Sony Unveils Three Alpha d-SLRs - Twice

Sony Unveils Three Alpha d-SLRs

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San Diego - Sony unveiled Thursday three additions to its d-SLR line - the DSLR-A500, the DSLR-A550 in the under-$1,000 range and the new more advanced DSLR-A850.

Sony's DSLR-A850 ($1,999 suggested retail/body only) will incorporate a full-frame Exmor 24.6 MP CMOS sensor when it ships in September.

All employ Sony's Exmor CMOS sensor technology with on-chip noise reduction that processes chorma and luma channels separately, and the company's Alpha lens mount system, which is compatible with all Sony Alpha SLR lenses, plus Konicaminolta Alpha Maxxum/Dynax lenses.

In addition, the A500 and A550 continue Sony's recent approach to improving low-light shooting quality, and include a light-sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 12,800.

Other common features include Auto HDR feature, which takes two sequential shots at different exposures and combines them into a single shot with "optimal" highlight and shadow detail.

The entry DSLR-A500 ($750 suggested retail/$850 with 18-55mm lens) includes 12.3-megapixel resolution, Memory Stick/Memory Stick Duo and SD card slots, Steadyshot image stabilization, Live View with two function settings for quick autofocus and manual focus, a 3-inch tilting LCD with 230,400 dots, and nine-point center cross autofocus system,

The step-up DSLR-A550 ($950 suggested retail/$1,050 with 18-55mm lens) includes 14.2-megapixel resolution, Memory Stick/Memory Stick Duo and SD card slots, Steadyshot image stabilization, Live View with two function settings for quick autofocus and manual focus, a 3-inch tilting LCD with 921,600 dots, and nine-point center cross AF.

The A550 also adds a Speed Priority model for faster burst shooting.

The DSLR-A850 (shipping in September at a $2,000 suggested retail for the body only) adds a 24.6-megapixel resolution 35mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor and fast image processing with dual Bionz processing engines, capable of full resolution shooting at up to 3 fps.

Sony said the high pixel count and large size of the 24.6-megapixel Exmor sensor provide enhanced image detail and a wider dynamic range for natural color reproduction and subtle tonal gradations.

The AF features nine sensors with 10 assist points. A center dual-cross sensor comprised of two horizontal and two vertical line sensors, as well as a dedicated f/2.8 sensor ,are included.

Sony's SteadyShot image stabilization is said to provide an anti-shake effect equivalent to shutter speeds faster by 2.5 to 4 stops.

The A850 includes a Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) with five levels of user-selectable correction, as well as DRO bracketing for enhanced scene analysis and graduation optimization. Other features include a 3-inch LCD with 921,000 dots, HDMI output and Photo TV HD mode enabling connection to most HD televisions for playback of high-resolution still images (but no HD video support).

The 850A includes slots for high-capacity Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, HX series and CompactFlash media.

Sony said it will offer its SAL2875 28-75mm F2.8 SAMfull-frame lens to complement the A850 model.

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