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06-03-2014, 07:14 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
The A7 looks to be a system with loads of potential, now it's up to Sony to show some profiling skills for the product line. The problem for Sony with going for the adapters is that what they gain in camera and accessory sales by that approach they may lose in native lens sales, also third-party ones.
Metabones already went that road though: Metabones®
That problem could be easily solved. They just need to make sure that native EF lenses are a much better, and much smaller solution then any third party lens with adapter. But I'm not an engineer; it may be easier said then done. They haven't produced any tiny pancakes for the A7 yet, so I'm guessing that there are some limitations there.

06-03-2014, 10:26 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
That problem could be easily solved. They just need to make sure that native EF lenses are a much better, and much smaller solution then any third party lens with adapter. But I'm not an engineer; it may be easier said then done. They haven't produced any tiny pancakes for the A7 yet, so I'm guessing that there are some limitations there.
Why would you want anything smaller than this in a 36mp full frame camera with 35mm Zeiss wide angle lens ? BTW they are FE lenses not EF lenses.
06-03-2014, 06:00 PM   #33
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I found this interesting link that actually explains Sony's business strategy:
Sony Global - Corporate Strategy Meeting FY2014

Some interesting takeouts from reading this:

- Sony's number 1 priority is turning around their electronics business. All the heavy losses suffered to date have been related to restructuring the electronics business. Whilst I have my doubts that this is viable for Sony, I have to acknowledge that electronics is the heart and soul of Sony - they MUST make this work or die.

- After electronics, Sony are focusing on a number of key "priorities"" - entertainment, finance, PS4, mobile, imaging. Note: imaging is relatively low on the priority list

- Even looking at the imaging business, Sony's core focus is the image sensor business, where they are the market leader and making lots of money. The consumer side is almost an afterthought for them.

- Finally, considering the consumer side, Sony's focus seems clear - they are advancing the Alpha, RX, QX and Action Cam lines. This makes sense - these are the lines currently selling well where Sony is seen as an innovator.

Despite Sony's financial difficulties, their consumer imaging division is performing very well, indeed if you look only at the Imaging Products & Solutions results, they have done very well compared to Canon and Nikon - they actually increased sales by 3% (Canon and Nikon both recorded drastically reduced revenue) and their operating income is healthy.
06-03-2014, 08:02 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
If you take a broader view of Apple's history, for the majority of it's existence it's business model and Leica have been surprisingly similar. Steve Jobs even famously compared the iPhone 4 to a Leica.
With this in mind, it's interesting that with the 'T' system, Leica is the first camera manufacturer to really go all out with a truly modern, 'smart' user interface - essentially what you would expect Apple to do - especially considering how committed they have been previously to tradition.

QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
- Even looking at the imaging business, Sony's core focus is the image sensor business, where they are the market leader and making lots of money. The consumer side is almost an afterthought for them.
In a way, I wonder why they even bother with the consumer side...? Now that the new generation of medium format is all going Sony CMOS, they have almost a complete monopoly on the market, from 1" up. And even the cameras that don't have Sony sensors (Canon and Nikon 1) seem to be paying the price in terms of performance. Financially, I think they'd make more money working in the shadows.


QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
By way of comparison, however, the contrast between Sony's frenetic product release cycle and Ricoh's casual stroll through product updates could hardly be more stark. If the rate of release of new product with the Pentax or Ricoh name on it doesn't pick up a bit soon, I'll likely become a doubter of them, too, in spite of how much I like my K-3.
Going waaaaay off topic, I think this is reflective of a massive issue we have within consumer electronics full stop. My 35mm body, a Pentax MX, was produced for 9 years or thereabouts. In contrast my current digital, a Ricoh GR, appears to be on a two year cycle, and still people grumble that that's not enough. The Olympus Pen E-Px series has gone through four generations in five years...

This is what consumers expect now, but to what end? Sensor tech isn't improving particularly quickly, as demonstrated by the fact that the Sony 16mp chip is still the best APS sensor in the business, despite being around for ages. Useful features aren't improving at a great rate.

