Instead it's merged the Alpha and NEX lines into one beastly series to compete not only with the likes of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and E-M1 but also Canon and Nikon's top DSLRs.
Today, it announced its first ever full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, the a7 and a7r, as the brave new ambassadors for its revamped flagship line – we went hands on in London.
Compact, stylish, Sony controls
The a7 is comfortable to grip, perfectly weighted (it's only slightly heavier than the a7r at 474g with a battery) and smaller than some Micro Four Thirds cameras, an impressive feat from Sony. It's very similar in size and build to the NEX cameras we've encountered with perhaps a touch more of Olympus styling than we've seen before.
The a7r might be the 'world's smallest' and its magnesium alloy build might also be water and dust-resistant but both Alpha cams are beautifully made and fit in the hand really well.
Of course the lenses you choose will have a big effect on how pocketable they end up being – but with an LA-EA4 adapter for A mount lenses, new FE lenses and the whole gamut of compatible E mount lenses, Sony has your back. It also extends the number of Sony owners who can upgrade to either of these 2013 Alphas safe in the knowledge that their existing glass can join in.
The controls are as expected – mode and exposure compensation dials up top with a DSLR-style thumbwheel on the rear next to the handily tiltable (by 90 degrees upwards) 3in LCD. If you'd prefer there's also a high res, electronic OLED viewfinder which is gorgeously bright and crystal-clear in use – though as with other eye-activated viewfinders, there's a split-second before it kicks in.