UK Alpha 700 press launch October 10th
SONY UK is finally to reveal the Alpha 700 to the UK press on October 10th, over a month after the European launch and three weeks after the first Alpha 700 cameras began shipping in other parts of the world.
The event will be held in London and will include photography within the Natural History Museum – those dinosaur bones will really give 5 fps a workout!
In a strangely un-coordinated manner, Sony is also holding a press conference the day before, to announce a major sponsorship in the world of professional photography. They are about to become a big name at the serious end of competitive awards – the sort of awards which don’t look out of tune with their support for Magnum photographers in Europe. The left hand/right hand thing certainly seems to be at work as it would have been so easy to combine the press conferences, or hold them in succession.
I’m missing the first one as I can take two days away from work this month, and it costs a fair amount to fly to London to get to a 10am conference. To do it elegantly, in a relaxed manner, would cost around Â£400 according to BMIBaby’s best Heathrow flight offers and the necessary further transfers. Doing it the scruffy way, via Stansted, quarters the cost. I continue to be amazed at companies which assume 10am in central London is remotely reasonable; half the photo press is based provincially (Bath, Brighton, Peterborough) and for many of them it actually takes longer to get into London for that sort of time than it does for me to fly from Scotland.
At last I get to handle a real Alpha 700, but it won’t be of much use in practical terms. It looks as if the camera does not go on sale until late October, and before then, we must have an edition of Photoworld printed for the Autumn season. If they don’t have cameras available next week at the press conference for longer term testing (or even for purchase!) I will be joining the rush to the grey market and importing one at a Â£300 saving from the USA. A combination of month or more late launching, plus 20 per cent or more overpricing, is a sure way to get UK buyers beating the delays and the surcharges by risking an import.
Sony seems to have been totally unaware of the global nature of the photographic community today, and the importance of internet. Minolta (and Konica Minolta) had a policy of well coordinated worldwide simultaneous launches and a few days separating availability in different markets. Sony doesn’t seem to have that degree of coordination and planning even within the activities of a single country’s management.