Sony is going to release a new camera in March – but it won't be a model that anyone is expecting.
While many (us included) were expecting a Sony A9 III, to succeed the former flagship Sony A9 II, it appears that Sony is readying the launch of an all-new full frame fixed lens compact camera – a niche but exciting format that is currently pretty much dominated by Leica, but that so far failed to take off with mainstream camera brands.
• The best compact cameras are fantastic for everyday photography
That's according to a report by Sony Alpha Rumors, suggesting that the new release will feature in Sony's ZV line of cameras. These focus on vlogging and content creation features and, although ZV cameras have so far consisted of entry level models aimed as a step up from a camera phone, a full-frame ZV camera would turn the series on its head by offering a more professional level of features.
Previously Sony has dabbled with full-frame fixed lens compact cameras in its RX series, with the Sony RX1R II being the latest Sony model to push this form factor – and it's a fantastic camera, one of the best full-frame compact cameras. It is full of the latest Sony tech that makes its Alpha mirrorless cameras so successful – but it is eye-wateringly expensive at over $3,000, which is a lot to pay for a compact camera with a fixed lens that doesn't have the swag of Leica branding.
Hopefully, with Sony supposedly including the new camera in its ZV range, this will mean it chooses to make a much more affordable option aimed at a wider consumer market of content creators. Full frame offers several benefits over smaller sensors, such as a wider field of view, increased depth of field, and a broader dynamic range.
Sony does already make a full frame compact interchangeable lens camera in the form of the Sony A7C, although it would be expected that a fixed lens full frame camera from Sony would be even smaller than that, and more akin in size to something like the Sony RX1R II.
Compact fixed-lens cameras are having a moment right now, with the Fujifilm X100V being one of the hottest cameras of last year, despite not being a new launch. Popular cameras like the Ricoh GR III are also encouraging more people to use small fixed lens compact cameras for street and everyday photography. Both these cameras feature smaller APS-C-sized sensors.
Sony's A6000 series of cameras are currently some of the best cameras for vlogging and the best cameras for filmmaking, they are small and compact, and they sport interchangeable lenses, but they again feature an APS-C sensor.
These are still just rumors, but hopefully, we see something more solid come from Sony in the next few weeks. With a supposed launch date of sometime in March – and perhaps even at the huge CP+ 2023 event at the end of February – we won't have long to wait.