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Messages - sdsr

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91
Forgot to mention, the EF 50 f/1.4 does not AF on Sony a7+metabones adapter ... but when I mounted the Kenko Extension tubes on Sony a7+metabones adapter+50 f/1.4, the lens actually auto focused ... I am not sure what happened there but the Kenko extension tube is doing something to this combo and enabling it to auto focus ... thought some of you might be interested to know and those of you who have that combo, might want to give it a try and share your feedback. Cheers.


Very interested to know - I've not used extension tubes before, but I'm rather tempted now.  The only native A7 lens I have is the kit lens, which I don't use because it doesn't do justice to the A7s sensors (the Canon 24-105L is plainly better); I've been using Canon EFs and a few legacy primes from various companies (I've become so accustomed to the slow focus of Canon lenses on A7s that it's rather a shock to revert to using them on FF Canon bodies (or using Olympus my OM-D, for that matter)).

One might ask - why bother at all if they focus faster on Canon bodies?  For me, it's not about the weight difference, it's because I'm pretty sure the lenses make images that look better, even though an adapter is involved, than they do on a Canon FF body.  Whether this is because of the sensor, metering, software, the fact that focusing is done directly via the sensor rather than a convoluted system of mirrors, or some combination of these factors, I'm not sure, but (at least when pixel peeping) the images seem a bit sharper, have a bit more "pop", and, of course, the files have better dynamic range (not just in terms of lifting shadows but in making shadows that don't go as dark as fast in the first place - or is that a metering thing?). 

I liked the results so much with the A7 that I'm currently trying an A7r; the detail obtainable via even a cheap prime such as the 85mm 1.8 is pretty amazing on that sensor - it's nice to see that such a relatively elderly lens can do so well (the Sony kit lens doesn't come close), but now I want to try the Sony/Zeiss 55 1.8 - hard to imagine it would be much better.  I haven't encountered the lens-slap-vibration problem yet (though I've not had a chance to scrutinize the photos I've taken on it with the 24-105; and today I'm trying the 70-200 f4 IS, so we'll see...), but for now I'm inclined to keep it instead of the A7.

By the way, have any A7 users reading this encountered the sensor reflection problem (which doesn't seem to affect that A7r)? See here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52986111

I've not noticed that (probably because I use wider apertures at night), but I have noticed rather large halos around some bright lights that I'm pretty sure I don't get from Canon sensors.




 

92
Lenses / Re: 24-70/2.8 Canon or Tamron: Which did you choose and why?
« on: February 03, 2014, 10:18:39 AM »

Notice the mushiness?

I have never seen a lens make scenes look so bleached and ugly.

Images from the Canon BORE me. They look pathetically lame and make me want to throw up.


This is all subjective, of course (despite your attempt to prove that it's a "fact" in a later post), but what immediately struck me in the three comparative images you provided was how horrible the bokeh was on the white things (whatever they are) on the Tamron image, inappropriately contrasty and harsh.  I'm not wild about any of the three images, but I dislike the 24-105's the least; based on the evidence you provide, I wouldn't use any of them if I wanted attractive background blur at 50mm.  (Luckily, I don't find 24-70mm lenses very appealing, regardless of price, so I don't have to decide....)

93
Yet another vote for the 6D, whose low light performance is so good you may find yourself doing more photos of interiors than you do right now.  I don't agree that you might as well get a second-hand 5DII - while a 5DII certainly has better image quality than any crop sensor camera, the 6D is better in terms of dynamic range (much less shadow noise and banding if you push shadows; the same is true compared to the 5DIII) and high ISO performance, and it focuses better in low light (than just about anything). 

Nor do I see why you would miss your 17-55 - it may be the best such crop zoom, but in my experience it's not as good as the 24-105 on FF, even though the latter is "only" f4.  The EF lenses you have will likely perform better on a FF body too, at least in the middle of the image (crop sensors hide flaws at the edges, of course).  The comparisons you can make at The Digital Picture are pretty reliable.  Here, for instance, is a comparison of the 100L on crop and FF:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=674&Camera=736&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=674&CameraComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

The suggestion that you go with m43 instead would be fine if you want to add a new system and don't mind the disadvantages of the smaller sensor (hardly any compared to a crop dslr); I love my Olympus OM-D - many of the lenses are marvelous, and the small size/weight combination is nice, but you may find it more of a sideways move than a progression in terms of image quality.

