Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 9, 2010, 8:19 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 5
Default Sony DSLRs - Why do unpopular?

Sorry this is so long! I'm a beginner -- while deciding between a Nikon D5000 and a Sony a500 for my first DSLR purchase, I settled on the Sony a500. I went to the zoo this weekend with my camera -- I spotted a TON of CanNikons, one Pentax, and zero Sonys. There were a lot of people at the zoo this weekend with SLRS too! Not that I feel a need to be one of the herd, but I'm wondering if there's collective wisdom among all the CanNikon owners that I don't have.

If I made a mistake, I can still exchange this camera for the Nikon within a week or so...which brings me back to here.

The main reason I went for the Sony a500 over the D5000 was for the in-body stabilization. I told the salesgirl that I was interested in low-light shots with a fast prime, and without flash or a tripod in the near future -- she suggested the Sony over the Nikon. Using a Nikon and a non-stabilized fast prime, she said that I would most likely need a tripod (or suffer from underexposure/camera shake blur/noisy photos from really high ISOs). Since she said that both cameras offer similar performance otherwise (for ISO, AF abilities, OOC jpgs, etc), this really sold me. From some reading/posts I've made, I've gotten this impression too (but of course Sony owners could be biased).

I'm wondering -- if the Sony a500 really does perform just as well as the Nikon D5000, is less expensive, AND has Image Stabilization, why are Sony's so unpopular? Did the salesgirl tell me a lie when she said that it performed just as well as the D5000? Am I missing something here?
This camera is a hefty investment and I want to make sure I'm well equipped for the future. I don't want to invest in the Sony system if it's not worth it -- I plan to purchase at least a fast prime and a good zoom lens, and don't want to invest in a brand that's going to fall behind the pack (for when it's time to upgrade to a new body).

I have taken a bunch of shots with it so far -- some are great, others look like they missed the focus (although this could be due to subject movement/me just learning how to use the camera, and not the camera itself).

Does anyone have experience with both cameras and is able to compare the two? Or just any advice for me in general in finalizing my decision? Both cameras feel great in my hands, so that's not an issue. Neither is the price difference or video.
jenniefw is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 9, 2010, 8:32 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,543
Default

It's not that Sony dSLRs are unpopular; they're just not as popular. And some people just buy whatever's popular instead of what's best for them.

It seems to me that you've given your decision a lot of thought, and up until you went to the zoo, you were confident that you'd made the right choice. Now you're wondering if you made a wrong choice.

No. You may have made a less popular choice, but that doesn't mean it was wrong.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 9, 2010, 9:15 AM   #3
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

You made a fine choice. That's a fine camera. It's no secret that in DSLRs, Canon and Nikon dominate the market. They were the first companies to mass-market DSLRs and they have always had professional presence as well as massive advertising presence. Sony is still a strong system. I do believe though they really set themselves back with their shotgun approach to DSLRs in the last cycle. A dizzying array of entry level DSLR cameras that were only slightly different than one another. What this did was keep any of their cameras from getting much hype. This, in contrast to the hype received by the A100 then the A700 and A900. Contrast this to Pentax, say. Which is a small player in the DSLR market (but also makes great cameras). Despite marketing much less than Sony, when Pentax came out with the K-X -there was a HUGE amount of hype for what it delivered. So it became a very popular camera and one that everyone in the industry talked about. So my personal opinion is Sony's DSLR lineup became a lot like most digicam lineups - a confusing jumble of cameras with only slight differences so it was harder for people to understand the lineup. Canon and Nikon already had the market share and advertising so they had momentum and Pentax had this one star that everyone could easily identify in the lineup. I wouldn't worry too much about the wrong choice - for what you're doing I think the Sony system is a great choice.

All of that aside, you have to keep realistic expectations. A DSLR is NOT a magic point-and-shoot. You can take bad photos with the best gear on the market. You still have to learn photography and you still need to use the right tool(s) for a given job and use them properly to have success.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 23, 2010, 11:33 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Default not to worry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniefw View Post
Sorry this is so long! I'm a beginner -- while deciding between a Nikon D5000 and a Sony a500 for my first DSLR purchase, I settled on the Sony a500.
Okay, first point. You can hardly go wrong these days. There is hardly a BAD camera for sale anywhere. Both of the cameras you considered seem to be capable of taking terrific pictures. So if I'm responding too late and you've traded the A500 for the Nikon, well, don't let what I'm saying make you feel bad.


