Friday, August 28, 2009

Sony A850 - full frame affordability for the masses?

It wasn't too long ago when Sony introduced their full trio of entry level cameras (A230, A330, A380) and 4 affordable lenses to accompany their release.

L-R: 50/1.8, 30/2.8 macro, 18-55/3.5-5.6, 55-200/4-5.6

L-R: A230, A330, A380

As entry level cameras / lenses, they have decent specs and build quality, but I just glanced through them.

This morning as I checked the web, I was surprised to find another trio of cameras, namely the A500 and A550

along with the new full-frame A850 and 28-75/2.8 SAM lens!

What shocked me further was their release prices. The A850 is sold at a compelling price of USD 2000, while the 28-75/2.8 (as an alternative to the pricier Zeiss 24-70 2.8 ZA) is a mere 800 USD.

Hence, to put things into perspective, for the same amount of cash (USD 2800) you can get a full frame Sony A850 with a 28-75/2.8 lens as opposed to a Nikon D700 or Canon 5D mark 2 (body only). Its also only $200 more expensive than the latest APS-C Nikon D300S ($1800 body only). Plus, for the same 24.5 megapixels, the A850 is 3.65 times cheaper than a $7000 Nikon D3X. This is fantastic value for money!

Some of you might wonder why I , as a Olympus user am writing about this.

The Zuiko 12-60 SWD (which I doubt to be the fastest focusing system in the world, honestly) is a little pricier than the Sony 28-75/2.8 at $900. Despite being one of the best standard zooms available, its variable aperture of f2.8-4.0 irks me quite a bit, as it doesn't do justice for low light photography and shallow DOF. If it was a constant aperture f2.8 lens, perhaps it would be a hit for many more consumers.

The Olympus E-3 being released on 17 October 2007, almost two years ago is a little long in the tooth and is due to be replaced soon. Whatever its replacement is, I doubt that it will come cheap, at around $1700 approx, which is still dangerously close in price to the A850.

I hope this post gives a brief overview towards what is bound to happen in DSLR pricing trends in the near future. Sony fans must be rejoicing by now. Olympus, if you're reading this, I plead you to do something and provide us more affordable Olympus gear that we all adore and love! Do you have any idea how scarce money is nowadays to us amateurs / entry-level counsumers? :S



p.f. said...

:)12-60 SWD, I trust Olympus won't claim 12-60 + E3 as the world's fastest auto-focus if it ain't true, just that it didn't mention if that includes low light condition or inclusive of *locking*.

Also, if HG zoom lenses have constant 2.8 aperture, I wonder how they are going to position their F2 SHG lenses, albeit one stop difference. Sigma or Panaleica should jump at the opportunity to fill that gap.

brandon said...

sigma has already filled that gap with the 18-50 2.8 (36-100mm), but that makes them lose a little on the wide end. my last episode with a sigma lens wasn't great, so i'll always turn to zuiko ones.

panaleica already has the 14-50 2.8-3.5, but they're going ahead with micro43rds first i reckon. any 2.8 constant lens is going to be very expensive to produce, definitely! :)


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