Official statement on Sony A-mount future...

Started Sep 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
artlmntl Senior Member • Posts: 1,804
Cheers to you!

leonche64 wrote:

Everything is perspective. I have explained mine quite well over time and in this thread. I don't really care whether you agree with me. I'm not trying to convert you or chase you away. But the situation has changed in interesting ways.

I hope you are enjoying the back and forth here. I like to think if we were sitting over some adult beverages, we would both have smiles as we serve and volley.

A lot more now that I have a better idea where your head is at. If we were sitting in the pub, it would all be good fun. On the web, sometimes it's hard to tell. So, cheers to the fun!

A-mount is expected to become mirrorless. E-mount is already mirrorless. E-mount receives the latest aps-c sensors and may even receive a FF sensor. E-mount supports a-mount with adapters. E-mount is apparently more profitable than a-mount. Sony has financial problems.

I guess this has caused the the greatest amount of upheaval. I think it should have caused the least amount of concern. Technology trickle down has occurred from the very beginning, and in almost every industry. Let's not forget that Sony is an electronics company first. They have R&D beyond any other in the game. So we get things like SLT, and the EVF and all the potential that comes with it. The first generation E-mounts did not have built in EVF. The technology matured with the second generation of SLT and now it is built into the NEX line. This implementation makes the cost of production cheaper for all involved. That is progress, and many welcome it. I became serious about photography with the Minolta 800si, went digital with the KM A7D. Skipped everything that came after until the A65, then the A77. I did not see any technology that would justify another purchase for me. What was really different? More MP, less external controls was about the gist of it. The current line was a huge leap, and thus I had great enthusiasm about getting the new bodies. We have no idea which is more profitable unless we have seen the spread sheets.

"Sony has financial problems". This is truth. Supported by documentation and public record.

I agree: Sony is an electronics company. I think that encourages them to do things that other companies might not do. I understand what you're saying. The SLTs are nice cameras! Snappy shooters with good IQ. I have read so much from people who say EVF is terrible and all that. It's not terrible. It's different from OVF, but it offers so much added functionality such as focus peaking and full setting information, even histograms and feedback on adjustments right through the viewfinder. I can go either way, but the added tech is very nice.

I was never that serious about photography until a few years ago. Since I was a kid, I had an old Canon AE1 Program with the 50mm 1.8. I eventually picked up a few other lenses to go with it. But I didn't shoot that much, and I was slow to go digital. When I did, I picked up a Fuji S6000 and shot it for several years. I originally used it to document my artwork and whatever; but then I started experimenting and learning a lot. Digital has a way of encouraging more shooting.

I liked it well enough, but the camera was slow.Sometimes, I missed shots. And I wanted something fresher. I was looking at simply buying another bridgecam, but the sensors had gotten smaller for more MP and the lenses had become ridiculous. I realized that the output from the superzooms at ISO 100 looked like the output from any decent APS-C camera at ISO 1600 - And that trend seems to be getting worse. So, I did not want one of those.

I researched and eventually realized, the pictures from a lot of the APS-C cameras look quite good right up to ISO 800 with various amounts of quality drop-off after that. I eventually ended up ordering an A57 for its shooting speed, ergonomics, and mix of features. I found a pretty good deal. That didn't hurt, either. I have not been disappointed! As I hoped, it tops my old bridgecam in every possible way. I have several thousand shots on it already and some very nice video. It seems like, any time I take it out, I shoot another hundred or more. Sometmes, it's another 500! I see how it is when there's a lot of shooting. You get a few stinkers, you get some good results, and you get the occasional bit of magic. It's that last part that makes it all worth while. I bought a flash for it, and that has also been quite helpful.

Probably because I've enjoyed the camera, I want to know there will be something newer, more advanced, better, and all that for me to buy. But I have the habit of looking at patterns. And I started looking at Sony's patterns more after I bought the camera than before.

Now, I don't think the sky is falling. But I want to see this mirrorless A-mount already. Maybe I've got a touch of that Gear Acquisition nastiness. As I shoot mostly indoors, I am seriously looking at FF options - It's not because there's anything wrong with my A57. It's because I've hit low light situations where I simply could not get a shot because my lenses were too dark and the sensor was too noisy at the ISO I'd have needed to make it work. And a flash would not have helped. So, there's that.

