There’s some new activity in the world of Sony NEX mirrorless cameras and E-mount lenses — both new product launches and rumors of soon-to-arrive gear.
Earlier this week, the company announced two new E-mount lenses: a 20mm f/2.8 pancake lens and a 18-200mm f/3.5-f/6.3 “Power Zoom” lens that has features designed for video recording.
When we first shared the news that Metabones had announced a “speed booster” adapter that makes your lenses faster, wider and sharper, not a lot of people had gotten their hands on it yet. But now that the most exciting accessory on the block has been accepted as definitely NOT an elaborate April Fools joke, a few websites have taken turns with it, and initial reviews all seem to be positive. Read more…
If you read the title and thought “huh?” you’re not the only one. Hearing that an adapter can actually make your lenses faster and wider sounds a bit like photography science fiction, but it’s true and it’s getting some serious attention online — it’s Metabones’ new Speed Booster. Read more…
Sony is taking full frame sensors very seriously. A few months ago the company launched the RX1, bringing full frame sensors to fixed-lens compact cameras. Around the same time, a rumor emerged that Sony is working on bringing the same sensor size to its NEX mirrorless cameras. It now looks like a full frame NEX is indeed on the way, to be announced in roughly one year.
Canon isn’t the only one that’s reportedly testing multiple high-megapixel full-frame camera prototypes: Sony is as well. Rumors that Sony will soon be joining the high-megapixel DSLR/SLT war are heating up. sonyalpharumors writes that prototypes are already in photographers’ hands:
[I have now] heard about three different Sony Full Frame prototype cameras. And I mean really completely different! Not three version of the same concept. I am still working on the details of these cameras but I can anticipate that one of these is the High End A1x (not the definitive name) High Megapixel camera. That is due for a 2013 release. And photographers are already testing it on the field!
The latest rumor back in October was that there were at least two models: a 36MP one and a 50MP one. The 36MP variant may be the same Sony sensor found inside the Nikon D800 — a sensor that received the highest score ever handed out by DxOMark. Sony sensors have been very highly regarded as of late, so the company should be a serious contender in the high-megapixel war — at least based on image quality.
If you’ve ever wondered what a Nikon D700 looks like when completely disassembled, today’s your lucky day. Czech photographer Martin Kozák recently did a complete teardown with a ruined D700, and then snapped the still life photo seen above.
In addition to analyzing the use of Sony sensors in Nikon DSLRs, Chipworks has also published an article that explores Canon’s full frame sensors. It’s quite technical, but the main points can be grasped without understanding the terms being thrown around:
On the process side, the 1D X is remarkable in that Canon continues to stay with the 0.5 µm process generation it has used for every APS-C and FF device analyzed. While the use of a mature fab likely gives Canon a competitive edge via lower manufacturing costs, it may also weigh heavily in its product development [...] Given the geometric constraints of 0.5 µm design rules, Canon seems content to hang around the 21 Mp resolution for recent FF sensors through the use of shared pixels [...]
So, back to the rumors of Canon allegedly readying a high resolution competitor to the Nikon D800. Will Canon finally move off that 0.5 µm generation? It is worth noting that September 2012 marked the 10 year anniversary of Canon’s announcement of the world’s first CMOS FF sensor, the EOS 1Ds [...] every Canon FF sensor analyzed since has used the same 0.5 µm design rules. It is a credit to Canon that it has remained competitive by continuing to optimize its pixels fabricated in a relatively mature process.
What they’re saying is: if Canon wants to continue fighting in the megapixel wars with Nikon and Sony, it’s going to need to shake things up a bit in its sensor department.
Canon stays the course [Chipworks via CanonWatch]
P.S. If you’re into comparing the technical aspects of camera sensors, check out Digital Camera Database. It has a sensor comparison tool designed for you.
Electronics reverse-engineering company Chipworks has published an article that discusses and reviews Nikon’s use of Sony CMOS sensors in certain DSLRs:
The recent high profile Apple vs. Samsung patent infringement case further emphasizes the incestuous nature of the supply chain for components in consumer electronics. Apple has traditionally sourced a great many components for its smartphones and tablets from its competitor Samsung. An analogous relationship exists in the DSLR world where Nikon both designs its own CMOS image sensors (CIS) to be fabricated by a foundry partner, and sometimes uses CIS components from its camera competitor Sony [...] What is somewhat interesting is that after a run of Nikon-designed CIS devices in Nikon FF and APS-C cameras, Sony has muscled its way back in for the FF format D800 [...]
Sony supplies the CIS for the D800, a camera with the resolution (36.3 Mp) and performance that approaches the performance of medium format cameras for some applications [...] While there are certainly those who groan at the prospect of cranking up the resolution of a FF sensor, the D800 appears to be a disruptive event in the FF camera segment – one that Canon is rumored to likely respond to.
Chipworks notes that the D800 has the smallest pixel size of any full frame sensor it has examined so far. Canon is reportedly hard at work testing tiny pixels of its own.
Full Frame DSLR Cameras – Nikon vs Sony [Chipworks via Image Sensors World]
It has only been a month since Sony announced its latest flagship full-frame camera, the A99, but rumors are already beginning to emerge regarding the company’s next top-of-the-line offering. sonyalpharumors writes that Sony has reportedly marked sometime between May and June 2013 as a tentative release date for its next high-end full-frame:
The camera will be more “photographer” oriented. There are currently a couple of different prototypes. One we heard of has a 36 Megapixel sensor (same as Nikon D800) and built-in vertical grip. Priced well above the current Sony A99. A second prototype has a new 50 Megapixel sensor which goal is to go as close as possible to a “medium format” quality.
The new camera wouldn’t be intended to replace the A99, but would instead become the flag-bearer by creating an entirely new tier in the Sony lineup. If the latest rumors pan out, then 50 megapixels may soon become the new standard resolution for flagship DSLRs; Canon is reportedly working on its own high-res (46MP) camera.
Update: Reader Scott Hutchison reminds us that back in May, there was a rumor that working on a “A1S” camera with a full-frame 36x36mm square sensor. Hmm…
A number of publications have begun receiving hands-on time with the new Sony RX1 full-frame compact camera. It seems that Sony is doing something right, as initial commentators and testers are saying some pretty positive things about the $2,800 shooter.