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Thread: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

  1. #1
    ddk
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    A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    From what I'm seeing and hearing it looks like Sony has a real winner in the A900, every owner seems to be genuinely satisfied with the camera and the system lenses. On the other hand it seems like the D3x owners are finding it difficult to wrangle the goods from the camera. There are many reports regarding the quality of Nikkors not being up to scratch for the sensor or that they find hand holding the camera results in blurred images. Looks like Sony made all the right choices with internal IS and Zeiss glass. The difference is most evident in the picture threads, A900 shooters are thriving with regular great new image posts while the D3x is dwindling. The pickings are slim even on dpreview and their huge user base.

    Way to go Sony, now please add some primes at the wide end so I can join the party too.

    PS. Forgot to mention how right was Sony's pricing policy.

  2. #2
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    You know... I can't speak from vast experience with nikon (even though I have owned several of their dslrs), but I still have trouble finding nikon samples of portraits/fashion/people in which I like the color. I've said it before... you can definitely profile the camera for a different look, but I find the color (right out of the box) of the a900 to be spectacular and the general look of the d3x to be flat and off-color a tad.

    Now... I've seen some architectural work with the d3x and those great wide zooms and t/s lenses that really looks great, but people shots just lack something. Anywho, I find nikon to be a respectable company and if the d3x turns out to be problem-prone, I'd bet they'll figure it out and fix it.

    Otherwise... welcome to high res!

    More detail potential=more potential for flawed technique to be exposed. Same thing has been happening with the p65+ backs.

  3. #3
    ddk
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    You know... I can't speak from vast experience with nikon (even though I have owned several of their dslrs), but I still have trouble finding nikon samples of portraits/fashion/people in which I like the color. I've said it before... you can definitely profile the camera for a different look, but I find the color (right out of the box) of the a900 to be spectacular and the general look of the d3x to be flat and off-color a tad.

    Now... I've seen some architectural work with the d3x and those great wide zooms and t/s lenses that really looks great, but people shots just lack something. Anywho, I find nikon to be a respectable company and if the d3x turns out to be problem-prone, I'd bet they'll figure it out and fix it.

    Otherwise... welcome to high res!

    More detail potential=more potential for flawed technique to be exposed. Same thing has been happening with the p65+ backs.
    Well, Shelby, I happen to agree with you regarding Nikon colors in the past, my first was a D70 that I returned the day after I bought it upon seeing its files, then wasted a month with a D2x and again gave it a go with the D300 and D3 cameras, none of which I ended up keeping. I haven't tried a D3x so I can't comment on its qualities but is seem like to get goods one has to work at it, which defeats the purpose of buying a dslr in the first place, might as well deal with MF.

  4. #4
    Ranger 9
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    From what I'm seeing and hearing it looks like Sony has a real winner in the A900, every owner seems to be genuinely satisfied with the camera and the system lenses. On the other hand it seems like the D3x owners are finding it difficult to wrangle the goods from the camera.
    Okay, don't tell me, let me guess... which of these two cameras do YOU own?

    Yeah, I know. I must be psychic or something.

    A few potential alternative explanations for these observations:

    -- Happy Sony users' "seeing and hearing" are selective; they tend to hear comments that agree with them and not so much the ones that don't.

    -- There are far more comments from Sony users than Nikon users because the A900 is more affordable, diffusing negative comments into a larger statistical pool; for example, one negative comment about Sony might be offset by 20 positive comments, whereas one negative comment about the Nikon might be 25% or 50% of the total comments about that camera.

    -- Nikon's geezlouiseIcantbelievehowexpensivethisthingis pricing on the D3x means that the relatively few people who have bought them have very demanding expectations of what they should be getting for all that money. Sony users, on the other hand, are pleasantly surprised by how little they paid and are willing to overlook, um, high-ISO noise, for example.

    -- Happy D3x users are out making money with their cameras rather than posting on photography forums.

    Note that I'm not bashing the A900 or defending the Nikon (I don't own either one and am not in the market for either one.) You'll see this kind of effect ANY time you compare comments about a relatively widely-used camera vs. a relatively little-used camera.

  5. #5
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    -- Happy D3x users are out making money with their cameras rather than posting on photography forums.
    You had to go and say something snarky like that... conjecture... just like everything else we've all said.

    C'mon, let us bask in the goodness that is the a900. Not all of us need d3-level high iso, but how about good skin tones and color?

    Ok... gotta go to bed. There's money to be made tomorrow morning on my a900.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Honestly, I'm usually against this kind of threads. I do care to know what other brands are doing and what models are successful but I wouldn't start a thread about it on a Sony forum. For me money is no issue, I could have easily bought a D3X but then I could have stayed with the Canon 1Ds series. The reason I moved to Sony is the availability and potential introductions of more Zeiss AF glass, that neither Canon nor Nikon offer. The A900 having IMO the best low-ISO performance is a plus but not the determining factor as this will change constantly with camera bodies being upgraded at a fast pace.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Okay, don't tell me, let me guess... which of these two cameras do YOU own?

    Yeah, I know. I must be psychic or something.
    I don't think David owns either does he?
    So possibly not only are you not psychic but you didn't read his post properly?

    A few potential alternative explanations for these observations:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    -- Happy Sony users' "seeing and hearing" are selective; they tend to hear comments that agree with them and not so much the ones that don't.

