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  1. #1
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    I'm starting to put together a Sony digital SLR guide like this one I did for the Canon cameras: Best Canon DSLR Guide | Camera News & Reviews

    Right now I'm planning to include all the current Sony digital SLRs (A390, A580, A33, A35, A55, A900) and I'm mentioning the NEX cameras even though they aren't really digital SLRs. Is there anything you guys want to make sure I mention? You know I'm not a regular Sony digital SLR shooter so I am deferring to your expertise

    Thanks in advance for your guidance!
    Photo-John

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  2. #2
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    I'm starting to put together a Sony digital SLR guide like this one I did for the Canon cameras: Best Canon DSLR Guide | Camera News & Reviews

    Right now I'm planning to include all the current Sony digital SLRs (A390, A580, A33, A35, A55, A900) and I'm mentioning the NEX cameras even though they aren't really digital SLRs. Is there anything you guys want to make sure I mention? You know I'm not a regular Sony digital SLR shooter so I am deferring to your expertise

    Thanks in advance for your guidance!
    Well for one include some info on the a580 and lens choices. I found out by researching that some lenses, I think DT will not show what you are actually seeing in the finder and it really is shot in the dark. I found this only by digging into reviews. I rely very much on reviews and member input. I find myself really wanting a Sony DSLR from my experiance with the Nex. Like you John I would like to know from someone how well the twilight mode works. If there is anything you want to know about the Nex just ask. It is great the I can shoot my M mount lenses on it and focus peaking is a very nice tool.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  3. #3
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Thanks for the reply, Greg. Like the Canon guide, this one will include the basic features and specs on each camera, although it won't be a full review. It will link to the user reviews and anything else we have on the site about a particular camera, though.

    What is, "DT?" I'm wracking my brain but not coming up with anything. I'm apologize if I should know this

    Rigth now I'm working on a paragraph about the specific benefits of shooting Sony - like in-camera IS, better AF, etc. Anything I shouldn't forget about?
    Photo-John

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  4. #4
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    What is, "DT?" I'm wracking my brain but not coming up with anything. I'm apologize if I should know this
    Answered this question myself, Greg, via the miracle of The Googles! It sure is hard to keep all the different camera company lens designations straight.
    Photo-John

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  5. #5
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Here you go John
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...f_1_8_SAM.html

    The review stated thet Sony provided them with an a850 and when mounted the VF did not jive with what you saw. I may have it backwards...
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  6. #6
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary View Post
    The review stated thet Sony provided them with an a850 and when mounted the VF did not jive with what you saw. I may have it backwards...
    Thanks, Greg. Do you remember *how* it didn't jive with what they saw? Because if the camera is an SLR and you're looking through the viewfinder...
    Photo-John

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  7. #7
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    John I think I have it backwards, the DT lenses are FF. A cropped sensor will show vignetting in the finder and crop the shot down instead of showing the actual image in the finder. I can't find the review but also don't like linking to other site. I am sure Terry has the full scoop. But it was a factor in me choosing the a580. If I pick up a Sony it will be that. But if the Nex 7 rumors are true I may have to rethink that. If the Nex 7 has a finder that throws another factor to it. I really like what I am seeing with Sony.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  8. #8
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary View Post
    John I think I have it backwards, the DT lenses are FF. A cropped sensor will show vignetting in the finder and crop the shot down instead of showing the actual image in the finder.
    Hmm. I'm still confused. A FF lens on a crop-sensor camera is no big deal. You get the sweet spot of the lens and the viewfinder will just show you whatever the mirror directs through the viewfinder. Likewise, in live view, the LCD will show you whatever the sensor picks up. Either way, you should never see something that isn't there. The only thing that can happen is an optical viewfinder might not show 100% of what's captured. That's pretty standard for medium-range SLRs, though. It's only at the very top end that you get 100% or near 100% viewfinders.
    Photo-John

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  9. #9
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

    Sony a99/a7R

  10. #10
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Wait a week - 8/24. Two new SLTs, two new NEX (NEXi, NEXes???) and a really neat adapter that makes a NEX into an SLT (EVF, PDAF, AF drive motor) for the A-mount lenses (though will not have IS), not the NEX E-mount lenses.

