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Thread: Sony A900: First Impressions

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    Sony A900: First Impressions

    Just got the A900, and two lenses: Zeiss 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 with the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 on it's way. Waiting for availability of the Zeiss 16-35/2.8.

    Primary reason for the Sony selection is the Zeiss AF optics. Wouldn't even consider Sony without them.

    A900 camera itself is better than I had expected. Quite easy to use, and I really like the WB controls more than any other camera I've used to date ... something that is important to me when shooting weddings in ever changing or mixed light temps.

    In-camera image stabilization is brilliant, and makes the camera worth the price alone when using these longer Zeiss lenses in low ambient light. With some of these lenses it helps make up for really high ISO performance that's lacking compared to the Nikon D3 and D700.

    IQ is also better than I had expected in the mid-high ISO range from 800 to 2000. So far, I feel 6400 is not desirable for what I shoot, except for B&W conversions where it looks pretty good. However, the most important ISOs for me are 200 to 500 and 800 to 2000 ... and in those cases, this camera barks with the best of them.

    One mitigating factor that shows up almost immediately is the visibly higher contrast from the Zeiss lenses. When using higher ISOs with micro-contrast type optics like this, I've found there is less need to increase contrast or sharpen in post ... which in turn assists in suppressing noise at higher ISOs. Also, what I do not know for a fact, but suspect, is that the AA filter on this A900 camera is not as aggressive as was on my Canon 1DMKIII & 1DsMKIII.

    AF appears to be on Par or slightly slower than my Nikons but these lenses have large glass to move around. The Zeiss 85/1.4 is quicker than the Nikon 85/1.4 for sure, and a jack Rabbit compared to my now sold Canon 85/1.2 MKII.

    I have a ton to absorb yet concerning tweaking all the camera settings to my tastes, and the proof of the pudding will come at my next wedding shoot.

    The Zeiss lenses do not disappoint. Build quality is one of the best I've held in hand. Even the shade is metal. Beautiful industrial design.

    Oh, but the Bokeh is so dreamy on both lenses. Like the R80 ... but in-focus areas are sharper. The immediate impression is 3D ... where you swear you could shift to the side and see behind the in-focus object.

    More to come.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Hey Marc
    I'm so glad you jumped on board. I'm really enjoying mine, I don't have the two Zeiss primes you mention (yet) but I do have the 24-70 (which also has a metal lens hood).
    I find it really nice to use - so very un-Sony like - almost analogue feeling. I also find the back panel very easy and convenient to use. Someone has definitely thought hard about the ergonomics. I also really like the 3 user settings on the mode dial, and the ease of setting / understanding them (I don't believe I have a particularly small brain, but I found that the plethora of different settings and banks on the Nikon ended up just confusing).

    ISO up to 2000 is okay - it's really important to keep the exposure to the right . . . I know this is stating the obvious, but it seems to be much more necessary with this camera.

    If you want a cheap(ish) and convenient telephoto zoom, then the sony 70-300G lens is a good performer, a step up from the Nikon equivalent. I've had less luck with the legacy lenses, and with the sony primes (although the 50 1.4 is okay).

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Yeah, can't wait to set up the 3 custom user settings ... they will be perfect for fast paced weddings where I switch back and forth between "A" outside at lower ISOs, then inside where I go to manual at higher ISOs. I'll probably set the third one for full auto/program.

    I'm not going to flesh out the lens selection beyond the Zeiss zooms and primes. They are all I need for the job at hand. But of note for you, Irakly said the old Minolta 300/4 was stellar.

    First shot with the Zeiss 135/1.8 once the battery was charged ... long suffering Schnuffy that my wife tortures with goofy costumes

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    karrphoto
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    I loved my Minolta gear and it killed me to have to give up my Maxxum 9 and Maxxum 7 when I went digital. I moved to Canon because Nikon was (and still is) backwards. lol. But I wish I would had kept my stuff... I think a lot of the engineers from Minolta did stay on at Sony from what I recall, it was just an acquiring, not buying the tech, so really it's Minolta with Sony's name, or I'm pretty sure.

    The one thing I'm unsure of is the in camera stabilization. Chuck Westfall from Canon (yeah, you could say he's biased...) says that while in camera can be nice, when you get into the longer length lenses, 150mm+ the sensor would have to move so much to really be equal to what the in lens does, it wouldn't be possible. He's talking 2-4mm of movement. I don't know if he's talking out his a$$ or it's true, but Chuck pretty damn knowledgeable when it comes to cameras.

