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What bugs me about the new FF

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  • What bugs me about the new FF

    One of the less than spectacular releases of this past year was the SLT-a99. While many will tout the improved 24MP sensor's ISO and noise response, the real improvements that should be in the camera are STILL missing.

    One thing that has been a true bother to many flash photographers is the continued use of SONY's (Minolta) proprietary infra-red pre-flash method of synchronizing and triggering electronic flashes. A few of the unfortunate historical aspects of this IR-flash control system are:
    1. when you have natural (sunlight) or artifical light, you can easily interfere with signal.
    2. if there is any kind of solid obstruction between the camera and the flash, again... interference or complete failure to trigger.
    3. the Optical Sighting-angles, where the IR-receiver of the slave flash unit is just out of alignment with facing the IR-trigger TTL unit (usually on the camera's hot shoe). You will not know if the flash will fire, until you actually try to use it. You very well could miss important shots, when you are adjusting the angle of your lights, to improve shadows on your subject. It's just a lot more work and frustration, having to worry about this.

    The reasonable and technological solution is 2.4 GHz RF... which is an omnidirectional radio signal that does not suffer from optical impediments and can synch a flash at nearly 100-feet, w/o failure. First time, every time. You can even trigger your flash on the opposite side of a wall.

    Now, there are a few third party RF-remote flash trigger/TTL systems out there, such as the Pixel "KING" (for SONY) or the newer Phottix "Odin" (for SONY). Issues with these units are that they have some control over TTL flash units, but are "buggy" on the a99, because SONY has decided to go back to an advanced ISO hot shoe on that camera (see image below).


    The third party folks are having a heck of a time keeping up with SONY's changes. Who suffers? We do! Let's face it,we would much prefer a true manufacturer's design at work, not some inferior add-on.

    SONY really needs to step-up their game and build reliable RF-flash triggering/control into the new SLT-a99 or release something similar, perhaps an "SLT-a99-RF". This solution was recommended more than two-years ago and they still choose to ignore this wise and far more practical idea, which is leaving many SONY photographers exasperated and frustrated with this brand new $3000 release.

    Anyway, the a99 does not have a WiFi link, either, so off-loading image data still requires that either the SD card be removed and put into a reader... or by using a USB wire and a laptop. That can be very inconvenient, for the user on the go. Not having to drag a laptop around is quite a benefit, if you are shooting in the field.

    For something that is supposed to be "the most advanced camera"... it's still using 20th-Century technology for rather basic photography functions. Let's take it up a notch, SONY and make this "flag ship" sail in the 21st-Century!

    Yes, I am disappointed.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 01-16-2013, 04:00 AM.
    Don Schap
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  • #2
    Your image is too wide and I can't read your post.
    I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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    • #3
      Is there any DSLR with RF flash sync? I don't know of one. And I don't know of any DSLR that has wireless networking built in either. Why would you expect Sony to? Especially at the price point they are working.
      Steve
      the Photographic Academy.com
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      • #4
        Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
        Your image is too wide and I can't read your post.
        I re-sized the image
        Don Schap
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        • #5
          Where has the implementation been?

          Originally posted by sk66 View Post
          Is there any DSLR with RF flash sync? I don't know of one. And I don't know of any DSLR that has wireless networking built in either. Why would you expect Sony to? Especially at the price point they are working.
          Let me be real clear about this... I do not care what Nikon or Canon are doing with their systems. Arguably, they are not doing SLT, either. A SLT-design is a whole lot cheaper to manufacture, than a mirror flapper-pentaprism design. That reduction in "COB" should provide the necessary revenue for higher-tech designs.

          The need for a reliable flash trigger system is what is at stake, here. Radio Frequency triggering/ratio control is an advancement that is years behind where it should be, at this point. Third parties (PocketWizard, Pixel, Phottix and even Paull C. Buff's Cybersync system) are running amok with its implementation and I contend that 2.4MHz RF trig/control should have been incorporated in the SONY a850/a900 FF DSLRs, back in 2008.

          Current IR-tech (Infra-red) need to be vacated... or kept as a legacy, but not as the primary flash control system anymore. I suggest better method over continued madness.

          They keep missing the obvious and instead of addressing the "real need", they have thrown 'still photographers' the "movie mode", which many don't use, because video is definitely not still photography. They are two completely different approaches to imaging a subject. Video requires continuous lighting and still photography often requires precise TIMING and SYNCHRONIZATION to its light source.

          At worst, it would be a $100 increase in the camera's price. If I could get away from the unreliability of infamous "Infra-red Pre-flash", it would be a price well-worth paying, considering the base camera system is already over $3000.
          Last edited by DonSchap; 01-13-2013, 08:31 PM.
          Don Schap
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          • #6
            Originally posted by DonSchap View Post
            ...The reasonable and technological solution is 2.4 MHz RF....
            >choked laughter< Really?! Shortwave? Wouldn't have been my choice.

            I think you meant 2.4 GHz.
            I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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            • #7
              Here's a novel concept: if you need RF triggering, and the options available don't include Sony, then, uh, don't buy a Sony?
              I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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              • #8
                Fish in a lens barrel

                Sure, any fool can run away from a problem and never take up the mantel of a good cause. Doesn't require anything but a pair of feet and running off in a direction --> OUT.

                Where do you people come from? Who raises and teaches this kind of limited thinking? Jellyfish?

                There are sheep, wolves and watchdogs in life. I think we all know who's which and who is going to try and get something done. We're all not plugged into the same line of spewed nonsense, believing it cannot be done, just because someone in charge does not want to do it. You get together and make them do it. Money makes a wonderful bat.

