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]