Next Sony Full Frame DSLR to Feature 50MP Sensor?

Sony A99

Wow. Things are starting to get out of hand now, aren’t they?

Four years ago, I thought the 21MP on the 5D Mark II was more than enough . . . if not a bit too much.  I’ve become accustomed to that over the last few years and it seemed like we hit a sweet spot in the resolution department among DSLRs. Then, Nikon came along with the 36MP behemoth Nikon D800, which stepped up the game (using a Sony sensor, of course).

Now, word comes from SonyAlphaRumors that the next high-end Sony camera may feature a 50MP sensor and reside above the Alpha A99 in Sony’s DSLR lineup.  According to tips, Sony is working on two potential options with one to be released as early as Spring 2013.

What do you think about a DSLR with a 50MP full frame sensor?  Is that too much?  Or is that the kind of resolution you are after?



  1. Jtes says

    Sounds like too much. SONY should just stop at the A99 and see how it does against Nikon and Canon and add use the lessons learned toward their next release or successor to the A99. I haven’t seen a review yet of the A99 . I hope that it does well in the auto focusing dept as well as low light performance.

    • JChristopher says

      You are kidding right? Sony stopped worrying about Canikon a while ago with SLTs and beating them with mirrorless. Behind the scenes Canikon is scrambling to catch up.

      • Colin says

        The moment when Sony stopped worrying about Canikon was when Sony introduced its SLT line. The result was that Sony’s market share, which was already low, went even lower. I work in a large camera store and can tell you that it is extremely difficult to sell Sony SLTs against Nikon, Canon and Pentax DSLRs.

        Mirrorless, on the other hand, has been a success for Sony. The NEX range of cameras is outstanding. However, NEX would have been a far greater success story had the choice of lenses been much broader.

  2. Bengt Nyman says

    There is no such thing as too many pixels.
    Sony and Nokia have both shown how mega pixels can be grouped, averaged and weighted for improved dynamic range, ISO and noise reduction, not just for MP bragging rights. Sony is clearly leading the world in image sensor development and will soon be ahead of Nikon and Canon in overall camera development as well.

  3. EricB says

    I don’t mind more MP, – provided something else isn’t sacrificed for it like more noise at higher ISO. Full 16 bit colour depth would be better than 50mp. I wouldn’t go for Sony with EVF regardless. Not that I regard them as a viable option for pro camera use anyway on experience. I can’t reconcile combining high MP with video. there needs to be a point at which stills are it..

  4. Peter G says

    Sound like sales of back up drives will go through the roof:-)
    Bengt..I think you are somewhat optimistic with that statement about Sony being ahead of Nikon or Canon..
    You may also wish to look at Sonys limited range of lenses compared to Nikon or Canon.

    • Bengt Nyman says

      I would like to see Sony make an investment in Zeiss. That would show whether Sony is into cameras for the long haul or not.

  5. Bill Heng says

    Sony may be up front with their MP and let say they can match up with features of what current Nikon and Canon has..what about their range and choice of Lenses?..kind of limited.

  6. says

    Sure it’s grate for some advertising photographers to have such a high resolution. But since I had my first digital SLR I have the feeling that it’s more important to look at a sensor’s dynamic range and ISO performance. I think this is much more important than the MP-marketing-competition.

  7. Matt Beutel says

    I agree that extra MP would be great for detail and allowing large crops while still having clear and sharp pix but holy freaking hell I would not like to fill up a TB hard drive every 6 months. Even ‘small’ RAW files would be huge.

  8. Grant says

    Hmmm 50MP/picture and my Hard Disk keeps telling “No more Space” phew!
    I have a hard time getting use to 36MP with Nikon D800 let alone 50MP.
    My question is;
    1. How much more improvement does it give on low light environment?
    2. Would the Quality be as good as Leica S2 ?
    3. How about the price?
    4. Would Nikon follow up?

    Those body’s need to reduce it’s price, even the D800 is still too expensive for what it is.
    Don’t even think about Canon 5D Mk3 price! Ridiculous. It should all be around $1999.-
    Wait till Crisis hits the market.

  9. says

    Sounds quite feasible and would be very interested in seeing the results of so many pixels on a full frame sensor with the latest tech behind it.. A camera body with a sensor like that would be targeted at a specific market.

    Why is it whenever a substantially different/cutting edge product comes out many people complain about it thinking that the product was made for them?

  10. Azem says

    I think all this MPs are just to brainwash the customers. No one, except the pros, would need 50MP for at least next 3-4 years I suppose. I mean, 6MP is pretty enough for prints up to 20x30cm (8″x12″). I have a Nikon coolpix 3700 and it’s just 3.2MP. I printed out the photo I took with it and made crop and printed it at 12″x16″ and it looked great.
    On the other hand, Sony is working on the sensors but two cameras with the same sensor from Nikon and Sony would not even compete. Nikon wins always!
    I think Sony should more focus on the image quality and higher ISO outputs rather than increasing already high pixels.
    There is also the lens range, but for that Sony has a lot to go and learn!

  11. Bengt Nyman says

    Understanding Sony megapixels.
    A megapixel sensor does not mean that you are stuck with a megapixel file. High sensor resolution will in the future be used to group, average and blend pixel data for improved dynamic range, ISO and “zero” noise. In some cases you already have a choice of how raw you want your data to be, with associated choice of image characteristics and file size.
    I believe that Sony is on the verge of giving us a greater choice of lenses. Firstly by offering more Sony and Zeiss lenses but secondly by enabling third party manufacturers to offer adapters with full automation for Canon, Nikon, Leica and other manufacturers lenses.

