Possibly the biggest actual surprise of PMA so far is the Sony A300 and A350 pair, which, so far as we know, nobody saw coming. (If you're not aware of it, PMA started yesterday, and will run till Sunday, when it will break early this year so participants can watch the Super Bowl.) The lack of "live view" on the semi-pro A700 was widely noted, and now we know why: The A300-series cameras are the ones that offer the feature. Apparently, Sony thinks that the market for live view is not the semi-pro and advanced amateur market targeted by the A700. You can have the feature if you want it; you just need to buy a different camera to get it, is all.
The A300 and A350, which are price-competitive with entry-level DSLRs, are the same camera except that they give you your choice of sensor: you get to choose between 10 megapixels (the A300) or 14 megapixels (A350). The choice will certainly test the principles of those who claim to believe that more pixels aren't necessarily better!
The implementation of live view on the A300 and A350 is promising. First of all, the camera offers a simple flip-up LCD viewing screen, which I personally think is even better than the articulated digicam-style screen on the Olympus E-3. It allows for a passable imitation of the waist-level viewing so beloved of Hasselblad and Rolleiflex shooters from days of yore (minus the reversed image, which is no loss). Moreover, other cameras use an inherently slow focusing system whereby the mirror has to flip down, focus, and flip up again. The A300 cameras use a new focusing scheme that allows for regular autofocusing in live view.
The big-dog Sony DSLR, still unnamed—Sony is continuing to call it the "flagship"—is now due before the end of 2008, possibly at photokina. The big surprise news of this PMA (the flagship was also shown in mock-up last PMA) is that it will have a full-frame sensor (the 24-megapixel one announced the other day) and Super SteadyShot sensor-based image stabilization. So much for the endless armchair forum truthiness pronouncing that sensor IS is only compatible with APS-C and smaller sensors. Interestingly, Sony is saying that the flagship is not necessarily a "pro" camera, and it's not going to be bigger than a watermelon. Rather, it will compete with the class of camera currently defined by the Canon 5D.
Sony has also announced two new lenses—a Sony 70–300mm G-series lens, and a Carl Zeiss constant-aperture ƒ/2.8 24–70mm. The latter, shown below, is doubtless intended to be the normal zoom for the coming flagship camera. It weighs in at a whopping two pounds plus (33.3 oz.), which must be a record for a normal zoom. (At least, we hope it is.)