As expected, Sony has jumped into the Digital Interchangeable Lens (DIL) fray with the announcement that it is planning an “Ultra-Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera” [Sony marketing needs to get its terminology correct: an “ultra compact” digital camera should be shirt or trousers pocketable and this does not look pocketable at all, so “compact” is a better term to use here] mirrorless digital SLR camera model with interchangeable lenses [with possibly a new mount]. Part of a new “compact α (alpha) DSLR camera system,” the camera will use an Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor which provides full AVCHD video capability. Aside of these meagre details, Sony had no firm specifications to share.
Sony showed off a totally uninspiring [in fact, it looks positively awful from the back] compact alpha prototype behind glass. If this prototype is any indication, there is no built-in viewfinder, there may be a pop-up flash, there is the now obligatory dedicated movie button, and there are no mode dials on top… which leads us to believe this may be more a point-and-shoot compact digicam with large APS sensor than a mirrorless DSLR. The difference between the two may be subtle but important to photographers as to what features the camera will have and who it is targeting. Hope Sony knows the difference between the two and does not muddle the waters.
We do welcome Sony’s initiative and are sure the production compact alpha model will be everything consumers expect. [The alpha DSLR prototypes look very good and it should be pointed out to those disappointed with the Sony compact alpha prototype design that the Olympus compact digital PEN beautiful retro design also does not look anything like its prototype.]
Can Nikon and Canon [who, like Pentax and Leica, has decided not to be at PMA] be too far behind? If they don’t introduce any DIL this year, and seeing that Sony’s version is still in planning stages [though they mentioned they are targeting later in the year], Panasonic’s and Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds models may have another year free of competition all to themselves. [Sorry, Sigma who? Can’t even find their press release on their site.]
SONY HIGHLIGHTS ALPHA CONCEPT MODELS AND OTHER NEW DIGITAL IMAGING PRODUCTS AT PMA 2010
Sony is exhibiting an array of innovative digital imaging products at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 2010 International Convention, including a concept model of the new compact α (alpha) DSLR camera system that employs an Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor, which provides full AVCHD video capability.
ANAHEIM, CALIF. (PMA #2220), Feb. 21, 2010 – Sony is exhibiting an array of innovative digital imaging products at the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) 2010 International Convention, including a concept model of the new compact α (alpha) DSLR camera system that employs an Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor, which provides full AVCHD video capability.
New concept α products being shown include an ultra compact model with interchangeable lenses, additions to the α family (including a successor to the α700), along with new TX5 and H55 Cyber-shot® cameras, new printers and other accessories.
α DSLR Camera
In addition to the current DSLR-A230, A330, A380, A500, A550, A850 and A900 digital SLR cameras, the following concept camera bodies and interchangeable lenses will be exhibited. Current interchange lenses, including Carl Zeiss® and G lens products will also be on display.
- Concept model of an ultra-compact interchangeable lens digital camera system that packs the quality of a DSLR camera in an extraordinarily small body, along with interchangeable lenses
- Mid-range concept camera for advanced users (a successor to the α700) as well as concept mainstream models
- Prototype of a Super Telephoto Lens (500mm F4 G) with class-leading optical performance
- Prototype of a Distagon T 24mm F2 ZA SSM, new Carl Zeiss wide angle lens for superior shots of landscapes and sweeping vistas
Cyber-shot Digital Still Cameras
In addition to its α line of DSLR cameras, Sony will also showcase its new Cyber-shot digital still cameras. These models include the recently announced TX5 certified waterproof camera and H55 high-zoom, compact camera.
The DIMA award-winning TX5, which can be used in depths up to 10 feet for up to one hour, is the world’s thinnest and smallest waterproof digital still camera with Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization and touch-screen operation. Additionally, the 10.2 megapixel model is Sony’s first digital still camera with an “Exmor R” CMOS sensor that is also certified to be freeze-proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, shockproof (up to about a 5-foot drop) and dust proof. The TX5 also offers outstanding low-light performance, high speed, Intelligent Sweep Panorama, 720p high definition video recording and in-camera Backlight Correction High Dynamic Range features.
The 14.1 MP H55 camera’s 10x optical zoom Sony G lens with 25mm (equivalent) wide angle is designed for shots from greater distances and of wider landscapes. Featuring 720p HD movie recording, the H55 model also offers Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization to help reduce blur in photos without compromising image quality. It also adds Optical SteadyShot™ with Active Mode, which lets you shoot smoother movie footage even if you are walking while shooting.
Photofinishing Solutions and Digital Imaging Accessories
One retail photofinishing system and one professional printer along with four new digital imaging accessories will also be on display. The new PictureStation™ retail instant photo kiosk solution is simple to maintain while offering small to large-scale stores a cost-effective way to drive additional revenue. Event photographers will also want to take a look at the DIMA award-winning UP-DR80. Sony’s dye-sub printer is fully portable; with world-class speed and versatility professional event photographers need on the go.
Digital Imaging accessories include sports and marine packs, a floating strap (model STP-FSA) for the TX5 camera, a photo printer/frame, Party-shot™ automatic photographer, DVDirect® recorder, as well as a full line of fashionable and functional cases and camera bags for Cyber-shot cameras and Handycam® camcorders.
Handycam High-Definition Camcorders
As the leader in the high-definition camcorder category, Sony offers superior technology in its HD models, even at entry level. Now all 2010 HD Handycam models will feature the “Exmor R” CMOS sensor with a new algorithm to realize 2x faster “Quick AF,” Face Priority to prioritize a specified face for focus, color, exposure and Smile Shutter™ technology, and Highlight Playback for quick video slideshow generation. The new HD Handycam camcorder lineup will also offer iAuto, 60p output, and a new user interface, in addition to capturing content in full1920 x 1080 high-definition video recording at up to 24Mbps, the highest bit-rate offered by the AVCHD format.
The portfolio includes the top-of-the-line HDR-XR550V unit featuring a 240GB hard disk drive that holds up to 101 hours of HD video (LP mode) and a Wide Angle G-lens that captures approximately 2x larger shooting area than previous models. Sony improves Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilization with Active Mode by expanding the 3-Way Shake Canceling feature across the full zoom range – from wide to telephoto end, and adds a new feature called Golf Shot to the high end camcorders. This function renders two seconds of motion (golf swing) into a sequence of up to 22 still images. In addition, the camcorder can take 12-megapixel still photos and has advanced features including an assignable dial for manual control (Iris/Shutter/Exposure/WB//Focus/AE shift).
Also on display is the new HDR-CX150 Flash Memory Handycam camcorder offered in black and red. For around $550, this model can capture 3.1-megapixel still photos and includes 16GB of embedded memory, a Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® 25X optical zoom lens, and SteadyShot® image stabilization with Active Mode — all in a compact design.
In addition to the hard disk drive or built-in flash memory, all of Sony’s new camcorders can record video and still images directly to Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media, Secure Digital (SD), or SDHC media card (all sold separately).