Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the worst-kept secret of 2012: the new Sony Alpha line-up! You've probably read about these already on rumor sites, or on popular gadget blogs that don't honor embargoes, but now it's time for the official story.
Sony has four new cameras today: two SLT translucent mirror models, and two NEX mirrorless cameras. And that doesn't count the new lenses and Alpha mount adapter. Let's get started with the two SLT models, including the long-awaited replacement for the DSLR-A700:
Alpha SLT-A65 [specs]
- 24.3 effective Megapixel Exmor APS CMOS sensor (yes, 24 Megapixel)
- Translucent Mirror Technology provides full-time live view with blazing phase detection autofocus and continuous shooting speed
- Supports all Alpha-mount lenses with a 1.5X crop factor
- Sensor-shift image stabilization
- 15-point AF system with 3 cross-type sensors; Tracking Focus can follow a moving subject, even if they are temporarily obscured; new electronic front-curtain shutter minimizes release time
- 3-inch, tilting LCD display with 921,000 pixels
- Incredible 0.5-inch XVGA OLED electronic viewfinder with an unreal resolution of nearly 2.4 million dots; viewfinder has 100% coverage and 1.09% magnification
- Full manual controls, with RAW support
- ISO range of 100 - 16000, expandable to 25600 when using Multi-Frame NR feature
- Shutter speed range of 30 - 1/4000 sec
- Built-in GPS, for easy geotagging
- Continuous shooting at up to 10 frames/second; camera can focus while shooting!
- Hot shoe for external flash (syncs at 1/160 sec); built-in wireless flash control
- Numerous special effects, such as pop color, partial color, toy camera, miniature effect, and HDR painting
- Face/smile detection and Sweep Panorama features, just like Sony's compact cameras
- Records Full HD video (1920 x 1080) at 60p -- yes, real 60p -- with stereo sound, continuous AF, and full manual controls, using the AVCHD codec
- External mic input + HDMI output
- Memory Stick Pro Duo + SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
- Uses NP-FM500H li-ion battery, 560 shots per charge with LCD
- Ships in October for $900 body only, or $1000 with an 18 - 55 mm lens
Alpha SLT-A77 [specs] - changes:
- Weather-sealed, magnesium-alloy body
- 19-point AF system, with 11 cross-type sensors
- LCD not only tilts up or down -- it can rotate, too
- ISO range goes down to 50 when expanded
- Apparently different shutter mechanism offers 1/8000 sec shutter speeds (1/250 sec flash sync) and 150k cycle durability
- Continuous shooting at 12 fps
- More powerful flash (GN12 vs GN10)
- Top-mounted LCD info display
- 530 shots per charge
- Optional battery grip (also weather-sealed) provides double the battery life and adds extra buttons for portrait shooting
- Priced at $1400 body only, or $2000 with an F2.8, 16 - 50 mm lens
α77 and α65 Models Expand Translucent Mirror Technology Line; Deliver 24.3 megapixels with up to 12- and 10- fps AF-enabled continuous shooting
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 24, 2011 – Blazing speed, enhanced image quality, high resolution and incredible performance are just some of the features advanced amateurs and photo enthusiasts will find in Sony’s newest alpha cameras, models SLT-A77 (α77) and SLT-A65 (α65).
Sony’s latest refinements to its Translucent Mirror Technology make these new cameras the fastest, most responsive interchangeable lens cameras in their class, as well as set new performance benchmarks that even professional DSLRs have yet to achieve. The α77 and α65 both feature a newly developed Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixel 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 unprecedented response times and flawless image quality with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video.
“We feel that these cameras are not only a significant evolution of our breakthrough Translucent Mirror Technology,” said Mike Kahn, director of the alpha camera business group for Sony Electronics. “They’re also a revolution in terms of redefining how this unique technology can be put to use by enthusiasts.”
