Sony has had a way of creating new paths in the camera business the last few years. While it hasn’t put Canon or Nikon out of business, it has turned more than a few heads and made a lot of converts. Take the RX100 (and even newer RX100R); a tiny camera with much larger than usual sensor that does a brilliant job within its boundaries. Then the RX1 (and latest RX1R), with full frame sensor and superb matched single focal length fixed mount lens which though very expensive for its category has delivered exceptional results.
The latest in this series of major moves, announced today, is the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R. At first blush these bodies look to be an evolution of the very successful NEX line but in fact are a new hybrid using a full frame sensor, built-in high-end electronic viewfinder, and E-mount lens mount from the NEX. The A7 will have a 24MP sensor and the A7R will have a 36MP sensor without anti-aliasing filter. New full-frame E-mount lenses will be badged “FE” and while the initial offering is limited, expect Sony to populate this line pretty quickly. I hope they do, because this has been one of the failings in Sony’s previous offerings. For serious cameras to be treated seriously by top–end users, the lens selection needs to be broad enough to cover a lot of diverse requirements. Here are some links to more information.
A number of years ago I enjoyed an Olympus OM (full frame) film system, marveling at its diminutive size. Sony is now reinventing that territory and I expect two other big-name companies are taking note, as well as the micro-four-thirds camp. Very interesting development.