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Old Oct 15, 2008, 7:14 PM   #11
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JimC wrote:
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Even a slower camera like my 5D can shoot sports. See Steve's old review of it for an example, where you'll find this in the conclusion:

" Continuous AF was quite responsive, being able to keep up with the flow of play on a soccer field"

Jim - three points:

1. The question isn't weather it can do a servicable job. The question is whether it can do the job as well as the competition. Just because I can hammer nails with a hammer doesn't mean it doesn as good a job as a nail gun.

2. As far as Steve's review - no disrespect to Steve, but I've never seen anything that establishes Steve or anyone on his staff as a sports shooter. So I don't see any basis for using Steve's opinion to make a sports shooting decision. Every single image I've ever seen in Steve's review is a still subject. That's not sports shooting - not even close. There is a WORLD - REPEAT, WORLD of difference between initial focus capability and tracking capability. The algorithms involved for predicting subject movement are CRITICAL to success.I have no basis to estimate whether Steve is even a competant sports photographer - much less one whose opinion should matter. None of the sample photos show those soccer photos. Much less a controlled test where the competition cameras/lenses were used AT THE SAME TIME, UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS. Sorry, but as much as I respect this site I haven't seen any evidence to date Steve has any idea what is involved in sports shooting. For all I know he might be an acceptional sports photographer. But there is nothing establishing his credentials as even competant. I'm not knocking him - I'm only sayinghe hasn't been established as a credible source as a sports shooter.

3. How your 700 compares to the 5d is irrelevant. Really it is. The 5d has no comparison to the competition in question. A camry is more responsive than a Corolla but that doesn't mean the Camry is as good as a Porsche. There's no basis for deductive reasoning there. Your argument is A > B therefore A = C. There is nothing in your evidence that even compares B to C much less A to C.

Again, the proof is in the photos. The question isn't whether there's one photographer with good A200 results. The question is - if you find 20 photographers with good XSi sports results and 1 photographer with good A200 results you can't possibly conclude the two are equal. The only way you could come to any reasonable conclusion is if one of the following occurs:

1. You see a large body of photographers getting good results with XSi and equally large body of shooters getting good or betterSPORTS shots with A200

2. You see several accomplished SPORTS (not accomplished photographers who have shot a little sports - but photogs who are specifically accomplished ACTION SPORTS photographers) photographers not tied to either brand compare the two. This is a tough one. Finding accomplished sports photographers to test drive entry level cameras from a different system is a tough call.

I don't have a particular bias against Sony. I think they're doing a lot of good things. But as a sports photographer I just don't see any body of evidence that suggests the entry level models are in the same league as the competition. And as a sports photographer I know first hand how much difference the equipment makes.

To the OP - I would suggest looking at dpreview and fredmiranda. There are a lot of sports shooters in those forums. See what you can find in regards to sports photos from the cameras in question. Don't be too swayed by Jim or I - let your own eyes be the judge. That's the beauty of this craft - you can easily see results for yourself.

And be VERY wary of any posts you read that aren't backed up by photos. Any sports photographer worth his/her salt has thousands of sports images. You should easily be able to find galleries of images. If you can't, then it's a red flag. For instance if we were talking about pro level cameras I can show you thousands of images from my camera - any other sports photographer can do the same. If they're unwilling to do so, they're simply not a credible source for sports shooting advice. It may sound like I'm on a soap box. If I am it's because I know first hand how difficult it is and how important the equipment is to success. Don't believe me? Ask Mark1616 who switched camera systems to get better equipment. Ask WackyRoger who switched systems to get better Action widllife shots.

