Interview - Phil Molyneux, President Sony Electronics

Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux holding the NEX-6, the company's latest APS-C camera.

Dpreview recently attended a press trip organized by Sony, where the Japanese manufacturer showcased its newest Cyber-shot, NEX and Alpha models. During the trip we had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Phil Molyneux, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics.

In a wide-ranging interview Molyneux spoke with us about the company's new relationships with Olympus and Hasselblad, the impact of smartphone proliferation on the camera market and Sony's place in the market alongside Canon and Nikon. Also joining the discussion was Mark Weir, Senior Manager of Technology and Marketing at Sony.


Sony recently entered into a partnership with Olympus, and has invested $397 million dollars into the company. What do you make of the well-publicized accounting scandal and the potential U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation of Olympus?

That's been going on for some time now and I don't really want to dive in deep there but that needs to play out and (have) the right conclusions drawn. I'm sure they will be.
 
We've put together this capital investment with Olympus looking at the synergy between the two companies. Olympus has core assets and IP that help some of the work we're doing in digital imaging. On the other side, the technology we have in image sensors, processors and optics is also a good fit. There's a lot to explore there in terms of value.

What impact will the relationship with Olympus have on Sony product development?

We have a strategic intention to build out our business within the medical industry. We see that as a core pillar for the future. The alignment with Olympus is a really good fit because they're in the medical industry for endoscopy. We have core technology that they don't have in terms of sensors, processors and optics as well as a great heritage in 3D and now 4K [video]. If we look long term, the mutual benefits are there and that's the primary intention.

This is a capital investment where we work together. Olympus has IP that can help our future digital imaging products potentially. We have image sensors that is our core competency. So you put the two together and there is benefit for both sides.

Can we expect this partnership with Olympus to help narrow the gap in lens selection between E-mount and Micro Four Thirds optics?

We're early into this new arrangement. I don't want to speculate into those areas. In due course we'll be sharing more details.

At the recent Photokina show in Cologne, Sony announced a partnership with Hasselblad, and a forthcoming product - the Hasselblad Lunar camera. What does Sony get out of this relationship?

The relationship here is about the supply of components from our side. We're a major player in the image sensor market. Our technology will help support not only Hasselblad but many other companies, as they do today.

The Hasselblad Lunar uses the E-mount and other technology found on Sony's NEX-7 camera.

You now have relationships that, on some level, tie together the success of Sony, Olympus, and now Hasselblad. Are there challenges in maintaining such public relationships with rival camera manufacturers?

I don't believe so. Olympus has their own position in the market. Hasselblad has been in the premium digital imaging market for many years. Sony has been a constant innovator. There is opportunity to co-exist and prosper but cross-leverage capabilities that bring mutual benefit to each of the parties involved. Outside the digital imaging world Sony has had similar relationships with other companies like Sharp and Samsung. So it's not an uncommon thing for us to do. We've been doing this for a few years now.

What are Sony's challenges in the mass market digital imaging space over the next few years?

The proliferation of the smartphone has put pressure on the entry-level camera segment of the industry as a whole. But we also have a line of smartphones. And the key is that we're using Sony image sensors and optics in these smartphones.

Smartphones and social media have made photography very popular with a younger generation. And that's very promising because they are getting to grips with the beauty of photographs. As these younger people grow up, a few of them will fall in love with photography, want to take it to a different level and understand the limitations of a smartphone and a point-and-shoot and therefore step up to super zoom, E-mount or possibly even A-mount cameras in the future.

From Sony's perspective, because we have a full line of cameras as well as smartphones, this is a positive trend, one that we're embracing. So if you talk about self-cannibalization, that's perhaps one way to view it, but that's not a negative. We're growing new fans of photography who could buy more versatile products from Sony in the future.

We're seeing camera apps and Wi-Fi becoming more common in cameras now. Nikon and Samsung are making Android-powered cameras. Will any camera that's not 'connected' be obsolete?

At this stage I don't believe that's the case at all. A lot of people are using our E-mount and A-mount products to produce pictures that hang on the wall or are displayed in galleries. We're not at the stage where consumers are going to invest in this level of technology and use it solely for uploading to social media.

How will Xperia smartphones and Cyber-shots cameras continue to co-exist? Will they have to merge?

With our image sensor, processor and optics technology used in the Xperia models, we can drive the value of the phones forward. But there's still a significant gap in capability, quality and output between smartphones and the mid-range to high-end Cyber-shot cameras. Smartphones today are hitting the entry level compact camera. We're helping that happen and consumers are embracing it.

Understand that this young generation of smartphone users, if you go back five years ago, would pick up a camera maybe once a year on holiday and that's it. They're now using photography every single day. That's a very good sign for the future of digital imaging. Because they will want to do more. Not all of them, but a subsection of that community will want to do more.

There will be a race between smartphones and compact cameras to improve features and capabilities. We have the assets and technology to drive advances in both products to give consumers what they need. That's our mission. But even if the pace of change remains the same between smartphone and compact cameras, there are still issues of miniaturization that allow compact cameras to do things that smartphones cannot. There is still a gap in quality, performance and manipulation. The point in time at which the gap between a smartphone and a point-and-shoot or a superzoom is no longer perceived as value by the consumer will be the tipping point. But we're playing both worlds, so I don't see it as a negative.

How far out is that tipping point?

I wouldn't speculate on a time frame.

For years the industry has been pushing megapixels as a defining feature. Now there is an increased focus on sensor size and fast lenses. How are you going to wean consumers away from a sticker-friendly spec like megapixels?

The megapixel race was a good thing. It stimulated competition and speed of design, manufacturing and output. But that's a small part of what we bring into our products.


