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SLT


kodachrome 3 530
16 Aug 2012 1:58PM
Hi all
Just food for thought, does any one think that the days of the SLT technology are numbered and should Sony keep the DSLR body shape but adopt NEX technology instead of SLT.

Kodachrome

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mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
16 Aug 2012 2:09PM
Yes and yes.
mdpontin 10 6.0k Scotland
16 Aug 2012 2:47PM
The principles behind SLTs are nothing new - see this Wikipedia entry on pellicle mirrors - but I suspect if EVFs continue to improve, as they're likely to do, the disadvantages of SLTs may increasingly outweigh the advantages.
Steppenwolf 3 1.1k
21 Aug 2012 9:49AM
I don't think many people understand the SLTs, as the answers show.

There is one basic advantage to the SLT, over a DSLR: it means the camera can double as a video camera - with fully functioning viewfinder and AF. This is probably the main reason Sony decided to use this technology. They thought that most people wanted a camera that could shoot stills and video, and they didn't see any way that this could be incorporated into the traditional DSLR in a usable way.

There are, of course, a lot of other incidental advantages to the SLTs: no mirror shake, more accurate focus, continuous focus, easier manufacture plus the many advantages of the EVF over the OVF. There's one disadvantage: you lose 30% of the light.

The SLT has two basic advantages over NEX: it uses Minolta AF lenses and Sony Alpha lenses, of which there are many millions in existence, and it has phase detection AF. The phase detection AF may soon be put into the NEX (by embedding in the sensor like the Nikon 1). It could also be argued that the SOny LA-EA2 Alpha lens adaptor, which turns the NEX into an SLT, removes the need for SLTs now, and that when NEX have phase detection AF in their sensor the LA-EA1 will allow the NEX to use Alpha lenses with full functionality.

So, logically, when NEX has advanced to the point where it can do everything that the SLT does, Sony could ditch the SLT. Whether they would do this or not I don't know because logic isn't the only factor here. Sony dropped the DSLR because they decided that the SLT was superior in every way and therefore the DSLR was obsolete, which is a typically Japanese way of thinking. I think they have been surprised by the amount of whingeing and bleating about this and the number of people who have changed systems. Sony have been overestimating peoples' intelligence which is a bad thing in marketing. No one ever went bankrupt underestimating peoples' intelligence.
kodachrome 3 530
21 Aug 2012 11:44AM
I remember the Canon Pellicle mirror system way back in the 35-mm days. It didn't catch on and was dropped.

Stepp, very interesting view and I agree with most of it.

One of my main reasons asking about SLT Technology was because I want to go to a smaller lighter DSLR than my heavy Nikon D5100 + heavy lenses. The Sony SLT A55/35/37 fits that criterior and the lenses should also be smaller and lighter. I have considered a M4/3 system such as a Panny DMC G5 but I have yet to be convinced the M4/3 sensor is as good as APS-C sensors. By changing to lets say a SLT A37 [same sensor apparently as the Nikon], would I get just as good a IQ as my Nikon or not, thats the big question for me.
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 11:45AM
You keep on saying that SLTs are superior to DSLRS,the AF tracking is inferior and the loss of over half a stop of light through the pellicle mirror affects the viewfinder as well as the image so I fail to see that it is 'superior'. I am not saying that the SLT is not a good camera (it clearly is) but it is a tool that has its strengths.
With the advent of the serious MFT such as Olympus OM-D and the Panasonic GX1 the SLTs have been overtaken by the new breed of MFTs - these new guys are smaller than the SLTs and even the NEX is suffering when you look at the image comparisons between the OM-D and NEX where the larger sensor gives little if any real-world advantages.


Quote:The SLT has two basic advantages over NEX: it uses Minolta AF lenses and Sony Alpha lenses, of which there are many millions in existence,


Most people buy the kit lens and never buy another lens in the life so all these 'millions' of legacy lenses are mere paperweights. An even among enthusiasts, who really uses more than three lenses?
mikehit e2
5 7.1k 11 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 11:47AM

Quote:I have yet to be convinced the M4/3 sensor is as good as APS-C sensors.


I have seen comparisons where the OM-D sensor outperforms the NEX which is APS-C. Now the Olympus uses Sony sensor but how much of the technology is Olympus' own - I guess we will not see until the next range of Sony cameras come out.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
21 Aug 2012 12:15PM
Let's be realistic - just for a moment............. very unusual on EPZ. Grin

The quality of the output of the current crop of interchangeable lens cameras, regardless of sensor size and regardless of whether there is a mirror or not, is way beyond cameras, which were regarded as superb as little as 5 years back, and probably way beyond the needs of 90%+ of photographers.

