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View Full Version : Sony Announces A290 and A390 DSLRS; Rest of the World Yawns

Lee Yuan Sheng
06-09-2010, 07:26 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/09/sonys-value-minded-a290-dslr-gets-official-drags-big-bro-a390/' target='_blank'>http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/09/...s-big-bro-a390/</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"Sony's A290 DSLR may not have been the hottest of this summer's Vietnamese leaks, but nevertheless it was about a month ago that the entry-level shooter was spied over there, and now we know when it'll be coming over here -- roughly, at least. Sony has made the 14.2 megapixel A290 official, along with its A390 sibling."</em></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1276105890.usr15670.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></p><p>After the NEX cameras, we get the most ho-hum DSLR launch ever. These cameras bring nothing new to the table, have what looks like a very simplified UI, and are not aesthetically appealing either (the chunky design feels really ancient for some reason and is lacking in Sony's usual design sense). The only real advantage these cameras have is price, but I'm not sure that saving a hundred is going to matter when there are more interesting options on the market, and in a tier of a market that's increasingly enticed by the Micro Four Thirds camp despite the price.</p><p><MORE /></p><p>Also, the more expensive of the pair, the A390, is going to have a terrible viewfinder because of Sony's implementation of live view; a secondary sensor residing in the pentamirror region means the viewfinder is even going to be tinier than the D70's viewfinder which I used as a baseline in a <a href="http://forums.thoughtsmedia.com/f305/slr-viewfinders-overlooked-feature-main-reason-why-i-would-get-d700-89791.html#post687847" target="_blank">previous article</a>. Sony's implementation of live view in a world of EVIL cameras now looks like a failed compromise.</p><p>All in all it really makes me wonder about Sony's DSLR ambitions. It is not like they have a bad base to begin with - Minolta's legacy is a decent system, but despite brave talk by Sony in saying they want to be a main player, 2009 saw the Micro Four Thirds camp upstaging them in a big way, while not being able to penetrate the Canon and Nikon hold on the market. With cameras like the A290 and A390, Sony can just about forget achieving that goal.</p>

06-10-2010, 02:16 AM
As with the NEX series, it seems obvious that Sony is targeting "amateur P&S up-converters". Not even prosumers. Just folks that know the Sony name and just want to get better photos. And it probably isn't that bad of a strategy if they're just looking to grab a foothold. The Sony brand still has huge cachet. I've got a friend who swears by Sony, is actually near-professional in the video world (where Sony is of course a major player), but knows nothing about the still world. And he would undoubtedly jump on one of these.

They don't have to be great. They just have to be good enough to slap a Sony brand on. And perhaps these up-converters (some maybe young PSP/PS3 loyalists getting married and having kids) will be locked into the a-mount world when it is time to grow. And if they're $100 cheaper than the comparable Nikon/Canon, all the more reason for a total newb to jump on the a-train. :)

As for looks, I've always found Minolta's to be quite traditional/bland. The rest of the industry kind of modernized after the first EOS completely threw SLR styling for a loop. Minolta--not so much. I've still got a little soft spot in my design ethos for their pyramidal penta-prism bodies, but their low- to mid-grade bodies are awkward at best.

Lee Yuan Sheng
06-10-2010, 07:39 AM
Having a PS3 loyalist to upgrade sounds like a bit of an extreme case. In Japan, the top 20 interchangeable lens cameras for 2009 were mostly Canons and Nikons. Sony's entries there took about 4% of sales. Equally telling were that the Micro Four Thirds contingent took about 11% of sales. This for a system that's more expensive than Sony's lowest priced models (which didn't make it to the top 20).

Maybe the Japanese have more refined tastes, but cheapies like the Nikon D40 still outsold the Sonys. I am not sure how this would translate worldwide, but I am guessing it's not looking good for Sony regardless - most of the buzz isn't with Sony.

You can take a look at the report from BCN here: http://bcnranking.jp/news/0912/091228_16149.html