SonyFF.com, which covers full frame Sony cameras and photographers, posted an editorial wondering if the existence of the Sony a7II hurts sales of the Sony a7R and a7S.
Of course, the answer is yes. Any time a camera in a product line is replaced with a new version, the similar systems in the line suffer. The question is how long will they suffer and what does that mean about sales of the systems.
Generally when a consumer electronics company plans to release a new product, they begin to constrain supply in the market. For example, analysts realized that the MacbBook Pro was about to be refreshed when the inventories of the units started to decline.
Units of the a7R and a7S have not started to decline, based on their availability on all of the traditional online and physical stores.
This could mean a few things. It could mean that Sony produced vastly too many of the a7S and a7R cameras and so they’re leaving them in the channel until they’re cleared out—although this seems like a strange thing for a company like Sony to do, since they have massive supply chains and people employed to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It could also mean that Sony had a hiccup in production of successors to the a7R and a7S and so they’re continuing production of the existing models while they work out the kinks. This could be a production issue or a marketing issue, often companies wait until everything is in place to release a new product and if a target slips the company waits until the next big event to launch their issue.
More likely, I think that Sony is taking a bit of time to look at the market and see how the a7II was received and reviewed, and to hit the mark with the a7RII and a7SII. I think that the presence of a 50mp sensor in the Canon 5Ds and 5DR changes the benchmark for the a7R successor and cameras like the Samsung NX1 and their built-in 4K video recording change the goals for the a7S.
Or, it means that Sony’s going to jump past the a7RII and a7SII and introduce something else, perhaps a system that’s a massive sensor and records 4K internally.
My money is on the upcoming NAB show for an a7S, though that would be an odd time for Sony to introduce the A7R (unless it also records 4k video). Sony does, of course, announce products between the major shows, but NAB is a perfect place for an a7S to ship.
In any case, the fact that the a7 system is still selling online shows that Sony’s not in a rush. And while that might be upsetting for customers, it’s good news in general for photographers. There’s nothing worse that a product that was rushed to hit a certain marketing deadline. Sony can take as long as it wants making the a7SII and a7RII as long as they bring as much to the platform as the A7II did to the original a7.…
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