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SLT to go next year

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cathal
cathal  9492 forum posts Ireland4 Constructive Critique Points
9 Sep 2013 - 11:52 PM


Quote: The major space saving with m4/3 was achieved by using a smaller sensor. And the space saving that this allows is in the size of the lenses - not the camera. The fact that the lenses are smaller is not because they deliver a smaller image - it's because the size of the lens is related mainly to its focal length and the smaller the sensor the shorter the focal length needs to be. Mirrorless camera bodies are smaller than DSLRs because the lens can be closer to the sensor, so the depth of the camera is reduced, but this is not the major space saving.

No, sensor size isn't the issue! Four thirds and micro four thirds use the exact same sensor. For example, my E620 (four thirds) and EPL1 (micro four thirds) are essentially the same camera internals. Four thirds was the first system designed as digital from the ground up, rather than derived from legacy sizes and components that full frame / FX / DX / APS-C sensor cameras hark back to 35mm, and APS. There wasn't any significant size change in systems built around this. With micro four thirds, removing the reflex system allowed the lenses to come closer to the sensor and become smaller in size... like those on a rangefinder camera. This has genuinely allowed the cameras to become significantly smaller. SONY have had similar size reductions with their APS-C sensor NEX system.

Getting the reflex system out... that's the space (and game) changer.

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Carabosse
Carabosse e2 Member 1139385 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 2:19 AM

I wouldn't be hugely surprised if Sony ditches camera-making completely, in due course (not in the near future).

If sales of digital cameras of all types are falling sharply, there will come a point where this electronics giant won't find it worth carrying on with what must be a small part of its business.

Steppenwolf
10 Sep 2013 - 8:06 AM


Quote:
No, sensor size isn't the issue! Four thirds and micro four thirds use the exact same sensor. For example, my E620 (four thirds) and EPL1 (micro four thirds) are essentially the same camera internals. Four thirds was the first system designed as digital from the ground up, rather than derived from legacy sizes and components that full frame / FX / DX / APS-C sensor cameras hark back to 35mm, and APS. There wasn't any significant size change in systems built around this. With micro four thirds, removing the reflex system allowed the lenses to come closer to the sensor and become smaller in size... like those on a rangefinder camera. This has genuinely allowed the cameras to become significantly smaller. SONY have had similar size reductions with their APS-C sensor NEX system.



Yes, I know m4/3 and 4/3 use the same size sensor. I thought you were saying that m4/3 is smaller than APS-C DSLRs because of its non-reflex system, when the main reason it's smaller is because of the smaller sensor.

The removal of the reflex mirror does allow the camera to be shallower and the lenses can also be made smaller than retro-focus lenses, but these are quite small savings - for example the 14-42mm lens goes from 65mmX61mm to 56mmX50mm. The main reason that m4/3 is smaller and lighter to carry around is that a bag of lenses for m4/3 (or 4/3) weighs a fraction of that of a bag of equivalent lenses for APS-C.

Steppenwolf
10 Sep 2013 - 8:18 AM


Quote: I wouldn't be hugely surprised if Sony ditches camera-making completely, in due course (not in the near future).

If sales of digital cameras of all types are falling sharply, there will come a point where this electronics giant won't find it worth carrying on with what must be a small part of its business.

It's too early to say. Sony's camera division makes a loss at the moment (although its sensor division is doing OK) but they've had huge start-up costs - building a range of lenses, re-engineering all the KM DSLRs and then designing the new SLTs and the NEX system (for stills and video). You wouldn't expect them to be making a profit at this stage. The market is now in the process of fairly radical change which may take some years. Sales of DSLRs will decline and the mirrorless cameras will become the volume products IMO. This could well hit Canon and Nikon harder than it hits Sony. It's going to be interesting to see what happens.

MichaelMelb_AU
10 Sep 2013 - 8:54 AM


Quote: ....

No, sensor size isn't the issue! Four thirds and micro four thirds use the exact same sensor. For example, my E620 (four thirds) and EPL1 (micro four thirds) are essentially the same camera internals. ....

