Sony surprised quite a few people with their announcement of the S70, not least I'm sure some of their competitors. Although most manufacturers claim to know what their competitors are doing some of Sony's recent moves must certainly have sent ripples through certain offices in Japan.
The Carl Zeiss Connection
Sony are making a big thing about their Carl Zeiss lens systems, recognising that consumers are no longer just won over by megapixels, they want image quality and the quality components it takes to produce that. Although the lens systems used by Sony are designed by Carl Zeiss labs they are manufactured in Japan.
Taking the lens system situation on its own, us reviewers have for a long time begged manufacturers to fit decent quality lenses to digital cameras. Over a year ago we were reading comments by engineers saying that tiny lens systems focusing a scene down to such a small CCD area were reaching their limit. With the advent of greater and greater pixel counts without an associated increase in imager size the need for quality lenses is becoming more and more apparent (and obvious if you look at the increased visibility of chromatic aberrations on the latest batch of 3 megapixel digital cameras).
So here Sony enter the arena with the S70, a more traditional design than their excellent but rather wild looking F505, it's not too big nor is it pocket sized, but with a nice big, bright F2.0 Carl Zeiss lens they're hoping it'll produce the image quality that educated consumers are expecting.