Sony

Sony alpha 7R III

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Sony has added to its full-frame mirrorless camera lineup by introducing the alpha 7R III. The camera combines a high-resolution 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with shooting speeds at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, as well as 4K video quality, 15-stop dynamic range, and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.

The image sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to “dramatically” improve light collection efficiency, says the company, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.

The camera also features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the 7R II, Sony notes.

These components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling its ISO range of 100 – 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images) and 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.

This new full-frame model was built without an optical low pass filter to maximize resolution, while also having the ability to output 14 bit RAW format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode.

The camera is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a claimed 5.5 step shutter speed advantage, said to be the world’s highest compensation performance for an image stabilization system.

There’s also a new low-vibration shutter that reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, including the high speed 10 fps shooting, as well as several advancements in accurate colour reproductions of skin tones.

At 10 fps, the camera is said to deliver continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to 76 JPEG / RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images. This high speed 10 fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or completely silent shooting. The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen, Sony says.

While large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the cameras key functions are operable, including access to the ‘Fn’ (Function) and ‘Menu’ buttons, image playback and several other menus and parameters including image rating and other functions that facilitate on-location image sorting.

Additionally, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the Anti-flicker function to allow the 7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured.

The upgraded focusing system is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68 percent of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There are also 425 contrast AF points, an increase of 400 points compared to the 7R II. This is said to deliver AF acquisition in about half the time as the 7R II in low-light conditions, with tracking that is approximately twice as accurate as well. The Eye AF feature is also approximately twice as effective, and is available when utilizing Sony’s A-mount lenses with an adapter.

Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support when using A-mount lenses, an ‘AF On’ button, a multi-selector or ‘joystick’ for moving focusing points quickly, and flexible touch focus functionality.

Sony says the 7R III is “exceptionally capable” as a video camera, offering 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35 mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is available on the camera to support an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TVs to playback 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased colour grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

There are two media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards. Users have a variety of options for storing their content, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, and relay recording.

Battery life has been greatly extended as well, as the new camera utilizes Sony’s Z series battery that has approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery utilized in the 7R II.

The 7R III features an upgraded high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 3,686k dots for what Sony calls extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. The Tru-Finder, also found in the alpha 9 camera, utilizes a Zeiss T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt. It also has a customizable frame rate, with options of either 60 fps or 120 fps.

The LCD screen has been upgraded as well, with a resolution of 1.44M dots and WhiteMagic technology that improves viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the sensor to provide extra fine viewfinder and monitor displays for a more natural view.  The new camera also offers a multi-selector joystick that provides a fast, efficient way to shift focus points, as well as an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.

The 7R III allows for transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via Wi-Fi, while also including a sync terminal, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync. A SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C Terminal is also available for increased flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as a faster image transfer speed when connected to a PC.

New with the 7R III is a software suite called “Imaging Edge” that extends the creative capabilities of the entire shooting process – from pre-processing to post-processing. Imaging Edge provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.

Also making its debut on the 7R III is a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which takes full advantage of the advanced 5-axis optical in-body stabilization to create super-high resolution composite images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6-megapixels of image data. These four images can be composited together and processed utilizing the new Imaging Edge software.

The Sony alpha 7R III will ship this November for about $4,000.

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Sony 24-105 mm lens

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Sony has introduced the full-frame, E-mount FE 24-105 mm f/4 G OSS lens, which the company says is the most lightweight design in its class.

The lens is claimed to deliver excellent corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the entirety of its zoom range, while also producing beautifully rendered bokeh (background defocus) at all focal lengths.

The 24-105 uses advanced optical design featuring four aspherical lens elements, two of which are high precision AA (advanced aspherical) lenses. There are also three strategically located ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that work in combination with the aspherical lens elements to minimize chromatic aberration, says Sony.

The lens also has Nano AR coating to minimize flare and ghosting, and utilizes a circular aperture.

