Archives for December 29, 2008

Sony vs Canon Lenses

Sony has been pretty active and aggressive in recent years in digital SLR market. Sony DSLR department inherited technology from Konica Minolta that does not exist anymore. In camera section, Sony has any camera for any class. From entry level: Sony A200, enthusiast: Sony A300/A350, Semi-pro: A700 and Professional full frame Sony A900.

In lens department, we can see a huge gap between entry level lens and pro level lens. Let’s compare Sony lens collection with Canon lens collection.

Note: The price might change, and if the market price change, it tends to be lower.
BC is build quality, IQ is image quality

As we can see, Sony prime lens collection is not only less compared to Canon lens, but they are also quiet expensive. Most of the lens are for professionals. The most affordable of the crop is Sony 50mm f/1.4 a standard lens which is around $350.

In the wide general purpose lens section, Sony delivers many options for entry level to professionals. For professional, Sony offers 16-35mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8. For enthusiasts, there are many to choose, 16-105mm is a affordable versatile lens, and 16-80mm produces great quality image but a bit expensive.

Sony also has superzoom telephoto that is ideal when you only want to travel with one camera and one lens but you still want to have a lens that have wide coverage of focal length. The lens is also great for social events outdoor such as a parade.

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In telephoto zoom lens section, Sony only have several lens in the market. Two of them are entry level lens (usually called kit lens), and the other two are for professionals. So we can see there is a huge gap between entry-level and professional grade lens.

It is also interesting that Sony just launch the 70-400mm lens. This lens focal length is very flexible, mechanically excellent and the image quality is great.

In macro lens category, Sony lenses are overpriced.

In Conclusion
I feel that Sony is focusing in only two kinds of photographer, one is entry level users that buy a cheap digital slr with kit lens and use it for years. The other one is professional photographers.

Looking from lens collection, there are very limited choice for entry level users to grow to enthusiasts level because there is a huge gap on the price between entry level and pro level lenses.

The price of the professional grade lenses are also relatively expensive. It is mostly because Sony have to share the profit with Carl Zeiss, the famous lens manufacturer. Also because of the size of the market share Sony posseses right now, It is quiet hard to find a used or bargain lenses.

The expensiveness of Sony lens is a bit disappointing because Sony cameras offer built-in body stabilization. So the lens should be less expensive than lens-based stabilization that Canon or Nikon offer.

Because Sony digital SLR is still in infant and will keep growing, we hope that in the future Sony makes more lenses to bridge entry level users and professionals, and set a more competitive price.

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