Sony raises the bar with impressive new models

August 24, 2011: The megapixel race is on again, with Sony today announcing two DSLRs the Alpha 77 and Alpha 65, and a mirrorless interchangeable model, the NEX-7, all with 24.3 megapixel sensors.

Sony also announced another mirrorless interchangeable, the mid-range NEX-5N.

All these new models also feature OLED-technology electronic viewfinders with 2-million-plus pixel resolution and performance well beyond what has been available up until now, rivalling that of quality optical viewfinders.

Sony Alpha 77

The impressive A77 also boasts ‘the world’s fastest burst shooting mode’ at 12 frames per second and another world first in the high-res, high contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder (2,259k dots).

The new flagship DSLR is built on an advanced version of Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology (TMT), and features a redeveloped, instantly responsive 19-point autofocus system (AF) with 11 cross sensors and full-time continuous AF.

The 77 also has a broad sensitivity range of ISO 100 to ISO 16,000 and shutter speeds up to 1/8000. The electronic front shutter curtain achieves ‘a class-leading minimum lag time of approximately 0.050 seconds, coming close to matching that of much more expensive professional cameras.’

While many will be initially sceptical about the ability of an EVF to perform better than an optical viewfinder, first impressions at the Sony launch event were that the new finder is indeed a stellar performer.

For those who prefer framing their shots on a larger screen, the 77 is also the world’s first interchangeable lens camera to offer a fully articulated three-way adjustable 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen. The articulated screen offers high resolution (921k dots) and TruBlack technology for good detail and contrast, making it possible to frame a shot from any angle.

The robust body is built to withstand the rigours of use in the field. Both the front and back covers are comprised of lightweight, high-intensity magnesium alloy. Moreover the grip and front cover were cast to achieve high body rigidity.

It has dust and moisture sealing around the main buttons and dials and a double-layered structure that enhances sealing effectiveness at all camera body openings including the media compartment and terminal area

Body only RRP is $1899. (See chart at end of story for full pricing details.)

Sony Alpha 65

The A65 features the fastest shutter response in its class. Sony says it is designed to appeal to entry-level photographers – and was more specifically described at the launch event as having appeal for family use.

It also has the upgraded version of Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology and has a 15-point AF three cross-sensor system and full-time continuous AF, resulting in continuous shooting at up to 10fps.

The 65 also features Sony’s enhanced 24.3 megapixel resolution Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and newly developed BIONZ image processor.

Along with the flagship 77, the 65 has the world-first XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder with 2,359k-dot resolution and 100 percent field of view, which Sony says rivals the performance of optical viewfinders in more expensive professional DSLRs.

For composing images on screen the 65 has a two-way adjustable 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD (921k dots) and TruBlack technology.

The 65 also features a number of tools attractive to young filmmakers. Users can now film in both interlace and progressive cinematic mode (25p, 50i, and 50p), utilising the faster speed of the new BIONZ processor; a feature until now only found in some professional-grade interchangeable lens cameras. P/A/S/M modes are all selectable during video recording.

Body only RRP is $1299. (See chart at end of story for full pricing details.)

DSLR Accessories

Sony is also launching a number of new DSLR accessories, including the DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM lens, which features a dust- and moisture-resistant design, aspherical glass and three ED lens elements to minimise aberration, internal SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) for quick, quiet autofocus, and a constant circular f2.8 aperture that delivers smooth, beautiful bokeh.

For 77 users seeking more advanced performance, the dust and moisture-resistant VG-C77AM Vertical Grip assures comfortable handling in both vertical and horizontal shooting positions, and can house up to two NP-FM500H InfoLITHIUM batteries, doubling shooting to approximately 1060 shots (via LCD monitor)/ 940 shots (via Tru-Finder)

Sony NEX-7

The new top-of-the-line ‘E-Mount’ NEX-7 (Alpha NEX-7) has a magnesium alloy body for superior strength and premium looks, and weighs in at just 291g (camera body only).

It’s the world’s first compact camera that features an XGA OLED (2,359K dot) TruFinder electronic view finder, with ‘close to’ 100 percent frame coverage.

A diverse range of creative settings on the new NEX-7 are easily available through the new ‘TRINAVI’ control, where two good-sized control dials on the top of the camera are complemented by a control wheel. Pushing the navigation button enables users to cycle through various shooting modes, allowing enthusiasts to make custom adjustments and control images with the flexibility of a DSLR camera.

