Sony confirmed again that a new “enthusiast” APS-C mirrorless camera is coming

Random reports about a new high-end Sony APS-C mirrorless camera (with EVF?) have been going around for years without any real leaks or trustable sources. The only reliable information so far is coming from Sony directly:

In a recent interview with Imaging Resource, Sony confirmed again that a new “enthusiast” APS-C mirrorless camera is coming:

But I said that, no, for us that market is very important. But before that when we had things to do [Ed. Note: that is, priorities to set], that was the full-frame. Because full-frame for the brand, a kind of symbolic thing. Because before APS-C, we had to create the symbolic brand or symbolic products. So we first started to create the full-frame mirrorless.

Yeah, I think you’re right, and we have the opportunity to develop a type of enthusiast APS-C model, and the enthusiasts, especially the US ones are waiting for this type of model. But you know, last year, all the owners, especially at the US market, we conducted a market experiment, and for Alpha 7 Mark II, we kept the price at US$999. And I want you to know that the result was more than our expectation. That means that many enthusiast customers bought the Alpha 7 Mark II, and the Alpha 7 Mark II is a full-frame model, so my understanding is that somehow the customers are overlapped between high-end APS-C and entry-level full-frame.

Well, but we’re implying many things. Of course we are trying to expand the APS-C series of cameras. That maybe implies not only one product. And we implied we are working on the sports area, that implied not only a 400mm f/2.8 lens is coming. So we are implying many things, but not directly saying “next model is this one, the next model is this one”. But we’re focusing on sports and we’re focusing on the APS-C area.

Yes, we have a one-mount strategy. So we are trying to increase our APS-C customers; it’s very easy for people to go up and down [between sensor sizes]. Full-frame users can easily use a sub camera, and our APS-C camera customers can very easily go up to our full-frame mirrorless.

Here is the recap of the entire Imaging Resource interview with Sony courtesy of SonyAddict:

  • While the overall ICL market was down 8% later year Sony was not
  • Sony does not believe the market will be half in two year they believe it will be 80% of what it is today
  • Sony believes that Full Frame mirrorless will grow by 50% next year
  • Sony sees risk and opportunity in the smartphone sector
  • Targeting vloggers is one way to try to avoid smartphones hurting Sony’s market
  • The Sony a6400 is targeted at smartphone users
  • APS-C is the best sensor size to go after smartphone users with
  • Sony was focused on Full Frame but will be putting more effort into their APS-C line now that their full frame lineup is solid
  • Sony felt they had to establish their brand with Full Frame before focusing on APS-C
  • They want to make an enthusiast APS-C camera, but the Sony a7II sold better than expected when they reduced the price to $999 so there is some overlap between APS-C and Full Frame enthusiast
  • Sony is trying to deiced if enthusiast APS-C or Full Frame is a better route
  • Canon has the EOS RP while Fujifilm has high-end APS-C
  • Sony can go after both markets
  • The Canon EOS RP is inexpensive, but once you buy a native lens it becomes a very expensive system
  • Sony has a very high-speed platform for its AI-based AF that performs real-time tracking that gives them an advantage
  • Most people are shooting for eyes right now and animals like birds
  • Cars are also important and they can make them track better with deep learning
  • They are setting up a dictionary on top of their high-speed platform that lets the AI calculate the subject’s position
  • Sony can’t talk about it now, but they have an AI structure to their dictionary
  • Sony is using specialized processing for their deep learning while Olympus is using a general processor
  • Right now with Sony you load the dictionary by selecting eye AF or animal eye AF, but in the future, the camera will just know which dictionary to use
  • Sony doesn’t see AI dictionaries as a problem size wise but if you have 10 or 1000 picking the right one might be an issue
  • Sony doesn’t have the tech to autoload AI dictionaries yet, but they are working on developing it
  • Once you get past picking 3 or 4 dictionaries it becomes cumbersome
  • The Sony a9 has more room for dictionaries and Sony says they are less than a gig each and that size is not an issue
  • Sony focused on speed and AI for the Sony a9 and it has lots of speed so they will continue to work on the AI and what they can build
  • The Sony a9 and a6400 have the same generation processor, but not the same processor
  • Sony a9 has a blackout-free function hat the a6400 does not thanks to the stacked sensor
  • If the price of stacked sensors come down over time Sony will put it in their consumer cameras
  • The price of the stacked sensor should drop significantly with volume like 4k TV’s did
  • AI-based AF isn’t the only way AI can help photography it can also help with computational photography
  • Computational photography was the beginning of neural networks
  • Computational photography is likely the next generation and how to draw cellphone uses to ILCs
  • Things. like cropping, finding subjects, extracting 3D information from shading would be big
  • Sony is comfortable implying where they are going with products but not pre-releasing information so it’s safe to say they will release more sports lenses than the 400m f/2.8 and that they will have more APS-C cameras coming
  • Sony want’s users to be aware that they can use the full Full Frame lens lineup on their APS-C cameras

Via Image Resource

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