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Saturday, 31 July 2010

Comments

Mike, just a little correction if you will.

"(...) released three new Zeiss primes while I was away."

Only the 24 f/2 is from Zeiss, the others are Sony/Minolta designs.

Greetings,
S.

Amen, brother. I would have gone for the A850 had there been a Zeiss 50mm or 40mm. What can they be thinking?

You wrote: You do not have either a high-quality 35mm to use on a full-frame Alpha camera or a smallish, light, reasonably-priced 35mm-equivalent to use on a reduced-sensor camera.

Isn't there the Sony (née Minolta) 35/1.4 G lens? That's a 35mm for full frame. Or do you not consider that to be a high quality lens?

And what about 35 1.4G?

Sylvain, Lee, and Marcin,
Thanks for the corrections. I made the corrections to the post. I confess I just dismiss the 35/1.4 Maxxum lens (re-ported for the Sony lineup) because I just don't like it much. Not a good excuse, that. I appreciate you giving me a nudge back to reality....

Mike

Mike,

I think the answer is "What would Uncle Earl have done?"

:)

The 35mm f/1.4G also doesn't appear to be such a great lens: http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/981/cat/82

Best regards,
Adam

They say that some glass types are not available now for 35/2, so it could not be reissued just like other Minolta lenses.

New design is another matter.
There is a trend now - cheap primes for cheap cameras, pricey primes for pricey cameras.
Pretty obvious that while 85 could be used on full frame, it is targeted at consumer market
Only zooms come in different price/size flavors nowadays.

Also Nikon sells tons of their 35/1.8.

Pretty sure that there would be a new 35/1.4, probably zeiss, but not the new 35/2.

Perhaps Sony are copying Nikon's successful 35mm lens for APS-C sensor cameras.

If you found this upsetting, best not read Thom Hogan's musings (this week) on the possible demise of Sony's full-frame sensor cameras!

To broaden your complaint slightly: Why do camera-makers assume APS-C owners are lightweights who don't care about primes? APS-C sensors have definitely arrived in image quality; so where is the complete lens lineup specifically dedicated to them?

(Pentax is something of an exception in offering nicely-made DA primes; but they tend to be expensive, slow, and only made in strange focal lengths.)

When you had the Sony, did you try it with the 7D kit lens? I use the Tamron version with the A700, and really like it.

Nikon's not immune to the illogic. That they don't have a 35/1.4 or 28/1.4 just blows my mind. Both would be standards in the kit of any serious photographer, and especially photojournalist.

Only Canon and Leica seem to be making the lenses their customers actually need and want. Nikon and Sony take the approach, "just use one of our zooms to get the focal length you want. They're excellent!"

But, when the top of the line dSLR is always the largest and heaviest, many of us are loathe to add a huge+heavy lens on top of it. Why can't they make 'pro-level' 35s anymore? They used to. "Boring focal length?" No such thing.

Grammar police alert, Mike.

In your response to Sylvain, Lee and Martin...

"...I appreciate YOUR giving me a nudge back to reality..." (possessive case before a gerund)

Credit to my 10th grade English teacher, a stickler regarding this very common error (as well as using the subjective case in an elliptical clause, e.g., I know you will appreciate this as well as I.)

Thanks Jeff. Rather strangely for a former professional editor and sort-of professional writer, I know very little grammar. My entire schooling in grammar consists of three days--the three days between the time we petitioned my 8th-grade English teacher, Sandy McCallum, to redress our patent ignorance and teach us some grammar, and the time we realized we were going to be bored out of our minds and unanimously voted that he cease and desist, which he did.

I'm always up for learning, though.

Mike

Mike, While you have been away you will have also missed the rumour about Sony pulling out of producing FF sensors. Take a look at what Thom Hogan has had to say on the matter on his website.

Here's my 2 cents ... I say that this release is more following the market, rather than leading.

I think they've put out the 35mm APS-C because Nikon have one. And that it's probably been what's been sold after the first prime on most of their consumer bodies!

The really bad news about this press release is that they probably aren't considering a full frame 35/2...

