Reviewing the 2009 predictions

December 23rd, 2009 - 04:55:42 PM:

About one year ago, I've made a few predictions regarding Sony's Alpha system in 2009. Now is the time to review these predictions:

Sony will not release a $6000 camera. The α900 will stay the top-of-the-line camera from Sony.

Indeed, Sony has not released a camera above the A900.

Sony will release new lenses, especially some of the primes that were previewed at PMA 2007. They will also release previously unshown designs, especially mid-aperture full-frame zooms, like a 24-105/4 SSM.

Sony has released new lenses, mainly entry level DT lenses. Unfortunately, none of the primes of PMA 2007 was among them. At least, the Super Telephoto Zoom has been shown again at PMA 2009 in an updated form. It's currently not known if or when it will be released.

None of the old Minolta designs will re-appear in a Sony dress. Those who want back the 400/4.5 or 200/2.8 will have to rely on the second hand market. Future lenses will all be new Sony or Carl Zeiss designs.

The old, famous, Minolta designs were indeed not re-released as Sony lenses. They were already discontinued long ago, during Minolta's time, before Sony took over. Re-releasing these lenses unchanged would at least require the old production lines, which I suspect don't even exist anymore. And improving the old designs, e.g. by adding SSM, complying with today's production standards, etc. would require new production lines anyway. This is the expensive part of lens production, so Sony would not save much by re-using the old designs.

No Tamron design will appear as a Sony branded lens. Sony will have their own designs.

There was exactly one Tamron design that was released as a Sony lens, the 28-75/2.8 SAM. But this lens is not really new in the Minolta/Sony lineup. There was already a Konica Minolta 28-75/2.8, and the new release is only a minor update. Other candidate Tamron designs, like the 17-50/2.8, were not released as Sony versions. So I claim half a point here.

There will be a successor of the DT 11-18, but it will not be the Tamron 10-24 design.

I was wrong here.

New cameras will appear in the entry segment, replacing the α200.

This was an easy guess, and I was spot on. In the entry segment, the model turnaround times are the shortest, and not very surprisingly, Sony has released the A230, A330 and A380 in May.

I admit, none of these predictions was outlandish. 4½ points out of 6 is still not bad.

Read about my 2010 predictions here.