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Sony A7C - harms the camera industry


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When the Sony A7 III was released it allegedly damaged the appeal of more expensive $3000 mirrorless cameras, not least of all Sony's own. In my opinion the electronics giant is now doing the same to affordable APS-C rangefinder-style mirrorless cameras, effectively ending their own APS-C line as well - an even more destructive move than last time.

I am minded of the Nikkei Asian Review in July. "Smartphones are not the only reason [for the camera industry's decline]... Japanese industry, which has a penchant for competing against its own products, can also blame itself."

The article goes on to quote Hiroshi Hamada (ex-CEO of Hoya / Pentax): "Digital camera companies intend to strangle their rivals through excessive competition, but in the end they'll strangle themselves"

https://www.eoshd.com/opinion/opinion-why-the-sony-a7c-harms-the-camera-industry/

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From the people who brought you the blockbuster A7SIII. This fall, the A7III is back! But smaller. Not mightier! Just smaller. And flippy. Not floppy. Sell a kidney. Buy tickets now. Sponsored by Squa

When the Sony A7 III was released it allegedly damaged the appeal of more expensive $3000 mirrorless cameras, not least of all Sony's own. In my opinion the electronics giant is now doing the same to

Hi Andrew,   This would be the very first time ever that I disagree with you. Let me explain why: 1. In a free market if a product does not meet user's expectation and a better alternat

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Really interesting perspective. 
I am in the market for my first Full-frame ILC, so where the market is going is of interest to me. 

I believe we have to accept that specialist cameras are becoming a niche like record Turntables became thanks to CD players and then CD players thanks to streaming. We get less choice and more expense. 
The A7c looks a strange launch in late 2020 but is part of driving up prices in the market to make $2k full frame the entry point for enthusiast ILC, with $3k becoming the mid range and $4 for pro. Look at the where the Canon R6 and R5 sit.

You are also right that the price of 2nd hand cameras is crazy. A used S1 can be had for about the same price as the S5 (taking into account the value of the lenses included in their S5 launch bundle), which is crazy. If this keeps happening then at least the 2nd hand market will thrive for a bit but this is of no help to manufacturers. 

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It’s not surprising is it? Everybody wants full frame look, full frame low light, full frame image quality. Influencers scream it at the top of their lungs. “Great camera...but its not full frame.” So I’m not surprised at all. Sony asks a lot of money for their ASPC cameras. I’m not surprised they are moving their FF into smaller and smaller bodies.

I recently picked up a used Pentax K1000 for cheap and bought some film and have really been loving it as an escape from the optimum capture settings mini-game we all play with these digital cameras.

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Honestly Andrew, I think you dont fully appreciate Sony's business model.

Essentially Sony has close to a monopoly of sensors. As such Sony is not trying to sell 'cameras' - it is trying to sell 'square inch of sensors'. In other words it makes perfect sense to cannibalize APSC in order to promote a sensor size that is 2.25x bigger even at a lower cost per square inch.....

What Sony is doing here is making 'full frame' - the commodity.....

The likes of Panasonic can pursue their small sensor, big camera model until they die - but anyone with a basic grasp of finance knows how this will end up...

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41 minutes ago, Video Hummus said:

Everybody wants full frame look, full frame low light, full frame image quality.

Everybody 'thinks' they do because so many people say so.

The reality though is that because 99.9999999999999999% of everything is on-line, it's virtually impossible to know what anything is shot on unless you are told or in certain situations where there is a discernible difference.

A friend of mine put up some stuff the other day and said, "hey look at the quality of my new Leica!"

And he's a pro so should know better that maybe yes, on your 30" screen at home in Lightroom, the pics look amazeballs, but once they have been re-sized and compressed to a web friendly 150kb, they could have been shot on a 1" sensor compact for all anyone would know.

I don't know about this new Sony... It looks OK to me, as in visually, but it's not really pushing any boundaries and is it anything the market was after?

I dunno because I made my decision recently what i was getting in regard to new kit (second fundamental/brand change after 20 years so VERY considered!) so not as interested in anything new coming out as I was a few weeks back...

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Sigma fp is smaller but does it count? No mechanical shutter and no hotshoe.

FF sensor on crop sensor body is tempting but I'm not in the market for a new camera. The $1900 price tag also won't tempt me to upgrade my a6400 for this. For someone who doesn't have FF body it might be tempting but there is still a lot of difference in price even to the a6600. So I do disagree, it won't kill Sony's crop segment, especially when you count in the price difference in lenses.

