July 19, 2022


Sony and Minolta SLR Weblog

Another Sony A800 rumor — this dog won’t hunt!

Another week, another new Sony super camera rumor. Call me skeptical, but this has all the makings of a vaporware pipe-dream.
Is Sony planning an A800 dSLR?Sony rumors continue to fly. This time some one has revived tales of an A800.

Okay, here we go again. A site called PhotoRumors says that they have “received information” that Sony is prepping a dSLR model to be called the A800. We’ve heard rumors of an A800 before. In fact, so many sites confidently predicted Sony would announce the A800 at PMA last March, that Sony reps went on record saying there would be no new Sony dSLRs announced until sometime after the show. As months have passed with no announcement, the A800 rumors faded.

Now they are back again — with a vengeance. You can read the short A800 post at PhotoRumors yourself, but the high points are: 16.2MP, full-frame, 100-25400 ISO (!), A900 type optical view system with popup flash and the Sony Quick live-View System (!!), HD Video, 3.5 inch LCD (!), 1/500 flash sync, aluminum-magnesium body with dust and moisture seals, built-in GPS, built-in WiFi and more.

“…and if you order now, they will throw in the Brooklyn Bridge as well…”

Call me skeptical, but this has all the makings of a vaporware pipe-dream.

A good rumor needs to sound plausible. Taken on an individual basis, every one of the rumored features of the phantom A800 is technically possible. All of the elements on the list can be found on various dLSRs from Sony or other camera manufacturers. Finding them all in a single camera is another story. There are some high-end dSLRs that incorporate most of the items on the list, but none I know of that retail for less than $2500.

Therein lies the rub. Many people have suggested that the A800 will be positioned as a replacement for the A700. If the Alpha A800 actually included most of these features, it is unlikely Sony will bring it to market anywhere close to the A700 price range. The specs on this super camera are much closer to the A900 than the A700, which currently sells for $999 in body-only trim.

True, the A900 has that incredible 24mp sensor. I also suspect that if Sony did create a dSLR of this nature, the optical viewfinder wouldn’t be as good as the one in the A900. Fitting the Quick Live View system into the A300 series cameras required Sony to make some compromises with the optical viewfinder. I would assume Sony would need the same sort of compromises in this camera.

Even so, the A800 would steal much of the A900’s thunder, especially if it was priced at the mid-range point.

A $4000 dSLR for less than $1500? I’ll take two!

Actually, the proposed specs on this dSLR are very similar to those of the very highly regarded Nikon D3. Similar, except the D3 lacks video and a flip-out LCD. The D3’s LCD screen “is only” 3 inches, a half inch smaller than the published specs for the phantom A800.

That wouldn’t be a huge deal, but the Nikon D3 sells for way over $4000.00. Does anyone really belive that Sony will bring a D3 caliber camera to market at a A700 price? Let’s not forget that such a camera would do a very good job of cannibalizing sales of the A900.

I don’t doubt that sooner or later Sony will offer an A800 model. But if it has these specs, it won’t sell in the A700’s price range. So, either Sony is prepping a high-priced companion to the A900, or the reports are completely bogus.

Either way, that doesn’t offer us a moderately-priced replacement for the current A700. Unless you believe that Sony intends to release an entire new fleet in 2009: new A230, A330, A380, A500, A550, A800 cameras and upgrade the A700 in their spare time.

Ain’t gonna happen. Not this year. Not in this economy.

I want to be wrong about this. I want be able to snap up that incredible A800 for less than $1500. However, my gut tells me Sony wouldn’t offer a camera of this caliber for under two grand. Quite possibly it would list for much more.

Anyone care to convince me that I am wrong?