... and they compared to one another: Hasselblad H3, Mamiya AFDIII, Sony Alpha 900 - comparative test

... and they compared to one another: Hasselblad H3, Mamiya AFDIII, Sony Alpha 900 - comparative test

For those that are thirsty for blood and equipment wars, I will not test whether AF will be able to manage the incoming cannonball. Is it possible to shoot a portrait of a Nigerian in a dark basement of a Norwegian hut in the winter behind the Polar Circle in the glare of his last three remaining white teeth? I will not check whether the forest rustles around on the location in Błędowska Desert and the sensor rustles along with it. I will not find out whether the Sony case is resistant to torching and drowning in the swamp. I will not answer the question whether an 18-month old neighbor?s son will intuitively handle the camera?s menu. I will not discover whether Sony Alpha 900?s LCD is resistant to screwdriver scratches or whether the sensor stabilization works during the camera?s fall from the third floor. I will focus on the issue that is mundane and unoriginal to many Internet users: picture quality.


Ever since Sony Alpha 900 hit the stores, discussions about the quality of pictures captured by that camera?s sensor have not subsided. Extreme opinions ? from euphoria to criticism ? emerged. The verdict is frequently served by persons who did not work very much with the camera or ? what is interesting ? did not shoot a single picture with it. They express their opinions on the basis of reading tea leaves or after analyzing some samples. It is fascinating that the photographical society, which is gripped by an eternal conspiracy theory, is more eager to believe in the negative rather than in the positive or even objective opinions. And you cannot blame it. For many years the mass media has been bombarding us with the negative content due to the fact that the positive content amounts to despised propaganda or the sponsors? blah-blah-blah. And as everybody knows, the worse the news is the better it is for the media, therefore, they drown us in terror as though we lived on the dark side. OK, enough about bad and good news.

Most photography enthusiasts see professionals as photojournalists with super AF and super frames/second performance. It is known that photojournalists display unintentional ?thrust against the broken glass? behavior because all camera manufacturers eagerly take advantage of them by being shown in the TV reports. However, the percentage of photojournalists among all photographers is just the tip of the iceberg. The load of Polish professional photography is carried mostly by photo studio owners, the craftsmen and the professionals who use the camera for just about anything, i.e. the artists. Unfortunately, this entire population has to purchase its equipment with its own means because they do not have the editor?s sponsorship. Therefore, price is very important to them. And they frequently cannot afford the most expensive equipment or they will have to depreciate it for many years, i.e. they will never do so because modern digital cameras are outdated very quickly. The purpose of professional photography is frequently forgotten. But the matter comes down to the quality of pictures.

Professional cameras have not seen any spectacular new solutions for a long time. For many years they defended themselves against AF and even exposure automation. They were to be reliable and guarantee the highest quality of pictures. On the other hand, many Polish people are convinced that the professional equipment must have everything that the engineers were able to build, including triggering a shutter with a burp. But they are completely forgetting about the target recipient who fits a very clear profile. It is as though we had a spear with an engine, a radar, a GPS and a TNT barrel, but at this point it is no longer a spear but an ICBM.

In those deliberations, Sony Alpha 900 is somewhere in the middle. Supposedly it has everything: effective AF, full automation, but it is not overloaded with gadgets. Instead of this, it has a high-resolution sensor, great viewfinder and all the characteristics that are necessary for easy work. On the other hand, quick AF and the possibility to make 5 frames per second make Sony Alpha 900 a very universal camera that can be used in any area of photography, not just studio photography.

I resolved to test Sony Alpha 900 during a professional session. I decided to compare the new Sony SLR camera with professional medium format cameras, i.e. Hasselblad H3 and Mamiya AFDIII. I did not want to prove that Sony Alpha 900 was better because the medium format should be better, even from a theoretical point of view. The small camera is considerably less expensive, but its sensor is also physically smaller. I wanted to see how inferior the quality of pictures taken by a small digital camera is to the quality of pictures taken by professional digital cameras.

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