Sony A800 with 15.2MP sensor at PMA?

Sony A800:

  • 15.2Mpx APS-C CMOS Exmor "R" sensor
  • ISO 100-12.800
  • 6.5 frame per second
  • New high speed flash sync
  • 9 double cross f/2.8 AF sensor (23 total AF sensor)
  • New metering and AF sensor with tracking and previous focus
  • Dual AF Ultra-Speed motor (?)
  • Wi-Fi built-in
  • Will be announced on PMA09 and launch on April with 3 new DT lenses...

If true, this sensor could be the base of the D400. This could also mean that we may not see the D400 at PMA, since last time with the D3x Sony got few months lead before Nikon can release a camera in the same class.


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  • if thats true then the D400 should be pretty simillar i like the wifi, but i would add gps before wifi.

    Canon has to release a simillar camera too… hopefully an improved 15MP 50D with better pixels more than getting into the 20s

  • Dan

    More like the Sony a400 to replace the a350. a400 / D400? they look the same

  • Martin

    Well, I don’t know if the exmor R sensor is dx or fx, but the rumors about a a800 is regarding a FX camera, more like the d700. In my world (and hopes) thet means sony is not “delaying” nikons d400.

  • John Galbraith

    DX ain’t dead and I love myself.

  • Fitzy

    I think the a800 will work great in my girl hands

    • tito

      I see, your girl is the photographer here.


    I find it interesting that no one thus far has talked about the alleged stranglehold that Sony has on Nikon in regard to these sensors that Sony makes for themselves and Nikon.

    I find it ridiculous (if it’s true) that Nikon has to wait a few months or whatever the time table is in order to release their new cameras because Sony gets to release their cameras FIRST with their versions of the sensor(s); sounds like Nikon is being DICTATED to, and that shouldn’t be the case. It’s bad enough that Nikon is competing with Canon “product” wise, but then on the other hand it seems like Nikon is competing with Sony “time table” wise for product releases. If this alleged delayed time table of products is true, I can’t see how Nikon can truly compete in years to come with this business model in place. I may be overreacting to this, but all this sounds dumb to me.

    Why can’t Nikon start making their own sensors sense Nikon appears to tweak these Sony sensors, the latest of which is the 24.5MP sensor for the D3x (which by the way outperforms Sony’s top-of-the-line camera with less noise). I know the start-up costs of building one’s own sensors is expensive (especially in these harsh economic times), and having a plant to manufacturer them, but since the Sony sensors are already being tweaked doesn’t it make sense to just totally control your own destiny???

    • Tony M

      Agree 100% with your comments and will also add that I guess Sony will benefit from Nikon’s tweaking of their sensors too – unless there is a secracy agreement between the two.
      This would mean that Sony are benefitting in two ways – early product release and free technology for future products – whilst Nikon loses out.
      Doesn’t add up.

      • NikonMan

        . . . and when Sony spend billions on a new Fab (fabrication plant) they buy the steppers and optics from Nikon Prescision.

        The relationship is much closer and more intertwined than most people would EVER believe.

        • Thank you for explaining Japanese Business 101 to the rest of the forum-goers 😉

    • RobJ

      Nikon simply doesn’t have the resources to build its own sensors, and I don’t see how that is going to change. Keep in mind that Sony and Canon are huge electronics companies… Nikon mostly just makes cameras and lenses. It’s just not practical to think that Nikon can start producing it’s own sensors.

      That said, it does appear that Nikon has some input into the production process, and have clearly used this to their advantage (D3x). So I see little disadvantage to Sony beating them to market if Nikon ultimately produces the better product.

    • Willis

      Not a big deal on my end. Sony doesn’t have a camera on the market that competes with the closest specced Nikon equivalent in terms of image quality & usability (although more competitive in terms of price). Sony may get a peice of a growing market, but I’ve yet to hear of anybody switching from Nikon to Sony, just to get their hands on a few MP’s a few months early.

      I suspect that If Nikon stopped using Sony as their sensor manufacturer then Sony wouldn’t have the economy of scale to sustain their own camera bus (that’s speculation, but without a doubt it would be less profitable). So who’s dictating to who? Its a symbiotic relationship.

