alpha

Sony a9

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Okay sports and wildlife photographers, Sony has a camera you’ll want to look at. The new full-frame mirrorless camera, with what Sony claims is the world’s first full-frame stacked CMOS sensor and 24.2-megapixel resolution, is said to deliver blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 fps for up to 241 RAW / 362 jpeg images.

The alpha 9 also offers silent, vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec; 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second; an Ethernet port for file transfer; Dual SD card slots; and extended battery life.

The camera also has 5-axis in-body image stabilization with a 5.0 step shutter speed advantage.

Sony says the full-frame stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. The sensor is paired with a new, upgraded BIONZ X processing engine and front end LSI that maximizes overall performance.

The 693 phase detection AF points cover approximately 93 percent of the frame, so the fasting moving subjects are reliably captured and tracked across the frame.

The a9 also features a vibration free, fully electronic, completely silent anti-distortion shutter with “absolutely no” mechanical mirror or shutter noise.

The new Z battery is said to deliver approximately 2.2x the capacity of W batteries.

One of the dual SD media card slots supports UHS-II cards.

The processing power of the camera’s components deliver faster AF/AE calculations while also reducing EVF display latency. The processor and front end LSI are also responsible for the larger continuous shooting buffer.

The camera’s AF system tracks complex, erratic motion with higher accuracy than ever before, with the ability to calculate AF/AE at up to 60 times per second, regardless of shutter release and frame capture. Further, when the shutter is released while shooting stills, the electronic viewfinder functions with absolutely no blackout, giving the user a seamless live view of their subject at all times.

The Fast Hybrid AF system – pairing the speed and tracking performance of phase detection AF with the precision of contrast AF – achieves approximately 25 percent faster performance when compared to the a7R II, claims Sony.

The a9 features an all-new, high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder delivering “extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction.” The new Tru-Finder, with what Sony says is the highest resolution viewfinder ever for a Sony alpha camera, incorporates an optical design that includes a double-sided aspherical element, helping it to achieve 0.78x magnification and “outstanding” corner to corner sharpness. The EVF also utilizes a Zeiss T* coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt.

This all adds up, according to Sony, to a luminance that is 2x higher than the XGA OLED Tru-Finder from the a7R II, creating a viewfinder image with a brightness level that is nearly identical to the actual scene being framed, says the company. The frame rate of the Tru-Finder is customizable, with options to set it for 60 fps or 120 fps to best match the action.

For those who thought the sync terminal was a thing of the past – tada! – there is a sync terminal as well, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly.

Sony notes the a9 has several new and updated focus functions that support faster, easier focusing in a variety of situations. The camera features a multi-selector joystick on the back of the camera, allowing shooters to easily shift focus point within the frame by pressing the multi-selector in any direction up, down, left or right when shooting in Zone, Flexible Spot or Expanded Flexible Spot focus area modes.  The new model also offers touch focusing on the rear LCD screen for easily selecting of and shifting focus towards a desired focus point or subject.

New for Sony E-mount cameras, the a9 includes the addition of separate drive mode and focus mode dials, plus a new “AF ON” button that can be pressed to activate autofocus directly when shooting still images or movies.

Additional new capabilities include the “AF Area Registration,” which allows frequently used focus area to be memorized and recalled via custom button assignments. There is also the ability to assign specific settings (exposure, shutter speed, drive mode, etc.) to a custom button. The camera can memorize and automatically recall the last focus point used in a vertical or horizontal orientation as well, instantly switching back to it when that specific orientation is used again.

For enhanced customization, a “My Menu” feature is available, allowing up to 30 menu items to be registered in a custom menu for instant recall when needed.

The a9 camera features an all-new Sony battery with 2.2x the capacity of previous Sony full-frame models.

The sensor is back-illuminated, allowing it to capture maximum light and produce outstanding, true-to-life image quality, says Sony. The sensor also enables an ISO range of 100 – 51200, expandable to 50 – 204800.

The a9 also supports uncompressed 14-bit RAW.

Video? Of course. 4K video? Absolutely. It offers 4K (3840 x 2160p) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in this format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Recording is also available in the Super 35 mm size.

Additionally, the camera can record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

There are a number of new accessories including grips and multiple battery adaptors.