Mark Weir: There are consumers with limited awareness who perhaps latch onto a megapixel number. But even those consumers are getting to the point where enough is enough, particularly when it comes to file size.

A big feature request from our readers for a NEX-7 successor is a touchscreen. Given that a touchscreen is also absent from the NEX-6, do you see having an EVF and touchscreen as contradictory?

MW:It is contradictory. We believe that a user who buys a camera with an OLED EVF is concentrating on the shooting experience and wants to have everything at their fingertips by direct button control. We believe their interest in touchscreen capability is far less than the user who shoots with the camera held at arm's length.

The Sony NEX-6 features an EVF, but forgoes the touchscreen capability found in the NEX-5R.

But why not offer both, like Olympus does in the E-M5?

MW: There's nothing that prevents us from having both an EVF and touchscreen. But it's our design philosophy that prioritizes the eye-level shooting style for the NEX-6 and NEX-7.

Looking at the VG900, our readers are speculating on whether you will make a full frame E-mount stills-oriented camera. What can you say to them?

MW: The VG900 demonstrated that the E-mount lens mount can support a full frame sensor. Building the lenses that can cover a full frame imaging circle at that flange back distance is another matter. We'll see. The benefits of making a smaller camera with a full frame sensor and interchangeable lenses are clear. The E-mount that could do that would be a little different than the E-mount that we know today. But it is possible. Much of the lens geometry you see in the RX1 is what it would take to realize that design.

With the RX1, how much demand do you expect for a $2800 fixed lens camera?

MW: We won't disclose what our forecast numbers are, but the response from retailers with pre-orders has been overwhelmingly positive. As for the price, with the NEX-7, many said, 'Who will pay $1400 for a mirrorless camera?' Look what happened. With the RX100, many said, 'Who would spend $650 on a so-called point-and-shoot camera?'. Part of what comes with disruptive technology is a change in the way people think about what consumers are interested in buying.

The A99 becomes the first pro-level SLT camera. Are pros ready to give up an optical viewfinder?

PM: We're being disruptive. Part of the appeal of being disruptive is that pros see that we're being innovative and want to explore what Sony has to offer.

Why should someone buy a Sony camera over a brand like Canon or Nikon?

We have the core technology inside of the company, in terms of image sensors, processors and optics. I think we're the only company that has a mass production and R&D capability in all three areas. We're able to use that capability along with our design skills to bring disruptive products to market. Customers are starting to embrace Sony for innovation and disruptive technologies. We've done that with the E-mount line and we're taking it to a whole new plane with the RX-1, the first full frame camera at that size in the world.

There are companies like Canon and Nikon that have been in this marketplace 60+ years. And the market has traditionally been very slow to change, diversify or innovate. We're relatively new to it, but boy have we been disruptive. Sony is changing the market through innovation and giving consumers more choice.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 133
12
MarshallG
By MarshallG (8 months ago)

Glad to hear that they realize the megapixel race must soon end.
Problem with megapixels, besides noise, is what's needed to double resolution...
1..2..4..8..16..32..64..128..256

It was great to jump from 4 to 8 and to 16... but does anyone want to jump to 128 or 256 mp?

0 upvotes
Palau Blue
By Palau Blue (Nov 18, 2012)

Bring back the Minolta brand please.

0 upvotes
kumart75
By kumart75 (Oct 24, 2012)

Personally I find OVF to be primative and outdated. With EVF there are many benefits like what you see is what you get, any changes you make to the settings you be able to see exactly how the picture will turn out - so no more bad photos! Also in complete darkness you can turn up the ISO and will still be able to see and focus but you could not do that with an OVF.

0 upvotes
Sammy Yousef
By Sammy Yousef (Oct 24, 2012)

Please go disrupt someone else. I want to shoot pictures, not be disrupted. When you have an EVF that can compete with my OVF I *may* look into your gear.

0 upvotes
Paul_B Midlands UK
By Paul_B Midlands UK (Oct 18, 2012)

I tell you what would be innovation ... some firmware support from Sony for NEX5N users, its well overdue. Look after those who already bought-in. I don't want to hear some suit blathering on about the NEX6 etc, what about fixing the snags with the earlier ones.

0 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Oct 19, 2012)

What snags?

0 upvotes
pacc
By pacc (Oct 24, 2012)

NEX-7 got a wider range of AEB and option to disable the movie button. Hardly rocket science, it's not like he wants to use his camera to take pictures using for example the touchscreen.

0 upvotes
lester11
By lester11 (Oct 18, 2012)

Contradictory? Two different ways to do similar things are complementary! When appropriate, my eye goes to the EVF -- most shots while walking, talking, or sitting. When appropriate, the OLED screen is pulled out -- shots on a tripod, low down, high up, or very close. C'mon Mark, get real!

1 upvote
zapatista
By zapatista (Oct 18, 2012)

I love how the dood talks about Sony's great optical prowess...lol.

0 upvotes
LANDSHOTS2
By LANDSHOTS2 (Oct 17, 2012)

I'AM BACK !!! SONY IS THE COMPANY TO WATCH OUT FOR. TELL ME I CAN'T USE CAPS . JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE???

0 upvotes
Earthlight
By Earthlight (Oct 17, 2012)

The disruptiveness of these disruptive disruptives is disruptive indeed! I never realised this before but now I know.

4 upvotes
HowLiu
By HowLiu (Oct 17, 2012)

The Nex7 is a great amateur camera but lacks features to become serious threat to DSLR category.
One of fastest growing Photography communities is cinematography or Timelapse photography.
Most people are mesmerised by the final results.Great creativity florishing arround the world and Timelapse content used for all sorts of expressions.
If you want to createon Timelapsing with Nex7 you have some serious challenges;
A) no intervalometer support cable connection (should be easy to fix with mini USB)
for static mode you can use 3d party remote controllers which are available.
but no connector availability brings another challenge.
B) Movement timelapsing.
Dynamic Perception's Stage One dolly with MX2 which controls move-shoot-move activity.
It's not possible with Nex7 because you can not synchronize with other electronic tools mentioned above.
C) in remote mode, its not possible to take HDR pictures. I ask my self why...(?)

