It looks as if a Chinese website has let slip Sony's upcoming NEX camera bodies. Leaked pictures show what are purported to be the Sony NEX-6 and NEX-5R compact system cameras. The pics look genuine to us, though we doubt they were snapped on a Sony compact system camera based on their quality.
However, the NEX-6 isn't a carbon copy of the NEX-7's body: It has ditched the side-by-side thumbwheel design, and instead opts for a more Canon G1 X-inspired "double stack" which includes a mode dial that appears to sit above a secondary thumbwheel.
The viewfinder, too, we suspect will be a lower-resolution LCD version in order to cut back on the costs associated with the NEX-7's super-high-resolution OLED finder.
Sonyalpharumors.com anticipates that the sensor will have a 16-megapixel resolution - lower than the NEX-7's 24.3-megapixel version.
Interestingly there is mention that this may contain additional sensor-level pixels for phase-detection autofocus for DSLR-like focus speeds whatever the lighting conditions. Much like the Nikon V1. If that's true then, well, this Sony could be the compact system camera hot ticket of the year.
The lower resolution would also make sense in order to separate the NEX-6 from the NEX-7 model and add more choice to the range. Lots of people have been looking for a compact system camera with a built-in viewfinder, but the current lack of hotshoe/accessory port-enabled bodies means there's little choice, and what is out there tends to be costly or too chunky.
Price-wise it's all guess work at the moment. Think higher than Sony's high-end RX100 compact camera, but less than the top-spec NEX-7.
Next up is the Sony NEX-5R, the expected replacement for the NEX-5N system camera. Updates include the aforementioned 16-megapixel sensor with phase and contrast-detection autofocus and a rear thumbwheel that should, we hope, make using the notoriously clunky user interface quicker and easier.
Taking a leaf out of Samsung's NX-series book - see the latest NX20 - it also looks as though both models will feature Wi-Fi connectivity for online sharing and apparent app-based support. How Sony will support such apps isn't yet known, but as the NEX cameras don't run on an open system it looks as though it will be through its own, Sony-only store.
It's onwards and upwards for the NEX-series by the looks of things. We'll bring you more concrete news as and when we have it.
What do you expect the latest NEX models will bring to Sony's compact system camera stable? Let us know in the comments below...