Japanese Digital Camera Magazine Sony Interview

Started Dec 19, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Torode
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Japanese Digital Camera Magazine Sony Interview
Dec 19, 2011

Sony Alpha Rumors posted a link to the PDF of an article in the Jan 2012 issue of Japan's Digital Camera Magazine ( https://www.impressjapan.jp/pr/monitor/1112_dcm/271201_free.pdf ).

Since it is in Japanese, I am producing my rough translation (I am a Japanese-English translator by trade) of the key parts below. The first part is a speculation-filled summing up, and the second part is the interview transcript.

Currently considering compact E-mount lenses.
Will they also roll out translucent technology in their top-end models?

Keywords

Small E-mount lenses for NEX cameras

E-mount lenses have been large considering the size of the NEX bodies, but it looks like high-performance compact lenses are on the way. Sony is emphatic that they won’t compromise in terms of either image quality or lens aberrations. With remarks along the lines of “Buy a NEX and stay tuned,” we might see an announcement early on next year.

A 100 megapixel sensor is not outside the realm of possibility

While this remark was made in response to a question about increasing megapixel counts, even the a77 takes advantage of its 24 megapixels in the form of a smart teleconverter to achieve zoom functionality. The odds are good that camera development will move forward on the premise of increased megapixel counts in the future.

Every company is looking to commercialize electronic shutters

This was a remark made in response to a question about the shift from mechanical to electronic cameras, but seems to allude to the direction the industry will take in terms of camera production. With the a77 fitted with an OLED EVF instead of an OVF, we will be watching Sony’s transition to more electronics with keep interest in the future.

There is a certain inevitability in the style of SLR cameras

—With things like the Tohoku Earthquake and flooding in Thailand, I think it was a year full of hardships. And I assume it was also a tough year for you in the sense that you released many new products.

Nagata: I think we managed to launch a number of models that only happens once every few years.

—Translucent mirrors have been filling out Sony’s lineup of interchangeable lens cameras. As for the flagship model, the successor to the a900, are you going to make it an orthodox SLR camera and stick to the optical viewfinder?

Nagata: At this stage I can’t comment on that, but we do feel that the OLED viewfinders in the a77 and NEX-7 have been well received beyond expectations.
—Can EVFs be improved even more?

Nagata: I think everything made up of electronic devices will continue to evolve in an amazing way.

—That said, the viewfinder in the a900 is far and away the more amazing among interchangeable lens cameras. Is the a900 the last we’ll see of an OVF?

Nagata: Well (wry smile), what’s certain is that it’s difficult to continue producing that product at that price.

—A change of topic, then. Are you going to continue to preserve the orthodox style of the SLR camera? What I mean is, using translucent mirror technology, it should not be impossible to come up with a more revolutionary style of camera.
Nagata: If we put our minds to it we can produce such a camera, yes.
—Does that mean that more people are responsive to an SLR-like style?

Nagata: Rather than that, I think there is a certain inevitability in the form of an SLR camera. It’s preferable for the viewfinder to be above the optical axis of the lens, and it’s better for the flash to be above the optical axis as well as having some degree of height to avoid the lens. Then you need a grip component so you can grasp the camera firmly. When give shape to these inevitabilities, that’s the form you end up with.

—So you’re saying that SLR cameras are always going to keep this kind of style, this kind of form.

Nagata: Right. Of course since we’ve moved to translucent mirrors we have a greater degree of freedom in the pentaprism area. I think batteries will also continue to evolve and probably undergo a slight change in shape as well.

—Speaking of NEX cameras, the lenses are large considering the size of the bodies. Are you considering smaller lenses?
Nagata: Yes, of course.
—What kind of lenses would those be?

Nagata: To start with, we don’t want to compromise in terms of image quality or distortion. We can make them smaller and we have many other ideas, including whether to make longer focal lengths as well.

—Still, we have not seen many small, light lenses being released, but you’re saying that you’ve come up with a way to maintain performance and produce a smaller, lighter lens that keeps its high performance?

Nagata: That’s right. It might be a good idea to get your hands on a body and stay tuned (laughs).

 Torode's gear list:Torode's gear list
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Sony SLT-A77 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Sony 50mm F1.4 +5 more
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony SLT-A77
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