    Love the Chihuahua. We have 3.. lol! My sister brought over a santa hat with beard, the old lady (14 years old) had no problem with wearing it.. lol, gotta love it.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Jeeze, I wouldn't know. Haven't seen any disclaimers from Sony to that effect ... but that doesn't mean anything. It's not revelant for me as 135mm is as long as I need.

    However, I previously had heard that image stabilization for full frame wouldn't be possible either ... but here it is

  6. #6
    asabet
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    The Olympus users I've asked report that the sensor stabilization in the E-3 does a nice job with the Oly superteles.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Yes - quite a few knowledgeable people did say that:
    1. image stabilisation wouldn't be possible with FF
    2. even if it was, then it wouldn't be possible to have a 100% viewfinder

    I haven't used it with anything over 300mm, but it definitely works with that. I guess it's not quite as good as in lens stabilisation . . . . . but other tech people seem to have the same things to say about that affecting quality.

    Whatever, it's nice to be able to put on the old 50mm f1.4 and have stabilisation.

    Chuck Westfall may know a lot, but his prognostications are unlikely to be entirely even handed!

    I bought the Sony, because I really did want a higher mp small body for landscape and walking - I wasn't expecting the earth, but I've found:

    1. the camera is MUCH nicer to use than I'd expected . . . the manual really is pretty redundant, and that is a tribute. It seems to have everything you need, and very little you don't
    2. the image quality is better than I'd expected - it's nothing like as good as the D3 at high ISO, but 100% crops up to 400 ISO seem much cleaner, clearer and sharper (and of course, 100% crops on the Sony is a much smaller area of the frame).
    Lenses are the same old FF conundrum . . .I shouldn't lament the passing of your minolta gear (I had it too) - the minolta lenses I've tried on it haven't really given of their best. . . . . . the new Zeiss lenses on the other hand !
    3. it's much better for portrait and close up work than I expected, and it's quick as well. Focusing not as fast as Nikon, but it seems more accurate and sure footed.

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    Senior Member Brian Mosley's Avatar
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Hi Jono, since you have the G1 and the A900 - can you tell us how the G1's EVF compares sizewise with the OVF in the A900? is it much smaller?

    Kind Regards

    Brian

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Mosley View Post
    Hi Jono, since you have the G1 and the A900 - can you tell us how the G1's EVF compares sizewise with the OVF in the A900? is it much smaller?

    Kind Regards

    Brian
    What an interesting question.
    It's dark now, which is a two way street - the gain in the G1 viewfinder is useful . ..
    I'd say that the A900 viewfinder seems a little larger (but really not much). However, looking at my 24 monitor so that it fills the screen, the writing is completely readable on the A900, and a struggle on the G1 (that also goes for a piece of well lit white paper).

    It's actually a no-brainer (but the G1 certainly doesn't disgrace itself).

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Zeiss 24-70/2.8 for the A900 arrived today. What a beautifully made lens, just like the 85/1.4 and 135/1.8.

    I am absolutely thrilled with this lens also. Beautiful Bokeh, simply beautiful. The big surprise was how close it focuses, amazing!

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Zeiss 24-70/2.8 for the A900 arrived today. What a beautifully made lens, just like the 85/1.4 and 135/1.8.

    I am absolutely thrilled with this lens also. Beautiful Bokeh, simply beautiful. The big surprise was how close it focuses, amazing!
    Hi Marc
    you warm the cockles of my heart
    I thought I was the lone voice in the wilderness

    Now there is the wait for the 16-35 . . . . dare one hope for a t/s lens?

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Marc
    you warm the cockles of my heart
    I thought I was the lone voice in the wilderness

    Now there is the wait for the 16-35 . . . . dare one hope for a t/s lens?
    Yep, just waiting for the Zeiss 16-35/2.8 and I'm done .... unless Zeiss comes with a 300/4

    It seems this camera is really hiding it's light under a bushel basket.

  13. #13
    Zeiss
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Marc,

    thanks for the report. Very informative and tempting.
    Any system that lets me use Zeiss glass is interesting to me. I have previously seen images taken with the 135/1.8 - amazing. Just wish they would make it for nikon.

    I won't switch though simply for the fact that I love film too much and there is no F5/6 equivalent with the sony mount - or is there?

