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Date: 18/06/2015 | By: Heather

Interview with Product Managers Y. Hori and R. Noguchi of Sony Europe – A7rII, RX100 IV and RX10 II

, 1/1000, f/ 27/10, ISO 3200

Interview with Product Managers Y. Hori and R. Noguchi of Sony Europe – A7rII, RX100 IV and RX10 II

During the press event at Pinewood Studios near London, we had the chance to sit down with two managers from Sony Europe, Yoma Hori (Product Manager for Interchangeable Lens Camera Digital Imaging) and Ryoko Noguchi (Product Manager for Digital Still Camera/Lens Style Camera Digital Imaging). We talked about the recently released A7r II, RX100 IV and RX10 II as well as the other mirrorless cameras from Sony.

Sony A7R II

Yoma Hori – Product Manager for Interchangeable Lens Camera Digital Imaging

sony a7rii review
The new Sony A7r mark II: also check out our hands-on review by clicking on the image.

ML: Let’s start with a purely technical curiosity: why 42MP instead of say 46 or 50MP? Does it have something to do with the Super35mm crop mode for 4K recording?

YH: I would say this is not purely about the resolution but a balance between resolution, sensitivity and also the speed. I think that 42MP is a high enough resolution on the current market. And of course it is related to the 35mm movie recording but it’s not a restriction. 42MP is enough for professionals in this era and it is the best balance.

ML: Was it more difficult to calibrate the 5-axis stabilisation of the A7r II sensor in comparison to the 24MP sensor on the A7 mark II?

YH: Yes, it is more complicated and tough process to calibrate because compared to A7 II, it has almost double the number of pixels on the image sensor and to actuate this image sensor, we are using magnetics. These magnetics are complicated to actuate so the processing and calibration is more enhanced but at the same time, we are achieving the same 4.5 step compensation. This is why we call it the new in-body stabilisation system optimised for this camera.

ML: Could we say that the performance of the 5 axis stabilisation is the same on the A7 II and A7r II?

YH: The amount of compensation is different from lens to lens and focal length to focal length. So we can’t say it’s exactly the same but if we think about the difference in resolution, the A7r II image stabilisation unit itself is more advanced and complicated.

ML: The Super 35mm crop mode of the A7r II for video makes the camera a relevant option for serious filmmaking. Won’t this make it a direct competitor of the A7s since the latter can’t record 4K internally?

YH: It does compete with the A7s but on the other hand, in the cinema field, the target users are quite different and there are many types of cinematographers. So for people who can accept the external recorder, the A7s is the better choice because it does full pixel readout without binning for all the formats. But the A7r II is the first camera with a full frame sensor that does 4K recording internally. So for people who want to use it for drones and 4K recording, the A7r II is the best choice because the camera can use the entire field of the lens and record 4K movies internally. And also people who want to shoot 35mm format 4K movie, the A7r is the better choice because it records internally.

ML: The new autofocus system on the A7r II allows for an easier use of A-mount lenses even without the LE-EA4 adapter. This means better compatibility with A-mount lenses, so we could actually call the A7r II a “hybrid” camera. Is Sony still planning to continue with the development of the DSLT line in the long term?

YH: I would say, yes, we can call it a hybrid camera because this is the first attempt to fully use the functions of the camera with the mount adapter. But the SLT cameras still offers some advantages like longer batter life, better grip, and whole functionally is still like DSLRs. We believe customers are still there and that they will love these DSLT cameras. We can’t comment on future products but we are still continuing to produce these A-mount cameras.

ML: The only imaginable limit on the A7r II is battery life, at least based on our experience with the A7 series. Will it be possible to have batteries with a longer life in the future without increasing their size?

YH: The image sensor and processing are the energy consuming parts and we are quite rapidly developing these two parts internally. So like I said, this Exmor R CMOS sensor is a newly developed sensor and every year, we are developing a new sensor. So with this developing speed, another goal is to use less energy but achieve a higher performance. I would say it’s possible.

Sony RX100 IV and RX10 II

Ryoko Noguchi – Product Manager for Digital Still Camera/Lens Style Camera Digital Imaging

sony rx100 iv
Sony RX10 II and RX100 IV: check out our hands-on review by clicking on the picture.

ML: The A7r II, RX100m4 and RX10m2 are the first Sony cameras to include internal 4K recording. Some competitors have been pushing this technology not only for video but also for photography. What do you think about 4k Photo?