    Sony users, on the other hand, are pleasantly surprised by how little they paid and are willing to overlook, um, high-ISO noise, for example.


    Note that I'm not bashing the A900 or defending the Nikon (I don't own either one and am not in the market for either one.) You'll see this kind of effect ANY time you compare comments about a relatively widely-used camera vs. a relatively little-used camera.
    Well, In general terms I agree with you, but most of the people around here could have had either, and were absolutely aware of the high ISO noise before they bought in.

    Like others here I've had a LOT of experience with Nikon, and the Sony files are refreshing in contrast (with respect to colour and general zing).

    Maybe congratulatory threads on a Sony forum aren't much of a surprise, but it's a satisfactory camera - with very few gripes and irritations, which, for this hardened gearhead is an unusual and refreshing experience.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Actually I'm more excited about what comes after this first generation of 20+ MP cameras (not sure if Canons should still be called first-gen) - cameras as well as lenses.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    I think "satisfaction" is relative.

    I tend to stay pretty even keeled about all this gear mania because I have so many different systems right now, and used most others at one time or another ... making me a bit of a "maniac".

    Right now, I'm relatively "satisfied" with the A900 and some of the lenses. I doubt that would be AS true if the camera cost $8,000. rather than $3,000. Relatively speaking, the lenses are worth it since they aren't had at any significant premium over the Nikon counterparts. Specifically, were it not for IS and the Zeiss 85/1.4 and especially the 135/1.8, The lens gap wouldn't be justification enough to jump systems ... since the newer Nikon 14-24/2.8 and 24-70/2.8 that I have (along with very precisely calibrated D3/D700 bodies) are no slouches in IQ. And nothing I own in Sony yet matches my D700 with the AFS 200/2 VR. Plus, I have a slew of Zeiss ZF optics for the Nikons and a F6 which is the best 35mm film camera I've ever used. So for now, I'll maintain 2 systems and match them to the need at hand.

    As far as low ISO specific work, that is a catagory I leave to MFD ... which I can only say outstrips the A900 by a good margin. The advantage of the Sony is the same advantage any DSLR has over MFD, but it'll never be an advantage in the low ISO area of IQ ... which is just the same physics as it was with film ... size matters.

    All that said, I still contend that we haven't explored the depths of what this camera can do for us yet. As I have time, I'm trying all kinds of different processing programs and trying to figure out what it is that I think this camera can do better than it does now.

    Give it 6 months and I'll bet a dollar to a donut the images from he A900 will get even better. Just my 2˘.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    I was wondering last night whether the in body IS wouldn't just bring the handholdability down to the level of a camera like the 5D(original) or D700. I have little doubt that 25 megapixels needs at least a stop if not two more shutter speed to maximise it's potential. Is the fact that there is IS offset by the fact that it needs IS? (To the detriment of the other high megapixel offerings at least).
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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    I was wondering last night whether the in body IS wouldn't just bring the handholdability down to the level of a camera like the 5D(original) or D700. I have little doubt that 25 megapixels needs at least a stop if not two more shutter speed to maximise it's potential. Is the fact that there is IS offset by the fact that it needs IS? (To the detriment of the other high megapixel offerings at least).
    The math is pretty simple - assuming same ISO, acceptable shake radius is proportional to sensor pitch - going from 12 to 24 MP means 0.7x pitch so shutter speed needs to be half a stop shorter. So the difference isn't that huge.

    Where D700 has a major advantage over the A900 is of course in ISO speed - 2 stops? - which adds to the half stop from larger pitch. IS likely compensates for some of that difference in speed. (Obviously ignoring the possibility of using IS/VR lenses on the D700.)

    However: If I used an A900 I would try to maximize image quality which means staying at low ISO. This would make it seem less handholdable. With my D700 OTOH I'm happily firing away at ISO 6400 even though image quality is compromised a bit, as for me it opens up possibilities.

    Also, the AA filter in the D700 softens slightly, which hides camera shake slightly. My guess is that the Sony is much more revealing in that sense.

    Disclaimer: I have never used an A900 so I have no idea what I'm talking about.
    Last edited by Lars; 29th April 2009 at 02:15.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    I was wondering last night whether the in body IS wouldn't just bring the handhold-ability down to the level of a camera like the 5D(original) or D700. I have little doubt that 25 megapixels needs at least a stop if not two more shutter speed to maximize its potential. Is the fact that there is IS offset by the fact that it needs IS? (To the detriment of the other high megapixel offerings at least).
    Ben, good question and observation. But it's apples and oranges to compare a 24 meg sensor to a 12 meg one IMO. The comparison for IS advantages would be better between the new 5D-II or 1DsMKIII and this camera.

    Since the main draw of this camera is use of IS with every lens, not just select ones, lenses like the Zeiss 16-36/2.8, 24-70/2.8, 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 have a distinct IS advantage at ISOs from 100 to at least 800 or 1250 ... which is the range I tend to work with-in for weddings regardless of camera or resolution. None of the Canon equivalent focal lengths offer IS.

