A shot at Sony’s flagrant exploitation by the a1 price tag.

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garuda

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Caveat: This commentary is satirical cynicism aimed at Sony, NOT alpha1 owners!

Please be amused by reading this post with a slightly satirical under-tone. This post is an unfavorable opinion chastising Sony for their recent not-so-subtle strategy to prey on the vulnerabilities of a segment of the society that fancy the craft of image capture. In general, we all live in our current oligarchic plutocracies around the world. Sadly, it’s an evolutionary tragedy based on egoic greed, hubris, arrogance, and our inherited competitive nature or conditioning. And it tends to bleed over into the corporate capitalistic commercial markets also, with Sony being a successful player in that consumer products arena.

In recent years, Sony has priced their flagship mirror-less cameras around the $3,500 — 4,500 price point, to include their 7R’s, a9’s, and 7S’s. Then eventually, it’s sadly inevitable that the decision is made to up the ante when management thinks the technological advancements justify the jump. However, this time it seemed excessive with the price tag of the new release of the A1 flagship.

As with all the previous models, the a1 sports a variety of only incremental improvements, not some earth-shaking miraculous innovation like the invention of the wheel. And these incremental upgrades certainly don’t justify a 45% increase in price point over the a9, IMO. So how did Sony rationalize such a steep increase for a handful of incremental product improvements. Well, it’s simple when we consider the hubris nature of a well-honed marketing and advertising institution.

And these incremental improvements are not inventions so much as tweaks to their existing technology. The Alpha1 50meg sensor is a back-pedal from their existing 60meg on 7Riv. No earth-shaking breakthrough there. The 30fps is merely juicing up the current technology a bit, perhaps a few more digit registers, tweaking the chipset/firmware on processor, etc. Phase detect points improved somewhat, just as done in past years, nothing major. EVF resolution nearly tripled, but not sure that matters much since the EVF display is so small to begin with and can the human eye detect the improvement; and that technology is old and easy to improve. And CFexpress cards were added which all camera brands are adopting and not a costly improvement.

And there are few more minor incidentals like Bird-eye AF, which is nominal since other Sony models can capture bird-head AF using Flex-center-small or other selective acquisition options. All and all, these are pretty much incremental improvements on technologies already in existence, and merely need fine-tuning or marginal additions to processors and firmware. But not really costing Sony the $2,000 premium they tacked onto the Alpha1 flagship (45% increase in price point over a9ii).

Undoubtedly, they crafted their strategy aimed to exploit a market that they know happens to have more money and addictive tendencies, than wisdom. Acknowledging a consumer market that is well known for its high percentage of professionals who demand the best, trophy buyers who like flaunting their prize, habitual GAS victims feeding their OCD, and those who become uncontrollably enamored by tiny shiny objects (nearly paralleling man’s age-old fascination with cars, also ridiculously expensive). Hopefully we can all laugh at ourselves momentarily, regardless of what category we fit into. For I too have temporarily lusted for a1 upon announcement. :rolleyes:

This commentary is NOT to chastise or embarrass Alpha1 owners, NO, not at all! But rather shine some well-deserved light on a marketing cartel that devises clever advertising strategies that appeal to (exploit) the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of their audiences, and capitalize on the company’s profit margins. Historically, not a new concept or practice.

I have no doubt that there are many shooters on this forum who can easily afford the alpha1 price tag and still put food on the table (like me). But may still argue, “why pay a premium for additional bells and whistles that the average person won’t (or can’t) take full advantage of and yet pay a premium of $2,000 extra.” But Sony knows our weaknesses, with “wanting the latest and greatest” being at the top of many of the consumers’ lists. And who also knows, many are willing to pay the premium.

And finally, this commentary also serves to console those Alpha users who cannot justify the a1 price tag, or simply choose not to when their current camera does the job adequately. After all, examine the a7R iv or a9 photos shot by forum shooters like Ziggy, Kevriano, Tim Mayo, WeeMalky, et al (just to name a few). These guys seem to rely mostly on their personal skills, talents, and experiences to produce their excellent photos, rather than resorting entirely to the super-advanced features of the state-of-the-art cameras. Some shooters (not me) need not rely on the super-advanced features to compensate for any minor shortcomings they may have in their shooting skills. Hence for them, the a1 is optional, rather than a perceived necessity. However, if you can easily afford the best, latest, and greatest – Sony won’t mind parting with their flagship for $6,500 USD.