From my own experience I can tell you - did I get good results from my Canon 300D? Yep. Did I get better results from my 20D? You bet. Did I get better results with my mkIII? Absolutely. Did I get good results with my sigma 70-200 2.8? Yep. Do I get better results with my Canon 70-200 2.8? Yes I do. The point is - better equipment makes it easier to get good results. Whether the A200 gets better results than the A100 is irrelevant. You're not considering the A100. The only question that matters is - does the A200 get as good of results as the XSi? I just don't see any evidence that it does. It doesn't mean it doesn't. It just means there's no proof it does. There's very little evidence at all.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 7:23 PM   #12
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JohnG wrote:
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The only question that matters is - does the A200 get as good of results as the XSi? I just don't see any evidence that it does. It doesn't mean it doesn't. It just means there's no proof it does. There's very little evidence at all.
Yet. ;-)

Again, Sony is the new kid on the block, and they have a much smaller marketshare compared to the competition (currently a strong 3rd place behind Canon and Nikon).

It's too bad you don't have both models so you could compare them. I'd like to see your opinion on how they stack up, especially with budget lenses (since the OP is on a tight budget).

I have seen some non-sports shooters with more than one camera indicate they thought the budget level Sony models compared favorably to some of Nikon's higher end models like the D300 for AF speed. But, as you say, that doesn't take tracking into consideration. If I see any users of both Canon and Sony entry level models that have some thoughts, I'll make sure to bookmark them for future discussions like this.


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Old Oct 15, 2008, 9:34 PM   #13
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JimC wrote:
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... (currently a strong 3rd place behind Canon and Nikon).
I think "leader among the 'also ran's" is closer to the truth.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 10:11 PM   #14
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From all outward indications I've seen, it looks like Sony will probably double their market share this year (pulling away significantly from Olympus, which was a close 4th place behind Sony in dSLR market share last year). That's what I meant by "strong 3rd place" (nobody else should be anywhere close to Sony for third place, if they continue current sales trends from some of the numbers I've seen posted elsewhere).

We probably won't know for sure until sometime next year when all of the numbers for worldwide market share are tabulated (and the Christmas buying season is usually the busiest, so it's too early to say). If they can do that (double their dSLR market share), without losing P&S market share, that would probably put them in the number 1 spot for total worldwide digital camera market share (as they were already a close second place behind Canon in that calculation).

Keep in mind that Sony has 5 current dSLR models now. They managed to grab third place in dSLR marketshare with only one model in 2006, and still retained that same third place in worldwide dSLR market share for 2007 (where they still only had one model for most of the year).

In some areas, it looks like they're more than doubling dSLR market share. I've seen some numbers for Europe bounced around that seem to indicate market share has almost tripled this year over there. We'll have to wait and see what the numbers look like (sometime next year for this years market share). But, from all outward indications, they're doing quite well so far with their entry into the dSLR market (and that should continue to improve as Sony convinces more retailers to give them shelf space for the newer models over time).


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Old Oct 15, 2008, 10:45 PM   #15
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The latest figures I've seen have Sony at 12% worldwide, and even in Europe where Sony is strongest, Nikon is still outselleng them better than 2 to 1.

To be sure, that's a significant achievement. But they have further to go than they've already come. And figures for Pentax' K2000 aren't in yet, and we haven't seen any Micro Four Thirds products.

Sony may have Canon and Nikon in their sights, but who's in their six o'clock.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:05 PM   #16
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I think they'll continue to grow market share over time. This is only Sony's third year selling dSLR models, and they only had 1 model for most of their first two years in this niche. If they can pull off 12% market share, that's a good thing (doubling their market share from last year). ;-)

As for Pentax, I wouldn't worry about them making much of dent in world wide marketshare at this point. Their market share is the lowest of any major dSLR manufacturer right now. We'll have to see what impact Hoya's buyout of them has as time passes. But, I don't expect to see any significant growth of their market share, since they just don't have the marketing clout Sony does (with a variety of products being sold through retailers, giving them the ability to more easily negotiate shelf space). With 5 dSLR models on the market now, Sony should continue to grow their dSLR market share as time passes, with far more clout with retailers than manufacturers with less market share (and less in the way of other electronics being sold through retailers).

