A month after announcing massive losses of $2.9 billion, Sony is taking evasive action to rediscover itself and right its ship. The company announced a new corporate strategy today, devised by its new CEO Kazuo Hirai. Called “One Sony”, the initiative identifies digital imaging as one of the three core pillars of the company going forward:
Sony is positioning digital imaging, game and mobile as the three core pillars of its electronics business, and going forward aims to concentrate its resources in these areas to further reinforce the businesses. Sony also plans to accelerate its efforts to drive innovation and new business creation. [#]
Sony is reportedly focusing on autofocus as one of the main battlegrounds it’ll wage war on in the DSLR market. According to sonyalpharumors, the company is working on a new A99 SLT camera that’s already being tested by photographers in the wild, and one of the main selling points of the camera is a whopping 102 autofocus points — all of them cross type. For comparison, Canon’s 1D X has 61 AF points with 41 of them cross type, and the Nikon D800 has 51 AF points with 15 of them cross type. Granted, the autofocus performance of a camera is much more than the number of cross-type points it has, but perhaps this is the beginning of a new “cross-type war” now that the “megapixel war” is cooling down a bit.
Samsung may not be the only camera company dabbling with the idea of a digital Hasselblad 500CM-style camera: Sony is reportedly working on a new SLT camera called the “A1S” that features a “full frame” square sensor. sonyalpharumors writes that the prototype camera in development has the following specs: compatibility with existing Alpha and Minolta lenses, a 36x36mm square sensor with 37-megapixel resolution, a large body (larger than the Sony A900), a square electronic viewfinder, and a 3×3-inch display.
Sony has announced the Alpha A57 pellicle mirror camera, the successor to its A55 released a year and a half ago. While the sensor resolution is still 16-megapixels — no megapixel war here — the new camera has an increased ISO limit of 16,000 (up from 12,800), a faster continuous shooting rate of 12fps (up from 10), and an improved 15-point AF system with enhanced object-tracking and snappy AF during HD video recording. It can also capture full HD video at 60p, 60i, and 24p. It’ll be priced at $700 for the body only (or $800 with a 18-55mm kit lens) when it hits store shelves next month. Read more…
I have to say I have one of the better jobs on the planet, at least for a photography gear-head. The part I like best — well, really there’s a lot of parts I like best — but one fun part is that my job description includes: Take things apart. See how they work. Learn how to fix them. Read more…
Crippled by its recent financial scandal, Olympus is in need of a bailout and has been open to the idea of forming a strategic alliance with other companies. The latest news is that Sony is on the brink of acquiring a 20-30% stake in the beleaguered medical device and camera company, a sizable increase from the 0.03% it currently owns. The alliance would combine Sony’s expertise in making camera sensors with Olympus’ expertise in medical devices. Fujifilm has also been named as a company that’s interested in investing in Olympus, but Sony seems to currently be the clear front-runner.
Well, well, well, look who’s first to the XQD game. It’s not Sandisk or Lexar, but Sony. On the same day Nikon announced its new D4 with XQD compatibility, Sony has announced the first line of XQD memory cards (intended to eventually replace CF cards). They offer 125MB/s transfer speeds, and can quickly store up to 100 RAW images in continuous shooting mode. A 16GB card will cost $129, while a 32GB one will be priced at $229. They’ll hit store shelves sometime in February.
In other news, Lexar has announced new 1000x CompactFlash cards, which can read at 150MB/s. A 128GB one is priced at a staggering $900. They’ve also announced the industry’s first 256GB card, which has read speeds of 60MB/s.
After damaging the pellicle mirror in his Sony A55 with cleaning fluid, a guy named Dario decided to look for a makeshift replacement while waiting for a real replacement mirror to arrive. He then discovered that food wrap (AKA Saran wrap) works nearly as well as a real pellicle mirror. The only downsides are occasionally degraded autofocus and a soft-focus effect when facing bright lights.
Sony’s NEX-7 mirrorless camera has been extremely difficult to find due to manufacturing being disrupted by the flooding in Thailand earlier this year. As a result of the shortage, the camera is selling for absurd prices on eBay — people are buying the camera for over $3,700 new. If you managed to snag one of the cameras while they were available, you might want to auction it off now before supply is restored. You’ll be able to buy three of them then for the current price of one!
Major camera makers including Olympus, Samsung and Sony have all filed patents in recent days for liquid lens technology. Unlike traditional glass lenses, liquid lenses don’t have any moving parts. Instead, liquid is used to focus light, and different voltages are applied to the liquid to change the shape of the liquid, thereby controlling the image. In the video above, techie Ben Krasnow introduces the technology, and then shows off a device he made by ripping a liquid lens out of a USB webcam.