In a leaked document from Sony, plans have been revealed for the company to pull completely out of the digital market and to focus on the production of a range of film cameras. Whilst this may appear crazy, we must remember that Sony purchased the camera division of Minolta in 2006. Minolta was never one of the ‘big boys’ of the camera industry, however, the company led the the field technologically with innovations such as Aperture and Shutter Priority modes. With a Sony/ Minolta return to analogue, the industry has to ask itself, is this the next game changer for the photography market?
Sony’s own Mr. Araki, was keen to dispel worries from those invested in Sony technology, indicating that the new range of film cameras would still be compatible with Sony mounts, would work with in-body stabilisation, and current auto-focus mechanisms. He further added, that whilst the mechanics of the camera would be analogue, there would still be an option for an integrated digital menu that nobody understands.
Sony cameras have never been know for their stylish looks, but this is now set to change. The analogue range is rumoured to be based around the XD-11, a camera regarded as ground breaking when first released. Unlike the original XD-11, Sony is reported to be looking at fully weather-proofing the entire range of cameras, whilst retaining a plastic faux leather look.
Sony have been working with Steve McCurry on developing a range of colour films. McCurry is known for his use of Kodachrome, and there are early indications the new film range will replicate the fine grain and rich colours Kodachrome produced. Sony’s current range of digital cameras are renowned for producing beautiful skin tones, and it is likely that this look will be replicated with the new film.
Sony’s shock move from the digital market has been partly attributed to a number of board members currently under lockdown due to Covid-19. Many board members have been spending time going through old photo books and sharing slide shows with their families. One insider, who asked to remain anonymous stated, ‘I was sat with my two sons watching a slideshow of our camping holiday, back in 1977. As I was viewing the slides I realised that our image sensors would never match the beauty of slide-film. In addition, there is nothing like the sound of a slide carousel click-clicking in the background’.
Obviously, Sony will not be throwing out all their technological know-how. The new analogue range will be based around their ‘Advanced Retro Signature Engine (ARSE). The industry is now asking, ‘can Sony’s ARSE kick Cannon and Nikon’s Butts?’
In the meantime, I wish you all a happy April Fools.
Take care and keep clicking, Chris