As for Olympus, the new micro 4/3's system looks very interesting, and is bound to be attractive to users wanting to move to a model with a larger sensor compared to most point and shoot models, while still retaining Live View. But, it's my understanding that most existing 4/3's lenses are not going to work with them for contrast AF yet, even with an adapter, and the first model's price point from Panasonic looks like it's going to be around $800 in the U.S. (putting it out of the range of most entry level dSLR buyers, and the entry level is what makes up most of the dSLR sales volume). It's a very good concept (and a smaller camera with a larger sensor compared to a P&S model is what many people have been wanting for a while now), but I suspect their price point is just too far out of line for it to make a big dent in the numbers. I could be wrong. We'll have to wait and see how well it's received.



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Old Oct 15, 2008, 11:41 PM   #17
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Sony could give away the A900 with the purchase of a widgetmaster (dvd player, MP3 player, home computeretc) or as door prizes on Wheel of Fortune for the next year and figuritively buy market share without making a dent in their profit margins.

Ok, maybe not that extreme. But Sony is huge. Sony didn't buy K-M for giggles or to be "3rd" place. And Sony is a major player in the P&S crowd thus able to generate future customers looking to move up.

What about Nikon using Sony sensors?

Then there is that little market named.... China. With Sony's diversification and world wide rep with everything electronic the China market will go Sony with little prompting.

Today Sony is 3rd. Tommorrow Canon or Nikon will be 3rd if they are not careful. And the rise of Sony does not have to be a better product to increase their market share.
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 1:21 AM   #18
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With regards to market share, generally we only get figures long after the fact because some markets, like the american market, dont publish its sales figures very often.

The general trend, however, has been this: canon and nikon hold about 80% of the market, but things are changing VERY fast (though the 80% of the two should continue to be the same for a while). In 2006, canon had about 47% of the DSLR market, nikon 33% and the others about 5% each. In 2007, canon had a sharp drop to about 43%, while nikon rose to about 40%.

For this year, we dont really have global figures, but the japanese market is a great indication of where things stand. Not only because it is a very large market, but because BCN reports tracks sales and can even report marketshare for 4 day intervals in japan ( http://bcnranking.jp/category/subcategory_0008.html if you understand japanese or have a good translation software)
This year, what we've had so far in the japanese market in the first semester was a bit of a decline by canon, a estabilized marketshare for nikon, with both at about 40%, sony up to 8.6%, olympus steady at about 5%, pentax dropping a bit to 4 and the rest virtually disappearing (http://bcnranking.jp/news/0807/080724_11351.html)

And this should still change substantially, given the release date by the sonys and olympus. For the first time in, well, since I can remember, there are plenty of non canikon among the best selling models. At the entry level (under 60000 yen, a little less than 600 dollars), for example, for the month of september the a-200 kit was the second best selling kit, the a-200 body the 5th, the a-100 the 8th and the olympus e-510 the 7th. I would certainly not be surprised if for the second semester sony gets about 15% of the marketshare.

Now, while I would love to discuss this in detail, since much of what I do for a living is industrial organization economics and the sociology of organizations, there are two crucial points to keep in mind: first of all, dslr market is still about 7% of the total camera market.

Second of all, and most important, marketshare is an extremely poor indicator of quality. Market share has much more to do with distribution agreements, marketing, marketing tie ins and so on. Because they are so much bigger than the other brands, nikon and canon can afford to give larger comissions on cameras and accessories, pressure store managers for better floor positions, actually have extensive training sessions for sellers, heavily promote the brand (photographers in NFL games are obliged by contract to wear canon vests, regardless of what they use) etc. Olympus (which has been growing slowly in marketshare from 4% to about 5-6%) and pentax (which has been dropping sharply over the past 3 to 4 years) simply did not have the muscle behind them to compete with this, regardless of actual camera performance. Sony is the first major player to challenge them, and regardless of how far behind they are, doubling marketshare in one year is no small feat, and will probably continue. As Panasonic is also a huge company, expect their micro fourthirds to make quite a splash as well.
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 7:45 AM   #19
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Are we off-topic yet?
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Old Oct 16, 2008, 7:53 AM   #20
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Yes. ;-)


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