And if you are interested in looking outside Canon but still want to be able to use your EF lenses, and have lots of patience for focusing, the cute little Sony A7 (A7r too, of course) makes superlative images with Canon lenses - I haven't owned mine long enough to make extensive comparisons, but I'm tempted to conclude that they make even better images on that FF camera than they do on FF Canon bodies (I own both 6D & 5DIII and used to own a 5DII and a crop Canon). 

94
Lenses / Re: What to Buy?
« on: January 25, 2014, 06:04:44 PM »
rs - thanks for the comment.  I think my best course of action is to wait (and wait....) for the D7 mark ii and keep an eye out for a used 100-400L!

Unless Canon has some amazing new technology up its sleeve, it seems highly unlikely that a 7DII, if released this year, would have significantly better image quality than your 7D; so that if you want better image quality from the lenses you have, especially in low light, it would make much more sense to me to get a 6D (unless you're frequently tracking fast moving things) - leaving aside the reach issue, your ff lenses will all take better photos on a ff body than they will on a crop body, and you may well get better results by cropping on a 6D to make up for the reach you're losing compared to the 7D (i.e., you will do the cropping manually rather than letting a crop-sensor do it for you automatically whether you like it or not). 

As for the 100-400, its image quality isn't quite as good as the 70-300L, and the difference between 300 and 400 isn't that much - if you want significantly more reach, regardless of what body you get, it may make more sense to get the new Tamron (unless someone shows that the Tamron at 600 isn't any better than the 70-300 cropped, which could be the case, I suppose).  Or if you want lots more reach, consider the Canon 50x superzoom point-and-shoot camera, which goes twice as far as the Tamron lens for half the money or less (see posts on this forum extolling its virtues in some contexts).  Or consider adding a micro 4/3 body and a Panasonic 100-300mm lens (equiv. 200-600mm) - remarkably good image quality, and small and very light compared to the other equipment you're considering.

As you don't seem to be in any particular hurry, it might make more sense to, say, rent a 6D and see whether you agree that the ff lenses you have perform significantly better on it, and appreciate its superiority in low light (hard to imagine that you wouldn't, but who knows?).

95
Lenses / Re: Canon 35 2 IS v Canon 40 2.8 pancake
« on: January 24, 2014, 04:07:22 PM »
Almost exactly a year ago I rented the Sigma 35mm and the Canon 35mm IS (using both on FF) and the only significant advantage I could see in the Sigma was its remarkably good coma control, much better than any other fast lens I've used.  Unable to decide whether that mattered more to me than the IS of the Canon, and because I'm not sure how much I like 35mm anyway (more often than not it seems either too long or not long enough for my purposes), I bought the 28mm IS instead when Adorama (or whoever it was) had it on sale last year - it's vastly better than the 28mm 1.8, 28mm really is different from 40mm, and I like the pancake for various reasons, so for now I have both of those. 

Both lenses you're pondering are excellent, so your choice should be made based on personal considerations that only you can answer.  E.g. What is it about a 35mm IS that's prompting you to consider it? Are there situations when you would have taken a better shot with IS?  If you want wider than 40mm and want IS, would 28mm IS make more sense, or is 2.8 too slow?  Or are you ditching the 28mm 1.8 because it's too wide?  If you're asking whether it's silly to have 35mm + 40mm, maybe not - the 40mm takes up less space, weighs less, and could fill in if a similar-length lens needs repair and thus may sometimes have practical benefits (besides, the 40mm is so cheap you may think it's not worth the effort of selling it).

96
Canon General / Re: Review: Canon EOS 17-40 f/4L by DxO Mark
« on: January 23, 2014, 04:47:47 PM »

It's also worth mentioning that lenses designed for crop cameras use tighter tolerances in manufacturing which results in higher image quality (the parts are smaller so this is easier) so generally a lens designed for crop will perform better than a lens designed for full frame. The 17-40mm L is designed for full frame and performs nearly identically to the 18-55mm kit lens, but is more expensive and worse in nearly every way (though it's color and contrast is said to be slightly better, I don't really care personally).