The much anticipated successor to Sony’s acclaimed α700 DSLR, the α77 boasts the world’s fastest continuous autofocus (AF) shooting performance (among DSLRs in Aug 2011), capturing a burst of full resolution, 24 megapixel images at 12 frames per second with full-time phase-detection AF. The α65 achieves a similarly impressive 10fps shooting speed.
Precision AF tracking of moving subjects is more precise with the α77 due to a new 19-point autofocus system with 11 cross sensors. The α65 boasts 15-point AF with three 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 approximately 50 milliseconds, comparable to much more expensive professional-class DSLRs.
The α77 and α65 further refine Sony’s acclaimed Fast Continuous AF Full HD Movie shooting, already featured on previous Sony Translucent Mirror cameras. Phase Detection maintains accurate focus during video shooting of portrait subjects, even when they’re moving at fast speeds.
Unprecedented image quality and creative options
A broad sensitivity range of ISO 100-16000 expands (α77 only) down to ISO 50. At the highest sensitivities, both cameras can freeze fast action or capture atmospheric low-noise shots without flash. Low ISO settings are ideal when used with a long exposure to create expressive shots, such as splashing water.
Both cameras showcase a remarkably crisp OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder, the world’s first of its kind. With a 2359k dot (XGA) resolution, 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 the most advanced class optical viewfinders.
However, unlike optical viewfinders, users have expansive customization capabilities through the XGA 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 adjustments 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 OLED viewfinder and captured as 12 megapixel images with a digital zoom factor of 1.4x or 2x.
In another first for DSLR cameras, 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 beautiful cinematic video footage. Manual focusing and P/A/S/M exposure modes, familiar to creative filmmakers, also can provide enhanced control during video shooting.
Shooters can compose and review stills and video on the adjustable-angle three-inch Xtra Fine LCD™ display that offers high resolution (921k dot) and TruBlack™ technology for superb detail and contrast. As an extra refinement, the α77 introduces the world’s first three-way adjustable screen that tilts and pivots freely for effortless framing at any angle (α65: 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 while viewing via the high-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder.
The α77 adds front and rear control dials for intuitive 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 the effects of dust and moisture, complementing similar levels of protection offered by the new SAL1650 lens, VG-C77AM Vertical Grip for α77 and HVL-F43AM flash unit.
A new shutter unit on the α77 is tested up 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.
New DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM zoom lens and accessories
The growing range of compatible A-mount lenses for both cameras now includes the quiet, bright DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM standard zoom with 16mm wide angle coverage that’s ideal for both portrait and everyday shooting.
The high-performance lens features a dust- and moisture-resistant design, and offers a zoom range of approximately 3x range at constant wide F2.8 aperture. Optical performance is assured by aspherical glass and three ED (Extra Low Dispersion) lens elements to minimize aberration at all focal lengths. An internal Super Sonic wave Motor (SSM) drive enables fast, quiet autofocus.
An optional dust- and moisture-resistant VG-C77AM Vertical Grip for α77 assures comfortable handling in vertical shooting positions. It can house up to two NP-FM500H InfoLITHIUM® batteries, doubling shooting stamina up to approximately 1060 shots (via LCD monitor)/940 shots (via Tru-Finder™ viewfinder) when using Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media. Other new A-mount system accessories include a back pack (LCS-BP2), soft carrying cases (LCS-SC21 and LCS-SC8), LCD protectors and eyepiece cups.
Pricing and Availability
The new α77 Translucent Mirror interchangeable lens camera will be available in a kit with the new SAL1650 f2.8 lens for about $2000, and offered as body-only for about $1400. The SAL1650 lens will also be sold separately for about $700.
The new VG-C77AM vertical grip, designed for the α77 camera, will be available in October for about $300.
The new α65 Translucent Mirror interchangeable lens camera will be available in a kit with a standard 18-55mm lens (SAL1855) for about $1000, and offered as body-only for about $900.
Both the α77 and α65 cameras kits and the new SAL1650 lens will be available this October at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) as well as other authorized retailers throughout the Sony dealer network.