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Hi Andrew,

 

This would be the very first time ever that I disagree with you. Let me explain why:

1. In a free market if a product does not meet user's expectation and a better alternative shows up the market will balance itself out. If there is too much competition prices will come down. If the prices hurt producers some will die and the market will balance itself out again. In the end we all win as we'll end up with better spec'ed cameras at lower prices.

2. It's best to eat your own lunch rather than having someone else come eat it for you. I think this is a decent move from Sony to protect itself from the likes like Fuji in this segment (should they decide to come into the market with a compact full-frame alternative. And it's better to get a consumer to invest into a lower-margin Sony camera than spending the money on a competitor. And finally if someone decides to go for this camera instead of an A7III is because they know what they're into and wanted a lower price option with similar features, and again it's best for Sony to grab that money rather than losing it to someone else.

3. There is a specific user-case for this camera: People who know and understand the value of a full-frame sensor, but who do not want to carry around a massive camera with them, and also have the spare money to buy such a camera (maybe as a second camera). I aaaaaalmost fall in that category but I don't want to pay US$2,000 for it. Had this camera been US$999 I'd have placed my order right away and never look back (and probably later spend a lot of money on lenses, maybe even selling part of my huge Canon collection of lenses).

 

Bottom line: This camera is not for everyone, but competition and experimentation is a good thing IMHO.

 

Cheers and keep the good work.

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I think the Blackmagic stuff is enough out of left field to also qualify. My P4K is not miles ahead of my GH5S in IQ on a good day, but the simplicity in handling of the cine cam menus coupled with the save-your-butt tweakability of the BRAW files really sets it apart, especially for the price.

I LOVE the idea of the Sigma FP, it’s just my favorite, but I wish it had open gate RAW. Really the S1H is the only truly full frame video camera right now, the rest restrict to 16:9 which is sad. If Fuji’s next GFX iteration has open gate video, I’ll be all over it, price be damned. That’s IMAX territory with the Metabones added

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39 minutes ago, Elias said:

Hi Andrew,

This would be the very first time ever that I disagree with you. Let me explain why:

1. In a free market if a product does not meet user's expectation and a better alternative shows up the market will balance itself out.

Of course. It should be a free market. There's anti-trust laws against collaborative market fixing and segmentation, nobody wants cartel behaviour.

But what's going on here is not a balance and it's not even really a free market.

It is a destructive race to demolish other Japanese camera companies, and Canon / Sony are the number one suspects.

A race to appeal to the masses at the same time as significantly raising margins and pricing the average consumer out.

A race to lock-in customers to specific lens mounts, and charge extortionate money for optics.

If the consumer could freely choose more innovative products, and more countries and more diversification and more niches were catered for, then it'd truly be a free market.

39 minutes ago, Elias said:

If the prices hurt producers some will die and the market will balance itself out again. In the end we all win as we'll end up with better spec'ed cameras at lower prices.

It's about less diversity, less competition, this isn't a win for us. If Sony and Canon succeed in killing Panasonic, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Pentax and even Sigma's fledgling full frame camera business, a duopoly will be created like AMD vs Intel.

Personally I don't want this. I don't want a camera as dull as the A7C to kill APS-C Fuji X-Pro sales.

39 minutes ago, Elias said:

2. It's best to eat your own lunch rather than having someone else come eat it for you. I think this is a decent move from Sony to protect itself from the likes like Fuji in this segment (should they decide to come into the market with a compact full-frame alternative.

Fuji X-T4 and X-Pro 3 offer so much more innovation than the A7C.

39 minutes ago, Elias said:

it's best for Sony to grab that money rather than losing it to someone else.

They are strangling themselves.

The camera range the A7C kills is the A6000 series.

By using the A6600 form factor for the A7C, Sony is sending a message.

That range is going full frame, more expensive, higher margins.

But no new specs because they have to maintain the high margins. Same specs as the old camera (A7 III). Little investment in it, not even in new menus (crazy).

39 minutes ago, Elias said:

3. There is a specific user-case for this camera: People who know and understand the value of a full-frame sensor, but who do not want to carry around a massive camera with them, and also have the spare money to buy such a camera (maybe as a second camera). I aaaaaalmost fall in that category but I don't want to pay US$2,000 for it. Had this camera been US$999 I'd have placed my order right away and never look back (and probably later spend a lot of money on lenses, maybe even selling part of my huge Canon collection of lenses).

Cheers and keep the good work.

Sure I am all for the concept of small, full frame, compact mirrorless cameras.

