Is the Sony A1 out of the reach of most?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Siobhan_K Regular Member • Posts: 226
"No," says Marketing.
5

Pixel boy wrote:

At £6500 body only in the UK this is out of my reach. Until now I have managed to justify the price of cameras but now they are going above the 5k mark its going to be a bit of a challenge for an amateur photographer.

Interest to hear others opinions.

Messaging around the A1 feels categorically different and new. (To me, anyway.)

The A1 marks the first time I've ever seen a "flagship" camera body marketed heavily and broadly. Canon and Nikon never really pushed their past flagship (DSLR) bodies beyond limited professional channels, beyond a fairly niche audience. They certainly never put a 1Dx or a D5 in a gaggle of giggly youtube influencer hands; but the A1 has been ubiquitous among that set over the past few weeks.

In fact Sony's A1 marketing seems aimed squarely at "enthusiasts," "hobbyists," and amateur "creators." I'm sure the A1 will get extensive, "traditional" high-end professional use as well, but the DPReview "editors" aren't writing for the benefit of the Associated Press's equipment pool purchaser. They're writing for bird watchers and sports aficionados and travelers and family snapshooters and social media extroverts of all stripes who buy "the best." Summarizing or understanding the A1 as a "pro body" doesn't actually fit the marketing message very well at all, even if its capabilities or its cost bracket might've been classified that way in the past, by other companies.

Even more interesting, perhaps, is that even while the A1 is being pushed at non-professionals, it isn't being talked about as a luxury product. There's a chasm between A1 messaging and, say Leica SL marketing. Sony is marketing it on performance broadly applied, not on luxury pedigree. (Of course, even $6,500 doesn't buy much from the red dot.)

At the end of the day, I interpret the business of marketing $6,500 camera bodies broadly, to non-professionals, as yet another sign of a changing economy and a stratifying society. While the pandemic has utterly crushed many economically (professional photographers notably among that unfortunate group), the "K-shaped recovery" is real--it's been a ridiculously profitable year for a healthy chunk of people. If you were fortunate enough to already have healthy money invested in reasonably diverse markets and you just sat tight and let the indexes work for you over the past year, you made out like a bandit. I'm not talking about the memelords and dogecoin "hodlers" and blockchain carnival barkers and all that loud crap--I'm just talking about the millions and millions of people who've been quietly sitting on responsibly diverse long-term portfolios of index-tracking stocks, bonds, and private real estate. What's $20K for a camera if you've made 30% or more this year on a couple million in, and you're gonna do even better this year?

Perhaps the A1 might even be a little underpriced for the world it's entering--a mistake Canon and Nikon won't repeat with their upcoming flagship bodies, particularly if the A1 sells pretty well (which it will). My hunch? A1 success at $6.5K means we won't see a Canon "R1" arrive for less than $8K.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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