News

June 3, 2012

The Ultimate Mirrorless Camera!! The Sony NEX-XX Prototype, Full Frame Hybrid Mount Camera!!

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation - Screens Added

So what would be your ultimate mirrorless camera?? What if you were to design it yourself?? After taking apart the Sony Nex-7 completely, I saw opportunities for improvement in the design and learned a ton in the process. Since then I’ve been fixated on how the to improve on the camera and make it Pro quality!!

So, I decided to bit the bullet and try to design the camera myself from scratch using a 3D Modeling Program to insure accuracy, and it also have allows for easy changes in design and sharing of the model etc.  It can also be highly detailed with several different variations based on your requests!!

The first thing I had to do was downloaded Google Sketch-up which is a Free 3D Modeling program. It’s an amazingly powerful program, and I was able to ruffly start designing a Proto-type Full Frame mirrorless camera.

I didn’t have the time to model it to 100% to scale, but it’s really close, whiten mm’s However, I think the model is still good enough to get a good idea of what I’m trying to portray. I’m sure you all will let me know if the design totally sucks. Which is cool, because I can just modify it based on your recommendations etc..

Body Design

When it comes to Cameras I’ve used a decent amount of them in a wide variety of styles. I honestly love the SLR style for ease of use, ergonomics, and beefy build quality, but the super lightweight and well designed Nex Camera systems are also incredible. I personally don’t like the ergonomics as much as the SLR though and I see huge room for improvement here and in other areas. It’s a compromise really with size and weight vs ergonomics. I decided to go with a large dslr style grip which will make the camera overall larger. Not quite pocket-size anymore.

Their have been rumors of a Hybrid A-mount to E-Mount camera going around for some time, and I was thinking that is a perfect base-line to start my design. I personally want a Camera that can be a Full Frame Studio camera and a somewhat portable Mirrorless camera for Landscape photography.

How can this be done? Pretty simple really if you think about it. Make a full frame version of the Nex-7 heavily modified, and make an optional LA-EA3(proto-type) adapter of sorts, to it pretty much.

The thing is, I want much better build quality and other goodies also. See below for my full specs wish list!

 

My Sony NEX-X – Specs Wish List

When it comes to Cameras I’ve used a decent amount of them in a wide variety of styles. I honestly love the SLR style for ease of use, ergonomics, and beefy build quality, but the super lightweight and well designed Nex Camera systems are also incredible. I personally don’t like the ergonomics as much as the SLR though and I see huge room for improvement here!!

Hardware Specs:

  • I want a a Full Frame camera with a low enough resolution that High ISO shooting is a strong point of the camera. Whatever the megapixeles turns out to be is fine by me honestly, but 24mp sounds about right ;)
  • I would like to see a fully usable ISO 6400 photos, and I think it’s totally possible with today’s technology, never mind what the R&D Engineers are working on (organic sensors)
  • I want a large Vertical Grip at least the size of the about 1/4 inch wider than the A57, and an optional Horizontal Battery Grip for vertical shooting with buttons that can hold at least 2 – batteries if not 3!!
  • 100% Coverage EVF or OLED viewfinder in the center of the camera
  • A ballistics’ grade textured plastic material for a shell or possible metal, and a full metal or equivalent rigid frame/ chassis.
  • Beefed up frame for the tri-pod mount in particular and the sensor heat sink housing assembly
  • Full Weather Sealing!!
  • multiple Memory card slots (SD, and XQD format) With simultaneous writing/saving for bk-up
  • The A77 NP-FM500H battery will fit in the grip
  • Hot shoe mount
  • built-in powerful flash
  • lcd articulating screen with 180 degree flip option for storing/ use in “armored mode”
  • USB ports for tethering and downloading
  • Ethernet Port for high-speed transfers
  • Flash Sync Port
  • hdmi ports
  • audio and video ports
  • wi-fi and gps optional
  • I’m sure I forgot stuff

Features and Software:

  • full frame Sensor
  • Rock Solid Build Quality
  • Full weather sealing
  • great battery life
  • optional battery grip
  • Adapters for both Full Frame A-Mount Mirrorless and SLT use!!
 