In speed priority continuous mode, the NEX-7 captures fast-moving action at up to 10fps (AF/AE fixed) – ‘the world’s fastest burst shooting speed of any mirrorless interchangeable lens camera’.

First introduced on the NEX-C3, Picture Effect simplifies the production of artistic effects ‘in camera’, with no PC or post-processing needed. There are now 11 modes and 15 effects, including new HDR Painting, Soft Focus, Miniature and Rich-Tone Mono. A generous palette of other artistic imaging functions includes 3D Sweep Panorama, Soft Skin, Auto HDR, Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur Modes.

The NEX-7 introduces an Auto-lock Accessory Shoe, a first for E-mount cameras. Widening opportunities for advanced shooting applications, the shoe supports accessories including HVL-F58AM, F43AM and F20AM Flash, the HVL-MT24AM Macro Twin Flash Kit and CLM-V55 Clip-on LCD Monitor.

With support from the new AVCHD Progressive (Ver. 2.0) form, the NEX-7 shoots smooth and detailed AVCHD Full HD movies in both progressive and interlaced modes with high-quality stereo sound, displayed on a 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD that can be angled up to 90 degrees or 45 degrees down for easy viewing in any shooting position.

In addition, the NEX-7’s screen features TruBlack technology which reduces on-screen reflections, providing for super detail and contrast in images and videos.

Manual focus is possible during video shooting. Enthusiasts can also enjoy full control over the video image with Programme, Aperture/Shutter Priority and all-Manual modes (PASM) – just like a DSLR camera.

It also features a high quality stereo audio with revised circuitry that lowers noise levels, crucial to users especially when shooting quiet scenes.

It has a built-in flash (GN6) , APS-C sensor and the XGA OLED TruFinder in an attractively-styled body featuring magnesium alloy trimmings, and a thick rubber material which increases steadiness and grip.

Body only RRP is $1799. (See chart at end of story for full pricing details.)

NEX-5N

The 16.1 megapixel NEX-5N is styled in light magnesium alloy and measures in at only 23.3mm at its slimmest point.

It boasts a release time lag of approximately 0.02 seconds and coupled with an improved AF algorithm, ensures the NEX-5N is the ‘fastest of any interchangeable lens digital camera on the market’.

It’s Sony’s first ‘E-mount’ interchangeable lens camera that features a Photo Creativity Touch interface. Background Defocus, Exposure, Picture Effect and other adjustments can be previewed, applied and combined rapidly via the LCD touch panel and control dial.

The Programme, Aperture/Shutter Priority and all-Manual modes (PASM) allow users full control of exposure. Stereo audio quality has also been improved with revised circuitry that lowers wind noise levels.

The NEX-5N boasts 11 modes and 15 effects which include new HDR Painting, Soft Focus, Miniature, Rich-Tone Monochrome and soft High-Key. Other interesting imaging functions include 3D Sweep Panorama, Soft Skin, Auto HDR, Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur Modes.

The NEX-5N’s 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD angles up to 80 degrees up or 45 degrees down for easy viewing in any shooting position.

Body only RRP is $899.

‘E-mount’ accessories

Three new lenses have also been announced for Sony’s E-mount cameras. The SEL24F18Z is the E-mount lineup’s first large-aperture f1.8 wide angle lens featuring Carl Zeiss optics, with a 24mm focal length (35mm format equivalent: 36mm), 16cm minimum focus distance, and an aluminum alloy exterior with refined black finish.

The SEL50F18 is a fixed 50mm (35mm format equivalent: 75mm) telephoto lens, and is the first large-aperture f1.8 lens with Optical SteadyShot built in. Third is the SEL55210, a slim, full HD movie compatible 3.8x zoom lens.

The LA-EA2 lens mount adaptor adds high speed shooting capabilities to any E-mount camera. It’s the world’s first mount adaptor to be equipped with Translucent Mirror Technology, and gives E-mount camera owners the ability to use all A-mount lenses (except STF and teleconverters) and take advantage of Continuous phase detect AF to accurately focus on and shoot subjects in motion.

The LCS-ELC7 Soft Carrying Case combines a closely-fitting body case and lens jacket in genuine leather to protect camera body and lens from scratches and dust. It’s exclusive to the NEX-7 and is complemented by the STP-XH70 shoulder strap in the same material.


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