    Here is a recent available light example ... the groom shot hand-held with no flash @ ISO 800, using the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 @ 50mm f/2.8 ... shutter speed was 1/15th! The image IQ was such that I made a 17" X 22" print for the client AFTER cropping it some ... clear and sharp with no apparent motion blur even that big.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Here is a recent available light example ... the groom shot hand-held with no flash @ ISO 800, using the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 @ 50mm f/2.8 ... shutter speed was 1/15th! The image IQ was such that I made a 17" X 22" print for the client AFTER cropping it some ... clear and sharp with no apparent motion blur even that big.
    It's always possible to shoot a sharp frame at any shutter speed - shoot enough frames and eventually you will get a sharp one. I recall reading about this Finnish wildlife photographer who used his 600/2.8 handheld back in the film days. Admittedly the guy was huge.

    More interesting, at what speed do you get consistently sharp images that can be blown up to that size?

    I'm not saying you were lucky - actually maybe I am, after all luck is the skill of taking advantage of statistical uncertainties. So the relevance of a single sharp image depends on how large selection it was picked from.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    It's always possible to shoot a sharp frame at any shutter speed - shoot enough frames and eventually you will get a sharp one. I recall reading about this Finnish wildlife photographer who used his 600/2.8 handheld back in the film days. Admittedly the guy was huge.

    More interesting, at what speed do you get consistently sharp images that can be blown up to that size?

    I'm not saying you were lucky - actually maybe I am, after all luck is the skill of taking advantage of statistical uncertainties. So the relevance of a single sharp image depends on how large selection it was picked from.
    HI Lars
    I think that personal experience matters a bit here. What I can say unquestionably is that I have fewer instances of soft images with the A900 (now 6,000 or so shots in) than I ever had with any of my Nikon cameras in the past. I think that the IS is having an impact here, especially with lenses like the 135mm. I also think that the mirror action may have some effect. I also suspect that the rather ponderous autofocus is, if not more accurate, then more 'obvious' in terms of what it's doing.

    There are so many variables, and of course other people's shooting habits may produce an opposite result - but the my experience is certainly the case for me.

    I think I come back to the word Marc used 'satisfactory'. Every camera represents a set of compromises, for the sort of work I do, with the A900 and Zeiss lenses, Sony seem to have got it about right.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Sony seem to have got it about right.
    Yep from what I have read and seen I have to agree. Zeiss glass was a stroke of genius, attracting the right kind of attention.

    I think if I started from scratch with SLR (and didn't shoot large format) I would lean towards Sony, not for the camera which is short term but for the longterm investment in Zeiss glass. As things are now, my investment in Nikon makes it a costly proposition to replace used Nikon gear with new Sony/Zeiss gear. By doing nothing I maintain the illusion (real or not) that time will take me closer to a Nikon high-res SLR and good glass that I can afford. In the meantime, my D700 keeps me happy.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Zeiss glass was a stroke of genius, attracting the right kind of attention...Zeiss glass...Zeiss glass oooh baby baby...Zeiss glass...Zeiss glass
    Yes, Cosina does a really nice job of manufacturing those lenses, don't they? And they do an even better job of engraving the Carl Zeiss name on them, thus impressing believers in the notion of the Aryan Optical Master Race...

    ...come on, people, seriously -- I'm glad you like your A900s, but this thread is getting positively fulsome.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    It's always possible to shoot a sharp frame at any shutter speed - shoot enough frames and eventually you will get a sharp one. I recall reading about this Finnish wildlife photographer who used his 600/2.8 handheld back in the film days. Admittedly the guy was huge.

    More interesting, at what speed do you get consistently sharp images that can be blown up to that size?

    I'm not saying you were lucky - actually maybe I am, after all luck is the skill of taking advantage of statistical uncertainties. So the relevance of a single sharp image depends on how large selection it was picked from.
    Huh?

    The selection was from 2 shots, since this is a wedding shoot and 2-3 is about all you get ... with other "decisive moment" work it's one shot. Period. The shot before and after are rarely the decisive moments ... as the demos with 5 FPS motor drives verses single well timed shots have consistantly proven.

    What speed consistantly delivers? ... depends on the focal length and how many gallons of coffee I've had at the time

    While I am not 100% sure about anything on this camera yet, I am pretty confident that camera movement now plays a much smaller role than it has with any other camera used off a tripod. In fact, at a wedding where I used 3 different cameras (M8, D700 and the A900), I lost a few shots to camera shake, but none of them were A900 files. Maybe just lucky ... but consistant delivery like that seems to statistically argue in favor of something more than luck.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Yep from what I have read and seen I have to agree. Zeiss glass was a stroke of genius, attracting the right kind of attention.

    I think if I started from scratch with SLR (and didn't shoot large format) I would lean towards Sony, not for the camera which is short term but for the longterm investment in Zeiss glass. As things are now, my investment in Nikon makes it a costly proposition to replace used Nikon gear with new Sony/Zeiss gear. By doing nothing I maintain the illusion (real or not) that time will take me closer to a Nikon high-res SLR and good glass that I can afford. In the meantime, my D700 keeps me happy.
    I bit the bullet after an afternoon with the A900, but it was actually neither because of the camera itself, nor the glass (although of course both are relevant), but for the colour - especially in evening light where I've never felt that Nikon did well . . but of course, colour is a very personal issue, and it might work in just the opposite direction.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Yes, Cosina does a really nice job of manufacturing those lenses, don't they? And they do an even better job of engraving the Carl Zeiss name on them, thus impressing believers in the notion of the Aryan Optical Master Race...

