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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:01 pm 
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Even though I've jumped ship away from Sony, the A550 is a camera I want, if only it was Canon mount now :D It improves on the A350 and eliminates most of its weaknesses. I think it is possibly the best general camera in its price range, and I would prefer it over the Canon 500D and the more expensive Nikon D90.

The original A200/A3x0 were worthy competitors. It was only the +30 models that replaced them which did not make sense. Paying more for substantially the same camera when the competition all moved on did not make sense, and I think plays part in their drop in sales. The Japanese sales mentioned above list the old A300 and A350 as their highest selling models. Where were the +30 models?

The A700 replacement has never been so important, and I think it could be a make or break model for many people.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:21 pm 
Make and break! That's the phrase I was looking for :D .

The old ones A2xx/A3xx are still outselling the new ones and I think whenever that happens, you pretty much know you screwed up big time when people would prefer the old over the newer "more improved" model. Wherever they did their market research to come up with those cameras, they need to do it again, and then do the exact opposite of what they recommend :lol:.

I think the Achilles heel of the A5xx now is that, it will be tempting, but it won't lure anyone from an existing system. But, it does something equally important in that it stops the A100/A200/A300/A350 crowd from jumping ship (although it might be a bit too late now in your case).

Also, Sony needs to control costs as well. The impact of the A900 was muted because Canon released a more feature rich camera (on paper) for the same price. If the A900 had cost 2000.00 from the get go, I am certain Canon couldn't have matched it so easily. I fear the same thing might happen to the A7xx and no matter the features, it needs to match the D300s and 7D on current street price to be successful. It also needs to offer something that no other camera has, my personal little hope is that it will have true wireless flash capabilities (not IR but radio) that works just as well as a PW but without the need to attach anything to the hot shoe. Something like that would be a hit with the ever growing strobist crowd.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:41 am 
Even though most here might not care for video on DSLR, general consumer market does care. Video probably was #1 reason for Sony's bad performance in 2009. Many regular buyers will skip A5xx, regardless of how good they are, for a model that offers video too.

Well, it's 2010 now, and it might be an interesting year. What’s next? Is it A7xx, A6xx, A9xx or a mirrorless model? Let’s wait and see!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:19 pm 
What is the general consensus on Sony's strategy of releasing multiple cameras with slightly different features?

Personally, I like what they did with the A850 and A900, but I think that was a case where they might have been trying to come up with a solution to gain a value advantage over the competition.

On the other hand, I am not a big fan of what they do on the lower end. Seems unnecessary and doesn't seem to be addressing any real need, unlike the A850 which I felt had purpose in its existence. I think 2 similar models with slight variations is OK, but 3 is way too much IMO.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:34 pm 
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Personally I wouldn't have bothered with the lower model of each numerical series.

No to A300 and A330, just have the A350 and A380.

On the A850 and A900, the A850 was a great idea in theory, but failed to deliver. The price remains too close to the A900.

And same again on A500 and A550. The price gap is too small, it isn't worth having. Just ditch the lower model.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:55 pm 
I think the price diff between the A850 and the A900 is fair, but I also think the A900 is probably overpriced from the onset. Not that the A900 isn't a great camera, but if Canon can release a camera with better on paper specs and more headline grabbing features, at the same price (a month after Sony) as the Sony, then clearly the Sony is gonna get overshadowed in the mainstream, which it did.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:00 pm 
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Sony still has their unique feature: body stabilisation of FF sensor. The A900 I thought was ok, until the A850 came out at the price the A900 was at, with the A900 going up. The A850 has dropped a little since then, but the gap is minimal, barely enough for a budget lens.

You could argue it is economic conditions forcing this, but I didn't see Canon or Nikon raise their FF body prices at the same time.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:42 pm 
Is that only in the UK though? In the US its 600.00 dollars diff. at least when I bought the A850. In any case, Sony has a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory :lol: and if they were only slightly more agressive with the A900 pricing, at least compared to the more "feature rich" competition, then success would have been assured. I think the same might happen to the A550 as it costs roughly the same as the D90 which I don't think is something the Sony should try to compete head to head with. Just my 2cents though, I know jack squat about marketing.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:23 am 
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Maybe it is a UK thing. On launch, the A850 was higher priced than A900 for quite a while before sanity started to kick in. It depends on the retailer, but there's a ball park gap of £200 between them, which is just over 10% or so. Had Sony done more to keep the body prices down, I'd probably have one right now with a bunch of Zeiss lenses, and not a load of Canon kit instead.

On UK prices again, the A550 is comfortably cheaper than the D90. Even then, I think the A550 is enough to go directly against the D90, allowing for their different feature sets.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:43 am 
Fair enough, wonder why that is though? I mean, Sony should have a better handle on this. At one point, I remember the Canada prices where tremendously cheaper than in the US. In fact, that's where I bought my A300 for essentially the body only price with a kit lens and a free 2GB CF card (and although I didn't ship it, if I had, it still would have been cheaper than the US and UK!).

