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Thread: Has Sony just released the future in DSLR's?

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    Has Sony just released the future in DSLR's?

    OK, please don't scoff at this as this is not intended to start a war....

    Sony have just released the details on two brand new DSLR's, the SLT-A55 and A33. DPReview have already given the A55 a full review, which can be found here:

    http://dpreview.com/reviews/sonyslta55/

    OK, so why the brash and brazen title. Take a look at the spec list (and the bits that I have put shown as bold):

    * 16.2MP (effective) APS HD CMOS sensor
    * Fixed, pellicle-type semi-translucent mirror
    * Maximum ISO 12,800 (with a quasi-ISO 25,600 'Multi-frame NR' option)
    * 15-point phase-detection AF array with 3 cross-type AF points
    * Electronic viewfinder with 1.44 million dot resolution (1.15M dots used)
    * Built-in GPS
    * Electronic level in EVF/LCD with pitch/roll indicator
    * Dual-purpose Memory Stick/SD card slot
    * 10fps continuous shooting rate
    * 1080p AVCHD movie mode with continuous AF
    * Articulated 3in 'TruBlack' LCD with 912k dots
    * socket for external microphone
    * 2x magnification mode in live view
    * Face-detection AF (focus via nearest phase-detection AF point)

    Sony said that they were not going to do video in a DSLR, until they can do it right. And how have they achieved this? The pellicle semi transparent Mirror AND the electronic view finder..... This means that the camera can use full phase-detection AF (and not contrast detect AF, which apparently is not as reliable) for video modes at all times.

    So, is this the beginning of the end of the Optical View finder?

    *Note, for me, I personally don't care. For those who know me, I have very firmly gone away from more features in cameras, but I thought that the release of this camera could shape the future and it is definitely news worthy.

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    Thanks Hoffy. Does sound like Sony are determined to be a big player in the DSLR market. They have come up with some very interesting tech with this one.
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    Max ISO 12,800 would not seem to be the future to me.. although the rest does sound very interesting.

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    Yeah, but does it have an 'auto composition' feature

    Looks like a nice camera - I believe the new Pentax k5? is using the same sensor (or so the rumour goes!) it would be interesting if it is using the same type of mirror.

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    It does sound interesting but for me the small sensor is a minus, but that's just my opinion. It does seem to have good features and Sony make good cameras.
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    Im flat out using the features Ive already got ...
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    LOL at the APS-HD marketing jargon gimmick....really? hahaha

    until some movie/film director uses a Sony DSLR to film a major production they got a while to play catch up yet

    and regarding the end of the optical viewfinder era - weapons inc assault rifles to machine guns can now be fitted with electronic viewing/targeting screens and be portable and used in the field - but I dont see soldiers replacing that with the good old stare down the barrel and optical sights any time soon, if ever. Same for SLRs

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    LOL at the APS-HD marketing jargon gimmick....really? hahaha

    until some movie/film director uses a Sony DSLR to film a major production they got a while to play catch up yet

    and regarding the end of the optical viewfinder era - weapons inc assault rifles to machine guns can now be fitted with electronic viewing/targeting screens and be portable and used in the field - but I dont see soldiers replacing that with the good old stare down the barrel and optical sights any time soon, if ever. Same for SLRs
    Very True.

    But, when was the last time you saw an optical view finder on a Broad cast quality Video camera?

    I probably should have made my own views a bit more clearer in the original post. While I have a feeling that this is the way that all SLR form factor cameras will head (Folks, I am talking about the EVF. I should have left out all the other features in the OP, as they are just pretty standard), I am not convinced it is the way to go. That being said, if an EVF will give as good a view as a OVF, without any delay, why shouldn't it work?

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    I think it's inevitable that the EVF is going to be the future of DSLR(despite some people's nostalgic preference for optical versions).
    Ultimately they will offer many advantages over optical view finders.

    As far as I can see, the only disadvantage would be the power consumption of the EVF, where the optical vf uses no battery power, the EVF will always do so. But all other advantages(such as brightness contrast resolution magnification..etc) will all ultimately tilt in the EVF's favour. May take some time, and I'm sure the big guns like D3's, 1D's and suchlike will only have EVFs when they've been proven to be an advantage.

    As to this translucent mirror camera ....

    But I kind'a don't really geddit

    Isn't it trying to be a (mirrorless)micro4/3rds camera but with a mirror?
    (or don't they have phase detection focus systems?.. I don't know a lot about them)

    Losing 1Ev due to the translucent mirror is not good, even with today's higher and higher ISO capabilities.
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    I think you will find that those types of cameras have contrast detect. The mirror is used to reflect the light to the Auto Focus array, hence why it is still needed. I am, though, curious on how you can use the camera. Apparently, the mirror will lose 1/3rd of a stop of light to the sensor and at 10 FPS, the mirror stays down. I am assuming that this will result in worse low light performance, or is it implemented by theoretical ISO (I.E., the ISO of the camera is changed by 1/3rd of a stop to compensate, without you knowing, if you know what I mean)

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    Translucent mirrors are far from new. They existed in some film bodies in the mid-late 90s. You'll note they weren't pursued beyond that by the main camera manufacturers.

