Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sony Alpha A600 Coming? (Updated 3-06)

(Not an actual A600 image, obviously)
Recently I received information from an apparently well informed gentleman about an upcoming A600 DSLR from Sony. I'm not normally in the rumor business here but I wanted to share this with readers mainly because of the source of the rumor. I also think it's directly related to a highly debated topic and therefore newsworthy. Yes this is about an actual DSLR rumor, not a rumor about an SLT model. This person who shared this information has given me inside (and secret) information in the past, but has not contacted me in about 2 years.



Unlike information shared previously to me, this time I've been told I can share it. Based on this persons past reputation with sharing highly detailed information... it caught my interest.

Here's what I was told, summarized and broken down:

Supposedly this model will replace the existing A580 DSLRand be at a slightly higher price point, but lower than the A65.This camera will fill the gap between the upcoming (and rumored) A57 model and the current A65SLT for those who prefer a traditional DSLR.

I was told that for now Sony's reaction to gathered marketplace demand is to keep traditional and non traditional DSLRS in the fold, but that only two OVF DSLRS would stay in the lineup. Priority is now given to SLT but that OVF are not yet out of the lineup. At least not yet. Apparently this is a pretty sudden switch in strategy, according to him.

The A600 is supposedly designed to be more affordable at the production level but does not skimp on features, and is designed for enthusiasts based on their demand. The design decisions were cost cutting without sacrificing much of what enthusiasts desire in a DSLR- good for Sony and good for the traditional consumer.

Loose specifications I received for the possible A600 are as follows:

  • -New body design, similar to A65 in size
  • -Larger brighter OVF than the A580 (still penta-mirror, cost savings) at .92x magnification "w/data overlay" @ 97% coverage
  • -Similar live view system as the A450 (away goes the second sensor and mechanisms that cost extra money), more traditional  main sensor live view with faster contrast detect AF than previous Sony DSLRS, this time for all lenses
  • -updated 18.4 mp APS-C CMOS sensor (See update this has now changed)
  • -up to 8fps capture with full metering and af capabilities (A580 could do only 5fps with metering/af)
  • -same battery as A580, A65, A77
  • -new "wide coverage" 15 point AF system (new type with 5 cross type sensors)
  • -full 1080p HD video will be included (no specifics on this)
  • -Dual card slots (no specifics on type)
  • -New pop up flash (not sure how this will work, assume bounce and regular?)
  • -Silver and Black model (depending on territory)
  • -New quieter mirror box mechanism and shutter
  • -First curtain electronic shutter mode
  • -Moisture/dust preventive measures (but not moisture or dust resistant)
  • -3 custom function buttons
  • -Updated Quick Navi Menu interface (assume like A65's which isn't true quick navi like A900/etc.)
  • -Dual control wheels, rear is scroll and click type
  • -Due this year before fall

Now again this is a rumor I received- but the way in which it was worded sounded legitimate enough to share. Normally I ignore these kinds of emails when then come in. The specifications are indeed interesting and conceivable to me- yet despite the sources reputation, I always hold on things being fact till I see something in the flesh.

Again- I'm reporting this because this person has given me credible inside information in the past (the type unfortunately I had to keep secret), and gives the rumor credence I suppose, based solely on his accurate information (and pictures sent) in the past.

I was also told that originally the A600 had already been designed, then scrapped. But because of  higher than expected demand for an optical viewing path alongside the demand for EVF, the project that was initially scrapped was brought back to life.

To me this sounds a bit too good to be true, but it's reasonable to assume I suppose that Sony could produce both EVF and OVF DSLRS until such time as a viable replacement for both comes to fruition. Also, the numerical name of the DSLR makes complete sense, both as a replacement for the A580 DSLRand for the tradition of past "6" series cameras. The A65is a tweener model, a lot bang for the buck, the A600 seems to be the optical equivalent of that cameras hierarchy- optical or electronic choice for A-Mount users.

Could it be? Sony are going to provide a choice afterall in the mid range segment? Rumors on SAR state there will be an A900 replacement with an OVF maybe one in the mid range too isn't so crazy. I'm both skeptical and optimistic about this rumor based on the source and current Sony strategy.

