Q&A With Sony on the A900

I managed to get a few questions to a Sony Europe spokesperson regarding the new A900 last week.  As you’ll see, I also tried to solicit some info on future models, but Sony was tight-lipped on anything related to future products.

Photography Bay asks:  What took the A900 so long to get to market since the initial teaser of a “flagship” camera in Winter 2007?

Sony responds:  At PMA 2007, Sony announced the start of the A900’s development. This announcement was essentially made to show our commitment to photography and specially to reassure all our DSLR users – both Sony and former Minolta and Konica Minolta users. One year later we confirmed the launch of this new model in 2008 by announcing the new EXMOR 24.6 megapixel sensor. We have achieved our original goal and target time period, and even delivered it a bit earlier, as the product will be available in all main markets from the end of September 2008.

Photography Bay asks: How does the A900 and Sony’s flash system stack up against Nikon’s CLS?

Sony responds:  We cannot directly comment on our flash system compared to Nikon’s, but we believe that the new system – the A900 with new flash – can fully satisfy serious enthusiasts’ demands – with unique Quick Shift Bounce System and Wireless Ratio Control function.

Photography Bay asks: Is the A900 fully weather sealed? Any plans to add weather sealing to lenses?

Sony responds:  Even though the A900 is designed to be dust- and moisture-resistant it’s not waterproof/splash-proof. When using the camera in rain, we advise people to be careful and make sure the camera and lens don’t get wet. We cannot comment about future plans at this stage.

Photography Bay asks: We keep hearing that the increasing megapixels in DSLRs is coming to a point that lenses can no longer resolve the images that the sensor can capture. Is there a breaking point? Have we reached it in this sensor size format?

Sony responds:  As far as our flagship A900 is concerned we are totally confident that the power resolving capacity of our lenses can match up to the highest pixel count, of 24,6 megapixels, in the full frame camera segment. Also, Sony is now rapidly increasing the lens selection in our 2 high end ranges – G lenses and Carl Zeiss lenses – that cover all focal ranges from 16mm to 400mm, in full frame format, delivering exceptional optical performance. Our lenses are capable of high resolution performance and we haven’t yet reached the limits of that performance – even with the A900.

Photography Bay asks: What’s your favorite thing about the new A900?

Sony responds:  Probably the “Exmor” CMOS sensor. The pixel technologies utilized in the CCD and the unique column AD conversion technology are both incorporated, meaning high-speed and high quality image processing.

Photography Bay asks: As is clear from Sony’s marketing of the A900, this camera is clearly marketed toward “serious amateurs” rather than the professional market. While I’m sure that many portrait and wedding photographers will be drawn to the high resolution images the A900 produces, what plans, if any, does Sony have to cater to professional photographers who are looking for a higher spec’d model (e.g., frames per second, longer shutter life, higher ISO, add’l focus points, etc.)?

Sony responds:  We cannot comment on future models.

Photography Bay asks: To the casual observer, it’s apparent that the bigger the number on the Alpha DSLR badge the higher-end the camera. However, Nikon and Canon DSLRs have gotten confusing with their naming convention. Is Sony following a logical naming system?

What would the successor to the A300 or A700 be called?

Sony responds:  We cannot comment on future models.

Photography Bay asks: Video. It’s hot right now and Nikon’s the only DSLR maker that can tout this feature at the moment. Will we see video in a future Sony DSLR? Soon?

Sony responds:  We cannot comment on future models.

Photography Bay asks: Photography Bay has reviewed the Sony A350 and, I have to say, the Live View system on the A350 and the A300 is the best thing going now. My one gripe is that the LCD does swivel left and right. Any chance we’ll see an improvement on this in the next iteration of these DSLRs?

Sony responds:  We cannot comment on future models at this stage, but we can assure you that we are continuously working on improving the user friendliness of our cameras and finding the best solution – between shooting comfort, specification, size and cost.

Photography Bay asks: Any parting thoughts for Photography Bay readers interested in the A900 or the Sony Alpha system in general?

Sony responds:  Alpha is a brand that Sony is really proud of, as it has, we believe, several advantages:

– Maximum utilization of Sony’s unique device technology

– Imaging technology and experience accumulated over many years

– Anti-shake control function inside body

– Carl Zeiss lenses with autofocus function

– Lens assets of 16 million lenses (from Minolta)

That’s all for now.  Keep up with the latest on the A900 by staying tuned to Photography Bay’s Sony A900 Reviews and Resources.



  1. Marcel says

    For a $3K body, I would have liked some serious consideration given to sealing. The A900’s competition – Canon 5DMkII and Nikon D700 both have this done.

    Rookie mistake? Too bad because in most other respects, it looks like an interesting piece of equipment.