Buy New Camera at Release, Or Wait a Few Months?

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Bryan Carroll

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My plan is to purchase the a7IV whenever it is released, as long as the specs are what I am hoping for. My question is, is it best to buy right away, or is it better to wait a couple months so that any bugs/manufacturing issues are discovered and fixed?

I've noticed over the last few years that I tend to purchase new things at release, and eventually there are issues from manufacturing. My car had a few sensors that went out within 20k miles, plus a couple recalls. My brand new phone had the motherboard die after 3 months, etc. The phone company actually said to me that I "am an early adopter, these things should be expected" and that every single electronic device will have issues at release, therefore if you want a more stable product, wait a couple months before purchasing because the bugs will be found by then.

So is this true with Sony cameras as well? I don't want to be excited about a new camera only to discover there are issues and I have to send it back for repairs, but I have been looking to upgrade cameras for 2 years now and am really wanting to do it soon...
 

FowlersFreeTime

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I'll tell ya man, this is my dilemma every time they bring out a new GoPro. Rush to market, reviewers say nice things, 2 weeks later reviewers report bugs, wait a few months on a software fix.
I think the Alpha cameras have a higher level of QA testing though. You'll probably be good with the first round of cameras but if you get a lemon (unlikely), exchange for manufacturer defect and try again, nothing wasted but maybe time and shipping costs.
 
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Clix Pix

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When it came to the Sony Alpha 1, I had to wait a few months in order to assemble the funds to pay for the thing, as it was significantly more expensive than any camera I'd purchased in the past. This paid off since there was a firmware update along the way and when I finally did get the camera I didn't have to worry about that, it was already in the camera.

Another advantage of waiting a little while is that this gives the people who provide editing software time to catch up, too, and to make the appropriate RAW decoding available so that one doesn't have to tinker around with shooting jpeg in the meantime and edit just that, but can move right into editing RAW images as desired.
 

Boojum

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How bad do you want the camera? Any firmware bugs would be minor and corrected pretty quickly while you are out taking pictures with the camera you wanted. It's not like Sony is putting out junk with an occasional gem.
 
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Bryan Carroll

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When it came to the Sony Alpha 1, I had to wait a few months in order to assemble the funds to pay for the thing, as it was significantly more expensive than any camera I'd purchased in the past. This paid off since there was a firmware update along the way and when I finally did get the camera I didn't have to worry about that, it was already in the camera.

Another advantage of waiting a little while is that this gives the people who provide editing software time to catch up, too, and to make the appropriate RAW decoding available so that one doesn't have to tinker around with shooting jpeg in the meantime and edit just that, but can move right into editing RAW images as desired.
That's a good point about allowing editing software time to catch up, that hadn't even occured to me.
 
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Bryan Carroll

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How bad do you want the camera? Any firmware bugs would be minor and corrected pretty quickly while you are out taking pictures with the camera you wanted. It's not like Sony is putting out junk with an occasional gem.
That's my main question, are the bugs in Sony's cameras usually fixable with firmware, or do their first batches also have hardware issues to be worried about. It's like the A1 had an IBIS issue in some cameras which a firmware update was able to fix, but it could have been a hardware issue which requires you sending the device back in to get it fixed.
 

Kevriano

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I always wait until there have been a good amount of real world reviews, not pre release press reviews, that way you get a real sense of how good or bad the camera is, because it may well be a lemon.
 

Boojum

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I always wait until there have been a good amount of real world reviews, not pre release press reviews, that way you get a real sense of how good or bad the camera is, because it may well be a lemon.

Just for the sake of discussion what are the lemons that Sony has made?
 

Andrew

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I’m still going for A7 iii and tend to buy after a year or two for few reasons.
- Prices drop massively
- Hardware revisions
- Lens firmware revisions to catch up
- Software catch up

If money is no issue and your in dire need to have bleeding edge, go for it, if you have money and can wait 3-6 months then do and watch those trusted reviews (Ken Rockwell is a good source).

All manufactured products be that Sony, Canon, Nikon and so on all have bugs and issues. Some fixed with firmware, some return to base for part replacements and some they wait till failure and cover under warranty.
 

