The Sony E Mount has a ton of lenses available. But the cool thing is that Sony bought the Minolta camera division many years ago. To that end, they took over the Minolta A-mount. The Sony a99 II was the last A-mount camera. Despite that, all the old lenses can be given a lot of new life. We were around to review many of those lenses from back in the day. So we’re rounding up some of our favorite old-school A-mount lenses to adapt to Sony FE cameras. Dive in with us!Continue reading…
With the discontinuation of the Sony a99 II, Sony loses most of its ties to its ancestor: Minolta.
A major testament to the death of the DSLR was revealed today with Sony’s latest notice on the discontinuation of the Sony a99 II–the company’s last camera to be made with the Minolta A mount. Sony acquired the mount and lots of key Minolta technology after a purchase made over 10 years ago. And for years, journalists have been asking how much support will be given to the A mount. In fact, lots of us thought that it was dead and over with on the announcement of the Sony a9. The Sony a99 II isn’t really a DSLR as much as folks call it a DSLT, but the bigger news here is that Sony has no truly viable A mount cameras in their lineup currently.
This could a fantastic move for Tamron!
Now here is some interesting chatter that cropped up over the weekend! In what shouldn’t really be all that surprising of a move, it is being reported that Tamron will be ceasing their own lens development in regards to the Sony A Mount. Instead, the word is they will be shifting their focus to a couple of other lens mounts. Continue reading…
If you were to look back at some of the quintessential lens options for the Sony Alpha lineup of lenses, then you’re sure to figure that the company would have updated their 35mm f1.4 by now; but they haven’t. Sony has a fantastic 50mm f1.4 lens for their Alpha lineup of cameras and considering that the A99 II is such a blow-me-away great camera, it would make a whole lot of sense that they updated their 35mm for the wedding and photojournalism crowd.
However, those photographers are understandable looking more towards the mirrorless camera world. So with that said, when Sony sent us the Sony 35mm f1.4 lens in Alpha mount to review with the Minolta a7, we decided to do something different: test the lens entirely on film.
Though this report seems a bit crazy to hear, Sony Alpha Rumors is stating that the company may kill off almost all of their DSLR lineup of cameras to push consumers more towards the mirrorless options and pros more towards both mirrorless and DSLR (or SLT in Sony terms.) Instead, only the top end of the cameras will survive: with those being the A77 and the A99 series. Hopefully, this will also help to fix the marketing with all of the cameras now being included in the Alpha series.
Ever since the company announced that both E and A mounts are in the Alpha series, many have been very confused.
If the A mount is to only continue with two cameras, what that may also mean is that the next A77 or A99 models may be positioned more towards a higher level enthusiast than the pro. They’re a company that has always gone after that market segment more than professionals–with the exception of the company’s first full frame camera: the A900.
There is also the chance that the report isn’t true at all because of all of the consumer oriented lenses that Sony has created over the years. It would be a total waste to abandon all of that production.
Wait, what? When Sony first introduced its SLT series of A-mount cameras sporting a translucent mirror, the whole idea was–or so we thought–that the mirror wouldn’t have to flip up because, you know, it being translucent and all. But now it seems that Sony decided combining classical SLR flip-up mirror tech with a translucent mirror would be an even better idea. And we actually have to agree.
The problem with the SLT technology is, that the mirror isn’t actually tranclucent, but only semi-translucent. That means that part of the incoming light gets deflected towards the AF sensor, while the majority passes through the mirror and hits the sensor. The technology is pretty clever because it allows for permanent live-view while providing phase-detection AF at the same time, but whith it comes a slight loss of light because the semi-translucent mirror is fixed in position and doesn’t flip up during exposure like that of a regular DSLR.
With a semi-translucent mirror that actually flips up during the exposure, Sony could solve the light-loss problem, and still have phase-detection AF and live-view at the same time. Realistically, though, Sony probably won’t ever put this technology into one of its A-mount cameras, and the reason for that is fairly simple: they already have sensors that sporting phase-detection pixels, namely those of the A7 and A6000 E-mount cameras.
So instead of further developing its SLT technology, our bet is that in its next generation of A-mount cameras, Sony will dump the mirror once and for all, and instead rely on its on-sensor phase-detection AF. Technically, this would mean that all future A-mount cameras would essentially become mirrorless, but with a much longer flange-back distance compared to the E-mount system, and with a more traditional DSLR look compared to the styling of the majority of Sony’s E-mount cameras.
As always, this is just speculation at this point and to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the way Sony has been innovating lately, the above scenario seems rather probably to us.
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.
Sony is showing off two full-frame sensor lenses for the Sony A-mount. On the way are the 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM II telephoto zoom lens and a Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f1.4 ZA SSM lens. Both of these lenses feature Sony’s Super Sonic Wave Motor intended for quiet and speedy autofocus and other performance improvements. For APS-C shooters, the DT 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM II is coming to replace Sony’s older version of the same glass but with both external and internal redesigns.
On the CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan last night, Sony announced a new high-performance super-telephoto lens for their SLR and SLT cameras, the SAL500F40G. With its 500mm focal length and an initial aperture of f4, this is the longest-ever lens carrying the “G” branding which only Sony’s professional grade telephoto lenses receive. Besides being extraordinarily bright for a lens of its focal length, the new SAL500F40G focuses via a new ultrasonic SSM drive and is both dust- and moisture-proof. It is aimed primarily at outdoor user, as in wildlife photography, sports documentation etc.
Sony also confirmed that they are working on a new full-frame A-mount camera to replace the aged α900, but have given no further details. Read more after the jump.