Sony is ranked 105th on Forbes’ top Fortune 500 list, with their total assets at around 130 Billion. As a company, they’ve diversified into very nearly every level of consumer electronics and entertainment since their humble beginnings in 1946 Japan. Still recovering from the reverberations of World War II, Sony was an image of the Japanese, post-war resurgence. Through many years of good (The Walkman) and bad (Betamax) business decisions and plenty of analysts saying they will fade from US Markets, they have weathered, persisted and still remain to this day, a symbol of well-built modern technology.
You don’t become a world player in technology by being stagnant. Especially in 2015, it’s more important than ever to be on the cusp of new and chic. The market moves so fast that companies become relevant and irrelevant faster than ever. I believe that fight to stay relevant is no more present anywhere else than it is in the camera world. We live in a world dominated by visual technology. Virtually every device you own now has the ability to take pictures, and HD video. So camera manufacturers are posed with a very difficult question: Why buy a $1,500 camera when I have one on my phone? Why get a high end camcorder when my iPhone can capture 240 frames a second?
You know what makes it even more interesting? These are valid questions.
Manufacturers can no longer just turn their noses up to these technologies and say, “Well, this is professional, and you can’t be professional without paying the $$$ premium.” The film, “Tangerine” by Director Sean Baker was shot on an iPhone and has found grand success on the film festival circuit. There are people who Instagram for a living— taking photos with their iPhones and Android devices. What does all this mean? We have to reconsider the emotional impact of an image and the importance of the way it is captured.
As a professional in the industry, I get the frustration of those considering this a quality vs. quantity issue, but I see it as more complex than that. We can’t diminish the advantages of accessibility. The magic of innovation happens in the small spaces where quantity and quality coalesce.
While Sony is such a massive and technological dominant company, we see their strengths not just in the places that large companies succeed, but in the ways that the young and hungry do. They’re in touch with their consumers and receptive to what they want. Regardless of the eventual successes or failures of their new Mirrorless Camera, the a7Rii, Sony has truly created something that professionals ARE asking for. That’s the beauty of what they’re doing. Many other camera companies have proven that they can make quality cameras that take intriguing, emotionally captivating images. But what sets Sony apart from their competitors is their ability to keep their ears and eyes open and set on the needs of their customers.
They’re not perfect. While I’m an a7S shooter, I wouldn’t imply that it’s the perfect camera. It’s most certainly not for everyone. What I can say, is that Sony has been making features once considered a niche, far more accessible to the average, amateur/semi-professional shooter. The super slow motion on the FS700. The unbelievable Low-Light and Log Shooting of the a7S and most recently the generous updates to the RX10 Mk2. The a7Rii is just an extension of that, receptive mindset. 42megapixels, 4k video, a body upgrade, 5-axis sensor stabilization, S-Log2 and expanded ISOs.
They're creating technology like a company that still has something to prove nearly 70 years after it's inception. Sony hasn’t necessarily shown that they have the best tech, but they have shown, that if they have it, you probably can have it too.
Sony Interview at Imaging Resource: DSLR market is shrinking. 4K market is growing crazy fast.
Via Sony Alpha Rumors:
Imaging Resource interviewed Mike Fasulo, Neal Manowitz and Toshifumi Okuda from Sony. Here are some key highlights of the interview:
1) DSLR market declinging: “So we see one of the challenges we have, as we were sharing last night, is that the DSLR market’s declining.”
2) 4K: “You’re looking at your personal creative work on a 4K monitor, there’s nothing more spectacular than that. You want to see a mom smile, just put her child in 4K on a television.”. Further there is a “Crazy-fast adoption for 4K TVs (4K is a really big deal)”
3) Mirrorless is growing (but more slowly in USA): “if we look at the mirrorless market, it’s growing significantly. It’s been growing for years in Asia as well, but there’s quite unique differences, right? In the US market, as Mike pointed out, bigger is better.”
4) DSLR vs Mirrorless: “What’s exciting is simply that you can capture an image that you could have never captured before. You can do things that you couldn’t have done before. Forget about the technology, whether it happens to be mirrorless or DSLR, that’s not the real win here. What’s happening is that the technology enables you to do something special.”
(cover photo credit: snap from Sony Alpha Rumors)