The Sony alpha 9 will ship in May for about $6,000.

Sony alpha 5100

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sony alpha a5100Sony says its new alpha 5100 packs pro-quality AF performance and image quality into a portable, lightweight package. The new camera features the same Fast Hybrid AF system as the 6000, which allows it to acquire focus in as little as 0.07 seconds. It also shares the 6000’s image sensor – a 24.3-megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor – and BIONZ X processor.

The 5100 is compatible with Sony’s line of E-mount interchangeable lenses.

Unique to the 5100 is its extremely compact design, placing it among the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras in market today.

The Fast Hybrid AF system features focal plane phase-detection AF points with an extremely wide autofocus coverage area (179 focal points) that is teamed with high-precision contrast-detection AF. This combination, says Sony, allows the camera to accurately track and respond to a subject moving through nearly the entire frame, whether shooting still images or full HD videos.

Additionally, the 5100 has an extremely responsive touch screen which works with the AF system to enable Touch Focus, allowing shooters to focus by simply touching the intended subject on any area of the LCD screen – even if it’s at the far edges.

The 5100 also comes equipped with Eye AF and Lock-on AF functions that debuted in the alpha 7/ 7R, a Flexible Spot AF area function, and AF-A mode (automatic switching between AF-C and AF-S) that is also offered in the 6000.

The 5100 supports full HD video shooting  in AVCHD as well as the  XAVC S codec, which records video at a high data rate of 50 Mbps with advanced compression. XAVC S paired with the advanced focusing system of the 5100 makes for a compelling HD video shooting solution that only a select number of cameras in market today – mirrorless or DSLR – can offer, notes Sony.

With the BIONZ X processor, the camera is able to read, process and output data from all of the sensor’s pixels during video recording, ensuring it produces the highest quality video possible by eliminating aliasing, moiré and false colour artifacts.

The new camera also features dual video recording, allowing it to simultaneously record two files – one in Full HD (AVCHD or XAVC S) and the other in lower resolution MP4 format – to a single installed SD card. This gives videographers a high-quality file for viewing on large screens or working on in post-processing, as well as a smaller, lower data-rate version that is ideal for uploading and sharing.

The mirrorless camera features a high resolution LCD screen that can tilt a full 180 degrees upright, ideal for self-portraits. On top of the camera body there’s a zoom lever for convenient one-handed camera operation and a handy pop-up flash.

The 5100 camera has built-in Wi-Fi, giving consumers one-touch connection with smartphones or tablets for instant image transfer and sharing. A single touch also activates Smart Remote Control, giving users a live image preview through their compatible smartphone or tablet, and allowing them to use the smart device to release the camera’s shutter.

For devices without NFC one-touch capabilities, users can wirelessly transfer images and videos and activate Smart Remote Control through Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile application, available for the iOS and Android platforms.

The camera is also compatible with downloadable Sony PlayMemories camera apps.

UPDATED: The Sony α5100 compact interchangeable lens camera will be available in September in black and white in a kit with a 16-50 mm motorized zoom lens for about $729.99.

Sony alpha 7 cameras

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Alpha 7R
Alpha 7R

Sony’s new a7 and a7R digital cameras are claimed to be the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models.

The 7R features a 36.4 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor – the highest resolution sensor in the history of Sony’s alpha line – with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail.

The alpha7 has an impressive 24.3 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor and an innovative, fast Hybrid AF system.

Each camera is equipped with a new BIONZ X processor; fast AF capabilities; a clear, bright XGA OLED Tru-finder; full HD 60p video recording; Wi-Fi and NFC connection; as well as dust-and moisture- resistance.

Both cameras feature full customization and control. There are nine different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial.

Users can preview all changes to photographic settings in real-time on the high-contrast viewfinder or the high-resolution, tiltable, 3-inch LCD screen.

The new cameras share a new processor that accurately reproduces details in textures in real-time via extra high-speed processing capabilities, says Sony, and allows for exceptional low noise performance in all types of lighting conditions. Additionally, the processor, combined with the advanced, high resolution sensors, allows both cameras to shoot pro-quality Full HD video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p at 60p) with richly detailed colours and ultra-low noise.

Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording as well, allowing for powerful close-up shots without sacrificing pixel count. Other pro-style movie features include an audio recording level control and display plus a “live” HDMI output for passing through video to an external monitor or recording device.

The new cameras both have on-board Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities for instant image sharing and transfer to compatible smartphones and tablets.

Alpha 7
Alpha 7

The two models can access Sony’s platform of PlayMemories Camera Apps, allowing users to add new effects, filters, utilities and more. This platform includes a new ‘Multiple Exposure’ app, which automatically combines sequential exposures into one creative shot, and ‘Smart Remote Control’, which allows for direct control of exposure and shutter speed from a connected smartphone.

The new alpha7 and 7R cameras each have a tough, magnesium alloy build and are dust and moisture resistant.

The a7R is designed for professional photographers and highly advanced enthusiasts, says Sony.

It features a new Fast Intelligent AF technology that delivers what Sony calls “blazingly quick,” accurate autofocus. Additionally, there are a total of three selectable sizes for the Flexible Spot AF frame, minimizing the risk of accidentally focusing on the wrong target.

Sony says the a7 is an entry point into full-frame photography.

The new camera has a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase- and contrast-detect AF methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus. It can also shoot at up to 5 fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking.

Among the accessories being offered for the new cameras is a new vertical grip that offers greater comfort during vertical shooting and can accommodate two separate NP-FW50 batteries for extended battery life and shooting time.

A new compact external battery charger quickly charges batteries, and an off-camera shoe allows the use of external flashes in off-camera wired applications.

The Sony a7R and a7 cameras will be available in late November. The 7R will be offered as a body-only for about $2300. The alpha 7 will be offered with a 28-70 mm f/3.5–5.6 lens for about $2000. It will also be offered as a body-only for about $1700.

Sony α99 DSLR

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The successor to Sony’s flagship α900 DSLR, the α99 features a new 24.3-megapixel full-frame image sensor, a unique dual phase-detect AF system, translucent mirror, and a number of other technologies.

The camera combines the Exmor CMOS sensor with a highly advanced BIONZ image processing engine and a newly-developed separate multi-segment optional low-pass filter. Assisted by an all-new front-end LSI, the BIONZ engine can process massive amounts of image signal data from the sensor at very high speeds, says Sony. Together with a powerful new area-specific noise reduction (NR) algorithm, it allows to the camera to achieve 14-bit RAW output, rich gradation and low noise.

The processor also gives the α99 a maximum sensitivity range (in expanded sensitivity mode) as wide as ISO 50 – 25600, a range of nine stops.

The camera can shoot a burst of images at up to 6 fps at full resolution or up to 10 fps in Tele-zoom high speed shooting mode.

The camera’s main focusing system – a 19-point AF system with 11 cross sensors – is complemented by a 102-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor overlaying the main image sensor. Using translucent mirror technology, light is passed to both phase-detection AF sensors simultaneously and continually, measuring subject distance and position more completely than other cameras, according to Sony. This Dual AF System permits ultra-fast, accurate autofocusing that maintains tracking focus even if a subject temporarily leaves the frame.

The AF-D (depth) continuous autofocus mode utilizes the Dual AF system for wider and more dense coverage of the frame, significantly improving AF performance with fast or erratically moving subjects against complex backgrounds.

During movie shooting, AF Duration control provides reliable depth focusing information and ensures that the camera maintains proper focus on its subject when objects or people cross the focal plane.

A new AF range control allows photographers to manually select foreground and background distance to which the AF system will not respond, especially useful for shooting fast moving sports or animals through a nearby wire mesh or in front of a complex background.

The camera is said to be the first full-frame DSLR to offer Full HD 60p/24p progressive video recording to meet AVCHD Ver 2.0 specifications and Full-time Continuous AF Movie mode, allowing smooth, non-stop tracking of moving subjects. Other enhancements include real-time Full HD video output via HDMI, and uninterrupted ‘dual-card’ recording using both of the camera’s media slots.

While shooting video, a new silent, programmable multi-control dial on the front of the camera body allows silent adjustment of common settings during shooting including exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, aperture and much more.

An audio level display and adjustable audio record levels are joined by a headphone jack for accurate in-the-field monitoring.

