Sony-a99-front-no-lens-e1347448262705-224x1652012 marked a monumental year for Sony. Not one, not two, but three full frame video or video-capable cameras were announced, and on the same day, no less. One of these constitutes the only full frame camcorder to date, the NEX-VG900, so the historicity really can't be discounted. Doubtlessly responding to consumer and industry feedback, and before the models the company has announced have even been released yet, Sony isn't content to let the waves they've made in our cozy little pond merely ripple back. Instead, they've all but confirmed yet another stills/video camera in production, targeting even more pieces of the market share they've aggressively sought to carve out. In this case, Sony's bringing all the more good news for full frame enthusiasts -- especially those looking past the A99 -- and those DSLR users with positive mirrorless shooting experiences.

The camera has no officially confirmed name yet, but Sony Alpha Rumors is offering its highest-end endorsement for this information, with kudos to The Verge for reposting:

  • These last two weeks I contacted all my best sources and they now all(!) confirmed that the next Sony Full Frame camera will not be a new SLT camera. It will be a Full Frame mirrorless camera!
  • Plan of a FF SLT release in 2013 have been dropped to fully focus the development resources on that FF mirrorless camera. Sony’s main priority is to create a real High End camera. A camera that can have all the functions and capabilities of a DSLR (that means for example fast AF). Sony sees that camera as the one that should bring back some significant interests on Sony FF system.
  • The camera is still in the final stage of development. We can expect the release of the cameras by end 2013 at earliest but early 2014 sounds more likely for now.

The camera will apparently feature an E-mount that will also natively support A-mount lenses, which may serve to invigorate Sony's presence in the realm of self-branded lens mounts (which are clearly dominated by, well, other parties) -- as well sport a form factor a bit bustier than the NEX-7. This may (or, depending on later details, may not) come as a hopeful prospect over the horizon for those who were either disappointed by the performance of one of Sony's recent full frame DSLR offerings, the A99 -- one of the cameras announced on that busy day in September -- or, at least (if they haven't had a chance to use the camera extensively themselves), by reviews of the A99, one of which SAR has also recently shared. Here's a quick run-down of the A99's features, in case you need a little catch-up:

The folks over at PhotoClubAlpha found a strongly mixed bag in the A99, but were outright disappointed in several respects, not least of which is the aforementioned value inherent in a proven lens collection.

Sony lenses are not cheaper, nor wider in range of choice or sources of supply, than Nikon or Canon. There is no collateral benefit when you hand over as much as 50% extra to Sony for their innovative cost-saving technology. In my British Journal review, I concluded that the Alpha 99 was between 30 and 50% over-priced and combined with the cost and limited range of Sony lenses there would be little good reason for any new full-frame entrant to prefer Sony over Nikon or Canon.

The aspect of greatest interest to most of us would be its uncompressed HDMI-out capabilities, which is major -- this can be, however, negated by a full-on purchase unless you already own an array of Sony glass, are looking to invest in as much, or if you're planning an A-series-based shoot as a discreet rental arrangement. This problem, of course, extends to this 'mysterious' upcoming Sony FF camera, though the E-mount support does expand lens options a bit. Then again, at least the A99 offers an interchangeable lens system at all, which is more than you can say can be said for the $2800 RX1. Considering Sony is already looking to "bring back some significant interests on Sony FF system" (I mean, they just announced three FF cameras three months ago), it's not unlikely the video portion will be improved as well -- and given the late-2013/early-2014 release date, don't be surprised if Sony throws in a more modern video codec on which to record, as well.

The yet-to-be named Sony mirrorless camera is reportedly testing two prototypes, with 24 and and 30-32 Megapixel sensors, respectively.

Do you guys agree that the A99 may not be a viable (commercially, at least) investment on the video side of things? In what ways (if any) were you disappointed in your experiences with the more recent full frame offerings Sony has provided thus far? In what ways do you see improvement needed (in mirrorless models or otherwise) for you to consider Sony stills/video camera as a contender to your Canon or your Nikon?


[via The Verge]