                Step up and take a stand. Pull for what is right...or left, if you choose. Being a milksop is not an admirable way to go through life. But, if anything else... people of this ilk are soon forgotten.
                Don Schap
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DonSchap View Post
                  Where do you people come from? Who raises and teaches this kind of limited thinking? Jellyfish?
                  It's not a complex problem: I am a consumer. I have access to what manufacturers bring to market. If EXACTLY what I'm looking for isn't available, I look at the next closest thing. If I need RF flash triggering, and it isnt offered by a particular brand or model, or isn't something that is compatible with a particular Item, Im not going to buy that item. It's that simple.

                  The same kind of thing happened with Canon when they changed from FD to EF; People for whom that was an issue changed to a different brand. Canon no longer offered what they wanted so they went elsewhere. Sony isn't offering what you want: there's nothing YOU, PERSONALLY, can do about it. So go elsewhere. And don't whine about it because we're just going to tell you to suck it up and live with it.
                  I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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                  • #10
                    Nah...

                    It is SONY;s obligation to the consumer to improve the technology in their cameras, to deliver the better and improved product. I'm just here to let them know about it... and how much we would appreciate they get off their R&D rump and deliver the goods.

                    This new a99 camera is far from perfect when it comes to synchronization of the flash. RF would eliminate this problem and provide a much improved working situation for almost everyone using flash systems. Any manufacture could do this... and should, in my humble opinion.

                    So speaks a consumer... yeah, the guy trying to make it all work.
                    Don Schap
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DonSchap View Post
                      It is SONY;s obligation to the consumer to improve the technology in their cameras, to deliver the better and improved product. I'm just here to let them know about it... and how much we would appreciate they get off their R&D rump and deliver the goods.

                      This new a99 camera is far from perfect when it comes to synchronization of the flash. RF would eliminate this problem and provide a much improved working situation for almost everyone using flash systems. Any manufacture could do this... and should, in my humble opinion.

                      So speaks a consumer... yeah, the guy trying to make it all work.
                      As a stakeholder in a company, "consumers" rank pretty low on the scale. Sony's obligation is first and foremost to their shareholders. And shareholders don't care about RF flash triggers in a high end ILC, they only care about the next dividend. If Sony manages to keep the a99 price up and research costs down, hence maximizing profit, they've successfully met a large chunk of their obligations. High end gear like this already has a huge profit margin, why bring it down?

                      I agree with you 100%, just trying to point out how unrealistic it is. The same thing happened with Canon - "video" is the big seller, they are making vast quantities of revenue from selling video-enabled ILCs, keeping shareholders happy and making stills photographers rather impatient.

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                      • #12
                        Here's something I don't get, and maybe it's just me, but back in the days of film we didn't spend a whole lot of time whining about the "lack" of new technology. We had what we had and we went out and shot. If something new came along that made shooting easier we were thrilled. But now we have come into this "technology age" where we expect these improvements and upgrades every few months. This demand for the newest, shiniest, most electronic filled toy is not what photography used to be about. It's like we just became huge spoiled brats, that aren't grateful for the things we have.

                        Whoever said it was any companies "obligation" to continue to provide new technology? Their only "obligation" is to make sure a product operates as promised. They don't have any other "obligation" to the consumer at all. If they are making a product that is selling, then great. Just look at Harley Davidson, they have pretty much stuck to a technology that has been around for 100 years. Heck, they didn't even ad fuel-injection to their entire line until 2007. But, they are still selling the things in droves.

                        So stop whining about what you don't have, and just go out and try to figure out how to make what you do have work. And like others have said, if you don't like the product, don't buy it. You certainly don't have an "obligation" to.
                        Last edited by veritasimagery; 01-14-2013, 06:46 PM. Reason: spelling
                        Kevin
                        Canon EOS 60D, Canon EOS T3i, Canon A-1, Canon AE-1 Program, Various lenses
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                        • #13
                          I realize I've basically said so already, but again, this is Sony. "Consumer Friendly" is not in their lexicon.

                          I admire you demanding more from the manufacturer, you have every good reason to voice those concerns. But with Sony, all that is likely to fall on deaf ears. Sony's gonna do what Sony's gonna do. Doesn't matter if you don't like it. It didn't matter that no one was going to pay >$500 for a game console at launch, we're freaking SONY and that's what we're going to charge for it and you all had better get in line and like it.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DonSchap View Post
                            It is SONY;s obligation to the consumer to improve the technology in their cameras, to deliver the better and improved product. I'm just here to let them know about it... and how much we would appreciate they get off their R&D rump and deliver the goods.
                            ... Because it's a well-known fact that SONY R&D executives troll the DPS forums for opinions on what to add into new gear...
                            I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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                            • #15
                              I could also point out, perhaps, that the Canon 6D is a $2k full-frame camera with built-in wi-fi (and GPS) and you can use OEM RF flash triggering (at 2.4GHz) with the 600EX-RT and ST-E3.

                              Just a thought. Personally, I cheered when I heard the A99 & NEX-6 were finally the start of Sony phasing out those stupid proprietary Minolta flash hotshoes and going with an ISO-compliant hotshoe design. It's like when Canon finally put a PC sync port on the 580EX II. Companies are slow to respond to user requests.

                              But I will also say that I stuffed the "Why not make OEM RF flash triggering gear, using the 2.4GHz band (where you don't have to get different licenses for each country)" suggestion into the Canon feature request form on their website about three years ago.

                              And now Canon has the 600EX-RT and ST-E3.

                              Just saying. You're coming a little late to the party.
                              I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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