Sony unveiled this week its a850 digital SLR featuring a 24.6 million pixel CMOS sensor and dual Bionz processors 'for detail-packed, low-noise images with high sensitivity up to ISO6400 at a cheaper price than the current top-range model, the a900.
The camera, similarly to the a900, is aimed a advanced amateurs and semi-professional photographers. Asked whether Sony intended to enter the professional photography market, Yojiro Asai, product manager in the digital imaging business unit at Sony UK, says that it currently lacks a 'concrete direction to get into sport photography and professional photography.'
Instead, Asai tells BJP, Sony continues to focus on 'how to grow the mainstream range of the market. We are trying to cultivate that segment.' The launch of the a500 and a550 is part of that strategy as they offer a step-up from the a100, a200 and a300 series for amateur photographers to adopt.
Asai adds that entering the professional market would require a large investment from Sony 'in order to support the professional photographers. You need a sophisticated repair system, for example.'
He continues: 'We're not saying no [to the professional photographers], but we're not saying yes either.'
However, Sony is still trying to appeal to the professional photographers, centering some of its marketing around pro shooters that have been working with the a900. While unveiling the a850, Sony boasted of photographers such as Duncan McEwan, Mike Jones and Michael Wayne Plant choosing its flagship camera, with the latter having sold 'his full set of Nikon kit on eBay.'
Last year, when Sony launched the a900, Paul Genge, Sony's UK technical sales manager told BJP that while it had aspirations for the professional market with this camera, it would not set expectations too high. 'You've got to have a full range of options right away (to enter the professional market). And we feel that we're not quite there yet. We're not saying directly that we will attack that market, but (with this model) we are bringing attention to Sony.'
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