You draw a good point here. It is worth remembering though that E620 was one of smallest DSLRs of it's time, and 4/3 sensor definitely had something to do with it. Combining two advantages - namely smaller sensor and mirror-free viewfinder M4/3s became smaller than both APS-c and E620. It is interesting to observe though how mirrorless Panasonic G6 camera grew visibly larger than E620 DSLR.Wink Probably, there is some rational limit to miniaturisation. What do you think?

kodachrome
10 Sep 2013 - 12:40 PM

The original concept seemed say, small is beautiful, but there has been some critisism that too small can make some cameras especially M/4/3 CSC awkward to hold especially when fitted with a long [heavy] tele.

I really hoped Olympus would bring out a E-620 size/style camera but it was not to be and Oly fans will have to either get used to the new size or jump ship.
My Sony A37 is pretty small for an APS-C DSLR shaped camera and I really wouldn't want any thing smaller than that.
Its the same with the Ford Focus, the original model was small and compact, but each succesive model got bigger untill we see the current one almost in the mid sized family hatch back class.

strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
10 Sep 2013 - 10:44 PM


Quote: I thought you were saying that m4/3 is smaller than APS-C DSLRs because of its non-reflex system, when the main reason it's smaller is because of the smaller sensor.

m4/3 cameras are smaller than APS-C systems because the mirror system was removed so allowing the rear of the lens element to be close to the sensor and because of the sensor size. The mirror removal explains the m4/3 smaller than 4/3 . If you look at film rangefinder cameras (such as Leica) you will see they placed the lens closer to the shutter and film because they did not have to accommodate the mirror (moving or static).

Many people pointed out SLT was just a stop gap technology and is its loss a big thing? If you are going for an electronic viewfinder the only reason for the mirror was to allow an independent AF sensor array to work off the image seen by by the sensor. It has been clear that the sensor manufacturers have been looking to build the AF sensors into the main imaging sensor and when you achieve that does the camera with an EVF need a mirror?

So the SLT can die does that mean much for the Sony user, probably not as long as the A mount remains. You could have an A mount camera without a mirror if you can achieve good AF performance through sensor based technology. The bigger question is does it make economic sense for Sony to carry on with two lens mounts at their current market share level when the parent company is struggling financially ?

If I were Sony I would be working on a range of NEX cameras with a mount adapter that takes A lenses. That way you could cut manufacturing and development costs plus keep the existing customer happy. Then I would cut any further A mount lens development, keep selling the existing stock for another 5 or so years. It is probably financially sensible for Sony to slowly phase out A mount just as Olympus had to face the financial situation and phase our 4/3. They could probably sell full frame bodies for another 3 or so years if people want to buy them.

I know the big lens on small body means wildlife photographers will not be very happy, but what % of the market do they represent to Sony and are most of them not using Canikon because of the wider range of lenses on the big two's books. Is the market big enough to support all that many companies?

Sony should have been making money from A mount cameras by now, their business plans said so a few years ago and they have had more than enough time to recover the costs. They bought Minolta so inherited the A lens mount system and its established market. SLT to be honest is a much simpler task than developing the NEX mount and series so it was not a big design investment. Also the Sony parent company needs its divisions to make money it does not have the time to wait another 5 years. It needs revenue generation now.

As for who gains and suffers, Nikon and Canon have not necessarily been following the same business model, so the stresses are different. time will tell.

