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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:59 pm 
There is an interesting read about the history of Minolta and Sony at the below site:

Personally, it seems as if Minolta was more focused on innovation and technology and solving specific problems up to the late 80s, but has lost its way somewhat, focusing more on spec sheets rather than what people wanted, making cheap bodies and eroding the brand, which slowly resulted in declining fortunes.

This is quite a bit of extrapolation :D , but Sony seems to be clinging a lot to the Minolta ethos and in the end, that may actually continue to hurt the Alpha brand even more.

Personally, I feel Sony needs to start firing some people, sounds cold, but they don't seem to be getting the job done at all. By all measures, 2009 was a dreadful year for the Alpha line in terms of sales. They did come out with products that would have been great successes, but the price was never right, always way too expensive or just not doing enough to compete.

I think 2010 is a make or break year for Sony. If they don't significantly increase sales, I totally foresee Sony closing its DSLR functions in 2011 or significantly cutting back. Don't get me wrong, I'm heavily invested in Sony, and if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have gone full-frame with a pro-body, but fact remains, sales are bad and not even Sony can ignore that. Basically, they have to do something fast, or Minolta's history will be their future.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:32 pm 
If you think Sony is bad, take a look at Pentax. That's one company with terrific products but totally lack lustre marketing and direction.

Sony need to drop the price of the A850. Drop it to Canon 7D and Nikon D300s prices and you'll give buyers a lot of food for thought. That of course causes issues because I don't think there is much to differentiate the A900 from the A850. This could be remedied by introducing an A950...

Anyway, enough with playing arm chair CEO 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:02 pm 
Not only the A850, but the A500/550 seems pretty overpriced to me atleast. You can forgive the A850, being the cheapest FF camera, but the A500/A550 could have been so much more meaningful if the prices were just more realistic. I mean, pricing the A550 close to the D90 (one of the best selling DSLR cameras of 2009 globally) was just a bad idea from the get go, IMHO.

I don't mind playing armchair CEO, since we aren't suggesting anything unreasonable plus, I'm practicing for the real thing :D

If Canon and Nikon can do it, why not Sony? As for Pentax, they don't seem to have the overheads that Sony has, and indeed they seem to be focused on a niche that suites them very well, and may be very profitable for them. They have some nice bodies and even nicer glass and seem more or less content to maintain usage levels of their system.

Not even Sony compact cameras are doing well, which says that their seems to be a systemic failure somewhere, be it in marketing or, more likely, product development. Sony was doing a lot of things right:

- They released the A100 to much acclaim and commercial success.
- They release the A700 which was also much acclaimed, and I would think it was also a huge financial success.
- The A200/A300/A350 gave a view of things to come, but they also did well and competed well enough.

Those cameras contributed significantly to Sony at some point having 10% of the DSLR market. But then came:

- The A230/A330/A380: Just gross mis-estimations of epic proportions that were just rehashes in a much smaller, less usable body (from reviews, never held it).
- The A900: Technically brilliant, exceptionally well made, wasn't competitive with the 5D which was slightly cheaper and seemed to offer more (and was the reigning champ in any case, so why Sony felt they could offer slightly less, feature wise, and charge more, and win is beyond me).
- The A850: Same as the A900, but still too expensive, and at one point was more expensive than the A900, which was beyond stupid.
- The A550/A500: Offering too little for what was being charged. These would have been great 2 yrs ago, but certainly not now.

So, 2010 needs to see a couple of things:

- Do it early. Don't wait till the competition has a chance to trump you by releasing something "better" 2 weeks later.
- Price according to whats being offered in relation to the competition. Don't think that 7FPS can make up for a lack of video in marketing terms, it just won't.
- Release the bleeping A7xx already and make sure it is the right camera. If you mess this one up, believe me, the Alpha brand may indeed be finished. So many people are waiting for this, and so many people will leave the system if it does not deliver and run straight into the embracing arms of the 7D.
- Listen to your users, fire whoever is giving you advice and forget about whatever stupid focus group your using. Clearly, these people dont have a clue.
- Work harder on reaching out to the community and STOP TRYING TO LUMP CYBERSHOT WITH ALPHA! You can't do it, and you shouldn't do it even if you could!

Yeah, its a rant. Yes, I know nothing about marketing, but neither does Sony :D , so my recommendations would be just as valid :D

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:37 pm 
Better yet, Sony should listen to what Canon and Nikon users want as well, that way, Sony can take market share from the big two :D.

This is pretty common practice and when you look at companies like Apple, Mozilla and Google, they basically look at whose leading the segment, and see where they can come in with a better product or a similar product that works better. You'd be surprised at how shallow brand loyalty really is when the competition is offering a superior experience.