Pak

Andy,
I ought to go away more often. This much stuff never happens when I'm here.

Mike

"The really bad news about this press release is that they probably aren't considering a full frame 35/2..."

Pak,
Exactly. That explains my previous disappointment with the identical Nikon lens, too. What they do also indicates what they're not going to do.

Mike

Still shooting with the KM 7D, still waiting for the A700 replacement (although I probably won't buy it anyway)still love my Minolta prime 50mm and especially love that "look", that "feel", that "color", that Minolta lenses give. True it's probably not tangible, probably not testable, but it is there, and it's something, I'm sure, Sony can not replicate.

Mark,
That was a really special camera. The Mind of Minolta got the color and contrast very right. I still love those K-M 7D files. Wish I coulda kept buying new samples of that camera the rest of my life, a new one each time the previous one wore out.

Mike

I feel like I've read this somewhere somewhere before.

Presumably the full-frame version would have been heavier and/or more expensive (and of course a third of a stop slower). If that's the case, then this lens is preferable for dedicated Sony cropped-format users, since (if Sony designed the thing well) it does what they need as well as a 35/2, gives up something they weren't planning to use (a larger image circle), and leaves them with more money in pocket.

That doesn't change the fact that Sony ought to put out a lighter, more affordable wide-normal lens for its full-frame system, of course, but this lens looks like it was designed as a solution to a very different problem (the problem of competing with Nikon in the budget/entry-level market).

My 10th grade English teacher was Gayle Hassid, and my mom also had a big influence on me.

However, rules are constantly in flux, as common errors often become accepted practice. And, different 'experts' sometimes have different views.

The Grammar Girl site provides some useful tips without inducing sleep...http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ I often Google it when I forget or don't know the rules, which is not uncommon for me.

I think the answer is "What would Uncle Earl have done?"

Uncle Earl would've bought a Ferrari 599, obviously.

Then again, a frequent TOP commenter takes this approach:
http://enticingthelight.com/2010/07/29/i-dont-care-much-about-comparing-lenses/

It's because this Evil Karl Lagerfeld dress-alike Sony executive is the one manipulating the Minolta 35/2 used market. Once his hoard runs out and he knows exactly what the market will bear, he'll release a copy.

Where English grammar is concerned, less is more.

"Then again, a frequent TOP commenter...."

Hey, that guy's good. Too bad he didn't write that for TOP....

Mike

Hi Mike:
sorry, I see what you mean, but I am not sure I understand the fuss. Yes I use an A900, and a range of the BIG BOY glass.And my favourite lens for street/doco..well, anything..is the 35/1.4 Sony..admittedly mucho dinero,but a fabulous lens with strong Minolta genes... Have we forgoten that? Or , in may haste to say something, have I overlooked comments above?

"I've never understood this whole Sony/Minolta thing. It's like some sad cult based on the Yugo... I find it hard to scrape up any sympathy for Sony users; they should simply behave like adults, swallow their pride and move to Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Leica, etc." - John Camp

I own a KM-7D (as well as a Maxxum 700si and an XG-7)... and I did go through what you would call the transition to adulthood, a few years ago making the agonizing decision to jump to a more mainstream platform (Nikon). And like most passages through puberty, it was an experience of pleasure and pain, confidence and regret, joy and heartache. My Nikon D300 is a supremely capable camera, and I like using it, but it lacks soul. (Yes, I’m aware of the dichotomy between the “Tools are just tools” and the “I love my tools” people. Never the twain shall understand one another.) Every time I pick up my KM-7D and start using it, a smile comes over my face. That little ergonomic groove that guides my index finger to the shutter release... the instantly accessible knob to set exposure compensation... the luscious images the camera produces... I do indeed love my 7D.

Sure, the Minolta folk have to eventually move into this new decade and give up on a dying platform. But there is a loss involved. I’d say the cult is more like those around Chevrolet Corvettes from the 1960s, Apple Newton MessagePads, IBM Selectrics, vacuum tube audio amplifiers, and vinyl records – things that are obsolete yet had certain desirable qualities no longer present in current-day products. I guess “behaving like adults” means a reduction in smiles per hour.

