Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sony declares price war! (updated)

You know how I love the compact but high-quality cameras of the Micro-Four-Thirds system, a "mirrorless" exchangeable-lens system, primarily from Panasonic and Olympus.
But one thing has long been odd: they save the expense of the complex mirror system, and yet the cameras are more expensive? Whu??

Sony has just announced a new camera, the Sony A3000, which looks to all the world like a dead-typical DSLR camera, but actually is a mirror-less camera, using Sony's acclaimed NEX lenses and system.

And get this, the A3000, with kit lens, is only $400! This is for a 20-megapixel camera too!

Don't get it wrong, this is a plasticky camera, with very scraped features. But: if you're on a budget but still wants the best image quality, this looks like a very good bet. (We'll see when the reviews starts coming in, but former NEX cameras have gotten much praise.)

Let us hope Panasonic and Olympus are willing to learn, and will come out with their own entry-level cameras, so the people they were supposedly targeting in the first place, people stepping up from compacts, can afford to get a taste of the delights. A gateway drug should not be too expensive.     :-)

By the way, this is an APS-C-format-sized camera, meaning the sensor is a big larger than M4/3 and the same size as most DSLRs. The system can be slightly more compact than DSLRs, but not much. There is a quality advantage to it, but it's rather academic in my view. M4/3 is a lot more compact, with almost the same quality. (And greater variety of bodies and lenses.)


emptyspaces said...

Looks like a sweet deal to me. Should be a perfect student camera, and could fit the bill for the aspiring filmmaker, too.

Bru said...

One more positive thing about this camera: for someone who wants to move up from phones and point and shoot cameras, this camera will be much easier to use than a true dslr.

So, it looks like a step up from a typical mirrorless, it's cheaper than most (if not all) mirrorless, and it's just as easy to use as any mirrorless. This should be a big hit for Sony.

In the US I think the larger body is actually a plus as well. It makes it easier to use the camera.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I think most Western men (different in the East) wan't big, manly cameras. Compact cameras are twee and for women.

Funny enough I never really thought about that before. I just assumed everybody could see the advantage of carrying 5 kilos or gear instead of 10.

Bru said...

It could be an ego thing with western men. It could also be a size of fingers thing. Put wool gloves on Japanese designers and they might come up with a small camera that would be more enjoyable for people with bigger hands.

Ford has something called the "third age suit" which it uses to help young designers appreciate what older people have to go through to use their cars.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...


I wish they'd put blurred glasses on web designers to anticipate what 9-point text looks like after you're 45.

Bru said...

Couldn't agree more about small type on web pages.

When I first checked out a Sony NEX camera a few years ago, I found the body to be too small for the kit lens. It seemed like I needed two hands to hold the lens, and then one more to work the camera! I think this new Sony camera may be more "honest" in having an appropriate size body for the size of the lenses people are likely to use.

I agree that M 4/3 is good enough and big enough for nearly everyone. Most people don't need bigger, but they have been programmed by Nikon and Canon for years. Sony may be taking advantage of that programming to some degree, but for those who have deprogrammed themselves Sony offers the RX-100.

Personally, I'd much rather have an RX-100 than any mirrorless camera or DSLR, but that's just the way I roll...

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yes, the NEX was never attractive to me, the body looks like a small afterthought, which wasn't even designed to go with the lens. I'm not surprised it's clumsy. It's not even advantage to have a compact body if the lenses are big!

I am a little shocked that the RX100 could, in a pinch, do almost everything I need to do! It's a pocketsized bomb of a camera, is what it is.

I use M4/3 also, because it does give a better grip, faster and more precise zoom, choices of extra long or short lenses (I love lenses), extra fast lenses, very short DoF. And of course goes a step further in quality and low-light capacity.

But as far as I'm concerned, the RX100 is the first shirt-pocket-sized camera which can be considered Pro.