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    I collect my A900 / Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 tomorrow, work permitting. Zeiss glass is a prime driver for me, too.

    Quentin
    Quentin Bargate
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeiss View Post
    I won't switch though simply for the fact that I love film too much and there is no F5/6 equivalent with the sony mount - or is there?
    Hi There
    I'm not sure about that - but remember that the Sony mount is only the old Minolta mount - so there is a huge number of legacy lenses, many of which are supposed to be excellent.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Quentin_Bargate View Post
    I collect my A900 / Zeiss 24-70 f/2.8 tomorrow, work permitting. Zeiss glass is a prime driver for me, too.

    Quentin
    Congratulations
    All the way from Devon!

    I think you're nipping in just in time . . . seems to me that they might suddenly be a bump in demand.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Congratulations
    All the way from Devon!

    I think you're nipping in just in time . . . seems to me that they might suddenly be a bump in demand.
    Absolutely, Jono, particularly as the A900 is being priced quite keenly now. Note also the Michael Reichmann review of the A900 published today is very positive. I have never owned a Walkman before

    Quentin
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Congratulations
    All the way from Devon!

    I think you're nipping in just in time . . . seems to me that they might suddenly be a bump in demand.

    I just received my A900 to go with the Zeiss 24-70 and 85mm! Jono, thanks for all of your feedback on the system, as it was instrumental in my decision.

    Zeiss, there isn't an F5/6 equivalent per se, but the Maxxum 9 and 7 film cameras were quite nice and available at good prices. The 9 is the more professional, but it needs an upgrade if you want to use the newer SSM (equivalent to USM) lenses.

  19. #19
    asabet
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Got a nice core of A900 users here now. The Zeiss 135/1.8 is a very tempting lens. I wish Zeiss made AF lenses for Nikon!

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    Got a nice core of A900 users here now. The Zeiss 135/1.8 is a very tempting lens. I wish Zeiss made AF lenses for Nikon!
    Hi Amin
    There is lots of scope for more Zeiss lenses afaik the 85 f1.4 and 135 f1.8 still have old fashioned motors (unlike the 24-70).

    As for A900 users - I guess that there will be quite a few around now.

    I don't think I can remember another time when one manufacturer's announcement set everybody off buying a camera from another manufacturer!

    Douglas - I hope you're very happy with your new tool especially if I had anything to do with the decision!

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    I've always had workhorse cameras like Nikon or Canon for my wedding business ... but also indulged in interesting DSLRs on the side. The Contax ND was one, and with the demise of Koycera's photo division I moved on to the Leica DMR. This induldgence was usually based on the optics ... Zeiss AF N lenses for the ND, and Leica R optics for the DMR.

    I had always hoped one of these induldgences would evolve to lessen or eliminate the need for the workhorse system. The FF ND was a great idea for it's time that was poorly executed and supported. The DMR/9 was crop frame, manual focus and limited to lower ISO performance (plus the flash wasn't TTL and proved to be to irratic when set to A while shooting weddings.) As soon as they lowered the light, I had to put the DMR away.

    Not until this A900 camera have my hopes been revived.

    In fact, I suspect the A900 will be particularly suited to wedding photography. First and foremost are the selections for degree of DR ... which really DO work; the analog custom settings 1,2,3 dial is much better for that fast paced work than going into a menu. This allows me to program my basic indoor and outdoor settings and not fiddle around with the camera as I rush from one environment to another; the Intelligent Preview using the one touch joy stick to adjust settings is extraordinary fast compared to Live View and adjusting various settings on my previous Canon 1DsMKIII or current D3. The super simple WB adjustment which allows you to zero in WB and even add G/R filteration is so intuitive and quick compared to other cameras.

    It's been written that he AF is a tad slower than it's counterparts from Canon and Nikon, but very accurate. Perhaps so, except the Zeiss 85/1.4 is no where as slow as the Canon 85/1.2MKII, and I haven't experienced any noticable difference from the 24-70/2.8 compared to my old Canon 24-70/2.8L.

    Then, there is the internal IS ... which allows me to open up the backgrounds when using fill ... with any lens, including the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 ...(neither Canon's or Nikon"s is IS/VR) ... the same will be true for the Zeiss 16-35/2.8 when I get my mits on it. In fact, of the core focal lengths I most use for wedding work, none from Canon or Nikon are IS or VR.

    My next wedding is Dec. 27th, and I have a portrait session this Sunday ... the real world will be the acid test.