I'm afraid I have to agree with John Camp here. Complaining about the scarcity of Sony lenses in the focal length and aperture of your choice is like moving to the desert and complaining about the lack of rain.

Let's also keep in mind that although Canon and Nikon offer a 35mm f/2 full-frame lens, both designs are decades old. The Canon lens has a buzzy micro-motor. The Nikon lens can only be used on bodies that have a built-in AF motor. The lenses are there, but only by default.

Anyway, the wonder for me is not that Sony released the "wrong" lens but that it released any new lenses at all. I expect to see a flying pig before I see a photographer with a Sony DSLR on his shoulder.

I use a Super Takumar 35mm f/2.0 on my Sony A850. I have to cope with stop-down metering and manual focus, but it still works very nicely for my purposes.

I understand the appeal of 35mm. I use a 12-60 Zuiko but often zoom in to 17 or so because I like the not-so-wide look. A friend with a 5DII bought a manual focus Zeiss 35 f2, and it was the first time I thought, trying it out, you know, this would be fun. But perhaps an EP2 with the 17mm will have to do.

I'm assuming you also could get that lens for your Sony, right? The Distagon? But you want auto focus...

"I'm assuming you also could get that lens for your Sony, right? The Distagon?"

No, somewhat strangely, the manual-focus Zeiss Z[x] lenses are not available in Sony ZA mount.

Mike

Nikon probably did the aps 35 because they have a perfectly fine though kind of old 35/2 for their upper end cameras. Still one of my favorite lenses.

Because I'm mean spirited, I sort of agree with the "why bother with the Sony cult" comment.

For me, the appeal of Sony is nebulous, and based on the future: I can foresee affording the A-850 in the not-so-near future, and as a bonus, it has image stabilization. Anything they do to screw up...er...fall short in their lens lineup for full frame is really disappointing.

Maybe I should rethink? I mean, there's no cost to switching from one non-purchase to another. Perhaps by the time I have the budget for an A-850, some kind of future super-high megapixel, sees-in-the-dark high ISO camera will come from Pentax. I mean, Pentax seems to have a lens for everything.

Will

"I feel like I've read this somewhere somewhere before."

Benjamin,
Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine, and I do tend to go over the same ground. Sorry 'bout that.

Mike

Sony's schizophrenic lens choices can be a bit frustrating at times, but I can't express enough how much I like my a850. It has one of the most comfortable grips and easy to operate interfaces of any camera I've had the pleasure to hold.

I have also had the good fortune of getting a few good deals on some used Minolta lenses, which I find to be fantastic. I will never apologize for the immense pleasure I have in using my Minolta/Sony combination (though I will confess to bitching about Sony's lens lineup from time to time).

Ditto to what John Camp wrote. Sometimes I think you cling to Sony DSLR simply for the drama and the material it can produce for future OP columns.

I chose Canon digital because they are the leader, and produce a full product line for whatever level one needs to dip their toe. Nikon digitals are kicking butt as well as Olympus and Panasonic and especially Leica.

Quit enabling Sony for the memory of the Mind of Minolta. Move on to a real lover.

This complaining about Sony's choice of new lenses to introduce reminds me of the pixel peeping of a few years ago. Stop "quvetching"! If it doesn't meet your needs don't buy it. Enjoy it for what it is - a few more choices for Sony owners. The 24mm sounds ideal for my A900, so I'll get it even though I have the 24-70 Zeiss. As soon as the get the AF issues straightened out for the adapter, I'll probably get the 35mm for my NEX 5 instead of manually focussing a Leica or Contax 35mm on a third party adapter.

It's terrible when you have an itch that you can't scratch, and it's worse when people say "just get over it". I'm still waiting for a re-issue of theOM4 and the Zuiko 40mm. If that was done I'd buy 2 or 3 bodies and one lens like a shot.

Sony also has an APS only 50mm f/1.8, that will NOT cover 35mm frames--huh??? What was Sony thinking trying to sell a cropped normal lens???

