Sony full frame E-mount interchangeable lens camera is possible, making lenses is another matter

In a interview with dpreview, Phil Molyneux (President and Chief Operating Officer of Sony Electronics) talked again about the possibility of developing a full frame E-mount interchangeable lens camera:

Q: Looking at the VG900, our readers are speculating on whether you will make a full frame E-mount stills-oriented camera. What can you say to them?

A: The VG900 demonstrated that the E-mount lens mount can support a full frame sensor. Building the lenses that can cover a full frame imaging circle at that flange back distance is another matter. We'll see. The benefits of making a smaller camera with a full frame sensor and interchangeable lenses are clear. The E-mount that could do that would be a little different than the E-mount that we know today. But it is possible. Much of the lens geometry you see in the RX1 is what it would take to realize that design.

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  • Oliver

    Expect a lot of distortions!!

    • And you’re saying this because?

    • jon

      well then stop being so cheapo and get a real lens! Leica M-Mount to NEXFF!!

    • People need to realize that for best image quality on a short flange system, they need to use image space telecentric lens designs. This means the light leaving the lens hits the sensor perpendicular instead of at an angle. To design a lens like the the rear element of the lens must be larger than the sensor. Where would that fit in the above photo? The sensor is as large as the mount. So there will obviously have to be more trade off in corner performance or making the lenses longer and stick out from the camera to get the rear element further from the sensor. The RX1 has a very large rear element that sits right next to the sensor, the same way as the Fuji X100 does. These give them pretty good across the field performance for such compact designs.

    • Pablo Ricasso

      He did say, “The E-mount that could do that would be a little different than the E-mount that we know today.”

      Different might mean a little larger, or why else change it?

      However, it’s doable whether they change the mount or not.

  • Lee Saxon

    It’s not hard. You just add some extension /empty space at the back of the lens to make the FFD longer. Hell, they could even just re-house Alpha lenses with a “built in adapter” (although that would obviously not be ideal).

    • Sky

      They already have LA-EA3 which is an adapter for full-frame A-mount lenses on E-mount camera. Solution isn’t to build a lenses with no option to detach adapter. That’s a ridiculous suggestion. Solution is to build and maintain small, full frame e-mount lenses. Aside from few primes – I don’t think it’s possible though, as it’d essentially mean, that Sony needs to manufacture 4 complete line-ups of lenses (A-mount: FF and DT, E-mount and E-mount Full Frame).
      No company does that currently, not Canon, not Nikon, not Pentax*, nor anyone else.

      *Pentax is closest one with running MF, K-mount -standard and mirrorless- and Q-mount, but the cost of it is quite bad: hardly any of this mounts gets decent amount of lenses updates and releases in a first place.

      • Mat

        You forgot about Pentax 645D lenses, which make it biggest lens manufacturer :D:D

      • Lee Saxon

        Don’t call someone’s comment ridiculous until you’re sure you actually understand it.

        I never said Alpha lenses with a built-in adapter were a cool product idea.

        This Sony rep claims E-mount’s short FFD makes FF35 lenses near-impossible. I was simply giving an example demonstrating that this is wrong.

        Here’s another : Leica M’s FFD isn’t much larger than Sony E.

  • LKV

    Or a very very fat lens. =D

    • Yeah! Like all those very very fat M mount lenses… oh wait 😛

  • What the!

    I don’t own any Sony E-mount systems. I’m more interested in whether the RX2 will be an interchangeable lens system. If yes, I’ll wait for the RX2 instead of the RX1.

    • Sahaja

      Did you see the size of the rear element on the RX1? I think they did this so so that the light strikes the sensor at more or less a right angle. To make something like the RX-1 with interchangeable lenses, and keep those lenses small, is not going to be easy – especially if they have to fit those lenses into an E-mount.

      Leica M cameras are not used with a wide range of focal lengths so they can adapt their micro-lenses to work with a narrow range of lenses. The problem must become much more difficult when you want a camera system to accommodate a larger range of focal lengths and zoom lenses.

      – C

  • CJ

    Sony spearheaded the mirror less camera to the FF direction, GRAVO !!!

    Sony has the means to make it work, the rest of industry will miss the market share if not hurry up…so far, the FF still carry a bigger profit margin then those through away compacts.

  • NycPete

    its a compact camera…. one lens is enough. I wish some company out there is bold enough to make it a standard 50mm focal length.

  • Bill

    Isn’t there already a FF e mount camcorder?

  • Red Fez

    I still dont get why one would want a FF E-Mount when the A-mount has been FF since 1985.

  • Joe

    Q&A with Sony’s Mark Weir: Will full-frame go mirrorless ?

    DE: Does a full frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera make sense?

    MW: Well actually, we just introduced one. It’s called the NEX-VG900. Most think of it in the context of a camcorder, but it is also an admirable still camera as well, and it does have an E-mount and it does have a full-frame image sensor, and you can use E-mount lenses on it. Needless to say with an APS-C crop, or it’s also supplied with the LA-EA3 mount adapter, so it also offers an A-mount as well. But the idea of a full frame E-mount camera, yeah, we already announced it, it’s called the NEX-VG900.

    DE: Well, obviously very different form factors. I guess the question is does a rangefinder-style full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless makes sense?

    MW: Well, I think everyone understands that if we can make the VG900, we could make a still camera variant of that. But what’s really on everyone’s mind, I would imagine, is an E-mount interchangeable lens camera together with E-mount full frame interchangeable lenses, and that’s a different discussion. But can the camera be made and can it use full frame A-mount lenses? Yes, the product in the context of the VG900 was already announced. We have them on display here. But I think what those who are suggesting that a full-frame E-mount camera be developed is a full frame E-mount camera together with E-mount lenses that would operate with it and offer full frame coverage. And all one has to do is to look at the RX1 disassembled model and see the optical challenge that would represent.”

    • an onymous

      It sounds good, but there are still BIG concerns over that the NEX shooters will lose OIS when using an adapter such as LA-EA3 with Alpha lenses.
      In the case of NEX APS-C cameras, the OIS is built into the E-mount lenses while Alpha lenses depend on the OIS which only DSLR’s have.

      My question to Sony is:
      * Will the full-frame mirror-less have OIS incorporated in the camera?
      * Will Sony release an updated adapter (LA-EA4?) with incorporated OIS? If not, when will we see NEX with OIS in the camera body?

      These concerns are big culprits and a shame as investing a lot of money on expensive Alpha lenses and losing OIS brings huge loss on the buyers part, I really think Sony should consider these issues and come up with better future strategy making the mirror-less more solid and an attractive choice.

      • “… while Alpha lenses depend on the OIS which only DSLR’s have.”

        IBIS… not OIS

        • Good Job

          Nice! You got him. It’s not ois, it’s ibis! You set him straight. You should be proud.

          • Was a simple correct for people who’re reading this…

            Didn’t mean to bring out your daddy/teacher/authority issues…

          • correction*

            … just like that.

  • Disiderio

    The dream would be a mirrorless full frame with a solid inbuilt EVF and full compatibility with Zeiss manual primes.

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