Weight is approximately 663 g (23.4 oz), minimum focus distance is 1.25 ft, and the lens includes built-in optical image stabilization.

This new standard zoom lens features a DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) system that is capable of rapid positioning of the lens’ focus groups with high accuracy and very minimal noise, Sony notes.

The lens also features a customizable focus hold button, a dust and moisture resistant design and a fluorine coating on the front element to help minimize dust, water, oil and other contaminants.

The Sony FE 24-105 mm f/4 G OSS lens is scheduled to ship in November, at a price of about $1,700.

Sony 18-135 mm lens

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Sony has unveiled a new E-mount lens for its APS-C cameras. It’s a 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 model with Optical SteadyShot stabilization.

The lens measures 2.75 x 3.5 inches and weighs 11.5 oz.

It is the equivalent of 27-202.5 mm in full frame.

The company says the lens produces “outstanding” corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the entire zoom range thanks to its design featuring one aspherical lens and two extra-low dispersion glass elements that minimize aberrations. Maximum magnification ratio is 0.29x and minimum focus distance is 1.48 ft.

The lens is said to offer fast, precise, quiet AF performance thanks to a linear motor.

The Sony E 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS APS-C lens will ship in February and will be sold for about $780.

Sony alpha 7R III

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Sony’s full-frame mirrorless alpha 7R III combines a 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with shooting speeds of up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, and 4K video quality, 15-stop dynamic range, and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.

The image sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to dramatically improve light collection efficiency, according to the company, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.

The camera also features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the 7R II. These components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling an ISO range of 100 – 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images) and 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.

The camera is built without an optical low pass filter to maximize resolution, while also having the ability to output 14 bit RAW format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode. The camera is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system, resulting in a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage.

There is also a new low-vibration shutter that is said to reduce vibration and image blur in all modes, including 10 fps, as well as several advancements in accurate colour reproductions of skin tones.

The camera’s image processing system allows it to shoot full 42.4-megapixel images at up to 10 fps with continuous AF/AE tracking for up to 76 JPEG / RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images. This high speed 10 fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or completely silent shooting. The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen.

While large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the cameras key functions are operable, including access to the ‘Fn’ (Function) and ‘Menu’ buttons, image playback and several other menus and parameters including image rating and other functions that facilitate on-location image sorting.

Additionally, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the Anti-flicker function to allow the 7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured. This minimizes any exposure or colour anomalies that can sometimes occur at the top and bottom of images shot at high shutter speeds.

The upgraded focusing system of the camera is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68 percent of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There are also 425 contrast AF points, an increase of 400 points compared to the 7R II. This delivers AF acquisition in about half the time as the 7R II in low-light conditions, says Sony, with tracking that is approximately two times more accurate as well.

The Eye AF feature is also approximately twice as effective, and is available when utilizing Sony’s A-mount lenses with an adapter.

Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support when using A-mount lenses, an ‘AF On’ button, a multi-selector or ‘joystick’ for moving focusing points quickly, as well as flexible touch focus functionality.

The 7R III offers 4K (3840 × 2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35 mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth, notes the company.

A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is available on the 7R III that supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TVs to playback 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased colour grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

The cameras also offers dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards.  Users have a variety of options for storing their content, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, relay recording and more.

Battery life apparently has been extended as well, as the new camera utilizes Sony’s Z series battery that has approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery utilized in the 7R II.

The 7R III features an upgraded high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder. The finder, also found in the Sony alpha 9 camera, utilizes a Zeiss T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt. It also has a customizable frame rate, with options of either 60 fps or 120 fps to best match the action. The LCD screen has been upgraded as well, with WhiteMagic technology that is said to improve viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the sensor to provide extra fine viewfinder and monitor displays for a more natural view. The new camera also offers a multi-selector joystick that provides a fast, efficient way to shift focus points, as well as an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.

