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August 27, 2013
Posted in news

Suprise! New firmware update for the A99, NEX-7, NEX-6 and NEX-5R

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Sony Japan (Google translation here) issued a new firmware update for the A99, NEX-7, NEX-6 and NEX-5R. Sony Australia posted the full info in english:

A99 Update Details (Sony AUS):

  1. Provides support for the Dual AF function compliant lens: SAL50F14Z
  2. Addition of HDMI simultaneous output mode
    In addition to the existing HDMI simultaneous output during movie recording, the camera will be able to display smooth smooth 60fps(NTSC)/50fps(PAL) video on an external monitor connected via HDMI and on the LCD screen of the camera simultaneously also during movie recording standby.
    Note: The camera needs to be in Movie mode with [HDMI Info. Display] set to [Off].

NEX-7 Update Details (Sony AUS):

  • Addition of AF drive system for movies
    AF drive system for movie was added in order to enhance the scalability of future E-mount systems. This feature ensures a higher degree of flexibility in the design of future E-mount lenses. We will be able to provide lenses that can even better satisfy our customers.

NEX-6 and 5R Update Details (Sony AUS):

  • Provides support for the Fast Hybrid AF function compliant lenses:
    SEL20F28 and SEL1670Z.
  • Addition of AF drive system for movies
    AF drive system for movie was added in order to enhance the scalability of future E-mount systems. This feature ensures a higher degree of flexibility in the design of future E-mount lenses. We will be able to provide lenses that can even better satisfy our customers.
August 25, 2013
Posted in news

(SR5) Full E-mount zoom lens specs.

The Korean website Dicahub made this lens size comparison based on the mount side and filter size of the new E-mount zooms. The original Sony leaked file doesn’t really show the lens in the right proportion. As you can see from this image the PZ G lens isn’t that big as on the Sony leaked presentation. And the Zeiss zoom is quite compact.

And these are the full lens specs via Digicameinfo. The new NEX stuff could be announced on Tuesday. Stay tuned on SAR!

 

  • Spec of 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS Vario-Tesser T * E- 16 lenses in 12 groups
    – Minimum focusing distance 0.35m
    – maximum magnification 0.23 times
    – Filter diameter 55mm
    – Total length 75mm, maximum diameter of 66.6mm
    – 308g Weight
  • Spec of 18-105mm F4 G OSS E PZ- 16 lenses in 12 groups
    – Closest focus point: wide end 0.45m, tele end 0.95m
    – maximum magnification 0.11 times
    – Filter diameter 72mm
    – Total length 110mm, maximum diameter of 78mm
    – 427g Weight

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Reminder (SR = Sonyrumor):
SR1=probably fake rumor
SR2=rumor from unknown sources
SR3=50% chance it is correct
SR4=rumor from known sources
SR5=almost certainly correct!

August 19, 2013
Posted in news

The future of Sony (and other) SLR style cameras (by Amit Zinman)

Image courtesy: techradar.

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SAR reader Amit Zinman (http://amitzinman.com/) wrote this post for SonyAlphaRumors. If you want to write an article for SAR just drop me a message at sonyalpharumors@gmail.com. Thanks!

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The future of Sony (and other) SLR style cameras by Amit Zinman (http://amitzinman.com/):

I’ve decided to write this article, not really as anticipation to what’s coming right away from Sony. Though Sony did promise to revolutionize digital cameras in upcoming high end models, I am sure that some of what I will specify here will NOT find itself into these models. The idea was to write what I thought ought to be the future of professional stills/video cameras as I see them rather than a prediction of what will actually come from camera manufacturers who have have proven to be conservative, lacking a kind of a Steve Jobs type driven revolution. At this point it is kind of funny to me that a lot of the innovations are actually coming from low end mass market devices such as cellphones. Canon, another example for this lack of innovation, has the ever useful swivel LCD screens only in their mid level cameras while the seriously expensive high end models lack this obvious innovation. Sony, has really tried to be different from Canon and Nikon in that since, but there is much more to be done, some of it, as we already heard, will find it’s way into the new FF models.
So, what would I like to see in future models?