LA-EA3’s – Prototype’s

Specs - La-EA3-AF

  • Needs to be weather sealed
  • can be APS-C format, but full frame support would be preferred!!
  • Improved Phase Detection AF and Translucent Mirror Built In

Specs – LA-EA3

  • Fully weather sealed
  • Full AF Support
  • beefy optional tr-pod mount
 

Photos of what I got so far:

This is the New version I’m currently working on. The sensor a Full Frame Sensor (36 x 24mm), and the it’s an E-Mount with a Flange to sensor distance of 18mm which is exactly the same as the Nex cameras.

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation ruff design

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Second Generation ruff design

Continued work on the battery compartment and memory card slots!!

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Battery and memory cards area in the works!!

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Battery and memory cards area in the works!!

 

I made a little progress today on the Grip design refinement and the mode dial, as well as an LCD screen for critical info.

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - DSLR style grip refined a bit and shutter button added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – DSLR style grip refined a bit and shutter button added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - DSLR style grip refined and the Mode Dial added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – DSLR style grip refined and the Mode Dial added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Battery and memory card area refined

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Battery and memory card area refined

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation - Screens Added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Second Generation – Screens Added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype - Second Generation - Screens Added

Sony Nex-XX Prototype – Second Generation – Screens Added

 

Would love to hear what you think??

I obviously have a lot more design work to do, but I want to make sure I get the body ruffly where I want it before going nuts with the buttons and stuff. Once I get the body nailed down, I can also work on the internal chassis and sensor housing area with a much improved heat sink design!! I also need figure out the battery and ports areas etc.. I have an idea of where I’m headed though ;)

I also have the plan to design a killer battery rip for this guy that will match perfectly of course and have all the features and build quality a Pro would expect!!


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Thanks,
Jay

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!




20 Comments


  1. Larry Mendelsohn

    As long as you are going FF, why not 36 megs? Go with the same chip as the Nikon D800 or something similar.


    • Jay

      Thanks for the comments Larry,

      How about a 24mp version and a 36mp version?? I’m working on the battery door design now ;)

      Jay


  2. deviantdevil

    Skip the hot shoe and go with built in wireless (pocket wizard), with a detachable flash… and of course using industry standard protocols such as those already in used to trigger other flashes/strobes. It could be relatively short range if it can send the appropriate info to a master (via a wireless hot shoe) which would in turn trigger whatever as needed.


    • Jay

      DD,

      Thanks for the feedback and that is a good call. I personally don’t use pocket wizards though, but it’s a great idea!!
      What about a modular route for that. Above the inputs on the left hand side I was going to make module port for an aftermarket component. Perhaps a pocket wizard, or GPS/ wifi module?? The camera is pretty large compared to the Nex-7.

      Thanks again,
      Jay


  3. Justin

    Your design looks like a Pentax k-01. Was that intentional? :-)


    • Jay

      Justin,

      Thanks for the comments, and no it was not. You really think this design looks like the Pentax K-01? It’s not even close to me, but the mount is pushed forward a bit I see, but other than that….

      On a side note, that Pentax looks awesome!!

      I designed mine using the Nex-7 dimensions as a starting point. I then went deeper knowing I wanted that, and added a monster grip. After the grip was how I wanted it, I realized the E-Mount flange was to far back in relation to the grip, so I had to move the entire grip side of the camera back. That is where the zig/zag came from. I was afraid fisheye would see the grip or a hand on the grip due to it’s position in relation to the e-mount flange.

      I still have a lot of stuff to figure out, plus you guys offering suggestions is bound to change the design as well. I’ll get some work done on it today for sure!!

