Luminous Landscape - Mirrorless Industry Analysis

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tomtom50
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Luminous Landscape - Mirrorless Industry Analysis
10 months ago

Excellent analysis from Michael Reichmann:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/nobody_knows_anything.shtml

The Sony part, very similar to Thom Hogan's analysis:

"Sony desperately wants to be number two. Being number one in the global camera marketplace seems like a bridge too far, but for the past few years the company has set its sights on a top ranking. To accomplish this they have produced some very impressive cameras and new technologies, as well as having taken some, well, shall we say, mis-steps.

Their lens mount fiasco, coupled with the launch and then demise of the NEX series is case in point. First we have the Alpha or A mount, which was inherited from Minolta. From the film days, this mount was full frame, but the new digital cameras had APS-C sensors, so Sony started making DT lenses (APS-C coverage) in the same mount for the smaller sensors. This made the lenses somewhat smaller and lighter. But then they brought full frame sensors to A mount cameras, and buying DT lenses no longer made sense. (Admittedly, Nikon and Canon have also walked up this same dark alley).

Then the E mount of the NEX series was introduced. This brand new APS-C sized mount for mirrorless cameras was given life on the first generation of NEX cameras, which incidentally had possibly the worst user interface even conceived by man. Fortunately second and third generation NEX models improved in this area.

In 2013 Sony introduced yet another lens mount, the FE, which is an E mount that can handle full frame. (I hope that you're following this. There will be a quiz.) So yet another new line of lenses is needed. True, there are adaptors that allow A and DT lenses to work on both E and FE mount cameras, but they are bulky, as are the lenses themselves. Yes, you can also use an E mount lens on an FE camera, but only in cropped mode.

So now in early 2014 we find Sony with four separate lens mounts and two camera types, which used to have two names but now that the NEX brand is kaput, are all called Alphas. Will there be more A mount lenses and A mount cameras? No one is saying. Will there be more E mount lenses? It isn't clear. The just introduced A6000 is a NEX style camera, branded Alpha, but with an APS-C sensor and an APS-C sized E mount. All we really know is that Sony says that there are more FE lenses on the way."

Although the analysis is good, I'm not sure Sony had better options trying to find a chink in Canon & Nikon's armor.

Konica-Minolta already had DT and A-mount when Sony bought them, so that is two of the four mounts.

Nex is successful, with similar mirrorless market share as m43, so I have troubloe faulting the E-mount.

FE is Sony swinging hard to score a home run; to be #2 as Reichmann puts it. But hois point that FE casts the future of APS-C E-mount in doubt is well taken.

I'm not sure it is Sony's strategy, but the answer may be the 16MP APS-C crop of the a7r. In several years a 36MP FF sensor may be cheap enough to put in mid-level bodies, and then Sony has it covered:

Top IQ needed? Mount an FE lens.

APS-C good enough and lens cost or size an issue? Mount an APS-C E-mount lens.

This strategy does not make sense right now because the a7r is too expensive to "waste" its sensor in crop mode, but if the sensor cost goes down it makes a lot of sense for users.

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