Not entirely sure what you mean by "perform better", but to the extent you're right re image quality, it's only true if you compare the lenses on a crop body, as Neuro's link demonstrated; lenses designed for ff bodies work better on ff bodies, and the comparison tool at the digital picture repeatedly shows that any given ff lens performs better on a ff body than it does on a crop body; it may also show that ff lenses on ff bodies perform better than their crop equivalents on crop bodies.   For instance, many a reviewer/commentator raves about the sharpness of the EF-S 60mm macro which, in comparisons, seems to perform better than the 100mm L on crop bodies; Roger Cicala's blurb on the lens says it's one of the rare lenses that make him wish he used a crop body.  And it's certainly an excellent lens; but as I recently found out the hard way (i.e., I bought one, though the digital picture would have demonstrated the point had I bothered to check), while it may be light and convenient, it's certainly not as good as, let alone better than, the 100L on a ff body.

As for "tighter tolerances," even if that's true, something is evidently making a lot of reviewers complain about autofocus accuracy on the Sigma.  Fantastic image quality is all very well, but you won't notice it when the focus is off.  Have those reading this had problems of focus inaccuracy with the Sigma?

97
Canon General / Re: Why Scott Kelby Switched to Canon
« on: January 20, 2014, 05:48:13 PM »
Does he have to *switch*?  If I had the space and the money (I suspect neither is a problem for him, though of course I don't know for sure), I would keep both.  Aside from such practical considerations, I don't find brand loyalty terribly appealing.  That said, I too think Canon's ergonomics are far better than Nikon's....

98

A tricky situation will be to change the lens, ┬┤cause of the uncovered sensor. This might be an problem if you are outside...


I've been using an Olympus OM-D for at least 9 months and, as I almost always use it with prime lenses, change lenses a lot, both inside and outdoors.  So far I haven't seen a hint of sensor-dirt on any photo I've taken; based on what I've read online, this seems typical (I don't know whether this is true of other mirrorless cameras).  Whether Olympus use some special coating or other technology that is unique to them I don't know, but maybe it's grounds for optimism.

99

By the way, I ordered the Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX Smart Adapter (Mark III) adapter a few days ago, it should be arriving on Saturday morning ... I had a chance to test it out in Melbourne last month and really liked how it works, unfortunately they only had a demo version, so I couldn't buy it ... will post some images once I get on this Saturday morning.


How is AF speed?

I'm interested in their native lenses. The Zeiss 35 & 55mm seem very nice and solid. I want to see what Sony/Zeiss has to offer on FE wide angle lenses up coming year. I really like their 55mm. I might be the odd one here, but I like to compose the shot with backscreen over the Op-viewfinder. My eyes get tired after couple hrs shooting with Op-viewfinder. My current compact FF is 5D III + 40pancake, NOT BAD at all ;D



I've owned an A7 for a week and for the past couple of days have been trying the Metabones EF adapter using, as it happens, the 40mm pancake along with the 85mm 1.8, comparing it informally along the way with the same lenses on the 5DIII.  I've not had a chance yet to process more than a few of the images, let alone look at all of them closely, but so far I'm inclined to conclude that - somewhat to my surprise - these lenses both create better images on the Sony than on the Canon, including greater sharpness and detail across the frame.  The difference isn't huge, and would doubtless seem less on smaller monitors, but on a 30" monitor it's quite noticeable even without zooming in.  (I now feel tempted to rent an A7r for comparison.)  I also get the impression that the camera meters better, among other things.  A remarkable image-generating device, and engagingly light, too (I've been using it, a Fuji xe-1 and an OM-D for the past few weeks, after which the 5DIII felt heavy and bulky), and, with its excellent EVF and magnification, a great vehicle for manual focus lenses.

BUT - using the adapter you don't want to be in a hurry.  I find it oddly engaging, but it feels a bit as though the AF mechanism was designed by Heath Robinson (do a google image search of you don't know his work) - the lens strolls towards the right place, arrives, looks around a bit to admire the view, moves a tad further, returns to the right place, whereupon it announces that you may press the shutter, assuming you haven't lost interest (in very low light you may need to try more than once, but I was generally pleased by how well it did walking home from work last night after dark).  I'm exaggerating, of course, but if there's a chance your subject will soon move, let alone is moving, good luck.  On the other hand, when the camera thinks it's in focus, it really is - as precisely accurate as it is with the (much faster) native kit lens or as the (extremely fast) AF on OM-Ds.

