Sony Alpha, stylized as Sony α (Greek letter alpha), is a camera system introduced on 5 June 2006. It utilizes and expands upon Konica Minolta camera technologies, including the Minolta AF SLR lens mount, whose assets were acquired by Sony after the end of Konica-Minolta's photography operations in early 2006. Sony also has an 11.08% ownership stake in Japanese lens manufacturer Tamron, which is known to have partnered with Konica Minolta and Sony in the design and manufacture of many zoom lenses.
Prior to the acquisition by Sony, the α branding had already been used on the Japanese market by Minolta for their AF camera system (marketed as "Dynax" in Europe, and "Maxxum" in North America). Sony adopted the name "A-mount system" for the Minolta AF lens mount, which has been retained in their new SLR range.
Sony's entry into the DSLR market dates back to July 2005 where a joint venture with Konica Minolta would have resulted in both companies marketing an updated line of DSLRs to the masses. Between 2006 and 2008 Sony was the fastest growing company on the DSLR market, reaching 13% market share in 2008 to become the third largest DSLR company in the world. In May 2010, Sony introduced two Alpha NEX mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras equipped with the proprietary Sony E-mount.
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