When I saw that, I realized that the slightly cretinous nephew or some corporate clone must be at the helm of Sony photo (neither of which is remotely interested in photography), passed on the Sony A850, and promptly bought a D700 (with a Nikkor 35mm f2, no less).

"No, somewhat strangely, the manual-focus Zeiss Z[x] lenses are not available in Sony ZA mount." -Mike

You can however get the the ZS Zeiss 35mm f/2 in m42 mount and an m42 to alpha adapter. You would have to stop down manually though (never bothers me but some people hate it).

"I've never understood this whole Sony/Minolta thing. It's like some sad cult based on the Yugo... I find it hard to scrape up any sympathy for Sony users; they should simply behave like adults, swallow their pride and move to Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Leica, etc." - John Camp

I don't actually have any FF dslr but have been planning to get one for some time. From my perspective Sony has two big advantages in this area: in body image stabilization and the fact that Sony's 24mp camera costs $6000! less than Nikons. These made Sony seem more attractive to me than Canon of Nikon prior to hearing that they might be abandoning their FF line of cameras.

I bet the new Sony 35/1.8 works fine on a full frame camera but it vignettes, just like the Nikon lens. Also, the old 35/2 Nikon lens is merely adequate on a full frame dSLR (soft corners). I'm sure that is also the case with the old 35/2 Minolta lens. Just look at the Zeiss 35/2: it's two times bigger and three times more expensive. So that's probably another reason for the reduced format 35 mm lens trend: easy to mass produce prime that works just great on a reduced format dSLR, but would be merely adequate (and also more expensive) on full frame if the old lens was reissued.

I agree with amcananey. The 24 is for full frame. A 35 would be normal on a APS-C so they are the expected buyers.

A 50mm ZA would be a great addition to the Sony lineup.

I have no intention to argue about your rant Mike; not only because I do share your opinions but also because “sony userbase” missed “quality complaints” for too long and that didn’t helped the system at all.

I just want to add that lenses like 28/2, 35/2, 100/2 that Minolta had in their lineup in the past can’t be “reissued” anymore due to glass formulas used ( lead for example) and changes in glass material requires practically a brand new lens design and higher R&D costs.

My two favourite lenses on the A700 are the 35mm/2 and the 100mm/2. If I could have gotten a 28mm/2, it might have the list as well. I even managed to find a second 35mm/2 which I'm keeping as a backup in case the first one suffers an untimely demise.

The Minolta f/2 AF lenses were great, compact yet very good optical performers. It's a shame that they haven't been reissued but as Doroga mentioned, it's probably because you can't get the glass. With modern glass, coatings and design techniques, it'd be interesting to see what they could do to improve the optical designs.

Minolta 35mm/2 Test on A900.
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sony-af-lenses/af-35mm20-mainmenu-56

Comparison between the 35mm/2, 35mm/1.4 and the ZA16-35mm/2.8.
http://artaphot.ch/lens-comparisons/166-a900-lens-test-at-f35mm

Minolta 100mm/2 test. Note the f/2 corner performance on the A900!
http://artaphot.ch/minolta-sony-af-lenses/af-100mm20-mainmenu-59

Keep in mind that the version of the Minolta 35mm/2 lens tested here was introduced in 1987 (the restyled version came in 1999).

Here's 2 alternative theories and/or ideas:

1. the exact IP Sony got for lenses from Minolta is unknown so there is absolutely no guarrantee Sony could build the 35 2.0 from what it acquired or that Minolta wouldnt require a significant license fee.

2. the minolta 35 2.0 was discontinued long before the Sony takeover - why was that and perhaps its never been a money maker.

3. When the 35 2.0 was last on sale back in 1999 it cost over $us300. Looking at the way the market has moved since then a redesigned lens giving really good performance across a FF from Sony is going to cost over $us450 which really doesnt fit into the really cheap 'easy choice' range does it.

So perhaps its neither Machiavellian conspiracies or abject incompetence but just economic and marketing realities that made the 35 an APS only lens?