    ...come on, people, seriously -- I'm glad you like your A900s, but this thread is getting positively fulsome.
    Not sure where that came from. From what I have seen here, the Zeiss-labeled glass on Sony seems to deliver image quality. My Nikon glass isn't spectacular, most of it was designed early 90's or late 80's. The Zeiss glass Sony sells is on average better than Nikon, I have no doubt of that. Where it's made or by what factory, I couldn't care less. Zeiss pulled out of the large format lens business a long time ago because it couldn't stay competitive (wasn't good enough or cared more about high volume markets). Nikon stayed in LF longer but its lenses from mid-70's and on are not that great, last lenses were made early 90's.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    While I am not 100% sure about anything on this camera yet, I am pretty confident that camera movement now plays a much smaller role than it has with any other camera used off a tripod. In fact, at a wedding where I used 3 different cameras (M8, D700 and the A900), I lost a few shots to camera shake, but none of them were A900 files. Maybe just lucky ... but consistant delivery like that seems to statistically argue in favor of something more than luck.
    I quite agree - these are exactly my feelings. There seem to be more sharp pictures - for whatever reason.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I bit the bullet after an afternoon with the A900, but it was actually neither because of the camera itself, nor the glass (although of course both are relevant), but for the colour - especially in evening light where I've never felt that Nikon did well . . but of course, colour is a very personal issue, and it might work in just the opposite direction.
    It's not just a personal preference. Color is also a property of post-processing, just like paper in chemical prints. It would seem that Sony has dialed in color curves that look pretty good out of the box. Nikon seems to have moved in that direction with the D3x.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Yes, Cosina does a really nice job of manufacturing those lenses, don't they? And they do an even better job of engraving the Carl Zeiss name on them, thus impressing believers in the notion of the Aryan Optical Master Race...

    ...come on, people, seriously -- I'm glad you like your A900s, but this thread is getting positively fulsome.
    They make some pretty good M lenses for Zeiss as well. You have to agree that at least part of lens characteristics are about design rather than the manufacturer. . . . . or perhaps you don't.

    Maybe it's fulsome because people are pleased? This isn't allowed? Nobody's saying 'my camera is better than yours' - or indeed that the A900 is better than the D3x. Added to which, some of the fulsome contributors aren't owners.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Huh?

    The selection was from 2 shots, since this is a wedding shoot and 2-3 is about all you get ... with other "decisive moment" work it's one shot. Period. The shot before and after are rarely the decisive moments ... as the demos with 5 FPS motor drives verses single well timed shots have consistantly proven.

    What speed consistantly delivers? ... depends on the focal length and how many gallons of coffee I've had at the time

    While I am not 100% sure about anything on this camera yet, I am pretty confident that camera movement now plays a much smaller role than it has with any other camera used off a tripod. In fact, at a wedding where I used 3 different cameras (M8, D700 and the A900), I lost a few shots to camera shake, but none of them were A900 files. Maybe just lucky ... but consistant delivery like that seems to statistically argue in favor of something more than luck.
    My point was that rather than chance, you are skilled photographer, I'm afraid that I tangled up my reasoning too much to get that across. sorry about that. I promise never to redefine the term "luck" again.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    It's not just a personal preference. Color is also a property of post-processing, just like paper in chemical prints. It would seem that Sony has dialed in color curves that look pretty good out of the box. Nikon seems to have moved in that direction with the D3x.
    I'm glad to hear that.
    I could get the colour I wanted from my Nikons, but in evening light I needed to correct every shot differently - I never managed to sort out any kind of presets in Aperture which would do a consistent job - even for a set of shots in consistent lighting. A kind of grubby yellow cast was the normal problem. Custom curves didn't do it for me either. Clearly not everyone feels that way about it, which is why I say it's personal.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    I promise never to redefine the term "luck" again.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Yes, Cosina does a really nice job of manufacturing those lenses, don't they? And they do an even better job of engraving the Carl Zeiss name on them, thus impressing believers in the notion of the Aryan Optical Master Race...

    ...come on, people, seriously -- I'm glad you like your A900s, but this thread is getting positively fulsome.
    Yeah maybe ... LOL!

    Actually, the only thing "engraved" on the lenses is "made In Japan".

    Nothing new there at all. Carl Zeiss Institute in Japan has been overseeing production of lenses designed and engineered in Der Fatherland for decades, and anyone involved with using Zeiss lenses knows that. Most (not all) of the AE type manual focus Contax 35mm lenses were made in japan. All of the N mount AF lenses were made in Japan, mostly by Kyoceria (who also has manufactured lenses for Der Leica.) ... in fact the launch of the N 24-85/3.5 zoom was delayed because Carl Zeiss Institute QC refused the first attempt at making it. Then of course there are the lenses for the Contax 645, some of which still to this day set standards for MF lenses that remain unmatched ... like the Contax 120/4 Macro ... all manufactured in .... drum roll .... Japan!

    They didn't earn their reputation for nothing, and it shows with these ZA lenses and some of the newer designed ZFs ... like the 50/2 macro. However, not everything with the Zeiss name on it is all that great ... that is for sure.

  27. #27
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I don't think David owns either does he?
    So possibly not only are you not psychic but you didn't read his post properly?
    You're quite right Jono, I don't own either one, it was a comment on what I see going on here and among my own photographer friends. I have more than one friend with D3xs who're struggling to get better results than their D3s. The high iso issue is an enigma for me since I rarely go over iso 600 in my work. Even with a D3 or D700 while you might get acceptable results for some type of work at higher iso settings their prime quality files are still closer to their base iso, all that de-lighting processing and NR has a visible negative effect on the overall tonality which I don't find acceptable.