It isn't sustainable from a business sense (see the number of sales going around on models that are only a year or so old but have already been superseded), and it definitely isn't sustainable from an environmental point of view.

Personally, I'm all for a 3-4 year release cycle where every model is actually new.

06-03-2014, 08:51 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
With this in mind, it's interesting that with the 'T' system, Leica is the first camera manufacturer to really go all out with a truly modern, 'smart' user interface - essentially what you would expect Apple to do - especially considering how committed they have been previously to tradition.
I agree, I do believe that the T is the first genuine attempt by Leica to emulate Apple's success story. And it is the right time too - as I commented elsewhere Leica is currently enjoying unprecedented success with Chinese customers who crave the brand status.

Which is interesting, because if you saw how Steve Jobs tried to sell the Macintosh back in 1984, there are some striking similarities to the way Leica sells their products.

QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
In a way, I wonder why they even bother with the consumer side...? Now that the new generation of medium format is all going Sony CMOS, they have almost a complete monopoly on the market, from 1" up. And even the cameras that don't have Sony sensors (Canon and Nikon 1) seem to be paying the price in terms of performance. Financially, I think they'd make more money working in the shadows.
NOW you are truly getting it! That is (or at least was until recently) Sony's strategy, which some of us have been blind to because we view things from a consumer's perspective.

In the imaging business, Sony is primarily an image sensor manufacturer. They don't necessarily want to compete with camera manufacturers - if you buy an Apple, a Nikon, an Olympus, a Pentax you are really buying a Sony sensor and it's revenue for them.

Their strategy is to look for gaps and fill them with niche products (let's face it, all their recent cameras have been niche products) that are designed to complement their partners' offerings, and not necessarily directly compete.

What some people see as a scattergun, disjointed approach is actually a well crafted strategy to maximise revenue for their image sensors.

I do think that Sony's strategy is now changing, and not one they are ready to admit to anyone, maybe even to their investors. I think with the success of the RX, NEX and most recently the full frame E mount cameras, Sony is starting to think they can compete as a player in their own right, particularly if Canon and Nikon continue to fiddle while Rome burns.

It's an interesting time for sure. The industry is changing so rapidly I don't think anyone can predict where it will evolve to.
06-03-2014, 09:19 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Going waaaaay off topic, I think this is reflective of a massive issue we have within consumer electronics full stop. My 35mm body, a Pentax MX, was produced for 9 years or thereabouts. In contrast my current digital, a Ricoh GR, appears to be on a two year cycle, and still people grumble that that's not enough. The Olympus Pen E-Px series has gone through four generations in five years...

This is what consumers expect now, but to what end? Sensor tech isn't improving particularly quickly, as demonstrated by the fact that the Sony 16mp chip is still the best APS sensor in the business, despite being around for ages. Useful features aren't improving at a great rate.

It isn't sustainable from a business sense (see the number of sales going around on models that are only a year or so old but have already been superseded), and it definitely isn't sustainable from an environmental point of view.

Personally, I'm all for a 3-4 year release cycle where every model is actually new.
I agree that a completely new model every 3-4 years is sensible from a technology perspective, and that's more or less the case for the K-mount DSLR line, if you ignore the K-5ii update in recent times, not to mention the various *istD permutations earlier on. I should be clear that I was talking about the release of new products across the board, including new lenses and accessories, as well as new bodies or even new camera systems.

However, it's having a notable presence in the market place that's probably even more important than the products released, which will maintain the brand in people's thinking. The OP's original referenced article is a good example of how that affects the thinking of people who keep a close eye on the industry, and those people influence an important part of the consumer market, in one way or another. While I would quibble with the writer's loose use of the term "innovation", I doubt most of the readership group has a better grasp of its real meaning, either, so the message reinforces what Sony is trying to say about themselves.
06-03-2014, 10:51 PM   #37
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Not knocking Sony by any means, they have certainly been innovative, but I wouldn't discount what Fuji has done either. The X100 blazed a trail they continue to build on, and the XT1 is more proof of thinking outside the box.
If the new rumor pans out on a MF Fuji, it could change the marketplace with a high quality lower priced pro type camera......Fuji always has something new up their sleeve, maybe not on the same order as Sony, but still very impressive!