As for the D90, not that the A550 isn't gonna be successful (I have a gut feeling that it will be), but I don't think Sony is aggressive enough with pricing (thus limiting the success) compared to what the competition, i.e. the D90 costs, which is what inevitable muted the impact of the A900 outside of the Alpha mount community when compared to the 5D MKII.

Sony needs to realize that they are the underdogs here, and they need to act accordingly.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:47 am 
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Location: North of the 49th parallel
Personally I don’t care about Sony’s marketing strategy or it’s % of market share, since I have the camera I want, and if I wanted a different one I would just go out and buy one.

But, it goes without saying that it’s DSLR marketing strategy or lack there off (in Canada anyway) is rather curious.
Of all the pre Christmas hype, commercials and mass advertising, the Alpha line was the only missing link. With Canon and Nikon pushing several models with flashy youthful commercials.
Come to think of it, there wasn’t even any “Sonystyle” store promotions where the line is predominately sold.
Again, not that I care, but those are my 2c.


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 Post subject: A550 and Action
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:27 am 
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Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Hello All, I am happy to be a new member here as I've seen quite a bit of useful information while researching the last couple months for my first DSLR.

To quote Gordon on the A550:
to really appreciate it, you need to be a regular Live View user, and also want to shoot action

I do tend to use live view as I've only used P&S's and want to take pictures at horse races and of my dogs running around. So after the last few months of deciding on different brands (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus) I think I am finally going to stick with Sony.

I may get one of the zoom SSM lenses as from what I understand the autofocus will be faster. (70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM)

Thanks Gordon for all your hard work on making all these reviews!

~~Terrie


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:00 am 
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Hi Terrie, welcome on-board! it sounds like the right choice for you!

PS - don't forget you can support us by shopping (for anything!) here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Affil ... ping.shtml


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 8:13 pm 
I realy think that Sony only needs to duke it out for the next few years to get a good foothold on the DSLR market. I've noticed how biased many people are agasint the Sony in favour of the Cannons and Nikons. I went to a local store (for my dads cam) and basicaly when we only mentioned our intention of buying the A550 he almost started foaming saying that its a very bad camera and that we shouldnt bother with them.

Hopefuly Sony will get a few good entry and mid range cameras out in the next few years (i dont see pro photographers going for their high end models in droves)


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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 8:57 pm 
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Location: Boca Raton, FL, USA
The problem is that Sony already has some good entry-level and mid level cameras out at the moment, and also on the full frame end...the bias against them doesn't really seem likely to go away. There are many layers of complexity to it...

1. Canon and Nikon are massively established, and will maintain that perch for quite a while - Sony, Pentax, and Olympus will all have to routinely struggle to be noticed behind the shadow of those two, no matter how good their products are. Take a look at any 'DSLR questions' type of forum where beginners ask for advice on what to buy - 90% of the threads on virtually any boards will mention Canon, Nikon, or a choice between Canon or Nikon - without even a mention of other brands.

2. There is some bias against Sony - many folks just hate the corporation from other ends of their business, and carry the dislike to their cameras. Don't like PSP, don't like rootkits, don't like BluRay, don't like Memorysticks, etc - then automatically, many of these people are more than willing to perpetuate bad word of mouth about Sony cameras despite never having actually handled them and against photographic evidence to the contrary.

3. Sony shoots itself in the foot all the time. Where is the marketing for the new cameras? How will people know the A500/550 exist if there are no TV ads, no massive internet ads, no big magazine spreads, and due to your stringent SURE sales practices, no cameras on the shelves of many stores? The cameras may be (and are) fantastic, but you need to let people know they exist, and know what makes them so unique and such a great choice for many folks, from beginners to pros. Nowhere has Sony advertised or pushed their wholly unique live view system which should be a major selling point...or the 5/7fps shooting speed, or low light focus capability, or built-in HDR, or high ISO ability.

4. Sony doesn't have to aim for #1 - being a solid #3 is not a bad plan, and eventually once established could earn you respect that comes from longevity and solidity, and maybe #3 eventually moves into #2. Either way, keeping at it, not making too many drastic changes to the line, keeping downward compatibility, maybe consider a few more firmware updates to show commitment to current owners, etc would all help slowly disintegrate the bias against them, the occasional bad will from their own disillusioned users, and the general unconscious bias from virtually all camera testers and media sites against the Sony products which tends to overly highlight missing features or shortcomings that receive a pass on other cameras by the 'big two'...or failing to acknowledge a unique Sony feature that should receive mention in reviews of other cameras as 'missing features' or 'cons', but don't.

Just a few observations. In the end, the A500/550 are indeed excellent cameras that would be fine choices for many beginners, as well as a fair number of very skilled and experienced photographers...and they are every bit as good as their competition overall - missing a feature or two, but also with some unique features missing on the competition. There aren't any bad DSLRs out there - so whether the A550 is right for someone is up to how it feels in your hand, if it has the features you want, and if the price is right. It certainly was for me.

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Justin Miller
Sony DSLR-A580 / Sony 18-250mm / Minolta 50mm F1.7 / Sigma 30mm F1.4 / Tamron 10-24mm / Tamron 150-600mm / Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro / Minolta 300mm F4 APO
Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

Galleries:
http://www.pbase.com/zackiedawg


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