Last Modified By strawman at 10 Sep 2013 - 11:38 PM
MichaelMelb_AU
11 Sep 2013 - 12:32 AM

I would not put SLT demise as a given fact. While not being very appreciative of SONY products, can not notice their often smart and innovative approach. SLT is not as simple idea as it may look first - and not as weak one. Having phase detection sensor array working non-stop through all ON cycle of the camera means superior focus precision and superfast focus tracking. No accident that so many brilliant images of sports action were taken by SLTs. Also, it adds to effects of image stabilization. While these two are not connected directly, it would not be too hard to imagine that camera shifting it's sensor for IS when image in or out of focus won't produce the same effect. Especially if the photographer follows the subject movement. Phase detection AF elements incorporated in sensors is a clever idea, but at the moment most of it comes handy only with video, not photo. In video one does not need very precise focus anyway ( at least as compared to still images). And I find it pretty hard to imagine how phase detection array will work with this sort of technology. A link to good explanation, someone? Because at the moment what I see is some underwhelmed responses from people who tried this innovation.
It well may be that SONY will decide to span A mount all over it's camera range - as explained above, and cut a lot from beginner's SLT models ( most of amateurs may be happy with that), but I would feel some pity if they splash out cameras like A99. I would think that photographic community may be at loss with that.

strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
11 Sep 2013 - 12:54 AM

In lens IS is great for sports and action plus you can have a panning mode for IS, so why not have the AF sensors in the sensor and stabilise them so what you are looking at as an AF point is the same in the viewfinder. So I think this could give some advantages to the Sony cameras compared to the SLT ones. Plus for long lenses stabilising the image you view helps so I am not too worried about Sony deleting the mirror I trust them to get advantages and not loose performance. Think of it you can blend Phase and contrast detection as well if you have enough processing power and with all the sony silicon know how they should be able to manage that. So I think the demise of the mirror might leave the A mount cameras in no worse a place, perhaps a better place.

I think there is more to come from in-sensor AF after all it was not that long ago contrast AF was terrible. And talking of mirror less it is entirely possible that as this technology matures you suddenly find a range of mirror less cameras from Nikon and Canon, but I think they will control the price point. as for the A99 have its sales been of an significant volume. It's predecessor had a niche at the time that Sony did not develop. I am not certain where the A99 sits now.

I want sony to succeed I just think SLT was a diversion they did not need, look at camera like the EM5 to see what could have been achieved if they had gone straight to mirror removal.

MichaelMelb_AU
11 Sep 2013 - 2:34 AM


Quote: ...why not have the AF sensors in the sensor and stabilise them so what you are looking at as an AF point is the same in the viewfinder. ...

That's a good point, and I hope it will work...some time later. At the moment though it is not uncommon to read anything like this:
Interestingly our tests so far have suggested that the camera will either tend to be significantly out-of-focus or absolutely tack sharp - a rather different behavior than we're used to seeing in DSLRs, where shots can prove to be a fraction out-of-focus once viewed on anything other than the camera's screen. The full text can be found in Olympus E-M1 preview. Will SONY adopt anything experimental again? That's anybody's guess I think.

Steppenwolf
11 Sep 2013 - 8:15 AM


Quote: I thought you were saying that m4/3 is smaller than APS-C DSLRs because of its non-reflex system, when the main reason it's smaller is because of the smaller sensor. m4/3 cameras are smaller than APS-C systems because the mirror system was removed so allowing the rear of the lens element to be close to the sensor and because of the sensor size. The mirror removal explains the m4/3 smaller than 4/3 . If you look at film rangefinder cameras (such as Leica) you will see they placed the lens closer to the shutter and film because they did not have to accommodate the mirror (moving or static).

Many people pointed out SLT was just a stop gap technology and is its loss a big thing? If you are going for an electronic viewfinder the only reason for the mirror was to allow an independent AF sensor array to work off the image seen by by the sensor. It has been clear that the sensor manufacturers have been looking to build the AF sensors into the main imaging sensor and when you achieve that does the camera with an EVF need a mirror?

So the SLT can die does that mean much for the Sony user, probably not as long as the A mount remains. You could have an A mount camera without a mirror if you can achieve good AF performance through sensor based technology. The bigger question is does it make economic sense for Sony to carry on with two lens mounts at their current market share level when the parent company is struggling financially ?

If I were Sony I would be working on a range of NEX cameras with a mount adapter that takes A lenses. That way you could cut manufacturing and development costs plus keep the existing customer happy. Then I would cut any further A mount lens development, keep selling the existing stock for another 5 or so years. It is probably financially sensible for Sony to slowly phase out A mount just as Olympus had to face the financial situation and phase our 4/3. They could probably sell full frame bodies for another 3 or so years if people want to buy them.