The 7R III allows for transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via Wi-Fi, while also including a sync terminal, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for flash sync. A SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C Terminal is also available for increased flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as a faster image transfer speed when connected to a PC.

New with the 7R III is a software suite called “Imaging Edge” that is calimed to extend the creative capabilities of the entire shooting process – from pre-processing to post-processing. Imaging Edge provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.

Also making its debut is a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which takes advantage of the 5-axis optical in-body stabilization to create super-high resolution composite images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6-megapixels of image data. These four images can be composited and processed utilizing the Imaging Edge software. This ultimately results in a still image with what Sony calls “overwhelming” resolution and an unprecedented level of colour accuracy, and is claimed to be ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life photography subject with many intricate details and colours.

The Sony alpha 7R III will ship in November for about $4,000.

Sony FE 24-105 mm lens

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Sony’s full-frame E-mount FE 24-105 mm f/4 G OSS lens offers the most lightweight design in its class, says the company. This lens also features fast, precise and quiet autofocus capabilities in both still and video shooting, notes Sony.

The lens is claimed to deliver excellent corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the entire zoom range, while also producing beautifully rendered ‘bokeh’ at all focal lengths.

This high image quality is made possible thanks to its advanced optical design featuring four aspherical lens elements, two of which are high precision AA (advanced aspherical) lenses. There are also three strategically located ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements that work in combination with the aspherical lens elements to minimize chromatic aberration.

The lens also has Sony’s Nano AR coating to minimize flare and ghosting, and utilizes a circular aperture.

The new 24-105 mm lens weighs approximately 663 grams (23.4 oz).

The lens has a minimum focus distance of 1.25 ft. It also includes built-in optical image stabilization.

The new standard zoom lens features a DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) system that is capable of rapid positioning of the lens’ focus groups with high accuracy and very minimal noise, says Sony.

The lens also features a customizable focus hold button, a dust and moisture resistant design and a fluorine coating on the front element to help minimize dust, water, oil and other contaminants.

The Sony FE 24-105 mm f/4 G OSS lens will ship in November for about $1,700.

Sony RX10 IV

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Sony has a new flagship model in its Cyber-shot RX10 series, the RX10 IV. The company says it features the world’s fastest AF acquisition time of 0.03 seconds and up to 24 fps continuous shooting with full AF/AE tracking, 315 phase-detection AF points and a whopper of a lens: 24-600 mm (equivalent) f/2.4-F4 Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T*.

The camera is equipped with a 1.0-inch, 20.1-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS stacked image sensor with DRAM chip along with a BIONZ X image processor and front-end LSI. These key components all work together, says Sony, to maximize overall speed of operation and performance.

A first for the RX10 series, the new model features a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines the respective advantages of 315 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 65 percent of the sensor and contrast-detection AF to ultimately enable the camera to lock focus in as little as 0.03 seconds. Additionally, for the first time in a Cyber-shot camera, the RX10 IV employs High-density Tracking AF technology, previously available only in a select few of Sony’s alpha interchangeable lens cameras. This tech concentrates AF points around a subject to improve tracking and focus accuracy.

Other AF improvements include an enhanced version of the Eye AF, Touch Focus and Focus Range Limiter.  AF-ON setting is also assignable, as well as multiple AF modes including AF-S, AF-C and AF-A, which can be easily adjusted based on user preferences and shooting situations.

The camera offers continuous high-speed shooting at up to 24 fps with full AF/AE tracking, with buffer limit of up to 249 images. EVF display lag during continuous shooting has been substantially reduced, suggests Sony. Also, for convenience during image playback, continuously shot images can be displayed in groups instead of individual shots.

The camera also has a high speed Anti-Distortion Shutter (maximum shutter speed of up to 1/32000 second) that reduces the “rolling shutter” effect commonly experienced with fast moving subjects, and can shoot completely silently in all modes, including continuous high speed shooting, when electronic shutter is engaged. A mechanical shutter mode is also available as well.