SO My question is Sony will you support new NEX7 FW?

1 upvote
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (Oct 16, 2012)

Well, I'm one of those business people who use terms like "disruptive."

At the macro level [an economics term in this case], Sony is changing the nature of the products we can buy.

The NEX line challenges consumer/prosumer DSLRs with high IQ in a small package. The RX-100 changes the game for quality point & shoot cameras. Alpha 77/99 challenge pro-level DSLRs with far better live view functionality. An interchangeable RX-1 will soon offer a Leica-like camera.

In each market segment, Sony makes us think about switching from "incumbent" brands. Its a lot like what Apple did to Sony -- think iPod vs. Walkman.

Even if you sneer at terms like "synergy" and "disruptive," consider how much Sony has shaken up the market. That's good for us. Competitors will have to respond by improving their products.

Good interview. Thanks, Sony, for shaking things up.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
migus
By migus (Oct 17, 2012)

Ditto. Sonny has sent a wake-up call to a rather dormant industry (by digital terms) too content to ride the digital waves in tightly calculated increments and feature allocation/crippling per segment.

Big boys: Half century-old multi-pound APS SLR designs (vs. 1/2-pound NEX). Much bulkier FF SLR (vs. 1-pound RX1), where this year's "compact & cheap" canikon FF are catching up pricewise to a 3-yr old alpha 850. Yes, the SLR is tried&true, handling well (hence for ever a pro's tool), with OVF and 2-5x more shots per charge. An expensive bulk left home, stopped at museums/concerts, intrusive and conspicuous. My world on film (decades of dark room fumes), though.

Peewee brigade: The 100s of P&S models w/ tiny sensor IQ. Incredible that today's front page 'premium' P&S like LX7 and P7700 use 1/1.7" (BI-CMOS is better than last decade's CCD, yet still tiny) in a market segment where one can buy 1" P&S like the RX-100.

Sony has disrupted from the device up, indeed - though not alone.

0 upvotes
davidkachel
By davidkachel (Oct 16, 2012)

What I want/need is very, very simple.
I need a box that stores a bunch of megapixels, 36 minimum, 50-60 would be better.
Three or four high quality lenses, nothing exotic.
A good, 100% optical viewfinder.
Apertures and shutter speeds, along with built-in metering.
An upgrade path for the future so that I can have exactly the same camera (more or less), with ever-increasing image quality.

Isn't it amazing that Sony built a new camera (a99) with lots of bells and whistles but STILL managed to fail me even on this very simple list?

Anybody want to buy an alpha 900 with some really nice lenses?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Oct 16, 2012)

Not many people billboard-sized prints that a 60 megapixel might warrant. Thank heaven the a77 and a99 are nothing like that. But, if pixels and OVF are what matter to you, why not get a medium-format camera, or stick with your a900, and put them in a box. But, look, you are anxious to unload the only thing that comes close to your dream.

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (Oct 17, 2012)

@davidkachel

Why are you trolling in this thread? Sony didn't fail you. You just came to the wrong place and barked up the wrong tree.

You will be perfectly at home in the medium format forums.

N.B. - OVF huh? If I have a problem with this excellent interview, its the fact that some disruptive technologies are simply beyond the dinosaurs. Its like preaching to the hopeless. Try sticking your eye into one of the latest EVFs. Then Google "EVF advantages". Then try imagining the future possibilities via firmware upgrades.

P.S. - All this coming from a long time Canon user.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Pat
By Pat (Oct 16, 2012)

Dear Sony ... some of us (including moi!) really want BOTH an EVF and a touchscreen for touch focus/shutter purposes. I would use both depending on the situation, and would also be willing to pay extra for both. As it is now, you have me torn between the NEX-5R and the NEX-6. Why can't we have it all? Especially when all is doable (as you admit)? Please reconsider your arbitrary stance. TIA!

1 upvote
aDamDam
By aDamDam (Oct 17, 2012)

Well, it is not the first time Sony is playing this game in positioning products. Look at current mobile phones offering: 2 models with similar price, one has front facing camera but lacks SD card reader and another one the opposite...

0 upvotes
Adrian Harris
By Adrian Harris (Oct 16, 2012)

I find a lot of the comments here amazing. I am not brand loyal - far from it. Every time I want a tool to do a job, I analyze what is needed and what will do it best.
Unfortunately cost benefit value is a very important part of that.

After considering all alternatives I still bought a very expensive Sony RX100 as a pocket camera. ...and of course last year for my pro work a Sony A77 SLT.

Thank you Sony :o)

8 upvotes
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Oct 16, 2012)

Thank you Sony for making the SLT A99 £500 more expensive than the D800!
Rest in peace SLT A99

4 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Oct 16, 2012)

More like £450, but you know full well that the A99 is currently at full pre-order price, so the price will obviously come down.

Why do you insist on being so disingenuous?

8 upvotes
mgrum
By mgrum (Oct 16, 2012)

"The VG900 demonstrated that the E-mount lens mount can support a full frame sensor. Building the lenses that can cover a full frame imaging circle at that flange back distance is another matter"

It's not your lenses we want, it's Leica's, so get on with it and build the FF mirrorless already!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 31 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (Oct 16, 2012)

Sony sensors + Sony marketing + Olympus optics/bodies = great success

I know that their primary goal is industrial products, but I hope that they finally also join forces for consumer products.

