I am new to posting in the Sony forum but I wanted to share some of my experiences in testing the A900, as I am very interested in potentially switching from Nikon.
Firstly my drivers are:
1. CZ glass
2. Different look (Canon/Nikon)
3. Smaller camera body
4. Higher IQ
So I have a sample kit from Sony with the CZ24-70 and have tested many different things as well as shooting briefly at one of my weddings.
The results can be broken down into three keys areas:
1. Overall IQ
2. RAW converters
3. Camera and settings
1. Generally I find the overall IQ very pleasing and generally find that the images need less post with colour than the Nikon D3. I would normally use C1 for the files as I feel this is the best converter to get the best detail and colour from my images, sometimes not the b=most stable but the best IQ for the D3 in my opinion. Of course the topic that has been done to death is the noise, and after many many tests I see that with reasonable lighting and correct exposure I can live with up to iso1600 would prefer to stay under 800. My biggest concern is sharpness with the CZ vs the Nikon 24-70 as the test shots at the wedding there were a much higher ratio of OOF than normal and the ones that I have focus seem softer to the Nikon 24-70. Does anybody else have any experience or views, as I feel that the CZ should be on par with the Nikon form reviews and other comments? Even when I have tired under better test conditions at 70mm it does not seem to be as sharp. now of course sharpness is another area that we all can debate, I do like to have the best IQ and maybe the CZ produces a slightly softer result at 2.8 which is what I normally shoot. I am still happy with the result it is just hard when you compare, I also feel that it does drop off after iso800 where the Nikon files do tend to hold a better sharpness. With all that said I like the colour rendition from the Sony and again there seems less work with skin which is the key area for me as the D3 is way to yellow.
My last point on IQ is I think that the settings I stated with may have assisted in the overall poor focusing as now I have the A900 with single AF, Steadyshot on and am very much more watchful of the shutter speed. I think that the D3 has made me a little more lazy than I should be in regards to camera craft. I think my original settings might have been a different focus mode and I am not sure if it was grabbing some other area with the assist points???
2. RAW - well I have tired all the major ones C1, Aperture 2, DXO, RPP and LR2 and testing with the bare settings and only changing WB I tended to like the results from DXO and C1, no real surprised for C1 but I was surprised by DXO. Now I was really pixel peeping and I found that C1 probably retains slightly more micro detail than DXO, but DXO did a nice job with the skin with NR off. No so happy with the DXO speed but it just seemed to beat C1 at this stage. My big concern was the noise and of course above iso 800 it really does not compete with the D3 and I do shoot in low light and tend to have favored high iso which the D3 and now the new D3s excel at. I think that moving to Sony would result in a high use of flash and using the other lens like the 50 1,4 wide open and hope the steady shot give me a couple of stops advantage in the churches and receptions. I have not yet been abel to see how well the in body steady-shot works? I have use the Olympus E3 and that did work very well. Lastly I was very happy with the 58AM flash as the design is very good and it makes moving the head very easy and it did do a very even and consistent job with the ttl.
3. The camera, well it might not be the most beautiful of designs but it does handle very well, bright viewfinder is great, overall the interface works well. I think it is a very complete system yes there are some features that I could suggest and I am sure others can as well. I think many of them could be added as a firmware update?? I think that the AF (especially) the center AF is very good and have found the multi-segment to perform very well and it does seem to have a very good DR and alot of highlight headroom.
So where does this leave me well after way to many hours spent testing and reading I am very close to changing over. I just need to reassure myself that with this great tool I can create the images I want. So the final part for me is to see if I can get good consistent sharp images, which I am for lots of the static test shots. I also need to feel a little more comfortable about the overall noise performance and getting the result result from the RAW file which at this stage means a little more testing for C1 and DXO.
Sorry for the long post but I do like to contribute after reading and learning from many of the great threads that are here and I hope sharing my thinking and experience to date might help others if they to are looking to see what the A900 can offer.
I am still very interested in any other experience with the CZ lens compared to Nikon?