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Sony A6100 Delayed… Again?! A7R II Firmware Update & Fuji 35mm F/2 under $500? | Daily Roundup

By Anthony Thurston on September 22nd 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors, and announcements.

Sony A6100 Delayed Again

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We are starting to get to the point of ‘The boy who cried wolf’ status with these Sony A6100 rumors. An announcement was rumored a few weeks back, and again, it did not come. Now we hear it may have been pushed back all the way to 2016.

What is the rumored reasoning for this delay? Supposedly, the demand for the a7R II is higher than Sony expected, so Sony must dedicate more production capacity to that camera before it can produce the new A6100. While this is a somewhat plausible reason for some sort of delay on the camera, I don’t buy it.

There was that rumor a short while back saying that Sony had decided to focus on the full frame option and do less with their APS-C offerings. If that rumor were true, then it would make much more sense if Sony delayed, or possibly even canceled altogether a high powered A6100 that would ‘take sales’ from their low-end full frame options.

Regardless, as we stand, the A6100 is still not announced and for now anyway, it looks as if we will have to wait until next year to see what it is.

Upcoming Fuji XF 35mm F/2 Rumors

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Fuji‘s upcoming 35mm F/2, (if this latest rumor is to be believed), could be coming at a very attractive price point. According to this report over on Fuji rumors, the upcoming lens will be positioned at a price point UNDER that of the current Fuji 35mm F/1.4 ($599).

If this is true, the upcoming weather sealed 35mm F/2 could be a really nice ‘bang for the buck’ sort of lens. Many are expecting it to be available in November of this year, meaning the official announcement would likely happen at some point towards the end of October – possible at or around Photo Plus.

I don’t shoot Fuji anymore, but even I am excited to see where this lens falls. If it is really priced as nicely as this rumor suggests that it might be, then it will be a great addition to the X series, and likely a really popular lens.

Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to an official launch/announcement.

Sony a7R II Firmware Update, No 14bit RAW yet

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Sony announced a new firmware update for their wildly popular a7R II but don’t get excited just yet – this is not the 14bit RAW update. This firmware update fixes a number of issues with the camera, namely improving a symptom where the camera would front focus in some situations, decreased chroma noise when long exposure NR is set off, and improved Hi continuous shooting speed when using with a Speedlight.

There is no word on when that 14bit RAW update that was announced last week will be coming, but it is assumed that it will be shortly. It would be odd though for a company to release firmware updates so close together, so it’s possible the 14bit RAW update for the a7R II may be further off than we think (or would like).

For me, I am not too concerned with it. I picked up an a7R II this last weekend, trading in my A7 II and some other unused equipment towards the camera. So far, I am very happy with the files out of the camera, so I am in no rush to get 14bit RAW. But will be excited to compare the files once it is released to see if I like the 14bit versions better.

You can download the Windows version of the firmware update tool here. You Mac users can get your update tool here. (links are direct to/from Sony)

What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

13 Comments

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  1. Phil Bautista

    Could it be that Sony has read my comments on including IBIS in the a6100 and are holding back the announcements til they figure out a way to stick it in? C’mon people. Jump on the bandwagon. IBIS! IBIS! IBIS!

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    • Dave Haynie

      I’ll drink to that (“But Dave, you’ll drink to almost anything”… “shut up, I’m typing here”)! Really good IBIS changes the way you shoot in very nice ways. Sony might even outperform the A7 series IBIS in the A6100, given the smaller sensor. I know they’ve tended to push their APS cameras low in price, but the A6100 would be their flagship APS, right? Olympus “puts that sh*t on [practically] everything”.. they’ve got IBIS on all of the current Pens and OM-Ds and even some P&S cameras.

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  2. Carlos Salazar

    where did you trade in your a7ii for the a7rii? and how much was the difference?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I traded in a bunch of stuff, including the A7 II, but after all was said and done I had a $1200 difference.

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  3. Bill Bentley

    Wow, I can’t believe how many people have the ability to throw down $3200 USD for A7R2 body only. Whew!

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  4. Paul Blacklock

    Fuji. we need a long telephoto lens,, a 300mm or 400mm would be great and while at it, a 600mm :)

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  5. Dave Haynie

    Sony is well past the point they need true non-lossy raw like everyone else. Given that this is “just a simple matter of software”, and essentially, they’re taking stuff out, it’s kind of a surprise they haven’t done this sooner. With the price of memory cards today, no one’s worried about compressed raw photos.

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    • Anders Madsen

      It’s a bit more complex than that.

      The compression takes place before the data is sent to the card, so with a finite bandwidth between the processor and the internal buffer, you will be balancing the processor power needed for compressing the data with the number of images per second that can be sent to the buffer as well as the number of images that can be stored before you fill the buffer.

      Once the buffer is full, the image size will also determine how long it will tage to clear it again, since you are now limited by the bandwidth between the buffer and the SD-card.

