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A7, A7R, A7S....the next A7?

f/otographer

New member
Sony seems to be on a roll. There are now 3 almost identical bodies out with the FE mount. This was a very smart and cost saving move on Sony's part. The A7 series in my opinion has near perfect ergonomics and producing radically different cameras in the same excellent body helps recoup development cost. The more A7's they make, in any version, the more money Sony saves (and makes). Great job Sony.

I am hoping, fingers crossed, that the next A7 body to be released has the movable sensor array that was reported on toward the end of last year. Much like the old Contax AX, which had a movable film tray for auto focusing with CY lenses, an A7 with this tech would allow for the use of Auto Focus with either old manual focus lenses or with other AF lenses from other makers (i.e. Canon/Nikon) by focusing with the sensor and not the lens.

I shoot legacy glass almost exclusively and while manual focus is fine for most of my work there are times I would prefer a little AF assist. A movable sensor would mean I wouldnt have to carry a whole second set of lenses to make this happen. Then there is also the really neat feature of the AX that allows for macro (or macro like) shooting with any lens without the need for tubes or close up lenses. Examples and explanation of that can be found here. The amazing Contax AX and ‘forbidden’ photography | grumpytykepix

I would like to receive input from the community on two things regarding this subject.

1) Would a movable sensor A7 interest you breathing AF life into legacy glass? Would you consider buying it if Sony released a model like this?

2) And, much more generally, what would you like to see as the next A7? Features, specs, etc.

Old rumor leak here: (SR5) UPDATED: There is a Sony camera to come…also for Nikon and Canon lens owners! | sonyalpharumors
 

Annna T

New member
Sony seems to be on a roll. There are now 3 almost identical bodies out with the FE mount. This was a very smart and cost saving move on Sony's part. The A7 series in my opinion has near perfect ergonomics and producing radically different cameras in the same excellent body helps recoup development cost. The more A7's they make, in any version, the more money Sony saves (and makes). Great job Sony.g

I am hoping, fingers crossed, that the next A7 body to be released has the movable sensor array that was reported on toward the end of last year. Much like the old Contax AX, which had a movable film tray for auto focusing with CY lenses, an A7 with this tech would allow for the use of Auto Focus with either old manual focus lenses or with other AF lenses from other makers (i.e. Canon/Nikon) by focusing with the sensor and not the lens.
Your two paragraphs seems contradictory : in order to be able to move the sensor forward and backward for focusing, Sony would have to design a much thicker body. That technique IMO won't fit in a small actual A7 body. They would have to design another body. The Contax AX was a very deep and a big body. I never used one (had a Contax G2), but if I remember correctly, it wasn't a particularly fast focusing body ?
 

f/otographer

New member
They are not necessarily contradictory. We would be looking at 30 years worth of improvements in tech and miniaturization of the components involved. Sony has options and technology at their disposal that Kyocera would have deemed science fiction back in the 80's when they implemented the AX. And if you look at the video of the AX in action in the second link you will see that the entire film carriage was required to move back and forth. That was a huge contributing factor to the size of the AX. A new camera would only need the much smaller sensor array in the middle of the camera to actually move. But given the fact that Sony is reluctant to put IS in the existing bodies does make one wonder if they could make it work without doing at least some modification.

Could this be done in the existing A7 body? Only Sony knows. But even using a modified A7 chassis with slight additional bulk would be cheaper then developing an entirely new body so my original statement stands.

Without getting sidetracked on a bunch of technical unknowns I would still like to know if anyone would be interested in this particular type of niche product. Or would you rather maybe see an all Monochrome A7? Or maybe a curved sensor A7 requiring special FE lenses to take advantage of the new sensor? Ha, a new camera with the same mount but needing a new line of lenses sounds rather familiar to Sony doesnt it? That would fit right into the Sony ethos rather nicely I think. :)
 

iiiNelson

Well-known member
They are not necessarily contradictory. We would be looking at 30 years worth of improvements in tech and miniaturization of the components involved. Sony has options and technology at their disposal that Kyocera would have deemed science fiction back in the 80's when they implemented the AX. And if you look at the video of the AX in action in the second link you will see that the entire film carriage was required to move back and forth. That was a huge contributing factor to the size of the AX. A new camera would only need the much smaller sensor array in the middle of the camera to actually move. But given the fact that Sony is reluctant to put IS in the existing bodies does make one wonder if they could make it work without doing at least some modification.

Could this be done in the existing A7 body? Only Sony knows. But even using a modified A7 chassis with slight additional bulk would be cheaper then developing an entirely new body so my original statement stands.