You should know, by the way, that not all Canon lenses are supported (with the 50mm 1.4 you get aperture control but not AF), and that the list of supported lenses on metabones' site is incomplete (e.g. they don't mention the 28mm IS, 40mm or the 100mm L, but mine work just fine).  And, of course, you can forget about automatic corrections based on lens profiles in LR, DxO etc., so while the 24-105L works too, correcting all that distortion at the wide end might be rather a bore.

So it's rather frustrating in some ways - you may get better-looking photos from Canon lenses on the Sony A7s than you do on Canon bodies, but the process for doing so is slower and a bit more convoluted. And once you've spent $400 on the adapter, they're no longer the cheapest FF cameras you can buy.  Then again, its versatility is marvelous (and if you have a bunch of x->EF adapters, you can just add them to the metabones).  Unless you're patient and willing/able to buy the native lenses, the most sensible route to take for those who need fast focusing is presumably to get an A-mount adapter and some A mount Sony/Minolta AF lenses which, I've read, focus even faster via that adapter than they do on A-mount bodies (though I've no idea if lens profiles in LR etc. still work for any of them).

Unless you're happy with the kit lens (which seems to be surprisingly good for something so cheap and light) and don't want/need wider or longer lenses, I doubt there are many for whom this would likely be their only camera.  If you want to read about a professional photographer's attempts to make it his, this blog is worth looking at:

http://soundimageplus.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Sony%20A7r
   

100
Lenses / Re: 17-40/4 L DxO Tested
« on: January 15, 2014, 04:06:30 PM »
The NR capabilities of their new PRIME algorithms are very, very impressive.


Yes, they are.  It's also remarkably good at correcting geometric distortion, including volume anamorphosis:

http://www.dxo.com/intl/photography/dxo-optics-pro/features/optical-corrections/volume-anamorphosis

I also think its automatic correction of lens distortion is a bit better than the other software I use the most, lightroom's.  I generally prefer LR overall, but it's nice to have other software for specific uses where they do better (I like Photo Ninja too, which restores highlights better than LR or DxO in extreme cases and comes closer to handling Fuji's RAW files than anyone else).

If comments here are typical, the normal progression is to start out by learning that DxO's lens/sensor tests are, um, perverse and then, based on that, to be biased against their software.  I'm probably unusual in that I started out with their software, was impressed by that and thus was biased towards trusting their tests.  I quickly shed that bias, but still like the software....

101
EOS Bodies / Re: Where are Canons innovation?
« on: January 14, 2014, 11:01:41 AM »

I am not denying that Canon is not innovating, they are, how else would they be market leader! They have an enormous R&D department, not only for photography, but also medical imaging (I use large Canon x-ray detectors at work, they are very good!). However they dont listen too much at customers. How many years did it take for them to implement Auto ISO in M-mode? Oh, and only in the 1DX, which cost way too much for most people. Do they even have spot metering linked to the chosen focus point? Fokus peaking? Zebra? Intervallometer? No!! They dont listen too much. They are a business, and in it to make money, and that they do well. Canon make a camera, not to be as good as it can be, but to fit a gap in the market. Reasonable, but not exciting. As you put it, "Canon, given their track record, doesn't give a flying rat's ass about "the competition." This is very arrogant, and is sure gonna cost them customers. We saw a little about this in the 50D -> 60D, more or less gimping the camera. In the 70D, they redeemd themself.

Comparing the old 550D with the rather new nex-6 is not fair, but how did the rebel series develop? Sensor, pretty much the same from 550D to 700D (minor tweaks). 550D -> 600D, added wireless flash control. 600D -> 650D, touch screen and articulated screen, also upped the AF (?), 650D -> 700D Changed the knob to go all the way around... Small steps, carefull evolution, nothing big. Though, they are entry level cameras, they could have done more, not keeping at a minimum all the time. But then again, as tools they are good, steady cameras. No denying!



You seem to be relying in part on a few questionable assumptions.  First, the fact that Canon doesn't make some change that you or a handful of contributors to internet forums want doesn't mean they don't listen - maybe they're listening to those with other priorities.  Second, how many significant innovations result from listening to customers?  Who asked for focus peaking (which doesn't work very well anyway) and zebra?  They might be nice features, but surely they're simply another example of supply creating demand (but not much, apparently).  As for the marginal variations from one Rebel to the next, that's true of most entry-level cameras, isn't it?  They're the cameras they sell the most, and companies seem to think (and perhaps they're right, otherwise why bother?) they need to keep issuing new ones every year to keep consumers interested.  Frustrating for those suffering from Gear Acquisition Syndrome, perhaps, but otherwise hardly important.

