Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Sony fires new volley in pro camera war

By Robin Rowland, CBCNews.ca

Sony launched its new “flagship” Digital Single Lens Reflex camera today, the Alpha 900, the company’s first real entry into the professional still camera market. (Sony, of course, has dominated the professional video camera market for the past 20 years and has had a strong presence in the consumer point and shoot market.)

Canon, Sony’s chief rival, has been the camera of choice for many professionals since their cameras went digital, with Nikon a close second.

On Friday, Canon tried to steal a march on Sony with teasers on its U.S. website, a simple flash animation of a moon and a camera body with the slogan “Destined Evolution.” The UK site has a floating Canon camera body plugging the “future of photography.” There is plenty of online speculation that Canon will soon launch a new version of its EOS 5D, the company’s second-level professional camera.

Somehow, the advertising and promotion people at both Sony and Canon seem to be inspired by a 40-year-old movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey. You can imagine a Canon lens as a giant (grey not black) pylon on the surface of the moon. The slick Sony video presented at this morning’s launch in Toronto has a sun rising over a desert landscape and while the theme wasn’t “Also sprach Zarthusa,” the electronic music with its fanfares continued as the video camera (for a still camera launch?) zoomed across landscape after landscape. All that was missing was a shot of the new 70-400mm Sony G Series lens again standing in the desert like the Space Odyssey pylon to encourage the intelligent evolution of photography.

The camera wars are beginning once again.

The ammunition is the mighty megapixel.

The Sony Alpha 900 will offer a 24.6 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, clearly aimed at the top of the line Canon professional EOS 1Ds Mark III, which has a 21.1 megapixel full-frame sensor.

Do that many megapixels matter? Certainly not for the consumer. But as one of the photographers demonstrating the product for Sony pointed out, the ad and fashion industries that publish in slick magazines are the ones driving the demand for megapixels that will equal images from film shot in a medium format camera such as a Hasselblad

Sony is also pushing its in-camera image stabilization anti-shake system, which it says is the first for a full frame sensor. Other companies are building image stabilization technology into their zoom and telephoto lenses.

This is something Sony has to do. The company is building on a legacy market. It bought the DSLR technology from Konica Minolta in 2006, and those lenses do not have the stabilization found in Canon lenses.

As a Sony spokesman noted at the Tuesday launch, there are 15 million Minolta and Konica Minolta lenses out there. It was those 50 million lenses that gave Sony the market base to build its Alpha camera line. (The Sony camera uses the Minolta lens mount). The Sony spokespeople also pointed out that their in-camera anti-shake technology will improve the performance of wide-angle and standard prime lenses.

One other feature that Sony was featuring at the launch is the viewfinder, which the company says is built on an earlier generation of Minolta viewfinders. Sony claims it is the best viewfinder in the high-end DSLR market, with a 100 per cent field of view and .74 magnification.

Sony has decided not to follow the trend toward a “live view” feature (where you can see the electronic image similar to the LCD feature in lower-end cameras), but instead is offering what it calls “intelligent preview.” The photographer can get a preview of the electronic image , complete with histogram by pressing the depth of field preview button.

That allows the photographer to adjust the image for exposure and white balance, as well as depth of field.

It appears the bloggers and message boards were wrong about one thing, though. The Sony Alpha will be available (body only) in Canada in November at a suggested price of $3,300, a much lower price than the $4,500 to $4,900 that was reported on the web. That compares with the Canon Mark III, retailing in Canada around $8,200 for the 21.1 megapixel model. The current Canon 5D, with a full frame 12.1 megapixel sensor retails at about $3,500, so the online speculation may be right that Canon is scrambling to introduce an improved 5D to compete with the Alpha 900.

As well as the new 70-400mm f4.-5.6 telephoto zoom (priced at $1,650) Sony is also launching a Carl Zeiss 16-35mm f.2.8 (price $2,000). Both are expected to be available in retail stores in the winter of 2009.

Sony is also introducing a high-end HVL-F58AM professional flash with enhanced wireless capability. And the company is encouraging photographers to look at new version of an old Minolta prime portrait lens, a 135 mm F2.8 STF.

Sony closed the news conference with yet another tease, inviting everyone back next fall for another camera launch.

Of Note:

A Canadian connection: Sony will be using pictures shot in and around Banff National Park using an Alpha 900 for its brochure and also shop-front videos.