    • Quite the opposite- The D3X images make a laughing stock out of the A900 images, especially at higher ISO’s. Nikon is ONLY using a Sony foundation, and/or Sony factories. It is extremely clear that they are putting a ton of their own hard work into all the sensors that go into their cameas, regardless of the original source. Rest assured, you’ll never see D3X images coming out of a Sony camera, ever.


    • Anonymous

      are you serious? you thin sony should hand their rivals a competitive advantage (or take such an advantage away from themselves)? sure, they’re being dictated to – welcome to capitalism. if nikon dislikes the system then it is free to develop its own sensors. that will make the “problem” go away.

    • yadda

      are you serious? you thin sony should hand their rivals a competitive advantage (or take such an advantage away from themselves)? sure, they’re being dictated to – welcome to capitalism. if nikon dislikes the system then it is free to develop its own sensors. that will make the “problem” go away.

  • pretty boi

    that would be great if nikon also release D400 next PMA. But first I need to see the result from the 15 mp DX sensor. Canon 15mp is quite noisy, I hope nikon and sony cound find magic formula to reduce noise at high iso.

    hi speed flash sync…does it means it is using electronic shutter like ccd? interesting…

  • victorchuk622

    If D400 release later, I can buy it when I just finish the exam >w<

  • Pablov

    Somebody know who made the sensor for the D90 ?

    So far is the only video-capable sensor. Remember that LiveView and video heat up the sensor, so not every sensor can be used for video I suppose.

    If Nikon relies only on Sony’s sensors, what can we exactly expect about video?
    Would be nice to have Nikon developing its own sensors, although it would demand special extra work

    Did Nikon always use Sony’s sensors?

    • lyr

      D90’s sensor is the same as D300’s one (and if I remember well, it’s already coming from another model but I’m not sure).

      In fact, every sensor able of Liveview (and every brand has a few ones) is technically able of video recording the way D90 and 5DmkII do: just redirect Liveview output to memory card (a tad more complicated, but not so much).

      So video in a reflex is mainly a commercial choice more than an engineering choice.

      • Pablov

        I never saw a clear statement that said the D90’s sensor is the same as D300’s, but a very similar

        Regarding video, remember that D300 and D3 can show LiveView for some few minutes. That wouldn’t allow recording video very long…

        And I guess video mode can imply more than just sending the live view to the memory card.

        For instance, in LiveView you don’t need a HD image, since the display is only VGA capable.

        Might be some other technical aspects that are not of public knowledge, that’s my oppinion.

        One very important thing is the speed and way of reading the sensor data, that reflects on the ability to manage “shutter rolling” issues, as well as the IQ itself

        Additionally, AF system based on contrast detection, and more complex AF systems, like “intelligent AF” can also be done, wich need bigger computing power.

        This whole “package” needs to keep cool, otherwise it can not be used for long recordings, or without degrading the image quality

        • NikonMan

          I can’t find it now but I’m sure Ive seen Nikon state that the D90 sensor is similar but not the same as D300, I suspect that it has fewer data lines.
          fewer data lines generally means a less expensive processing setup at the cost of lower frame rates

      • Pablov

        My original post didn’t appear, and was longer with more explanations.

        – another version:

        I never saw a clear statement telling D90’s sensor is exactly the same as D300’s.

        Not every sensor capable of LiveView can give video mode, due to the sensor’s overheating, allowing only few minutes of recording.

        I guess Full HD movie os more than sending the sensor data to the card instead only to the LCD Screen, because the screen is only VGA and doesn’t need hd resolution.

        Also a very important thing is the way the data is read and they way it is read from the sensor, to achieve good performance and avoid or miinimize Rolling Shutter issue.

        I guess Movie mode can implies more than LiveView data, that might be not be of public knowledge.

        AF system based on LiveView while recording is also very intensive computing task (still slow) but will be implemented in future.

        The electronics managing these tasks (and the sensor itself) need to be kept Cool to avoid image degradation.

        So finally, is not as easy as one may think

        • Pablo, it’s the spam filter – I will aprove it.