    As for EVF, can't stand them. They typically don't have the resolution of an OVF, nor the speed of refresh. I also want to see what the lens sees without correction from the camera's computer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAdeGroot View Post
    Translucent mirrors are far from new. They existed in some film bodies in the mid-late 90s. You'll note they weren't pursued beyond that by the main camera manufacturers.
    Correct and why? Because there was too much light loss for the view finder, hence why an EVF has been implemented this time

    As for EVF, can't stand them. They typically don't have the resolution of an OVF, nor the speed of refresh.
    While in the outset, I would typically agree with you, I am not going to make judgement until I see one in the flesh. One thing I will say, that in relation to refresh and speed, if this was the case, why do all video cameras (INCLUDING up to network TV cameras) don't have optical finders?

    I also want to see what the lens sees without correction from the camera's computer.
    Ummm, what happens when you take the photo? Wouldn't using an EVF actually show you an even more correct representation of what the final image would look like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAdeGroot View Post
    ....

    As for EVF, can't stand them. They typically don't have the resolution of an OVF, nor the speed of refresh. I also want to see what the lens sees without correction from the camera's computer.

    This is what I mean!

    forget what you see now with EVF's(and I'm the same.. can't stand them now).. but in the future(which is probably only a generation away) if the EVF produced a better image to your eye, would you prefer it, or stick with the lower quality optical version?

    I'm inclined to go with what gives me a better experience and result rather than get all nostalgic and sentimental about how the good ol days used to be.

    Optical viewfinders have many drawbacks, which you can clearly see once you install a different focusing screen matte. As far as I'm aware with my experiences with them over the years, they're not as good as you think they are.
    And hence this is why many camera manufacturers have various options available for the very to super high end cameras for viewfinders.

    eg. to give you a clearer sense of a thin dof, the vf needs to be more contrasty, which means a loss of light(to your eye) through the vf system. but when you want to actually want to see a deeper dof(using the DOFP) button with lens set to f/11-f/16 you really only see a bottomless black pit once the lens aperture stops down.

    There is absolutely no reason that a manufacturer can't set the EVF to automatically multiply the brightness of the EVF when the DOFP button is used, which then makes use of the DOFP system worthwhile(even though I still use it in it's current semi useless form). You could also have a system of variable magnifications to suite various lens types.. impossible to do with optical systems. Something I'd find useful with a EVF: having the ability to press a single button to switch to 100%(or close too) magnification of the subject for confirming focus acquisition.

    Just as digital image capture is the future for photography, using the same tech(or better), EVF's will also be the future of DSLR photography. The technology just hasn't matured enough to be a serious competitor to the OVF yet.

    I would have thought that using a prism would have been a better(if more complex) option for partially transmitting light to the sensor, while transferring another section of the image on an alternate path.

    I think the idea of this new Sony is good... great in fact!
    Hopefully it's the start of a wave of alternate designs and ideas in the DSLR world. One thing I'd rather not lose tho(personal preference) is the size of current DSLR's. Small DSLR's cramp my hands. Didn't realise how badly this affected my hand until I went from a D70s(not all that small) to the D300. I hold may camera in my hand all the while(when I'm out shooting of course!.. not all the time ) I never felt the D300 as a pain(PITH).. but doing the same with the D70s used to cramp my hand, as it didn't fit my hand as comfy.. and yes, I hate camera straps.

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    As far as I can see, the only disadvantage would be the power consumption of the EVF, where the optical vf uses no battery power, the EVF will always do so. But all other advantages(such as brightness contrast resolution magnification..etc) will all ultimately tilt in the EVF's favour. May take some time, and I'm sure the big guns like D3's, 1D's and suchlike will only have EVFs when they've been proven to be an advantage
    I just bought an Oly EP1 with the optical viewfinder. The reason I chose to avoid the EP2, apart from the massive price difference, was that the EVF of the EP2 works at only 60hz. If the frame rate was higher, I may have gone to the EP2. From what I can find, I beleive the Sony's refresh rate is the same. I'm not sure what the limitations are with this type of technology, but I would like to see it around 500hz at the least. The live view is good, and works well on a tripod, and handheld is okay (particularly with in body stabilisation), but there's no substitute for having the camera up to the eye.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    ... One thing I will say, that in relation to refresh and speed, if this was the case, why do all video cameras (INCLUDING up to network TV cameras) don't have optical finders?...
    You'd have a less-than-optimal optical path to the sensor - either through a light-sapping prism or translucent mirror, or a mirror that is flapping up and down 50 or 60 times per second, or an off-axis viewfinder. Also, don't forget that video cameras (including HD and broadcast) have a significantly lower resolution than your average DSLR, so it is easier to get an EVF that matches the resolution being captured. I'd guess they are also more interested in the image that will be broadcast - not the one they see with their own eyes.

    All in all, I don't think the video camera EVF argument is a good one for DSLRs.

    AK - I think there are good reasons for keeping the optical VF, and don't agree that it is "nostalgia ".
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    Has Sony just released the future in DSLRs?

    No. All other things aside, it is not an SLR. SLRs have a reflex mechanism - i.e., a moving mirror. Whatever this camera might be, and whatever it might mean for the future, it is not and never will be a DSLR.
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    the term reflex doesn't come from a moving mirror, just from the fact that it has a mirror at 45deg. this is why we know the rollei's and mamiya's as reflex cameras, but with no moving mirror.

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    It's now called a "DSLT" camera instead of DSLR

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    What TOM says is true.
    The term reflex is referring to the reflected image into the view finder.

    There are reflex type lenses too. They use mirrors to redirect the image forward and then back to the sensor/film plane, but don't use moving mirrors either.

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    As a newbie to digital photography using an APS -C or similar format camera, I'm looking at purchasing the a55. I like the look of the specifications and the reviews (I've read the DP review) are positive.

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