@Sylvain G.: Take a look at the optical design of the 85 before you call it a Sony/Minolta design. It's a 5/4 Sonnar and is most likely derived from the Contax 85/2.8. It looks like Sony just took the absic design and updated it (getting a great 0.6m MFD in the bargain).

As to the 35/1.8 DT, well Nikon's 35/1.8 has been a huge success for them and Sony's just copying it, having a fast normal for APS-C makes a lot of sense.

I hope we see a return of the Minolta 35/2 or a replacement for the 35G soon for the FF users, but non-exotic 35mm primes are just not big sellers in the FF film market.

@John Camp: If Nikon or Canon made the cameras I want, I'd shoot them. They don't, so I shoot a mix of Pentax and Sony/Minolta kit. Sony and Minolta ergonomics remain king (Note that every non-Canon DSLR on the market today uses a control layout derived from the Minolta 7xi) and while you may not like the basic aesthetics, once again the rest of the market copied Minolta and Canon there (Unfortunately in Canon's case, I don't like the jellybean look they gifted us with).

The other reason to shoot Sony/Minolta is the glass. Both the unique lenses (135 STF, 500/8 AF Mirror) and the more common varieties. One of the nice things about Minolta lenses, especially the original AF line is the extremely consistent rendering across the line. You can get a full set of lenses and expect them to have almost identical colour rendering and microcontrast, something you can normally only get from Leica or Zeiss. Sony has continued that to a great extent.

'The Minoltas made my butt look handsome, and the Sonys managed to extend that aesthetic ... '

John Camp

John, I'm sure that your large (oops!) and appreciative butt fan club would disagree, but I'm as one with you on the Minolta 1980s\90s aesthetic. During the late 80s I owned and loved a Minolta 9000 (Maxxum, or some other macho sounding fluff, I think, in the US market), but its own dear mum couldn't have called it a pretty boy. As for the lenses, Mike's photo of the 35mm F2 says it all. The plastic build looked and felt cheaper than what they wrap tortilla chips in. Why on Earth the company had to go (almost overnight) from being the skinflint's Leica to a J.C. Penny own-brand seems to me one of marketing history's more perplexing decisions. Having said that, I can't recall any of the other major manufacturers covering themselves in glory during photography's Ugly Years (the Canon 600 series, Pentax P series, Nikon ... well, everything post F3, pre FM3).

And everybody's nagging onward about Sony this, Sony that...

Iff Sony had the 35mm i would have bought the A900" etc.

First of all, you can stil get good Minolta glass, second, what about Sigma's 20mm and 24mm F1.8? Great pieces of glass i'd gladly take along every day. So no excuse to not buy that A850.

Yes Sony isn't perfect as a company, but that doesn't make the Alpha line a bad camera, or the G series and CZ series glas worse.

I love the Sony, but they could do with some new managment indeed.

Will Frostmill wrote: Perhaps by the time I have the budget for an A-850, some kind of future super-high megapixel, sees-in-the-dark high ISO camera will come from Pentax. I mean, Pentax seems to have a lens for everything.

It's funny you should say that, Will. My complaint (OK, one of them) with Pentax for the past 3 years or so has been the lack of an affordable DA 28mm f/2 (that would be a consumer-line APS-C lens). Basically, we (I am most certainly not alone in this) want an APS-C FoV version of the full-frame FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited, but priced for everyone.

As of this morning Pentax has still not announced such a lens.

A couple of years ago I saw the writing on the Pentax wall (we do not give a flying, backwards, double-turn ninja kick what you all want—have a nice day). What I did was close my eyes, take a deep breath and pony up mucho cash for an FA 31mm f/1.8 Ltd. It's a fantastic lens, and expensive for me, but there's a lesson for Mike here: It's my most used prime. $400 spent on a zoom I barely use is wasted money, but $900 spent on a lens I use almost every time I pick up my camera is money well invested.

I still wish Pentax would release an affordable APS-C substitute for those who can't afford Limited prices, but I have not regretted my decision to buy it.

