Sony abandons new camera features to focus on PlayStation 5

Sony abandons new camera features to focus on PlayStation 5
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

Sony has abandoned development of a new mirrorless camera in order to focus on production of the PlayStation 5, according to a new report. 

The new videogames console, due for release next year, is apparently facing component and supply chain issues that are threatening to drive up the cost of the upcoming PlayStation successor. 

Faced with the uncomfortable prospect of releasing the product at a higher price than the Xbox Series X (the rival console being released by Microsoft) Sony is said to be sacrificing components earmaked for a new camera in order to keep manufacturing costs under control.

That's according to a story by Bloomberg (opens in new tab), which notes that one of the most significant issues is stockpiling sufficient DRAM.

• Read more: Best Sony camera (opens in new tab)

"The company’s biggest headache is ensuring a reliable supply of DRAM and NAND flash memory, with both in high demand as smartphone makers gear up for fifth-generation devices, according to people familiar with Sony’s operations," notes the report.

"Sony has already canceled some previously planned features for a new mirrorless camera due this year owing to the constrained DRAM supply, several people with knowledge of the matter said."

So which model – or even models – could this flash memory shortage affect? Prime candidates would be the Sony A7 IV and the already unicorn-like Sony A7S III.

"I expect the A7 IV and A7S III to be particularly DRAM hungry," notes Andrew Reid (opens in new tab) of EOSHD. "The A9 stacked sensor technology has additional very high-spec DRAM chips are solder bumped directly to the back of the CMOS sensor facilitating very fast readout speeds. It was expected to trickle down to the A7 IV and especially the A7S III, to make a fast 8K sensor readout possible."

The question is, does the DRAM issue mean that camera features are curtailed, or would the cameras be delayed or cancelled outright? Given the choice between an impeded feature set or, in the case of the A7S III, a slower sensor with more rolling shutter, it might be better if they are held off until there are sufficient resources.

All of which is probably music to the ears of Canon, which would love to steal more share from an absentee Sony with the 8K Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Coronavirus could disrupt Sony's sensor business – and everyone else's, too (opens in new tab)
The best Sony camera in 2020: from Cyber-shots through to Sony Alphas (opens in new tab)
Canon goes 8K! New Canon EOS R5 has 8K video, IBIS, 20fps + dual card slots (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.