          • Pablov

            was a specific phrase like “whole package” whty the spam filter stopped my post?
            I didn’t understand why it didn’t appear until your explanation.
            Thanks ! 🙂

  • rhlpetrus

    The delay A900 -> D3x was unrelated to anything except the fact that Nikon probably redesigned the sensor. There was no delay between A700 and D300, was there?

  • rhlpetrus

    Another comment: some (DPr) say the sensor would be back-lit, incresing low-light ability.

    • Pablov

      wow, interesting, I didn’t hear that


    Chase Jarvis is out taking epic photos with his apple iphone + nikon 70-200.

    How bout we get a whole range of new and updated lenses? Do you guys really need a new camera? seriously? You can’t do what you want to do (take pictures of your dog napping or little Bobby in your studio with really bad lighting then opening up a thread in a forum saying “C&C please – first time”) with a d40, or d60, or d90, or d300, or d700, or d3, or d3x? Seriously?

    • Lance

      Most people don’t need a new camera, but most want one for whatever reason. I’m not a better photographer than my old D70s is a camera, but it didn’t stop me from being tempted by (and then purchasing) the D90.


        The D90 is a nice upgrade from the D70s. I’d like a D90 but my D80 works just fine. The thing I don’t understand is people drooling over the prospect of a chance that there might be a rumor of a D400 when Nikon released a ton of extremely good cameras. If people get a chubby from having a new model released every few months they should jump ship to canon where they are probably going to get a 16MP 60D with one extra AF point. Not really trying to bash anyone, just don’t understand really. I read “d400 may be rumored to be announced” and I say “where the f’ are the lenses that I want?” and others say “I hope it has a built Netflix.” Whatev.

        • Martin

          I am a working photographer, and I own a d60!!!

          In my case a new d400 (aswell as the d300) would be a huge step-up in quality.

          IF the d400 is coming it’s super relevant stuff to know, because I’m (surprise) thinking about upgrading.

          the consequens of a d400 will be= A drop in d300 price and obviously a new camera.

          either way I’m a winner if I wait with my decision of buying… thats why is so relevant… atleast to me.

          BUT I can really relate to what you are saying. beople depend on their equipment WAY to much.

          • II DETROIT II

            With a D60, a D300 would be a really nice upgrade and it is available now… and it will be a really nice camera 3 years from now. The D700 would be even better if you could save up the extra cash. Look at all the people that had the canon 5d for several years, taking extremely nice pictures even after the 5d mark II was released. As long as you’re not punching your camera in the face it should last you a decent amount of time.

            Maybe I just got a little annoyed from the standpoint of my own situation, but I’m just surprised that the idea of another new camera grabs so much attention and not disgust that the rumor isn’t lenses.

            • JohnnyPhD

              Dewd, nobody gives a $hit.

            • Henry Sherman

              I care about what II Detroit II says. I don’t care about you, JohnnyPhD. I’m sure you really have a Ph.D. oh ok. I’m going to go play call of duty and eat cookies and be none epic.

              Shermbag – out

            • Martin

              Funny thing is that people that I meet during/after/under work actually don’t know a shit, image-quality is often measured in file-size!?!?! and that is people in the photobusiness!

              D700 is wont give that much in a money/work quality comparison (so I’ll go withh d300/400), but it’s sure a sweet camera.

    • Pablov

      My original post didn’t appear, so here it goes:

      — Yes, I do need a new Full Frame camera with features that Nikon still doesn’t offer, such as Full HD Movie mode with Full Manual Settings (and of course good quality level).
      I won’t debate about Movie on DSLR, because those ones who still don’t understand it are because either they don’t know the benefits, or just don’t want it irrationally.

      — And yes, I do need lenses too. New and improved ones.

      We all have to understand that everyone have different Needs, possibilities and situations.

      So many ones may not need new cameras, but others do. Just simple like that.

  • Sony is the way!

    Having now spent alot of time comparing the A900 and D3x – both with quality primes attached, it is apparent that with the price differentials and yet remarkable parity of IQ, Sony is not only here to stay but will take a large chunk of the market within 5 years and dominate within a decade. So by the time we are completely out of our current economic woes (yes, it will take that long for us to recover!), Sony will be the leader of the pack.

