While it’s natural to think that the forthcoming Alpha A7000 will be a replacement to the rangefinder-style Alpha A6500, it could actually herald a new line of cameras for Sony, sitting above it in the range.
With the arrival of the Alpha A6400, this makes even more sense. In many ways, the Alpha A6400 is a better specified (and cheaper) camera than the A6500, so its starting to look a little out of place in Sony’s line-up. If Sony were to bring in a new camera that offered more features and performance than the A6400, it would make sense then to drop the A6500.
- Sony Alpha A6000 Digital Camera – Fantastic image quality!
- Sony A7sIII – Will be announced this fall and not at the NAB show
It could be that Sony will make a ‘baby’ Alpha A9, which would be something similar to what Nikon’s done in recents years with the full-frame D5 and APS-C D500.
Sony Alpha A7000 – Design
If Sony are intending the Alpha A7000 to be a baby Alpha A9, then we are likely to see a change in design direction that will move it away from the rangefinder-style design of the Alpha A6500.
According to SonyAlphaRumors.com, the A7000 is likely to adapt a similar DSLR-style design that’s more closely related to the Alpha A7 series, with the electronic viewfinder (EVF) positioned in line with the sensor and lens mount.
You just have to look at the success of Fujifilm’s X-T2 and X-T3 to see that this makes sense. Not only will it make the camera handle better with longer lenses, but seem a more attractive proposition for DSLR owners looking to make the swap and might be put off by the proportions of the more compact A6000-series rangefinder-style design.
Sony Alpha A7000 – Sensor
The 24MP sensor in the A6500 performs very well, but it’s likely that the Alpha A7000 will use an all-new chip. One option is for it to feature an uprated 24MP design, but with Sony now manufacturing a back-illuminated (BSI) 26MP APS-C sensor, this could be a great fit for the new camera.
That might not be enough of a jump for Sony, and it might opt for even more pixels – perhaps the rumored 32MP APS-C sensor with the model name IMX510.
Both sensor’s could feature a new dual-gain ADC mode, which is said to improve dynamic range by almost two stops. Details on how this mode works are scarce, and it comes at the cost of a 50% reduction in sensor speed, but Fujifilm’s X-T3 already features this tech in its Sony-manufactured sensor.
Finally, there’s Digital Overlap HDR (DOL-HDR). You can think of this like bracketing, but it sees a minimum time interval of just 1/6000 sec between capturing two frames at different exposures.
Sony Alpha A7000 – Viewfinder and rear display
Rumors at the moment suggest that the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the A7000 will be blackout-free for continuous shooting, while we’d also expect the resolution of the EVF to be increased from the A6500’s 2.36-million dot offering to match the A9’s excellent 3.69-million dot EVF.
As for the rear display, it’s likely it’ll feature a tilting mechanism that we’ve seen on other Sony Alpha cameras, while we’d expect it to stick with a 3.0-inch display size.
Sony’s been a bit slow to implement touchscreen functionality of its cameras, but we’d be surprised if Sony didn’t include this on the A7000.
Sony Alpha A7000 – Performance
With Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras featuring in-body image stabilization, as well as the A6500, we’d expect to see a variation of Sony’s excellent 5-axis system in the A7000. This would certainly give it an advantage over Fujifilm’s X-T3.
Equipping the A7000 with the latest BIONZ X image processing engine will help it shoot at up to 20fps and matching the Alpha A9, though it’s not quite clear if this is relying on the camera’s electronic shutter to do this or with a mechanical shutter. Factor in the blackout-free EVF and this could be a great camera for action.
Obviously, a lot of this hinges on how good the autofocus system will be. The A6500 sports a 425-point AF system, but the system in the A7000 could even be more advanced, perhaps even matching the 693-point system of the A9 and A7 III.
With the launch of the A6400, we’ve seen some new autofocus features, including Real-time Eye AF and Real-time AF Tracking, which both use AI-based subject recognition and we’d be surprised if the Alpha A7000 doesn’t support either of these new autofocus features.
4K video is pretty much a given on a Sony camera of this calibre, but the frame rate supported is still unclear – 30p would be a safe bet, but don’t discount setting it capable of shooting at 60p, while we’d also expect to see 4K HDR capture as well.
Sony Alpha A7000 – Release date and price
CES has been and gone, so we could see Sony take the wraps off the Alpha A7000 in the run-up to Japan’s CP+ imaging show at the end of February.
As for cost, it’s likely that’ll it cost more than the A6500, which is retailing for about $1,199/£1,199. We can’t see it quite hitting the price of the Alpha A7 III (around $1,999/£1,849), but we think it’ll be not far off considering the potentially impressive spec of the camera.