San Diego, CA—Sony introduced the a (alpha) SLR- a560 DSLR camera, which leverages the company’s Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. Along with the a33 and a55 cameras, also announced, the a560 is one of the only DSLRs with multi-frame noise reduction, sweep panorama mode, 3D sweep panorama and Full HD 1,920×1,080 60i video capture.
Additionally, Sony added to its line of more than 30 A-mount lenses with three models—the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM, DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM and the 85mm f/2.8 SAM.
“These new lenses and camera show our commitment to the DSLR market and that we will never stop innovating,” said Kristen Elder, director, Digital Imaging, Sony Electronics. “These products complement our overall Sony Alpha lineup, which we are significantly expanding today. The camera offers a choice to those consumers who want to gain the benefits of professional-level shooting speed as well as be able to capture video with in a traditional style DSLR.”
Sony a560 DSLR. The 14.2 megapixel a560 offers the same features as its predecessor, the Sony a550, which introduced “quick AF live view,” 7-frames-per-second (fps) continuous shooting and auto HDR to the step-up DSLR class. Its next-gen Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor employs low-noise processing while its Bionz image processor has color-noise reduction that helps achieve low noise up to ISO 12800. Multi-frame noise reduction stacks a high-speed burst of six frames and creates a single low-noise exposure that boosts effective sensitivity to ISO 25600.
With quick AF live view, which utilizes two sensors, the a560 is said to focus as quickly in live view mode as when shooting through the eye-level viewfinder. And Sony equipped this camera with a 3.0-inch LCD screen that tilts 90 degrees and two live view functions; in addition to quick AF live view, for every day shooting, Sony provides focus check live view to enable framing and magnification for setting focus in macro and tripod shooting. Temporary 7x and 14x zoom views enable users to focus on fine detail while the 1x view shows 100 percent framing in the LCD.
The a560 also captures Full HD video in AVCHD files that can be viewed on an HDTV via the camera’s built-in HDMI terminal (cable not included). It also includes built-in stereo microphones for audio recording. And it offers creative control even when shooting movies, with users able to apply white balance and creative style settings, as well as adjust aperture settings and exposure compensation while recording movies.
Other features include: multi-shot technology that uses the camera’s high-speed sensor and processor to capture and assemble many frames to create low-noise, extended dynamic range, wide panoramas and 3D images; sweep panorama to capture shots up to 180 degrees horizontally or 126 degrees vertically; 3D sweep panorama mode to shoot 3D panoramic images with a single lens; support for Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD (including SDXC) media; and enhanced in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) that can capture highlights, midtones and shadows while handling severe backlighting and other high-contrast scenes. The a560 has a maximum auto HDR range of 6EV.
Multi Frame NR is a new function where, when the shutter is released, the camera automatically takes six frames at the currently selected shutter speed, aperture and ISO, and combines them into a single JPEG with a reduction in noise at the selected aperture and shutter speed that is equivalent to approximately two ISO steps.
The a560 camera body and 18-55mm lens kit will cost about $750 and will be available in October. With the body only, it will cost about $650.
Sony SLT-A55V and Sony SLT-A33. Both models adopt Sony’s new Translucent Mirror technology, developed to achieve the highest level of autofocus speed for still image and movie shooting. Sony reports the pair “continuously and quickly focus (with TTL phase-detection) while shooting stills and recording video—even in Full HD, allowing desired moments to be captured in tack sharp focus, high-definition video.” The duo is equipped with a translucent mirror, which enables light passing through the lens to be simultaneously received by the image sensor and the autofocus sensor, “allowing continuous shooting and continuous focusing at speeds never before possible,” says Sony. The 16.2 megapixel a55 can shoot continuously at 10 fps, the 14.2MP a33 at up to seven.
Translucent Mirror technology does away with the motion of raising and lowering the mirror, so the absence of the moving mirror contributes to making the body size significantly more compact. And by eliminating the need to raise and lower the mirror between shots, it’s possible to focus while images are captured. The cameras also have continuous advance priority AE mode and will automatically adjust for the best exposure.
Other features include: a 15-point AF system with continuous phase-detect AF; the ability to maintain continuous phase detection AF while recording Full HD AVCHD video; an Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor that allows the capture of background defocusing effects; a Tru-Finder eye-level viewfinder with 100 percent coverage and 1.1x magnification for shooting stills and movies; a fully articulated 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD with TruBlack technology and full-time live view; an ISO range of 100-12,800; auto HDR that combines three frames into a single high dynamic range (HDR) photo; multi-frame NR; handheld twilight that combines six frames into a single photo to suppress blur when shooting night scenes without a tripod or flash; 3D sweep panorama technology; auto+ (advanced auto) mode that enables the cameras to recognize the correct scene mode; and HDMI connectivity to Bravia HDTVs. Additionally, the a55 offers built-in GPS capability to enable global positioning coordinates to be recorded along with the date and time.
Compatible with A-mount lenses, these cameras also accept Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD media. A new dedicated microphone will also be available. The a55 and a33 cameras will cost about $750 and $650, respectively, for the body only and about $850 and $750 with an 18-55mm zoom lens. Thea33 will be available in September, and thea55 will reach retail in October.
New A-Mount Lenses Add Creativity
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM (model SAL24F20Z). This lens functions as a wide-angle 24mm lens on full-frame cameras with 36mm-equivalent lens sensors or as a 36mm-equivalent lens for general use on cameras with APS-C sensors. Developed with Carl Zeiss, it employs the Carl Zeiss Distagon designed for wide-angle lenses. It also features a built-in SSM (super sonic wave motor), a focal range from 0.19m to infinity, a nine-blade circular aperture that along with its f/2 aperture contributes to natural bokeh effects, and an all-metal lens barrel. $1,250.
DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM (SAL35F18). Weighing 6 ounces, this lens can be added without noticeably increasing the weight of a camera bag. It has an approximately 50mm-equivalent focal length on an APS-C sensor, which makes it geared for snapshots and portraits under varying conditions. Its high-speed f/1.8 maximum aperture is helpful for handheld shooting in low light. At 0.8 ft., this lens has the shortest minimum focus in its class for close-up shooting, and its internal “smooth autofocus motor” (SAM) helps ensure responsive and fluid autofocus operation. $200.
85mm f/2.8 SAM (SAL85F28). This is a full-frame lens with the 85mm focal length that is a standard for portraiture. On an APS-C sensor camera, this lens functions as a 127.5mm-equivalent telephoto lens. It features a Sonnar-type optical design optimal for mid-range telephoto lenses and smooth defocusing thanks to its f/2.8 maximum aperture and circular aperture design. $250. sony.com