I really don't see this happening personally, but I do hope its true though! I would love to be wrong about what Sony are going to do in the future and for them to pull a 180 like this. Would a move like that endear traditional users back to Sony? Tough question but surely it would pique their interest at the very least.

Last thought I have on this subject is just an excerpt from an interesting interview that my buddies at Imaging-Resource conducted with Mark Weir from Sony USA :

http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/01/15/sony-interview-10-years-hence-will-mirror-based-cameras-be-a-distant-memory

The excerpt that peaked my interest is when Dave Etchells asks Mark if Sony would respond to the market if there were a cry out for traditional DSLRS: "DE: So if you see a large, angry mob of customers coming demanding a conventional SLR... Sony would respond."

And Mark's answer was: "MW: I think Sony always keeps their customers in the front of their minds."

The question remains at just how much outcry (if any) Sony have heard or noticed and if indeed there was enough to keep at least two optical path "traditional" DSLRS in Sony's Alpha lineup. Apparently according to the source, there was.

I guess that remains to be seen. If I hear more about a supposed A600, I will report it. I've been told an update about this rumored camera will come in the future, more specifics about the camera that I'll be allowed to share.

Interesting, to say the least. Guess we'll see what happens.


Carl

        __________________________________________________________________________

Update 2-18-2012

My contact has made a correction/update to the A600 rumor.

The initial information on the sensor size is incorrect. Now I'm being told the A600 was originally designed to be 18.4mp but will instead be 16.2mp, and  will use an updated version of that sensor.

According to the source, Sony had originally planned to design two sensors but because of the high demand of the 16.2mp sensor from other manufacturers of late (I guess we can expect other cameras in the future to also use this sensor?) the 18.4mp sensor wasn't put to production and instead the 16.2mp sensor was upgraded.

Upgrade specifics aren't known. I'm guessing they were implemented to facilitate faster live view and video options?

Apparently, this was also an ancillary cost savings measure that worked best for Sony's CMOS sensor sales division as well saving the Alpha division internal development costs. Also, this decision was made very recently, and his initial information included the first "final" specifications of the camera. This is what I'm being told now. 

Given the other specifications he mentioned and rumors out about the A57 camera, this seems a much more logical sensor to use. No more information was given on the A600 but I've asked several  other questions (poignant ones as well) and await answers.

Again I'll re-iterate: Until I see something concrete, I'm suspect of the information given, but this new information seems much more logical and "real" to me.


-Carl
     __________________________________________________________________________

Update  3-06

Received an email today from the same source that the A600 would not be coming in spring but later this year, along with other announcements from Sony. Also that another 16mp Alpha camera will be coming before then and that Sony have decided to keep using the very popular 16mp sensor in its cameras this year due to high demand of overall image performance.

No more details were given on the A600, nor any of my specific questions answered- I was told that more information would come later this year on the A600 as he receives it.

Again, reiterating that I'm just forwarding this information as I receive it from the source. I don't claim any validity to the information until I see proof of it myself in the flesh. It will be interesting to see what comes of this information- or not.

Carl

29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumor or not, Sony should make it. I'd buy it.

February 17, 2012 at 1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hope this is just a rumor. As an investor this would give a very bad sign of Sony's incapability of keeping focus. Moving mirror are past and they should let them rest in peace.

February 17, 2012 at 1:18 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Indeed it would be interesting if Sony did this. The surprise effect alone could render massive sales of this camera. The specs seem feasible and realistic, and why not cater to both the traditional and "new" crowds at the exact same time?

I hope my source is right when he says Sony are going to go through with this and that it's not some sort of social experiment to see what users really want, or em, something.

We'll see. It certainly got my Alpha blood flowing- that is for certain!

Carl

February 17, 2012 at 1:24 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Hi Anonymous,

I think Sony could keep focus on SLT and do mirrored cameras at the exact same time. It's not like they don't possess the technology or capability to do so. Why alienate a certain type of user? The rumor makes sense, a more affordable cost cutting design that still caters to that crowd- personally I think it's genius.

