August 31, 2021

Alphatracks

Sony and Minolta SLR Weblog

Sony: new dSLR models are on schedule — "it won’t be much longer!"

At last there is some word from Sony on their new dSLRs. While it is not very satisfying for those of us thirsting for information on the future Sony dSLRs –at least it is something.

A few weeks ago, Rick Clancy, a Sony employee for more than seventeen years, started the all-new Sony Electronics blog. As the name implies, it is not a blog dedicated to the Alpha cameras or even digital cameras in general. Instead, Clancy will be blogging on all Sony products — and that will naturally include the Alpha dSLRs.

This is great news, because it means there finally a way for US based photographers to communicate (somewhat) with Sony. Just as importantly, the blog should be a source of semi-official information about Sony cameras, lenses an accessories.

Sony Alpha users have needed something like this for a long time. Relying on rumors is never a wise idea, but until now, Sony has declined to provide any information on the next phase of the digital Alphas. This has led to some over-the-top rumors, including one so-called writer who recently announced that Sony was abandoning the dSLR market. No official word, no reference to any source — just a bald statement that Sony was closing the door on their SLR plans. Of course he couldn’t name a source, because this is pure fiction. Sony has no intention of leaving the dSLR market, but with no official word from Sony on when the new bodies will ship, people are taking it upon themselves to make up whatever stories they can come up with. Another recent rumor making the rounds is that Sony has recalled all their lenses from dealers. Again, it is untrue, but it has been repeated in several online forums.

Which is why we need something like Clancy’s blog. When you let a rumors like these spread unchecked, a lot of people start to believe they are true. Until now, however, Sony has stood silent, providing no details, ignoring the rumors, blissfully going about their plans seemingly unconcerned about customer input.

On the August 4th edition of his blog, however, Clancy invited Mark Weir, the Senior Technology and Marketing manager for Alpha and Cyber-shot digital cameras to post on the blog. You can read the Response to Alpha DSLR Comments yourself, but I felt it important to echo several of things Weir had to say.

Sony is “sensitive to the voices of Minolta users”

Weir says “We are listening to the voice of our customers through this blog as well as other user forums on photo enthusiast sites. We are particularly sensitive to the voices of Minolta users as we look forward to their acceptance of Alpha as a strong continuation of Minolta’s prestigious heritage.”

You have to read between the lines to glean much information about the future Alpha dSLRs, but Weir does have this to say: “I want to assure you that the models are on schedule and that we are dedicated to fulfilling your high expectations for the Alpha system.”

I know it isn’t much. But it comes at the same time that some irresponsible blogger posted a unfounded entry entitled “Sony bails out of the dSLR market.” I won’t link to the post, because I don’t want to send any traffic to a loser who would post garbage information with no truth behind it. Yet, while the post has no basis in fact, it was picked up by several search engines. At least one other blog has already linked to it — strengthening the perception in some people’s minds that the Alpha is history.

Sony is still dedicated to the dSLR category

Thankfully, we have Weir’s remarks to indicate that this is far from the case — that the future Alpha models are on track and that “these new models demonstrate our long-term dedication to enthusiast photographers and the Digital SLR category.”

About the fictious lens recall, Weir says “There’s no truth to this – Sony is committed to the Alpha DSLR system and its expansion – cameras, lenses and accessories and the Minolta heritage which they share.”

Weir: “…it won’t be much longer!”

Weir concludes his remarks with the statement “Thanks for your confidence and patience- it won’t be much longer!”

I am confident that a year from now, the Alpha line will be on a much stronger footing. Actually, all of this gloom and doom talk about the future of the Sony dSLRs reminds me of one of Sony’s rivals. You may of heard of the company — Apple Computers, now known simply as Apple, Inc. For years, Apple users had to endure a stream of unfounded rumors that the company was going out of business. It got so bad that one Apple web site complied the “Apple Deathwatch” — a list of magazine articles and online opinion pieces explaining how Apple could no longer survive. According to the folks at the Mac Observer, “Apple Has Been Declared Dead 52 Times [by media experts] Since April, 1995.” The latest entry to the list dates back to 2006 — apparently the folks behind the rumors realize that no one is going to buy their stories with the Mac increasing in marketshare, the iPod continuing to defy all challengers and the new iPhone frenzy. Apple users knew all along that Apple wasn’t going anywhere, but those rumors used to crop up on a continual basis.

What has this to do with the Sony Alpha? The same sort of short-sighted blow-hards who continually tried to spread Apple’s obituary in the media are now focusing their attention on the Alpha. Until Sony steps up to prove them wrong, they will insinuate that the Alpha has failed to meet Sony’s expectations. The Alpha, they will tell anyone who will listen, is dead.

Nonsense? Of course. But the voices of reason have been drowned out by the gloom and doom of these muckrakers. Until now, trying to bury these rumors was a case of “my word is a good as yours” since Sony was mostly silent about the future. Now thanks to the semi-official Sony Electronics blog, we now have Mark Weir’s statements to use as ammunition against the ill-informed rumors running wild.

Thanks, Mr. Clancy!

Read the Sony Electronics Blog here!