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Sony is Reading to launch a new "secret" high end camera


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My trusted source advises me that it is a physically bigger version of the A7 using the FE mount and addressing most of the issues identified with the release of the A7mk2.


It will be called the A9 in line with Sony's naming convention.


The A7 will stay as a "travel" solution where the A9 will be pitched more to the "really" serious photographer with deep pockets to satisfy their "need" for the very best.  :)

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I deliberately held off buying the a7RII because I have been expecting something like an A9 from Sony. 


There are a number of reasons. The first is that there have been consistent complaints that the a7 line has too short a battery life, especially for professionals who do a lot of shooting. That means the a7 line is more of an enthusiast's camera. The other consistent complaint is about menu layouts and ergonomics. I am sure Sony is well aware of these issues, but has decided to keep the ergonomics and menu consistent for the a7 line. That means that any upgrade in these departments are being reserved for a new body. 


The other complaint about the a7RII is that it is slow in handling files such as when reviewing files from a 42MP sensor. The only way to overcome this slowness at the present is to have a larger body, with a better heat sink to accommodate dual processors, which will also use up more battery power. This will also help to create a faster camera that can shoot action. In many ways, the Leica SL, with its ability to shoot 11fps, preempted this trend in full frame mirrorless systems.


Previously, I thought that Sony might enter into a megapixel war with Canon and release a 50-56MP a9 plus a 72-80MP a9R, but I now think this is not going to be the case. The reason is that if the Sony sensor division released a 80MP full frame sensor now it would upset their medium format sensor buying clients who would be stuck with a maximum resolution of 56MP. Likewise, if Sony sensors released a 36MP micro four thirds sensor first while leaving the maximum resolution of their APS-C sensors stuck at 24MP, it would upset their APS-C sensor buying clients. Sony sensors could make a 100MP full frame sensor tomorrow if it wanted to, but it must keep all of its clients happy by releasing across the board upgrades in sensor resolution in all sensor sizes. The only reason Canon can easily go ahead with plans to make a 120MP FF DSLR is that Canon have no medium format sensor buying clients to keep happy.


I suspect that if Sony do release an a9, rather than having a higher sensor resolution, it will be designed to be much faster. The major weakness of mirrorless cameras is their slowness compared to DSLRs, and this will only be hampered by increasing sensor resolutions. Increased processing power is the way to go about getting faster performance, even if that means increasing the size of the body, as Leica have done.


I think the days when full frame mirrorless cameras are marketed as necessarily smaller than DLSRs are numbered. The a7 range will remain as an enthusiast's line of more compact mirrorless, while the larger a9 series will form a faster and probably also weather sealed professional line that sits above it. Sony was only really able to get its full frame a7 mirrorless line smaller by crippling it with an excessively small battery and by making their lenses slower. However, Sony have recently started to abandon their policy of crippling their lenses by limiting their maximum aperture, and have started to issue fast lenses, even if these largely negate the size advantage of mirrorless system. I suspect that the recent release of heavier, faster lenses is a prelude to the release of a larger, faster professional a9 series. That means that full frame mirrorless systems are giving up pretensions to being more compact in favour of packing more features. A larger body with dual processors, better heat sink, and thus more speed would better unleash the potential of full frame mirrorless systems, and help give Sony more of an edge against its immediate competitors—namely Canon and Nikon. 


As for the suggestion that Sony will release a medium format system, anything is possible, but it is as probable as Sony releasing a digital large format bellows camera. The first reason is that Sony have previously publicly denied they are planning to release a medium format camera. There is perfectly good reason to take them at their word in this particular instance. The main reason is that Sony already have their hands full in developing lenses for both their E-mount and A-mount lines, without having to start development on a range of MFD lenses. That would only form a major distraction to further hinder the realisation of their A/E mount lens roadmap, which has already been criticised for unfolding too slowly. Nor do Zeiss currently show even the slightest of interest in making medium format lenses, and it seems rather improbable that Sony would want to push them in this direction either. And, nor did Minolta have any medium format lenses which could be reissued with a Sony badge. Sony acquired no medium format expertise from Minolta, and they would have to start from scratch on such a system before they have fully developed their full frame system, which has to take priority.