I doubt anyone using the A-Mount would complain if both types were kept in the line up.

What a great way to end the OVF and EVF battle within the mount. It's brilliant and I can only hope it comes to pass.

Carl

February 17, 2012 at 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Randy T. said...

It feels like spring time in February!

Carl, this must be your rolling April Fool's article right?

February 17, 2012 at 1:39 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Wow, how long ago was it that I did that.... thanks for bringing back old memories ;). Some can take a joke, some couldn't.

We'll see on this rumor.

Personally don't expect it to gather much steam as most people have moved on from hoping there will be a more traditional camera to stay in the A-Mount, but if Sony do this .. lets just say I'll be more shocked than just about anyone.

Sony have SLT and NEX already, seems the path that's working for them. I guess though that since SLT will be gone pretty quickly, why not do an OVF model just to keep users who prefer that type of viewfinder in the mount? I mean, it makes sense as long as the production costs stay down- and based on the rumor, they seem feasible enough I suppose.

Until I get more detailed information and others confirm it, I'm not going to hold much weight in the information. I suggest others do the same till we (if we) find out more on this- at this point, it's just a rumor.

Carl

February 17, 2012 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Just for the record on the source btw- same person who sent me early phase CAD drawings and prototype images of the A330/380/A500/550 models, stuff that I couldn't share and had to delete. I even sent Sony an email with the pictures attached to show they had an inside leak at the development stage.

For whatever reason this person wanted to share info about A-Mount bodies with me and I felt obliged to Sony (whom I do meet with on occasion) to keep those photos secure and not release them to the public- that felt like the right thing to do and in the end, was the right thing to do.

To me this is just a rumor and doesn't make much sense considering Sony's current direction. But it's worth sharing for discussion, and not much else- certainly not worth making a big todo about.

Carl

February 17, 2012 at 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, this has nothing to do with Sony's technological capabilities. It's about the sign they give to market. With SLT-technology they posses a great oppertunity to stand out from all the other manufactures. They should really push it forward aggressively. If they keep mirrors in their line-up, customer could as well buy a mirror-camera from some other manufacture. Sony should really start more visual market-campeign where they emphasize all great positive points related to SLT and also the potential it holds for the future.

February 17, 2012 at 2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have bought the a580 but it lacks the ease of use in the a700. I would really love the dual dials and the dedicated buttons on a DSLR. Nikon had the d300s and d7000. Canon has the 7d and 60d. It would be nice if sony has the a77 and the a600 even if the latter is plastic rather than the magnesium body of the a77.

February 17, 2012 at 2:26 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Hey I'm not arguing for this, I'm only musing that it could be feasible and possible- or it could be a crock of you know what! With Sony one thing has always rung true in my experience with them- you never know what they are going to cook up next.

I'm not advocating the truth of this, I'm merely keeping and open mind and musing this information aloud. Looking at things from all angles- so to speak.

C

February 17, 2012 at 2:27 AM  
Blogger granitix said...

Hmmm - "MW: I think Sony always keeps their customers in the front of their minds."

My impression has always been that Sony defines "their customers" as the future ones; I know of no other company in this business that has done less for current customers while enticing new ones. [I suppose Olympus E-system users would disagree!]

I should have loved to visit the Sony meeting when the A700/900 interface became the interface of the past, and more energy was spent to re-reinvent the base-level cameras. I want to meet those who defended that 2008-model interface: those are the ones who kept me in front of their minds, and they lost.

February 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I am planning to buy an A-900 before I cannot get a Sony OVF camera in the stores I hope this rumor becomes true. I really will like to buy another APS-C Sony camera with an OVF, since I still have and use my A-700. I tried the A-55 but ended giving it to my daughter, and continue using my "old" A-700, because I did not like the A-55 EVF. I tried the A-77, but although it is better than the A-55 I don't consider it is good enough like to pay $1,400 (plus tax) for its body.

