According to the rumors swirling about, we are mere days away from the official announcement from Sony of the world's first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the NEX-like 24-MP A7 and 36-MP A7r.
The pictures are from digicame-info.com (Japanese site) via PhotoRumors. PhotoRumors has the (not-yet-official, remember) rundown on features and new lenses. [Note: This link was broken earlier. Fixed now. Sorry 'bout that. —Editorial Staff]
(Just look at that top picture. Sony makes me happy, with all its 35mm and 35mm-e lenses.)
More on this as events warrant.
(Thanks to Dave Stewart)
UPDATE Monday night: Okay, okay, okay, I give in. World's first interchangeable lens, autofocus mirrorless stills camera.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Aaron Greenman: "Wasn't the M9 the first full frame mirrorless?"
Mike replies: Well, I guess it was. On the other hand, it already had a category—rangefinder—and although it's technically "mirrorless," I don't think of it as belonging to that category. But maybe others do.
Vu Le: "And if we aren't talking digital, then 35mm rangefinders go way back. Not a mirror to be found. And if we aren't talking interchangeable lens, then any cheapo point and shoot 35mm was mirrorless. Even down to the 35mm disposable party favor cameras. :-) "
Mike replies: ...Which is exactly why I wouldn't include in the "mirrorless" category every camera that doesn't have a mirror.
Remember, the name of categories are just words meant to distinguish the categories of cameras from each other—the words themselves aren't defining. They're not even descriptive, necessarily. They're just assigned, by sometimes long-drawn-out common consent.
But even within a more careful taxonomy, there are confusions between types of cameras, and there are models that don't quite belong to one "named" type but don't entirely belong to another.
Henning: "Full frame digital is nice (I have two systems with full frame bodies), but the advantages of mirrorless over optical viewfinder cameras for users extends to the additional information the mirrorless viewfinders can afford versus the clarity and real time view the optical viewfinders provide. For the manufacturers, significant savings are likely to be realized, especially as the electronics improve.
"I'm not interested in these right now, because my Micro 4/3 mirrorless system saves me huge amounts in weight and size with the range of lenses I have, and for the uses I put my Micro 4/3 system to, a full frame system can't compete.
"The future possibilities for such a system are great, but Sony has to follow through. Unfortunately, Sony has a terrible record in this regard. Flavour of the moment has always been Sony's approach. If Nikon or Canon were to start providing such bodies, and transitioning new lens designs to take advantage of the shorter back focus available, the future would look brighter. Unfortunately, I think both companies are too conservative at the moment and don't dare to chance cannibalizing their traditional lines to do this."
Auntipode: "Doesn't a rangefinder mechanism have mirrors in it?"
Mike replies: You're quite right!
Ben Rosengart: "No one considers the RX1 full-frame mirrorless?"
Mike replies: See "update" above.
Joseph Kashi: "Verbal quibbling aside, an interchangeable lens version of the RX1 would be a welcome harbinger of things to come."
Chris Malcolm: "The thing about the term 'mirrorless' is that it means more than 'has no mirror.' It means a kind of camera that usually has a mirror, but is being unusual in doing without. Like the term 'bachelor' means more than 'has no wife.' That's why the Pope is not a bachelor, though he has no wife. That's why the Leica isn't mirrorless, though it has no mirror. Grammar is more subtle and useful than literal minded pedantry."