Photokina 2012: Sony Stand Report

On the Sony stand all the talk is about full frame. The RX100 is still generating a pretty healthy buzz, but it's sitting next to the RX1 in the Cyber-shot section, so is understandably a little outshone.

The RX1 is attracting quite a crowd but the only samples are behind glass. Occasionally one of the presenters will take to the stage to explain the camera, but there's no opportunity to handle it, let alone take any test shots. There are sample videos playing to whet appetites and exploded models of the camera on view, which help to make clear how complex an engineering challenge the RX1 was.

That isn't the case with the SLT-A99 - examples of which are numerous. A row of the cameras is lined-up, showing their live view images on flat screen displays, with acrobats and a trapeze artist providing opportunities for exploring the camera's autofocus and movie capabilities. Further 'round the stand are more examples, looking comfortable buried in the middle of video shooting rigs.

Finally there are opportunities to explore the NEX-VG900 full frame video camera. All the cameras are fitted with A-mount adapters, given there are no full-frame E-mount lenses. The use of E-mount gives plenty of room to use adapters for other mount lenses, though.

While we were there, a delegation from Carl Zeiss arrived to see whether its E-mount Cine lenses would work without vignetting on the VG900. Since its designs are essentially full frame lenses with a long throat to extend the lens away from the mount, it seemed likely that they'd work, so long as the throat wasn't too narrow (which it might have been, given the expectation that it would only be used with APS-C/Super 35mm sensors). Sure enough, the CP2 50mm T2.1 Macro could be racked through its focus range without any shading appearing in the preview image.

As usual, the Sony stand is divided into Alpha and Cyber-shot... ..what's less normal is that Cyber-shot is getting just as much attention.
 The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 is centre of attention...  ...but can only been seen behind glass.
An exploded version of the camera shows just how hard it is to get so much camera into such a small body... ...and, unsurprizingly, most of the real cleverness is in the lens.
The rear element is huge, complex and extremely close to the sensor. And it has to be to get light to the corners of the frankly huge full-frame sensor.
The A99 is much more accessible on the stand. And there are plenty of chances to play with it.
It may not be as small as the RX1 but there's still a lot going into the A99. Various video rigs show off its potential uses.
There's also the NEX-VG900 full-frame camcorder. Which can be used with Carl Zeiss CP.2 Cine primes, such as this one.
The NEX-6 leads the APS-C charge. Featuring flip-out screen and plenty of external controls.
 The NEX-5R is also on show, featuring the 16-50mm retractable zoom.  
Video lights and microphones are some of the accessories that will be compatble with Sony's new Multi Accessory Shoe hotshoe. Tucked-away (and also trapped behind glass) is a mock-up of the Sony/Zeiss 50mm F1.4.
Occasional photographer talks are the closest you can get to the RX1. And it's enough to draw a reasonable crowd.
 Big screens show-off the VG900 and A99's video and AF capabilities. While there are chances to test the low-light performance of Cyber-shot models.

Comments

Total comments: 44
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Sep 25, 2012)

I can't wait to see the RX10 when it comes out, with a built-in telephoto lens! :)
(not that I could afford it... but it's nice to see and dream) ;)

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Sep 23, 2012)

That red Sigma girl in the last picture is cute.

Unless the RX1 sensor has special microlenses, SONY can just put a mount on the end of the Zeiss lens and sell it as NEX FF lens. Looks like it will only add 1cm deaph to the camera/lens.

1 upvote
sproketholes
By sproketholes (Sep 30, 2012)

Its a Sonnar.. its going to be hot shiit. That camera is aimed at a very particular kind of photographer.
The Sonna formula is center perfect with a bulging bokeh and a slight vignette. Sony have matched this optic perfectly with this sensor. I cannot wait to see what this thing spits out.. I bet you it will give Leica 35 Summicron a good run for its money in the digital realm.

2 upvotes
cluening
By cluening (Sep 23, 2012)

@JackM: A) Under warranty: Why shouldnt they? Just like with any other fixed lens cam, they will swap the whole cam.
b) no warranty: surely you will have to repair the body to keep the lens working. Or put it on a new body, but the cost will be surely almost the same price like for a new RX1.

0 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Sep 21, 2012)

Will the factory or a service center be willing and able to transplant the lens onto a new body if this body ceases to function?

0 upvotes
facedodge
By facedodge (Sep 20, 2012)

I don't like the way the A99 flips out... they should copy the Canon way of doing it.

0 upvotes
HobbiesAreFun
By HobbiesAreFun (Sep 20, 2012)

I think all of the above are too easily damaged for my taste, however the Sony method currently gives you far more angles of use than the Canon method.