Sony says the camera’s lens helps achieve outstanding image quality throughout the entire zoom range. It includes a super ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element and ED aspherical lenses to minimize chromatic aberration, and Zeiss T* Coating to minimize flare and ghosting.

The lens also has built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. When the feature is activated, it is equivalent to an approximate 4.5 steps shutter speed improvement.

Additionally, with a minimum focusing distance of 72 cm (2.36 ft) and 0.49x maximum magnification at a fully extended 600 mm, the lens is capable of producing amazingly detailed tele-macro images, says Sony.

The new model offers 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160) movie recording, with its Fast Hybrid AF system realizing about 2x faster focusing speed compared to the RX10 III.

In 4K mode, the new camera utilizes full pixel readout without pixel binning, capturing approximately 1.7x more information than is required for 4K movie output to ensure that all the finest details are captured accurately. The camera utilizes the XAVC S codec, recording video at a high data rate of up to 100 Mbps depending on shooting mode. Users have the option of shooting at either 24p or 30p in 4K mode (100 Mbps), or in frame rates of up to 120p in Full HD mode.

The new camera also has a variety of other pro calibre video features including Picture Profile, S-Log3/S-Gamut3, Gamma Display Assist, Proxy recording, Time Code / User Bit and more, as well as input for external microphone and output for headphone monitoring.

Super slow motion video recording is also available, with an extended duration of about 4 seconds (in quality priority mode) and 7 seconds (in shoot time priority). This feature gives users the ability to choose among 960 fps, 480 fps and 240 fps frame rates and among 60p, 30p and 24p playback formats.

The RX10 IV features Sony’s latest 3.0-inch tiltable LCD screen with Touch Focus and Touch Pad function – another first for Cyber-shot RX series – for quick and smooth focusing operation, and WhiteMagic technology, ensuring that LCD viewing is bright and clear in even the harshest outdoor lighting conditions. Additionally, it is equipped with a high resolution, high-contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder, ensuring true-to-life image preview and playback functionality, Sony suggests Triple lens rings for aperture, zoom and focus are also available, with a completely quiet, smooth option for the aperture ring that is ideal for video shooters.

To enhance customization, “My Menu” functionality has been added, allowing up to 30 frequently used menu items to be custom registered. Menus are colour coded for easier recognition and navigation, and a new Movie Settings menu has been introduced to improve the overall video shooting experience.

The camera is also dust and moisture resistant, and Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth compatible.

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera will ship in October for about $2,200.

Sony full-frame lenses

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Sony has announced two new additions to its full-frame E-mount lens lineup, the FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM and the FE 12-24 mm f/4 G.

The 16-35 mm zoom is the first wide-angle G Master model, and features exceptional corner-to-corner sharpness, says the company, with an optical design that includes five aspherical elements, two of which are Sony’s original XA (extreme aspherical) elements that reduce aberration and deliver the ultimate resolution throughout the entire zoom and aperture range, it notes. The front XA element is the largest XA element ever produced, Sony claims. Additionally, two ED (Extra-low-Dispersion) glass elements keep chromatic aberration to a minimum while maximizing resolution, and Sony’s Nano AR coating suppresses internal reflections to ensure excellent image contrast and clarity.

The lens features a near circular aperture shape at all settings, producing images with sharply focused subjects and beautifully defocused backgrounds or “bokeh.” It also has two DDSSMs (Direct Drive SSM) that compose a floating focusing system and ensure that AF acquisition is speedy and quiet.

The 16-35 mm lens is also dust and moisture resistant, has a fluorine coating on the front lens that helps to both prevent dust or grease marks and remove them easily if they do become a trouble.  There is also a customizable focus hold button and a hood release button.

The 12-24 mm lens produces outstanding image quality in a compact, lightweight design, notes Sony. weighing in at approximately 20 oz.