I know the big lens on small body means wildlife photographers will not be very happy, but what % of the market do they represent to Sony and are most of them not using Canikon because of the wider range of lenses on the big two's books. Is the market big enough to support all that many companies?

Sony should have been making money from A mount cameras by now, their business plans said so a few years ago and they have had more than enough time to recover the costs. They bought Minolta so inherited the A lens mount system and its established market. SLT to be honest is a much simpler task than developing the NEX mount and series so it was not a big design investment. Also the Sony parent company needs its divisions to make money it does not have the time to wait another 5 years. It needs revenue generation now.

As for who gains and suffers, Nikon and Canon have not necessarily been following the same business model, so the stresses are different. time will tell.

ZZZZzzzz.....

Same old stuff. Same old SM "pronouncements" - biased opinion dressed up as fact.

All technologies are "stop-gap" - only their timescale varies. The SLR lasted a long time - and arguably has outstayed its welcome - because there was nothing better until digital arrived. The SLT will last a much shorter time of course. So what.

Whether Sony continue to develop the A-mount depends on the profit outlook, and the same goes for the E-mount. The two systems are different in concept and can coexist comfortably. The A-mount is an APS-C/FF platform with IS in the camera body and a (now large and still expanding) range of lenses without IS. The E-mount is an APS-C stills and video platform with very small camera bodies and IS in the lenses.

You seriously underestimate the work that Sony have had to do to first create their DSLR range and then the SLTs. They were pretty disappointed with what they bought from Minolta, who sold because they couldn't make a profit. Sony had to completely re-engineer the DSLR range because it was non-modular, and therefore very expensive to build. They also had to revise most of the lenses, a process which is still continuing. They hadn't planned for these costs so the payback time has been delayed. Sony now have a range of cameras that stand comparison with the best on the market (and are usually cheaper with better features) and they have a sensor division that is the best in the world.

You want to save your concern for Canon. This is a company that has rested on its laurels for years and been left behind by Nikon. I fail to see why anyone buying a new DSLR should consider any manufacturer other than Nikon. Also their first venture into the mirrorless area has been roundly panned by all the reviewers.

Last Modified By Steppenwolf at 11 Sep 2013 - 8:19 AM
kodachrome
11 Sep 2013 - 8:52 AM

I use 2 Sony's, an A-37 and A-57. I mostly use manual focus in peaking level mode and all my pictures are tack sharp on the PC monitor. However, they are also tack sharp using auto focus. The phase detect seems to be doing a pretty good job.
In one general article on focussing I read in AP, contrast detect is or can have a finer degree of focussing than phase detect but only in certain conditions. Nikon suffered from a rather hit and miss focussing on some models.
I'm sure Sony have fine tuned any anomalies out of the phase detect system, it really is one of the better and fastest focussing systems on the market. Being a stills person, that is plenty fast enough for me.
As for the SLT system, who knows what they may do next year although I have to say the IQ I get from both my Sony's is up there with the best. I have never ever seen degradation of the image due to the SLT and DR always scores highly. I would not be surprised if SLT stayed but may be in a new form. However, knowing Sony I think we are in for another surprise!
All the major brands take good pictures and I suspect there is not much to choose between any of them. I have as much respect for Canikon, Pentax and Olympus etc. as I do for my cameras.
I suspect that much of the new technology being developed especially on focussing systems and exposure accuracy is mainly for the camera's movie facility.

Steppenwolf
11 Sep 2013 - 11:24 AM


Quote: I use 2 Sony's, an A-37 and A-57. I mostly use manual focus in peaking level mode and all my pictures are tack sharp on the PC monitor. However, they are also tack sharp using auto focus. The phase detect seems to be doing a pretty good job.

