Interview: Sony will Continue to Develop A-mount Cameras and Lenses

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According to a recently interview from Focus-Numerique with Sony managers, Sony said that they will continue to develop Sony A-mount cameras and A-mount lenses in near future. Sony also takes about more about Sony A-mount, E-mount, compact cameras and lenses, sensors. You can take a look at summary below:

  • Sony will continue to develop and produce Sony A-mount cameras and lenses
  • Translucent mirror has unique advantages
  • Sony is currently focus on E-mount mirrorless cameras and E-mount lenses because there are more gaps. Seem more and more photographers prefer the Sony mirrorless system cameras.
  • Sony a99 II sells well in the world.
  • E-mount is better for video and A-mount is better for photos.
  • Sony refreshes products frequently to stimulate the market, but keep old models for sale for 3, 4 or 5 years.
  • Sony is expanding their Sony pro support
  • Sony doesn’t see compact cameras or entry level ILC going away due to smartphones.
  • Still not the right moment for them to enter medium format even thought hey could easily.
  • Their priority is to meet the demands of professionals.
  • Sony doesn’t do big firmware update because they believe the camera should be maximized when once released.
  • Curved sensors are better for fixed focal length lenses and do not work well with zooms.
  • Sony made full frame lens development their priority and will not get back to APS-C, which might include a 100-400mm equivalent like the recently released full frame lens.
  • G Master is generally reserved for full frame
  • Sony’s biggest optical is making brighter glass for professionals.
  • There will be no full frame camera without an EVF.

Translated from Google:

It was in the cozy atmosphere of a large meeting room that we were able to interview Kenji-san (Hybrid Devices Manager ILC), Nagata-san (Head of Optics Division) and Sakamoto-san (Marketing Director of the ILC). image division). A casual interview that allowed us to discuss various topics such as the future of the A mount, the development of optics for APS-C cameras, curved sensors and the Tokyo Olympics.The three executives were well prepared to exercise with the legendary Japanese retainer for all that concerns the future or possible new products.

It seems that Sony’s efforts in the last few years have focused on the development of the E-mount. What is the future of the A-mount and the A-mount range? The A99 Mark II is a great machine to photograph, but professional photographers probably hesitate to equip for lack of visibility on the optical range to come …

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of our A mount. And even if we can not reveal our next products during this interview, we can say that we will continue to develop the cases and lenses in this frame. This range is important to us and features unique technologies, such as the transparent mirror, that enable specific features. In addition, the A mount also has an advantage: it allows to use a large fleet of existing optics including the old Minolta optics.We lead the development of E and A frames in parallel, both on the side of the housings and optics. In recent years, we have introduced more optical mount E, because the gaps are greater, the bayonet is younger. We have just made available the triplet 16-35 mm, 24-70 mm and 70-200 mm f / 2.8 that our users asked, including professionals.

Is the A99 Mark II a commercial success?

We do not comment on sales of a particular model. We can just tell you that the A99 II has been pretty well received around the world.

The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo. It will be an important meeting to present technological innovations and all the know-how of Sony. Can you reveal some elements?

We presented the UHC-8300 camera on September 15th at the IBC. This is our first 8K camera that incorporates three 1.25 “sensors, so we have already opened the world of 8K recording.

Advanced video features are among the highlights of the latest Sony cameras.Professionals always have specific models like the FS or Cine Alta range. However, each year, the gaps between the pros and amateurs are reduced, especially as video content is increasingly viewed on smartphone or tablet. Are ranges for amateurs and professionals only one? How do you intend to maintain a real difference between the two worlds?

We believe that the E mount is much more interesting for video. You can use many varieties of optics with adapters and, generally, autofocus is a less crucial element for video. The A mount is rather intended for photography. But you’re right … There is a contraction in the video market, especially on the part of the general public. We are fortunate to be able to benefit from the research and development of the professional video division to offer a higher level of quality to the greatest number. It is important for Sony to boost the market through video and the announcement of the RX0 is the perfect example.Customers are probably a little frustrated by the too fast renewal of models every year, is not it?

Indeed, we renew our different models faster than our competitors. That being said, we must not forget that we are challengers and that we must therefore show more technologies and stimulate the market to interest new customers. It is important for us to show our know-how and our potential. In addition, our products do not disappear from the range with each renewal. We keep models for sale for 3, 4 or 5 years. So, yes, maybe some customers are upset about not having the latest model, but for us it’s more important to move our cases forward quickly.

Brands like Canon and Nikon are appreciated by professionals because they have a quality after-sales service. Will you develop an important network around the world?

Since 2014, we have been deploying an after-sales service of this type around the world. In 2014, we opened a service in the United States, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Today, we have 14 countries with after-sales service.In Europe, Germany was the first to have a Pro service. We have a network in Austria, Switzerland, England and the Netherlands. Of course, we will continue to develop the support service for professionals ( note: France is not yet in the program … ). For the latter, what is also important is the support for major sporting events such as the Olympic Games. In London, we had technical support. Gradually, we will put in place such infrastructures. With the Alpha 9, we are well aware that we must ensure a quality technical service for professional photographers.