The lens features an innovative optical design with four aspherical elements that ensure excellent corner to corner sharpness and resolution. Additionally, the lens has three ED glass elements and one Super ED glass element to minimize chromatic aberration throughout the entire image. The lens also includes Sony’s Nano AR coating.

The 12-24 mm lens includes a DDSSM (Direct Drive SSM) for fast, quiet and precise AF performance, plus a customizable focus hold button and focus mode switch.  It is also dust and moisture resistant.

The Sony FE 16-35 mm f/2.8 GM will ship this August and will be sold for about $3,000.

The FE 12-24 mm f/4 G will ship this July and sell for about $2,300.

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 100-400 mm lens

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Sony has introduced a new E-mount lens, the FE 100-400 mm f/4.5–5.6 GM OSS. This full-frame lens offers what the company calls “incredibly fast, precise” autofocus capabilities, a lightweight, portable design and a variety of professional and custom functions.

The company says the lens produces outstanding corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the lens’ zoom and focus ranges. The design features 22 lens elements configured in 16 different groups, including one Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) and two ED glass elements, all of which minimize chromatic aberration. The lens also has Sony’s Nano AR coating to reduce unwanted reflections.

The zoom also features a combination of double linear motor and a Direct Drive SSM actuator, which also ensures precise, quiet operation. The double motor system allows rapid focus lens drive acceleration, while high precision positioning control and a newly optimized AF algorithm ensure the subject is quickly found and focused on.

The lens weighs in at 1,395 grams / 49.3 ounces, making it among the lightest in its class.

The lens has a zoom torque adjustment ring allowing the user to adjust the level of torque in the ring to zoom faster or slower depending on their shooting style. There is also a focus hold button that can also be assigned to variety of functions including focus mode selection, AF area selection or the Eye AF lock feature.

The telephoto zoom lens is dust and moisture resistant as well1, and has fluorine coating on the front lens that makes it easier to remove dust or grease. There is also a removable tripod mount.

The zoom features built-in optical image stabilization, ensuring sharp images can be captured during handheld shooting. It also offers a minimum focusing range of 0.98 m / 3.22 ft, and a 9 bladed circular aperture design.

The 100-400 mm lens is compatible with both the 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters.

The Sony FE 100-400 mm GM lens is scheduled to ship in July for about $3,399.

Sony 100 mm, 85 mm lenses

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Sony has introduced two new lenses for E-mount interchangeable lens cameras. They are the FE 100 mm f/2.81 STF GM OSS and FE 85 mm f/1.8 lenses.

sony-100The company says the 100 mm lens has been designed to produce “magnificent” bokeh while maintaining high resolution. The lens features a newly designed 11-bladed aperture and a unique optical apodization lens element. Similar to a neutral density filter that increases in density towards the edges, the apodization element creates beautiful transitions of in-focus to out-of-focus areas within an image, notes Sony, making for exceptionally soft, smooth bokeh. The design of the lens also ensures that vignetting is kept to an absolute minimum.

The lens supports both contrast AF and focal-plane phase detection AF, and has a high-precision, quiet direct drive SSM (Super Sonic Motor) system that ensures exceptionally fast and accurate AF performance. The lens also offers up to 0.25x close-up capabilities with a built-in macro switching ring, built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, a customizable focus hold button, AF/MF switch, and aperture ring. It is dust and moisture resistant as well.

sony-85The 85 mm lens is lightweight and can produce sharp portraits with soft background defocus. The lens features a 9-bladed circular aperture mechanism that ensures smooth, natural looking bokeh, and a double linear motor system allows fast, precise and quiet focusing. It also has a focus hold button that can be customized and assigned together with functions in the camera body (such as Eye AF). There is a smooth, responsive focus ring and AF/MF switch as well, and the lens is also dust and moisture resistant.

The FE 100mm f/2.8 STF OSS GM lens will be available in March for about $2,050.

The FE 85 mm f/1.8 lens will also ship in March for about $800.