Additionally, the multi-interface shoe provides balance audio input for the optional XLR-K1M adaptor kit, which adds a high-quality mono shotgun microphone and pro-standard XLR connections for dependable audio acquisition.

The camera’s XGA OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder offers 100% frame coverage on the viewfinder screen with what Sony says is exceptional brightness, contrast, clarity and resolution. The electronic viewfinder will also maintain a 100% field of view with DT lenses optimized for APS-C sensor cameras, converting the angle of view automatically for image recording and display.

A three-way tiltable XtraFine LCD display offers WhiteMagic technology to boost overall screen brightness. It’s especially useful for framing and shooting with the LCD in outdoor, sunny conditions.

The alpha99 is the world’s lightest 35 mm full-frame interchangeable-lens digital camera, Sony claims. Constructed of high-rigidity magnesium alloy panels, it weighs 733g (without lens and battery). Translucent mirror technology, which eliminates the need for a full-frame moving mirror mechanism and heavy glass pentaprism, also contributes to the extremely light design.

The camera is weather-sealed and all buttons and controls have been ruggedized.

A redesigned shutter block has been tested to approximately 200,000 releases.

The camera’s ergonomics include a re-designed grip and differentiated designs of several switches and buttons for intuitive fingertip operation. A new exposure mode dial lock prevents accidental rotation, and a newly-developed Quick Navi Pro interface gives quick, intuitive one-handed access to common shooting parameters and controls.

The new model can also be operated via remote PC connection. Supported functions include switching between still and video shooting plus automatic transfer of still images from camera to PC for an improved studio workflow.

The Sony α99 is expected to be available in October.

Sony NEX-5R

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Sony’s latest interchangeable lenses mirrorless camera with large-sensor, the NEX-5R, introduces Wi-Fi capability to the line.

The camera features a newly-developed 16.1-megapixel (effective) Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. This is identical in size to sensors found in traditional DSLRs. Combined with Sony’s BIONZ processor, you get richly detailed still images and crisp Full HD videos in all types of lighting conditions, says the company.

In a first for Sony’s line, the 5R features “Fast Hybrid AF” autofocus technology, combining phase-detection and contrast-detection methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus in any shooting situation, Sony contends.

The new AF technology utilizes 99 phase-detection AF points arrayed on the image sensor to detect a subject’s distance and quickly lock focus on it, and then utilizes contrast-detection AF to confirm extremely fine, precise details.

In Speed Priority Continuous shooting mode, the camera will switch automatically to phase detection tracking AF and can track fast-moving action accurately in each frame up to 10 frames per second.

This is also Sony’s first interchangeable lens camera with integrated Wi-Fi capabilities for easy image sharing, saving and viewing, and introduces the concept of downloadable camera apps for adding creative, fun features that can be personalized to fit a photographer’s needs.

Photos and videos can be transferred wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet running Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app, available on both Android and Apple iOS platforms.

Additionally, content can be directly uploaded from the camera to Facebook using a Wi-Fi connection and the new “Direct Upload” application, part of Sony’s new PlayMemories Camera Apps platform.

This apps idea is the world’s first application download service in an interchangeable lens camera that allows consumers to install new functions on demand, tailoring their cameras to fit their personal shooting needs. The service can be accessed over Wi-Fi or when the camera is connected directly to a PC via USB.

Available apps at launch, outside of “Direct Upload,” will include “Picture Effect+”; “Bracket Pro”; “Multi Frame NR”; “Photo Retouch”; and “Smart Remote Control. A variety of other apps including “Time-Lapse” and “Cinematic Photo” are also planned for release.

Shooters can also utilize the family of PlayMemories applications to transfer content directly to a networked PC, streamlining the image back-up process and avoiding the need to connect cables or transfer memory cards between devices.

Additionally, they can transfer photos to any DLNA-compatible TV either through a wireless access point or any TV supporting Wi-Fi.

The NEX-5R features a new, fully programmable control dial and function button. It also has a switchable on-screen digital level gauge that helps keep horizons level with landscapes and architectural shots.

Additionally, the camera features an intuitive touch-screen LCD with a Touch Shutter function. The touchscreen can also flip upwards 180 degrees for easy arm’s length self-portraits.