    Sony has cleverly taken advantage of the fact that it makes the Nikon sensor too but I can’t say too much on that because of confidentiality clauses I signed three years ago! Darn!!

    I have already decided that as soon as Sony has a high ISO performing camera – like my D700 – I am off! Those Zeiss lenses are spectacular – never in thirty years have I seen such glass – and I have some high end Nikon glass!

    A900 would be ideal if I needed a D3x but I have no need so must wait. The A900 might not – quite – handle like a Nikon yet but it already is much better than any Canon in the hand and you have to bet that the next gen of Sony DSLRs – especially pro level – will be an absolute match.

    Hail the new leader… hail Sony!

    • Sony is stupid

      Give me a break. The sony cameras feel like crap, their noise and IQ doesn’t compare to nikon and canon, and, most importantly, it’s a Sony. I hope I missed the sarcasm here, because your “hail the new leader… hail sony!” is a bit much. But have fun with your Sony.

    • alex

      i doubt you are capable of comparing cameras. anyone reading your text can see you are just a fanboy without any technical skills

      if sony’s so great and so cheap why don’t you make a lots of money with it?
      you’d be a rich man since no one else can.

    • yadda

      thanks for that. i needed a laugh this morning!

  • Sony FTL

    How’s that Sony Vaio working out for you?

    • JohnnyPhD

      the Mac is a sexy machine.

  • D man

    Sony will be top if only they would make high quality dslr’s. If they would come out with the first Black Silicon chip than yes they will have the bump they need to be on top. Or the only other way would be if either Nikon or Canon would fall apart. I see that Sony will try to buy a part of Nikon to get closer and or buy out Nikon and then the next Camera will be the Sonykon A4 instead of Nikon D4.

    • Ennan

      sony are a financial disaster at the moment – losing millions with the utter failure that is the playstation 3. The guy in charge wants to axe many “core” products like TV’s and walkmans. Sony are in no shape to buy anyone. £766 million pound loss!?! They were supposed to make £1600 million profit this year. Ouch!

      • Yes, I noticed that today and was thinking the same way – could Sony cut their DSLR line or reduce future development budgets? They got to cut something.

  • alex

    low traffic this month?
    what’s with sony on nikonrumors?

    • you still cannot make the connection?

      • Some people who can’t be bothered to read the article, or other comments, need to be spoon-fed.

        Personally, I call ’em trolls.

  • Dan
    • Pablov

      good post, thanks !

  • Hulk

    to people who don’t like loosing time : the link refers to the A800 multimedia player from Sony.

  • Pablov

    what exactly date and location is PMA ?
    I couldn’t find with accuracy. Thanks.

      • Pablov

        I was confused because there are many PMA events, and didn’t know what is the photography related one.

        It seems to be on march, isn’t it ?