Without getting sidetracked on a bunch of technical unknowns I would still like to know if anyone would be interested in this particular type of niche product. Or would you rather maybe see an all Monochrome A7? Or maybe a curved sensor A7 requiring special FE lenses to take advantage of the new sensor? Ha, a new camera with the same mount but needing a new line of lenses sounds rather familiar to Sony doesnt it? That would fit right into the Sony ethos rather nicely I think. :)
I'm hoping for an A7M. I do a lot of conversions into B&W. If I could avoid spending $8000 on a Leica then that would be great. I'd rather have in camera stabilization for all lenses than autofocus if I had to choose.

As for future cameras from Sony. I'm really hoping the Sony-Fuji MF camera rumor is true and I hope it has interchangeable lenses. With two companies working and Fuji's MF experience we could all hope that would accelerate the lens line production (and have amazing yet reasonable sized native MF lenses going by the X system) should that rumor be true.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
1) If it could be done technically and keep the camera small, who wouldn't want "On Demand AF" using a moveable sensor? However, I fear it would result in "size and cost creep". One of the attributes of the A7 series is small size, high performance for lower cost.

2) I'd rather see "Better" not "More".

While Sony has certainly showed its' innovation, it needs to solidify the advances with a better A7/A7R/A7s cameras. Sony has shown less regard for existing cameras and owners than inventing something new and shiny to lure the Magpies among us. While I understand the strategy, it will eventually bite them on the bum if they do not pay attention to existing users and their needs.

My take on "Better" is:

1) Include state-of-the-art IBIS. For me this was a huge selling point of the A900 and A99, and is sorely missed in these little cameras that need it more than the DSLR/SLTs do. Nothing shows the real effect of this more than when I put my Sony AF 500mm Mirror on the A99, then on the A7R. The A99 image becomes rock solid, while the A7R jumps around enough to give you vertigo.

2) A much more streamlined interface. If they are serious about "moving upstream" amongst more serious photographers, they need to lose the consumer video game mentality and cater to the real priorities of shooting photographs. Sony actually knows how to do this, the A900 was a much easier camera to use than the A99 or the A7 series. Much simpler and faster to control.

3) Improve the power efficiency of these cameras. Better power usage, better battery. No further comment required

4) Improve the EVF and AF on all A7 series camera … and especially improve the "industrial age" shutter of the A7R!

5) STOP relying so heavily on software corrections to fix the lenses. Photographers WILL spend more on better optics, as opposed to cameras which become outdated swiftly. Sony needs to pay attention to this even if they do not make as much money because it is something that'll bite them later when photographers get fed up with lenses that could be better. BTW, this includes tightening QC to lessen de-centered copies!

- Marc
 
Just some comments on your points here:
1) Include state-of-the-art IBIS. For me this was a huge selling point of the A900 and A99, and is sorely missed in these little cameras that need it more than the DSLR/SLTs do. Nothing shows the real effect of this more than when I put my Sony AF 500mm Mirror on the A99, then on the A7R. The A99 image becomes rock solid, while the A7R jumps around enough to give you vertigo.
I suppose one big problem with IBIS is fitting it all into the A7's compact body, I've seen a tear-down article detailing the A7R's innards, and as it is, the sensor is mounted quite flush with the mount, and the shutter takes up a bit of space too.
For IBIS to work, the sensor needs to be placed on a mechanism that'll displace it, making it already more cramped than it is. The reason it works in the other cameras you mentioned, as well as m4/3 cameras, is that the camera bodies are all relatively much bigger than the sensors they contain... The A900/A99 are full-size SLR style cameras, while the m4/3 sensor is a quarter the size of 35mm.

2) A much more streamlined interface. If they are serious about "moving upstream" amongst more serious photographers, they need to lose the consumer video game mentality and cater to the real priorities of shooting photographs. Sony actually knows how to do this, the A900 was a much easier camera to use than the A99 or the A7 series. Much simpler and faster to control.
Agreed, the interface could use an overhaul.

3) Improve the power efficiency of these cameras. Better power usage, better battery. No further comment required
Although the A7's aren't as small as the NEX cameras from which they borrowed the batteries from, it'll still be a challenge to cram a bigger battery in, otherwise Sony will have to improve the technology behind their current batteries. One thing I'd like to see improved is to have a grip made the same way as the A99, where you could simultaneously have a battery in the camera, and two in the grip itself.

4) Improve the EVF and AF on all A7 series camera … and especially improve the "industrial age" shutter of the A7R!
From early online reviews, it already seems that the A7s already has much improved AF and VF (less lag in the dark), and is able to focus in -3ev, which someone claimed as better than a 6D w/ center point. What would be nice to see is a unified AF offering across all their cameras, seeing as two of the three current sensor designs were taken from other cameras and not purpose-built, it's not unreasonable for there to be such disparity. Apparently the A7R's shutter is made by Copal.

5) STOP relying so heavily on software corrections to fix the lenses. Photographers WILL spend more on better optics, as opposed to cameras which become outdated swiftly. Sony needs to pay attention to this even if they do not make as much money because it is something that'll bite them later when photographers get fed up with lenses that could be better. BTW, this includes tightening QC to lessen de-centered copies!
I agree on this as well, but Sony hasn't really released many lenses for anyone to tell how representative it'll be of the future designs, they probably want to focus on releasing a full set of good-to-great lenses to cover the whole range, before ironing out the specifics.

Although Sony already had some experience going into this, the A7 series overall is pretty good for a first-generation camera design, whereas companies like Canon and Nikon had over 30 years to work on their mounts.
 

Annna T

New member
1) If it could be done technically and keep the camera small, who wouldn't want "On Demand AF" using a moveable sensor? However, I fear it would result in "size and cost creep". One of the attributes of the A7 series is small size, high performance for lower cost.

2) I'd rather see "Better" not "More".

While Sony has certainly showed its' innovation, it needs to solidify the advances with a better A7/A7R/A7s cameras. Sony has shown less regard for existing cameras and owners than inventing something new and shiny to lure the Magpies among us. While I understand the strategy, it will eventually bite them on the bum if they do not pay attention to existing users and their needs.
I agree with both 1) and 2)..
As for the better not more, I'd say that the bodies are now almost OK.. Sony should now rather concentrate on the lenses offering rather than on issuing new bodies.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Just some comments on your points here:

I suppose one big problem with IBIS is fitting it all into the A7's compact body, I've seen a tear-down article detailing the A7R's innards, and as it is, the sensor is mounted quite flush with the mount, and the shutter takes up a bit of space too.
For IBIS to work, the sensor needs to be placed on a mechanism that'll displace it, making it already more cramped than it is. The reason it works in the other cameras you mentioned, as well as m4/3 cameras, is that the camera bodies are all relatively much bigger than the sensors they contain... The A900/A99 are full-size SLR style cameras, while the m4/3 sensor is a quarter the size of 35mm.


Agreed, the interface could use an overhaul.


Although the A7's aren't as small as the NEX cameras from which they borrowed the batteries from, it'll still be a challenge to cram a bigger battery in, otherwise Sony will have to improve the technology behind their current batteries. One thing I'd like to see improved is to have a grip made the same way as the A99, where you could simultaneously have a battery in the camera, and two in the grip itself.


From early online reviews, it already seems that the A7s already has much improved AF and VF (less lag in the dark), and is able to focus in -3ev, which someone claimed as better than a 6D w/ center point. What would be nice to see is a unified AF offering across all their cameras, seeing as two of the three current sensor designs were taken from other cameras and not purpose-built, it's not unreasonable for there to be such disparity. Apparently the A7R's shutter is made by Copal.


I agree on this as well, but Sony hasn't really released many lenses for anyone to tell how representative it'll be of the future designs, they probably want to focus on releasing a full set of good-to-great lenses to cover the whole range, before ironing out the specifics.

Although Sony already had some experience going into this, the A7 series overall is pretty good for a first-generation camera design, whereas companies like Canon and Nikon had over 30 years to work on their mounts.
A few comments on your comments … :ROTFL:

The power issue has to be addressed, and I sure don't want to hang some appendage on the camera to get it. Just because they adopted the NEX battery, doesn't mean it is the best one for the A series.

The question regarding IBIS is how much larger would the camera have to be to accommodate it? That Sony is releasing stabilized lenses doesn't bode well for IBIS, yet this is one of the most adaptable mounts out there and a zillion lenses would benefit from IBIS.

I thought the EVF on the A7s was the same? Irregardless, Sony needs to address the lag and the smearing in low light ASAP.

My comments on the lenses stems not just from the FE lenses but the inconsistent levels of optical performance in their A mounts. That the ZA135/1.8 came from the same company that brought us a ZA84/1.4 with its' notoriously frustrating CA is amazing. An 85 should be one the best, not
questionable (The Zeiss Contax N 85/1.4 murders the ZA 85/1.4 in every way possible). So the point I'm forwarding is that Sony needs to know how important optics are to the target audience they are pursuing.

- Marc
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
A floating sensor for IBIS or AF should be much more approachable than with film—as you can see from the video link, the whole film transport mechanism had to move for the Contax AX to work.

The issue with doing this for AF is that there are limitations on the range of motion which complicates camera handling quite a bit. I had a Contax AX for a while on loan ... with short lenses, it was quite convenient, but get up to an 85mm lens and you began to run into the limits of the film plane motion to handle AF which meant focusing became a combination of getting close with the lens and then letting the AF fine tune—which frankly didn't work very well, the usual best course when using AF is to let the AF get close and then fine tune manually for critical focus. Never mind the issues with keeping mechanical calibration and control working in the AX body.

The issue with doing this for IBIS is a trade-off for camera shake vs minimized sensor heating. A floating sensor cannot be connected to as efficient a heat sink as a fixed sensor—one of the reasons why the Olympus E-M1 is a more limited movie capture device than a Panasonic GH3 or GH4. A Sony A7/r/s can be a pretty darn fine motion capture device because the whole structure of the camera chassis becomes a good heat sink for the sensor; a floating IBIS capable sensor will reduct that capability, never mind that it might also require some significant increase in body size to provide a useful range of stabilization for longer lenses.

I'm not saying that any of these things are bad or impossible, only that there are tradeoffs. I'd like an IBIS equipped A7 for sure; AF is very unimportant to me as I prefer to use my manual lenses on the A7 exclusively. (The E-M1 is my AF camera.) I would like to get more involved with movie capture going forward so an A7s or GH4 is likely to be on my mind at some point.

What I'd like in the next A7 model is a general upgrade overall in the customizability of controls, perhaps some relocation of controls to be physically a little more ergonomic, an improved shutter (quieter, smoother), upgraded build quality (it feels cheap and plasticky compared to the E-M1), more responsiveness, an improved menu system (the current one seems haphazard and scattered), and maybe a true, non-lossy raw output option (rather than the current compressed 11-bit output).

G
 

mmbma

Active member
They are not necessarily contradictory. We would be looking at 30 years worth of improvements in tech and miniaturization of the components involved. Sony has options and technology at their disposal that Kyocera would have deemed science fiction back in the 80's when they implemented the AX. And if you look at the video of the AX in action in the second link you will see that the entire film carriage was required to move back and forth. That was a huge contributing factor to the size of the AX. A new camera would only need the much smaller sensor array in the middle of the camera to actually move. But given the fact that Sony is reluctant to put IS in the existing bodies does make one wonder if they could make it work without doing at least some modification.

Could this be done in the existing A7 body? Only Sony knows. But even using a modified A7 chassis with slight additional bulk would be cheaper then developing an entirely new body so my original statement stands.

Without getting sidetracked on a bunch of technical unknowns I would still like to know if anyone would be interested in this particular type of niche product. Or would you rather maybe see an all Monochrome A7? Or maybe a curved sensor A7 requiring special FE lenses to take advantage of the new sensor? Ha, a new camera with the same mount but needing a new line of lenses sounds rather familiar to Sony doesnt it? That would fit right into the Sony ethos rather nicely I think. :)
This will be more easily achieved by Olympus. The IBIS is already a form of technology that moves the sensor plane. Also the smaller sensors/components can enable a smaller body/package
 

philip_pj

New member
Yes, IBIS would be a killer feature on the a7r even at a fair weight/bulk cost..they were after the smallest they could do, but say an extra 100 grams and 10mm front-to-back depth would be dandy. Maybe they left it off once they thought up the a7s?

Incrementalise the rest. EVFs will only get better. Batts, well I use an RX1 no more needs saying, lol. I can slip 'em in and out in 30 seconds, but I understand others' needs here.

Do all the fancy sensor stuff on the RX series, but put that 44x33mm sensor in one of them.

Marc, the a7/r does a far bit more than the a900, so the menu challenge is much larger; people still want more too! Zeiss will do the lenses right first time.
 
The issue with doing this for IBIS is a trade-off for camera shake vs minimized sensor heating. A floating sensor cannot be connected to as efficient a heat sink as a fixed sensor—one of the reasons why the Olympus E-M1 is a more limited movie capture device than a Panasonic GH3 or GH4. A Sony A7/r/s can be a pretty darn fine motion capture device because the whole structure of the camera chassis becomes a good heat sink for the sensor; a floating IBIS capable sensor will reduct that capability, never mind that it might also require some significant increase in body size to provide a useful range of stabilization for longer lenses.
This is actually a pretty good point, the A7s already (according to Sony) has problems with overheating if it were to record 4K video internally, so it would seem that, for the time being, they're working to the limits of what they have.
 

biglouis

Well-known member
A7x - the current 24mpx sensor without the AA filter - like in the RX1R. Not all of us want bloated mpx files a la A7R.

