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Sure, you don't *need* 51 AF points. You don't even need 1. It's an assist that's all.
The main benefit is in object tracking. You can do it the hard way manually of course, or let the camera track and continually focus on a moving object. More points makes it a easier for the camera to track accurately (in Nikon's case at least it works on a lot more than just having more AF points, and uses various scene evaluation techniques to find the object you are trying to focus on and keep it focused).
But it's an optional feature to use. The point is however that Nikon and Canon's top end cameras provide far better options like this than Sony obviously are. Hence for the price I'd expect far more.
Now I don't really need it, which is I don't spend £2000 on a camera! But if I did, I'd want my money's worth.
@ Michelle Knight
So, that means that Hasselblads, with ISO400 as the maximum, can't take decent pictures? What makes you think that High ISO is needed to take decent pictures. I primarily shoot available light portraits and landscapes. I've used many cameras before, and charted my ISO usage - 92% of my shots were ISO 400 or below. The rest were 800 and 1600.
I used the A900 for a week on loan, and traveled using the CZ 16-35 and took some portraits with the CZ 135mm lens. In all cases, including 2 test portrait shots at 800 and 1600 ISO, the detail was astounding, and very very very faaaar from "unusable". In fact, the noise profile seems better to me than the 1DsMkIII, and has higher detail too.
You're not really a photographer are you? 51 point AF is not needed, period. In 99% of situations it is faster and easier to work with only one. If you need multiple AF points then 9 is more than enough. Focusing accuracy is way more important.
fishman and dapprman
Absolutely on the money both of you. IS in lenses is far superior as at long focal lengths (500mm) where you need it most the Sony system can provide the least compensation - The CCD can't move far enough. You're also right about users upgrading having bought into a system - the most important part about this sector of the market.
As for the nay-sayers criticising the inclusion of live view and HD recording on the 5D Mk II...
Live view is very handy for macro photography.
HD recording is aimed primarily at journalists. Quality-wise it beats my HV30 camcorder, I'm guessing because of the extra lens quality in front of the sensor.
Yes I have one and, no, I've never looked to either of these features to justify the purchase. I've found the HD facility great when I don't wish to take both on holiday.
Another 85% review?
85% again? Other numbers are available.