  12. Patrick says

    Higher pixel count = better zoom via cropping with ONE good lense.
    It saves money on lenses. Don’t you see, Sony is unwittingly compensating
    for thier lack of lense selection for we Sony owners. Now you can easily and happily
    go out and get yourself the best lense of your choice, and KEEP it for the long run. Just change bodies along the way. Since you can keep the lense, you can justify the expenditure by dividing the high cost over the number of years you will be able to use the thing.
    Don’t believe me? Take your camera to the camera store and shoot a few inside the store with a good Ziess lense. Now don’t forget to shoot the same scenes with your average or cheap zoom lense. Now go home and PIXEL PEEP! Compare a shot from your zoom to
    that of the same scene cropped from a really good lense. You may well discover, as I did, that the cheaper lense is not even worth carrying around with you!! The high pixel count has made mediocre lenses of longer focal lengths obsolete! Sell all of your mediocre lenses and get that good lense that you have always lusted for. A good lense IS justifiable, and affordable and thus worth while. You will lighten your load and get better pictures.

    • Bengt Nyman says

      Good ! Patrick is getting one of the ideas behind high MP:
      You get a few top quality primes, you shoot a bit wider than you used to, and you crop and frame in post.

  13. Raanan says

    Lenses and more lenses that will offer us different perspectives, varying depth of field characteristics and different object sizes ratios in the photograph are absolutely paramount.
    One lens alone can not do all of that just by cropping an image. Lenses are the main tools of the creative photographer.
    50 MP is a great idea. I want a wider colour gamut. I want a wider contrast range and tonal range with less noise. I wish to see rich blacks (not a political statement) and clean highlights.

  14. Peter G says

    So, I throw away my Nikon 500mm f4 AF-I , Nikon 300mm f2.8 AFS, Nikon 800mm f5.6 and just shoot and crop with my Nikon 14-24 f2.8.???

    Somehow, that isn’t going to work :-)

    • Bengt Nyman says

      Don’t be silly Peter. You shoot with high quality primes, even Nikons, and put away your zooms.

    • patrick says

      Peter G,
      I’m not your wife. Go talk to your wife that way. OH Wait…there’s a smiley face of attitude, humour and sarcasm!
      That makes it OK then!
      Oh she left you!? So you rag on fellow photographers now?
      Get real. Don’t personalize everything. It’s an open forum.

  15. Peter G says

    I only have two zooms… Nikon 14-24 f2.8 ( magic lens) and Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 ( Mk 1 Version)

    That 14-24 f2.8 is magic. The 70-200 is OK

    • patrick says

      things got out of hand. I’m 55 and this is my first and last attempt.
      My generation wasn’t SNARKY. It’s ugly. It’s the bad side of femeninity. So I’m not good at accepting it from another guy. Sorry. Some photographers with family in tow choose not to afford lots of lenses. I thought it might help to share in my original response.
      Ziess 24-70mm *T 2.8 on a Sony a900 24.6 Mg is better cropped than are results from
      lesser zooms. I attribute this result to high pixel counts. Same with Hexanon 57mm f/1.2 mounted on a 4/3’s.

      • Peter G says

        I wasnt trying to be snarky, so, if I may have said something to upset you, I apologize.
        My thoughts were that one cannot use one lens for everything. For example, I used to shoot motorsport, and started off back in 1969 with a 200mm f4 ( budget constraints)..In those days, the pros had 300mm lenses.
        Now, with safety issues, they move people further and further back from the action, and a 300mm lens just will not cut it. Back in 1988, I purchased a Nikon 500mm f4 and TC14 ( all manual lenses). In 1990, I purchased a 800mm f5.6 lens.
        It was great, but, I was shooting Kodachrome KR64, so, the success rate wasn’t that great. From 1993 to 1987, I lived in Japan and of course, hung out at Yodobashi Camera store in Tokyo every 2nd weekend. When Nikon released a AF version of the 500mm f4, I purchased one. I also had purchased a 300mm f2.8 AF-I and sold that for a 300mm f2.8 AF-S.
        When digital came in, I purchsed a Nikon D2H, and then a D2Xs. Sold the D2H to a mate as its all he needs for newspaper work ( small files)
        Eventually, I purchased a D3 and a D3S. So, now, I have D3S, D3 and D2Xs.
        Lenses… I saw an 8mm f2.8 ( full circle fish-eye) on the shelf one day, so, got that. A few years ago, I purchased a 14-24mm f2.8..Its just magic. I have the MK1 version of the Nikon 70-200F2.8 as well. Its good for some work, but, last year, I was in China and could not carry everything , so, left the 70-200mm f2.8 at home and took my trusty Nikon 180mm f2.8. Small, slow, but sharp. I was at the Terracotta Warriors, and really upset the guards when I got out my 300mm f2.8 ..Got some nice close up shots of the Terracotta Warriors until a guard saw it and went crazy :-)
        Now, I dont shoot that much due to health issues , but, will go back to Asia again in the New Year , as I have many mileage points to use.
        All the best from Down Under …Peter

    • Bengt Nyman says

      Not necessarily.
      There will be a day when we don’t even talk about what the image sensor pixel count is, because it will be much higher than the raw image pixel count out of the camera. Extreme sensor pixel counts will be used to produce high dynamic range, resolution, sharpness and ISO with no noise.
      The MP race has gotten off to a bad start because Nikon made the mistake of putting the Sony 36 MP sensor in a DSLR. Sony has a much better chance of being successful with a MP sensor in a camera with no moving parts. Sony’s SLTs are not selling well. I expect Sony to give up on SLT and go directly to the worlds first MMP, FF, mirrorless camera. Sony’s problem are lenses. They should build an MMP, RXX with a universal adapter mount and empower third parties to build AF adapters for lenses from Canon, Nikon, Zeiss and Leica.

  16. Eon L says

    Maybe we need “Dyson” to come along and turn this camera world upside-down just like he did with vacuum cleaners. Eon ( they still can’t catch up)