  • Jabs

    How is everyone here?
    I think in reading most of the posts here that people do not have an idea of the huge differences between Nikon and Sony.
    Sony is a very large and innovative Electronics giant with their hands into almost every facet of Electronics Technology and they are very good – look at Sony Broadcast Equipment as an example, if you doubt me.
    Nikon on the other hand is a “perfectionist” Company trying to learn Marketing from the likes of Canon or Sony, but technically, they are better than both in Professional Cameras.
    Nikon has EXPERIENCE in designing so many masterful CAMERAS in its’ F Series that makes others pale in comparison. Canon dominated the first half of the SWITCH to digital from film, because they had a NEW EF mount and more megapixels and just blew by Nikon (which seemed hesitant at first).
    However Nikon took the time to ENGINEER their Cameras like they did with the various F Series and now have blown by Canon and all others.
    A PRO needs a well ENGINEERED Camera that is fast, responsive and also DOES NOT get into the way of an intuitive use of this TOOL (camera) to get the best shot they can under strenuous conditions .
    Right now we seem to be back to the days of the Canon NEW F1 versus Nikon F3HP and I used both of these cameras and the F3 was really revolutionary then.
    ERGO today, the D3 – It caught Canon napping and the D3X has caught even more people napping. Engineering is Nikon’s forte and they make equipment with Photographer’s in mind a lot better than almost any other Manufacturer in my OPINION (Engineering wise). Canon is a great designer and a great Marketer (much better than Nikon) but they have flubbed lately as they rested on their laurels.
    Sony is great but is NEW to photography and has not built up a reputation YET, but never underestimate them IF you look at their BROADCAST line of Equipment. Sony does not have a body in the realm of a Nikon PRO BODY yet and they are learning perhaps quickly. In Marketing, you make something with the greatest SALES adage (megapixels, in this case) and use that to drive sales with perhaps gullible and misinformed buyers, ergo Canon’s 50D, as an example. *** MORE MEGA PIXELS = better! *** sort of like MEGAHERTZ or GIGAHERTZ marketing computers!
    Sony bragged about its’ A900 and 24.6mp sensor but failed to make a PRO body, though a good first try.
    Nikon has the EXPERIENCE and has used this wisely LATELY to blow past Canon and now we are where we are now.
    I equate the “DSLR wars” to when Kodak fell asleep with Kodachrome K25 and K64 and Fuji introduced Velvia 50 and Fujichrome Professional 64T (one of my all time favorite slide films for certain indoor or even cave shooting). Canon is in the same place as Kodak was then and Nikon’s D3, D300, D700 and especially D3x has raised the bar greatly.
    Kodak introduced T-Max high ISO film while Fuji released Neopan 100 to 1600 Professional black and white film. SEE the analogy?
    T-Max, I used and hated it as its’ look was smooth mush – Preferred Agfapan 25 but T-Max had high ISO capabilities and the bragging rights.
    Sony also became like T-Max with their A900,
    Nikon went back to Engineering with the D3 and D3X (especially) and now from what I have seen (and DX0 verifies this) it has the most slide like depth and exquisite resolution of any DSLR that I have seen to date.
    How do I see it?
    Nikon went back to its’ roots – Engineering!
    Canon rested on its’ laurels and got surpassed while sleeping, by Nikon!
    Sony is trying to establish itself but does not have the experience in Photography, as you cannot BUY experience nor time.
    Whenever the D400 comes out or whatever it is called, it will probably be a Marketing Camera with enough GOOD Engineering to keep it ahead of the curve and not megapixel us to death like the Canon 50D.
    Nikon is a very small Company compared to Canon or Sony but they are SPECIALISTS and their PRO Cameras reflect that.
    A Camera is a TOOL and with the best or most intuitive TOOL, a better photographer is often happier or it makes work easier for them.
    A Camera is a TOOL!
    Get busy using YOUR tool … LOL!

    • Martin

      Microhistory! Only time will tell… in ten years time pentax might be spanking sony, canon and nikons asses 😛 although not very likely

      I personally think sigma will play a big role in the future!

  • Wow! I think this is the biggest post so far – Thanks!

  • Jabs

    Thanks for what?

    I enjoy your web site but I rarely comment at web sites anymore as people are a little too ‘hot-headed’ for me.

    I shot mainly slides years ago on F4s, F3HP with MD4 and even had an F3AF (plus 80mm F2.8 and 200mm F3.5 ED-IF were great but AF of F3AF was in its’ infancy then, but it taught you how to focus accurately) plus an F3T Chrome. Loved them all.
    Shot K25, K64 and then switched to Fujichrome Velvia 50D and also loved 64T.
    People often fail to realize that History often repeats itself and often give us analogies. I love cameras and photography and have used Nikons all my life though one of my brother shoots Leica’s and Canons while another shot only Nikon FM2 (manual with high X-sync).
    Can you imagine the arguments we had … LOL!
    Some like small cameras but I prefer motor driven BIG bodies with motor drives, as they are like ballast when shooting a long lens as my hands are big … LOL!
    I tried Leicas (my brothers) but they were not my thing (no comment). I liked the Nikon FA (owned one with MD15 … sweet but no F3) and I even used the Yashica Mat – twin lens with the waist level finder but it was weird. It reminded me of the waist level finder for the F3 but the images from Velvia in medium format was exceptional for the price of the camera.
    I love film (slides ONLY but B+W print film) and now looking forward to digital but it is so expensive … LOL!
    Photographic arguments are nothing new as I used to use a DW-4, 6X mag F3 head to view my slides for sharpness (it had an adjustable diopter) … PIXEL peeping then.
    Cameras fall into different categories just like lens do.
    I remember the 105 F2.5 and the 55 F2.8 Micro Nikkor = legendary sharpness but when I tried the ‘el-cheapo’ 75-150 f3.5 Series E, I surprised a lot of people with the images taken by this less than a $100.00 lens. It had great sharpness but ‘consumer build quality’, so equate that with much today. The ‘KIT Lens’ is the equivalent of the Nikkor Series E now and thus learn your optics and their application and strengths before you rant … LOL!

