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Sony Debuts Translucent Mirror, Adds Six Cameras, Lenses to Alpha Series

Sony SLT-A55V and SLT-A33 Sony SLT-A55V and SLT-A33

Sony has engineered a series of new Alpha SLR cameras with translucent mirror technology, enabling simultaneous autofocusing and image capturing.

With this new technology, SLT-A55V and SLT-A33 models can capture images during autofocus mode at a rate of 10 frames per second (Alpha 55) or 7 frames per second (Alpha 33).

When the shutter is released, light travels through the lens and then simultaneously hits both the CMOS image sensor and the autofocus sensor (i.e., no mirror movement to switch between the two). This allows the camera to continuously shoot and focus at speeds not before possible in this level of camera.

Without the mirror, these cameras are much more compact than traditional SLR cameras, measuring approximately 5 x 4 x 3 inches and weighing 15 ounces. However, this also means there is no longer an optical viewfinder. Instead, these new Alphas contain an electronic “tru-finder eye-level viewfinder.”

To further enhance speed and accuracy, these models include a 15-point autofocus system and continuous Phase Detect AF, which allows for rapidly tracking moving subjects. The translucent mirror technology also makes Phase Detect AF possible in video recordings and allows for full-time live view shooting on the 3-inch LCD screen.

The Alpha 55 has 16.2-megapixel resolution, while the Alpha 33 shoots at 14.2-megapixels. Both models have a variable-angle tilt LCD screen, Auto HDR for extreme exposure conditions and multi-frame NR mode (a low-light feature that shoots and combines six frames into a single high-quality photo).

Compatible with all A-mount lenses, these cameras also come with 3D sweep panorama technology, which splices two images from a single frame to enable panoramic photos to be viewed in 3D on compatible 3D systems. The Alpha 55 also has a built-in GPS system.

The Alpha 55 and Alpha 33 camera bodies retail for $750 and $650 or for $850 and $750 for the body and an 18-55mm zoom lens.

At the same time Sony has released another SLR, the Alpha 560, whose traits include multi-frame noise reduction, sweep panorama mode, 3D sweep panorama and full HD 1080p video capture.

All three of these cameras are compatible with the full line of A-mount lenses, a line to which Sony recently added three new options — a wide-angle Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 ZA SSM; a lightweight, 6-ounce DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM; and an 85mm f/2.8 SAM portraiture lens.

Delayed for release until January 2011, the Alpha 560 with the camera body and 18-55mm kit lens will cost $750. With the body only, it will cost about $650.

The Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 SSM (model SAL24F20Z), DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM (model SAL35F18) and 85mm f/2.8 SAM (model SAL85F28) lenses sell for about $1,250, $200 and $250 respectively.

Additional Info

  • Company: Sony
  • Company Phone #: 800-345-7669