I think the E-M5 is a promising "preview" for this.

2 upvotes
mblg
By mblg (Oct 16, 2012)

They got Minolta and did nothing. They will destroy Olympus too.

0 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Oct 16, 2012)

Interesting that he mentions twice that Sony has s optics technology that would be useful to Olympus - though most of us seem to think it is the other way round

0 upvotes
MtOlympus
By MtOlympus (Oct 16, 2012)

Amen to CFnn, right on.

0 upvotes
Preternatural Stuff
By Preternatural Stuff (Oct 17, 2012)

@mblg

"did nothing" with Minolta?

Er, did you totally miss all the interchangeable lens camera systems?

Before Minolta, Sony wasn't even in the interchangeable lens camera business.

1 upvote
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Oct 16, 2012)

Disruptive technology = Ignoring users
D600= A99 killer, guess who will sell more?

Sony are way off base, lost the plot years ago and are too bone headed to admit SLT has failed big time

3 upvotes
dbo
By dbo (Oct 16, 2012)

D600 vs. A99
Guess that you didn't understand marketing.

A99 is D800/5D3 competitor.
For your favored D600 there'll be for sure an A85 or how it will be called.

5 upvotes
Adrian Harris
By Adrian Harris (Oct 16, 2012)

Ha Ha Ha Barry very funny. But seriously, your not still using that old OVF camera are you?

Go on, admit it, OVF is dead technology ;o)

5 upvotes
Fraxinus excelsior
By Fraxinus excelsior (Oct 16, 2012)

Well the OVF certainly works for me with my Sony a900. And for many pros.
I think the a99 are a great camera but I need more MP and will wait for a future Sony solution to this whish and my wallet to grow.

2 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Oct 16, 2012)

Barry = Luddite

3 upvotes
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Oct 16, 2012)

Read it and weep!
Disruptive means to erm do some damage. So when Canikon sell hand over fist far more than the A99 that leads us to conclude? That this is about as disruptive as a pussy cat in a tigers den. It's not!

Overpriced, offers nothing new..an EVF which most users don't want. Only a few die hard Sony fans or video folks will even look twice at it. That's the hard truth

3 upvotes
The Lotus Eater
By The Lotus Eater (Oct 16, 2012)

Wrong.

http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/disruptive-innovation

2 upvotes
Barry Fitzgerald
By Barry Fitzgerald (Oct 16, 2012)

We shall see being disruptive for the sake of it (and at the same time completely ignoring the target buyers needs) is merely a paper tiger.

Sony need to start listening rather than trying to tell customers what they should be using. Majority of FF potential buyers do NOT want an EVF SLT camera.

Band big words around as much as they want..Sony are on the ropes and the A99 isn't even going to chip the paint of the FF tanks from Canikon. The A99 is going to be a spectacular flop..it won't pull any users from the other makers, let alone satisfy current A mount users either.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Oct 16, 2012)

They could always build a camera with both an OVF snd a detachable EVF.

0 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Oct 16, 2012)

Barry Fitzgerald: i agree totally with your second post! I wish the mix between the best things from Olympus&Sony would become a force to be reckon with!!!
I'm a canon user and more&more feed up with their lack of innovation because they think they are the biggest thing in photography! Just imagine an Olympus OM1D with a portion from the same sensor of the D800!!! XD
Or a full-frame having a 24-70 f2.0!!! XD

we can always dream!!! ;D

1 upvote
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (Oct 16, 2012)

Corporate talk, COO level. Or CEO level. Or ELT equivalent. All the same. Don't know about you, but I still enjoy my BluRay movies on my 21:9 Philips TV (ooops, the big TV maker Sony did not invented that, right, because "it was not commercially viable".... It was not, but it was really "disruptive"). As I am still happy with my Canon AE-1, my Voigtlander R3A, and my rock solid EOS DSLRs. But Sony shareholders have to hear the right words, right? Cheers! :)

3 upvotes
Babka08
By Babka08 (Oct 16, 2012)

Well, that was a disruptive waste of time.

5 upvotes
Thomas Karlmann
By Thomas Karlmann (Oct 16, 2012)

I think the reviewer has concetrated 99% of his attention on areas of no interest to me. I don't care about the relationship with Olympus, nor Hasselblad nor Smart Phones. Nary a word from this guy about new Alpha lenses or compatibility of the a99 with older lenses. I thin he's on a wavelength I would largely tune out. How about a word about firmware updates? Where is the dual-focus of the a99 going?

This 'interviewer' wasted both the Sony-Manager-Guy's and my time

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
WCguy
By WCguy (Oct 16, 2012)

Hmmmmmm and I just wasted my time reading your post.

13 upvotes
Thomas Karlmann
By Thomas Karlmann (Oct 17, 2012)

Ditto

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Oct 20, 2012)

This guy is COO - so... we asked him COO questions.

0 upvotes
Sam Carriere
By Sam Carriere (Oct 16, 2012)

Regrettable he was not asked about his company's strategy of "announcing" equipment which it does not actually place on the market for another 18 months or so. The question might have been: "Given your utter disregard and disrespect for the consumer, how much longer do you expect to be in business?"

4 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (Oct 16, 2012)

unfortunately the answer would be: as long as SO MANY of you are willing to wait and pay for the "latest","hottest" things to show! :/
In the past only computer&software manufactures could get away with really badly developed and incomplete things, nowadays a lot of camera manufacturers do just the same, and yes, i certainly mean the 2biggest ones!!!

0 upvotes
Agnima
By Agnima (Oct 16, 2012)

If only I had been there.

"Hi Phil, I bought an NEX-7 a year ago. I love it, but it needs a firmware update. Would you call the NEX-7 team and tell them to give it to me? Thanks."

