Sony Interview at DC.Watch: We will Continue Strengthen on Both APS-C and Full Frame in 2019 !

According to latest interview with Mr. Masaaki Oshima, Senior Imaging Products & Solutions Co., Ltd. Director by DC.Watch, Sony will continue to focus and strengthen the mirrorless cameras of both full frame and APS-C in 2019. This means again we will see Sony a7000 and a7S III announced in 2019.

Highlights from this interview:

  • Sony a6400 is the replacement of a6300, not the a6500.
  • Sony will do their best to “be able to” exceed customers’ requests in APS-C mirrorless cameras.
  • Demand of entry-level APS-C mirrorless camera such as a6400 is not as strong as ever, but for high-end APS-C models, the demand is growing.
  • Sony will continue to focus and strengthen the mirrorless cameras of both full frame and APS-C in 2019

Translated From DC.Watch:

On the significance of existence of α6400

– Size is full size and APS – C, what sort of division are you thinking about?

I do not consider purely dividing the full size camera and the APS – C camera. That’s why, in order to make full use of the feature of “One Mount” to share the same mount with full size and APS – C. Regardless of the sensor size, we want to provide an environment where you can select the camera depending on what you give priority to yourself.

– In that case, what is the user layer assumed as the feature of α 6400?

To prepare an intermediate machine in the camera lineup is important in terms of expanding footprint. Even though you want a full size camera, there are voices that suddenly the top model has a high hurdle (price, size, weight). On the other hand, there are not so many hurdles if it is an APS – C camera. Because you can make effective use of E mount lens assets, step up hurdles will be even lower. If you are already a full size α, you can also be a sub machine that lens can be diverted.

In other words, it will be a camera that you can use as a model looking at sub machines and step-ups.

– On the other hand, this era, α 6400 also felt in specs that I could use as a main machine.

The α6400 employs the image processing engine “BIONZ X” installed in α9. This has the advantage that it can process large capacity images, and also integrates full-size technology that we have cultivated to this APS-C camera.

We also believe that sufficient strength will be achieved for lenses that we released so far. For example, “FE 24 mm F1.4 GM” released on October 26, 2018 is a wide-angle lens compatible with 35 mm full size, but a wonderful combination that can hold small and light weight even when it is attached to the APS-C camera body is.

In that sense, it is a strength as a camera of Sony that full-size cameras and APS-C cameras can share lenses with the same mount.

Open F value F 1.4 but relatively small FE 24 mm F 1.4 GM. When attached to the body of APS-C, it can be used as a lens of 36 mm equivalent F1.4.

– Is α 6400 a subordinate model of the current model α 6500? Will α6500 survive?

We will continue to sell α6500 worldwide including Japan. Unlike α6400, it has a built-in image stabilization mechanism inside the body, and seems to be selected as a customer who wants to shoot full-scale videos for that purpose. The correspondence varies among dealers in each region, but α6300 switches to α6400.

– Are you talking about updating the α 6500?

There is no content to talk specifically at the present time.

– Because of the impression you received from around AF, α6400 felt like a model that focused on animation.

It is difficult to express AF of animation as various data, but α 6400 is designed to make AF function securely. Depending on the situation in the current model, it seems beautiful at first glance, but sometimes there was no focus when looking closely. With α6400, even development staff seems surprisingly fit. I really would like to try it.

– Although it is a lens for APS – C who does not listen for a long time about the new product, what will happen in the future?

We have received various requests as a request. Future talks and concrete lineups can not be mentioned in this place, but as development team we would like to do our best to “be able to” exceed customers’ requests.

About full size α update

– About full size α, I am interested in placing new functions by updating instead of introducing new models.

Real-time pupil AF and so on mounted on α6400 will be installed in α9 (planned for March) and α7R III / α7 III (scheduled for April) in the future. Did not you install it at the time of release? Although there is a voice saying, there is also a part that accumulated because it issued α9 that it became possible to use the image processing engine better and to maximize the performance. It is now possible because it is now.

Also, such information is not limited to professionals, but is based on the opinions of all customers. Even as we do, we would like to continue development that will exceed customer expectations.

One of models targeted for large update α 9. Updates include AF related new AF algorithms, as well as improvements in operability such as enabling you to save up to 3 sets of front and rear dial settings.

– There are differences in the content and schedule of the update. What is the reason for that?

There is a timing problem as to which function to preferentially implement in which model, there are parts that are slightly misaligned.

– Is the implementation related to the real-time tracking implementation related?

Yes. Prior to being mounted on the α6400, we plan to implement α9 with a large update in March.

About mirrorless camera strategy

– Sony currently has a certain share of mirrorless camera, what is the cause?

As a viewpoint of market share, the popularity of α7 III is great. That α 7 III is also based on the technology developed in α9 as a base. Α 7 III firmly accepts the function and technology of α 9 packed with state-of-the-art technology. We are also happy that our customers accept it as a share as a share.

When talking about the camera market as a whole, it tends to shrink worldwide. Among them, maintaining the status quo as for full-sized aircraft is still going on, and even among full-sized aircraft, mirrorless cameras are performing well.

Looking at mirrorless cameras that are not full size like α6400, the momentum for entry-oriented models is not as strong as ever, but there are still more momentum for high value-added models. That’s because some people ask for pictures that can not be taken with smartphones.

In that sense, in terms of market share, Sony is also growing, and mirrorless in high added value bands including other companies are also growing.

– Since last year, we have launched five elements (exclusively designed lens, image quality, speed, stamina, mobility) cultivated with a full size mirrorless camera. Which of these factors would you expect to grow the most in the future?

Clearly, it’s all. For example, if you are told that stamina is adequate, it will be the answer that it is still too much. Of the videos prepared by the demonstration of α6400, we are shooting 8 hours for interval shooting, but we are using USB external power supply (not just the battery inside the main unit). Considering the operation of such reality, there is still much to be done. I think so.

– Have you figured out the user’s utilization rate for the new RAW development software “Imaging Edge” that we launched last year?

I do not have anything that can be made public about specific numerical values. As a direction of software evolution, we asked for requests from diverse professional people and made many feedbacks.

In addition, we do not pay attention only to the stage of taking pictures but we think that we want to improve usability more by taking the whole workflow. Among them, the evolution of “Imaging Edge” plays a major role.

– I heard that professional members are steadily increasing with the introduction of α9.

Although professional members have increased greatly since α9, the appearance of α9 has expanded the genre in which numbers are also taken. It is either domestically or abroad. As a place to interact with professional support members, we held a social gathering inside our company, but people participating in various genres participated and I was able to hear various stories as a development staff.

I think that it was a good opportunity to hear such stories directly as the way of expressing needs depends on the photography genre, such as feedback on products and feedback to window counterparts.

– I have heard various things, but it seems that you can expect to continue active movements. What will happen to α in 2019?

Although I can not talk about specific products, I will continue to focus and strengthen the mirrorless camera of both full size and APS – C.

I want to widely deploy (“actively appeal”) the “One Mount” connecting each system, including further improvement of workflow.