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Thread: Your opinions desired

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    Senior Member f/otographer's Avatar
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    Your opinions desired

    I have been thinking a lot about photography recently and about gear, Sony gear specifically. I must admit that much of my thought has been centered around what I would personally like to see in a new product. I very much enjoy using my NEX 7, and will continue to do for the foreseeable future, but there are things that I would like to see implemented in upcoming products. I think Sony is uniquely placed among manufacturers to bring products like this to market.

    I would like to present 3 ideas for new Sony cameras and to hear your opinions on them. Are the ideas technically sound? Do they interest you? Do you think the market would support them? I am looking for any feedback you may have.

    Camera 1
    a.Sony apsc or FF mirrorless specifically for manual focus lenses
    b.All metal, retro (traditional style) in either a rangefinder or SLR style
    c.Lots of real buttons and dials
    d.Flange to focal distance of around 26mm (No, it will NOT use e mount lenses, as it is not a NEX but rather a specific specialty camera for manual focus lenses) This flange/focal distance will move the lens away from the sensor but still allow the use of Leica M lenses and any other old glass with a larger F/F distance.
    e.Possible accesories? Sony made adapters for the more popular lenses made to very tight tolerances, styled to match the camera. Maybe a basic set of Sony made (Zeiss?) prime lenses, all metal and manual focus. No more then four or five lenses at most.

    Camera 2
    Basically as above, but an apsc camera with a built in Speedbooster like glass arrangement (by Zeiss? licensed from Metabones?) in the lens mount. Again, Sony would offer specially made adapters with tight tolerances. Flange/Focal distance would have to be figured out and I am not sure if rangefinder lenses could be used. This camera would benefit from the extra stop gained by using the built in Speedbooster. Manual focus aficionados would jump for joy the world over.

    Camera 3
    Another apsc mirrorless, but this time not necessarily retro or traditional. This would also have a built in Speedbooster but rather would be made specifically for the Alpha mount AF lenses. Body style could be NEX like, or not. Would definitely be smaller then a traditional DSLR. Anyway, the SB would give it most of the benefits of FF at a reduced cost.

    Cameras 1 and 2 would cater to the re emerging Manual Focus movement that has gained momentum recently. Specialty cameras? Niche cameras? Possibly. But I believe this would be no riskier for Sony then bringing out the RX1 and would help strengthen the position that they are not just bringing out the same old cameras over and over like the Big 2. Cameras like this would be a great compliment to the NEX line and I think they would sell quite well. I would buy one.

    Camera 3 is probably much more viable and could easily be brought to market fairly quickly. Again, it would strengthen Sonys position and offer an innovative option for A mount lenses.

    Blue sky mining? For sure. I would love to hear your opinions positive or negative.

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    Re: Your opinions desired

    It sounds like a nightmare for a manufacturer.

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    Senior Member f/otographer's Avatar
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    Re: Your opinions desired

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    It sounds like a nightmare for a manufacturer.
    How so?

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    Re: Your opinions desired

    OK. Lets look at this.

    I go to my boss and tell him we are going to make a camera that will make us a fortune. It will not use any of our lenses, but everyone else's! AND we are not going to use AF because there is such a need for manual focus--somehow my boss does not understand an AF camera can also have MF. And AF is so undesirable in a camera today.

    Then I say we are going to make adapters for everybody else's lenses. First we have to make sure we can actually do that. Then we have to do QC on those. Now, if a customer complains their Leica Summicat does not reach infinity, we tell them it is Leica's fault. They contact Leica and Leica blames us. This should build great customer confidence.

    Then I say we are going to build in a focal reducer, or speed booster as you call it. Now certainly there are teleconverters made for any lens, but the good teleconverters are matched to specific optics. To make a one-size-fits-all focal reducer presents the same problems. Some lenses might work well, some might suck. None will work as well without the focal reducer. Fortunately, our customers will be really understanding about image quality. And then to take on the QC for every possible lens combination from every possible manufacturer, that sounds like fun.

    Then the other problem the the built-in reducer is that the manufacturing tolerances go up--inserting an optical component into a system increases tolerances by quite a bit. So we have more QC problems.

