The A900 - a camera not for everyone

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The A900 - a camera not for everyone

Postby pam.meier » Sun 30 Nov 2008 11:10

I cannot provide a thorough user report as of yet since my time has been limited and I had not been able to shoot enough with the A900 to fully understand it. I hope that will change in the coming weeks. But I have some first impressions and comments to make:

Ergonomics, button and menu layout:
Being a long-time Nikon user of 17 years, I was pleasantly suprised how well done the A900´s body is.
In a breeze I understood the main functions, checking the manual only once or twice so far. Even in low-light was I able to find all the buttons when I still hunt for the right ones on my D3.
The body is ergonomic and I think it looks quite nice, too.

Resolution:
The AA-filter in this camera is very weak, so acuity and per-pixel-sharpness can only be described with: WOW!
(I will post some samples in my next post). Cropping becomes a breeze. Details on faces from people far away can be seen.

Noise:
The A900 is a noise machine. I know, some will disagree, but I don´t like using anything beyond ISO400, even though if lighting conditions are good, even ISO 1600 looks terrific, nice film-like grain. But - hey - who wants to produce 24 Mpix of so-so pictures? If I use the A900 I want the utmost best IQ it can deliver at ISO 100 and 200 in good light. If I want high ISO miracles, I use the Nikon D3.

Lenses:
I have seen great samples from excellent vintage Minolta lenses, but the ones I bought at Ebay, a 24/2.8 and 50/1.7 just don´t cut it. So I ended up buying the Zeiss 24-70/2.8 and 135/1.8, two lenses which paired with that 24 Mpix sensor give image sharpness unprecedented in a 35 mm DSLR. Image rendering is typical for Zeiss lenses, slightly cool, contrasty, razor-sharp at wide apertures, yet slightly troubled by CAs, corner sharpness is good, yet not miraculous.

To be continued with samples!
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Re: The A900 - a camera not for everyone

Postby pam.meier » Sun 30 Nov 2008 18:57

Here is a studio shot at f13 and a crop from the eye.

Image
Image
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Re: The A900 - a camera not for everyone

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 30 Nov 2008 19:27

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for posting your impressions on the A900. Very interesting. The detail is really stunning...
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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Re: The A900 - a camera not for everyone

Postby pam.meier » Wed 3 Dec 2008 20:47

Hi Stany,

yes, absolutely stunning acuity. I wonder if this is all you will ever get in a 35 mm system or if it will be possible to even push it further.

There is one limiting factor, though: camera shake. The body anti-shake system seems to be quite effective, yet images blur easily.
Using a tripod is mandatory when shooting out in the field, and sometimes even in a studio . I found that even with studio strobes and anti-shake to be the case at 1/125 s. I need to switch anti-shake off and use 1/200 s next time and see what happens.

I will keep you posted.
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I think that is pretty good, but...

Postby DavidLake » Thu 4 Dec 2008 20:11

I have shots from my D300's that are even sharper and more detailed. I will post if you want. The D300 has a higher pixel density, and therefore my point is if you want absolute resolution/sharpness you can get it better from a higher density sensor (albeit with different FL needed and different field of view). I think a lot of what the high MP FF sensors offer is a bit overrated, unless you plan to blow up huge for print. I think the MP war that is waging in the lousy P&S market is getting back into the DSLR market like it used to be. Look at Canon's silly 15MP 1.6x 50D - not bad photos, but really pushing the density limit for decent DR and IQ
(NPS, WPPI, PPA)
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Re: The A900 - a camera not for everyone

Postby pam.meier » Thu 4 Dec 2008 21:15

Hi David,

just feel free to post your D300 samples. It would be most interesting to see how they´ll compare.
Pixel-density-wise, I think there should not be much of a difference between the A900 and the D300, though.
I tend to conclude that lens and diffraction limit sensors most.

I will post new samples when I have shot at wider apertures and on a tripod.
I think I have not been able to fully use the camera´s abilities yet. It is the most unforgiving camera I´ve ever shot ;)

Pam
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