4 upvotes
HowLiu
By HowLiu (Oct 17, 2012)

The Nex7 is a great amateur camera but lacks features to become serious threat to DSLR category.
One of fastest growing Photography communities is cinematography or Timelapse photography.
Most people are mesmerised by the final results.Great creativity florishing arround the world and Timelapse content used for all sorts of expressions.
If you want to createon Timelapsing with Nex7 you have some serious challenges;
A) no intervalometer support cable connection (should be easy to fix with mini USB)
for static mode you can use 3d party remote controllers which are available.
but no connector availability brings another challenge.
B) Movement timelapsing.
Dynamic Perception's Stage One dolly with MX2 which controls move-shoot-move activity.
It's not possible with Nex7 because you can not synchronize with other electronic tools mentioned above.
C) in remote mode, its not possible to take HDR pictures. I ask my self why...(?)

SO My question is Sony will you support new NEX7 FW?

1 upvote
marcuz
By marcuz (Oct 16, 2012)

Yeah, towards the end, I read something like "buy us or we destroy you"...

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Ionian
By Ionian (Oct 15, 2012)

I lost interest the minute Molyneux used corporate BS speak like, "Synergy". Ugh.

And Mark Weir?! What happened to that guy. He went from someone who used to be a powerhouse in the Minolta world to being a Sony puppet who sounds like he'll spew and back up whatever Sony tells him to because he's thrilled they kept him around after Minolta folded. I know Mark's gotta pay his bills like the rest of us but he doesn't have to make it so obvious.

What an embarrassing interview for both of them.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
6 upvotes
erringtont
By erringtont (Oct 16, 2012)

Mark's been at Sony for 26 years.

6 upvotes
Jonathan F/2
By Jonathan F/2 (Oct 15, 2012)

Snooze...wake me up when Sony sends one of their camera/sensor engineers talk to DPreview. Marketing guys just spout the same old babble.

8 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (Oct 15, 2012)

Almost sounds like he is saying, "We want Olympus for the medical division. To heck with their cameras."

3 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (Oct 15, 2012)

It's like buying an analog body and lens on Ebay. You buy it to get the lens, the body ends up unused on a shelf.

2 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Oct 15, 2012)

FYI, Sony Electronics also include the PS3, HDTVs, laptops, phones, home audio etc. So he is not a Sony camera expert like Mark Weir, Senior Manager of Technology and Marketing at Sony Electronics Inc.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/09/21/qa-with-sonys-mark-weir-will-full-frame-go-mirrorless-and-whats-the-deal-wi

http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/29/3277554/interview-with-phil-molyneux-president-and-coo-of-sony-electronics

0 upvotes
HeyItsJoel
By HeyItsJoel (Oct 15, 2012)

I really don't see the big deal people make of GPS in cameras. Will it give you turn by turn directions on how to get somewhere? I mean really, who cares where the exact pinpoint location you took a particular shot? Are you going to come back to that exact same spot again in the future to take the exact same shot 5 years later? No.

1 upvote
tesilab
By tesilab (Oct 15, 2012)

Why is there EXIF data in an image file? We never had that with negatives? Why do we tag our images? Organize them in sets? Post them on websites? Many of these extraneous features have become mandatory for some of us. I like being able to browse my images by location.

7 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (Oct 15, 2012)

Doesn't matter. A GPS chip will add a couple of cents to production costs soon, as will WiFi. Any camera will have it soon.

Compare that with features such as Bluetooth, WiFi, multiple cameras, multiple cores, NFC, etc.which you can find on any recent phone. Almost nobody really needs all of these features, yet they get added because it doesn't cost a lot to add them.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 15, 2012)

When well implemented, it's an extra piece of metadata that makes it easier to arrange and retrieve your image, without manual intervention.

5 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (Oct 16, 2012)

Hikers and backpackers care quite a lot.

1 upvote
JiriS
By JiriS (Oct 16, 2012)

Researchers like biologists appreciate that feature on their field trips.

3 upvotes
CFynn
By CFynn (Oct 16, 2012)

GPS is useful for documentary photography.

0 upvotes
JMCO
By JMCO (Oct 15, 2012)

I’m a pro (for) Sony person but, this guy is either a genius at evading questions or (and I fear this is more likely) clueless and out of touch.
If I could instantly share images from one of my cameras (Alpha or P&S) to any service I choose (Tumblr, FB, or a photo portfolio site) I would do it right now. Via Bluetooth to iPhone and Wi-Fi.
I have an A700. If Sony sold a thing to stick on the flash shoe that did all that, I’d pay $100 for it and use it 1000 times more than the flash I bought and never use. Then, when I upgrade, I’d search for a much smarter body. Sony, you need to have apps for your cameras and, not proprietary like Memory Sticks and BetaMax. Drop that approach, please. Partner with Canon or Nikon for a camera app format. Think JPEG or RAW… shared success & happy customers.
Also, his answer to 'why buy Sony' was just TERRIBLE!
Now, does this mean Sony is in trouble. No. Does it mean the Prez and COO *will* be in trouble if he does not *get with it* fast? Yep!
Sacrebleu!

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
achim k
By achim k (Oct 15, 2012)

"We believe that a user who buys a camera with an OLED EVF is concentrating on the shooting experience and wants to have everything at their fingertips by direct button control. We believe their interest in touchscreen capability is far less than the user who shoots with the camera held at arm's length"

...yes, I agree, but nevertheless would be happy to use the dark touchscreen-display to select the AF-point while looking through the EVF!!

EVF and touchscreen is no contradiction!

