A few thoughts and a conclusion on the A77 24 MP (you read it here first)

Started Nov 13, 2010 | Discussions thread
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lucas vda
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A few thoughts and a conclusion on the A77 24 MP (you read it here first)
Nov 13, 2010

Several threads have mentioned the rumour of a 24 MP chip for the A77. There are several problems and concerns with these rumours :

1) will it increase noise?
2) will the lenses be able to resolve to this level?

And more importantly (and a question less frequently asked)
3) Is it likely and why would Sony do this?

To start with the third question. Until now, it has never been part of Sony's strategy to win via the Megapixel race. Furthermore, over the years, the number of Megapixels from one generation to another has often grown 2 Megapixels at the time. With the big improvements in the latest generation of Sony's 16 MP (e.g. like in the Pentax K5 & A55), it would be very surprising that suddenly another increase would be delivered from 16 MP to 24 (while keeping the noise & dynamic range quality of the 16 MP)! This could only happen if there would be a fundamental breakthrough in technology. As far as I know, we have not heard of any. So, IMHO it is not likely and I don't see a good reason for Sony to do it.

However, what do we know?

  • Sony has been investing in manufacture capacity for 'large' sensors

  • Some people claimed that the 24 MP rumour came from reliable sources

  • Sony has made very clear that the A77 would be more than a simple A55 upgrade

So, what would make sense? A new sensor format for Sony! Apart from being unorthodox and the need for users to get used to another crop factor it has a lot of advantages :

E.g assume a 30 x 20 mm sensor. This would be able to provide with current technologies a 24 MP that has the same noise, colour & DR characteristics as the A55. Sensor costs would be significantly lower than full frame (and the cheaper translucent technology would partly compensate for the increased costs compared to APS-C). As the A77 would be focused on the AA market, the only key lens for that segment that is not full-frame is the Zeiss 16-80.

So, with this new sensor format Sony would be able to offer a well differentiated camera. It would have the advantages (& disadvantages) of the translucent technology and a big, but useful increase of the Megapixels. And, it would not be easy for others to copy.

By the way, in this scenario we don't have to be too concerned about 1) & 2) above. Yes, it is unorthodox, but Sony has gone the unorthodox route before.

Anyway, just my thoughts and if you don't agree, please tell me why, but don't shoot me down.

Lucas vdA

p.s. With this bigger sensor format, the A77 would also need a slightly bigger body than the A33/55

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