RN: Basically 4K photo is extracting some photos after shooting a movie from the movie output. But our dual recording function is simply taking a picture while shooting a video. That’s why we have achieved 17MP high resolution for taking a photo. It only produces a JPG, not a Raw file.

ML: The RX100 IV has a very interesting option called Anti-Distortion shutter to minimise the rolling shutter issue. How does it work exactly?

RN: The anti distortion shutter works thanks to the new Exmor RS sensor’s fast readout processing speed. It scans the subject image line by line and there’s a time gap between the top and bottom, and that causes distortion in a picture. However thanks to our brand new image sensor, we can read out a subject with a smaller time gap in scanning, so this can reduce distortion drastically.

ML: Will this feature expand the potential of semi and full electronic shutters?

RN: It is for Exmor RS sensors, so as long as there is Exmor RS with DRAM, there is a possibility to implement this function to electronic shutters.

ML: If my understanding is correct, the DRAM chip introduced in the RX100m4/RX10m2 sensor makes it possible to extend the capabilities of the engine processor. Can this technology be implemented on bigger sensors?

RN: There is a possibility for the future but we can’t answer now.

A7 Series and Various Questions

Yoma Hori – Product Manager for Interchangeable Lens Camera Digital Imaging

Shooting with the Sony A7!
Shooting with the Sony A7

ML: Many users wish to have an uncompressed Raw option on the A7 series. Why hasn’t it been implemented yet?

YH: I’ve heard of this request. If there is a high demand, we can consider developing it in the future.

ML: Since both the A7s and the A7r II have the possibility, why hasn’t an electronic shutter option been implemented on the A7 II?

YH: Well, technologically the sensor needs to be compatible with this function. The A7rII and A7s have a unique sensor, so it’s been developed with a silent shooting function already included, but the A7 II sensor doesn’t have this function unfortunately.

ML: More competitors are releasing substantial firmware updates to their cameras and customer reception seems to be really positive. Is it something that Sony can consider in the future?

YH: Yes, we are continuing to release firmware updates. Yesterday we launched a new firmware. This is for the A7, A7r, A7s and A6000. For the A7 series cameras, the start-up time is now faster. This is a common complaint from the consumer. 1 1/2 years after their launch, we still update these cameras and for the A6000 we can do XAVCS movie recording.

ML: We now have a successor for both the A7 and A7r so logic would have it that the next in line is the A7s…

YH: I hope so. *laughs* Of course I cannot comment but you can imagine, before today, the people wanted in-body stabilisation for the A7r. That was the most frequent feedback from the consumers. So we made this A7r II with even higher resolution. But I cannot comment on future products.

ML: Thank you both for your time!

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    The best thing would be to have the full option like on some high end DSLRs. You choose 12 or 14 bit, lossy, lossless or uncompressed. That way everyone would be happy :)

  • jeffp3456

    Mathieu, I think we want lossless compressed raws not uncompressed raws. Hopefully the
    Sony people will realize that and also that it is a very popular request.

  • soundimageplus

    ‘a short battery life but that is common with many mirrorless cameras’
    But how many shoot 4K video with a 42.5MP sensor and 5-axis IBIS? Sony themselves quote 290 still images per battery. I dread to think how 4K IBIS video would drain a battery. The mix of pro features in a body that offers that kind of power may be attractive to some, but for someone like me using these cameras to earn a living, it’s not.

  • Mathieu

    Thanks. We asked the same question at Photokina last year and they said the same thing, that DSLTs are still in the works 😉

  • lhkjacky

    Thank you for sharing :-)
    Finally, someone have ask Sony about the future of a-mount camera.
    It exactly what we want to hear about 😛
    “we are still continuing to produce these A-mount cameras.”

  • Mathieu

    I understand your point. Perhaps this new A7r II could be a real deal. If we won’t find serious issue with the real word reviews that will popup in the following months, I honestly can see any negative point about this camera if not a short battery life but that is common with many mirrorless cameras. Sony wanted to enhance the first generation of A7 and there were indeed many things to fix. If this new A7r II maintain its promises, then I hope they will slow down the next releases.

  • soundimageplus

    It will be interesting to see how the camera performs in the ‘real world’ and I’ve always been impressed by Sony image quality, but I can’t help feeling that Sony keep releasing cameras that are nearly there, but not quite.

    For instance acknowledging that the A7r II is a power hungry beast but then saying that they aren’t doing anything about it. For me this is turning into yet another system whereby a manufacturer keeps releasing tantalising upgrades with some kind of tease which indicates that the ‘real deal’ is one or two updates down the line. And of course that complete camera never materialises.

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