One advantage of mirrorless cameras for enthusiasts is the ease at which other system's lenses can be adapted, but this tends to bring the loss of autofocus — if the lens had autofocus in the first place. But according to the latest leak from Sony Alpha Rumors (see update), an innovative solution may be on the way. The alleged Sony A7000 is said to feature a "Z-shift sensor" that can move up to 18mm in order to bring images in focus, no matter what lens is attached. Kyocera implemented a similar concept with its Contax AX SLR, which moved the film plane to enable focusing with manual lenses.
Autofocus and image stabilization, no matter the lens
The A7000, like the A3000 announced last week, appears to be a DSLR-style E-mount camera primarily designed for the same lenses as Sony's NEX models. It could form part of a strategy to entice photographers entrenched in other systems; if the camera offers effective image stablization and autofocus performance no matter the lens, switching users may not feel the need to sell their collections of Canon or Nikon optics. Of course, adapters would still be necessary to physically mount third-party lenses on the camera body.
Whether this is enough to make DSLR shooters switch brands and go mirrorless is anyone's guess, but if the A7000 turns out to be real, it's the latest in an increasingly long list of recent engineering innovations from Sony's camera division. The company has produced numerous head-turning designs over the past few years, including its translucent mirror SLT range, the tiny full-frame RX1, and the excellent RX100 compact, and is expected to unveil its wireless smartphone "lens cameras" this week.
Update: The above image is reportedly a fake, but Sony Alpha Rumors, which has a solid record with leaks, is standing by its information on the upcoming camera.