When Sony’s full-frame E-mount system was first launched last year, it comprised four dedicated lenses for the A7 and A7R cameras. These were the two primes, the FE 35mm f2.8 and FE 55mm f1.8, and the two zooms, the FE 24-70mm f4 and the FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6. An FE 70-200mm was also announced along the cameras, and will be available soon. While five lenses is quite a solid setup for a brand-new photographic system, these particular ones offer too little choice for demanding photographers.
The good news is, though, that Sony has been promising more lenses for the system, including a wide-angle zoom, another fast prime lens and a macro lens. Zeiss also announced that they are working on new lenses for the full-frame E-mount system, and theirs will be manual primes just like they made for various DSLR systems in the past. Another fast, manual prime lens has recently been announced by Chinese manufacturer Mitakon and should also soon be available.
Sony Alpha Rumors now heard from an anonymous source that over the course of this year, a total of fourteen lenses for Sony’s full-frame E-mount system will become available. This means that in addition to the five lens previously announced by Sony, there will be nine more coming this year including the ones from Sony and Zeiss that we mentioned above. Together with the Mitakon lens, these will make for a total of 15 lenses.
That’s actually not too bad for a system that by the end of the year will be just over a year old. Also, among these 15 lenses, there should be enough choice for most photographers that are contemplating switching to the A7, A7S or A7R. And let’s not forget, because these cameras are mirrorless E-mount cameras, you can adapt almost any full-frame lens to these cameras, and even use autofocus with some when you have the right adapter. So overall, the lens choice for these cameras is already pretty huge.
A couple of months ago, we reported about an upcoming 50mm f0.95 lens by Chinese manufacturer Mitakon, made specifically for Sony’s new full-frame E-mount cameras. Back then, we didn’t know when it would appear, or what its specifications would be. A little later some first sample images popped up, which showed that the lens would be able to deliver solid image quality even wide open.
Now, finally, Sony Alpha Rumors has received word that we might actually see the lens very soon, and that it’ll come at a very reasonable price. According to an anonymous source, the first superfast aperture manual focus normal lens for Sony’s A7, A7R and new A7S cameras will be introduced this month, on April 20th 2014. As for its price, it will allegedly come in at US-$ 799, which if true would almost be a steal for a lens with these specifications.
For comparison, the only other superfast 50mm lenses capable of covering the full 35mm sensor area are the insanely expensive Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f0.95, and the less-expensive-but-still-unaffordable-for-most SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95. The former sets you back a cringeworthy $11k, while the latter comes in at an eye-watering $3000. While the Mitakon will probably not be as strong a performer as these two, it is still the most affordable option if you want a superfast 50mm for your A7(R/S). That is, if the reported price tag turns out to be true.
Sony Alpha Rumors has shared a set of slides out of a presentation by Sony South Korea, which indicate that the company is focusing on the high-end A-mount and E-mount segments right now. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Sony has been focusing more on the entry-level and mid-range segments in the recent past. The A99 (our review here) is about to reach the end of a typical digital camera life cycle, and the A7 (our review here) and A7R (our review here) were quite obviously only the beginning of a series of full-frame E-mount cameras.
It is very likely, thus, that the near future will not only see a replacement for the ageing A99 and A77 (our review here) translucent mirror cameras, but also additions to the full-frame E-mount range. Per our own judgement, the single-digit Alpha range has room for at least a more high-end-model (possibly an A9) as well as a lower-end model aimed more at the consumer (possibly an A5 or A3.) In any case, there are many things about the A7 and A7R that can and should be improved.
The slides also mention some other interesting things. For one, they indicate that mirrorless cameras have gained hugely over DSLRs in 2013, though it is unclear whether the figures relate to Sony products or to the overall camera market. On the mirrorless market, Sony claims to have had a 53% share in 2013, which is pretty impressive. Also, Sony is hard on the heels of Canon when it comes to market share in interchangeable lens cameras. The goal for 2014 is to overtake Canon, at least in South Korea.
Every other year, one of the world’s biggest photography fairs is being held in Cologne, Germany. We’re of course talking about photokina, which was last held in 2012 and is scheduled again for September this year. Since there was no photokina in 2013, Sony instead chose Photo Plus Expo in New York as the place to show off its brand new duo of 35mm full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras. Now reports are coming in that around photokina this year, Sony will introduce two more full-frame E-mount cameras.
Sony Alpha Rumors has received word from ‘multiple trusted sources’ that the launch of two new E-mount cameras with 35mm full-frame is planned within the next 5 to 6 months, which would put the announcement sometime between mid-August and mid-September, just ahead of photokina 2014. Which means that it is very likely that both cameras will be shown there. Whether or not visitors will be able to touch them remains to be seen. At photokina 2012, the then-new full-frame compact RX1 was hidden behind plexiglass.
As for details, little is known about the two new shooters, except that they are not going to replace the A7 and the A7R. This could in theory mean that we’ll either get to see higher-end models, presumably labelled A8 and/or A9, or lower-end models, or both–that is, one higher-end camera and one lower-end camera. What is certain is that the new full-frame Alphas will feature a more advanced hybrid autofocus system similar to that in the new A6000.
So, what kind of full-frame E-mount camera would you like to see? Do you dig the SLR-style of the A7 and A7R, or would you rather have a rangefinder-like A6 in the style of the NEX-6/7 and A6000? Or something entirely different? Let us know, we’re curious!
All pictures courtesy of Fengniao forum user Romil.
A little while ago, the Chinese lens manufacturer Mitakon announced the first super-fast lens for Sony’s new full-frame E-mount cameras, the Mitakon 50mm f0.95. After the 35mm f0.95 for the APS-C E-mount cameras, this is Mitakon’s second über-speedy normal lens for Sony’s mirrorless cameras. Now the first couple sample images taken with the lens on a Sony A7 have popped up on a Chinese forum, and they’re looking gorgeous.
Head past the jump if you’re ready for some super creamy bokeh and extra-slim depth-of-field.
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Back in August, Pentax, now owned by Ricoh, announced a re-issue of its DA Limited lenses, which are now labelled HD and come with new coatings for better image quality and rounded aperture blades for nicer bokeh. Now RiceHigh’s Pentax Blog reports that Ricoh is planning to also revamp the Pentax FA Limited lenses, which consist of the 31mm f1.8, 43mm f1.9 and 77mm f1.8. According to a discussion thread on the Chinese Xitek forum, a Ricoh official stated that the FA Limited lenses will soon receive the same HD coatings plus a number of optical tweaks to their barrels.
In another recent article, RiceHigh reports about an interview with the Chief Sales and Marketing Manager of Ricoh Imaging, published in issue 1/2014 of the Japanese Impress photo magazine. In that interview, it’s allegedly being hinted that a replacement for the 645D digital medium format camera might be on its way, and that it may come with a full-frame 6×4.5 sensor. The current Pentax 645D uses a cropped sensor.
The same Ricoh official is also reported to have claimed in an interview with a Hong Kong magazine that there will likely be no full-frame Pentax DSLR coming, at least not before the 645D successor. As a reason for that, he mentions that APS-C models make up about 80-90% of the total DSLR market share, and that there are already enough choices for the remaining 10-20% of the market. That’s really a pity, because we know for a fact that many Pentax fans would love to be able to use their legacy K-mount glass on a 35mm full-frame system. But there’s still the Sony A7 and A7R for that.
As always, these are early reports and to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s very likely that we’ll see the revamped FA Limited lenses for CP+ in 2014, but we wouldn’t speculate on when a possible 645D successor might see the light of day, and whether or not there’ll ever be a 35mm full-frame Pentax DSLR. Though we surely wouldn’t mind one.