Yes, it's a generalisation but let's get real! Wink
strawman 11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 12:42PM
I agree with CB rare event Wink.


Quote:One of my main reasons asking about SLT Technology was because I want to go to a smaller lighter DSLR than my heavy Nikon D5100 + heavy lenses.
Regarding DSLR or SLT, the lenses are the same size and weight, as the distance from the rear of the lens to the sensor is kept the same and the image projected onto the sensor is the same size. The mirror less cameras with smaller sensors (m4/3 is an example) have an advantage here as the smaller sensor and reduced lens to sensor distances allow for more compact lightweight systems. The camera only looses the mirror mech weight but gains EVF and often a bigger battery to get the same usable hours. So A37 to your camera less than 10% from the body. The m4/3 system looses a lot more weight. So DSLR to SLT for weight, doubt its worth it. Not if you include the weight of the second battery.

As for SLT yes no mirror mech, and the contrast AF points are always illuminated, but stop the lens down and they no longer work etc and for some strange reason Sony have not adopted the obvious of using contrast AF from the sensor in some conditions and phase in others. they could have had it all. This is strange as Olympus and Panasonic plus their own NEX designs manage it, a sign that the A mount cameras are still too much Minolta and not enough Sony??.

I think the success of the NEX and m4/3 cameras shows that they may have been better off producing more NEX models, even entry level SLR replacements than creating the SLT cameras. Just think you could have EVF and smaller body plus still keep the A lenses by adapter.


Quote:Sony dropped the DSLR because they decided that the SLT was superior in every way
Do you know that? or is it your conclusion? They were not managing to compete with Nikon and Canon at the level they had projected. Sales were down plus their mirror and shutter mech was at least a generation behind that offered by the competition. The plan to compete directly with canon and Nikon had failed so they offered something different. That is not the same as what you said.
strawman 11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 12:56PM
P.s Sony A57 weighs more than your Nikon D5100, so I guess you need to decide which model equals the performance of yours

Panasonic G5 is 396g including battery
Nikon D5100 560g.
Sony A37 506g,
Canon 1100D 495g.
Sony A57 618g
Olympus OM-D 495g

So I am not certain SLT on its own is a big weight difference. I think the m4/3 cameras win the battle of the bulge, the olympus is very good given materials used.
redhed17 9 679 England
21 Aug 2012 1:30PM

Quote:One of my main reasons asking about SLT Technology was because I want to go to a smaller lighter DSLR than my heavy Nikon D5100 + heavy lenses. The Sony SLT A55/35/37 fits that criterior and the lenses should also be smaller and lighter.


There doesn't seem to be that much in the size and weight of the D5100 and the Sony cameras you've mentioned, weight of the A35 aside. And I didn't know that the Sony lenses were that much lighter than Nikon equivalent lenses. :-/


Quote:I have considered a M4/3 system such as a Panny DMC G5 but I have yet to be convinced the M4/3 sensor is as good as APS-C sensors. By changing to lets say a SLT A37 [same sensor apparently as the Nikon], would I get just as good a IQ as my Nikon or not, thats the big question for me.


The M4/3 system cameras can be smaller, but you start to lose viewfinders, even EVFs to get the size down. And if you start adding large lenses, then that small system isn't as small and portable anymore. Wink

With regards to the the Sony SLTs being as good as the D5100. On the face of it they 'may' be all be using the same sensor, but the Sony sensors are receiving 30% less light because of the SLT design, and that must affect the image quality. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

The only reason I would consider the SLTs was if I was really into video too, if not then for minimal size and weight gains, it's not worth changing imho.

If you want small and light with quality, then it is a minefield out there with so many different options. I would get to a shop to handle as many different cameras as possible to discount as many as possible. Wink
kodachrome 3 530
21 Aug 2012 1:38PM
Thanks for that, makes you think before you leap as they say. I have to say that my D5100 with DX 16-85 does weigh a lot but the IQ is outstanding and many photo friends have said I would be crazy to sell it. However after a day in the country side with the camera round my neck, I do feel its beginning to do me in. I might just try that new single point strap.
However, the G5 seems to win here on all counts, is the IQ comparrable though.

