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  1. #1
    DonSchap's Avatar
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    Thumbs down 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 at 04:00 AM.

  2. #2
    OsmosisStudios's Avatar
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    Your image is too wide and I can't read your post.
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  3. #3
    sk66's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
    Your image is too wide and I can't read your post.
    I re-sized the image

  5. #5
    DonSchap's Avatar
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    Question Where has the implementation been?

    Quote 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 at 08:31 PM.

  6. #6
    inkista's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
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  7. #7
    OsmosisStudios's Avatar
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    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?
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  8. #8
    DonSchap's Avatar
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    Unhappy 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.

  9. #9
    OsmosisStudios's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
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  10. #10
    DonSchap's Avatar
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    Thumbs down 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.

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