  22. #22
    gtmerideth
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    You would have to be a fool to argue with the experience in this thread.

    I'm not. Just waiting for my A900 and the popular three lens kit. And I want to thank all of you contributors. Most fun I've had in a long time.

    gary meridethhttp://forum.getdpi.com/forum/images/smilies/clap.gif

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by gtmerideth View Post
    You would have to be a fool to argue with the experience in this thread.

    I'm not. Just waiting for my A900 and the popular three lens kit. And I want to thank all of you contributors. Most fun I've had in a long time.

    gary meridethhttp://forum.getdpi.com/forum/images/smilies/clap.gif
    Hi Gary
    congratulations on your new kit.
    As for the 'popular three lens kit'. I know of two 'popular three lens kits'

    There is Marc's variant:
    Zeiss 24-70
    Zeiss 85 f1.4
    Zeiss 135 f1.8

    excellent and enviable

    Then there is Mr Reichmann's 'three lens kit'

    Zeiss 24-70
    Sony G 70-300
    Sony 50mm f1.4

    Perhaps there is an argument for a 5 lens kit?

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Gary
    congratulations on your new kit.
    As for the 'popular three lens kit'. I know of two 'popular three lens kits'

    There is Marc's variant:
    Zeiss 24-70
    Zeiss 85 f1.4
    Zeiss 135 f1.8

    excellent and enviable

    Then there is Mr Reichmann's 'three lens kit'

    Zeiss 24-70
    Sony G 70-300
    Sony 50mm f1.4

    Perhaps there is an argument for a 5 lens kit?
    Well mine will be 4 lenses once the 16-35 is here. I need really wide angle for some wedding stuff.

    What would be nice for lens #5 is a Zeiss 2X for the 135/1.8 = 270mm f/3.6

  25. #25
    gtmerideth
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Well, I been following Marc around since the Contax N digital times, so I saw no reason to change my MO.

    However, not for the wedding business but one of my favorite efforts is the botanic gardens trip and I have on order (now on BO) a 135/2.8 STF lens.
    Dyxum has a fine review of this Minolta design. But the short of it is that it is called the "cream machine". The smoothest boke of any piece of glass known.
    It was unknown to me but Minolta designers followed a concept of balance between boke and accutance. A parallel is the ZF, ZK, ZS pieces and the contrast with the Cosina Voigtlander SL, APO, Lanthar and Nokton stuff.

    Exploring the legacy Minolta AF items as well as the capability of using M42 mounts which of course include Zeiss, Schneider, Rodenstock, Pentax as well as others promises to be a long time of enjoyment for a gearhead.

  26. #26
    asabet
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    How is the Sony 35mm f/1.4G lens? If that one is a winner, it could make a great two lens kit with the Zeiss 85/1.4.


    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Gary
    congratulations on your new kit.
    As for the 'popular three lens kit'. I know of two 'popular three lens kits'

    There is Marc's variant:
    Zeiss 24-70
    Zeiss 85 f1.4
    Zeiss 135 f1.8

    excellent and enviable

    Then there is Mr Reichmann's 'three lens kit'

    Zeiss 24-70
    Sony G 70-300
    Sony 50mm f1.4

    Perhaps there is an argument for a 5 lens kit?

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    How is the Sony 35mm f/1.4G lens? If that one is a winner, it could make a great two lens kit with the Zeiss 85/1.4.
    The 35G lens is interesting. It doesn't look good in tests, because it isn't very sharp, but many swear by it because of it's "look.". I guess you could call it more of an artisan lens. The old 35mm f2 is supposedly sharper Www.dyxum.com has a wonderful lens database to read about this stuff.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Marc, I know that you are one of the earliest "full frame" digital users.

    While going from the Contax ND to A900, I wonder why you skipped mentioning the Nikon D3 (optics the sole reason or..?)?

    I am leaning towards Sony. I want to explore if I can dump all my Nikon lenses and buy some Sony gear.

    Oh, yes. I like Zeiss.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    I am not a "fan boy" of anything, and will also point out things I do not like about a new piece of equipment.

    I can comment negatively on the camera in detail yet ... not until it is used for real, on the job. But so far, my impression is that it'll do very well.

