Usually when information about a new product leaks before its official announcement, it is because someone with inside knowledge forwards the info to one of the various rumors sites on the Internet. Rarely, however, does a company itself leak details on an upcoming device on its own website. One of these rare moments just happened, and the product in question is the upcoming Sony A3500 DSLR-styled mirrorless camera – possibly a successor to the A3000 that we saw back in August 2013. But, is it really a new camera, or just a rehash of an existing model?
Looking almost exactly the same as its predecessor, one could easily mistake the A3500 for the A3000, if it weren’t for the distinctive lettering on the front. And the similarities continue throughout the technical specifications: 20.1 megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, maximum ISO of 16,000, Full HD video, 230,400k-dot 3-inch rear screen, and integrated electronic viewfinder. And even the weight appears to be exactly the same, at 14.5 ounces, including the battery. This has us scratching our heads a bit: Did Sony even bother to change anything about the camera for this new model, or are the leaked details of, in reality, those of the A3000, used as placeholders until the official announcement? It could even just be the same camera, with a different name for a different market.
What we can say for sure is that the A3500 is coming with a new kit lens, a smaller 18-50mm f/4-5.6 without Optical Steady Shot, Sony’s optical image stabilization system. The slightly shorter zoom range (50mm versus 55mm on the A3000’s kit lens), slightly slower aperture of f/4 (vs. f/3.5), and lack of OSS could be seen as a step-down from the A3000. But these omissions do seem to make the lens physically shorter from what we can tell from the leaked images, which helps create an overall slightly smaller (and probably also slightly lighter) package.
At the moment, we have no information on when the A3500 will be officially announced, or if it’s destined for the U.S. market. Until then, we have to take the leaked details on the camera with a grain of salt. But from what it looks like now, the A3500 will only be a minor update of the A3000, with the new kit lens being the most significant change.