Pros -The A900 produces images with phenomenal image quality, equally on par with the D3x and 1dsMkiii throughout most ISOs
-5fps with a 24.6 MP sensor!
-Good Build Quality
-Line of Carl Zeiss lenses offer superior optical performance
Cons -Is a slightly noisy sensor(no difference from the d3x and 1dsMkiii up to and including ISO 800, but after this the Canon and Nikon do seem to produce slightly less noisy images)
-No Live View(doesn't bother me but I can see how it might bother some)
Summary Honestly, I felt that the video review provided by CNet did not even remotely touch on any of the exceptional attributes of this camera. I can't really comment on JPeg rendering bc I only shoot in RAW, but from what I've seen the a900 produces visually stunning pictures, especially when used at low ISOs. I'm not saying it's necessarily better than the 1dsMkiii, D3x, or 5Dmkii (IMO its 3 biggest competitiors) bc pixel-peeping aside all four of these camera's are perfectly capable of producing prints with exceptional image quality. I just simply wanted to address the a900's image quality bc the video review seemed to indicate that it was only mediocre which is just simply not true.
The shutter is a little loud as the video indicated but I don't see why this would be a deal breaker. However, I completely disagree with the video that this camera is "slow." The AF locks on very fast even in low light. It doesn't have as much coverage as the Nikons but is much better and faster than the Canon's IMO. I am mainly a sport and nature photographer and have never missed a shot bc this unit failed to lock on.
I was horrified that the video review didn't even mention the viewfinder at all. It is simply gorgeous and according to every review that I have read online surpasses anything Nikon or Canon has to offer in terms of both coverage and brightness.
The in-body stabilization does what it is supposed to do but don't buy this camera thinking that u will save when it comes to lenses bc of it. Sony's lenses from what I've seen are every bit as expensive as Canon's or Nikon's so there really is no advantage in terms of the cost of glass. The real advantage in my opinion is the fact that any lense u put on it will be stabilized.
Sorry CNet, but I almost closed my browser window when I heard the comment concerning the lens. It was just described as "heavy." It made no mention whatsoever that that "heavy" lens just happened to be designed by Carl Zeiss exclusively for Sony. I own that particular lens (the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70 F2.8 ZA SSM) and I can say that in terms of quality it outperforms anything (yes, anything) made by Canon or Nikon. The lineup of Carl Zeiss lenses definately was the selling point for me when I bought this camera, and I have not been disappointed one bit. They are very expensive, but in this case what you get is what you pay for, and if you demand the most out of your glass, you can't go wrong with these lenses. So yeah, shame on you CNet for calling that gift from above "heavy" and nothing else.
Ergonomics are very good IMO with all of the buttons very accessible with the exception of the WB and ISO buttons as it would be a little akward to hit them with your first finger (I actually now use my thumb to hit these and it works great, but Sony could have designed this a little bit better). I wasn't crazy about the top LCD as it is small and kindof gives the impression of a "forced" feature since all of its competitors sport top LCD's. This is probably the only feature of the camera that I didn't like, but IMO there are much for important things.
Lets talk noise, as this has been described as the a900's Achille's heel on the internet. Luminous Landscape has an excellent review comparing the a900, the D3x, and the 5dmkii for all you pixel peepers out there. Both of the latter camera's do seem to have a slight edge at ISO 1600+ but then again, I think that the Sony and Nikon perform noticably better than the Canon at ISOs less than 400 simply due to their higher resolution (21 to 24 MPs is barely a difference, but we are pixel peeping here). At ISOs 400-800, I really can't see no matter how hard I try any difference in terms of IQ between these 3 cameras. So does the a900 seem to be noiser? Well to an extent yes, it is, but the difference is small above ISO 1600 and nonexistent at 800 and below. Bottom line is that for the vast majority of your shots, this camera keeps up with the big two in every way.
Sony's user interface is quick and easy.