  28. #28
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    It's not just a personal preference. Color is also a property of post-processing, just like paper in chemical prints. It would seem that Sony has dialed in color curves that look pretty good out of the box. Nikon seems to have moved in that direction with the D3x.
    I do not agree with this statement. I would rather say that DSLR are more like different films, each with a different flavour. You can always interpret colors while printing film, or post processing digital file, but the original flavour remains. The A900 has been known so far for its exceptional color, but following your logic, it should only be with camra jpgs or raws converted with Sony's converter. It just happens that forum members are using all sorts of converters, each with its own color interpretation, but the color of the A900 is still exceptional. Some of the reasons given for the deep rich medium format like color all happen to be of analog origin, such as the filter array strength on the sensels, or the minimal analog NR, both elements affect high-ISO noise levels but produce exceptional low-ISO color.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Yes, Cosina does a really nice job of manufacturing those lenses, don't they? And they do an even better job of engraving the Carl Zeiss name on them, thus impressing believers in the notion of the Aryan Optical Master Race...

    ...come on, people, seriously -- I'm glad you like your A900s, but this thread is getting positively fulsome.
    Ranger 9, this post is straight out of dpreview forums and it belongs there. You seem to forget that Japan is one of if not the industrial giants in the world for high end consumer goods among many other things, so to even imply lower quality manufacturing there is ignorant. 2nd if that's your attitude, you ought pick up some of your Nikon lenses and cameras and see where they were made, no disrespect to anyone here but "made in Thailand" is the last thing that I'd want to see on any of my expensive, precision products!

  30. #30
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I do not agree with this statement. I would rather say that DSLR are more like different films, each with a different flavour.
    I agree with this, and it's problematic. I've been trying to tell myself that one system should do, and that anything beyond that would be sheer luxury. But in a way, that is like saying that Velvia is the only film I need.

    Now, most digital cameras are more flexible than Velvia, but even the different results I get from camera bodies from the same supplier makes me stop sometimes.

    When I first started lusting for Sony, the reasons were mostly very rational and technical. In-body IS and high quality lenses are easy to understand. But when I see the deep, saturated colours that you guys churn out in image after image, the equation gets a new dimension that can't be measured in yards or dollars. The combined competence of Sony, Minolta and Zeiss, combined with Sony's lack of old luggage from the film SLR era, has proven to be a very successful combination. And still, the results clearly resemble those of film.

    It's very typical Sony: sometimes they win, and sometimes they lose, but they always do it in spectacular fashion. It's very refreshing

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    I do not agree with this statement. I would rather say that DSLR are more like different films, each with a different flavour. You can always interpret colors while printing film, or post processing digital file, but the original flavour remains. The A900 has been known so far for its exceptional color, but following your logic, it should only be with camra jpgs or raws converted with Sony's converter. It just happens that forum members are using all sorts of converters, each with its own color interpretation, but the color of the A900 is still exceptional. Some of the reasons given for the deep rich medium format like color all happen to be of analog origin, such as the filter array strength on the sensels, or the minimal analog NR, both elements affect high-ISO noise levels but produce exceptional low-ISO color.
    Well from a color science standpoint, what I stated does - in theory - hold. It's perfectly possible to interpret the raw data from any sensor to get a linear response, and once you have a linearized sensor you can apply a set of curves to get exactly the same response from different cameras. Color primaries might differ due to different Bayer filters but that's about it. The rest is "just" interpretation of the raw data.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Well from a color science standpoint, what I stated does - in theory - hold.
    Science is fine as long as we know and can control all the variables. But when I see how differently the RAW files from different cameras react to post processing, it becomes quite clear, at least to me, that there are elements included in the image data that I can neither control nor understand. Maybe there are too many variables, and maybe there are too many processing steps between the sensor and me, but the differences are clearly there.

    Or am I seeing things

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    OK, next question, how well does the IS deal with panning? With my 24-105L I need to wait about a full second after focus recompose for the IS to realise that my movement wasn't shake (I'm glad I have this issue after years of shooting weddings, it's not just anticipating moments but also having focused and recomposed a second in advance, to be honest I enjoy the challenge!) and I have to turn it off completely for dancing and the like. The lens doesn't have the 'mode 2' that would allow for that kind of movement and IMO is sorely missed eventhough my copy is a gem of a lens for weddings and a really nice compliment to my primes. So how does the Sony cope with focus recompose/panning and is there a specific switch to turn it off on the body for fast switching?
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    I'd say that in general this camera basically came out of nowhere for a lot of people. Yeah, it was announced well ahead of time and all that, but it was pretty hard to believe (sounded more like vaporware) ... and Sony hardly has a semi-pro or pro following ... given Nikon and Canon's dominance.

    Then it lands with a stomp and a snort and offers a nice user feel and these "have to be held to be believed" lenses. I mean come on, after all the jerking around with adapting MF Zeiss and Leica R lenses to supplement the Canon optics ... to suddenly have AF Zeiss stuff with full auto functions and SS motors and in camera IS for every lens is a wet dream come true for a lot of folks ... heck, if this were out a lot sooner I would've moved straight from Contax to this system with no detours.