2 upvotes
Wally626
By Wally626 (Sep 20, 2012)

Not used the A99, but it looks close to the A77, which is a very handy screen. It is very easy to keep it turned in to totally protect the screen when not needed adn them move it to just about any position when needed. Canon's FF at least cannot move the screen at al.

1 upvote
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Sep 25, 2012)

This is definitely the best flip out screen of any model yet.
Nikon had it nice, with a vertically tilting screen that stays behind the camera as it should... but Sony did it one better, by giving it that extra articulation. Bravo Sony!

0 upvotes
Aperture Geek
By Aperture Geek (Sep 20, 2012)

The RX1 is a very clever design that promises to place very high image quality in a tiny package. My question: is the world ready to pay nearly 3K for a fixed lens camera? If I had enough money to burn, I would buy one. If the RX1 was an interchangeable lens system camera for say, $1500 a body and those lovely Zeiss lenses at $1000-$1500, I may sell my Fuji XPro1 kit. Who knows, maybe Sony has plans and is exploring the public interest like Fuji with the X100. Of course the X100 was a bargain at $1200 in comparison.

Sony is making some very interesting cameras!

1 upvote
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 20, 2012)

Hmmmm doubt you will see a FF mirrorless for 1500USD body only. Unless it's a stripped down camera with no video functions, just stills, then you will see a camera for 2000USD at minimum. I'm expecting something between 2000-2500USD given the reduced size and overall complexity of having a FF sensor in such a tight place (even with something bigger than NEX-7, it will be smaller than a M9 and will be hard to design and keep heat away)

People like to compare it to the X100, but APS-C and FF prices are very different in compact cameras given the increase of the space the sensor takes and the heat it generates VS. the actual space available. It's not something that goes in a linear scale but rather exponential.

0 upvotes
Aperture Geek
By Aperture Geek (Sep 21, 2012)

I agree that the cost of a new mirrorless system would be up over 2k. The price will drop in time, and is with cameras like the Nikon D600 and Canon 6D. Two full frame DSLRs at just over 2K! The complexity of a FF sensor and the heat generation is significant and rarely discussed. I have to clean the sensor far more frequently on my Nikon D3S over the D300, due to the sensor surface being hotter and attracting dust. It is easy to blow the dust from an APSC sensor.

The X100 is a very cool fixed lens high end camera. True it has an APSC sensor but until very recently that was considered big on a camera of its scale and price. The Sony RX1 is breaking new ground with it's FF sensor, Zeiss optics and small scale body. $2800 is no small price for a camera but it is cheaper than a Leica 50mm F1.4 and you still need a Leica M to make use of it. I have nearly $3500 in my Fuji XPro1 system but have the flexibility to change out lenses. I am very interested to see what happens next...

0 upvotes
mmcfine
By mmcfine (Sep 19, 2012)

ToysRus

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (Sep 20, 2012)

Ignorance is bliss...but not stupidity!

1 upvote
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 21, 2012)

He must be using a fisher price camera and his jealous.

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 19, 2012)

No mention of the new lenses? For both A and E-mounts?

0 upvotes
rmbackus
By rmbackus (Sep 19, 2012)

I'm waiting for the photographer who will state that his new camera is responsible for his prize winning picture.

0 upvotes
James K Cheung
By James K Cheung (Sep 19, 2012)

Ya! Like.. It's not me, it's the camera.

0 upvotes
citizenlouie
By citizenlouie (Sep 19, 2012)

The picture of RX1 shows off its aperture blades very well. Is it 9-blade construction? I think that might follow Zeiss philosophy very well for perfect bokeh.

0 upvotes
ianimal
By ianimal (Sep 19, 2012)

Yes the RX1 spec. says it got 9 rounded blades. The sample images bokeh looks very nice I think.

0 upvotes
JRApprentice
By JRApprentice (Sep 19, 2012)

I am just about to display my ignorance but what the heck.

You say 'just how hard it is to get so much camera into such a small body...' re the RX1. Funny that, from the exploded view it looks like a 35mm lens set in a body in front of of an image sensor with with a body back behind. The little Halina I had as a lad and loads of other rangefinder cameras in he sixties and seventies managed that and didn't claim any special achievement as a result. Is it the electronics which make this difficult or is there some other mystery of digital camera construction that I am unaware of?

Just asking.

John

1 upvote
citizenlouie
By citizenlouie (Sep 19, 2012)

Don't know the details, but heat is a major design constraint for modern DSLR, because of that LCD screen in the back. You need to space things out before the heat shut the entire camera down or simply make the final image too noisy (heat will introduce interference).