Kevriano

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Just for the sake of discussion what are the lemons that Sony has made?
Well, so far none in particular though the 7C seems to have some issues from what I've read. Point is, it can happen, Nikon and Canon have both made some cameras that people jumped in on early, only to regret it. That's why I wait. Imaging forking out 6.5k on an A1 before release and it turning out to be awful!
 

Boojum

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I’m still going for A7 iii and tend to buy after a year or two for few reasons.
- Prices drop massively
- Hardware revisions
- Lens firmware revisions to catch up
- Software catch up

If money is no issue and your in dire need to have bleeding edge, go for it, if you have money and can wait 3-6 months then do and watch those trusted reviews (Ken Rockwell is a good source).

All manufactured products be that Sony, Canon, Nikon and so on all have bugs and issues. Some fixed with firmware, some return to base for part replacements and some they wait till failure and cover under warranty.

The A7M III came to market three years ago. How many more years will it take for this camera to be a safe buy? I got mine for US$300 off. Firmware revisions have not ever been major for my A7M II or A7M III. But, bide your time until you think the camera is safe and stable. I understand it is a very personal decision.
 
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Jeff A

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I’m still going for A7 iii and tend to buy after a year or two for few reasons.
- Prices drop massively
- Hardware revisions
- Lens firmware revisions to catch up
- Software catch up

If money is no issue and your in dire need to have bleeding edge, go for it, if you have money and can wait 3-6 months then do and watch those trusted reviews (Ken Rockwell is a good source).

All manufactured products be that Sony, Canon, Nikon and so on all have bugs and issues. Some fixed with firmware, some return to base for part replacements and some they wait till failure and cover under warranty.
My A73 is a very stable and capable, mature camera. I get a bit excited when I hear about the upcoming A74. I personally would have no concerns about being an early adopter to that camera based on my experience with the A73. The problem is, I would feel pretty bad turning loose of the A 73. Having 2 bodies would be an insane move for me, but I've already shown myself to have advanced GAS. I'm actually amused when I hear the A73 referred to Sony's "Entry Level" camera. Make a list of things that the A73 cannot do compared to the A1 and take a hard look at your skills and needs. I believe the A73 is the "Best Bang for the Buck" in cameras.
 
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Andrew

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The A7M III came to market three years ago. How many more years will it take for this camera to be a safe buy? I got mine for US$300 off. Firmware revisions have not ever been major for my A7M II or A7M III. But, bide your time until you think the camera is safe and stable. I understand it is a very personal decision.
To be honest I am not waiting three years for the buying, I’m just moving from Canon to Sony and now is a good time for me… if the A7 iii was 6 months old I would avoid it, I think 12 months is realistic for my bleeding edge style.
 

Jeff A

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Congratulations. I'm sure you'll enjoy your new camera.
 

Clix Pix

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When I was in the process of making a decision about changing from DSLR to mirrorless, that was right about the time the A7 III was wildly popular and that was the camera which appealed to me, but before making the switch I waited patiently for Nikon to release its Z series of mirrorless cameras, since at the time I had a bunch of Nikon gear and had been shooting Nikon for years. Nikon's offerings were disappointing to me, especially in terms of the lenses, as they didn't even have a macro lens on the road map, so that pretty much put me more solidly in Sony's camp. By this time I'd also decided that for my purposes the A7R III would be a better choice and while I was still thinking about that, Sony announced the A7R IV and I waited some more to see what that would bring -- I figured I'd either get the A7R III at a good price then or I'd go with the brand-new A7R IV. After that camera was released and there were reviews, etc., I finally made up my mind and went to the store and traded in all my Nikon gear and came home with the A7R IV and three lenses. Couldn't have been happier.....

This year, the A1 had me lusting for it right from the get-go and I had to decide about keeping the A7R IV or trading it in to defray some of the costs of the A1. I kept the A7R IV, as it is handy to have two camera bodies at times and also I just wasn't ready to give up that wonderful camera, even though the A1 is even more wonderful.....
 

Boojum

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Sometimes I think that the main difference between drug addiction and camera addiction is that camera addiction is mirrorless. Yeah, that A1 is pretty tasty. "Get thee behind me, Satan." LOL Have fun with that A1, it's a killer camera.
 