    I believe that Sony is still selling (somewhere in the world) the A290, A390, A33, A35, A450, A560, A580, A55, A850, and A900. What is current and what is discontinued is never clear.

    The lens thing is that the DT (APS-C half-sensor) lenses are automatically cropped on the FF cameras, but the OVF still shows the full view (or whatever view the smaller lens allows).

    Sony's original strong points were:

    - In body IS which still is the only way to get many nice focal length prime lenses to IS.

    - The only Live View with the same focusing system as with the OVF (Phase Detect). The other 90% of the world doesn't even realize what real Live View is.

    I guess their current and future strategy seems to be to erase the lines between all the conventions we have been using (SLR, Video, EVIL, Compact). You pick what works best for you rather than trying to fit everything within the limits of one type.

    Terry
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  11. #11
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    I have never had a problem with the APS-C lenses on my FF body. I certainly wouldn't try to shoot a real tight frame.

    I always thought that the $US 2000 A850 was an exceptional deal for the portrait or landscape photographer looking for high resolution Full Frame.

    Terry
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  12. #12
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg McCary View Post
    John I think I have it backwards, the DT lenses are FF. A cropped sensor will show vignetting in the finder and crop the shot down instead of showing the actual image in the finder. I can't find the review but also don't like linking to other site. I am sure Terry has the full scoop. But it was a factor in me choosing the a580. If I pick up a Sony it will be that. But if the Nex 7 rumors are true I may have to rethink that. If the Nex 7 has a finder that throws another factor to it. I really like what I am seeing with Sony.
    You confusing the A580 and A850.

    The A850 is a two year old Full Frame DSLR. DT (APS-C) lenses are cropped to the half frame size.

    The A580 is the latest APS-C DSLR. It is 'cropped' so has none of these issues.

    Both are standard SLRs with optical View finders.

    Terry
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    Sony/Minolta - way more gear than talent.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Terry pretty well covered everything I would bring up. The way the SLT's are coming along, it is blurring the line between those "compact system cameras" and "SLR", particularly with stuff like the NEX-7.
    - Charlie

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  14. #14
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    -----------------
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    Feel free to edit my photos or do anything else that will help me learn.
    -----------------
    Sony/Minolta - way more gear than talent.

  15. #15
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker View Post
    I guess their current and future strategy seems to be to erase the lines between all the conventions we have been using (SLR, Video, EVIL, Compact). You pick what works best for you rather than trying to fit everything within the limits of one type.
    Erasing the lines is a good way to put it. The SLT cameras really blurred the lines and I found the A55 was virtually the same in use as an actual SLR. It was only when I was shooting high-speed action that I had any issues with the camera design. And I'm sure those issues will eventually be ironed out.

    Thanks for telling me to wait a bit. That's a good idea. No point in having to write this thing twice. Right now I'm working on the introductory info but I will wait to finish all the individual camera listings.
    Photo-John

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  16. #16
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    Erasing the lines is a good way to put it. The SLT cameras really blurred the lines and I found the A55 was virtually the same in use as an actual SLR.
    I think that you are going to find that your thinking is backwards. Trying to be an SLR is not the point. Many photographers have come to believe that the DSLR is the epitome of still camera design evolution. Sony intends to prove that it is not. We'll see. I still use nothing but SLRs, but I'm watching. - Terry
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  17. #17
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    AF Sensor Placement on Traditional Sony DSLRs

    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker View Post
    The only Live View with the same focusing system as with the OVF (Phase Detect). The other 90% of the world doesn't even realize what real Live View is.
    Please help me refresh my memory on Sony's auto focus. I understand the SLT system just fine. But I know the traditional Sony DSLRs have a different auto focus sensor configuration than other DSLR-makers, with the phase detect AF sensor separate from the mirror. My memory is that this allowed the camera to use phase detect AF in Live View. But looking at the camera diagrams I don't see this being possible, because once the mirror is flipped up to expose the sensor, it can't reflect onto the AF sensor anymore. Am I missing something? What is the benefit of Sony's AF sensor placement?
    Photo-John

