outside of photography. For example, look at the motherboard lineup from a vendor like Asus. I was just looking through them earlier this morning, and they've got some 10 different motherboards for the Intel LGA 1366 (X58) based CPUs alone, often with very minor differences between them. That's not even counting the boards offered for other CPU types.

Consumers like choice. Look at clothing, automobiles, etc. Even within a given model car, you'll find numerous variations. For example, look at what Toyota offers with the Camry. You've got a base Camry, as well as an LE, XLE, SE and Hybrid (and each one of those can be customized with a variety of options).
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 6:18 AM   #4
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Canon has 3 'entry level' dSLRs.
Nikon has 3 'entry level' dSLRs.

Sony has 6(!)

Perhaps Sony's plan to increase market share is to flood dealers' shelves. Now all they have to do is get some dealers to carry them.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 6:34 AM   #5
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I dunno, Sony's approach seems logical, although they need to add at least one more entry level model. That way, they'd have smaller 10MP Models with or without a tilting LCD (A230, A330), a larger 12MP model with or without a tilting LCD (A500, Axxx), and a 14MP Model with or without a tilting LCD (A550, A450)

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Canon has 3 'entry level' dSLRs.
Nikon has 3 'entry level' dSLRs.
But, look at how many point and shoot models Canon offers. ;-) It would not surprise me to see them doing the same thing (adding more entry level dSLR models to their lineup, since that's the fastest growing market niche right now). We'll have to wait and see what they have in mind.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 6:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Keep in mind that the market has been shifting from point and shoot to dSLR models for a while now (the point and shoot segment has been decreasing, at the same time the dSLR segment has been increasing). So, users that would have bought a point and shoot model a few years back due to price constraints, are now looking at entry level dSLR models instead.

Look at a major manufacturer's point and shoot lineup. For example, you'll find some 41 different listings for Canon point and shoot models at a vendor like buydig.com. Some of that is color variation. But, they still have some 16 different models for sale (A1100, A2000, A480, G11, S90, SD1200 IS, SD780 IS, SD890 IS, SD940 IS, SD960IS, SD970 IS, SD980 IS, SX1 IS, SX10 IS, SX20 IS, SD200 IS), and they're missing a couple of models you may find elsewhere like the new D10. That's just one manufacturer's point and shoot models still offered in new condition from one vendor. :-)

Yes, you'll find a lot of overlap between models. But, you see the same thing in other product lines outside of photography. For example, look at the motherboard lineup from a vendor like Asus. I was just looking through them earlier this morning, and they've got some 10 different motherboards for the Intel LGA 1366 (X58) based CPUs alone, often with very minor differences between them. That's not even counting the boards offered for other CPU types.

Consumers like choice. Look at clothing, automobiles, etc. Even within a given model car, you'll find numerous variations. For example, look at what Toyota offers with the Camry. You've got a base Camry, as well as an LE, XLE, SE and Hybrid (and each one of those can be customized with a variety of options).
Very good points. I know my own decision was a well-researched and much agonized over decision. I drove my poor husband crazy. Pentax wasn't even a serious contender in my research. Neither was Sony. Until I asked for advice here. And learned that I was gonna need some very specific features if I wanted to achieve my goals. Which knocked out my top contender on my list and moved Sony and Pentax into the ring. I'm so glad that I asked here and that people here were patient enough to answer my questions. Where's the two thumbs up smiley?
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 7:34 AM   #7
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From a marketing standpoint I understand - I really believe it's about getting bodies on the shelf. Customer goes into the store and sees 6 Sony cameras and only 2 or 3 of the other manufacturers. More must be better.

Unfortunately, that's not necessarily good for the photographer.. Especially with reports of lower level Sony cameras performing better than their 'bigger brother' in some situations. The digicam market is a great example of why this type of manufacturing is bad for the consumer - rather than a couple models with many features you have features scattered over 6 different models. The research/buying experience is confusing to say the least. And, you end up sacrificing more features.

I still believe 3 models is more than sufficient and better benefits photographers. And, if you're already in the Sony lineup - take a survey of how many users would have rather had an A700 replacement than 6 entry level models.

So yes, I understand from a sales/marketing standpoint the decision. BUt I think it's bad news for the DSLR industry. The industry benefited much more when Sony was working at innovation - like the A100 or A700. But with the over-segmentation, I fear other manufacturers may indeed follow suit. And photographers don't benefit from oversegmentation - they benefit from innovation.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 9:16 AM   #8
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We are seeing innovation in a variety of areas, including new sensors with better dynamic range, new features like Face Detection (for both focus and exposure purposes), Auto HDR (with the cameras automatically combining more than one image for you) and more. ;-)

Sony even has cameras that are smart enough to compose (zooming in and out to get faces in the images), and taking pictures by themselves now. See this video for how that works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYZZ8i5e-08

What you find to be important in a more advanced model, is not necessarily what the average buyer finds important in an entry level model (or even what readers frequenting digital camera sites like this one find important). ;-)

Of course, cameras are getting to be more like fashion accessories as time passes, too. For example, look at all of the different color combinations offered in point and shoot models (which is the reason a vendor like buydig.com has 41 listings for 16 different Canon point and shoot models right now). Or, look what Pentax decided to do with the K-x. Talking about color choices... :-)

Sure, a lot of it's marketing. You see the same thing with other product types.

Again, the dSLR niche is the fastest growing right now, and the entry level models make up the bulk of the sales. Sony tripled their dSLR production during their last fiscal year ending March 31, 2009, as compared to the previous fiscal year (and I think you'll find that other manufacturers have also been increasing dSLR production, at the same time their point and shoot production was decreasing).

So yes, I suspect you'll see some of the other manufacturers doing the same thing as time passes, just as they've done in the point and shoot niche. That strategy has been working for Sony and Canon in that niche (as they lead the market right now).

For example, Canon just now announced 4 new point and shoot models, with very little difference between them. ;-)

So, I'd expect them to use the same strategy with dSLR models as time passes.

Quote:
....bad news for the DSLR industry
I think you're making too much of a distinction between these product types. They're cameras. Just because a camera is technically a dSLR doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be used for professional quality images. ;-)

IOW, the lines are really blurring between these market niches now, and not everyone wants or needs a more advanced camera. Chances are, most users buying cameras just want to share images on their facebook page, or get a few prints made at the local drugstore for their albums from their latest vacation, birthday party, etc.. ;-)

Because dSLR models are now at price points below what I was paying for my first few point and shoot models, you're probably going to see more and more buyers going that route as time passes.

Of course, yet another new trend will probably be smaller and lighter EVIL type models (like the Samsung model just announced yesterday).
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 2:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
From a marketing standpoint I understand - I really believe it's about getting bodies on the shelf. Customer goes into the store and sees 6 Sony cameras and only 2 or 3 of the other manufacturers. More must be better.
The problem is that not a lot of dealers, or even the big box stores, don't carry many Sony dSLRs now. WallyWorld only stocks the A230 and A330 in the stores. Target doesn't have any in the stores. All it does is make buying on-line more complicated.

And when the newbies see that NONE of Sony's dSLRs can record video, they'll look elsewhere anyway.
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Old Jan 5, 2010, 2:40 PM   #10
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i am really surprised they released another entry level before the new a700. actually i am starting to wonder if the a550/500 were meant to replace the a700..............

TCAV- good point about the video, shocking really...
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