February 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For once I am starting to feel somewhat optimistic about SONY. It just might be possible to upgrade from my Maxxum 7D to a reasonably priced OVF body with 16 MP that will not necessitate my having to buy a new computer and all to handle the files sizes produced by a 24 MP sensor. Unless a person is planning to print 24 x 36 inch prints or larger on a regular basis, what is the point of 24MP's? I belong to a camera club where the competition prints are judged very keenly, and there is no decernable difference to the naked eye, between my 12 x 18 inch prints from my 6MP Maxxum 7D, and those prints of the same size from other members using up to 24 MP Nikon and Canon cameras. The sharpness has never been a question. Just the opposite actually, as the sharpness of my images has been complimented. A 16 MP sensor is more than adequate for my needs, and I'm guessing, the needs of about 95% of the other "artists" out there. To my feeble mind, there are too many overinflated egos demanding bragging rights for their favorite brand of camera. Here's hoping that SONY will find it to their benefit to look after the "traditional" photographers also. I certainly would not see this as a signal of confusion in direction that SONY is taking. I would see it as a large company who is concerned about satisfying its customers, and not wanting to make a large but mostly silent chunk of customers feeling like they have been backed into the SLT corner, and needing to switch to Nikon or Canon to get the features that are important to them. There is no one who doubts the ability of SONY to be innovative and progressive technology wise. However, they don't need to do so at the expense of the traditional photographers. We are a very very large group. We just don't make a lot of noise. I have no problem with those who prefer the EVF on SLTs. To each his own.... Happy shooting!

February 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if Sony was building for enthusiasts and more advanced folks then it would be the rumored a750 which never was. More advanced folks are not going to be happy about a pentamirror viewfinder instead of a Pentaprism. That's a low level OVF DSLR.

It also sounds positioned to prevent competition with the a77, attempt to try and fool people into thinking that all the features of the a77 require SLT designs. It should be at the level in new technology of the a77, virtually all of it's stuff that is advanced photography related can be in a OVF DSLR. If it occurs you can be sure that Sony will be trying to use a cut down camera to justify the a77. And likely will keep supplies erratic and low.

I, too, don't trust this is more than an attempt to quieten the rising criticism of Sony for dropping OVF and won't result in a product line that's continually advanced at the same rate and features of the SLT. A single camera put out is not any real evidence of long term support of OVF DSLR. Real commitment is many generations of OVF DSLR cameras, especially now that Sony has shown themselves untrustworthy in this regard.

February 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Carl,
thanks for the rumour, I really hope it turns out to be true. Sony has so many major problems at the moment, quite apart from, and in addition to, the effects of the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, that I think they may just be looking for ways to broaden their range or appeal for little development cost. I have been looking to move away from Sony, but this could make me re-evaluate their products.

I cannot help but think that Sony should consider an A600 and A620 though: the A600 with a single control wheel and penta-mirror and priced as low as possible, and the A620 with two wheels and a penta-prism and carrying a slightly greater profit margin. The former gains market share and pays for the investment, and the latter can be profitable on the back of the A600 even at lower volumes. A cheap and easy way to keep a variety of customers happy.

Here's really, really hoping Sony...

Thanks again Carl,
ArthurB.

February 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A600 sounds like BS to me. It's somebodies wish-list, nothing more.

February 18, 2012 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Guess we'll find out, I'm pretty skeptical myself.

C

February 18, 2012 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Mr. Hit and Run, I don't allow language like that on my blog. This is a family style blog. Have some respect and some manners and messages won't be removed.

FTR- The message removed basically said

either the source is making it up

or

carl is making it up

I am relaying a rumor sent to me, that has been stated clearly. How that could be misinterpreted is beyond my imagination. Not only that its a rumor. Let not get too hot under the collar.

Carl

February 18, 2012 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl, thanks so much for all your work on your website and blog. Based on your recommendations and revues I ended up purchasing an A580 several months ago, and I could not be happier.

The though of SONY to continue to supply OVF enthusiast cameras is exciting.
I have not been impressed with the EVF for several reasons that have been reported and reviewed by many others and does not need to be detailed once again.

The though of a 16.2 A600, while exciting, does make me want to consider purchasing one to either go along with , or as a replacement for my A580.