    It's got hackles up all over the place ... which makes it almost worth owning for that alone

    Frankly, that's why I personally want to push this camera to see what it's really capable of ... which is admittedly harder to do because there is no evolutionary reference point like with Canon (or to a lesser degree Nikon.) Hopefully more and more folks will join in, and our user data base will start feeding in new discoveries and techniques.

    I have a boat load of wedding shoots coming up, so I'll get to play under pressure even more. Nothing substitutes for real world shooting.

    Imagine more Zeiss lenses (Fast Primes & Macro please) and the 2010 A950 ... 14 bit, cleaner high ISO files, dual capture memory card slots ... not far fetched at all really. Wahoo!

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    Here's a question for those not liking the Nikon colors.....do any of you ever shoot with a custom WB? I have started being a lot more diligent in trying to do that for all my closer in shooting with my Canons, and I will say that it makes a world of difference. Yes, you can do an adjustment to the RAW files in processing, but I have been seeing much nicer overall results by doing a custom WB before shooting the next series, where the light may change a bit. There is a lot going on in the tint that none of the camera settings ever seem to get right. So, if you are not doing a custom WB, at least toss in a proper gray card with each set of shots and balance from that. Remember, the camera settings are "averages", and the AWB is going to vary all over the place in a shot as the focus point moves over different areas. None are reliable, and the results are that folks wind up spending a whole lot of frustrating time trying to get a good WB later, and most resort to just accepting whatever the camera offers up. The tint is critical.

    I do agree that the curves from the various cameras are also different, but I would bet that if folks were seriously doing a custom WB for each section of shots in changing light, they would be much happier with what they were seeing from the start.

    Sorry if that is a bit off topic, but folks talking about the various colors and looks from the various cameras may be missing a big neutralizer from the start, and not being able or willing to make the tiny tint adjustments later. Just a thought.

    On topic, I do think the A900 with some of that Zeiss glass is delivering some absolutely great looking color right out of the box, and that is has "come out of nowhere" as Marc says, catching a lot of folks scratching their heads. Sony appears to be on the right track with this thing.

    LJ

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Sony lenses are designed by CZ and Sony, and the CZ glass is assembled into the lens by Sony. Here are some cool videos of Sony lenses being made:

    http://www.sony.jp/dslr/products/tec...l#Content_Area

    As for the color thing, Sony has decided on a film like color sensitivity, rather than the more common practice of matching spectral response to human eye curves. The color separation of the A900 is near-medium format, and is higher than D3/D3x (which are similar,) and much higher than 5Dii. The A900 has more green separation than the D3x, and more blue than the 5Dii, specifically. This comes at a cost of high ISO performance. To see a visually represented graph of what I'm talking about, go to page 15 of this link. The A900 is more similar to the graph on the right side.

    http://www.sekonic.com/downloads/Sek...chure_2008.pdf

    Ben, as far as panning is concerned, SSS automatically adjusts for panning in real time, but I haven't done much testing on the subject to see its effectiveness compared to lens IS.

  37. #37
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Here's a question for those not liking the Nikon colors.....do any of you ever shoot with a custom WB? I have started being a lot more diligent in trying to do that for all my closer in shooting with my Canons, and I will say that it makes a world of difference. Yes, you can do an adjustment to the RAW files in processing, but I have been seeing much nicer overall results by doing a custom WB before shooting the next series, where the light may change a bit. There is a lot going on in the tint that none of the camera settings ever seem to get right. So, if you are not doing a custom WB, at least toss in a proper gray card with each set of shots and balance from that. Remember, the camera settings are "averages", and the AWB is going to vary all over the place in a shot as the focus point moves over different areas. None are reliable, and the results are that folks wind up spending a whole lot of frustrating time trying to get a good WB later, and most resort to just accepting whatever the camera offers up. The tint is critical.

    I do agree that the curves from the various cameras are also different, but I would bet that if folks were seriously doing a custom WB for each section of shots in changing light, they would be much happier with what they were seeing from the start.

    Sorry if that is a bit off topic, but folks talking about the various colors and looks from the various cameras may be missing a big neutralizer from the start, and not being able or willing to make the tiny tint adjustments later. Just a thought.

    On topic, I do think the A900 with some of that Zeiss glass is delivering some absolutely great looking color right out of the box, and that is has "come out of nowhere" as Marc says, catching a lot of folks scratching their heads. Sony appears to be on the right track with this thing.

    LJ
    It has nothing to do with WB, it has to do with the tonality and range of Nikon files; yes you could apply all kinds of curves to it or use different raw processors but in the end the nature of the beast remains the same. Its really something very subjective, since many people seem to love them.

  38. #38
    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    Well from a color science standpoint, what I stated does - in theory - hold. It's perfectly possible to interpret the raw data from any sensor to get a linear response, and once you have a linearized sensor you can apply a set of curves to get exactly the same response from different cameras. Color primaries might differ due to different Bayer filters but that's about it. The rest is "just" interpretation of the raw data.
    Lars, I believe your color science standpoint is absolutely correct, but you are also ignoring the equally scientific facts that the filter array density plays an improtant role in the color separation ability of a certain camera, and the noise reduction applied at the hardware level is irreversible and does have an effect of the signal.