The main problem with the separate AF sensor is that it's at a remote location, which means that the camera has to be assembled very accurately to avoid focus problems. SLTs have fewer problems in this respect than DSLRs (see article on photoclubalpha) but there's still potential for problems. If you put the PDAF in the image sensor then that problem disappears. It also means that 25% light that the AF sensor uses is no longer lost. This 25% light loss has always been an open goal for those who think DSLRs are the holy grail. Although it's rendered largely irrelevant by the rapidly increasing sensor sensitivities this doesn't stop some people from bringing it up ad nauseam, so it would be an advantage from that point of view to get rid of the pellicle mirror.

It's always amusing to hear the usual suspects predicting the demise of the SLT/A-Mount/Sony, yet Sony's path for development of the Alpha series is pretty straightforward - sling out the pellicle mirror and put the focus in the image sensor. The more interesting question is what happens to the DSLR. There will come a time when the volume market shifts to mirrorless cameras. So Canon and Nikon are going to see their profits squeezed gradually. It'll happen over a period of years probably but it's pretty obvious that it will happen.

MichaelMelb_AU
11 Sep 2013 - 12:08 PM


Quote: ... The more interesting question is what happens to the DSLR. There will come a time when the volume market shifts to mirrorless cameras. So Canon and Nikon are going to see their profits squeezed gradually. It'll happen over a period of years probably but it's pretty obvious that it will happen.

As much as anyone would like to see Canikon DSLRs bite the dust - I would think they won't. No need for complex theories here - simple look around says it all. OM-D costs around $1200, and superior in everything but weight EOS60D may be bought for about half the price. The cost and weight of M4/3 kits and cameras will grow as they start taking on board optics set comparable to modern DSLRs, on-sensor PDAF, etc. So difference in price will grow in favour of DSLR. Maybe, in fairly distant future, making a camera with very complex electronic viewfinder will become cheaper than slapping a few mirrors together - but I am pretty sure this would be a different world for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and all of us.

Last Modified By MichaelMelb_AU at 11 Sep 2013 - 12:12 PM
strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
11 Sep 2013 - 12:55 PM

I am not certain going mirror less is that difficult for Canon and Nikon, if you look you will see Canon bit by bit adding the technology required for example so they have their toes in the water, probably waiting for the time being right for them. So taking their existing lens mount and making it a mirror less system is possible. You could carry lenses etc. and for some items like sports and wildlife do you want the camera bodies smaller as that makes for handling issues. So for high end cameras is it a big issue?

If you are talking about making the cameras smaller, for example competing with the m4/3 system, then both Nikon and Canon have not had great success but is it hurting them? If the market that Canon and Nikon service all want smaller cameras it will hurt them. But if it is not their key profitable market and a more commodity section of the market should they enter? Canon have a confusing situation with the M camera and also the further size reduction of some SLRs. From the mid level up do they need to make cameras smaller? Nikon have also not had the greatest success with a small sensor camera that has changeable lenses. Is that because of the two attempting to differentiate products? Perhaps it is working for them now.

As for my pronouncements well it looks like Sony is heading in the direction I have consistently mentioned so the issue you have is?

If the SLT range were that difficult to make then I maintain my stance that Sony have wasted their efforts and would have been better off putting their efforts into pushing the NEX cameras into the market earlier and they could have been better placed against the m4/3 cameras. Sony would have known about the state of the camera designs they were taking over and if they did not then you have to seriously question their competence.

What you keep forgetting is I want Sony to be competitive and hope that at long last they are getting their act together. I hope they rationalise their range and target their cameras better. I worry that their poor strategy so far has left them in no mans land. They have let the m4/3 people get ahead and they have not made a significant push into the Canon and Nikon markets. Competing with canon and Nikon was always going to be hard and mainly going to be on price. The mirror less market was amore achievable target and one where their traditional strengths would have been better. I wonder if they had not saved Minolta they would have been in a better place now?

The attack of a segment where the market is changing would have been a smarter move I think and from that they could then have grown the products up to the higher end as the technology changes allowed.

Last Modified By strawman at 11 Sep 2013 - 12:56 PM

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