DPReview: Inside Sony Kumamoto Summary


Image courtesy of DPReview

A few organizations were invited to Sony’s Kumamoto factory for a tour and interview after it was back up and running and Image Resource was the first to publish their articles, which you can read here and here. Now DPReview has published their account and while similar it is worth covering for those that might have missed the originals and to reinforce Sony’s message. DPReview tries to sum up their impressions in their article’s title “Our company has a vision which is more important than profit alone.”

  • A quote they singled out “To establish an ideal factory that stresses a spirit of freedom and open-mindedness, and where engineers with sincere motivation can exercise their technological skills to the highest level.”
  • another quote they singled out “If the guinea pig spirit means developing innovative ideas and embodying them in new products, then I think this is an admirable spirit”
  • Sony was able to bring the a9 to market quickly because of how tightly integrated their divisions are. Digital Imaging was able to speak directly with semiconductors and they were able to work closely together to bring the a9 to market since the design started around the time of the a7 launch.
  • Sony believes the entry-level market is dying and only the pro/enthusiast market for cameras are growing.
  • Sony claims they don’t remove features from cameras to segment the market, while other companies do… (What happened with the a9?)
  • Sony usually keeps proprietary sensory technology for its cameras for 2 years.
  • Companies that request technology like BSI etc… can have it, but anything Sony semiconductors develops while making third-party chips can’t be used in a Sony chip later.
  • “Please think about vision. Our company has a vision, which is much more important than profit alone. Of course, if we cut our supply of sensors to other OEMs our camera market share might increase. But this is not our vision. Our vision is to grow the entire imaging market, and Sony alone cannot make every [imaging] product.”
  • Sony can’t make all the cameras that are needed by photographers, but they do make a lot of the sensors
  • Sony must grow the market to grow their camera business significantly.
  • Sony needs to move users away from smartphones, which is why they are focused on midrange and high-end cameras.
  • Sony is now at the top in mirrorless ILC sales in the U.S.
  • The Sony isn’t forcing users to abandon A-mount, but the Sony a9 could be a body for A-mount glass…
  • Sony isn’t abandoning APS-C

You can read the complete article here.

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