A rather interesting post on the Dyxum forums tells us more about the future of the digital single lens reflex cameras at Sony (provided that we believe what is still only a talk between Internet users who say they know). The first item is about the name of the future cameras: There’s no more Alpha 200 but Alpha 300 (this year) and Alpha 500 (next year). I may have to rename the category where I post thos messages 😉
Let’s look deeper: the most advanced model (Alpha 500, as we should understand) will be the first Full-Frame in the product line (with a sensor of the same size as the old 24×36/35mm film image). So, it would not be usable with lenses specially optimized for the small APS-C sesors. This is quite well in line with the observation already done that Sony developped no lens of this type and stayed ready to switch to Full-Frame cameras. It would give them a very significant advantage if you compare with Nikon and Canon, in a competitive environment where the small compact cameras are starting to put some pressure on the lower end of the D-SLR market.
So, the Alpha 500 would have a FF 20MP sensor and through the use of an intelligent organization of the sensitive zones of the sensor, Sony would claim to be providing a stunning 40MP. Striking!
But this is only about a 2008 camera that is still far from being ready. For 2007, the Alpha 300 (or can I still call it Alpha 200?) would bring no less than 14-15 mega-pixels with a crop factor fo 1.25 that would near the FF target. Think about it: As the Alpha 100 shocked the public with the first ultra-low-cost 10MP when only Nikon could fight on the field of image size (with a Sony sensor, by the way), the Alpha 200/300 could be able to shake down the best oppponents, even without the marketoid-like doubling of resolution through the sensitive site organization of the sensor.
But to stay compatible with the already existing market of compatible low-cost lenses, the Alpha 200-300 would include a menu option allowing the user to switch to a lower resolution (11MP?) and giving compatibility to the cheapest lenses.
Most of the rest of the post is rants and raves about the Sony marketing babble: “We are the world leader in photo sensors; We succeeded in prying 6% market share out of Canon and Nikon hands in a year only, we are ready to overtake anon and leave them the 3rd rank“. All is quite in line with the information recently appeared in the news: Canon has recently left the pole position to Nikon on the Japanese market (many analysts believe that the Japanese are showing the way for the rest of the world with a year of advance).
Such cameras would be able to transform the dreamof Sony into a hard reality and move the market around. Howevern we still do not have a precise launch date for such an Alpha 200 or 300. and even less about the Alpha 500…