    It is no coincidence that the MFDB with the best color separation in the digital world, are quite noisy, even having noise at the base ISO.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Yes, Cosina does a really nice job of manufacturing those lenses, don't they? And they do an even better job of engraving the Carl Zeiss name on them, thus impressing believers in the notion of the Aryan Optical Master Race...

    ...come on, people, seriously -- I'm glad you like your A900s, but this thread is getting positively fulsome.
    Not sure you are right about Cosina, but the manufacture of Zeiss lenses under license or as part of wider joint ventures is nothing new. The Contax brand of 35mm cameras was owned by Kyocera, who also owned the Yashica brand. Kyocera manufactured Carl Zeiss lenses for Contax under license from Zeiss, who supplied the T* coating and supervised elements of manufacture and quality control, as well as designing the lenses of course. This helped keep costs down while maintaining quality. The same applies now to the new Zeiss partnership with Sony. If Zeiss made the lenses in Germany, they would cost double the price. It follows that if you intended to imply some criticism of Zeiss because they don't make the lenses in-house in Germany, you are somewhat out of date.

    Regarding the respsective merits of the D3x and A900, I prefer to avoid brand wars, as I am a fan of Nikon, but much of the dissatisfaction probably stems from the absurd pricing of the D3x. Considering Nikon broke Kodak's stranglehold on pro dslr's when they released the original and affordable D1, it is surprising they are not more realistic in their pricing of the D3x.

    Now, back to using an A900 down here in "sunny" dorset (pretty grey actually). More on that next week
    Last edited by Quentin_Bargate; 30th April 2009 at 02:52.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Here's a question for those not liking the Nikon colors.....do any of you ever shoot with a custom WB? I have started being a lot more diligent in trying to do that for all my closer in shooting with my Canons, and I will say that it makes a world of difference. Yes, you can do an adjustment to the RAW files in processing, but I have been seeing much nicer overall results by doing a custom WB before shooting the next series, where the light may change a bit. There is a lot going on in the tint that none of the camera settings ever seem to get right. So, if you are not doing a custom WB, at least toss in a proper gray card with each set of shots and balance from that. Remember, the camera settings are "averages", and the AWB is going to vary all over the place in a shot as the focus point moves over different areas. None are reliable, and the results are that folks wind up spending a whole lot of frustrating time trying to get a good WB later, and most resort to just accepting whatever the camera offers up. The tint is critical.

    I do agree that the curves from the various cameras are also different, but I would bet that if folks were seriously doing a custom WB for each section of shots in changing light, they would be much happier with what they were seeing from the start.

    Sorry if that is a bit off topic, but folks talking about the various colors and looks from the various cameras may be missing a big neutralizer from the start, and not being able or willing to make the tiny tint adjustments later. Just a thought.

    On topic, I do think the A900 with some of that Zeiss glass is delivering some absolutely great looking color right out of the box, and that is has "come out of nowhere" as Marc says, catching a lot of folks scratching their heads. Sony appears to be on the right track with this thing.

    LJ
    HI LJ
    As Edward says, WB is not the problem, anyone using AWB for outdoor work in daylight deserves a good slapping. I don't generally use a custom WB either, in evening light I want it to look like evening light, so there isn't a great deal of mileage in getting a custom WB . . . and even if you did, would you do it in shade or sunlight?

    I spent many many many hours trying to get colour right with my Nikon cameras, and, as I said before, I could sometimes do it on a shot by shot basis, but not for a shoot in evening light.

    The A900 is simply not an issue - I shoot using 'daylight', and the colours are simply 'good' (right is a different issue!). . . . Mind you, it's not alone in this, the Olympus E1 also simply produced what seemed to me to be 'good' colour.

    I think Marc has it - this camera came out of the blue. It's not perfect by any means, but a lot of the practical boxes get ticked.

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  41. #41
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    It's unfortunate that this thread took a brief detour into DPReviewLand -- for which we can probably blame the unnecessarily divisive title -- so it was good to see things get back on track. Even though I'm a Nikon shooter, whenever I visit GetDPI there are always two forums I check before I look at the Nikon forum: 4/3rds Cameras and Sony. Why? Because I'm waiting for Panasonic or Olympus to release a small Micro 4/3rds model and a fast 20mm prime and because I'm genuinely interested in the Sony DSLRs and what you guys are doing with them.

    I currently use a variety of AF and MF Nikkor lenses, MF Voigtlanders, and a Zeiss 28/2 ZF on a D300 and a D700. So I guess you might say I have an "investment" in the Nikon system. Except that wouldn't be true. I actually have an investment in lenses of particular focal lengths: 28mm, 40mm, 58/60mm, and 85/90mm. If it's wider than 28mm or longer than 90mm, I'm not really interested. I can get my favorite focal length (around 40mm) with the Voigtlander Ultron on the D700 or a 28mm lens on the D300. The 28mm Distagon on the D300 is magical but sometimes difficult to focus.

    What I most envy in the Sony system is the same thing that appeals to most everyone in this forum: the AF Zeiss lenses. I think the likelihood of a 40mm ZA lens is about the same as that of a 28-90/2.8 ZA zoom: no chance at all. But a 28mm ZA Distagon on a 15-18 megapixel A700 replacement would be enough to bring me into the Sony camp. Yet somehow I feel as though I might be waiting a long time -- for the 28mm Distagon anyway -- since there is probably more demand for the 21mm, 25mm, and 35mm Distagons, the 50mm Planar, and the 50mm and 100mm Makro-Planar lenses. Still, one can hope...