Quote:
I went to the zoo this weekend with my camera -- I spotted a TON of CanNikons, one Pentax, and zero Sonys.
Heh. Well, if you were over at pentaxforums.com, you would find out that Pentax users report that they never see another Pentax user when they're at the zoo or out and about.

Look, I can't remember the latest market share numbers, but Canon has the lion's share of the market, and Nikon has the lioness's share—let me make up a figure and say that, between, them, Canon and Nikon account for about 80% of the DSLRs that are "out there." That means the other 20% of the total market is shared between Sony, Pentax, Panasonic, Olympus, and several other even less well established brands.

So it's no surprise that "everybody else" is using a Canon or a Nikon.


Quote:
There were a lot of people at the zoo this weekend with SLRS too! Not that I feel a need to be one of the herd, but I'm wondering if there's collective wisdom among all the CanNikon owners that I don't have.
Yes—and (very importantly) no.

Yes, Canon and Nikon make good cameras. 90% of the pro market uses Canon and Nikon, and while many of those pros are perhaps just mindless sheep, they certainly aren't ALL mindless sheep. Canon and Nikon offer very serious advantages to pros that are worth paying for. I'm a pro who does NOT use Canon/Nikon and I have a pretty good idea what I'm missing.

However, the majority of consumers buy Canon and Nikon too, not because the consumer-level cameras are superior to those from Pentax and Sony (they're not), but because buying Canon or Nikon is the easy, obvious, safe thing to do. Go to your local store. They have Canons and Nikons for sales—and may not have anything else. Everybody you know has a Canon or Nikon. An awful lot of the advertising consumers see is for Canon and Nikon.


Quote:
The main reason I went for the Sony a500 over the D5000 was for the in-body stabilization.
A Very Valid Reason for buying Sony (or Pentax).

The lack of in-body image stabilization is one of the dumb things about Canon and Nikon and it's really just a legacy user problem. They have asked their high-end users to pay zillions of dollars for special lenses with image stabilization built into the lens. Canon and Nikon insist that in-lens IS is superior. Maybe, but the difference is very slight, and you not only pay for it with every lens, the lenses are also theoretically a little more prone to breaking because, well, they're more complicated. Anyway, if Nikon and Canon decided tomorrow to start releasing DSLRs with in-body stabilization and declared that this was the future, they'd have a revolt on their hands. Perhaps you aren't aware of how unhappy some old Sony users are that Sony's future seems to lie with the new DSLTs (like the A33/A55) and electronic viewfinders. Well, Sony CAN afford to abuse some of its user base (if "abuse" is the right word) because, frankly, there aren't very many of them. But Canon and Nikon can't.

Anyway, buying for in-body stabilization is a smart move. When I bought my first DSLR five years ago (a Pentax K100D), I was initially inclined to buy a Canon something. But I wanted in-body stabilization. Why did I want it? Because I'd been using Canon bridge cameras (high-end compact cameras) for years that had image stabilization built-in and Canon itself had taught me how valuable this is. So ironically, I was sold on stabilization by Canon itself—and was initially surprised to learn that it wasn't available in their DSLRs.


Quote:
I told the salesgirl that I was interested in low-light shots with a fast prime, and without flash or a tripod in the near future -- she suggested the Sony over the Nikon.
Wow, a rare salesgirl who actually KNOWS something other than, "Here, buy this Canon!"


Quote:
Using a Nikon and a non-stabilized fast prime, she said that I would most likely need a tripod (or suffer from underexposure/camera shake blur/noisy photos from really high ISOs). Since she said that both cameras offer similar performance otherwise (for ISO, AF abilities, OOC jpgs, etc), this really sold me. From some reading/posts I've made, I've gotten this impression too (but of course Sony owners could be biased).
Well, this is slightly complicated.

Basic fact: image stabilization can help at any focal length, but it helps MORE at longer focal lengths, at telephoto focal lengths like 100mm or higher. If you are shooting close to your subject with a 35mm lens, you can only slow the shutter down so much before you run into ANOTHER problem, namely, subject movement. In other words, say you're shooting in a church with a 35mm lens at f/5.6. You'd like to keep the ISO low, but that means slowing down the shutter. If the light were good, and assuming you can hold the camera relatively steady, you could hand-hold the camera and shoot with a shutter speed of, say, 1/100th sec without worrying about blur, even if you didn't have image stabilization. But by the same token, you could NOT shoot with a shutter much slower than, say, 1/30th sec, even WITH image stabilization, because somewhere around 1/30th sec, you are likely to catch people moving, nodding, turning their heads, etc. People can only stand so still.

