The success of the compact, quiet, Micro Four Thirds camera system has already pushed Samsung into releasing a APS-C size version, and rumours have it that Sony is about to join the fray with a new E-mount camera system.
It is suggested that Sony will produce 3 new mirror-less cameras this year:
- NEX 3 – similar to a Panasonic GF-1
- NEX 5 – perhaps similar to a Panasonic GH-1 but larger
- NEX 7 – to compete with the forthcoming Panasonic GH-2 but perhaps with support for XDCAM video recording format
Unfortunately, like the Samsung NX system, it introduces yet another incompatible mount system, although at least with the Sony E-mount, I presume they will provide an adapter for their A-mount dSLR lenses which provides aperture control, EXIF data and some AF control.
And, like the Samsung, unfortunately, they have chosen a larger APS-C sensor size so you will be forced to use larger lenses, and in all likelihood, you will NOT be able to use rangefinder lenses such as Leica M – and this is what makes the Micro Four Thirds so versatile and fun to use – seems Sony and Samsung just don’t get what this genre is all about.
Image quality of the current cropped sensors such as 1.5x crop Dx from Nikon/ Sony, 1.6x crop from Canon, Samsung, and Pentax, and 2x crop from Panasonic and Olympus are very similar even at high ISO.
In fact the Panasonic GH-1 has better image noise at all ISO levels than the new Canon 7D, and it is rumoured that the forthcoming GH-2 will be as sensitive as the full frame Canon 5D Mark II).
Of course, as with all such competing technologies, there will be some minor differences as each leap frogs each other, but, the important issue is that NOW, the technology has matured sufficiently that if a cropped sensor is adequate, then ANY of these sensors will be adequate for at least 90% of our photographic needs – minor differences in these sensor sizes is largely irrelevant in terms of sensor image quality!
Why bother restricting yourself to a unnecessarily larger sensor – when the world is wanting more compact solutions?
If they were smart, they would have joined the Micro Four Thirds revolution and used the Micro Four Thirds lens format so all systems were interchangeable and we all could have a win-win scenario with the ability to use a Sony body with an Olympus M43 lens, etc.
As it is, Sony and Samsung will be forced to rush out new lenses to make something of their new system and if they are not compatible with other systems and forced to have larger lenses, why bother buying them unless you already have Sony mount lenses?
All the same, competition of any form is good, roll on 2010!
PS: see here for dpreview’s coverage of their announcement