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Boojum

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When I was in the process of making a decision about changing from DSLR to mirrorless, that was right about the time the A7 III was wildly popular and that was the camera which appealed to me, but before making the switch I waited patiently for Nikon to release its Z series of mirrorless cameras, since at the time I had a bunch of Nikon gear and had been shooting Nikon for years. Nikon's offerings were disappointing to me, especially in terms of the lenses, as they didn't even have a macro lens on the road map, so that pretty much put me more solidly in Sony's camp. By this time I'd also decided that for my purposes the A7R III would be a better choice and while I was still thinking about that, Sony announced the A7R IV and I waited some more to see what that would bring -- I figured I'd either get the A7R III at a good price then or I'd go with the brand-new A7R IV. After that camera was released and there were reviews, etc., I finally made up my mind and went to the store and traded in all my Nikon gear and came home with the A7R IV and three lenses. Couldn't have been happier.....

This year, the A1 had me lusting for it right from the get-go and I had to decide about keeping the A7R IV or trading it in to defray some of the costs of the A1. I kept the A7R IV, as it is handy to have two camera bodies at times and also I just wasn't ready to give up that wonderful camera, even though the A1 is even more wonderful.....

I was reading your post when it became clear to me that Sony made war on the camera world with its mirrorless cameras. They came out with really good cameras and, and this is so important, they had a supporting cast of really fine lenses. This was after about fifteen years selling cameras. That combo of Sony body and Sony lenses which worked well together right from the get-go and improved over time was critical. It was a well-planned massive assault on Canon, Pentax and Nikon. Nikon is now shaky as is Pentax and Sony is encroaching on the pro news-gathering world, shouldering Canon aside. I just hope Canon stays in the game as a real competitor and that Nikon can bounce back along with Pentax so that Sony has to keep hustling. Competition does make for good gear.

Those folks at Sony must have been current with Sun-Tzu.
 

Clix Pix

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Exactly! Sony right now is the leader of the pack when it comes to mirrorless APS-C and FF offerings and Canon and Nikon are scrambling to catch up. Sony used good strategy in the early years, collaborating with others to readily make available lenses which would be native to their new bodies even as they were also working to develop their own lenses. The result? Someone looking to get into mirrorless would see that, oh, yeah, Sony had this, that or the other lens and focal length already available for purchase and use and this made a huge difference. As time went on and Nikon, duh, belatedly decided, well, gee, uh, they probably should get on the mirrorless bandwagon, they didn't have much to offer in the beginning when it came to lenses while promising that current Nikon users could just use the FTZ adapter with "all their older Nikon lenses," which wasn't exactly true, or, rather, there were some major gotchas in this. Looking at the list of new lenses natively available for the new system, the pickings were pretty slim and actually, they still are.

Back in the late autumn of 2019 I purchased my A7R IV and two macro lenses plus the 135mm f/1.8 prime lens -- and a month or so later bought the 200-600mm zoom when I knew I needed and wanted a long lens to use to shoot the resident wildlife where I live.... Now, in 2021 Nikon has only just finally gotten around to coughing up a couple of new native macro lenses and they are still promising long lenses that will be "coming soon....." In the meantime, over the past couple of years I have been very happily shooting with my Sony macro lenses and my "Bazooka," the 200-600mm plus other lenses I've added along the way, including a 100-400mm which I use very frequently. Nikon really, really dropped the ball on the whole mirrorless thing and it's their loss as like me, many of their other formerly loyal long-time customers have made the switch to Sony.....
 
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AlphaWorld

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I ordered the A1 on the day it was announced. I had seen no rumours. I read all the specs, decided it was what I wanted, and placed my order. That meant I got one of the first two delivered in my area. Thoroughly enjoyed using it from the first day.

I waited a bit on the A7R4, and was stuck behind about 20 other orders, so I was waiting quite a while for mine. That wasn’t as much fun.

I suggest you read the real announcement (NOT the rumours and speculation!), then decide for yourself if you want the camera. Include thinking about what this camera will do that your current camera/s can’t.

Also consider how deeply you are digging in your pocket for the money - if it is every penny you have, then wait a few months - the price will drop. If it’s spare change to you, sure, go for it.
 

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