Sony Alpha 350 vs 700

Discussion in 'Sony' started by Philip Procter, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be buying a new DSLR this spring to
    replace my Minolta d5, either a Sony a350 or an a700. ANybody have any
    reasons why they would choose one over the other?

    PS: Save your time if you're trying to say something other than Sony
    is best, I've a large stock of Minolta lenses that I'm not about to

    Philip Procter, Apr 11, 2008
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  2. Philip Procter

    frederick Guest

    Why would *you* choose one over the other?
    A700 has mainly better features, better ergonomics, better viewfinder
    (pentaprism), high resolution LCD, and a bit faster frame rate, etc etc.
    A350 has an interesting (for non Olympus users) implementation of
    Liveview and more pixels.
    Sensor performance on Imaging Resource samples doesn't look so good,
    compared with either A700 or Canon 450d. OTOH the A350 is very cheap -
    especially with some bargain-basement kit deals on offer, though I don't
    know what performance of Sony's kit lens is like - DPReview didn't seem
    to think much of the 18-70.
    frederick, Apr 11, 2008
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  3. Philip Procter

    Pete D Guest

    And strangely for a pretty good camera the A350 does not have MLU, not sure
    what they were thinking.
    Pete D, Apr 11, 2008

  4. I am using both. After three weeks of using the A350 to get to know it
    better, I was beginning to get used to the not-quite-as-good colour and
    tone, but found the slightly noisy structure of even the slowest
    (admittedly very sharp in theory) ISO images lacked a quality I look for.

    Then I switched back to the A700 for a couple of days and took a few
    casual shots. It was a bit like the light coming back on again - focus
    accuracy, noise signature, colour, tone and contrast, d-range etc all
    combine to produce an image which is much better. The better focus
    accuracy meant that most A700 images were actually sharper than most
    A350 images despite the lower resolution of 12 megapixels verses 14.

    If you have the budget to buy either camera at choice, the A700 is far
    superior. The A350 live view is quite useful occasionally and that's
    about the best I can say for it. Yes, I used it, but mainly because I
    was trying to. I was actually looking for situations to use the odd
    angles possible with the articulating screen.


    Icon Publications Ltd, Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane, Kelso TD5 7BB
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    David Kilpatrick, Apr 11, 2008
  5. Philip Procter

    Tony Polson Guest

    This is worrying. A lot of people are awaiting (with interest!) the
    24.6 MP Sony sensor that is coming in 2009. Whether or not they buy
    it in a camera carrying the Sony brand, I hope its performance will be
    rather better than the 14.2 MP sensor in the Alpha 350.
    Tony Polson, Apr 11, 2008
  6. It should be, as the density is less than the 12 megapixel of the A700,
    and the technology is supposed to be A700-type CMOS.

    David Kilpatrick, Apr 11, 2008
  7. Do you know what the physical size of that sensor will be?
    John Rethorst, Apr 12, 2008
  8. Philip Procter

    Guest Guest

    Guest, Apr 12, 2008
  9. Philip Procter

    frederick Guest

    Without being too harsh, if Sony don't make it affordable to amateurs,
    then it's destined to fail.
    Forgetting "brand inertia", IMO pro's aren't really going to go for FF
    with no in-lens IS. IS in-camera becomes more crippled as sensor size
    increases, so Sony would need to come up with a bit of a miracle to
    convince anyone that say a $6,000 Sony 300mm f2.8 lens that allows
    inferior in-camera IS only, can compete with Canon and Nikon's offerings
    that have exceptionally good IS/VR, and cost $2,000 less.
    It could be an interesting studio or landscape camera. That's about it.
    frederick, Apr 12, 2008
  10. Philip Procter

    Guest Guest

    supposedly it's going to be about ~$3k. canon is expected to update
    the 5d later this year, and nikon might have a trick up its sleeve as
    Guest, Apr 12, 2008

  11. It's likely that Sony will price it around $3,000-$3,500 if the advance
    info is correct. Like Minolta before them, they are also likely to go
    for the markets of studio, landscape, fashion, portrait, wedding,
    architecture, still life, photojournalism (reportage not paparazzi) etc.
    The lenses they are working on indicate this.

    Over 30 years of working with Minolta, I can remember very few times
    when any of their corporate promotion involved sports or action
    photography. They just were not 'jocks', if that's the right term. Even
    their final Konica Minolta period, where they got mildly interested in
    some minor motorcycle event sponsorship, still didn't change the feel of
    the brand much.

    Sony is slightly different because it has divisions which are involved
    in the faster side of life, but I can still detect the legacy of Minolta
    in the new Alpha division, starting with the inept adoption of some very
    boring Magnum photographers who take super-ordinary pictures.