(Of course if you are shooting sports, then you will need a MUCH faster shutter speed.)

Anyway, the point is, a lot of Canon and Nikon users never buy a stabilized lens, and they do okay. How can that be? Well, either they tend to shoot normal snapshots with short focal lengths and shutter speeds fast enough to counteract camera shake OR they learn to use a tripod.

So image stabilization is a very good thing. But it's not absolutely essential. I shot for 30 years without it.


Quote:
I'm wondering -- if the Sony a500 really does perform just as well as the Nikon D5000, is less expensive, AND has Image Stabilization, why are Sony's so unpopular? Did the salesgirl tell me a lie when she said that it performed just as well as the D5000? Am I missing something here?
Already answered this, but let mention something else. I used to own an Isuzu Trooper. Isuzu (when it was still in business in the USA) also sold a smaller SUV called the Rodeo. They made the same model vehicle for Honda, which sold it as the Passport. Exact same vehicle, made by the same manufacturer. BUT if you bought a Rodeo from Isuzu, you got a warranty that was twice as good, and the Isuzu cost thousands of dollars less. So why were there 10 Honda Passports on the road for every Isuzu Rodeo? I try not to answer, "Because people are stupid." Ignorant, might be a better way to put it. But even that's a bit unfair. Some people just wanted to own a Honda. And the Honda Passport probably DID have better resale value than the Isuzu Rodeo. Anyway, the basic point is, most SUV buyers simply never ever thought about test driving an Isuzu.


Quote:
This camera is a hefty investment and I want to make sure I'm well equipped for the future. I don't want to invest in the Sony system if it's not worth it -- I plan to purchase at least a fast prime and a good zoom lens, and don't want to invest in a brand that's going to fall behind the pack (for when it's time to upgrade to a new body).
You'll be fine.


Quote:
I have taken a bunch of shots with it so far -- some are great, others look like they missed the focus (although this could be due to subject movement/me just learning how to use the camera, and not the camera itself).
Yep. Actually focus is one of the strengths of the Sony line and the A500/A550 in particular. But it takes some work to learn how to get it right most of the time.

Tips: Shoot in good light, and keep your shutter speeds fast. Learn to hold the camera correctly and stably.

*

And as I said, if you already returned the A550 and got the Nikon, well, you'll enjoy it too. Good luck.

Will
williamporter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 23, 2010, 12:27 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

jennie-

I am a very enthusiastic Sony A-500 DSLR user.

I really don't feel limited by the A-500. Just the opposite is true. I feel empowered and enjoy the fact that like a lot of other entry level to mid level DSLR cameras, that it is a great camera.

Please join the Sony DSLR users in the in the Sony DSLR Folder. In fact here is an A-500 photo sample. Please just click the link below.

http://anchorse.smugmug.com/Other/So...5_FcPad-X3.jpg

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Sep 23, 2010 at 9:58 PM.
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 23, 2010, 2:04 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
frank-in-toronto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 1,083
Default

I have the sony a550. a friend has the sony a300. a relative even has the a100! the only self-doubt i have with sony is what the future holds. as long as i'm ok with aps-c, there's not going to be a problem. sony sure seems to be aiming hard at the consumer market. if i decide to change to full-frame, well, i'd most likely switch to nikon or canon. you KNOW they will have full-frame for the indefinite future. you can't say that for sony.

oh, one more small point. i compare the sony a550 to the nikon d90 not the d5000. same price bracket.

Last edited by frank-in-toronto; Sep 23, 2010 at 2:07 PM.
frank-in-toronto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sep 25, 2010, 8:40 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
FredS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Calgary Alberta
Posts: 1,007
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniefw View Post
The main reason I went for the Sony a500 over the D5000 was for the in-body stabilization.
How many Olympus cameras did you see.
Probally less than Sony
I have an Olympus E-520 with 3 kit lenses.
One reason I got it was because of the in camera IS
No it is not perfect but nothing is.

I really like it.
Especially the size and the inexpensive 600mm lense


Your Sony is Fine.

Just my thoughts.
FredS is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:11 PM.