Also, as I'm looking, it dawns on me that maybe Sony will follow a different course than another camera company might follow. To me, there's a pretty big body of evidence to support the idea; but there are some holes, too. I don't know how some of the pieces fit together yet, so that leaves some wiggle room. And seeing how people respond to my speculation, I'm also thinking it might have been better to keep all that under my hat! Too late for that.

Add all that together and it seems possible - even likely - that Sony may go to an "e-mount first" approach where a-mount lenses are supported with adapters - no a-mount bodies. NEX shooters already treat a-mount that way. So, you can't really be surprised if it happens. The situation lends itself to that outcome. But whatever happens is fine.

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This is where we see things differently. I don't see one as negating the other. Since 2012, Sony has released 5 NEX E mount bodies. They have released 4 A-mount bodies during that same period. We know the SLT is going away, just like the mirror did, just like film did. Once again, that is progress. I don't think the majority of users care that a mirror is flipping inside their camera, or that light is passing through a screen. It is not that important to most people using the product.

I am going to be VERY presumptuous here, and attempt to "look through your lenses." Correct me if I am wrong, (I have no doubt you will), Your stance is that because the technologies of the two products have become so integrated, that there is no need to keep 2 separate lines when product "E" can perform the same as product "A" while using product "A's" identifying component. Product "A" can not use product "E's" identifying component so therefore is inferior and should be eliminated. Is this correct?

If we were talking about something purely electronic, I would most likely agree with you, it seems redundant. But there are precedents to the contrary. Companies make different television, DVD players, and microwave ovens with very little difference between them. Lost of times it is the matter of the brackets that support the different housing being the only difference. Control layout, size, colors etc may vary, but one offering would do.

On your computer, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference in the results produced between two similarly positioned models in the line up. Hold a NEX-7 in your left hand, and an A77 in your right. They are obviously different beast, appealing to different segments of the market. Some people fit into both segments, others could go either way, some are FIRMLY rooted in one. What is the advantage in losing that entire A77 group to the competition? That group that has proved they wanted new bodies because they have continued to buy them and we are on the 4th or 5th generation now. That group that actually provided the foundation for the NEX to exist. They want a certain "style" camera. The Nex is not it. Other companies do make those styles, and they will buy them.

I know you wrote that you were not trying to get me to agree with you, just stating your view and analyses, I respect that, but you hope that I am right in my assessment, and you are wrong in yours. Ain't life funny sometimes? (I would insert a smiley face here, but I refuse to ever do that on principle)

Sorry for the long post. It is afternoon in Hong Kong and I am waiting for the ferry to the mainland and it is too cloudy to take photos.

I don't think the A-mount is inferior because it has the longer flange distance or anything like that. I think, from a profit-first perspective, it's more profitable for Sony to continue developing the e-mount technology and then support A-mount customers with very good e-mount cameras (which could be built in more than one form), new sensors with onboard PDAF, and a 3rd generation adapter. I think, big picture, long term, that's where they're heading. No hurry on it, but it's the sense I get from looking at the swirling patterns of information. And it's fine!

When Sony brings all that together, they can sell e-mount lenses to everyone. They can sell A-mount adapters and new A-mount lenses to people who want them, and they can compete well in the marketplace. And no, I don't think Sony wants to lose any customers, but some customers come and go.

I've also noticed that the high-end Sony video cameras are E-mount and use A-mount lenses on a very fancy adapter. It apparently works quite well, but those cameras are huge - At least, compared to the average dslr. I've heard they're also capable of shooting FF stills. Quite interesting!

I tend to agree that most people don't care whether their camera has a flipping mirror or not. They probably don't care about any of the camera's technical methods.They care about size, ergonomics, shooting experience, performance, and IQ. At least, those are the things I care about (not necessarily in that order). And I do think camera technology is going to advance. It should advance!

I simply hope that Sony's technology advances in a way that keeps me attracted as a customer. And my speculation has no bearing on that. As long as the performance and IQ are in the cameras, I don't mind being right. It'll be fine. I don't think it will be the end of anything. I think it will be more of a new beginning. And we'll just have to wait to see how all this unfolds.

Anyway, thanks for your post and cheers to you!

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