Sony has come a long way in a short amount of time with their Alpha camera system, and in their wake they’ve left a few different product names floating around (NEX, E, FE, A) that may have newcomers confused. Here’s a breakdown of what it all means.
In this video, Sony Artisan and kick-ass Sports Photographer Patrick Murphy-Racey sets up an arrangement of NEX (now discontinued), crop-sensor, and full-frame Alpha mirrorless cameras to show exactly how they all came to be and how they work with each other.
As mentioned in the video, one of the great things Sony did when laying out the design plans for their Alpha mirrorless cameras and lenses was they made APS-C and full-frame E-mounts identical so that they can be directly fitted on any Alpha mirrorless APS-C or full-frame camera. This means a full-frame lens like the FE 85mm f/1.4 GM can still mount directly to the APS-C a6500, and an APS-C lens like the brand new E 18-135mm f/3.5–5.6 OSS can be mounted directly to the full-frame a7R III camera. In the latter case, the camera will recognize an APS-C lens in mounted and automatically crop the image area down to the appropriate size where there will be no black edges (this drops down the amount of effective megapixels of your outputted images as well).
One area where I see many people get confused is with Sony’s two distinct lines of A-mount and E-mount lenses. While NEX, FE, and E mount lenses are all made to fit interchangeably, the A mount is not compatible into that system without an adapter. I think what happens if that people assume the “A” is short for Alpha, and think since they own an “Alpha 7” camera the two should work together. The A-mount is in fact different, however, and made to be fitted onto Sony’s DSLR cameras.
Cover image by Rakesh Gohil via Pexels.