''No, somewhat strangely, the manual-focus Zeiss Z[x] lenses are not available in Sony ZA mount.''
Mike ... what about lens adapters?

ggl,
I did use the old Maxxum 35/2 on an A900 for a week, and I didn't have any problems with the corners as long as you stop down just a bit. It's a better lens on the A900 than the AF-Nikkor 35/2 is on the D700, IMNSHO.

Mike

I'm afraid "an evil Karl Lagerfeld" is a pleonasm.

(And you're not worth billions - but you're priceless.)

Miserere,
I'm very glad you commented. I hadn't really researched what Pentax (normal for APS-C) primes went for. I mean, I had casually poked around, but aside from having a funny feeling that I was missing something, it seemed as though very little was currently for sale, but that pretty much every focal length ever had been produced at some point.

I should have recognized that funny feeling as the one that is paired with the sucking sound that comes from my bank account. :)

I begin to understand why the Olympus Pens sell so well along side the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7's. If a person wants sensor based stabilization, and fast primes, there's not a huge number of inexpensive choices, are there? I emphasize "inexpensive" because, well, I drop things, and I prefer not to drop things that are too expensive. I think any number of camera companies are leaving money on the table.*

*I think inexpensive, fast primes are really critical for vacuuming up the dollars, precisely because people will gladly buy replacements again and again since they will risk destroying them through use. Meanwhile, the multi-thousand dollar zoom stays in the bag, eventually to be re-sold. No camera company gets a cut of those transactions. Of course, I'm really, really, biased, since this is my money and my wishes that I'm talking about.

JC,

If this:
http://www.pentaximaging.com/slr/

is being an adult, I don't wanna grow up.

Sony and Canon and others are just looking to see which lenses Nikon is selling well and then a year or two later selling their own versions.

Simple second mover advantage methods.

Nikon has much success with the 35 1.8 so Sony decides that it needs such a lens to compete at the lower end with Nikon.

A lens that covers the full 35mm frame will cost more to make than a lens that cover smaller area.

If recommending a camera, it seems that a low end Sony with the 35 1.8 and built in image stabilization would make a great case for purchasing over their PentCanikon equivalents.

And if you really wanted a 40mm equiv focal length, the 28 2.8 is available at a reasonable price.

It seems that Sony decided to put the Easy Choice label for camera newbs. So when someone goes to a Best Buy and asks for a good portrait lens, the Best Buy guy goes gets a 85 2.8, etc...Makes sense with many of the knowledgeable brick and mortar camera stores going out of business.

So there you have it, Sony has put scene modes on actual camera lenses.


Hi Mark,
I read your interesting thoughts about Sony production.

What do you think about 35 size used in APS-C like the new normal lens?

I would prefer a 28 or 24mm.

It seems to me a strange following of the past.

Will, you are correct in saying that Pentax has produced pretty much every focal length at some point in time (they once even had concurrent 100mm, 105mm, 120mm and 135mm lenses!), which is particularly annoying to current users, who like many in this comment section say why can't they just reissue this (or that) old lens with AF and new coatings????

In the particular case of a normal APS-C lens, Pentaxians felt especially ridiculed when Samsung announced their NX10 and the first prime they release is an affordable pancake 30mm f/2—and it's a very good lens too! C'mon, if Samsung gets it, sure Pentax should too...and Sony! C'mon, 35mm, the other normal prime.

Why is it that the 850/900 gets so easily grouped into the Canon/Nikon camp? Even though I don't own either, it seems to me that the 850/900 was never made to mirror the features of those cameras that are primarily built to shoot news, sports, events - with clean high ISO, accessories and a myriad of lenses.

For my visual tastes, the 850/900 has the best image quality I have seen (online images) and as a product and display print shooter, it is flawless image quality I need. If I was shooting sports, news, or events it would be a different story.

What concerns me and I do see has possible handwriting on the wall is that the largest percent of usage of images taken today is most often for electronic display. They don't need a full frame sensor for this. And now, a great percent of everyday shooting for a local brochure or print ad is being done with someone's P&S camera.