1. New sensor technology
we’ve heard of brave new patents for sensors. It seems that there now sensors that can see as well or even better than the human eye. There was much discussion here on the science of upcoming sensor technologies which went over my head. That said, it seems like that breakthrough technologies such as organic photo sensors are coming soon unless camera manufacturers fear making all of their current cameras obsolete. As Apple have shown with their iPhones, such revolution can really change a market is someone is brave enough to do it, regardless of costs. So, it’s quite simply, if Sony can deliver a camera with double the dynamic range of current Canon 5d mkIII, people will buy it, regardless of dependance on lenses and other accessories.

2. Processor
As an owner of current flagship A99 I can definitely say that it’s processing abilities are seriously weak. Take a long exposure photo and then wait a few seconds for it to process. Why? For the amount of money spent on it one should wonder. New cellphones now come with quad core CPUs, even Sony Xperia ones. You think the marketing name “BIONZ” impresses us? Not really. Maybe if you had two of those and a dedicated CPU just for apps (more about that later), now that could be impressive, especially if it would allow to take a photo while shooting video.

3. Battery
I own a few NP-FM500H batteries, and would hate buying new ones, but that might be unavoidable as the digital parts of the camera ask for more juice. Do moving parts take a lot of power? If you remove all of them as Sony is rumored to do with its future models, maybe you could fit in two batteries without the need to bulk up the camera with a vertical group as is done today.

4. RAW processing
I still can’t figure out why each camera model has it’s own RAW format. Is this a secret deal with software companies to make sure new versions of photo editing and processing suites are sold?
Adobe has a single format, DNG, which seem to work well. Can’t all manufacturers just switch to that format, or at least allow to option to shoot to DNG?
Other than that it is quite obvious that Sony should let you decide the RAW size of photos unlike the A99 which just provides the maximum size, falling (a few models) behind the competition.

5. The camera as a computer
Many of the photos you see today are taken by iPhones, and Samsung already has an entry level camera with the Android OS. You might say, so what? Who needs all these unnecessary apps on your pro camera? Things are far from being that simple. At this day and age being able to process a photo without the use of a bulky laptop and upload it to the Internet can be really useful and profitable. Sure, you can use your phone for that, but it does put a layer of things that could go wrong between you and the things that you need to do.
Also, the Canon hacking projects showed what a determined community can achieve with available camera technology. Sure, it would mean loosening the control that Sony has over it’s product, but it’s a great way of keeping your camera users happy. Say, I write an app that lets the camera write video files to the format used by my editing suite. Now that could turn some heads.

6. Video
Sony did well with the A99 1080p/50 AVCHD 2.0 video format but surely we can move beyond that to more professional format for a professional camera, such as Adobe Cinema DNG or other less compressed formats.
The separate Modes controls for video and stills on the A99 and other models is really confusing and unnecessary. It’s a part of the growing pains for camera manufactures realizing that they are making a camera that has two role, with varying importance to different users.

7. Connectivity
USB 3 is seriously needed now that cameras write more information than ever. A proper Wi-Fi option is fast becoming a useful tool for connecting your camera to the Internet, cellphone, laptop and/or monitor.
As for 3G/4G connectivity, maybe it could be an add-on. I’m all for Sony making extra bucks on some accessories.
I’m sure that Mac users will like to have a Thunderolt/Lightning interface but I doubt any camera will ever have that port if it’s not made by Apple itself.

8. Storage
SD cards seem to be too slow for the requirements of future cameras. Sony itself has two pro memory card formats, SxS used by some of its video cameras and XQD, currently used only by Nikon D4 and no Sony camera at all.
Future Sony cameras might offer a XQD option, perhaps along with SD, but I have a completely different idea.
As the removal of moving parts leaves more room inside the camera you could definitely have a fast internal 256GB drive. The drive could offload in the background to a slow and cheaper SD cards thus allowing shooters to leverage their existing cards without the need to buy new and seriously more expensive cards. It might seem weird at first but I think that many people will like not having to use cards at all ever again, as you could also backup your drive to a remote laptop in the background.