Thanks to every one for your ideas and suggestions.
Steppenwolf 3 1.1k
21 Aug 2012 1:39PM

Quote:
One of my main reasons asking about SLT Technology was because I want to go to a smaller lighter DSLR than my heavy Nikon D5100 + heavy lenses. The Sony SLT A55/35/37 fits that criterior and the lenses should also be smaller and lighter. I have considered a M4/3 system such as a Panny DMC G5 but I have yet to be convinced the M4/3 sensor is as good as APS-C sensors. By changing to lets say a SLT A37 [same sensor apparently as the Nikon], would I get just as good a IQ as my Nikon or not, thats the big question for me.



The SLTs are no smaller or lighter than DSLRs - that's not one of their advantages. If you want a lighter system you need to go to a smaller sensor. Before I bought my A77 I thought about M4/3 for some time because I reckon that the latest examples are good enough for most professionals let alone amateurs like me. OK their tracking AF is probably not as good as a DSLR or an SLT but this will be remedied in the near future. This was not a problem to me - the problem is that M4/3 don't have a decent range of prime long lenses, or any range of prime long lenses. The longest lens you can get is a 100-300mm (200mm-600mm eff) which is a) not long enough for wildlife photography and b) long zoom lenses, except in rare cases, don't get anywhere the quality of a decent prime.


Quote:You keep on saying that SLTs are superior to DSLRS,the AF tracking is inferior and the loss of over half a stop of light through the pellicle mirror affects the viewfinder as well as the image so I fail to see that it is 'superior'.


I guess, like strawman, your comments are made on the basis of a complete lack of experience of using an SLT or, at best, very little experience, like trying one out in a camera shop - and maybe even taking one outside to try a few shots. I think you might find that, like a lot of things, they get better when you understand how to use them. The AF tracking of the A77 is brilliant IMO - maybe it's helped by the fact that the AF sensor isn't cut off from the light by the flappy mirror most of the time, so it can keep tracking, who knows.

The loss of 30% of the light is a pity but 1/2 stop is just about a year's development in sensor technology nowadays. Yet people still seem to be happy to buy cameras that have 4 year old sensors in them - go figure. BTW, the loss of light doesn't affect the viewfinder. It's an EVF and you can set up the brightness as you like. You can set it up to see in the (almost) dark if you like - try that with your OVF. Or, indeed, try to set up your OVF to let you see what the picture's going to look like - best of luck with that.
kodachrome 3 530
21 Aug 2012 2:04PM
I mostly shoot single shot landscapes and general snaps of items of interest. I shoot gardens, vintage car rally's and aviation museums so tracking, multi shooting and video will be way down on my list of priorities. I looked at the SLT A37 in my local Jessops and it is quite small and lighter in comparison to the other DSLR's I handled.
Is there any truth in 'ghosting' [I'm not too sure what they mean]on some images from SLT cameras. I read this on one of the review sites.
From what I gather, Sony designed the metering system to adjust itself and compensate for the loss of light which as stepp said only about 1/2 a stop due to the SLT.
I have to be honest and say that I quite liked my mates EVF on his G3, so EVF's would not be a deciding factor.
strawman 11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
21 Aug 2012 2:16PM

Quote:The AF tracking of the A77 is brilliant IMO - maybe it's helped by the fact that the AF sensor isn't cut off from the light by the flappy mirror most of the time, so it can keep tracking, who knows.
Have you tried how good the competition is before you make that conclusion. From one review


Quote: If you're interested in the A77 as a sports and fast-action camera though, don't be blinded by its fast framerates alone. The A77 is very good, but in our experience the more conventional Canon EOS 7D and Nikon D7000 both offer slightly more reliable AF tracking and framerates which although slower than 12fps, are still plenty fast enough for most applications.



Quote:The longest lens you can get is a 100-300mm (200mm-600mm eff) which is a) not long enough for wildlife photography and b) long zoom lenses, except in rare cases, don't get anywhere the quality of a decent prime.
try going along to the Wildlife photographer of the year competition and see how many shots are taken with focal lengths that do not meet your criterion. 300mm on a m4/3 and 400mm on an APS-C camera is fairly useful. And you could always stick a longer lens on an adaptor if you wanted to go for ultra long. You are probably correct its where the m4/3 system is not at its strongest, but the current new Sony lens range stop at 400mm so its not a priority for Sony either.

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