Top new camera rumours for 2012

Sony alpha 77

Sony A77 release date rumours

Sony Alpha users have been eagerly awaiting a replacement for the Sony A700 for at least a year. Announced in 2007, the A700 was - and still is - Sony's most convincing prosumer APS-C DSLR, and the closest thing to the fondly remembered Konica-Minolta semi-pro film SLRs of yesteryear.

Three years on and the Sony faithful are feeling neglected. Three years, and two full-frame DSLRs (the Sony A900 and its near-clone, the Sony A850) plus a flurry of somewhat uninspiring entry-level and midrange Alpha-series models later, and the A700 is looking decidedly isolated. So will they or won't they?

Our guess is that Sony will replace it, but whether the Sony A77 features a semi-translucent mirror (like the A33 and A55) remains to be seen. Our money is on the Sony Alpha 77 specs including 18MP, HD video and SLT-A55-inspired ergonomics. But don't hold your breath.

2011 Sony A77 release date probability: 90% - but Sony might still surprise us.

UPDATE - January 2011: Sony reveals a prototype of an Alpha 700 replacement at CES 2011 and suggests a Sony Alpha 77 release date will come this year. Early reports also suggest the Sony A77 release will feature the translucent mirror technology introduced in its A33 and A55 cameras last year, as well as a 25MP sensor.

UPDATE - February 2011: we have a (sort of) official Sony A77 release date. Sony has announced that its Alpha 700 replacement will be released in mid-2011 and will feature translucent mirror technology, Full HD video capability and a few other interesting specs, which have been revealed.

UPDATE – May 2011: Photo Rumors has spotted the Sony A77 listed in Sony's latest consumer repair guide. While we've already known that a Sony A700 replacement is due for release this summer (see the post at the top of this page), what's significant about this is that until now there was still speculation as to whether the Sony A700 replacement would be called the Sony A800 or the Sony A77. This would appear to confirm we will see a Sony A77 release date before too long.

UPDATE - August 2011: The a77 has officially been unveiled! Using translucent mirror technology and boasting 24.3 megapixels, it was also joined by an a65 beginner level camera.

Sony A950 release date rumours

This is a tough one. When Sony introduced the 24-million-pixel, full-frame A900 in 2008, it took everyone by surprise. At the time, the Sony Alpha 900 offered the highest resolution on the market, but for significantly less cash than the next-nearest competitor - the Canon EOS 1DS Mark III.

At a third of the price of the Canon, there were some compromises - a significantly less advanced AF system and no live view mode being the most obvious. All things considered, though, the A900 was a hell of a bargain for the resolution-hungry snapper.

However, apart from its pixel count, the Sony A900's specification looked fairly dated from the day of its release, and if Sony wants to stay competitive in the full-frame DSLR market, it will have to replace - or at least update - its long-serving flagship.

The question is whether or not Sony considers full-frame to be a market worth competing in. If it does, we expect the Sony Alpha 950 specs to feature a 30MP+ sensor, better AF, improved high ISO performance, decent live view and a similar video mode to the more recent SLT-A55.

2011 Sony A950 release date probability: 50%. Whether a Sony A950 release ever happens depends on whether Sony finally makes its mind up whether or not to target the pro studio/landscape photographer market. Keep everything crossed.