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  18. #18
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: AF Sensor Placement on Traditional Sony DSLRs

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    Please help me refresh my memory on Sony's auto focus. I understand the SLT system just fine. But I know the traditional Sony DSLRs have a different auto focus sensor configuration than other DSLR-makers, with the phase detect AF sensor separate from the mirror. My memory is that this allowed the camera to use phase detect AF in Live View. But looking at the camera diagrams I don't see this being possible, because once the mirror is flipped up to expose the sensor, it can't reflect onto the AF sensor anymore. Am I missing something? What is the benefit of Sony's AF sensor placement?
    The AF works just like a standard DSLR with a portion of the light going through the main mirror to a 2nd mirror that reflects the light to the AF sensor on the bottom of the camera. So even when you are in Fast Focus LV, it AFs just like any other DSLR.

    The difference is up in the mirror box. When you go from OVF to LV (can't have both), the front mirror of the prism tilts slightly to direct the light to another sensor placed above the viewfinder. This small sensor is for the LCD (not the main sensor).

    Here's an interactive drawing.

    Sony A350 brief hands-on: Digital Photography Review

    The newer DSLRs also have Main Sensor LV that works like everybody else’s - the mirror goes up, the main sensor view is shown on the LCD and AF is by the slow Contrast Detect. This would be used mostly for zooming in to help with manual focus.

    Terry
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  19. #19
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: AF Sensor Placement on Traditional Sony DSLRs

    Thanks, Terry. That was much better than the diagram on the Sony site. Which was, incidentally, the same diagram, but not labeled as well. It still took me a while to sort it out, though. Maybe it's a slow brain day for me today. But the bottom line is, the Sony SLRs leave the main mirror down for live view and use a second imaging sensor to power the LCD. Did I get that right?

    Thanks for your help. I think this is a very important piece of imformation that needs to be included in my guide.
    Photo-John

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  20. #20
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: AF Sensor Placement on Traditional Sony DSLRs

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John View Post
    Thanks, Terry. That was much better than the diagram on the Sony site. Which was, incidentally, the same diagram, but not labeled as well. It still took me a while to sort it out, though. Maybe it's a slow brain day for me today. But the bottom line is, the Sony SLRs leave the main mirror down for live view and use a second imaging sensor to power the LCD. Did I get that right?

    Thanks for your help. I think this is a very important piece of imformation that needs to be included in my guide.
    That's correct. I think Sony really had something that would have sold cameras if they had ever marketed it. Fast focus, along with the flip up/down LCD, made LV useful. - Terry
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Anbesol's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    I think Sony really had something that would have sold cameras if they had ever marketed it.
    Unfortunately I don't know that Sony's marketing their technologies can instantly turn things around, while most consumers understand only one thing: brand popularity. I think that only in time, as Sony technologies become more and more unique and desirable and distinguished will they (slowly) gain marker share. I've met so many people who just have this sweeping presumption that a Sony DSLR isn't as good as Canon or Nikon, when I ask why they think that, they "dont know", they just "thought that". That sort of silliness is all too common. At least most of us at PR know better . Speaking as a guy who talks to ordinary consumers on a frequent basis I can say that the feature of "live view" rarely could penetrate the brand bias that most people carry into a store (or, figuratively online) with them. Sometimes, the only thing a person knows about the camera they want, is that it has to be a canon or nikon. Closed minds, bah. Anyway, kudos to the captain of the ship for putting together a guide for one of the underdogs, lol, its a great system!
    - Charlie

    Feel free to edit and repost my work as a part of your critique.

  22. #22
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Been away for a few days and missed this thread initially..... Looks like you are on the right track with everything...

    One little comment on the APS-C vs Full Frame lenses on the a850 and a900... If they are current Sony or one of the few Konica-Minolta APS-C lenses, then the camera will automatically put it in 12mp cropped mode. As noted, the viewfinder doesn't change anything to reflect this, but there are guidelines on the focus screen to help you compose to this smaller size. However, if the lens is not a "known to the camera" Sony or KM APS-C lense, it will treat it like a FF lens and allow you to shoot normally. In many cases you are fine, but if you shoot wide open, you will see some significant vignetting in most cases. It doesn't normally mess with the metering int he extreme cases, but it can.

    The v2.0 firmware on the a850 and a900 is worth mentioning, as it really does improve auto-focus performance and improves how the camera handles non A-Mount lenses. Specifically, it gives you the proper ability to use the camera's metering when m42 adapter/lenses are used. No real change to image quality with the firmware though... Just better AF, better low-light AF with fast lenses, etc...

    Oh, and give a few lines to the wireless flash capabilities of the DSLR's. It can get a little confusing at times, especially when jumping up to the a850 and a900, as they don't have a built in flash to work as a wireless controler. However, you can get the bottom of the line basic flash f20? (can't remember off hand) to hep control other Sony flashes... Has a lot of flexibility for multiple flashes that you just don't get out of the box from other folks. It's all optical trigger, so line of sight, but better than nothing...

    Anyway, if I think of anything else, I'll drop ya a note..

  23. #23
    ELS
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker View Post
    I have never had a problem with the APS-C lenses on my FF body.Terry
    Hello Terry,

    As I am "learning" more and more about photography, I'm curious, what actually
    (does or doesn't) occur/happen when one uses a lens specifically designed for the APS-C crop-sensor cameras,
    when used on the FF cameras?

    Also, likewise, what are the results of using a FF lens on an APS-C crop-sensor camera?

    Thanks for your help and answers...

    Have a nice afternoon,

    Ed

  24. #24
    Senior Member OldClicker's Avatar
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by ELS View Post
    Hello Terry,

    As I am "learning" more and more about photography, I'm curious, what actually
    (does or doesn't) occur/happen when one uses a lens specifically designed for the APS-C crop-sensor cameras,
    when used on the FF cameras?

    Also, likewise, what are the results of using a FF lens on an APS-C crop-sensor camera?

    Thanks for your help and answers...

    Have a nice afternoon,

    Ed
    Ed,

    DT lens on an FF body: The DT lens has a smaller image circle than a lens designed for an FF body. This would show up as a dark vignette around the edges; especially the corners. How much vignette would depend on the focal length and the design of the lens. Some FF bodies (such as both of Sony’s) will automatically crop the image to APS-C size when it detects a DT lens. For instance the Sonys will crop the normal 24 Mpixel down to about an 11 Mpixel image with a smaller field of view.

    Non-DT lens on an APS-C body: The image circle is larger than the sensor so the sensor just sees the center portion. The resulting image will be the same for both the DT and non-DT lens and the APS-C body.

    If you have an APS-C body, you will never know the difference between the two other than DT lenses will tend to be smaller, lighter and cheaper than the same quality non-DT lens.

    Terry
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  25. #25
    ELS
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    Re: Working On Sony DSLR Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by OldClicker View Post
    Ed,

    DT lens on an FF body: The DT lens has a smaller image circle than a lens designed for an FF body. This would show up as a dark vignette around the edges; especially the corners. How much vignette would depend on the focal length and the design of the lens. Some FF bodies (such as both of Sony’s) will automatically crop the image to APS-C size when it detects a DT lens. For instance the Sonys will crop the normal 24 Mpixel down to about an 11 Mpixel image with a smaller field of view.

    Non-DT lens on an APS-C body: The image circle is larger than the sensor so the sensor just sees the center portion. The resulting image will be the same for both the DT and non-DT lens and the APS-C body.

    If you have an APS-C body, you will never know the difference between the two other than DT lenses will tend to be smaller, lighter and cheaper than the same quality non-DT lens.

    Terry
    Terry,

    Thank-You for the "in-depth" explanation, that helps me understand it more clearer now..

    Ed

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