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Translation of interview with Sony rep

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Post Options Post Options   Quote revdocjim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Translation of interview with Sony rep
    Posted: 10 March 2007 at 07:44
I am not sure if this interview has been mentioned here, but someone over at
dpreview provided the link. It is an interview with a Mr. Katsumoto of Sony. I
did a quick translation as follows: The original is here.
http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/cda/other/2007/03/10/5788.html

Here is my rough translation:
Q: You have announced two new models, making
for a lineup of 3 bodies. But as of yet we have no specs. What can you tell
us?

A: All we are doing with this announcement is letting people know that
we are in the process of developing these two bodies. And also that one of them
will be released some time during 2007.

Q: What is the relative positioning of these 3 bodies to each other and what
type of users are you targeting.

A: The already released a100 has been
described as an entry user model all along. We listened to the various voices
that responded to the a100 and talked about what the customers are most eager to
have. One of the things we heard most was the desire for a body that would
please users looking to move up one step from the a100. In fact, if you go back
to Konica Minolta days there was a mid-level body called the a-7 digital and
many people are looking for something to replace that model.
In addition, we
designed a body that would stand up to the requirements of professional use, and
are releasing that as our top of the line model.

Q: Up until now Sony has said they wouldn’t be making a product for the pro
market. When you say “a body that would stand up to the requirements of
professional use” do you mean a truly professional oriented model, or do you
mean a product that matches the specs of a pro model?

A: The term “professional use” can mean a lot of things. Different applications require
different capabilities and functions. When we say “a body that would stand up
to the requirements of professional use” that is exactly what we mean. This is a
top end product that any pro could use and be satisfied. But we are not
labeling this product as being exclusively geared towards professionals only.
This is our top end product that will meet the needs of any user wanting specs
and functions that are even higher than the high amateur model.

Q. So can we assume that the body to the right will be released some time
after 2007 and that the one on the left is the high amateur model that will be
released this year?

A: At this point in time all we are saying is that one
of them will be released this year.

Q: So how long do you expect it to take for the 3 body lineup to be
completed? Are we looking at a long wait?

A: No, not that long. We don’t
have any firm dates at this point but I think you can draw your own conclusions
based on the fact that we are making this announcement here and now. It
certainly won’t be a wait of “years.”

Q: We have heard that both models will use newly developed sensors. Many
assume that the high amateur model sensor will be the same size as the current
one, and that the pro model will use a full size sensor. The release of so many
lenses for full size seems to suggest as much. Can you verify this for us?

A. No, that is all officially secret at this point so I can’t say anything.

Q: So are you saying it will be an APS-C sized sensor?
A. No, I didn’t say it would be the same size as current models either.

Note: Since these products are still in the development stage it is only natural
that Mr. Katsumoto can’t tell us the details. But we did ask one Sony employee
which one they would buy, given the choice. He pointed to the one on the right
and said “I would take the one on the right because I prefer a large viewfinder
image.” Of course some of that could be the result of a larger pentaprism, but
the top end model clearly has a larger body, and it is probably safe to assume
that it will have a sensor that is larger than APS-C, and most likely a 35mm
full size sensor.

Q: What price ranges are you thinking for these two models.
A: Currently the a100 sells for about 110,000 yen for the kit and about 90,000yen for the
body. The high amateur model is a step up from that, and so the price will
reflect that. Strictly speaking it is not the a-7 digital replacement, but
effectively it does fit into that category.

Q: And how about the top end model. Can we assume that it will be priced
somewhere between the high amateur model and full blown pro-models?

A: Yes. While not a full blown pro model, it will be our flagship product, geared toward
users wanting the very best, top quality product in our line. So your guess is
reasonable, but remember, nothing has been finalized yet.

Q. Given the flurry of activity in the entry model market during 2006, does
Sony intend to offer any other choices for an entry model?

A: We listen very closely to the voices of our users, and we prioritize the items for which we
sense the highest demand. The meaning of this announcement is that we believe
these two products have the highest demand, so we are working on developing them
first. But that is not to say that these are the only two products we are
developing. In fact we are simultaneously working on other products as well.
“Entry users” can mean a lot of things. People come into the DSLR market from a
variety of backgrounds, so we are taking very seriously the question of what
type of entry model will meet the needs of the most users. But at this point
our number one priority is to complete a 3 tiered lineup that goes from top to
bottom.

Q: So can we expect an entry level model too?
A: No one expects the a100 to remain unchanged for ever. So of course, we are
working on an entry level model.

Q. Will an entry model be released before the two models mentioned in this
announcement?

A: Our announcements are based on what the demand is but that
doesn’t necessarily mean our R&D is proceeding in the same order. For instance,
when we first announced the alpha line lenses there were a lot of G and Zeiss
lenses that would appeal to a broader market than the a100 body. This latest
announcement comes now because we believe it is important to answer the
questions of many users about whether we will be offering a body that would suit
those high end lenses. As for an entry model, right now we are offering a
product that effectively covers that need. If you think about art, you can’t
start off painting pictures like Picasso or Dali. First you have to get a handle
on dessin (French for basic drawing fundamentals) There are a lot of things that
need to be mastered before top quality art can be created. As for our company,
we are taking on some big challenges with regard to new technologies, and have
some pretty radical concepts that are percolating, but at the same time we
strongly believing in doing a good job of covering the basics first.

Q: Looking back on last year, the year Sony entered this market, what are
your thoughts.

A: At the time of last year’s PMA, the transfer from KM to Sony
had just been announced in January but there was very little in the way of
specific details. The fact is that we didn’t even have an office at that point.
We were doing joint research with KM but really had no idea what the future held
because the announcement of the transfer really was a sudden one. In that sense
we are really happy to be able to participate in PMA this year. We were at last
year’s Photokina but as for a new product announcement, this is really our first
experience. It is with a deep sense of satisfaction that we can say, look at
how far we have come.

