New Sony Trade-in Event

Other than Canon, all the Japanese camera companies have the end of their fiscal year on March 31st. That's important for two reasons. One, the first window of new product launches is always in this first calendar quarter because of a series of trade shows ending in CP+ in Japan (this year March 1st). Second, this is the quarter when they all have a very good idea of what their year-end numbers will look like and they either try to goose them some with discounts—particularly on older models—or fix them. Thus, February and March are often the second best time to buy cameras (the Christmas holidays being the first).

bythom sony tradein

Sony started their "Winter Trade-in Event" on Sunday. This is a set of new instant rebates coupled with a few trade-in bonuses. As I understand it, you can trade in any working camera to get the bonus. 

In particular, the full frame A7 and A9 series have some temptations now dangling out there:

  • A7: US$798 instant rebate price
  • A72: US$1098 instant rebate price
  • A7R2: US$2398 instant rebate price
  • A7S2: US$2498 instant rebate price

Trade-in bonuses of US$200-500 are also in effect (but be sure to start the process at this page):

  • A7R3: US$300
  • A7S2: US$200
  • A7R2: US$200
  • A9: US$500

Those trade-in bonuses are above and beyond what the dealer gives you for the trade in. So say that you can get US$500 trade-in value for your old Nikon D800 (yes, that would be a fair price for one in excellent condition as a trade, unfortunately). Trading it in under this program would mean you'd be paying US$1698 for an A7R2. Obviously, Sony is hoping that this kind of deal might make a switcher out of you.

So, this brings me to the recommendation portion of this article. 

  • The A7R2 is still a very good camera. It's basically Sony's equivalent to the D810. Back when both were the current models, I judged the D810 as the best all around camera you could get, the A7R2 the second best. At an effective price of US$2199 plus whatever trade value you get, that's a fair deal, one that many should think about taking rather than paying the premium for the latest Mark 3 model.
  • The A7S2 is also still a very good camera. One of the best low-light "video" cameras you can get. At an effective US$2299 price you'd also have to consider the Panasonic GH5s these days. Everyone expects Sony to release a Mark 3 model of this camera soon, so be aware that you're buying at the end of a generation.
  • The A72 is the entry 24mp full frame camera in Sony's line. We also expect a Mark 3 version of it in the not too distant future, as well as some real competitors, probably from Canon first, then Nikon. I'm not so keen about buying into this model, though the new US$1098 price would make it one of the least expensive full frame cameras that you could find. 
  • The original A7 is one I probably wouldn't recommend at this point, particularly since the A72 is only US$1098 at the moment. The original A7 just has a few too many "early camera" foibles, many of which were fixed in the A72. Still, it's a competent shooter when used within its means.
  • The A9 is a bargain if you're using the trade-in deal and need a state-of-the-art sports camera. At an effective price of US$3999 it starts to get into the realm where a lot of folk would take a chance on it. But be aware that you really want the GM lenses on this baby, and you have slim pickings above 200mm. I know that some are running lens converters on their A9 and getting good results, but I've tried that, and it isn't the same as using it with the latest Sony GM lenses. Don't buy high in one way and aim low in another would be my advice. You're either in for the full penny, or you should be out.

Sony has modest deals on FE lenses, and deals on some on the APS-C sensor mirrorless models (A5100, A6000, A6300, A6500), too, but these are not quite in the same league as the full frame deals at the moment.

The deals end—easy enough to guess based upon what I wrote in my first paragraph—on March 31st. Click on the banner graphic above if you want to see all the deals [advertiser link].

Corrected an error in the trade-in bonuses.

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