Regards!
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Disclaimer: No, I'm not paid by Fuji, but if they want to give me a new X30 when it comes out...I'll sure take it!
06-04-2014, 12:17 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
Why would you want anything smaller than this in a 36mp full frame camera with 35mm Zeiss wide angle lens ? BTW they are FE lenses not EF lenses.
I know, but when I look at the 35mm Sony FE lens and my Pentax ltds, I just know they can do better.

06-04-2014, 01:58 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
I look at the 35mm Sony FE lens and my Pentax ltds, I just know they can do better.
I took a look at the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 and the Sony "Zeiss" sonnar 35mm f/2.8 - in terms of build and optical design these lenses simply lack the qualities of the FA31mm 1.8 ASPH.
06-04-2014, 02:56 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I took a look at the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 and the Sony "Zeiss" sonnar 35mm f/2.8 - in terms of build and optical design these lenses simply lack the qualities of the FA31mm 1.8 ASPH.

Build quality yes.

But optical? I know the 31mm f1.8 is a classic, but everything I've read about the new 35mm has raved.
06-04-2014, 03:16 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Build quality yes.

But optical? I know the 31mm f1.8 is a classic, but everything I've read about the new 35mm has raved.
I'm in love with the 35mm Sony too. And I don't give a rats posterior if the end result is superior because of optical performance or secret in-camera corrections. It's the end result that counts. I would just like it to be smaller.

As far as build quality goes... I've dropped metal primes, and I've dropped plastic ones. The latter seem to have a vastly superior survival rate.
06-04-2014, 05:28 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
As far as build quality goes... I've dropped metal primes, and I've dropped plastic ones. The latter seem to have a vastly superior survival rate.
I dropped my 35mm the other day. No, not a gentle drop - a full on drop from my hand onto a hard concrete surface. The lens even bounced a few times as it hit the ground, hard.

My heart stopped for several beats, and I gingerly picked it up. It was fine, apart from a few scratches. I'm still using the lens.
06-04-2014, 05:33 AM - 1 Like   #43
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A real lens would leave marks on the concrete.
06-04-2014, 05:46 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
A real lens would leave marks on the concrete.
It did
06-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
What some people see as a scattergun, disjointed approach is actually a well crafted strategy to maximise revenue for their image sensors.
I have to disagree. I have been watching Sony for a long time. When I decided I was leaving Canon (5D original) I was planning on moving to the A900 and Zeiss glass.

1. Sony missed the HD revolution with the A900. The A900 is an excellent camera, but Sony missed the market while Canon hit a home run with the 5DII and HD.
2. Sony has left the A-mount in limbo. Is SLT technology a temporary technology? I don't think Sony knows.
3. NEX was designed as a consumer grade product. Sony has admitted that they miss judged the market and demand for premium mirrorless. This was why there were no premium lenses for the NEX line for so long, and why they used the horrible touch screen menu system.

I don't see it as a "well crafted strategy". They have been blind-sided by the market at every turn. Its only with the new A7 line that they seem to be breaking through and leading the market.

Sony is a leader in HD video and the A900 was crushed by the Canon 5DII because Canon beat them to the market with HD video in a DSLR. The A99 was a reaction to this. The A99 is loaded with professional grade HD video features and is a 180 degree turn from the still image only A900. I love the A900 and I think its one of the best still image cameras ever made. I really love the OVF and ergonomics, but because Sony missed the market as it was changing it will go down as a failure. Part of that reason is due to Sony not releasing any firmware fixes for almost 2 years. Sony doesn't seem to support existing product. Once its sold, Sony is done with it. I have a friend who has the A900 and A99. Even he is concerned about the future of A-mount.

They make great sensors, but below average image processors and they have the worst JPEG engine of any manufacturer. I love the innovation and the fact they are always trying new things, but it seem like the stumble upon good products rather than plan them. The opposite of what I see from Fuji. Fuji has been very focused and you can see the clear plan that they have for development of their cameras. Fuji didn't dump 50 camera bodies on the market and hope something worked.
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