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October 15, 2012

Interview with Sony President at dpreview covers multiple segments

Having interview withdrawal after the end of Photokina? Fear not, a new interview has arrived, it is a wide-ranging interview with the Sony President and COO, Philip Molyneux at With Sony being involved in many aspects of the imaging world, it is interesting to get the perspective of someone who has to manage the madness and competing interests within the company.

A variety of topics are touched upon, including NEX, DSLRs, RX-series, Olympus tie-up, sensors, EVFs/OVFs, disruptive approach, megapixel wars, smartphones vs cameras, and more. Obviously a company's president is not going to reveal the company's future secrets. However, there was perhaps a revealing line, since Sony makes both and supplies imaging technologies to both: "... There will be a race between smartphones and compact cameras to improve features and capabilities... ".

Will the tipping point mentioned in the interview be if/when cameraphones are able to offer usable/servicable zoom lenses? The ever-increasing screen sizes in phones gives them some more flexibility (compared to those tiny cellphones of the past), although the super-model obsession with slimness with smartphones is a perhaps a detriment to the possibility of zoom lenses.

We have already mentioned about a hundred times that the avalanche of superzoom digital cameras is not a coincidence (see Cameras of 2012 and Cameras of 2011). Superzooms are a fundamental advantage over cameraphones. As of the time of writing, about 40% of fixed lens digital cameras announced in 2012 by the major digital camera manufacturers are superzooms (optical zoom ratio of 10x or more).

Starting at Photokina 2012, we saw another approach by the camera manufacturers to take advantage of the ever-increasing size of cameraphones: mini-me cameras. The first to jump on this bandwagon is Nikon with the Coolpix S01 with a 3x optical zoom lens. Judging by the price of the camera (around $150 as of the time of writing), it is unlikely this is a Nikon-exclusive made-in-Japan model, so the OEM Clone Machine will perhaps have more of these under other brands in the near future [this is pure speculation!]

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