5 upvotes
futile32
By futile32 (Oct 15, 2012)

Personally I see no benefit to using touch screens on cameras with this level of control (in their current form). In general, I have not found any touch experience so far, that is quicker than using peripherals. I speak of Game Controllers, Mice and Cameras.

For me at least, touch devices slow me down.

1 upvote
Shamael
By Shamael (Oct 15, 2012)

that is a thing all of us see in a different way. Nex 6 and 7 have no touchscreen, and I hope what comes after will not have any as well. I hate those screens. A flip around screen like on A99 makes sense and with that, you turn the screen around when you use VF.

1 upvote
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Oct 16, 2012)

I don't need the touchscreen while shooting, but it sure would be handy for reviewing, editing, connecting, and sending. Also choosing buried menu options needed rarely and for a host of apps no one has thought of yet. Introducing a camera with apps and no TS was a silly move and means the lovely NEX-6 will be obsolete prematurely because it won't be able to run any but the first generation of apps or later ones if Sony goes to the effort of making non-TS versions. In another few years all but the cheapest cameras will run Android or another standard OS and will all have touchscreens, wi-fi, GPS, and much more. I am looking forward to it.

1 upvote
ZeevK
By ZeevK (Oct 16, 2012)

@ achim k

I'm 100% with you. I think Sony made a mistake with both NEX-7 and even more the NEX-6 by not providing a touch screen option.

For me the usage of touch-screen is so mandatory that it rules-out the upgrade from NEX-5n neither to7 nor to 6 level.

I was hoping / dreaming to have an upgrade pass to NEX-5n + build in EVF + NEX-7 stile tri-navi... The NEX-6 does not provide that for me. Good camera but it is somehow crippled by Sony's decisions...

So for me it's now only a question whether the NEX-5R a worthy upgrade or shall I stay with my NEX-5n till next leap in technology...

Z.K.

0 upvotes
ZeevK
By ZeevK (Oct 16, 2012)

Three main benefits of touch screen for me:

a. Being able to shoot while holding the camera one-hand using the thumb to select the AF point on the screen.

b. Using a quick and precise AF point selection at macro and close-focus photography, especially when shooting at waist or close to ground level with the screen at 90º.

c. When revising shots on the back-screen - the ability to directly select the point of magnification for quick and precise check of focus or facial expression of the model...

As for the contradiction between EVF and touch screen, IMHO - it's pure BS. I ordered external EVF immediately when it was available and it does not leave my NEX-5n but when I have to use external flash or microphone.

Z.K.

1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Oct 15, 2012)

Most of Sony's innovations had to be in the amateur or beginner level cameras since Canon, Nikon and to a degree Pentax and Leica have dominated the pro 35mm market for decades and built up such a mass of successful and innovative systems unless Sony produces cameras and lenses compete with those they will stay where they are and if they stay too long in the lower segments of the market too long they might even gradually be forced to get out of it. Remember mighty Kodak has gone. It's all about building camera/lens systems in which pros will invest and in return will bring reputation and trust in the brand. Sony is not there yet.

0 upvotes
sean lancaster
By sean lancaster (Oct 15, 2012)

"The E-mount that could do that would be a little different than the E-mount that we know today. But it is possible. Much of the lens geometry you see in the RX1 is what it would take to realize that design."
So, lenses that recess well into the body to work on a full frame sensor are what we have with the 1 lens on the RX1. If they are thinking that they can build a FF NEX, for example, and have a new line of recessed lenses, I hope they realize that building it in a way that doesn't allow legacy glass will probably kill most of the excitement people will have for this camera.

1 upvote
Shamael
By Shamael (Oct 15, 2012)

I claimed in a comment a week ago that FF Nex is only a question of lenses and nobody would buy it with an adapter, like VG900.

Now, since e-mount can go FF and new lenses are obvious, they can change the body similar to Leica's M line. I would buy one if it is able to take legacy glass with all kind of adapters. Having to stick to proprietary glass would make it useless for most of us, specially when one knows how difficult it is to get a new lens or a firmware from Sony.

1 upvote
ZeevK
By ZeevK (Oct 16, 2012)

I see no contradiction between making a FF-NEX that allows "native" e-mount FF lenses like the RX1 design and usage of the legacy lenses via adapters.

The only reason to "block" usage of lecacy glass is Sony implicit decision to do so... trying to force buying into the new FF-E-mount line if and when that may happend...

1 upvote
lancespring
By lancespring (Oct 15, 2012)

It is true. Sony has shown more innovation in the past couple of years than Canon and Nikon have in the last decade.

22 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Oct 15, 2012)

The interesting thing, to me anyway, is how they have been a major player in terms of sensors. The Nikon D7000/D5100/Pentax K5 sensor, which has also shown up in other models, was a breakthrough APS-C sensor, as was the one they made for the Nikon D300/D90/D5000 at that time, and the one they make for the Olympus OM-D/EM-5 is the best micro 4/3rds sensor available.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Oct 15, 2012)

Agreed. It's also worth noting that Minolta (which Sony bought most of) was the most innovative camera company before Sony bought it (introducing in-body autofocus and multimode exposure among other things).

5 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (Oct 16, 2012)

Canon and Nikon are doing very traditional things. They make old-style cameras with old-style technology and old-style lenses. These things were the old style because they work awfully well and get the job done. Maybe some new things get the job done well too (like, in some situations, things like NEX and m4/3), but Canon and (IMO especially) Nikon make excellent products. Just because they're traditionalist doesn't mean they're bad.

0 upvotes
leafinsectman
By leafinsectman (Oct 16, 2012)

Good for Canon and Nikon for making quality cameras and lenses and more power to the people who use them. But I always side with the ones who innovate and push the boundaries.