Look at the Sony RX1R II. So much more innovative than the A7C. Look at Sigma Fp.

Making an interchangeable lens high-end RX1R II with pop-up EVF is one thing.

Slapping a bigger sensor in an A6600 and calling it quits, just to kill off other Japanese manufacturer sales, is quite another.

And the prices of the Sony lenses is quite self defeating.

But it is the soulless clinical blandness that bothers me the most.

In this industry...

Do we really want to end up with a dominant Sony and their soulless shooting experience, boring ergonomics, and Canon with their marketing games?

Just those two?

Rather than do something genuinely interesting in the APS-C market like Fuji has done with their rangefinder style mirrorless cameras, Sony has simply slapped a full frame sensor in one of the most unergonomic and boring bodies, it's the most unimaginative, most risk averse way to kill the crop sensor market I've ever seen.

Customers will likely buy it instead of an X-Pro 3 or X-E3, because hey it's full frame and Tony Northrup likes it.

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This is what I call "timing": Sony just announcend that is closing their Brazilian factory, laying off all the employees and will cease to sell consumer products (TVs, audio and cameras) in 2021 here. Only will keep the Games, Professional Solutions

Now in Brazil only Canon and Fuji have official sales and support. Probably not for so long.

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4 hours ago, Video Hummus said:

 

I recently picked up a used Pentax K1000 for cheap and bought some film and have really been loving it as an escape from the optimum capture settings mini-game we all play with these digital cameras.

I've been having a blast buying and shooting old film cameras.  It brings the fun back to photography.

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I remarked elsewhere that the idea that vloggers even NEED a full-frame camera is a construct which has been hyped to ridiculous proportions.

Although I dislike the guy intensely, I'll give props to Jared Polin here for at least pointing out in his A7C review that a) it actually isn't very 'compact' at all – it's very close to the same size as an A7iii with the prism cut off; b) This 'compactness' comes at a tremendous detriment to the ergonomics of the camera, and c) you can't beat the laws of physics. (I should add that I was tremendously disappointed with Gerald Undone's very uncharacteristically uncritical 'review').

To see the advantages of FF, the A7C buyer will need to invest in bulky and expensive glass. The alternative is to use mediocre, slow lenses that entirely negate those advantages. So you'd have been better off buying an M43 or APS-C camera with better, more compact and less expensive glass. But no – the 'influencers' all agree that it's now FF or nothing, and the camera manufacturers are delighted to supply the sheep with a bigger, far more expensive camera than they really need.
 

 

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I don't think there is anyway out of the Canon/Sony duopoly nightmare scenario.

They are the only two major companies even making money anymore:

https://fstoppers.com/originals/covid-devastation-financial-results-sony-wins-canon-holds-nikon-way-out-516408

Everyone else will become a niche player (like Fuji, Panasonic & Leica) or go out of business (like Olympus and soon Nikon).

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sami Kallio said:

Sigma fp is smaller but does it count? No mechanical shutter and no hotshoe.

FF sensor on crop sensor body is tempting but I'm not in the market for a new camera. The $1900 price tag also won't tempt me to upgrade my a6400 for this. For someone who doesn't have FF body it might be tempting but there is still a lot of difference in price even to the a6600. So I do disagree, it won't kill Sony's crop segment, especially when you count in the price difference in lenses.

First, a mechanical shutter is irrelevant for video. And second, the fp does come with a cold shoe attachment. Why is a *hot* shoe important for video? So, yes, the fp is really a video camera. And this new Sony is much inferior in that dimension, unless you insist on continuous autofocus...

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Just now, markr041 said:

First, a mechanical shutter is irrelevant for video. And second, the fp does come with a cold shoe attachment. Why is a *hot* shoe important for video? So, yes, the fp is really a video camera. And this new Sony is much inferior in that dimension, unless you insist on continuous autofocus...

While I disagree about this harming the market (because the market is pretty much in free fall and it is getting to be every brand for themselves and this camera is about getting more sales for Sony), this is not even the lightest SONY FF mirrorless camera as the original A7 trio are all lighter (and the A7 can still even be found new if you look).

The A7c is also only a fair bit smaller in height but is only 3mm narrower and is actually quite a bit deeper than the first versions.

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It’s time to reward innovation, let’s all hop on Sony train for the full frame hybrid experience!

Now you can have 4k video and high megapixel stills in one body, with auto focus and image stabilization!

42 megapixels and small body for less than $1500.00 new... or even less used, as seen for the first time in 2015!

Run to your online store to get the ilce alpha 7r iii!!

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