Sony Spin: One Sony spokesman said the company has been offering “high definition” (their quote) electronic products for 50 years. It wasn’t clear how Sony’s spin team came up with that date (what was happening in hi-def in 1958?). They went on to tie this to the CCD, the charge coupled device. Sony did not invent the CCD, as the spokesman implied. The CCD was first proposed in the United States at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1961 as part of the space race. U.S. firms such as Fairchild, Texas Instruments and RCA carried out early development of the CCD. It was Bell Labs that first captured an image on a CCD in 1969 as part of their attempt to build a picture phone. After that, however, the Americans dropped the chip. Sony did find a way to mass-produce the CCD in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and that led to their dominance in consumer and professional imaging technology.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Mehdi Akbari

I have been using a Canon Rebel for almost a year now and i have taken my best pictures with that camera. I'm not sure why anyone would need a 24mp camera, each picture will end up being 5mb and not many people need to print pictures the size of my wall in full clarity, the price definately beats canon's but its like comparing a lexus to a bentley

Posted September 10, 2008 03:49 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

'I keep hoping to see them': Tamma Joyce, 19, separated from family fleeing South Sudan bloodshed
Tamma Joyce, 19, lost contact with her parents when she escaped South Sudan. Thousands continue to flee the troubled country as conflict rages on despite a ceasefire declared in July.
Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar killed outside court before trial over cartoon
Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar was fatally shot Sunday outside the court in Amman where he was due to stand trial, accused to contempt of religion after sharing on social media a cartoon caricature that was seen as insulting Islam.
Analysis Trump's jabs, Clinton's upraised palms could reveal who has the upper hand in debates
It's not what you say; it's how you say it. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be well advised to remember that adage when taking the stage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Monday night for the first U.S. presidential debate. We break down what their gestures tell us about the two candidates.
more »

Canada »

Canadian police must acknowledge racial bias to fix it, Indigenous advocates say
Advocates say police discrimination against Indigenous people echoes some of the allegations of police racism against black men raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.
How green are the royals? Great Bear Rainforest will give William and Kate glimpse of 'stunning' natural world
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit the Great Bear Rainforest on Monday as their royal visit to Canada continues in British Columbia.
Record number of Ontario fentanyl deaths in 2015, new data from chief coroner's office shows
Fentanyl was the number one cause of opioid-related deaths in Ontario in 2015, killing 162 people on its own and 36 when combined with alcohol, according to the chief coroner's office.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Canada showing Haiti some tough love
Canadian officials say Haiti has abused the goodwill of international donors by failing to respect the results of an election they paid for. And Canada is warning the island nation not to expect help to continue if things don't change.
Kathleen Wynne OK with health funding strings — depending on how tight they're tied audio
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she's not opposed to the government attaching strings to new funding in the forthcoming health care accord, it just depends on how restrictive they are.
Analysis Trudeau's pipeline remark puts focus on Pacific Northwest LNG project
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have signalled that his cabinet is prepared to sign-off on a massive natural gas pipeline project that will traverse through B.C.'s north.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Bill Nunn, Do the Right Thing and Sister Act actor, dead at 63
Bill Nunn, a veteran character actor whose credits ranged from the Spider-Man movie franchise to such Spike Lee films as Do the Right Thing and He Got Game, has died.
Pippa Middleton's account hacked, thousands of photos stolen
London police say they are investigating the reported hacking of the iCloud account of Pippa Middleton, younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, and the alleged theft of 3,000 photographs.
Found dead in Stroumboulopoulos's L.A. home, actor Richard Hong remembered by classmates, family
Montrealers who grew up with Richard Hong remember him as a "rambunctious" student who loved music, basketball and hanging out at Dunkin' Donuts. He was found dead Friday morning in the Los Angeles home of his friend, Canadian broadcaster George Stroumboulopoulos.
more »

Technology & Science »

Fuel cells set to power up the drone industry video
Drones have been used for years by military organizations for intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and striking targets. But their widespread use in commercial applications is only just starting to take off thanks to key advances in drone technology.
How to protect yourself after the Yahoo email hack, whether you use Yahoo or not
If you have a Yahoo email address, or ever had one in the past, you could be affected by a massive hack of half a billion accounts. Here's what you can do to protect yourself.
Elephant ivory trade under scrutiny at upcoming wildlife conference
The fate of the elephant hangs in the balance this weekend as the international body that regulates trade in endangered species gathers in South Africa.
more »

Money »

Analysis Waiting for OPEC: changing circumstances and new possibilities — maybe
An informal gathering of OPEC this week is widely expected to produce no substantive changes. So why are oil markets paying so much attention?
Fuel cells set to power up the drone industry video
Drones have been used for years by military organizations for intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and striking targets. But their widespread use in commercial applications is only just starting to take off thanks to key advances in drone technology.
Top 5 ways to save big bucks on groceries video
Personal finance expert Kerry Taylor took Peter Armstrong — host of On the Money on CBCNN — to a grocery store to share some of her best cost-cutting tips.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Analysis Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry ends with Sid on top once again
The rivalry between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin that has gone back a decade closed its latest chapter with a 5-3 Canadian victory in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal.
Coming Up Road to the Olympic Games: Berlin Marathon video
Click on the video player above or tune into CBC Television Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET to watch live coverage of the Road to the Olympic Games featuring the 43rd Berlin Marathon.
Recap World Cup of Hockey: Canada beats Russia to advance to final video
Canada has advanced to the World Cup of Hockey final after defeating Russia 5-3. Brad Marchand had a pair of goals for the Canadians while Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists in the semifinal matchup.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »