With the next arrival of 3 entry-level SLR photo cameras from Sony, it is time to start asking a few questions about the content of these upcoming offers. On the “leaked” photos from the Russian Sony Style web site, we could easily recognize they will have a smaller body with a more angular hand-grip.
Some are drawn to surprising conclusions like the possible disappearance of the AF motor from the SLR body (a little like has been done by Nikon). It would lighten the camera body and would be indirectly confirmed by the appearance of new lenses (like a 50mm/1.8 and a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 that would be sold only with these new Alpha 330 and Alpha 230). This would be a serious breach of the usual compatibility with exisintg lenses, but it is easy to recognize that the entry-level photo consumer is not fanatic about this compatibility.
The visible reference to MemoryStick (on the photo of the all-new, all-nice LCD screen) also make us fear that Sony would possibly announce that these new SLR cameras could abandon the usual double compatibility with CompactFlash (major Flash card standard of the recent years) and Memory Stick (small standard only known inside Sony). Sony marketing department could pressure the engineering departement into adopting the in-house standard where any other photo company would rather choose using SmartCard or microSD cards. To be checked quickly because this one could really frighten customers (even at entry-level).
Finally, there is a real curious surprise in the images leaked by the Russian web site: Not a single reference to video capture, while all photo brands are rushing toward what is supposed to be the most visible feature of SLR photo cameras in 2009. But here comes a more complex analysis that I may submit to your opinion: Sony would be reserving the engineering efforts at HD video capture for a later camera really able to do video (for the time being, we have to admit that this feature is still incomplete with no real AF and a behaviour which is still disappointing, with Canon as well as Nikon). The real target would be a Sony Alpha 800 (a800) which would be an Alpha 700 with a super HD video mode, with all-features-included!
We’ll see the reality next week for sure.