    But I do have an issue with the 85 and 135 Zeiss lenses ... both display some CA where hard edges meet high contrast bright backgrounds. Now for my applications and how the images will be printed, it's all but invisible ... but it can effect the impression of sharpness in those areas, and would be visible in really large prints. I'll put up with it because the 3D effect of these lenses trumps some small amount of color fringing ... and CA can be eliminated in critical applications, where a 3D feel can't be added ... it's there or it isn't.

    Frankly, not what I expected at these prices, and something one rarely sees with Leica optics. Not terribly difficult to correct in post, but I don't like having to do that at all. Same thing I detected with the ZF 100/2 macro, where in contrast, there is little to none with my ZF 50/2 macro and ZF 85/1.4.

    So far, I'm not seeing CA from the Sony/Zeiss 24-70/2.8 ... just some vignetting and a touch of barrel @24mm .... but it's the type of distortion easily corrected as opposed to the mustache type distortion which is all but impossible to correct. The creamy Bokeh, sharpness and consistent color rendition of this lens is pure Zeiss.

    Just keeping it real.

    Your thoughts?

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Marc, I know that you are one of the earliest "full frame" digital users.

    While going from the Contax ND to A900, I wonder why you skipped mentioning the Nikon D3 (optics the sole reason or..?)?

    I am leaning towards Sony. I want to explore if I can dump all my Nikon lenses and buy some Sony gear.

    Oh, yes. I like Zeiss.
    Actually, my trek included Canon full frame for years (1 series MKI, MKII, MKIII and 5D) ... and now the current Nikon D3/D700, both of which I still have, use and like. FF and fast primes was the reason I worked with Canon for many years.

    The ND and DMR were side-line cameras chosen as a path to the optics available for them. While I liked the fast aperture speed of the Canon Primes, I always missed that 3D effect so effortlessly accomplished with the Leica and Zeiss lenses. I tried to adapt various Leica and Zeiss/Contax lenses to the Canons, but the inconvenience and manual focus limitations didn't suit my journalistic wedding work very well.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I am not a "fan boy" of anything, and will also point out things I do not like about a new piece of equipment.

    I can comment negatively on the camera in detail yet ... not until it is used for real, on the job. But so far, my impression is that it'll do very well.

    But I do have an issue with the 85 and 135 Zeiss lenses ... both display some CA where hard edges meet high contrast bright backgrounds. Now for my applications and how the images will be printed, it's all but invisible ... but it can effect the impression of sharpness in those areas, and would be visible in really large prints. I'll put up with it because the 3D effect of these lenses trumps some small amount of color fringing ... and CA can be eliminated in critical applications, where a 3D feel can't be added ... it's there or it isn't.

    Frankly, not what I expected at these prices, and something one rarely sees with Leica optics. Not terribly difficult to correct in post, but I don't like having to do that at all. Same thing I detected with the ZF 100/2 macro, where in contrast, there is little to none with my ZF 50/2 macro and ZF 85/1.4.

    So far, I'm not seeing CA from the Sony/Zeiss 24-70/2.8 ... just some vignetting and a touch of barrel @24mm .... but it's the type of distortion easily corrected as opposed to the mustache type distortion which is all but impossible to correct. The creamy Bokeh, sharpness and consistent color rendition of this lens is pure Zeiss.

    Just keeping it real.

    Your thoughts?
    Whilst we're getting real
    I don't have the 135 or the 85, but I did spend some time with the 85, and agree about the CA on that.
    I also agree about the vignetting and slight distortion on the 24-70, but, as you say, it's refreshing to have 'honest' distortion which can be corrected if necessary.

    Other lenses I have tried:

    70-300 Sony f4.5/5/6 SSM G lens
    This is an excellent lens - sharp, quick focusing and silent. Of course, it's rather slow, but helped by the in camera IS

    50mm f1.4 Sony
    This has a 'rounded aperture', and has a nicer bokeh than it's Nikon equivalent - there is some vignetting wide open, and it also has a little distortion. It doesn't have SSM, but it is nice and small, and focuses reasonably quickly and quietly.


    The above two lenses - together with the Zeiss 24-70 make up Michael Reichmann's triumvirate for his review.

    20mm f2.8 Sony
    I was disappointed with this lens to start with, it doesn't vignette a great deal, and the distortion is not too bad (not perfect either). But it does have soft corners in most situations, even stopped down (this may be to do with curvature of field).

    However, looking back at pictures taken with it, it does have a nice 3D glow to it. Again, it doesn't have SSM, but it is nicely made.