Full HD (1920×1080 at 60p) movie shooting is enhanced with a new Auto Slow Shutter feature, adding extra detail to low-light clips. The camera detects dim interiors and night scenes, automatically switching to a slower shutter speed to brighten footage.

Sony says the NEX-5R will be available in October in silver, black and white.

No details, as yet, on Canadian pricing.

Sony Alpha 37 DSLR

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The Sony SLT-A37, as it’s officially known, is the latest to feature the company’s Translucent Mirror Technology. This delivers fast shooting, non-stop phase detection autofocus and continuous live image preview during still and full HD video (60i/24p) shooting.

Shots can be captured at up to 7 frames per second in Tele-Zoom High Speed Shooting Mode, where the central portion of the sensor’s image is magnified by approximately 1.4x.

The camera has a 3-cross 15-point AF system with tracking autofocus that keeps faces and fast-moving subjects in sharp focus.

Framing and focusing is aided with the camera’s high-resolution Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder. With a high 1440k dot resolution, excellent contrast and 100 percent field of view, Sony says it matches or exceeds the abilities of many optical viewfinders.

Adjustments to exposure and other creative picture settings can be previewed in real time, either via the Tru-Finder or the tilt-angle 6.7 cm (2.7 inch) Clear Photo LCD screen.

Additionally, the Alpha 37 helps inexperienced photographers create top-quality portraits. The new Auto Portrait Framing mode identifies the subject’s position in a composed image and follows the “rule of thirds” to trim the scene and create a beautifully framed portrait. The cropped photo is then boosted to full resolution using Sony’s By Pixel Super Resolution technology, which uses pattern matching to maintain superb image detail, tones and textures in the photo.

Both the original and cropped image files are saved for review.

By Pixel Super Resolution Technology is also used for the “Clear Image Zoom” feature, which digitally doubles the effective magnification of any lens attached to the camera.

The 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor inside the camera captures finely detailed, low noise stills and Full HD video.

It’s teamed with the latest BIONZ image processor that extends sensitivity to an ISO 100-16000 range.

SteadyShot INSIDE cuts the effects of camera shake by up to 4.0 stops for clearer handheld images with any A-mount lens.

The new Alpha 37 also features Superior Auto Mode, which intelligently recognizes a wide range of scenes and subjects and adjusts settings automatically.

The Alpha 37 will be available in June with an 18-55 mm kit zoom lens for about $600.

Sony a57 DSLR

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Sony’s new alpha57 DSLR uses Translucent Mirror Technology.

What’s that?

The mirror design directs incoming light to the CMOS image sensor and the AF sensor at the same time, allowing full-time continuous AF during both still and video shooting.

You can also frame, focus and preview shots in real-time on the electronic viewfinder, which offers a wide viewing angle and 100% field of view.

The a57 is the successor to the a55.

It can shoot still images at up to 12 frames per second, capture full HD video at 60p, 60i or 24p frame rates and has a variety of creative modes including Auto Portrait Framing

With the a57, shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second are achieved in new Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode, maintaining continuous autofocus and auto exposure with fixed aperture. Magnifying the central portion of the sensor’s image by 1.4x, Sony says it’s perfect for capturing split-second action close-ups with a burst of sharply focused images, even when the subject is moving.

In this shooting mode, aperture is fixed at either f/3.5 or the maximum aperture of the lens in use (whichever is smaller) and image size of photos is about 8.4 megapixels.

With Full HD movies, full-time continuous phase detection AF ensures that moving subjects stay sharply focused.

Support for the AVCHD Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format means that Full HD resolution movies can be captured with 60p frame rate. Shooting in 24p is also available to give footage a rich, cinematic look.

Movie-making options are enhanced further with full control over P/A/S/M shooting modes.

The a57 shares the a65’s 15-point AF system with three cross sensors delivering fast, accurate TTL phase detection autofocus. Newly enhanced Object Tracking AF keeps faces or other selected objects in sharp focus – even if a target is obscured momentarily by another passing object.

With Auto Portrait Framing, using face detection and the compositional ‘rule of thirds,’ the camera identifies a subject’s position, trimming the scene to create tightly framed, professional-looking pictures in portrait or landscape orientation while maintaining a copy of the original image. Saving both the original photo plus the adjusted version allows for easy comparison between the two images.

