Photokina is nearly here and what this? Finally! A hint, a sniff, a wiff of something juicy coming from Sony!
An A750 to be announced at Photokina! An A950 coming too? Possibly with 32mp and four processing Bionz processing engines? Well, that would just float my boat! Also rumored, an A820 which is essentially a rebadged A900? Hmmmmmm, this would be a very good lineup, if all of these cameras hit their marks.
My guess at prices:
A750 $1,199 USD 16.2 APS-C frame, dual-Bionz (translucent mirror and high frame rate of 8-9 FPS?)
A820 $1,699 USD full-frame, 24.6mp dual-Bionz (translucent mirror and 5 FPS again?)
A950 $2,250-2,500 USD 32 megapixels?!?! (translucent mirror, 5 FPS frame rate?)
What would wedding photographers pay for a high-res photo tool which doesn't go KER-THUNK when a photo's been snapped? I know noise was a criticism rightly leveled at the first generation of Alpha full-frame bodies so perhaps this is an example of Sony thinking "outside the box"?
Whatever the case, I'm getting excited for news from Photokina now. Just a month away! Sony, don't let me down!
Of the bunch I'm the least confident in my guess about the A950's price. I can only see Sony as being very aggressive at this point, due to the economy and market forces. If, like Thom Hogan suggests, they're killing off the 24mp FF sensor, and have some to use up, then the A820 could be the last that we see of that one. On the other hand I do think it's likely that they could introduce a significantly faster A950 using this same sensor, but with more processing power behind it, to take the old A900 chassis and launch it into the frame rate of the D3/D3X bodies.
But what about the translucent mirrors they're using on the A560 and A580 bodies. Hmmmmmmm. Those are quite interesting. Canon used to do that a long time ago with their "N"-denoted film bodies (as a high speed, sports-ready camera). I might be VERY interested in an A750 with 16.2mp (though only APS-C sized) and a really high frame rate with continuous auto focusing. That's something they have an issue with in the A700/A850/A900 bodies as I've pointed out before. For all sorts of "normal" photography, they're fine. For motorsports, not so fine.
From the mechanical standpoint, it would be FAR less expensive to go to a translucent mirror on the FF bodies. Quieter, cheaper to produce, and possibly the first with "electronic shutter" rather than an actual blade shutter. The shutter might not get the axe with this series of cameras, but certainly this shows that Sony is thinking about doing away with the shutter altogether.