    On a scale of 1-10 on the chances any of these cameras get built are about a –7.

    I will not even go into the problem of making a rangefinder. The talent that built rangefinder for Minolta and Konica have most likely gone and the skill needed to be relearnt are tremendous. When Nikon reintroduced their S series rangefinder, it turned out to be one of their most expensive products to manufacture and it wasn't even a digital camera.

    I am sorry to be so hard, but I don't think Sony would be interested.

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    Re: Your opinions desired

    Shashin, your not being hard. You are just giving your opinion as I asked.

    First of all, I never said the camera would make a 'fortune' for Sony. But it would make them money. And every little bit helps the bottom line. I dont quite get where you said AF is so undesirable today. I never said that. I said that there is a growing group of photographers that have returned to, and enjoy shooting with, manual focus gear. Those people buy cameras you know. The market is flooded with AF cameras so Sony can differentiate itself with an upscale, boutique manual focus camera. Has anybody had any success with that? Hmmmm...Leica maybe?

    Then yes, tell your boss that we dont have to make any lenses. What an awesome idea. No R and D cost to make any new lenses. Just give the dirty, unwashed manual focus hoards a sweet retro body they can use. Brilliant Johnson, your promoted!

    As for the focal reducer, Metabones has built one, it works, the cat is out of the bag. Someone, someday soon probably, is going to build one into a camera body.

    As for QC problems, every manufacturing concern the world over deals with them, and overcomes them, everyday. Using QC to explain why a camera cant be made is a bit of a cop out. A company that cant solve QC issues wont be in business long.

    Im not quite sure why you mentioned the rangefinder at the end there. Maybe because I mentioned in Camera 1 that it could be in a rangefinder style. I didnt mean it would actually be a rangefinder. I meant that the EVF would be in the NEX style rather then the Olympus OM-D style. I.E., rangefinder vs SLR style.

    I do agree however, the multitude of old lenses would make the design of such a camera challenging. Sort of like the design of the first digital camera. Hell, just like the design of the first camera ever.

    Challenging, but not impossible.

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    Re: Your opinions desired

    Would I have interest in any of the above? Probably not ... uh, actually ... definitely not.

    Frankly. I'm done with APSc sized anything ...and am rapidly becoming allergic to video-game cameras housed in retro designed bodies.

    I'd seriously wonder just how big the manual focus market would really be? IMO, you cannot use Leica as a measure of demand ... they have a built-in following by continuing to offer the only FF dedicated optical digital rangefinder.

    I also suspect that if there is an "emerging" manual focus segment, some of it likely due to the fact that auto focus on many new smaller offerings is mediocre at best.

    While Sony seems willing to take a flier on some nifty offering like the RX-1, I do not think it really is in their DNA to produce low demand products as a matter of fiscal policy ... and their finances do not appear to be all that great as of late.

    What would I really like to see to fill this need (if there is one)? ...

    Off the top of my head without much deep thought ... that Sony and Zeiss exploit what relationship and technology they now have and produce a FF Sony CMOS sensor Zeiss Ikon that works with all the current M mount lenses from Zeiss, Leica, etc. ... a real rangefinder/EVF hybrid, with focus peaking, that comes in at a $4,000 price point ... to give Leica a run for their money, and provide a great alternative to dropping $7,000 every 3 years on the next Leica M.

    But that's just me ...

    -Marc
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    Re: Your opinions desired

    My list would be:

    1. Monochrome NEX.

    2. One that has good construction.

    3. Better sensor.

    4. Better WB in a NEX.


    Barring the first all the others aren't mutually exclusive of one another.

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Your opinions desired

    Marc wrote:
    that Sony and Zeiss exploit what relationship and technology they now have and produce a FF Sony CMOS sensor Zeiss Ikon that works with all the current M mount lenses from Zeiss, Leica, etc. ... a real rangefinder/EVF hybrid, with focus peaking, that comes in at a $4,000 price point
    Works for me; will have X-100s in the meantime; no interchangeable lenses, but OVF/EVF, with focus peaking and my second favourite FL (45 is all-time fave).

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