5 upvotes
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (Oct 16, 2012)

Civil aviation industry example: Boeing and Airbus (Aka Canon & Nikon) - will you fly as a passenger in a "disruptive technology-based airplane" (Sony) that had no time to pass the "reliability" test? Good luck with that then & Cheers! :)

1 upvote
migus
By migus (Oct 17, 2012)

Aviation is a mission-critical, human-life @ stake, industry.

No similarity w/ photography (except medical and special apps), however tempting the metaphor.

And we had Concorde 50 yrs ahead of A&B, besides the rest http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/top-100-aerospace-manufacturers-as-good-as-it-gets-314627/

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
QuarterToDoom
By QuarterToDoom (Oct 15, 2012)

Seems like they want to be Olympus.

0 upvotes
Entropius
By Entropius (Oct 16, 2012)

That's really no bad thing. Olympus has done a lot of stuff right. Now if Sony would make sensors and do marketing, and Olympus would do ergonomics, optics, and image processing, they'd be a hell of a team.

3 upvotes
Ryan_Valiente
By Ryan_Valiente (Oct 16, 2012)

Why would they want to be Olympus when they are much better than Olympus now ?

2 upvotes
Geir Ove
By Geir Ove (Oct 15, 2012)

Hello Sony,

Your technology is exciting! I will buy Sony equipment and replace my outdated Canons as soon as you include a GPS in your NEX Series ! PLEASE!

Geotagged images saves me a LOT of time: No more fuzz with "where on the earth is this"? And, LightRoom now supports Geotagging !

So sony PLEASE: EVF and GPS, and I'm sold !

2 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Oct 15, 2012)

of course the A65 already has both, and you can slap an external GPS unit on a NEX6 hot shoe.

3 upvotes
Geir Ove
By Geir Ove (Oct 15, 2012)

Hello,

Yes, that's true, but all External equipment adds to the bulk that I am trying to get away from.....

So, built in EVF & GPS is what I am shopping for, on a Sony !

The A77 has both (if my memory serves me right), but I would want a NEX with both...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
RedDog Steve
By RedDog Steve (Oct 15, 2012)

A cease-fire in the pixel wars ?

3 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Oct 15, 2012)

Canon needs some time to catch up...LOL

4 upvotes
KaiserX
By KaiserX (Oct 15, 2012)

I think it'll happen. A few years ago it was MHz wars, who was faster, Intel or AMD, PowerPC - PC or Mac? But now that doesnt seem to make a much space on a brochure. And now I think that the pixel count will level off.

1 upvote
peevee1
By peevee1 (Oct 15, 2012)

Full frame format has some time to go, to 50s and 60s mpix probably when their processors are able to keep up. Smaller formats are already limited by resolution of their lenses, although some generational increase will happen.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Oct 15, 2012)

Rumor has it Sony 50MP FF is coming next year, so probably not. :)

0 upvotes
Simon97
By Simon97 (Oct 15, 2012)

Look at any of the images from these 1/2.3" 16 MP compacts and you can see that the MP race has gone too far.

1 upvote
mick232
By mick232 (Oct 15, 2012)

The MHz war turned into a multi-core war. What will the megapixel war turn into?

Sensor size war?
Sensor count war?
Sensor type war?

Possibly all three of them. We are already seeing a trend to growing sensor sizes in multiple segments: DSLRs, compact cameras, mirrorless.

We are also already seeing changes in sensor tech, e.g. sensors that include AF pixels.

As for sensor count: the idea of stacked sensors is not unheard of anymore.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Oct 15, 2012)

I think this part is important for some of the anti-camera-phone people of this forum:

"Understand that this young generation of smartphone users, if you go back five years ago, would pick up a camera maybe once a year on holiday and that's it. They're now using photography every single day. That's a very good sign for the future of digital imaging. Because they will want to do more. Not all of them, but a subsection of that community will want to do more."

3 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Oct 15, 2012)

Yes & when they want to do more, the idea is they'll buy a real camera at that point to do so. A child may develop an interest in music from playing a toy piano, but ultimately they move on to a real one vs thinking they can play Carnegie Hall using the toy one.

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Oct 15, 2012)

A lot of this disruption has to do with the fact that digital is still evolving. True, Canon or Nikon haven't evolved much over the last 25 years but for most of that time digital wasn't a viable option, while film cameras had reached a level of refinement where there was no advantage to replacing your camera every 12-18 months. Now things really do get better every year and so long as you have the money to deal with the obsolescence, it's great.

2 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (Oct 15, 2012)

Hopefully Sony won't "disrupt" away with all my A-mount lenses one day.

4 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Oct 15, 2012)

They might leave A-mount for full frame lenses only. That would be understandable, as keeping separate lines of lenses for A FF, A APS-C and NEX is too expensive.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Oct 15, 2012)

They just released a flagship FF camera with that mount. You are probably safe for a while.

2 upvotes
migus
By migus (Oct 15, 2012)

Candid and bold words, just like the NEX. This is a disruptive division of Sony, that has set more milestones in 5 yrs than canikon in their last 25. While i don't use yet any Sony products, this will change, starting w/ my 1st NEX soon to come (as a Nikkor lens 'terminator'). Whatever the past transgressions of other Sony divisions, or the still arguable native NEX glass, such innovative efforts deserve a pocket vote. Done.

If they'll continue their 'disruption' streak, i foresee a NEX 'termination' on each of my Nikkors :-).

6 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (Oct 15, 2012)

It does not look like a FF E mount NEX upgrade to the NEX-6 will be coming soon like some people speculated. The NEX-VG900 looks like the only mirrorless FF for now.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
dragosc
By dragosc (Oct 15, 2012)

Well apparently they do have the sensors, processors and optics...why shouldn't they be disruptive?
Seriously now...otherwise interesting interview.