Closing remarks: Sony’s Alpha1 is arguably a great camera with ample bells and whistles for a wide variety of shooting styles. But IMO, not worth $6,500 for a handful of incremental improvements commensurate with historical enhancements to their other past models which amounted to only a nominal increase in price for each iteration. And it would have saved many us money had Sony announced earlier that there was a super-camera coming soon, that would replace the a9, a7R, and a7S. It may have precluded our recent purchases of a7Rs and a9s. Then maybe we wouldn’t have to sell our 7s and 9s to afford the over-priced a1.
I look forward to your "hate" letters. :cautious:
 
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NatureBoyOhio

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I agree! I nearly choked when they announced the price. Realizing quickly that I could not justify that kind of money for a system that I lack the knowledge to take full advantage of every bell and whistle I went in the opposite direction and am now a dedicated APS-C shooter with my A6600. For what I do and the cost I am favorably impressed with my new set up. In the meanwhile I will continue to invest heavily in lotto tickets 'cause we all know that is a sure thang!
 

liggy

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So you don’t intend to chastise or embarrass folks aside from casting A1 owners as egoistical, vulnerable folks with more money than brains and lacking in photographic skills.

Alrighty then. :)

So happy that you shared that you can afford one but have the requisite skills, brains and willpower to not need one.
Happy shooting.
 

AlphaWorld

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Breaking News: sources reveal that Sony A1 was huge disaster for Sony!

An inside source has revealed that the Sony A1 was intended to be a halo product, so expensive that no one would buy it, so that the products on the next tier down would seem inexpensive by comparison. They expected very few orders, coming from rich celebrities and movie stars.

Unfortunately, when the engineers were asked to design a camera with all the features that they could think to include (to help justify the high price), they did too good a job. They managed to include a swathe of features that were not intended for inclusion in products for at least two generations. They made a camera worthy of the planned price tag.

The full extent of the disaster became clear when Sony announced the camera, after keeping it under stricter security than any previous Sony camera release. “The day of the announcement we got orders pouring in! People were not supposed to want this camera, but we got a deluge of orders on the first day, and even more on the second! We are going to have to make large numbers of this camera!”

Now the Marketing team is faced with an even bigger problem: “How are we going to devise a halo product after this disaster? Clearly we cannot trust the engineers to create one. They would make even more problems for us.”
 

Kevriano

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Breaking News: sources reveal that Sony A1 was huge disaster for Sony!

An inside source has revealed that the Sony A1 was intended to be a halo product, so expensive that no one would buy it, so that the products on the next tier down would seem inexpensive by comparison. They expected very few orders, coming from rich celebrities and movie stars.

Unfortunately, when the engineers were asked to design a camera with all the features that they could think to include (to help justify the high price), they did too good a job. They managed to include a swathe of features that were not intended for inclusion in products for at least two generations. They made a camera worthy of the planned price tag.

The full extent of the disaster became clear when Sony announced the camera, after keeping it under stricter security than any previous Sony camera release. “The day of the announcement we got orders pouring in! People were not supposed to want this camera, but we got a deluge of orders on the first day, and even more on the second! We are going to have to make large numbers of this camera!”

Now the Marketing team is faced with an even bigger problem: “How are we going to devise a halo product after this disaster? Clearly we cannot trust the engineers to create one. They would make even more problems for us.”
Ooops!
 

Kevriano

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Too rich for my blood here in the US. I bought my a7riii used!😂

I bought my gear on import and saved £1750 on UK prices. To illustrate, the price of the A1 in UK stores is £6499, I can import one, with a 3 year warranty, for £5049
 
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AlphaWorld

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I bought my gear on import and saved £1750 on UK prices. To illustrate, the price of the A1 in UK stores is £6499, I can import one, with a 3 year warranty, for £5049

That is a big difference.

In Australia list price for the A1 is roughly A$10k, which is around GBP5300 (our VAT is half of yours), and many stores do a bit of a discount on that price. I bought from my favourite local store because they provide excellent service, and because they are happy to relieve me of the burden of older equipment :D They also happen to have excellent contacts at Sony, so I think they got a larger allocation than other stores.
 

Kevriano

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That is a big difference.

In Australia list price for the A1 is roughly A$10k, which is around GBP5300 (our VAT is half of yours), and many stores do a bit of a discount on that price. I bought from my favourite local store because they provide excellent service, and because they are happy to relieve me of the burden of older equipment :D They also happen to have excellent contacts at Sony, so I think they got a larger allocation than other stores.
Yes, so that price isn't so bad over there, but also highlights how slammed we get here. I can't fathom why people don't import more, I certainly wouldn't when there is such a huge saving. For sure I'd like to support our local stores, but I won't pay £1500 for the privilege, that's a lens!
Talking of which. Tamron currently have an offer on, but the 70-180 2.8 and get a 50mm 2.8 free. Good deal, £1299. I can buy both lenses on import for £950 total.
 

pmenear

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The Sony A1 price is in line with current Pro cameras Canon 1dx3, Nikon D6 and coming Z9, etc. There are cheaper options from all makes but the feature set on all top cameras comes at a price we have always had to pay and on par with each other. I for one welcome Sony to that segment of the market enough to tempt me away from Nikon where a similar camera would cost a similar amount.
 

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