LouisB
 

ThomasZ

Member
I would like to get the following improvements on my A7r:

- reduced shutter noise and shake
- increased responsiveness
- IBIS would be nice, but I don't think it's possible now

Even more important than the constant iteration of camera bodies is a professional lens lineup. We need more lenses with the quality of the FE55. Since there is now a trinity of zoom lenses (16-35, 24-70, 70-200), the next group of lenses should be of high quality primes.
 

dandrewk

New member
Forget about IBIS. Sony has already made great strides in making legacy lenses compatible with the Alpha series. It is a great selling point, but how much further do they need to go? If we want them to produce more quality lenses in FE mount, adding IBIS would actually run counter to those wishes.

Sony is first and foremost an electronics superpower, selling to the masses. I doubt we will see an Alpha version of the D4s. The top of the line, rugged warhorse market is very small and more than covered by Canon and Nikon. Adding IBIS would only make their cameras more expensive and (probably) larger, and they would lose major selling points that favor their brand.

What I'd like to see, and what we probably will see: Better everything. I have an A6000 that I use for street photography and for greater reach with the FE70-200. The improved AF everything it is claimed to be and more. I'd expect to see this on the next gen A7, or maybe something even better.

Totally electronic shutter. PLEASE!

Sony is a master of sensor technology. I'd expect an improved sensor. Same mpx, better low light and color. Not that the current sensor is any slouch, but there is always room for improvement. The curved sensor technology is interesting.

A less cluttered interface and streamlined menu system would be nice, but I don't expect that to change. What would be better is a user option that hides many of the useless menu options we never use. Please allow us to choose minimum shutter speed, both in the new cameras and a firmware update of existing systems.

Put these improvements in the next generation, along with an improved FE lens lineup, and Sony has a winner. The only question is, will we see it THIS year at Photokina/?
 

ohnri

New member
Forget about IBIS. Sony has already made great strides in making legacy lenses compatible with the Alpha series. It is a great selling point, but how much further do they need to go? If we want them to produce more quality lenses in FE mount, adding IBIS would actually run counter to those wishes.

Sony is first and foremost an electronics superpower, selling to the masses. I doubt we will see an Alpha version of the D4s. The top of the line, rugged warhorse market is very small and more than covered by Canon and Nikon. Adding IBIS would only make their cameras more expensive and (probably) larger, and they would lose major selling points that favor their brand.

What I'd like to see, and what we probably will see: Better everything. I have an A6000 that I use for street photography and for greater reach with the FE70-200. The improved AF everything it is claimed to be and more. I'd expect to see this on the next gen A7, or maybe something even better.

Totally electronic shutter. PLEASE!

Sony is a master of sensor technology. I'd expect an improved sensor. Same mpx, better low light and color. Not that the current sensor is any slouch, but there is always room for improvement. The curved sensor technology is interesting.

A less cluttered interface and streamlined menu system would be nice, but I don't expect that to change. What would be better is a user option that hides many of the useless menu options we never use. Please allow us to choose minimum shutter speed, both in the new cameras and a firmware update of existing systems.

Put these improvements in the next generation, along with an improved FE lens lineup, and Sony has a winner. The only question is, will we see it THIS year at Photokina/?
Completely disagree about D4 being well covered by Nikon and Canon.

They appear to be happy to let the high performance sports cameras follow the same stagnant path as their other DSLR's.

I would love to see Sony make an Alpha version of the D4 and breathe new life into that arena.

Then I could consider consolidating everything under one lens mount.

-Bill
 

dandrewk

New member
I'm not saying that Nikon and Canon can't improve their top line pro camera. I'm saying that Sony most likely will not devote the resources to compete in that (for them) tiny market when there are much larger markets to tap. It's all about market efficiency and return of investment dollars.

Besides, even if they did come up with something good, many pros are so entrenched with the CaNikon ecosystem they wouldn't be caught dead with anything else.
 

f/otographer

New member
A7x - the current 24mpx sensor without the AA filter - like in the RX1R. Not all of us want bloated mpx files a la A7R.

LouisB
Now THAT is something I didnt even think about but now that you mention it...it would be really, really cool. Great idea Louis and I would definitely consider such a camera to purchase.

Makes you wonder how hard it would be to implement a user selectable AA filter, one that could be used whenever you needed it and retracted when moire is not an issue and you want every last bit of resolution. That would be innovative. Sony innovates. Are you listening Sony? :)
 
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