Sony Bringing Translucent Mirror to NEX-Format Cameras?

If a recent patent application from Sony is any indicator of coming products, it looks like we could see a translucent mirror in future NEX-format cameras.

The obvious benefit of using this design in future NEX cameras is the ability to use a phase-difference autofocus mechanism (as typically found in DSLRs) instead of the slower, less accurate contrast-detection method that so-called “mirrorless” cameras have used to date.

Sony has already forged this technology in current Alpha “DSLR” models – Sony A33 and A55.  The rapid live view and video autofocus in the A33 and A55 looks to be a hit among reviewers so far.

Essentially, this patent application presents the A55 in an NEX-5 body.  It’s actually a design that should have been pretty easy to see coming.  There’s nothing really new that’s not already in the A55 . . . Sony’s just taking out the parts that make it look like a DSLR and presenting it in a smaller package more akin to the NEX cameras we already know.  And, it could very well be an Alpha mount camera in a compact shell, which would mean native functionality with Alpha lenses.

While I found the AF speed and accuracy in the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 to be quite acceptable, taking it up a notch or two wouldn’t hurt at all.

What do you think about this design?  Would you be interested in an APS-C camera that is this compact and has DSLR-like AF speed?

[via PhotoRumors]



  1. Chris says

    No, I would not personally be interested in a NEX form factor camera regardless of its features. Nor am I interested in the A55 form factor primarily because of its smaller size in the hand(s). I am waiting, not impatiently, for the rumored A77 reincarnation of the A700. But I also have planted one foot solidly in the world of Nikon, and if Sony does not bring forth the A77 in 2011, then my next acquisition will be pro-level glass for my Nikon, and I will sell my Sony/Minolta/Zeis gear.

    I suspect the rumored A77 will be a similar or the same diminutive form factor as the A55, in which case I will have to carefully ‘weigh’ the feature set versus the size/balance issue, in light of my strong preference for the Sony (Minolta) and Zeis glass I already own.

  2. Daniel says

    Looks like most of these comments above comes from dslr users, not P&S…I myself might not be the best to judge as I myself am a dslr user. Truly the tinyness of the A55 hurts me…yeah, I still like my bulky old alpha…but carry the A55 more often now…trying to shift my mindset & styles to suit a smaller bodied camera. I think Sony is being progressive by bringing in the P-detect into NEX5…who knows when NEX has come up with a better flashgun I’d really consider getting one…a compact camera seems more useful than a huge kit which we often need to think over a million of times before we even carry it to a party. A sleeping pro camera is no more useful than a compact that cling on to its owner all the time.

  3. says

    I really like the NEX-5, but there is still lots of room for improvement. I was waiting for the second generation NEX and it looks like it will be worth it. I won’t give up my Canon 40D and lenses, but the NEX would make a great travel and backup camera.

  4. Reagan Atkinson says

    Why? Nex5 won me over when it hit in 2010. Bought one as soon as I could as compliment to my Nikon D90. Then the A55 came on the scene and at first was skeptical, but just recently sold all my Nikon gear and got A55. Then Nex5 is a small camera when you don’t want to lug the DSLR. My spin would be to improve the Nex5 with flash adjuster and more lenses. But that will be hard for me to take; my Nex5 is staying home most days now; am loving the A55…