Time to start wrapping things up. Does the Sony a900 surpass the D3x in terms of image quality? The answer is simply no, it doesn't. However, I don't think the D3x surpasses the Sony below ISO 1600 either, and this is where the real merit of the a900 lies. Sony managed within two short years of entering the dSLR market to produce a machine that competes with the best that the two behemoths of Canon and Nikon can offer, and in certain ways (Carl Zeiss optics, full frame image stabilization, intelligent preview) even surpass them. Did I mention this comes at a price 1/3 as much as the D3x? Maybe I wouldn't rather have an a900 than a D3x but I would definately rather have the a900 plus two beautiful Zeiss lenses than a D3x body. Sorry CNet, but seriously take another look at this piece. That video review doesn't even begin to do this camera justice, and it really does deserve better.
Pros Resolution Color
Cons NONE That I can find
Summary The CNet reviewer is an idiot comparing the speed of the 24mp A900 with the 12mp 300D. All things being equal the camera with the smaller file will always be faster. Also the focusing speed is very lens dependent. This camera should be paired with the superior Zeiss lenses not the kit tested. What about the A900's superior 100% viewfinder? What about the best resolution available for under $3000? What about the tank like build quality? I with my 40+ years of photographic experience have more knowledge of cameras in my finger nail than this reviewer has in their whole body. Anybody seriously looking at a camera of this caliber should not be reading CNet as these fools wouldn't know a good DSLR from a phone camera. CNet, stick to reviewing P&S cameras.
Pros I've taken a little over a thousand photos with the A900 to date and I couldn't be happier with this camera. Whether shooting at night, low- light, or bright lighted conditions, the A900 has performed admirably. Works perfectly with Minolta G lenses.
Cons None to date. Autofocusing is good with my Minolta G series lenses. I've had no issues with the image processing speed (and I shoot almost exclusively in RAW). Image color reproduction is excellent. Detail is sharp at the highest ISO I use (800).
Summary I don't see how you can go wrong with this purchase - whether you're a semi-pro like me or a full fledged professional. I haven't had any of the issues mentioned in the CNET review. The steadyshot inside works very well, making all of my Minolta G Series lenses image stabilized - a huge advantage. If you want the same magificent image reproduction that this sensor provides, but don't like the SONY logo on your camera, I'd recommend the NIKON D3X. It uses the same high megapixel SONY manufactured sensor as the A900 in a package that retails for $8,000. I think that alone illustrates the value this camera provides.
Pros Highest resolution SLR for the lowest cost by far. Excellent image quality. Full frame built in anti shake for every lens you own, including primes like 50 mm.
Cons The Nikon and Canon gang will tell you not to buy it because its name does not begin with N or C. Other than that, you can't go wrong.
Summary This is an excellent camera. The images are the best I have ever seen. The Sony interface is also the easiest and fastest to use of all the SLR brands. Takes Minolta, Sony, and Zeiss lenses.
Pros Solid build quality, uncomplicated operation, nice size, weight and feel, access to amazingly sharp Zeiss lenses - overall an excellent photographic tool. Produces amazing images - in body stabilization for all lenses a huge feature.
Cons None to speak of.
Summary A lot has been said in online reviews about high ISO noise, which made me hesitate as a long time Minolta / Sony user, and made me consider defecting to Canon. I looked at the 5DmkII, but Canon doesn't have access to some of the amazing Sony / Zeiss lenses which are superb, and the in-body stabilization really tipped it into Sony's favor for me personally. The Sony appears to be 1 to 2 stops behind Canon in high ISO performance, and after 2 months of shooting with the camera, it's something that I can live with. The AM58 flash is very versatile, with the pivoting head that Canon and Nikon don't match, the 500 reflex lens is a great tool that I carry in my backpack every day. I'm very happy that I stuck with Sony and upgraded to the Alpha 900. I have to say that I am disappointed with the CNET review "A good first try"? How about a solid performance that brings Sony into the realm of the finest photographic tools available today?