Sony SLT Strategy

On an aside, and this has nothing to do with anyone specifically, but just more of an observation of my own based on making workflows for people. The real problem with these disruptive technologies (and in general I see mirrorless/SLT/what have you as disruptive) is that people aren’t really willing to change what they’re doing unless it gives them tangible benefits that overwhelm the cost of change. In many cases people aren’t really interested in changing what they do. They might give it lip service, but anything that’s different is likely to be seen as a problem. They’re doubly less even willing to critically look at what something different can truly do for them. We are creatures of habit after all. We saw this back with the transition from MF to AF (or for Canon users from breech-lock to bayonet). It’s also true when trying to get people to migrate to a system. As much as I loved Minolta, I knew in my heart that they were an also-ran (just like my other choice, Casio pocket PCs, Yashica SLRs, Pontiacs, Commodore computers…).

I’m more interested in figuring out how to get the best of something and changing or working with it. Not everyone has that mindset, and that’s OK, but it does dishearten me to see people dismissing something out of hand instead of actually giving it a go. I’ve personally managed a kind of, say, OVF to EVF or flapping to fixed mirror transition, in a metaphorical sense, and it’s certainly not an easy thing to do. You want to tend to all of the users, but sometimes your goals and theirs do not match up. There might be limitations or things waiting to be implemented later and even bugs. I’m more than happy to work with someone to try to improve things for them if they run into those aforementioned things. But I’ve no patience for people who aren’t willing to at least try and give it a legitimate shot (and not just halfheartedly either).

What does it have to do with cameras? Well, the way I see it, there’s no real way to beat the Canikon duopoly by playing their game. Many have tried and failed over the years. Sony was not going to get anywhere building incremental a700/a900 improvements. Let’s say, for instance, that they made a true 7D mark 2 a few years ago, it may have satisfied a lot here, but IME it wouldn’t have mattered much to the advanced market at large, for the same reasons the original 7D didn’t matter to a large group of people. Even if they somehow had a system that blow-for-blow matched Canon in terms of lens selection and bodies, the inertia already present in the market may be too much to overcome, essentially wasting money and ensuring their exit. I have a feeling that we all really liked the “being different”-ness of Minolta, and with Sony trying to make things into mass market products, we’ve lost some of that, which doesn’t sit well with us – but if it was really a faustian bargain of having to do that in order to keep using our glass, is it really acceptable? For me, the answer is yes, because Sony (for the time being) still mostly aligns with my goals and I like a lot of what they’ve shown. Not all, but a lot.

Internet forums are a terrible place to really discuss this stuff, because not having a face to face interaction really removes a lot of the personality from it. But I have a feeling that if most people were able to actually get in a group with each other and really open-mindedly discuss things, I have a feeling that a lot of what gets said on forums would simply wash away for a variety of reasons and there’d be a more reasoned discussion where a lot of ideas could be exchanged.

Anyone for a symposium?

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