The announcement of an A7XX OVF 18+ sensor, with controls matching and improving on the existing A700, would interest me greatly, and would possibly consider purchasing one.

Does the A77 interest me? No it doesn't.
How about the yet to be announced A99? At the mentioned price point, and being EVF, I might take a look, but interest level is low.

Carl, keep up the good work!!

February 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

Thank you, I really appreciate it.

I do hope this source still has good ties and connections with Sony, 2 years ago accurate info was sent to me prior to Sony sending me information. That was then so... the question is, will it be now?

I'm excited a the thought of Sony doing Mirrorless, SLT, and OVF cameras. They would be the only company doing it broadening the range of their product line like no other manufacturer and supplying a wide range of choice with minimal investment into keeping OVF there since they have already done it already.

Lets hope but I'm going to stay skeptical till I see something concrete. He did say this year but no word on when during the year.

C

February 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After the allegedly poor Sony A580 sales compared to the A55, I doubt we'll see another APS-C OVF camera from Sony. Sony couldn't even be bothered offering the A580 in all regions!

February 21, 2012 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Greg Beetham said...

I tend too take rumours with a grain of salt, but that one of the possible A600 seems reasonably credible to me Carl after reading your description of how it unfolded especially since Sony could hardly avoid noticing that after giving the strong impression they were not offering a choice in the future wasn’t favourably received by quite a few.
Greg Beetham
Ps there is another line of thought Carl, I thought you said that you reported to Sony they had a leak on the previous occasion with this same person providing you with inside info? If so, maybe this time is payback time and the whole thing is bogus?

February 22, 2012 at 5:08 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

I'm of the same mind as you are on both points- at least I find they are both possible. Like I mentioned since I haven't had contact with this person for about 2 years, I'll remain a bit skeptical until I see some hard evidence.

The specs seem to suggest a camera that would not only please mid level enthusiasts, but one that could be produced practically and still remain profitable/affordable for Sony. That makes this rumor a hard one to ignore.

We'll see, going to be a long year :).

Carl

February 22, 2012 at 5:24 AM  
Anonymous Roman said...

Thank you, Carl.

I wander, can it be a deliberate leak from Sony in order to study interest level to OVF cameras after A77 is out.

I'm also very interesting in A600. Planned to buy a A700 level camera, but don't really like SLT.
Hope this comes true and I get one.

February 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Wolfgang said...

I can just confirm high interest in an updated Sony OVF camery. I was just short of leaving Sony and to swith to Canon (e.g. 60D or 7D) when I heard the rumour yesterday.

My first own test of a NEX-7 with Leica wide-angle lens (24 mm) was disapponting for me (red-shift) and makes me go back to the well proven SLR (I use a350).

February 24, 2012 at 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Sony Alpha Rumors sources have killed this rumour, no more Sony OVF cameras.

February 29, 2012 at 6:14 AM  
Blogger C.GARRARD said...

I doubt a rumor could kill a rumor, is that the world we live in now? Haha!

Nevertheless it's likely that Andreas sources are more well informed, that will remain to be seen if an A600 does not come this year. It's not looking good for optical viewfinder DSLRS for Sony- that is for certain. We'll see if my contact responds to the information I sent him today from SAR.

-Carl

February 29, 2012 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger granitix said...

If an A600 came about it would only confirm that Sony has great electronic tech, a respected Alpha mount.. and zero clue how to market SLR cameras. If they were to deliberately lie to every Alpha-mount owner they could hardly do more damage than this senseless careening from one form to the next, promising anything to make a sale - then promising something completely different to make another.

It's past frustrating to me, as I moved elsewhere. To the Alpha faithful it must be like Space Mountain at Disney-place, taking a ride in pitch darkness with lots of twists and turns - but Sony behaves as if the track ahead isn't fully laid. Not for me, no thanks - yet I still wish the best for those who persevere in the Alpha world.

March 2, 2012 at 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Oleh said...

I`d buy new Sony A600 too,
translucent mirror is not good enough for taking pictures on high iso.

May 5, 2012 at 2:00 PM  

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