    Sigma 12-24.
    I bought this lens as a wide angle stop-gap until the 16-35 arrives. It isn't that great at the edges, in fact, I think it performs less will than the equivalent lens on the Kodak 14n (perhaps this copy is not so good, although it doesn't seem to be decentred at all).

    Experience with 'lesser' lenses on the D3 and D700 has made me cautious. I think that full frame of any MP is a hard taskmaster on cheaper lenses.
    It would be lovely to have a high quality f4 walkabout lens . . . . but I wouldn't hold your breath!

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Whilst we're getting real
    I don't have the 135 or the 85, but I did spend some time with the 85, and agree about the CA on that.
    I also agree about the vignetting and slight distortion on the 24-70, but, as you say, it's refreshing to have 'honest' distortion which can be corrected if necessary.

    Other lenses I have tried:

    70-300 Sony f4.5/5/6 SSM G lens
    This is an excellent lens - sharp, quick focusing and silent. Of course, it's rather slow, but helped by the in camera IS

    50mm f1.4 Sony
    This has a 'rounded aperture', and has a nicer bokeh than it's Nikon equivalent - there is some vignetting wide open, and it also has a little distortion. It doesn't have SSM, but it is nice and small, and focuses reasonably quickly and quietly.


    The above two lenses - together with the Zeiss 24-70 make up Michael Reichmann's triumvirate for his review.

    20mm f2.8 Sony
    I was disappointed with this lens to start with, it doesn't vignette a great deal, and the distortion is not too bad (not perfect either). But it does have soft corners in most situations, even stopped down (this may be to do with curvature of field).

    However, looking back at pictures taken with it, it does have a nice 3D glow to it. Again, it doesn't have SSM, but it is nicely made.

    Sigma 12-24.
    I bought this lens as a wide angle stop-gap until the 16-35 arrives. It isn't that great at the edges, in fact, I think it performs less will than the equivalent lens on the Kodak 14n (perhaps this copy is not so good, although it doesn't seem to be decentred at all).

    Experience with 'lesser' lenses on the D3 and D700 has made me cautious. I think that full frame of any MP is a hard taskmaster on cheaper lenses.
    It would be lovely to have a high quality f4 walkabout lens . . . . but I wouldn't hold your breath!
    Actually, information of this type is invaluable to those just starting. I was also curious about the Sigma 30/1.4 (as a stop gap until I get the 16-35), and if it was decent, keep it for low light. Anyone with experience on this lens?

    Irakly used to shoot Minolta, and said the 300/4 was excellent.

    What about the Sony 70-200/2.8 G?

    I agree about the D3/D700 .... but must admit that the 14-24/2.8 and 100/2.8 Macro VR with Nano Coating and all that are pretty good ... at least on those 12 meg FF cameras.
    I also have the 200/2VR which barks with the big dogs!

  33. #33
    asabet
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Actually, information of this type is invaluable to those just starting. I was also curious about the Sigma 30/1.4 (as a stop gap until I get the 16-35), and if it was decent, keep it for low light. Anyone with experience on this lens?
    I used to have the Canon version. The Sigma 30 is designed for APS-C sensors and so won't cover the A900 sensor. Optically it is an excellent performer except that the edges/corners lag more than I would like, and barrel distortion is also more than the Canon 28mm primes. Center performance is very good even wide open, and bokeh rendition is pleasing. QC is an issue with this lens. Lots of reports of misfocusing copies, at least in Canon land. I had two misfocusing copies myself before Sigma fixed one for me.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    I used to have the Canon version. The Sigma 30 is designed for APS-C sensors and so won't cover the A900 sensor. Optically it is an excellent performer except that the edges/corners lag more than I would like, and barrel distortion is also more than the Canon 28mm primes. Center performance is very good even wide open, and bokeh rendition is pleasing. QC is an issue with this lens. Lots of reports of misfocusing copies, at least in Canon land. I had two misfocusing copies myself before Sigma fixed one for me.
    Thanks, check that lens off the list.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Now here's something odd.

    I just shot some "For Sale" stuff in the studio. I used the Sony and Zeiss 85/1.4 shooting lenses against a bright white background and there was virtually no CA at all?

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Marc where are you finding the Zeiss lenses in the states. B&H only has the 24-70 from what I can see. Just trying to price out the whole setup. Love to know the ISO 1600 impressions on it.

    Also folks what Raw software is working. Not sure C1 can see it yet
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Now here's something odd.

