What's Really Happening with Sony?

I get it. First global shutter: we win. 

As usual with significant new camera announcements, the Internet is hotly "debating" what this means for everyone, even though the camera in question is a niche product with a specific user target.

One of the things about Sony's press conference and announcements yesterday I've been pondering is "why now?" The camera, lens, and firmware updates Sony announced are not available today. You won't be able to buy them for the holiday season. The camera and lens are scheduled for "Spring 2024", which I'd take to be no sooner than April, and the firmware updates are also sometime in the future (I believe they said March). Due to their niche nature, the demand could exceed supply when the camera and lens finally do arrive. The announcements weren't even made on the actual ten year anniversary of full frame mirrorless Alpha, though the marketing side did bring the ten-year thing up several times. 

So what gives?

FUD. (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt; a marketing tactic.)

Two years ago Nikon started the eventual removal of the mechanical shutter with the Z9. Nikon's made major improvements via firmware updates to that top-end camera three times now, and introduced a less expensive but not really less capable sibling in the Z8. Nikon also has introduced quite a few telephoto lens options that will appeal to folks that are concerned about my next sentence. The 2024 Summer Olympics are coming up, as are a couple of the remaining big agency buying/replacement decisions. Canon is rumored to be getting ready to launch an R1. They, too, are launching a lot of interesting optics that Sony can't exactly match.

Meanwhile, the Sony A1 has slid out of the buzz worthy column as Nikon and Canon fully committed to mirrorless, and in talking to dealers, I'm told by most that the sales have dropped off, as well. 

I see Sony's pre-announcements as being fear-of-losing-sales driven. "We need to announce something that makes us look in front again." 

The only real new thing that they announced was a global shutter. These have been slowly trickling into the expensive video gear, and they're going to continue to trickle into the expensive still photography gear now that Sony's cracked the lid open. 

For the general photography consumer (and prosumer), a global shutter doesn't necessarily buy you things that you actually need. The fast rolling shutters of the A9 Mark II, A1, Z8, and Z9 are plenty fast enough. 

For the professional photographers trying to make a living from images, a global shutter will be useful, particularly in sports and some flash usages, perhaps for photojournalists dealing with frequency-based lighting (though the top current cameras can be adjusted for that). Moreover, that group is willing to pay for benefits that are real to them.

But again, I can't buy an A9 Mark III today. I can continue to photograph with my A1 or Z9, and guess what? 98% of the time they're all I need. So I have to wonder what Sony is worrying about by announcing this camera and the specifics so long before its actual release.

 Looking for gear-specific information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: dslrbodies.com | mirrorless: sansmirror.com | Z System: zsystemuser.com | film SLR: filmbodies.com

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