3 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (Oct 15, 2012)

It's funny that now Sony is making the quality part and Hasslebad is just joking. :)

1 upvote
Kuturgan
By Kuturgan (Oct 15, 2012)

And what about firmware support for customers which won't to buy a new product to get a basic features like +/-1EV Bracketing (on NEX-5n and NEX-7)?

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Oct 15, 2012)

Apps.

0 upvotes
Kuturgan
By Kuturgan (Oct 16, 2012)

But you can't install apps on NEX-5n.

0 upvotes
Scrozzy
By Scrozzy (Oct 15, 2012)

Did anyone else play the drinking game where you have to take a shot every time he says "disruptive"?

8 upvotes
privater
By privater (Oct 15, 2012)

I was wondering the same thing... he mentioned "disruptive" 3 times, it seems to me, like Sony want to be the "Apple" in mobile world.

0 upvotes
Ed Gaillard
By Ed Gaillard (Oct 15, 2012)

I'm pretty sure you didn't play it, because you can still type.

2 upvotes
futile32
By futile32 (Oct 15, 2012)

funny that no-one complained when Jobs used to say it every other sentence.

3 upvotes
increments
By increments (Oct 15, 2012)

Really enjoyed that, lots of good questions. Was really interesting to think about the possibility of m4/3 lens designing helping the NEX line-up.

1 upvote
Entropius
By Entropius (Oct 15, 2012)

Sony's saying that Olympus can learn from their expertise in optics? I sure as hell hope not. Most of the NEX lenses are by reputation awful, and the folks that I know that have Sony DSLR's mostly use Sigma glass (although, to be fair, there *are* a few decent Sony lenses out there).

Meanwhile, Olympus has made quite a few lenses that are truly exceptional for their price, size, weight, and class:

ZD 50/2, ZD 150/2, ZD 14-35/2, ZD 35-100/2, ZD 12-60, ZD 50-200, ZD 9-18, mZD 45/1.8, mZD 12/2, mZD 75/1.8, mZD 60/2.8...

Let's hope Sony learns something from Olympus about optics, not the other way around! Olympus has already benefited quite a lot from that new Sony sensor in the EM-5...

13 upvotes
offertonhatter
By offertonhatter (Oct 15, 2012)

Could not agree more. Olympus lenses, especially their Zuiko models are amongst the finest ever made. Even the M43 ones they have introduced recently. Ignoring the Zeiss lenses in Sonys range, the rest are really average lenses, especially the E mount ones. Now, if Sony, with this partnership, had a Zuiko 50mm, 75mm etc on E-mount, then I would be very interested in getting one of their NEX cameras, as the cameras themselves are excellent.

3 upvotes
ck3
By ck3 (Oct 15, 2012)

Or how to take a statement out of context and twist its meaning. Here's what he said: " We have core technology that they don't have in terms of sensors, processors and optics as well as a great heritage in 3D and now 4K [video]."

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
futile32
By futile32 (Oct 15, 2012)

@Entropius Obviously you've never used Sony/Minolta/Zeiss glass, so I find your comment a little pointless. I don't doubt that Olympus have decent lenses, but you shouldn't dis-regard Sony's based on heresay. If they were really that bad, Sony wouldn't have survived in this business.

3 upvotes
tesilab
By tesilab (Oct 15, 2012)

I hope Mr Molyneux will read these comments. There is NO contradiction between touch screen operation and the EVF. Touch-shutter is a critical tool for a certain style of photography. It simultaneously establishes both when to shoot and where to focus. It is also criticalyl for discreet street photography.

But many of us require an EVF for all those occasions where the LCD simply won't work, when we either need a steadier hold on the camera, or the LCD is unreadable in bright sun.

4 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Oct 15, 2012)

Good point. Panasonic implements that movable focus point and touch-shutter quite well. One of the best uses of a touch screen,

2 upvotes
D Cox
By D Cox (Oct 15, 2012)

I agree. It is absurd to think that a user buys an expensive camera for only one type of photography. Many people will want to use the EVF in some situations (for instance sports) and the touch screen in others (such as macro).

3 upvotes
Emacs23
By Emacs23 (Oct 15, 2012)

> MW:It is contradictory. We believe that a user who buys a camera with an
> OLED EVF is concentrating on the shooting experience and wants to have
> everything at their fingertips by direct button control. We believe their interest
> in touchscreen capability is far less than the user who shoots with the camera > held at arm's length.

Well. This could mean NEX-6 and NEX-7 users won't use tripod. It also could mean Sony provided easy and fast way to set arbitrary point as focus or magnification center when using EVF.
In reality sony didn't make any. Mr president think their customers are all fools? When Sony stop making half baked crap?

0 upvotes
jerome_munich
By jerome_munich (Oct 15, 2012)

"The A99 becomes the first pro-level SLT camera. Are pros ready to give up an optical viewfinder?

PM: We're being disruptive. Part of the appeal of being disruptive is that pros see that we're being innovative and want to explore what Sony has to offer."

Being disruptive is a good thing. Being disruptive without the safety net of offering the customers what they know and love is a risky bet on the future. Keeping a line of more traditional cameras in parallel with a more "modern" line of SLT cameras would be a prudent choice and would insure support from faithful users.

4 upvotes
Boerseuntjie
By Boerseuntjie (Oct 15, 2012)

I agree with you and that is why my a900 will be my last Sony and the Nikon D800 and D600 is beckoning, there is one thing about being so disrupting to the point of Alienating your loyal customers a.k.a the Minolta users from the past, I cannot see any part of Minolta left in any new Sony camera, the might as well drop the A-mount and adopt the E-mount for all their cameras, that would be the final nail in Minolta's coffin

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Total comments: 133
12