    The large sensor has a very large carriage, to allow efficient in-camera
    IS, and appears to be mounted behind an oversize shutter (more like the
    shutter used in the Mamiya ZD). I've used every available system of IS
    from Canon and Nikon with 300mms down to the first in-body AS, including
    Sigma's OS and Tamron's VC. I have found no long-term evidence that
    either method is better, but I have found individual lens/IS designs for
    in-lens IS vary greatly in the experience they offer (anything from
    rock-steady lock to dizzying swimming images) and the quality of the
    result. In-body IS only fails if it doesn't know what lens is fitted
    (Pentax has conquered this in the K20D by allowing manual focal length
    entry). The Sony 300mm lens cost issue is another Minolta legacy - right
    now they are still buying hand-made 300mms from the old Sakai team. As
    the new lenses come on line, prices are being dropped sharply, helped by
    new automated production methods. We can expect a 300mm
    non-Minolta-legacy replacement at lower cost pretty soon.

    David Kilpatrick, Apr 12, 2008
  12. Philip Procter

    frederick Guest

    Sure - and good luck to them, but there's no advantage (except cost?) to
    a camera less suited to faster action.
    That must be quite a technical challenge. I guess just to match
    in-camera IS of an APS-C sensor slr at equivalent field of view, a
    full-frame model needs to shift a sensor mass of at least twice the
    weight, 50% faster, and 50% further.
    frederick, Apr 12, 2008
  13. That's not strictly true in digital any more than it was with film. The
    effort you have to put into making a camera durable for 150,000 frames
    at 9fps is much more than if it's running at only 3.5fps or 5fps. Every
    component has to be specified slightly differently. Also, the sensor's
    output may be enhanced by limiting the fps rate and slowing down certain
    processes - admittedly, we are talking nanoseconds but they add over
    over a 24.6 megapixel sensor. Same for post-processing - the quality of
    a 12-bit A to D undertaken with all the best possible sampling methods
    and post processing may match a 14-bit A to D clocked up.

    Of course, if they produce a 'stately' camera which costs more than an
    action camera and has worse dynamic range and noise they have blown it.
    If it costs half the price of a 1Ds MkIII and is not quite as good for
    image quality they are OK but will win no accolades. If it matches the
    1Ds MkIII and is nearly but not quite as good for sequences and fps,
    they probably win.

    Personally, I never shot action using sequences (I have owned and used
    many 5fps etc cams and only ever used the 5fps when... testing 5fps!).
    So paying for that facility is not a priority. But really good high res
    for landscapes and studio work at an affordable price would be
    fantastic. Although I'm kidding myself I win all round by having some
    recent full frame Alpha mount glass, experiences with the A350 tell me
    that new glass might just be necessary. My 2003-4 lenses would enable me
    to use the new full framer, but those buying lenses like the 24-70mm CZ
    f2.8 are going to see much better results.

    David Kilpatrick, Apr 12, 2008
  14. Philip Procter

    Tony Polson Guest

    Nominally, full frame (24x36mm).

    However, it will need to be slightly larger than that in order to
    allow for in-body anti-shake (Sony Super Steady Shot).
    Tony Polson, Apr 12, 2008
  15. Why does the sensor need to be slightly bigger?

    David J Taylor, Apr 13, 2008
  16. Philip Procter

    Guest Guest

    Why does the sensor need to be slightly bigger?[/QUOTE]

    it doesn't.
    Guest, Apr 13, 2008
  17. it doesn't.[/QUOTE]

    Only the shutter aperture needs to be a little bigger, and the carriage
    the sensor is mounted on. Photos have been issued of the carriage and it
    is large. No photos have been shown of the shutter. If they do not
    provide an oversized 'film gate', shots with SSS enabled will have a
    slight crop factor imposed.


    Icon Publications Ltd, Maxwell Place, Maxwell Lane, Kelso TD5 7BB
    Company Registered in England No 2122711. Registered Office 12 Exchange
    St, Retford, Notts DN22 6BL
    VAT Reg No GB458101463
    Trading as Icon Publications Ltd, Photoworld Club and - - - -
    Tel +44 1573 226032
    David Kilpatrick, Apr 13, 2008
  18. Philip Procter

    Guest Guest

    the carriage needs to be bigger because the sensor can move. the 'film
    gate' can move with the sensor and the sensor itself does not need to
    be any bigger.
    Guest, Apr 13, 2008
  19. There are two dfifferent ways of doing in-camera stabilisation. The
    first is to move the sensor around to compensate for the shake. The
    second is to have an oversized sensor and use software or digital
    electronic hardware to move around the area on the sensor from which
    the image is extracted. Neither method is inherently essentially
    better, it's a question of which one the combination of manufacturing
    costs and the ingenuity of your engineers can get the best bang for
    the buck from. And that may change as technology and science

    I note that a number of people make claims about which ranges of lens
    focal lengths various kinds of IS work and don't work for. Those
    claims are based on comparisons of particular implementations of old
    technology and do not necessarily apply to tomorrow's tehnology. They
    might not even apply to today's technology :)
    Chris Malcolm, Apr 13, 2008
  20. Chris, thanks for the reminders of the different methods.

    Sony, of course, are using the moving sensor (which does have the
    advantage of not requiring any fast video sub-pixel interpolation), and I
    was hoping that Tony would explain why he thought as he did, that a larger
    sensor would be required.

    I still think that moving sensor stabilisation is second-best for DSLRs,
    as it does nothing for the image in the TTL viewfinder.

    David J Taylor, Apr 13, 2008
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