For sure, Canon and Nikon are far from invincible, and people have tonnes of exploitable issues with how these companies operate.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8087
Location: UK
The A550 I think is a great camera for the price, and a worthy competitor against the D90. They have different feature set but if I was starting today, I'd have no hesitation picking the A550 over the more expensive D90. About the only weakness (bearing in mind it is more a consumer end camera) is the lack of video mode, but I don't think it'll be a deal breaker for most.

The A850 remains a disappointment in pricing. I know they'll blame the global financial situation, but right now the typical street price is still where the A900 was less than a year ago. Also, neither Canon nor Nikon have significantly raised body prices. Why has Sony? While the A850 is barely the cheapest FF camera, it is a tiny difference to go up to the 5D2 or D700. Again, that was where the A900 priced against was not that long ago.

And at the risk of sounding like a stuck record: Where is the A700 replacement? I think this is the biggest hole in their body line at the moment. It has been rumoured they're improving and delaying it, but personally I think that is a very bad move. The gap from A700 original is now far too long without something. Even if they did a minor update and called it A710 that would have been better than nothing. Now it's too late for that. The full blown A700 replacement needs to be released now, and it better make everyone say it was worth the wait otherwise I think it's game over.

Also I lurk around dyxum still. I fear there's a large split in the customer base, with the dyxum crowd leaning on the more serious side, while Sony seem to be targeting the consumer end. Canikon have enough spread in their lineup to cover that, but Sony are still very thin there.

On Sony looking at what Canikon are doing, remember that works the other way around too. Recently a patent has turned up appearing to show Canon's own sensor shift stabilisation system. That is Sony's biggest trump card particularly on FF. It wont last forever so they need to make use of that advantage while they have it. Because of that, if the A850 was priced like a 7D right now, I'd probably get one. I still have the FF compatible bits left over from my ship jump so its not a big deal to swing back a bit.

Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:22 pm 
Valid points, although I don't 100% agree with the A550. I agree it is a competent camera, but I just think its priced all wrong when in the same category as a market leading camera that just has a bigger trump card from a marketing stand point.

We can all agree though, if the A7xx isn't like the second coming, then I'm afraid its game over indeed. Well, at least I'll be able to pick up some glass on eBay for cheap from the deserters.

For me, the A7xx could be a winner if:
- Has some wireless functionality that could talk to flashes without infrared/light pulses. Point being that before you could use an adapter to convert PW triggers to work on Sony, but now that PW has TTL, you definitely lose a lot of functionality using an adapter.
- Has an updated AF system with more user selectable focus points spread across the frame.
- Dual slots which don't have crippled functionality.
- Priced competitively.
- Class leading noise performance.
- Maintained all of the good aspects of the A700, just more polished.
- Comes with a high quality kit lens.

I'm not hopeful that any of this will happen, but I guess its wait and see.

I get the feeling Sony is throwing all its energy into an EVIL camera and simple neglecting everything else. It is true that EVIL cameras will be a large part of the market, but I think the growth potential there is limited as these cameras are not small like a compact and don't perform as well as a full blown DSLR. I think at best it would probably do as good as a Canon G10 and nothing more. Plus, knowing Sony, its gonna cost 1300.00 dollars which will guarantee its failure.

Question is, who is making the decisions at Sony, and isn't their repercussions for having such terrible sales in 2009? I know, if I performed so poorly, I wouldn't have a job right now.

I really, really think Sony should start firing some people or move the Alpha division far far far away from the cybershot division, blocking all means of communication between them as I can definitely see how the cybershot morons are trying to turn the Alpha range into a fashion statement and not a tool for photography.

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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:06 pm
Posts: 25
I know I'm late to the discussion, but I do have what might be a different perspective on the situation than the people here. I all into the category of the consumer who wanted to enter the DSLR world and start taking advantage of all that has to offer.

I bought an a300 in the fall of 2008. At the time, it was a fantastic deal. I got 18-70 & 75-300 kit lenses, a Sony case, plus a spare battery for about $600, and I also got 24 month no interest financing.

The things that caught my eye were the tilting screen, live view, and the built-in stabilization. Without doing a whole lot of research, I assumed that on-board stabilization would mean less expensive lenses. Logically, a lens without stabilization should cost less than one that has it built-in. Turns out, I was wrong. Sony lenses are no less expensive (and sometimes more expensive) than Nikon or Canon's image stabilized lenses with similar specs.

I am now at the point where I'm looking to add onto what I have. The problem is, I don't want to invest money into better lenses because I'm starting to think that I may not want to stick with Sony bodies for the very reasons outlined by others in this thread.

Sony A300; DT 18-70mm; SAL 75-300mm

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