Nikon and Canon (here pictured for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro) are deploying great means to accompany the photographers in the field.Sony must also develop this aspect to interest professionals.

Some analysts believe that smartphones, which have already damaged the compact market, will also pull market share on entry-level hybrids. What do you think ?Maybe the majority of people do not need a better picture quality?

For years, we have been hearing that the compact market will disappear. And yet, he is still here! Sony is the world’s leading sensor manufacturer and we have a good understanding of the limits of smartphones in photography since we are also designers of smartphones. The market is shrinking year by year, but our strategy is to create a high value-added market such as expert compact with sensor type 1 “or those equipped with long zooms.

There is currently a lot of research on software image processing including the L16 and its 16 sensors that are original Sony. What do you think of this axis of development?

Yes, we are also working on image processing. So we are very confident in this area, but we have no plans yet.That said, we are watching this segment very closely.

Sony produces sensors for medium format cameras from Hasselblad, Fujifilm and PhaseOne. Can we imagine a model at Sony? Fujifilm has shown that it is possible to offer a compact and lightweight medium format, which is in your DNA …

We can not communicate on future models, but we do not exclude any sensor format. As you know, we have a factory that manufactures sensors and we work with development teams in the early stages. If we wanted to design a medium format box, we could easily. But there is no secret: a medium format is a lot of effort; it is necessary to produce a new housing, new optics. This is not the right moment.

We visited the Sony Square (sort of showroom of products in development), but we did not see the photo section. What is Sony’s vision for photography?

The photo is only part of the image sector at Sony and the video is also another of importance. We want to bring emotion to users via our cameras, it’s very important. You have not visited the photo part because you already know all the products.

You now have a good range of optics with, among others, the arrival of the 100-400 mm, but it lacks some optics out of the standard to seduce some photographers as could the 85 mm f / 1.2 of Canon. Are these extraordinary optics possible?

Our priority is to meet the demands of professionals. That’s why we produced classic optics, but expected. We can not tell you anything about other products.Sony is not known for regularly producing camera updates. Can we imagine changes in this area?

We update our cases. Last week, we proposed a new firmware for the A9 and we know it’s important for customers. However, we also want that when the customer buys our box, it is already at the maximum of its possibilities and not that it buys a product in the making.

We have seen patents for curved sensors and 3-layer sensors. Where are you in these areas?

These technologies are more the responsibility of the sensor division and we are not aware of his research.However, we know that curved sensors work well with fixed focal lengths, but not with zooms. It’s really more complicated to achieve. For now, we do not really have a plan for this type of sensor. Regarding multilayer sensors, we can not say anything so far. We are fortunate to have teams developing our new toys, which makes it possible to develop sensors for certain cases. For example, we have developed the 12MP 24×36 sensor for the A7 S which is more suited to video. If we find an application for this multilayer sensor, then we can do it.

In Sony Square, we saw a drone equipped with a QX module. What is becoming of this product line?

We can not tell you anything about the future of QX. However, the RX0 is probably an excellent answer to photographers and videographers who want to own a small box in addition to their smartphone.

Do you have an option to encrypt images on your cameras?

We have already heard this request and we know that the journalists present on the ground are plaintiffs.However, for the general public, encryption is complicated. We have to wait …

We have the impression that the range of optics for APS-C is not really considered by Sony. Can you reassure your customers?

We still have a lot of work to do for the APS-C range. As we said before, the 24×36 E-mount range was our priority.After the 100-400 mm available for the 24×36 format, we think that people equipped with APS-C are interested in an equivalent zoom for photographic hunting. Again, we can not say anything at the moment, but we can guarantee that the APS-C range will gradually expand.

Can we imagine APS-C optics with the G Master standard?

We can not say anything for now, but generally G Master optics are primarily reserved for 24×36. We can not reveal anything about future products, but if we succeed in producing extraordinary optics, then they could have the G Master brand.

Still for the APS-C, it lacks wide-angle optics as proposed Fujifilm …

It’s easier for Fujifilm because it only has the APS-C format and the medium format to manage. We must also develop the 24×36 format. Gradually, we will develop the optical range of the APS-C with professional optics, but also more accessible models. We really want to confirm our interest in the APS-C format: it’s not just a step for the 24×36, but an important format for us.

For optics, it’s the brightness. But overall, for us the biggest task will be to expand the target of the Alpha range.With the A9, we have today touched the sports photographers, but we must expand our audience to the maximum.

We do not have this type of project for now. Of course, without an electronic viewfinder, the price would be lower, but it is just beneficial for the size of the housings, and it is complicated to have a housing both small and easy to take in hand.