Sony exec reaffirms dedication to APS-C

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NotAPhotog Regular Member • Posts: 245
Sony exec reaffirms dedication to APS-C
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Via Imaging Resource

In regards to their dedication to APS-C:

  • KT: But yeah, as I said before, our target is to increase the camera business as a whole. So right now, we are [proceeding to the] second step, that is APS-C. First of all, we released the A6400.
  • KT: Yeah, I think you're right, and we have the opportunity to develop a type of enthusiast APS-C model, and the enthusiasts, especially the US ones are waiting for this type of model. But you know, last year, all the owners, especially at the US market, we conducted a market experiment, and for Alpha 7 Mark II, we kept the price at US$999. And I want you to know that the result was more than our expectation. That means that many enthusiast customers bought the Alpha 7 Mark II, and the Alpha 7 Mark II is a full-frame model, so my understanding is that somehow the customers are overlapped between high-end APS-C and entry-level full-frame.
  • KT: Well, but we're implying many things. Of course we are trying to expand the APS-C series of cameras. That maybe implies not only one product. And we implied we are working on the sports area, that implied not only a 400mm f/2.8 lens is coming. So we are implying many things, but not directly saying "next model is this one, the next model is this one". But we're focusing on sports and we're focusing on the APS-C area.

I'm probably reading this wrong, but Kenji Tanaka seems to contradict himself, as he says in the first two points that:

  1. They can make a new type of APS-C enthusiast model (not referring to the A6400);
  2. But the popularity of a cheaper A7II has blurred the lines between high end APS-C (A6500) and entry level FF (A7II) for Sony.

To me, that sounds like they might not release an A6500 replacement and let last-gen FFs fill that role instead. I'm not familiar with Sony's marketing jargon, but "enthusiast" doesn't sound like the rumored "A7000" to me - "professional", "flagship"
or "high-end" seems like the right word to describe this "A7000" instead. However, I'm probably reading this wrong.

In regards to autofocus AI:

  • KT: First of all, before talking about AI, I think the most important thing is our high-speed platform, no? On the top of a high speed platform, we can create AI, but if the platform is slow, the moving subject will be gone! But our platform has a very high speed. That is our special talent or unique technology.Then, on top of this high-speed platform, we have an AI engine.
  • KT: So the first step is [recognizing] eyes, but of course, we will expand the subject types. Right now I cannot tell you, but we already have a kind of organization, to create a dictionary.
  • [Editor's Note: This is significant, that he cited an organizational structure specifically created to build AI dictionaries for autofocus. As I noted, developing AI dictionaries or data clouds for object-recognition is a huge effort, requiring thousands and thousands of tagged images. It's a fair bet that every major camera company is working hard on this, but it seems significant that Tanaka-san called it out as a separate organizational structure.]
  • KT: Talking about dictionary size, it's actually not a big deal. We can have several. But now, my concern is how to connect or how to realize the relationship of each dictionary. Of course, the first step is that the customer chooses eye AI autofocus from the menu, or changes to animals. If the human user chooses the dictionary type this way, it is OK. But in the final version, the customer [can't] need to choose the dictionary every time. Dictionary-changing automatically, that type of thing is very hard, you know. We cannot do that. So the size of dictionary is not a big deal, but if there are 10 or 100 dictionaries, how to choose just one?

In regards to computational photography:

  • KT: Yeah. From last year we said that speed and AI were key... Of course speed like the Alpha 9, with the stacked image sensor; we've focused on that kind of high-speed technology and then at the same time, AI is our focus point.
  • KT: Yeah, I think so. Especially we are thinking to study computational photography [applications]. In the smartphone market, I think computational photography is one way to create a new [better] image. That kind of thing, of course we can do too, I mean the ILC (interchangeable-lens cameras can do [too]. So now we are interested in computational photography.

Finally, there are some very interesting editor's notes at the end of the article, so I will let you decide if you want to read those or not.

Sony a6500 Sony a7
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