To get closer to the subject, 2x Clear Image Zoom digital zoom technology doubles the effective magnification of the lens. Sony suggests this is “a highly practical alternative to travelling with a bigger, bulkier telephoto lens.” The camera uses Sony’s “By Pixel Super Resolution Technology” to ensure cropped and zoomed images retain full pixel resolution.

The new model’s range of in-camera Picture Effect modes includes 11 different effects and 15 total variations – including Pop Colour, HDR Painting, and Miniature Mode. Results can be previewed directly in live view mode on the LCD screen or in the electronic viewfinder while shooting either Full HD video or stills.

The new Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder, with 1.44 megapixel resolution and a 100 percent field of view, rivals quality optical viewfinders, says Sony. There’s a choice of selectable high-resolution information displays with a wide viewing-angle, including a digital level gauge and framing grid. Information can be displayed either directly in the viewfinder or on the angle-adjustable 7.5 cm (3.0-inch) LCD display.

The effective 16.1-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor is teamed with a latest-generation BIONZ engine, the latter refined by Sony during the development of its flagship a77 and high-end a65 cameras. The company says the processor effortlessly handles large amounts of image data for flawless, low-noise images and Full HD video.

The sensitivity range is ISO 100-16,000.

Update: Sony Canada says the a57 will be available in April with an 18-55 mm kit zoom lens for $799.99;  body-only for $699.99.

Sony a77 & a65 DSLRs

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Alpha 77

Sony has added two DSLRs to its lineup, the SLT-A77 (a77) and SLT-A65 (a65).

The company’s latest refinements to its Translucent Mirror Technology make these new cameras the fastest, most responsive interchangeable lens cameras in their class, says Sony. The a77 and a65 both feature a newly-developed Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3-megapixel (effective) resolution, as well as the world’s first XGA OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder. The sensor teams with the next generation of Sony’s BIONZ image processing engine to handle huge amounts of high speed data from the camera sensor, enabling fast response times and high quality images with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video.

The successor to Sony’s a700 DSLR, the a77 boasts the world’s fastest continuous autofocus (AF) shooting performance (among APS-C DSLRs), capturing a burst of full resolution, 24-megapixel images at 12 frames per second with full-time phase-detection AF. The a65 achieves 10fps shooting speed.

Alpha 65

Precision AF tracking of moving subjects is more precise with the a77, thanks to a new 19-point autofocus system with 11 cross sensors. The a65 has 15-point AF with 3 cross sensors. Tracking Focus maintains accurate focus lock on a moving subject – even if the target is momentarily obscured. Additionally, a new electronic front shutter curtain achieves a minimum release time lag of just 50 milliseconds seconds, which Sony says is comparable to much more expensive professional-class DSLRs.

The a77 and a65 further refine Sony’s Fast Continuous AF Full HD Movie shooting, found on previous Sony Translucent Mirror cameras. Phase Detection maintains accurate focus during video shooting of subjects, even when they’re moving at fast speeds.

Both new models can capture Full HD video at 60p (progressive) frame rates – incorporating the recently introduced AVCHD Progressive (Ver. 2.0) format. Also, 24p shooting is available for capturing ‘cinematic’ video footage. Manual focusing and P/A/S/M exposure modes also can provide enhanced control during video shooting.

A broad sensitivity range of ISO 100-16000 expands (a77 only) down to ISO 50.

Both cameras feature the world’s first OLED Tru-Finder, a world’s first, says Sony. This precision electronic viewfinder offers a bright, highly detailed, high contrast image with 100 percent frame coverage and a wide field of view comparable to optical viewfinders. However, unlike optical viewfinders, users have expansive customization capabilities through the OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder and can preview the effects of adjusting exposure, white balance and other settings in real-time. Photographers can also make fine focus tweaks via a zoomed-in portion of the image.

The Smart Teleconverter displays an enlarged central portion of the image sensor, allowing compositions to be displayed clearly on the viewfinder and captured as 12-megapixel images with a digital zoom factor of 1.4x or 2x.

Shooters can compose and review stills and video on the adjustable-angle 3-inch LCD display that offers high resolution and TruBlack technology for superb detail and contrast. As an extra refinement, the a77 introduces the world’s first three-way adjustable screen that tilts and pivots freely for effortless framing at any angle (a65: two-way adjust LCD).

