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| p.3 #8 · The A7R teardown by Roger Cicala |
Leica doesn't really have much choice about how thick their cover glass should be, because many of the system's lenses are pre-digital and users expect those to work OK on a digital Leica. Therefore they try to get the glass as thin as possible. As many probably know, there was a side effect to this for the M9 - a significant number that developed cracked sensor cover glass, which I assume was related to how the sensor units were produced.
I imagine Sony is erring on the side of caution knowing these large, much more exposed (than SLR) sensors, where the shutter curtain is constantly open, will get dirty and will require cleaning. Most owners will do this themselves, or get someone at a camera shop to do it for them, etc... And given the kinds of lenses that will be adapted to these cameras, range of uses, and resulting stresses put on the cameras.... I doubt I'm wrong to think Sony wants to avoid cracked cover glass.
They're also in a different position with regards to lenses. Native glass is all designed to account for the peculiarities of current digital sensor design. All electronically adaptable legacy Sony/Minolta glass is from an SLR system where the problems presented by rangefinder glass is much less acute. Therefore, cover glass can be made thicker without the same degree of tradeoffs Leica faces.
My guess is it's only a matter of time before we see a small cottage industry for cover glass replacement. IIRC, when Edward contacted MaxMax, they were willing to replace his a7 (non-R?) cover glass. In a year or two, once these cameras are below $1000 on the used market, it will be a much less risky gamble.
Lee: regarding the cost of these cameras - also remember that Sony is the first to market with FF mirrorless, therefore they have the ability to set their preferred price point with less concern about undercutting competitors. That will all certainly come. Kind of reminds me of another time when Minolta was first on the market with something revolutionary: AF. I guess it took Canon about two years to get their EOS system out, and a couple more after that to demonstrate considerably better AF performance. Point being, it's great being first, but it doesn't guarantee long-term dominance. That said, there are some differences now compared to Minolta of old.