So if I were the head of a camera manufacturing company, I would question the need, in terms of sheer volume of sales, of having a full frame in my line up. But I'm not and I hope the 850/900 is still around when I can afford one.

I can't believe how much anti-Sony sentiment there is in these comments. Saying to move on to Olympus? Are you kidding?

Those that have never spent time shooting the A850/A900 are clearly in the dark about those sensors and the available (especially Zeiss) glass. I read reports from MANY former D700/5Dii users that switch to the A850/900 and couldn't be happier. I rarely read the opposite.

As an A900 user for nearly two years, I can say that there is still not a 35mm DSLR on the market for any price that I'd trade straight over for, and, while not having quite the lens selection of Canon or Nikon, over 30 lenses seems to be plenty for me and my shooting. Heck I usually use a grand total of 3.

p.s. the outrageous popularity of the new NEX cameras is sure to boost the Sony photography department like m4/3 did for its respective makers. Sony's camera future is bright.

Dennis said:

"JC,

If this: http://www.pentaximaging.com/slr/

is being an adult, I don't wanna grow up."

Suppose (I know it might be hard) you're me. I'm heading over to Hollywood for the evening -- dinner and maybe a movie at the Arclight, pick up a couple of old CDs at Amoeba. I have silvery hair, with just a touch of gel, I'm wearing Luchese lizard skin cowboy boots, chrome yellow Ferrari leather slacks, a pale pink silk shirt with dark green lightning-bug-cut jacket, and my yellow-straw Stetson. I should accessorize with a *black!!* camera? I think not!

JC

"I have silvery hair, with just a touch of gel, I'm wearing Luchese lizard skin cowboy boots, chrome yellow Ferrari leather slacks, a pale pink silk shirt with dark green lightning-bug-cut jacket, and my yellow-straw Stetson."

...And you call yourself a conservative.

[g]

Mike

Davide,

I can't comment on Sony's primes. I'm primarily a landscape photographer, working in canyons and on mountainsides where it's not practical to move slightly forwards or backwards. I've only shot with their zooms. The 28-75 tamron copy and the 70-300(G) are both excellent when stopped down, although I seem to have gotten a good copy of the tamron. If you want opinions of the Sony primes, head on over to

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/55

and check out their postings. I've never used Sony's aps-c cameras either; I'm still holding onto a Canon rebel for that.

Sorry to be disgruntled with John Camp's comments. He's entitled to his opinions.

"John Camp - I find it hard to scrape up any sympathy for Sony users; they should simply behave like adults, swallow their pride and move to Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Leica, etc."

and i guess all us apple users should swallow our pride and move to Windows huh?

I use a Sony A200, and it is an excellent camera. Sony has a hell of a task ahead of them; the slop of a company that they bought from KM left them in quite a mess, what with a fragmented DSLR line and aging lenses and what not. I have zero love for Sony as a corporate entity, and am not a sony "fanboy", but i do enjoy my sony kit. it makes photography an immersive and creative experience. What we have to realize is the difference in perspective related to time. Nikon and Canon have been producing DSLRs for a much longer time than Sony.

Sony jumped in to the business in 2006, and they've already released a good line of APS-C bodies, and two semi-pro/pro (depending on who you ask) FF bodies. All of this in addition to R&D and release of several new lenses (not mino formulas: 70-300G and 70-400G for example) in the span of 4 years. I'd say they're doing a pretty good job, IMO. I think alot of people look at Nikon, Canon, and Sony all working on their system in the same timespan, which is obviously not the case.

As for the rumor of Sony pulling out of FF, if that's true, then why waste the R/D resources to develop and the production resources to produce the CZ 24/2?

Just some food for thought.

Just as the Zeiss ZF lenses aren't available for Alpha mount, I'll guess that we won't see the 24mm f/2 Zeiss in ZF. That's too bad, because I think I'd really enjoy that lens. They could even leave in the autofocus capability and I wouldn't be offended.