Q: Is your business proceeding as you had hoped it would.
A: We are 100% on target. The transfer of capital was announced in January and we hurriedly
made the huge move from Shinagawa to Osaka. Then in April the brand was
announced and in June the products were announced, including the camera and 21
lenses and flashes and other accessories. At this point almost every country in
the world is selling the Sony alpha. It may sound like I am bragging, but to be
able to pull that off in 11 months is really something, and we are greatly
indebted to our great staff for all their hard work. Yes, we are right where we
expected to be; or perhaps even ahead of expectations.

Q: Sales figures indicate a surprisingly good start followed by some pretty
tough competition leading to lower sales. Did you expect that?

A: Sony had absolutely no experience in SLRs and we were going to market with just one body.
So honestly, we had no idea what kind of sales to expect. Our internal goal was
to not leave our customers hanging; and to get our lenses and accessories on the
shelves around the world within the fiscal year. (In Japan that is April to
March) In that respect we feel we have met our goals. As for sales, the initial
surge was even a bit of a surprise to us. We certainly weren’t basing our plans
on sustaining sales at that level. We are still in the early stages of offering
a full lineup for the alpha mount with upgrade options and all. In that sense
we feel very fortunate to have had as good of a year as we did. At this point we
believe we are entering the phase of reaching each of our goals and putting
together a full product lineup. Our distribution has also come into place and we
believe that at this point it is all about the future.

Q: In addition to the challenges of developing new distribution routes and
putting together a full product lineup, your transfer of business from KM left
you with the difficult task of meeting the needs of KM users. Do you feel that
you have been able to do that so far?

A: We value our alpha users very highly, and that includes those who have come
from the KM product line.
Recently in Osaka we started a series of clinics where we offer free inspection and
evaluation of all alpha products including film cameras and lenses. We had 350
show up in Osaka and over 400 in Tokyo. At the Tokyo clinic we had 8 servicemen
in place, and were set to begin at 10AM. But there was a long line from 8AM so
we decided to begin 30 minutes early. Nevertheless soon after we opened the
doors there was a 3 hour wait due to all the people. We planned to end at 4PM
but didn’t close the doors until 9PM! We apologize to those who had to wait so
long. These clinics are just one part of our ongoing effort to prioritize the
customer relations side of our business and thus further grow the alpha brand
product line.

Edited by revdocjim - 10 March 2007 at 14:38
 



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goodwrench View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote goodwrench Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:04
Thank you for this. it's a good read.

Garth
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nathan_68 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:11
It's really a good read. Extremely interesting.

Thank you for the translation.
A700 CZ16/80 G70/300
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Post Options Post Options   Quote liam_s Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:16
Cheers for that, Very informative.

The A1 may well be a great product at a great price according to this article
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Post Options Post Options   Quote BackToSlr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:19
Thanks for the translation. It is very succinct and a good read.

Cheers,

N

Edit: changed or to for, typos for translation and succinct.

Edited by BackToSlr - 10 March 2007 at 23:05
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Post Options Post Options   Quote arpictures Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:33
Quality post.

It shows that there has been alot of thought put in over the past year and the desire to listen to the users of their product.

The future is bright indeed, The future is Alpha...
SonyR1|Min 7|A100|A700|A850|Min 20/2.8|50 1.7/3.5macro|Rokkor 58/1.4|35-70/3.5-4.5|100/2.8 SF/Macro|70-210/4 Beercan|20/58hvl|Sigma 100-300/4 +1.4/2xcon|Sony 16-80|



 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote gian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:53
One thousand thanks for the translation!


I really enjoyed those details about the KM takeover.
They did a great job, imho, and working very nicely for future models.

I'm in the opinion that A100 was nothing in Sony terms, and the best has still to come. Give some time to Sony's R&D, they will impress us with something exciting for sure.
::: Gianluca ::: Gallery ::: Life is once, forever - Henri Cartier-Bresson
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Post Options Post Options   Quote hotwire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 08:55
Originally posted by revdocjim revdocjim wrote:

A.     We value our alpha users very highly, and that includes those who have come from the KM product line. Recently in Osaka we started a series of clinics where we offer free inspection and evaluation of all alpha products including film cameras and lenses. We had 350 show up in Osaka and over 400 in Tokyo. At the Tokyo clinic we had 8 servicemen in place, and were set to begin at 10AM. But there was a long line from 8AM so we decided to begin 30 minutes early. Nevertheless soon after we opened the doors there was a 3 hour wait due to all the people. We planned to end at 4PM but didn’t close the doors until 9PM! We apologize to those who had to wait so long. These clinics are just one part of our ongoing effort to prioritize the customer relations side of our business and thus further grow the alpha brand product line.


Where do I sign up for the Toronto area clinic? :P

One can dream, can't they?
a99ii; Maxxum 9

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Post Options Post Options   Quote ab012 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 09:28
thanks for the super translation!!

Bernard

fun fun fun
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Turerkan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 09:38
thanks a lot!

a sony guy talking honest and not marketing oriented.. thats a good sign for the future, they are listening to us:)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote gobs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 13:17
thanks for sharing the interview
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kiklop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 13:21
P.S.
I did a quick reformatting to make the whole thing a bit more easier to read. I hope you don't mind.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bracket Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 13:29
Thanks a lot! Interesting informations and a good translation.

Georg
My photos: georgp.zenfolio.com
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Micholand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 March 2007 at 13:29
Interesting read, thanks for translation.
/Michael

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