By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
San Diego – Sony formally unveiled Wednesday a range of next-generation interchangeable-lens Alpha-series cameras and camcorders, including a next-generation full-format DSLR, the company’s first full-format Handycam camcorder, and a new addition to the NEX mirrorless compact system camera family.
The α99, which will hit retail shelves in October at a $2,800 suggested retail (body only), is Sony’s new top-of-the-line advanced-level DSLR camera, featuring a 24.3-megapixel 35mm full-frame (35mm equivalent) Exmor CMOS sensor, which Sony said delivers “the best image quality in Alpha history.”
The camera was designed to be both more compact and substantially lighter than Sony’s previous full-format DSLR as well as most competitors’ full-format models as well.
In addition to the advanced full-format sensor, the α99 employs a range of advanced new features to get tack-sharp corner-to-corner resolution that is critical to enlargements. Three key new technologies in the camera include light concentration technology, photodiode expansion technology, and a multi-segment optical low-pass filter.
The camera also includes a newly improved advanced integrated Bionz image-processing engine with high-speed front-end LSI for processing massive amounts of image data from the full-frame sensor at high speeds without compromising the image quality.
The camera incorporates “the world’s first” AF system with two phase detection sensors (Dual AF System) using Sony’s proprietary Translucent Mirror Technology to lock onto subjects three dimensionally.
Other features include 1200-zone metering, 50ms release time lag, 14-bit RAW output, dual card slots (one SD only the other SD and MemoryStick compatible), a three-way tilting LCD screen with WhiteMagic and TruBlack technologies, FullHD 1080/60p recording capabilities, P/A/S/M manual movie and full-time continuous AD movie.
Along with the α99 body, Sony is introducing four new A-series lenses ranging from $35 to $7,500, an HVL-F60M flash ($550), a vertical grip VG-C99AM ($380), and a ring light HVL-RL1 ($350).
Sony’s new addition to the Alpha NEX compact system camera lineup is the NEX-6, which will hit the market in November. Improvements over the previous NEX models include a power zoom lens, which will be this camera’s standard; two dials for DSLR-like operability; and a built-in electronic viewfinder. The power zoom lens (16-50mm) is half the height of the previous standard NEX 18-50mm lens.
It also includes Wi-Fi capability, advanced AF system, built-in flash and accessory shoe for mounting of more powerful flash units, and it accepts new Android-based PlayMemories camera apps for adding functionality and future feature enhancements.
The camera’s APS-C image sensor offers 16.1-megapixel resolution, and the camera’s light sensitivity is boosted via the new Bionz image-processing engine with an ISO range to 25,600.
Meanwhile, Sony’s newest flagship Handycam is the NEX-VG900 ($3,300 suggested retail, body only), which will take the ability to have interchangeable lenses to the next level through the addition of the same 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor used in the aforementioned α99 DSLR.
The camcorder is targeted at video enthusiasts, filmmakers and artists looking for more creative flexibility in their equipment.
The camcorder is billed as having “the first full-frame 35mm EXMOR sensor in a Handycam.”
The full-frame sensor covers 45 times the area of typical camcorders, and is considered a powerful tool for narrative video, wide angle shots and story-tellings.
Other features include a 24-megapixel RAW still photo capability, a 3-inch OLED touchpanel and an XGA OLED TruFinder electronic viewfinder.
Sony also introduced a next-generation Handycam interchangeable-lens camcorder in the NEX-VG30 ($1,800 suggested retail, body only), which incorporates a 16.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor used in NEX mirrorless CSC camera line.
Other features include a 16.1-megapixel RAW still photo capability, 3-inch OLED touchpanel and an XGA OLED TruFinder electronic viewfinder.
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