Revised ergonomics on both cameras include a comfortably contoured new grip design and tactile new button layout for ‘eyes off’ operation.

The a77 adds front and rear control dials for fingertip operation and a separate top-mounted LCD data display. The durable body features magnesium alloy panels for strength and lightness. Key controls are sealed against dust and moisture.

A new shutter unit on the a77 is tested to 150,000 cycles and supports an ultra-fast minimum 1/8000 sec shutter speed (1/250 sec flash sync). On-board GPS allows automatic geo-tagging of photos and video clips with location data.

The a77 will be available in a kit with the new SAL1650 f/2.8 lens for about $2,150, and offered as body-only for about $1,500.

The a65 will be available in a kit with a standard 18-55 mm lens for about $1,150 and offered as body-only for about $1,050.

Both the a77 and a65 camera kits will be available in October.

The growing range of compatible A-mount lenses for both cameras now includes the DT 16-50 mm f/2.8 SSM standard zoom with 16 mm wide angle coverage. The high-performance lens features a dust and moisture-resistant design, and offers a zoom range of approximately 3x range at constant wide f/2.8 aperture. Optical performance is assured by aspherical glass and three ED lens elements to minimize aberration at all focal lengths. An internal Super Sonic wave Motor (SSM) drive enables fast, quiet autofocus.

The SAL1650 lens will be sold separately for about $800, available in October.

Sony a35 DSLR

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Building on the a33 and a55 models, Sony’s new a35 (SLT-A35) DSLR brings pro-style shooting speeds and diverse creative options to photographers of all abilities, says the company.

The a35, with Translucent Mirror Technology, allows responsive, accurate continuous autofocus – whether shooting high-speed still photos at 7 frames-per-second or recording full HD movies.

Making its debut on the a35, Tele-zoom High Speed Shooting magnifies a central portion of the image area providing an effective 1.4x magnification (approx.) while shooting at up to 7 fps. Providing continuous tracking autofocus of still or moving objects, this feature is ideal for capturing fast-moving sports, children’s expressions at just the right moment or distant subjects with a high-speed burst of frames. There’s also a rapid 5.5 fps drive mode that offers full-resolution continuous shooting with tracking AF.

With a resolution of 16.2 effective megapixels, the Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor delivers detailed, low-noise still and HD video images.

Complementing the sensor’s extremely high resolution and sensitivity, the camera’s powerful BIONZ processor optimizes image data to assure flawless images with rich, natural colour reproduction. A maximum sensitivity of ISO 12800 and extension to ISO 25600 makes it possible to capture beautifully natural still images and HD video in low light more effortlessly than competitive cameras, Sony claims.

Advanced Quick AF Live View continuously displays real-time output from the main image sensor during still or Full HD video shooting. Light is partially directed from the translucent mirror to an AF sensor to permit non-stop precision TTL phase-detection autofocus.

Shooting stills or AVCHD video, users can enjoy a superbly detailed view on the high-quality 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD. Sony’s TruBlack technology assures high-contrast images with rich, deep blacks – even when shooting outdoors.

The high-resolution Tru-Finder offers a precision alternative to framing shots on the camera’s LCD. Offering an extremely detailed, high contrast image with full 100 percent field coverage, it’s ideal for live preview of picture effects and exposure adjustments. Accurate composition of landscapes, architecture and other scenes is enhanced by three selectable grid line patterns.

The a35 model offers a new in-camera ‘Picture Effect’ setting that lets users add extra impact to stills or Full HD video during shooting, without editing images afterwards. Effects can be previewed on the camera screen, allowing photographers to see the result of a chosen effect instantly rather than post-shooting. The palette of artistic treatments includes Retro Photo, High-key, Toy Camera, and Posterization.

It’s also easy to produce dramatic Partial Colour effects, with a single colour highlighted against the rest of the image in monochrome. This popular effect is normally achieved through a series of painstaking steps using photo editing software. With the a35 it’s both automatic and instant.

Refinements in power consumption boost the camera’s battery life to 440 still shots (approx. when using the rear LCD panel) between battery charges – a 30 percent increase over its predecessor.

The a35 DSLR will be available this August with an 18-55 mm kit zoom lens (model SAL1855) for about $750.