It looks as if finding the right balance of features for a 35mm lens must just be a hard problem. Canon and Nikon both have (aged) 35mm f/2 lenses for full frame, and I've read many complaints that they're not especially good, but they're nice and small. Then there's the Zeiss Distagon, which is stunning. But, really, as much as I love my 35mm ZF, it just seems too huge and heavy for a 35mm lens. (Fortunately, after I use it a while, I almost forget the size.)

Jim, wondering about the sense of a cropped 50mm, above:

It makes perfect sense in a "producing what customers are asking for" model. What's the first advice people give for SLR buyers feeling dissatisfied with their kit lens and wanting to get more serious about their photography?

"Buy a cheap 50mm."

Sony didn't have a cheap 50mm. The 50mm f/1.4 is fairly pricy at about $350 US and not really good value, considering the age of the design. Meanwhile, the other manufacturers have a 50mm f/1.8 for about a hundred bucks.

The people buying cheap fifties own cropped-frame cameras, so there's no point building a full-frame one as a new design. Furthermore, Sony want to make sure that people who buy their expensive cameras buy equally expensive lenses. So they make a cropped coverage lens. Simple.

Sure, most of these purchasers of cheap fifties are only buying that focal length because they've heard about it, because of cheap legacy lenses from the Big Two. There's nothing that makes the 50mm actually the ideal lens to buy for a beginner except the price.

I love the 35mm focal length (on 'full frame'). Similar to when I shot 240mm on 8x10. Why oh why won't Sony release a current era digital optimzed 35mm focal length prime? The old Minolta design may not be relevant anymore due to some glass not being 'eco friendly' enough, although I'm not positive about that. However with their relationship with Zeiss, it should be an easy no brainer. But apparently it isn't.

I have an 850 and have the big honking zeiss 24-70mm on it. But I mainly use it at 35mm. The Sony 35mm f 1.4 prime is in sore need of an upgrade in image quality (I compared this lens to the zoom, and the contrast is not up to the zoom's and the sharpness stopped down is similar but it should be better for a prime in my opinion).

Let's see, Sony has a close relationship with Zeiss, but so far the number of primes is very small (85mm, 135mm, and now a 24mm, basically). Yet, Zeiss makes umpteen primes for Nikon and Canon. What is wrong with Sony?

I especially envy the Nikon & Canon folks who can get the Zeiss 35mm f/2 for their cameras. Why the heck can't Sony do that with Zeiss?

Or, even do one better - have a new optimzied-for-digital design from Zeiss for a 35mm f2, with auto-focus and with excellent mechanical manual focus ability? Low color aberration, xlnt bokeh, and make it very usable at f2 for sharpness. Combined with the in camera stabilization of the Sony DSLRs, it would really be a significant advantage over Canon and Nikon. A marketing advantage I would think (hey, there's one word maybe Sony can relate to). Although perhaps it wouldn't entice enough people.

As other posters have said or implied, 24mm is more popular for landscapers and 50mm and above for portraits. Well, I do mainly landscapes and I don't generally like anything wider that 35mm. I think it's a very versatile focal length. And, I think many photographers would enjoy using such a lens - it doesn't call attention to itself (either in size or in image style), and should be easy to carry around on camera for a whole day and be able to shot a variety of types of shots (more so than with 24mm , 28mm or 50mm, in my opinion).

Now, someone is going to say, well if you like the 35mm focal length so much and you don't want to lug a giant zoom around, or settle for an outdated overly expensive, large prime, then go get yourself a 5dMII. Well, I did once. And, for me, its image quality is inferior to the Sony 850. And I like the way the 850 operates better than the Canon. Well, then how about the Nikon D3x? Now, let's see, what was it that stopped me from buying it? Oh yeah I remember - it's honking heavy and the wallet required to buy is so heavy it would tear my wallet pocket to shreds as it fell to the ground, through it, and towards the center of the earth.

After going back to film mainly I am not much interest in digital camera except nex 7 seems a possibility. I did not concern much the ff. But a good portable camera plus my film camera (Pentax 67, hasselblad, 8x10 etc) is good enough. Sony seems to ring bell. Wait for it's next play as well Nikon first move.

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