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Interview with Toru Katsumoto Sr. Gen. Mgr in Sony's Digital Imaging Business Group

An interview with Toru Katsumoto on Sony's Alpha site, reveals how Sony plans to become the shin'uchi, or headline performer, of digital SLR cameras. Firstly we are determined to win the trust and respect of the users. Second, it means making no compromises in delivering the high level of performance customers have come to expect. Finally, although we are entering the SLR camera stage later than other makers, we will demonstrate that we are worthy of this position...
Sony's Alpha DSLR websiteOver 20 new lenses to be introduced in the first year

Ever since Sony and Konica Minolta began collaborating on a joint digital SLR camera project in July 2005, I have seen many similarities in our corporate cultures. Sony is renowned for its unceasing exploration of new avenues, while Konica Minolta has a long history of developing groundbreaking technologies, like the world's first auto-focus SLR camera and an exclusive anti-shake system. Leveraging our similarities and benefiting from our differences, we now merge our efforts in a shared commitment to the development of digital SLR cameras.

We believe an SLR camera should be a part of a larger culture, encompassing the entire product line of lenses and accessories, and not just the camera body itself. To successfully create this culture, it's not enough to offer a body and two or three lens options, which is why, starting this summer, we will launch more than 20 new lens models over the course of a year. Combined with the over 16 million compatible lenses that have been sold to date, we are bringing our entire camera culture toward an ever-expanding future for our customers.


As the headliner of the digital SLR camera world

Our goal is to become the shin'uchi, or headline performer, of digital SLR cameras. In the traditional Japanese art of rakugo storytelling, the shin'uchi is the performer recognized by everyone as the undisputed master of his craft. Personally, I feel this applies to Sony in three ways.

Firstly, although Sony is a newcomer to the field of SLR cameras, we are determined to win the trust and respect of users everywhere. This dedication will set us apart as one of the premier SLR camera makers.

Second, we consider it of utmost importance to show the same respect for the traditions of the SLR camera culture as is shown for traditional arts like rakugo. This means making no compromises in delivering the high level of performance customers have come to expect.

Finally, much as how the shin'uchi, the most artistically skilled and technically proficient of the performers, makes his appearance at the end of the show, we are entering the SLR camera stage later than other makers. This presents us with an ambitious target to shoot for, but we will demonstrate to our customers that it is a position we are worthy of.


Committed to the long-term development of the SLR camera culture

Entering the SLR camera market entails a long-term commitment to customers, and my resolve here is unwavering. While camera bodies may change in style or features with the passage of time, lenses are lasting assets. Our division is fully committed to expanding and developing our range of lenses and accessories. Moreover, throughout Sony we are fostering a new generation of SLR camera enthusiasts who are eager to further improve on our success.

The name [alpha] communicates a host of meanings. As the first letter of the Greek alphabet, it represents the highest level of quality, as well as a new beginning. This is precisely what [alpha] means to us, and what we hope it will mean to you.

This summer will see the global launch of [alpha], Sony's new digital SLR camera. I trust you are looking forward to it as much as I am.


Toru Katsumoto
Senior General Manager
AMC Division
Digital Imaging Business Group
Sony Corporation  


Toru Katsumoto was in electronic design with the Handycam division for over ten years, having worked on Sony's first model, the 8mm CCD-V8. Later, he was involved in developing Sony's digital broadcast receiver system for use with SKY PerfecTV! and others. After a stay in England he returned to Japan, where he joined the Cocoon channel server and Cyber-shot divisions before taking up his current position.

Additional information: Sony's Alpha DSLR website
May 14, 2006
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