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    It's unfortunate that this thread took a brief detour into DPReviewLand -- for which we can probably blame the unnecessarily divisive title -- so it was good to see things get back on track. Even though I'm a Nikon shooter, whenever I visit GetDPI there are always two forums I check before I look at the Nikon forum: 4/3rds Cameras and Sony. Why? Because I'm waiting for Panasonic or Olympus to release a small Micro 4/3rds model and a fast 20mm prime and because I'm genuinely interested in the Sony DSLRs and what you guys are doing with them.

    I currently use a variety of AF and MF Nikkor lenses, MF Voigtlanders, and a Zeiss 28/2 ZF on a D300 and a D700. So I guess you might say I have an "investment" in the Nikon system. Except that wouldn't be true. I actually have an investment in lenses of particular focal lengths: 28mm, 40mm, 58/60mm, and 85/90mm. If it's wider than 28mm or longer than 90mm, I'm not really interested. I can get my favorite focal length (around 40mm) with the Voigtlander Ultron on the D700 or a 28mm lens on the D300. The 28mm Distagon on the D300 is magical but sometimes difficult to focus.

    What I most envy in the Sony system is the same thing that appeals to most everyone in this forum: the AF Zeiss lenses. I think the likelihood of a 40mm ZA lens is about the same as that of a 28-90/2.8 ZA zoom: no chance at all. But a 28mm ZA Distagon on a 15-18 megapixel A700 replacement would be enough to bring me into the Sony camp. Yet somehow I feel as though I might be waiting a long time -- for the 28mm Distagon anyway -- since there is probably more demand for the 21mm, 25mm, and 35mm Distagons, the 50mm Planar, and the 50mm and 100mm Makro-Planar lenses. Still, one can hope...
    My hope is a Zeiss 28/2 ... or 35/1.4. Since Sony makes a 35/1.4 there's less chance of that. But the Zeiss 28/2 is a stellar lens and was stellar on the Contax system, and now as a ZF mount. The only thing that would be better would be a new Zeiss 28/1.4 ... now wouldn't that take the cake?

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Just curious, if there is any chance of having all Contax Zeiss lenses back, even with alpha mount

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    Lars, I believe your color science standpoint is absolutely correct, but you are also ignoring the equally scientific facts that the filter array density plays an improtant role in the color separation ability of a certain camera, and the noise reduction applied at the hardware level is irreversible and does have an effect of the signal.

    It is no coincidence that the MFDB with the best color separation in the digital world, are quite noisy, even having noise at the base ISO.
    Not ignoring just viewing it as a separate issue. Of course filtering can make all the difference in the world.
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  45. #45
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    It's unfortunate that this thread took a brief detour into DPReviewLand --
    Hi Jonathan,
    The title was alluding to the the Fun Threads here which are basically image threads, nothing more. It you look there's a lot more images in the A900 thread than the D3x one. If you think about it, the D3x user come from a Nikon background and one would think that because of their background they should have taken to the camera easier that what is being reported. On the other hand the A900 is the new kid on the block and its user base are mostly new to the system, yet they seem to get along with it just fine.

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    On the other hand the A900 is the new kid on the block and its user base are mostly new to the system, yet they seem to get along with it just fine.
    They seem to. I know that if I actually invested in a D3x for $8K I'd be a lot more discerning than if I got an A900 for $3K. I'd be brand loyal with my wallet (since 'm already invested in Nikon glass) but a much more vocal critic. That wouldn't mean that either camera gives better results, by some objective or subjective standard.
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    As far as low ISO specific work, that is a catagory I leave to MFD ... which I can only say outstrips the A900 by a good margin. The advantage of the Sony is the same advantage any DSLR has over MFD, but it'll never be an advantage in the low ISO area of IQ ... which is just the same physics as it was with film ... size matters.
    Marc, did you own any of the earlier 16MP backs, like the Kodak 645 Pro or a P20? Could you compare IQ of the A900 with one of those? I know that the current Phase et al backs will knock the A900 into a cocked hat, but they don't cost the same
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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    This interesting thread has convinced me that I have to get my hands on a A900 and do a serious comparision of the colour response/tonality vis a vis my Canon and Nikon gear. At least for my own peace of mind
    Hmm, that could get expensive..

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by Arne Hvaring View Post
    This interesting thread has convinced me that I have to get my hands on a A900 and do a serious comparision of the colour response/tonality vis a vis my Canon and Nikon gear. At least for my own peace of mind
    Hmm, that could get expensive..
    Hi Arne
    surely you have a tame dealer? I had an A900 thrust into my hands and was told to spend an afternoon and come back with comments . . . . that was an expensive afternoon

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: A900 shooters having fun while D3x users are not

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Arne
    surely you have a tame dealer? I had an A900 thrust into my hands and was told to spend an afternoon and come back with comments . . . . that was an expensive afternoon
    Hi Jono,
    "tame dealer" , sure, he eats out of my hand, problem is he doesn't carry Sony. This brand has tradtionally been marketed through the big chains that sell TV, kitchen appliances etc. Probably good enough for P&S, but a distinct disadvantage for DSLRs and high-end stuff. But we have a "Sony Center" nearby which has the A900 in stock, I'll have a look there....

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