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February 07, 2011

Sony opening E-mount specifications to lens makers on April 1st

With CP+ opening its doors on the 9th (Japanese time), the announcements are going to pick up steam, so hold on to your browsers!

In a very welcome sign of more openness and interoperability, beginning April 1st (hopefully not a joke, why didn't they pick a different date?) Sony will release the E-mount specifications (for free) to any interested lens and lens-mount manufacturers!

According to the press release, Zeiss, Cosina, Sigma and Tamron are jumping aboard and each have issued a mini-statement in support of this move.

Read all about it at Photo Club Alpha (long press release with statements), Imaging Resource, Alpha Mount World, dpreview, etc. Official press release by Sony Europe.

The timing of this is of course not random, as Micro Four Thirds just announced that Zeiss and Schneider will be making M43 lenses.

This will likely put more pressure on Canon and Nikon to reveal their mirrorless plans - or at least do something to freeze the market. While it is true that third-party lens manufacturers have been making lenses for the traditional SLR mounts for years (mostly reverse-engineering), Sony's rolling of the welcome E-mount mat is certainly not going to be lost on the lens manufacturers and photographers alike.

Perhaps Sony is borrowing a page from Google and is trying to turn the E-mount into the Android of mirrorless systems?

PS: Memo to manufacturers - Please do not make announcements or set deadlines for April 1st!

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