To the extent that Canon appears cautious (as you concede, they obviously don't lack innovation in what are arguably the most important areas), perhaps it's with good reason.  Much of the innovation you describe involves mirrorless cameras.  I happen to like that technology a lot (as implemented by some companies, at any rate), but there's no denying that aside from parts of Asia the overwhelming majority of camera-buyers aren't interested, and they are evidently the consumers Canon are listening to.  What's more, lots of these innovations are rather limited in practical effect.  With Fuji, for instance, who appear to be constantly responding to customer requests with firmware updates, you get an innovative sensor with very low noise but images that seldom look really sharp, an AF system that may finally be fast but still isn't accurate enough, and RAW files that are hard to manipulate with even the best software (DxO doesn't even try, perhaps with good reason).  Sony A7/7r?  Putting superb FF sensors in a small body is an innovation of sorts, and they handle very nicely (though not as well as Olympus OM-Ds), but their main virtue, and the only reason why I bought a 7R, is more than a tad anachronistic: you can now easily use legacy manual lenses (plus most other lenses) on a FF digital camera (if only it had IBIS...).  And it's just as well, because as we all know there are hardly any native lenses for them, and, aside from the (quite decent) kit zoom, they're expensive.  So far, despite their superb image quality,  it's hard to consider them as more than an appealing adjunct to a better developed system such as are provided by Canon and Nikon dslrs or, if you don't need/want FF, Micro 4/3.  (One professional's adventures in trying to make the A7/r his main kit are the subject of many entries in his blog, which is well worth reading if you don't know it: http://soundimageplus.blogspot.com/)

Of course, those who really want innovation should get one of these:

http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/new-hasselblad-lunar-titanium-version/

Who else can sell you what's essentially a Sony Nex with a mediocre kit lens in the ugliest casing yet invented
for a mere 7200 Euros, pre-tax?

102
EOS Bodies / Re: Will Canon ditch the AA Filter?
« on: January 13, 2014, 05:13:00 PM »

From what I've seen from the X-Trans, its sharpness doesn't come close to a lot of other offerings, even smaller form factors like Olympus, in many cases. That's kind of the tradeoff...you never really have moire (the moire you see in video is likely due to line skipping or something like that), but you don't get to actually utilize the sensor's full potential from a resolution standpoint, and there is clearly some overlap of larger blocks of pixels which is going to soften things up a bit.


I'm glad you wrote that.  I've been playing around for a couple of weeks with a Fuji X-E1, mainly to use with "legacy" manual lenses, based in part on the reports of remarkable sharpness that I've seen in various reviews.  Maybe the one I bought is defective, or maybe the kit lens is that came with it is (or both), but almost none of the photos I've taken outdoors in good light with the kit lens (which also receives very high praise in some quarters for sharpness) looks really sharp to me.  At first I thought it was the result of inaccurate AF, but while that occurs far more than it should (a well-known problem with these cameras, it seems), many photos simply look soft (this seems to get worse as the distance from the subject increases), both the camera's JPEGs and raw files via Lightroom and Photo Ninja (this is supposedly the best at dealing with the quirks of Fuji's raw files - DxO doesn't even try).  I don't have this problem with any other camera I own or owned or have recently tried, so I don't think it's just my ineptitude.

I have no insider technical knowledge, let alone the sort of technical knowledge you and others here have, but there seems to be something going on with either the sensor or how Fuji cameras create and process raw files that results in a degree of softening and may explain in part the remarkable low noise performance of these cameras at high ISOs.  You can see this if you use the dpreview comparison tool - Fuji raw files without noise reduction seem very smooth compared to any other APSC-size sensor, and even seem to compare favorably in that regard to some FF cameras, but there's less detail/contrast/punch - they look as though they've already been subjected to a heavy dose of noise reduction.

103
Lenses / Re: Why can't there be IS/OS in all lenses?
« on: January 08, 2014, 10:40:41 PM »
I must be missing something - why not put the IS in the camera instead of putting it in each of the lenses?