    Keep up the good work.

    • thanks for the nice commentary… long comments means to me that people care about a topic and it was worth publishing it

  • Jabs

    Martin – you posted this -(sorry but the REPLY feature does not work for me… LOL!) – hence separate post as reply

    … Microhistory! Only time will tell… in ten years time pentax might be spanking sony, canon and nikons asses 😛 although not very likely

    I personally think sigma will play a big role in the future!

    My Reply:
    Nice comment on ‘microhistory’ – dating myself eh?

    I prefer to not guess much about the future especially in Technology.
    You live and learn perhaps.
    Though a Nikon person, I would also like to see a refinement of the Sigma Faveon sensor as it offers great slide like qualities to my eyes. If only they could design a PRO camera version of that promising Technology and get it to work consistently !!!
    Often, one sees obscure Companies come out of almost nowhere and dominate an Era while the previous leaders become ‘also-rans’ … LOL!
    Therefore I prefer to deal with Technology without guessing, as I have seen better products supplanted by worse products such as an Amiga A3000 Computer being technically better than anything out there at that time and then falling into chaos. I have been in computers for a long time, also.

    I was wondering about if that was going to be the way of Nikon until I read about and looked at the IMAGES of the D3 and more recently the astounding images of the D3X. Being a slide shooter and never really caring for color negative film except perhaps Kodak Ektar 25 and Fuji Reala 100, then I equate the best DSLR’s with slide film and the exacting shooting requirements.
    Electronics is weird and anyone can dominate at any given time BUT they cannot rest on their laurels as they will get passed.
    Maybe in 10 years we will be shooting with a new Technology totally different from today, so why guess?
    Ten years ago people did not believe that 35mm film and cameras would be equaled or even passed … so what about ten years down the road.
    No guesses here on my part.

  • Jabs

    You posted:

    [NR] admin Reply:
    January 22nd, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    thanks for the nice commentary… long comments means to me that people care about a topic and it was worth publishing it.

    I reply:
    When you love Technology, you express this in the best way that you can. Too many replies are short and argumentative without giving a reason as to why. I refuse to debate people about what is better as each person has their own needs, likes and wants. I know what I like and I expect others to respect that just like they expect me to respect their needs, likes and wants.
    In cameras some like big bodies with motor drives or small bodies with or without motor drives.
    I used two N4004 with 35-70 F2.8 for street shooting in NYC but for most of my shooting, I preferred an F3 or an F4s as they were easier to handle with a long lens (think 50-300 F4.5 and 300 F4.0 AF) and were more precise – MEANING, I could repeatedly get the same PERFORMANCE, THE SAME RESULTS AND THE SAME PICTURE QUALITY FROM THE ‘F series’ Nikons compared to say the FA, N2002 or N4004 (I had all and carried them all too … LOL).
    I also like the compressed perspective of a longer lens at times!
    I prefer 100% viewfinders as I shoot and get unmounted slides, so I need to know what I am getting – are my requirements.
    Cameras are closer now, but the PRO models do consistently better as I would often shoot two F3’s along with say an N4004 and at times the F3’s just blew everything away even when I used the same lens on another Nikon body.
    Sort of like shooting a D300 versus say a D3 or a D700 … you see the differences if you look.
    Now, the D3X changes all the rules and now it needs some competition … LOL!
    Come on Canon … GET with it, please … LOL!
    Again thank you for this Nikon Rumors web site and I am looking forward to what Nikon releases in LENS and perhaps a few bodies this year … MAYBE at PMA, eh?
    Have a good one!

  • If the A800 has ISO 12800, and 6+ FPS. I would replace my a700 with it

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