    I just shot some "For Sale" stuff in the studio. I used the Sony and Zeiss 85/1.4 shooting lenses against a bright white background and there was virtually no CA at all?
    One possibility:

    Quality of light. In the studio set-up you are in the dark. The perfect shade.
    No light hitting the lens from the sides at all.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Marc, what apertures did you use for the studio shots? I find that the 85mm cleans up the CA around f2.8. Also, I'm assuming that you're not a UV filter user, but that can also cause major problems. My multicoated heliopan filter creates tons of CA with the 85mm/A900 combo when I tested it the other day.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    The 85/1.4 studio shots were done at f/11 (attached)... with no noticable CA

    ... but I did get some CA in contrasty shots outdoors with the 135/1.8 done at f/9 like this test image of my yard (also attached, including a close up of the CA)

    The last shot is an uncroped demo of the close focusing ability of the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 and the Bokeh from this lens ... just for fun

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Hi Guy,

    The 85 and 135 have always been in stock at B&H, but maybe since the camera became available they've been snapped up.

    Try the Sony Store. The only problem with the Sony Store is that they charge sales tax per the State you're in.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    fotografz, thanks for the shots. I guess there is some CA at the higher apertures as well on the 85mm.

    One thing to note about the 24-70 is watch out for bokeh in situations like speculars coming through trees. It can be pretty distinct and donut looking

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    Also folks what Raw software is working. Not sure C1 can see it yet
    Hi Guy
    Not sure about C1 - but pretty much everything else is on board:
    ACR
    Lightroom
    Aperture
    Bibble
    Silky Pix
    etc

    I find 1600 okay if you expose to the right . . . but really, it isn't what the camera is about

    Just this guy you know

  43. #43
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Guy,
    Bad boy, I know but I have been buying the lenses from dealers in Singapore and Hong Kong. The freight is $40 but DHL gets it from there to Denver in
    2 to 3 days. Amazing new world we live in. Saved half a G note on the A900 body.

    gary

  44. #44
    Wolfman
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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by gtmerideth View Post
    Guy,
    Bad boy, I know but I have been buying the lenses from dealers in Singapore and Hong Kong. The freight is $40 but DHL gets it from there to Denver in
    2 to 3 days. Amazing new world we live in. Saved half a G note on the A900 body.

    gary
    Any chance of recommending the place you bought the A900 from?

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Honestly from what i have seen of Jono's images posted on this forum , I just like the look of this system which has peaked my interest.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Thank you Guy.

    I got hold of the 100mm macro today - it's noisy, and the focusing isn't that fast, but it's about half the size of it's Nikon counterpart, and the images certainly look sharp.

    Unfortunately it was getting dark when I got home, but here are some tangerines on the kitchen table:

    ISO 1600
    f2.8
    no processing or cropping beyond exporting as a jpg from Aperture.



    not a huge depth of field at that range then

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Jono,

    As you are owner of both A900 and G1, I would have a lot of questions for you but I am going to restrict myself

    Could you take a picture of both cameras side by side to visualize the size difference ?
    This is for one because I feel this A900 to be hudge and bulky (and somewhat very ugly but who cares).

    Now if you go to this page here :
    http://www.pbase.com/scho/panasonic_lumix_g1&page=2
    I have been shocked by the 3D effect this little G1 is showing up, as Mark put it for the A900 "you swear you could shift to the side and see behind the in-focus object" I would add "you feel being right in the middle of scenery".
    So two pictures of the same subject with each camera to get some comparable point of view would be interesting if you have the courage to do it.

    Many thanks
    Michel

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    HI Michel

    Quote Originally Posted by sinwen View Post
    Jono,

    As you are owner of both A900 and G1, I would have a lot of questions for you but I am going to restrict myself

    Why?


    sorry for the quality of this - I didn't have time to set it up properly

    One thing - I don't think the A900 is even slightly ugly in 'real life' - a little retro perhaps, but it's tapering base does it no favours when sat on a table - quite different in one's hands. I think it's rather lovely (each to his own of course).

    These were taken this afternoon, just for you
    Straight from Aperture with no adjustments

    G1 with Olympus 9-18


    A900 with Zeiss 24-70

    I'm not sure that you can tell anything very significant from a web size shot.



    Of course, you can't really

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Cropping would be unfair.

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    Re: Sony A900: First Impressions

    Oh Alright!

    G1 with Olympus 9-18


    A900 with Zeiss 24-70

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