9. Remote operations
Sony has already promised this to be a feature of its future models. You should be able to control your camera from your cellphone or laptop and use them as external cheap monitors. Consider having your Sony camera mounted on a helicopter and being able to control and watch what it is doing on your cellphone while riding in the back.
This can be done using advanced Wi-Fi/Bluetooth standards. It should also offer tetheing using USB 3.0 (or other connectors) connectivity that will transfer files straight from the camera to a computer for processing.

10. Flash photography
That is one of the areas that is probably most in need of an update for those who use it.
I use radio controlled flashes a lot, because I never did like the way photos look when using an on camera flash, even a fancy one. But the options for really controlling them remotely are kind of limited.
Sony should work on a new flash system, maybe one that operates on a dedicated Wi-Fi network. That way you could setup your flashes from your camera without the need for any additional hardware. You could manually control them without the need to go and do so by hand, or let some sophisticated software decide how they are setup.
I’m sure someone could also figure out a way to change the color of flashes without needing to use actual color filters.
Also, can’t anyone invent some batteries that don’t heat as much and expunge really quickly? How about NP-FM500H? I wouldn’t mind spending a little bit more on batteries that I could trust to work through the night. Actually the price for a NP-FM500H clone and professional grade AA battery packs are not that dissimilar, especially considering the times I had to buy non-rechargeable ones when the rechargeable ones failed me.
As long Sony is working in my imagination on such a new system it should also provide remote Wi-Fi controllers for its existing line of flashes.

11. Things that do not need much improvement
The optical viewfinder is not coming back, at least not for Sony cameras, which is fine by me. I like the A99 OLED viewfinder and use it for things like shooting video on bright days. Sure, it can always be improved upon, but not by much.
The rotating LCD is also great. My only wish is that it would extend a little bit more on the top, beyond the ISO hot shoe converter.

Amit
(http://amitzinman.com/)

August 16, 2013
Posted in news

Sony Tidbits…


Sony 500mm lens review

Here is a short roundup of Sony news of the week. If i missed to report something just drop me a message at sonyalpharumors@gmail.com. Thanks!

Sony 300mm f/2.8 G SSM II test at CameraStuffReview.
Cómo no vender CSCs – Nikon… y otras (CSCmagazine).
A Review of the Hasselblad Stellar (PetaPixel).
Sony DEV-50 3D Binocular Camcorder (Luminous Landscape).
Sony Alpha A99 Review Part II – A99 at Work (Echenique).
Sony alpha Festival 2013 in Berlin (Photoscala).
Sony RX1R sample images at Pantip.
Sony NEX-FF. Why it might work (Theaaronloy).
Sony Management is Crazy (Preferredaperture).
Sony RX1R Review – Extended Foursome (Force-photos).
Greek Sony A58 review by Authority.gr.

August 13, 2013
Posted in news

George Clooney backs up Sony’s strategy and says Loeb is a “carpet bagger”

A couple of months ago Daniel Loeb, hedge fund manager and owner of a large 7% Sony share criticized the Sony company strategy. He recently also criticized the Sony movie business. But this time Sony got a very unexpected backup from George Clooney. Deadline.com reports Clooneys words:

“Loeb calls himself an activist investor, and I would call him a carpetbagger, and one who is trying to spread a climate of fear that pushes studios to want to make only tent poles… Why is he buying stock like crazy if he’s so down on things? He’s trying to manipulate the market. I am no apologist for the studios, but these people know what they are doing.”

How any hedge fund guy can call for responsibility is beyond me, because if you look at those guys, there is no conscience at work. It is a business that is only about creating wealth, where when they fail, they get bailed out and where nobody gets fired. A guy from a hedge fund entity is the single least qualified person to be making these kinds of judgments, and he is dangerous to our industry.”

Well said George!

And you may read the latest article on The Verge too:

In the end, Sony saw Loeb’s proposal as little more than a distraction along the way to executing Hirai’s plan. And, with recent successes in smartphones and even televisions, it’s understandable that the company would want to keep its focus on the path ahead.

Now let’s see if the soon to be announced new QX and NEX cameras will be another success!

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