      Best,
      Jay


  4. Stephen

    Wifi as standard! Forget the built in flash as has been said but go for the master setup unless the flash is going to be the master, then it still doesn’t need to be that big.
    The bigger the sensor the better…


  5. ps

    as much as i would love to see something like this, i seriously doubt that we will see a 36×24 full size sensor in the nex line….sony can’t even keep up with lens production for the existing models, the existing line desperately needs more lenses, especially high quality ones (primes and zooms) and none of these lenses would cover a full frame sensor….so this nex-x would need a completely new line of lenses….
    like i said, i would love to see this but i doubt it will be in the next 2 years….

    a nex7 pro might make more sense….or at least some pro attachments…a grip with additional battery and sd card, maybe even built in wifi….

    what new line needs is new lenses….


    • Jay

      PS,

      I totally agree that Sony will never get an E-Mount Full Frame lens line-up started, that is why this camera design is a hybrid. This design is set-up so when using an e-mount lens, the camera sensor will be in crop factor mode. When you put on the LA-EA3 (prototype) adapter you will be able to use the A-Mount full frame lenses and untilize the Full Frame sensor.

      This issue is the flange distance really. Full Frame with such a short flange distance of 18mm is really hard to deal with apparently from an engineering perspective. However, with the proper Lens adapter you can use the older Zeiss ZM lenses , Leica M-Mount Lenses, etc.. Basically utilizing the Full Frame Sensor while using the E-Mount flange.

      Does that make sense? It’s kind hard to explain, sorry. Plus I have no designed the La-EA3 Protoypes yet, as the basic model without the translucent mirror should come with the camera standard. This way it is a true Hybrid E-Mount and A-Mount Mirrorless camera our of the box.

      Thanks again for the input and feedback!! ,
      Jay


  6. G2D

    You forgot one important thing …bracketing” for fans of HDR / Photomatix you need a minimum of 2 EV brackets and not the ridiculous pointless 0.3 or 0.6 EV

    NEX-7 is a waste of time for anyone doing Bracketing pictures since you do not have the ability to bracket passed +/- 0.3 0r 0.6 EV. on a camera that expensive you should be able to take up to 5 shots each at 2 EV intervals ..something I have on my excellent Pentax K20D or on my Canon of 5 + years ago.


  7. zane

    In addition to above features…
    Body stabilisation particularly for using Alpha lenses!!!!!!!!!(most importantly)
    Tri navi + mode dial is a must.
    GPS, WiFi.
    Off centre flash (optional but always nice)
    Variable video ISO upto 25,600 like the 5D’s.
    Ability to control power zoom (although lens operation will probably do.)
    Charging over USB.
    USB3 or thunderbolt I/O.
    think that covers the “wish list” for the perfect camera.


  8. I would love to see a full frame mirrorless camera with a 25 MP sensor…
    If not for anything else…just for bringing back to life my vast arsenal of Canon
    Fd lenses…
    I would be the first to order it…something like a beefed up NEX body…mmmmmm…sounds like heaven to me!


  9. Mark

    Love the GPS and Wifi for sure, one thing im finding frustrating on my nex 5r is the fact that the screen isn’t multi touch like my iphone, yes I know its better to download your pictures and edit them on a larger screen of your PCvetc but instead of clunckily zooming in on the 3″ LED to check the finer details before keeping it would be great to be able to simply stretch out the pictures using multi touch. As Apps get developed a smoother touch screen would also help move between apps and aid use of the apps features.

    Mark.


  10. Andrea

    Great job Jay! I completely agree with your wish list!
    For me in such a great camera gps and wifi would not be optional…
    Thanks for the inspiring work! Hope that “Sonyone” is listening!
    Andrea


    • Jay

      Thanks Andrea,

      This is a very old article, but I really appreciate the comments ;) I really need to design a new model now that we actually have the full frame Sony A7 and A7r available. I refined version of that would be cool. It takes a lot of time though working with the 3d programs. Pehaps in a month or two I might have some time to give it a whirl. I really enjoy working with Google sketch-up and 3d modeling in general. It’s amazing what you can create as the imagine is the limit!

      Take care and thanks again for the comments,
      Jay



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