Sony Alpha Pro and Semi-Pro Preview

by on May 26, 2007

in Gear,News,Reviews,Sony

Back at PMA 2007, Toru Katsumoto gave the following presentation at a press conference regarding Sony’s Alpha line of DSLRs, with particular attention being given to the then newly announced Pro and Semi-Pro bodies. Mr. Katsumoto is the head of the Sony Corporation’s AMC Division in the Digital Imaging Business Group. Somewhere in the mix of all the PMA buzz, I missed this little nugget. I don’t think there’s anything truly ground breaking in here, but its still an interesting read on a slow news day. (Due to the length, rather than place it in quoted format, I’ve left it in normal font for readability.)

When Sony and Konica Minolta joined forces to create a new digital SLR camera business unit, the AMC Division was created and I have been heading the business unit since then.

Given that we were in the midst of transition last March, I would say this is the first PMA in terms of Sony’s digital SLR business.

As many of you know, we have launched our first digital SLR camera in July 2006 under the α (Alpha) brand. The first wave of our products launched together with the “α100” camera included 21 pieces of interchangeable lenses and more than 45 pieces of accessories. Our desire to deliver the total system solution has led us to launch relatively large number of products during the first year.

The “α100” has enjoyed solid market acceptance worldwide thanks to high picture quality and in-camera image stabilization. It has received numerous Imaging industry awards, including the C-E-A’s 2007 Innovations and Design award, Popular Photography & Imaging’s “2006 Camera of the Year” and EISA “Best Product” award.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude for your support of the “α100.” As Shigeki Ishizuka mentioned earlier, we need to further solidify our market position and to do that, we must cater to varying degrees of customer requirements. Therefore, we are now working on the second wave of α (Alpha) products in order to expand the world of α (Alpha) and meet the demands of a broader user base.

We would like to show a glimpse of the second wave of products in this year’s PMA. Specifically, we are now developing two new products targeted at higher market segments compared with the α100. One of the two is expected to come to the market during this calendar year. When both products are launched, we will have three products that enable us to cover wider spectrum of the market. Also, this gives our customers more options and allows them to trade up products as their skills mature.

Now, let me explain the products briefly.

The first product targets the high amateur market. It will have a higher level of performance than the α100. The core strength of this camera is high picture quality. Sony’s vast technology and expertise, including a newly-developed image sensor and BIONZ processor, have been adopted for this product to achieve superb picture quality. Also, the ”Super SteadyShot” feature, the hallmark ofα (Alpha), is included and the existing-compatible lenses can be used with this camera.In addition, we are planning to incorporate features that meet the demanding performance and specification requirements of High Amateur photographers.

The next product is set to become our flagship product. The image sensor and Bionz processor are both being developed specifically for this product. And the ”Super SteadyShot” feature is of course part of it. We position this product to be the highest-end camera that meets the demanding performance and specification requirements of even Professional photographers.

Our second wave of products is not only camera bodies, but interchangeable lenses are also being developed. Five or more lenses, including models suitable for High Amateur and Professional use, to be launched within the next 12 months.

This chart includes such lenses ranging from Large Aperture Standard Zoom lens, Telephoto Zoom lens, High Magnification Zoom and more to come.

With these new lenses added to the 21 pieces of existing portfolio, broader and more diversified system configuration will become possible. Thanks to the added choice of camera bodies according to customers’ photo lifestyles coupled with enlarged portfolio of lenses and accessories, we believe α (Alpha) is set to spur the creativity of our customers.

By launching these new products swiftly, we would like to provide solutions with which people can fully leverage the potential of digital SLR. Therefore, the phrase which expresses our mission this year is “α (Alpha) Unlocks the Full Potential of D-SLR.”

Thank you very much.

[tags]sony, alpha, dslr, news, pma, 2007, lens, bionz, processor, super steadyshot[/tags]

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{ 6 comments }

1 Steve Raine June 25, 2007 at 7:43 am

Anything new on release date of next alpha offering, improvements on a100 high-noise at ASA 800 and above, and possible cost?
Thanks, Steve

2 Eric June 25, 2007 at 7:52 am

Steve,

Not a peep. You can bet I\'ll post it as soon as I hear something.

3 Steve Raine June 25, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Anything new on release date of next alpha offering, improvements on a100 high-noise at ASA 800 and above, and possible cost?
Thanks, Steve

4 Eric June 25, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Steve,

Not a peep. You can bet I’ll post it as soon as I hear something.

5 35mm Camera Lens March 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

I’ve been a Nikon user for nigh on 40 years – can you give me (in lamens terms) an indication how far (or not) the Sony cameras are from the two main players in terms of handling and image quality?

6 Eric March 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

@35mm Camera Lens – Personally, from a layman’s perspective, I don’t think there’s a significant difference in handling or image quality. I think hair-splitting and niche uses will certainly produce stronger opinions; however, for everyday use, the current generation DSLRs are comparable across the industry range.

Just my thoughts, which I may catch some serious flack over though.

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