      So, compression is not only a matter of the number of images that can be stored on a given memory card – it affects a lot of other things in the image-taking process.

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    • Stan Rogers

      Not to mention that “uncompressed” isn’t really uncompressed (unless you want to waste a *lot* of space in the file); there’s still bit-packing and alignments to worry about. And there’s the whole matter of reading the data you’ve written as well; a change in the file structure will necessarily mean providing a means to read the files (which would include giving the folks who do the third-party stuff a bit of a heads-up — leaving Adobe and PhaseOne out of the loop is basically saying you don’t want people *actually using* your files).

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    • Dave Haynie

      The bandwidth between the processor and the internal buffer is likely 100x faster than it needs to be (typical 400MHz LPDDR2 rates 800MT/s, which is 3.2GB/s on a 32-bit bus… how big are your raw photos?). And unless their sensor hardware itself is doing the bit packing and compression (unlikely, since no one else using the same sensor has this kind of compression), you’ll actually be saving CPU cycles by not applying the lossy compression at this stage. I’m speaking correctly here… I say “lossy”, I don’t care about compression if it’s not lossy.

      Yes, removing lossy compression may reduce the number of in-flight images possible before the buffer fills up, assuming the DSP/CPU/SOC to flash interface isn’t fast enough (my Olympus OM-D E-M5II can shoot raw at 5fps to UHS-II cards until they fill up, but of course, Sony’s got cameras with over twice the resolution). If there’s room in the firmware image, they can always make this an option, like Canon and Nikon do with sRAW (which is a very primitive form of lossy compression).

      And yes, most likely this creates new raw formats that can’t be read by old software. Happens with every new camera anyway, so I don’t see this as a huge problem, and if they keep the old mode around, no problem at all.

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    • Stan Rogers

      “Old software” includes their own utility, which needs to be written, debugged and distributed. There’s more to releasing a new file format than a firmware update (and, frankly, you don’t have a clue what that entails either since you don’t have a clue what lives in the ASICs/FPGAs that live in the camera) even if you ignore third-party.

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    • Anders Madsen

      Dave, I need to understand this a bit better. Are there two buffers in the camera?

      From what you write, the sensor data goes straight to the buffer before being processed and then goes to the storage card – is that correct?

      Because what happens when you shoot RAW + JPG? That usually reduces the buffer capacity so I thought that the sensor data would go directly to processing and then to the buffer, before being written to the storage card.

      Or do data go from sensor to DRAM to processor to DRAM to storage?

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    • Dave Haynie

      Hey Anders. Ok, I have not seen a modern camera circuit anytime recently (I was using a camera SOC in a non-camera design back in 2002), but I do similar things in my day job. What you’ll just about certainly find is that the cameras use an integrated system-on-chip, which probably incorporates a CPU, a DSP (digital signal processor), and even dedicated hardware engines — very similar to what you find on a smartphone. They interface to a single pool of DRAM, probably DDR2LP because that’s commodity, fast, and super low power. There’s an interface to the sensor chip… could be MIPI, could be something proprietary.

      There’s some hardware on the SOC that will manage the sensor chip and, via a DMA interface, dump that into main memory. Some of these more general purpose SOCs have JPEG encoders, perhaps others, that work directly in the camera interface. But more likely, for an advanced camera, the sensor output is dumped into main memory… the “buffer” is really just a software construct. What’s dumped it a raw image, unless you’re doing video, in which case the sensor’s output is probably routed directly to a hardware(ish) compression engine. Any old PC could do that compression, but not at the low power we expect in a camera.

      Once that raw image is in memory, the camera’s OS probably gives the sensor management hardware a new section of RAM to use as its raw buffer, then it decides what do with that new image. If you’re in raw mode, it’s probably just going to add some metadata, then put that memory buffer into a queue for the task that manages writing to SD/CF/whatever.

      The fact that pretty much every camera out there can process more JPEGs in a buffer than raw tells a tale. Think of it this way.. there’s nothing much to do with a raw photo… add that metadata to an in-memory structure, then write it out. For JPEG, you run a color decimation filter, which does a 2:1 or 4:1 color subsampling of each JPEG cell (8×8 or 16×16). Next, you feed that to the DCT engine, which does the discrete cosine transform of each cell, basically a reversible transform between spatial and frequency data. Then there’s another filter that, based on the JPEG quality, zeros out the higher frequency information in every cell. Then it runs a Huffman entropy compression on the whole thing… then it adds most of the same metadata to that construct, and it’s passed to the task that writes to memory card.

      All one pool of memory, far as I know, that’s how pretty much all modern devices work. Wasn’t always that way… but if you make processors and memory fast enough, everything else becomes a software construct. That’s a big part of why every still camera does video today… different bits of software using the same hardware in a different way.

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