Sony Adds New d-SLR, NEX DigiCams

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introduced Wednesday two new additions to its interchangeable-lens camera assortment -- an Alpha d-SLR and a next-generation NEX-series compact mirrorless model.



The Sony SLT-A35 d-SLR features an electronic eye-level viewfinder and the company's recently introduced fixed translucent mirror technology that first appeared last year in the A55 and A33 models. The A35 is positioned as a model that will bring this SLT technology down to a more affordable price; it ships in August at a $700 suggested retail including an 18-55mm kit lens.

The technology allows a portion of the light from the lens to filter through the mirror component to the image sensor to record the picture. At the same time, the mirror reflects a portion of the light up to another sensor used by the phase detection autofocus (AF) system.

This is useful for high-frame-rate shooting (up to 7 fps shooting RAW format, 18/14fps shooting JPEG standard/fine resolution in the A35) and for capturing fast-moving subjects.

It also allows Live View to be the rule rather than the exception for both the LCD and eye-level viewfinder, and enables exposure and focusing to occur simultaneously -- something not possible in other d-SLR cameras.

The camera includes a 16-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS (APS-C size) image sensor. It will record FullHD 1,080/60i video in AVCHD format and 1,440 by 1,080 video in MP4 HD.

Sony's selectable Super SteadyShot image stabilization system is included.

A new Telezoom high-speed shooting mode crops the sensor at 1.5x to maintain a 7 fps continuous shooting speed, where as with continuous shooting at 16 megapixels the burst rate is 5 fps.

"The cropping mode is a real advantage, particularly if you didn't bring a telephoto lens with you, to get you much closer to the action," said Mark Weir, Sony technology and marketing senior manager.

Other features include a built-in flash, depth-of-field preview, and 15-point with three cross sensor Eye-Start autofocus (AF) system that is helpful for fast AF needs such as fast-action sports.

The high-speed phase-detect AF is also maintained during movie shooting.

The A35, which replaces the A33 in the line, also includes a 3-inch LCD screen, and a selectable help guide display.

The ISO range (both auto and manual) ranges from 100 to 25,600.

A new picture-effects menu adds a greater level of creativity than has been offered in earlier models, Sony said.

Also carried over in the A35 is Sweep Panorama and 3D Sweep Panorama shooting to produce super-wide-angle shots and 3D images for playback on 3DTVs, respectively.

The NEX C-3 next-generation mirrorless interchangeable-lens model ships in August at a $650 suggested retail, including an 18-55mm kit lens or $600 for the camera with a 16mm f2.8 lens. It will replace the NEX 3 model in the line.

Meanwhile, the new NEX C3 will be offered in a choice of silver, black or pink body colors.

Weighing in at just 225 grams, the camera is billed as Sony's smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens model to date and features a new Exmor APS HD 16MP APS-C sensor (the same as that used in the A35).

Video is captured by the NEX C3 at up to 720p HD resolution in MPEG-4 format.

The camera includes a new press-and-rotate user interface with a number of picture effects listed on a control wheel, each tied to a scale setting that enables quickly adjusting key settings such as White Balance (marked as color), for example.

Sony has opted to use more easy to understand terminology instead of photographic terms to make camera settings more understandable to interchangeable-lens camera newbies.

Photo creativity effects include background defocus, soft-skin effect, and the ability to additively make adjustments for brightness, color and focus.

Also included in the camera are shooting tips, face detection, a number of scene-selection modes including multi-shot layering, and a help guide.

Imaging compositing features are carried over, as well has high dynamic range and low-light shooting with anti-motion blur.

Sony has also extended the number of shots available per battery charge to an additional 20.

The camera includes Sweep Panorama and 3D Sweep Panorama shooting capability.

Sony is also introducing a new 30mm E-mount lens and a new flash with bounce capability for the NEX C3 ($150 for the latter).


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