Sony, Olympus, and several others do just that.  It has the advantage of working with any lens, in theory.  In practice, in-body stabilization is much less effective with longer lenses (the sensor can only be shifted so far and so fast), doesn't stabilize the optical VF, and doesn't help with AF since the AF sensor isn't stabilized.  I suppose Canon and Nikon would also consider not being able to charge more for IS in each lens as a disadvantage.  ;)

Speaking of missing something, despite Sony being big proponents of sensor-shift IS, that feature is missing from their new FF mirrorless a7 and a7R.

One reason I'm keeping my Olympus OM-D and hesitant to try a Sony 7/7r is the excellent performance of the OM-D's IBIS, which stabilizes the EVF (if you're lucky enough to figure out the correct setting...) and, because it's mirrorless, doesn't need an AF sensor; it works superbly on the 100-300 Panasonic lens (better, probably, than the IS in that lens, which I keep turned off).  This is not only good for "native" m43 lenses, but wonderful for legacy lenses - it's easy to manually focus an IBIS-stabilized 135mm legacy prime on my OM-D, quite an ordeal on my Fuji x-e1, despite the reduced crop factor (there's no point even trying on my FF Canons).  Whether IBIS can cope with really big, heavy lenses, I don't know (though while I owned a Pentax K5 it seemed to do a good job with the unstabilized  version of the Tamron 70-200 2.8).  Apparently it's not in the A7s because the IBIS needed for a FF sensor would require a bigger camera body than Sony wanted for this line of camera.

As for the superiority of the Canon 24-70 2.8 II to the stabilized Tamron 24-70, it rather depends on how you use it, doesn't it?  I'm not disputing that in many (most?) situations the Canon is a better lens, at least marginally, on a Canon body.  But if you shoot in very low light you may, thanks to the Tamron's stabilization, get better results with the Tamron; if sharpness matters that much to someone, it's worth noting that the Tamron on a Nikon D800e is sharper than the Canon on is any currently available Canon body (according to Roger Cicala, at any rate); and it's not obvious that, say, the images Dustin Abbott has posted here taken on his 6D with the Tamron would look any better if they had been taken with the Canon lens.

104
Lenses / Re: Baby on the way - lens help
« on: January 06, 2014, 04:44:07 PM »
It depends in part on how close you're willing/able to get.  I don't have a baby of my own, but I've taken lots of photos of a friend's baby recently and, perhaps it's because she's not mine, but also because I don't want to startle her with a large black object making clicking noises, I used only two longish lenses, the 135L and 70-300L (the latter with bounce flash); with longer lenses you can take close-ups without being too instrusive, which suits me and, perhaps, the subject.  (Much the same applies to cats/kittens etc.; I have two of those and use the same lenses usually, sometimes using the 100L or 85 1.8 instead.)  All this is FF, so the same would apply to your 6D.

105
Perhaps also it might be due to Americans liking the "go big or go home" approach.

Not meaning big in size, but we like things that truly excel in some category - and also bring a good value to the table.

Here is where mirrorless fails entirely, given the above statements:

- Is mirrorless the best in quality?  Nope, DSLR is.
- Is mirrorless the most compact? Nope, a smartphone camera is.
- Is mirrorless the best standalone camera value?  Nope, a point & shoot is.

So where does mirrorless fit in?  Where does it truly excel above all?  The problem is, it does not.  It is through-and-through a compromise camera.  It compromises quality for portability, but still is less portable and more expensive than many other options available.  Hence the USA fail.

If by "quality" you mean "image quality", your answer to your first question is false: the new FF Sonys are at least as good as FF dslrs in image quality, the same is true of APS-C mirrorless cameras and their dslr equivalents (fans of the Fuji x cameras tend to think they're better, especially in terms of noise), while the gap between M43 and APS-C has become negligible.  What's more, the technology of mirrorless cameras, in the better ones, makes it easier to take good photos with both AF and manual lenses.

Your answer to your second question is true.  It's impossible to answer your third question without knowing what "value" means.  It's subjective.  If you're really nit-picky about image quality, point and shoots are bad value, regardless of price.

The reason why camera sales are falling is likely that most people aren't demanding about image quality (just as they aren't re audio quality - cf the prevalence of ipods + crappy earphones); and if all you're doing is posting photos on facebook etc., a smartphone is good enough anyway.  Toss in the answer to your second question and....

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