1 upvote
migus
By migus (Sep 21, 2012)

Besides heat (OVF = passive, LCD off), a major issue of the RX1 design must have been the steep incident light at sensor's edges!

A FF sensor w/ such small register (aka flange from T*'s rear element) requires special u-lens design and likely non-uniform gain compensation in the sensor circuitry. These are designed for one lens only... much harder for an ILC.

0 upvotes
Retzius
By Retzius (Sep 19, 2012)

I have to give it to Sony, they are charging ahead with their own vision and technology. Although I do not use Sony cameras, I respect their moves in the market and don't rule them out anymore.

10 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Sep 19, 2012)

Looks like all the guys here cannot make the decision and need to join a support group.

"Let me flip your hamburger!"

"Thanks. Let me flip your hamburger!"

0 upvotes
LewisCoward
By LewisCoward (Sep 19, 2012)

Let's hope that the A77 gets an announcement that firmware 2.0 is going to be available .. as per Alpha Rumors!

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 19, 2012)

That 50mm Zeiss is mine, let's hope it's under $800.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
supeyugin1
By supeyugin1 (Sep 19, 2012)

In your dreams regarding the price!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Sep 20, 2012)

Expect between 200 and 300USD more for the ZA 50mm f/1.4 SSM. Comparing current ZE/ZF.2 85mm f/1.4 MF to the ZA 85mm f/1.4 AF you see a 300USD gap. So something like 1100USD is more about right for this lens.

0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 21, 2012)

At $1,100, I will still get it, but I will have to make a trip into the USA.
I'm sure they will try to rip off Canadians by adding a few more $$$ to it and the Canadian $ is doing nicely right now at par or above par

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
supeyugin1
By supeyugin1 (Sep 22, 2012)

Canadians always complaining about bad exchange rate (not an issue anymore), high taxes, and greedy government.

0 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Sep 22, 2012)

But we have free healthcare and a strong economy ;)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ianimal
By ianimal (Sep 19, 2012)

RX1 is cute :)
If the price was some under $2000...
But a NEX FF would also be very interesting.
My RX100 is enough for me some time.

2 upvotes
bradleyg5
By bradleyg5 (Sep 19, 2012)

The A99 is seriously the camera that has me considering selling all my Canon gear to switch too.

8 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Sep 19, 2012)

do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it ...YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8 upvotes
Vinand
By Vinand (Sep 19, 2012)

THIS ^^^

What the guy before me already said:
do it, do it, do it, do ti, do it, do it, do it, do it,
do it, do it, do it, do ti, do it, do it, do it, do it,
do it, do it, do it, do ti, do it, do it, do it, do it!!!

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
RubberDials
By RubberDials (Sep 19, 2012)

Let me help you... :)

In-body IS - vital for critical sharpness at ALL focal lengths up to 1/160th.

Better DR.

Full time LV with phase detect and tilt screen.

SLT as responsive as a rangefinder (no mirror flip/slap)

Good luck whatever you do.

0 upvotes
AmateurSnaps
By AmateurSnaps (Sep 19, 2012)

Certainly an interesting camera but would (as for anything) wait for reviews.

Also what Canon gear exactly (to make certain Sony offers like for like - which I assume they will by now)

0 upvotes
hiipolarbear
By hiipolarbear (Sep 20, 2012)

as a videographer being invested no less than USD20k in canon gear... i think of jumping ship too... it is sad that i want to wait for A99 before burning money on anymore canon product.

0 upvotes
Mapel
By Mapel (Sep 19, 2012)

Nex 6 will surely be my next camera! I can't wait 'till xmas for having it :(

0 upvotes
Titos
By Titos (Sep 19, 2012)

I am really considering of changing my NEX-7 with NEX-6
but i really gonna miss the tri-navi,
i am so confused,damn you Sony

0 upvotes
dbo
By dbo (Sep 20, 2012)

I was considering the same.
And when playing around with the NEX6 yesterday at PK, I decided to definetly do so.
NEX6 is about same size. The additional navi wheel on the NEX7 will not be missed so much I guess.
The 16-50 PZ lens was a joy to play with.

Most importantly to me are two points.
The corner issues of the NEX7 seem to be sorted out on the lower resolution sensor of the NEX6.
Secondly the movie button position is not a pain in the back than on the NEX7.

0 upvotes
Titos
By Titos (Sep 20, 2012)

what about the AF is it really that fast like sony said?

0 upvotes
dbo
By dbo (Sep 20, 2012)

I found it both, more accurate and faster.
In bright lights it was not that much tangible.

In the past I've had some issues indoor with focussing the Tamron 18-200 in low contrasts. I tested it with a few shots at the stand, and my feeling was as said, that the AF is a bit more accurate.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 44