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If its revolutionary as noted in one of the sources, it has to have some major step going forward.  Just having larger body a7 series called a9 is evolutionary at best.


My guess, if one were to make one, would be 6K video that uses the current 42mp sensor.  It will be larger body to accommodate bigger batteries and will be E-mount.  Expect a line of Cine lenses to accompany the body with powered zoom.

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Hi mkg3


The following are my basic calculations regarding Video image size and total pixel count for each frame.


X-axis     Y axis                  Pixels per frame 

1920       1080    1K                    2,073,600

3840       2160    4K                    8,294,400

5760       3240    6K                  18,662,400

7680       4320    8K                  33,177,600

9600       5400  10K                  51,840,000


Based on the above, even the existing A7R mk2 can support 8K video. All it needs is the hardware and firmware / software to support it.

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The term "revolutionary" means very little. Sober technical engineers know perfectly well that in consumer technology, genuine revolutions occur maybe once or twice in a lifetime, and that for the rest of the time evolution is the norm. However, when it comes to the over exuberant marketing and advertising department, "revolution" is a pretty standard cliché, one used so often that it no longer means anything. Sony do need to continue to grow its full frame mirrorless system by capitalising on the success of the a7 system, building it up to the next stage of development where they form a fully mature alternative to DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. That necessarily means unwaveringly steady evolution, rather than revolution. However, one or two little innovative surprises are certainly welcome.


It is certainly possible to increase video resolution, but I am sure there are practical limitations here too. For a start there are heat sink issues, which I understand to be a problem with 2K video on the a7RII. Next there are ergonomic issues related to memory cards, not to mention the fact that it would be slow to edit, and take up lots of storage space. Perhaps in the future there may also be a more videocentric a9S model as well.

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An E-mount version of the A99 might be interesting to quite a few people. If it were functional equivalent, however achieved, that could also rid the World of A mount cameras ... just saying.

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It should also be mentioned that a fixed lens medium format camera would also be highly problematic. The main problem is who this would be marketed towards. The main buyer of such a system would be casual photographers, travellers, and street photographers. Travellers and casual photographers would find such a DSLR sized mirrorless MFD camera too large and cumbersome in a world where the trend is towards more compact yet still high-quality systems. Street photographers would find this camera to still be too intrusive, as well as being too slow. Professional studio photographers would have little use for a fixed lens camera. Such a MFD camera would risk falling between the cracks in the market place. Doubtless, just as with a digital large format bellows camera, there would be someone out there who would welcome such a thing, but it is highly questionable the market is there. 


Moreover, Canon and Nikon would react with glee and Schadenfreude that Sony has allowed itself to be distracted into making such a MFD fixed lens white elephant. By entering into the full frame market place, Sony has set up shop in direct competition to the biggest players in the photography market. Sony's competitors aren't the niche medium format makers, but the formidable opponents of Canon and Nikon, who are getting set to release full frame mirrorless systems of their own. Anything that distracts Sony from being able to compete unhampered against their real competitors risks resulting in Sony merely shooting itself in the foot. 

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An E-mount version of the A99 might be interesting

to quite a few people. If it were functional equivalent,

however achieved, that could also rid the World of A

mount cameras ... just saying.

In what way is the A7II series NOT an E-mount non-SLT

equivalent of the A99 ? If you could actually cut off the

A-mount from an A99, and replace it with an E-mount

[using gobs of epoxy and yards of duct tape ?], you'd

hafta remove the SLT mirror anyway. E-mount is too

shallow for the mirror box.


I had an A65 for a coupla days, and returned it. And yet

I have Nex7 with the LAE2 SLT-equipt A-mount adapter,

and it proved to be a keeper. IOW the A-mount/E-mount

hybrid works better than native A-mount. OK, there is,

admittedly, a generational development gap in favor of

the Nex7, but it's maybe only half a generation.



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