August 30, 2008

Sony Fair - Alpha Experience

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Sony Taiwan held a big show outside the Taipei 101 to show off all their product lines. There were Playstations, Handycams, Cybershots, Walkmans, and even an Full-HD Video studio. A major emphasis of the Fair this year was the updated line of Alpha DSLRs. They set up an elaborate set and hired models for interested users to play with the Alpha 350 and a selection of lenses. The Live View is the splashy new feature, but I wanted to give the good old viewfinder a workout, too.

The kit lens was nothing special. Instead we used the 50mm f1.4 prime lens for shallow depth-of-field portraits. The Live View and tilting screen of the A350 allowed more interesting angles without getting down-and-dirty. They took us up onto a second level platform to show off the kit telephoto lens. Which to be honest was a pretty pedestrian optic, at best.

The active live-view plus the hinged screen allowed us to focus and compose using the LCD like an oversized dummy-cam. Came in useful for taking pictures of pets, which was why Sony set up a station with cute puppies running around. So we could lower the camera to the dog's eye-level while looking down on the LCD, instead of having to go prone to see the viewfinder.

Then they took us inside a room set up like a lounge bar interior and handed us each an FL56 flash to play with. The room was dim, with a low ceiling and close-in walls with a flat, diffusive gray surface, perfectly set up for fun bounce-flash tricks. The flash head was swiveled to bounce off the side wall to give more 3D definition in the facial lighting.

The Alpha Experience instructors were nice and helpful, and we even got to keep the Memory Stick of our pictures as a freebie. Had to give the camera back, though, which was too bad. I'll probably be sticking with Nikon for now, but it's good to see a new competitor in the DSLR market to spur innovation and pricing from everyone.

Sony α350 Experience Sony Fair Alpha Experience - Model Portrait Sony Alpha Experience - Zoom Sony Alpha Experience - Puppies! Sony Alpha Experience - Bounce Flash

Posted by mikewang on August 30, 2008 11:29 PM