Now about the achievements of Sony in their E-mount system over the last year. This will be in broad categories, as there may be a few highlights in each of these categories.
Top 5 Sony E-mount achievements in 2014:
1) They finally did it! They managed to squeeze 5-axis in-body image stabilisation into a full-frame mirrorless E-mount camera (Sony A7ii). The critics who said this could not be done, will now have to eat their own words.
2) Firmware updates: Sony gave us not one but two firmware updates in 2014. These helped to improve the start-up times of some of their cameras e.g. Sony A6000, A7, A7R & A7S. The autofocus speed has also improved and is very usable, especially when compared to earlier Sony NEX models. Sony have also improved the image quality of the jpeg engine, which I have looked at in a previous post.
3) Camera lenses: Sony has now the big three in camera lenses covered. These are the FE 16-35mm F4 OSS Zeiss, 24-70mm F4 OSS Zeiss and FE 70-200mm F4 OSS G lens. The wide-end which was a major source of complaint of early adopters into Sony Full-frame E-mount cameras, is now covered by the FE 16-35mm F4 OSS Zeiss. And lets not forget that though the latter two lenses were announced in October 2013, they were only available to purchase in 2014. And now with the 5-axis IBIS coming out, there is new life injected into the Sony A-mount lens lineup as well.
4) Sony do have camera bodies made for each price range, and they do want to sell cameras. But they have now come out with models specific targeting those with particular requirements: Sony A7S for those interested in shooting 4K video or who require good low-light performance, the A7R already covered the high-pixel Medium-format arena, the A7ii now covers the shooters who are interested in using lenses from other manufacturers as the camera will be stabilised by the 5-axis IBIS, Sony A6000 with its continuous autofocus capabilities (more below).
5) Sony has improved the autofocusing in their newer E-mount cameras, to the point it is very usable now. And then they came out with the Sony A6000 as well in 2014, which is another game changer with its fast continuous autofocus through the use of their hybrid on-sensor phase detection and contrast autofocus system. This allows for accurate autofocusing while tracking the movement of subjects, which was previously only possible with a professional-level DSLR camera. It now joins the company of other mirrorless cameras with this capability (Panasonic GH4, Olympus E-M1, Fuji X-T1).