I should be happy to be posting that Sony has not abandoned the A-mount camera line-up. But, I'm not, and here's why:
Strike One: After two years of Sony reps swearing up and down that there would be no replacement for the SLT-A65, Sony have announced its successor, the SLT-A68. Had I known that there would be a successor to the A65 to move up to, I may have decided to learn to live with the functional controls on the Sony cameras, as I really did like the picture quality.
Strike Two: Sony had an opportunity to advance their SLT technology with a new mid-range APS-C body. While they did up the ante on the auto-focus system a good bit by including their excellent "4D FOCUS" system, in most other regards, the new camera appears to be made of spare parts. For example, the SLT-A65 had an excellent 3", 921,600 dot LCD back display that both tilted and swiveled, while the new SLT-A68 has a paltry 460,800 dot, 2.7" tilt-only rear LCD. The OLED viewfinder suffers a similar fate -- it's now only 1,440,000 dots, as opposed to 2,359,296 dots on the SLT-A65. C'mon, Sony, everyone else is making their LCDs bigger, not smaller! The same goes for electronic viewfinder resolution.
Strike Three: As with the SLT-A99, the new A68 uses a "standard" hot shoe instead of the Minolta-style shoe. While this isn't much of a problem for new users who don't already have an investment in a Minolta-mount flash system, it is for someone who has spent several hundred dollars on a flash (like me), especially since Sony has chosen to not include the flash shoe adapter like they do with the A99. Admittedly, this is a minor point, as I do still have a Nikon SB-800, and three Yongnuo YN560-IV flashes and a YN560-TX that I could use for manual flash. Of course, that doesn't help in "gun-and-run" situations where TTL flash is most useful.
You'll notice that I didn't touch on video capabilities in the "strikes" section of my comments, because I don't generally believe that stills cameras are good platforms for video -- that's why they make video cameras. Stills cameras are not designed to be good video cameras, no matter what the manufacturers claim. Still, I was surprised that the SLT-A68 only shoots HD video, since most every other manufacturer is screaming to anyone who will listen about their 4K capabilities in their mid-range cameras.
As I mentioned above, Sony did get some things right on the new model. Their new autofocus system is said to be excellent, for instance, and the "screw-drive" focus motor has been retained for those shooting older Minolta MAXXUM lenses. Sony also finally figured out that built-in WiFi is something that mid-level photographers really want, so there's WiFi file transfer, and the camera can now be remotely controlled via smartphone.
I also like that they added a control dial on the back panel, and an informative LCD on the top panel as well. While the viewfinder resolution has been decreased, the magnification has been improved (0.88x), and the eye-point has been increased as well.
Where the camera will appeal to a lot of folks moving up from a point-and-shoot or advanced compact is the price. The body-only is priced at $599, and for only $100 more, it can be had in a kit with Sony's 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. That's a lot of bang for the buck.