Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sony, I'm coming back!

I've been unsure of whether I was going to stay with Sony, no seriously I was. I had all my gear for sale and built my ideal "final" lens list, done the sums and figured out the price of building it with either a Sony, Nikon or Canon line-up. (a topic for my next blog).

So why stay with Sony?

Well, in January this year I was virtually on a buying strike for all camera gear. My frustrations with Sony are briefly described in this blog entry but to recap I was frustrated that a company with more technical tricks up its sleeve than any other of the big players out there seemed to be doing nothing. At the time the A500 and A550 were the best Sony could you with real innovation and I was concerned that Sony was gone, extracting itself from the market as gracefully as possible at the lowest possible cost. The constant recycling of the A2/3XX series models only heightened my fears.

But recently Sony has shown its hand and the reason for the apparent inaction is clearer now. Better, I actually like the direction Sony is taking. First the NEX, then the SLT cameras reveal that Sony has been reserving its development for entirely new lines of cameras which take the traditions of the old film cameras but truly harness what digital can do. These cameras arent the last word in photography, I'm not even certain they are best in their class but the direction they point to is really exciting. Suddenly, in camera GPS, fast AF in video, 7 to 10 FPS, in camera HDR and pannos, EVFs arent things that SLRs can have, instead, they are core parts of a mainstream product.

But it doesnt stop there. Noise performance and AF, two traditional weak areas of a Sony DSLR, are greatly improved. Again, the new Sony's arent the necessarily the class leaders but they are now far more competitive, Sony is very definitely in the game.

So, what it came to was where did I see the future of my photography? Canon and Nikon are no where with a mirrorless compact camera while the NEX is a really exciting product that is changing the way I do my business (in a good way). The Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D (and Pentax K5) are really impressive cameras but they are really just incremental improvements on what has gone before and still dont bring any excitement to the field while the A33 and A55 from Sony are game changers, a huge step forward in what a camera can be.

So I see the trajectory of Sony following a path I want to join. So with that I'm back in. So how did I break by DSLR buying strike? Well I think I've written enough for now. That can be tomorrow.

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