Sony have announced two DSLR's with a new Quick AF Live View system.
The new A300 (10.2 mp) and A350 (14.2 mp) have a simple switch to change from optical view to live view. In live view mode the normal autofocus is used and you can take photos quickly, in bursts and with continuous, tracking autofocus if required. Other manufacturers are using systems where you have to use menu selections and flip in and out of autofocus modes etc. This system uses a secondary sensor which means that the mirror can stay in position when setting up the shot. One downside of this approach is that you will see about 90% of the view (same as normal with most optical views). The LCD screen tilts both up and down.
New 24 mp Full Frame DSLR coming
Sony have also announced the development of a 35mm full size 24.81 effective megapixel, ultra-high speed high image quality CMOS image sensor which will be used in the new "flagship" camera due later this year. This is expected to be priced to compete with the Canon 5D or its successor. Photo shows a prototype with optional grip.
An A200 10.2 mp replacement for the A100 was announced at the CES Show.
The A300/A350 Press Release follows:
Amazing reactions: New a D-SLR with 14.2 megapixels and Quick AF Live View
· Quick Auto Focus Live View for responsive shooting
· Extremely high resolution 14.2 effective megapixel APS-C CCD sensor for unprecedented imaging performance
· 2.7-inch variable angle LCD for ‘freestyle’ shooting
· Enhanced Super SteadyShot™ inside offers 2.5-3.5 steps anti-shake performance with all a lenses
· Sensitivity up to ISO3200 with high-ISO noise reduction for clearer low-light shooting
The a digital SLR family grows with two new cameras from Sony that team responsive ‘freestyle’ Quick AF Live View for responsive shooting with class-leading image quality and powerful, easy-to-use creative features.
The a350 incorporates a brand new 14.2 effective megapixel APS-C type CCD sensor for amazingly detailed, lifelike imaging. It’s partnered by the a300 that offers near-identical features with a sensor resolution of 10.2 megapixels.
Both new cameras bring the a line-up to four feature-packed, easy to use models from the entry-level a200 to the, responsive a700 for enthusiasts and semi-professionals. There’s also a comprehensive a family of more than 24 compatible lenses plus lighting systems and other accessories.
Quick AF Live View for high-speed, creative shooting
The a350 and a300 are the first digital SLR cameras to feature Quick AF Live View technology. Unique to Sony, this all-new system fuses the convenience of live image preview with the responsive TTL phase-detection system and rapid continuous shooting that’s prized by digital SLR users. For the first time ever, Quick AF Live View overcomes the technical limitations that have made ultra-fast shooting and viewing impossible in live view mode.
In addition, an advanced new centre-cross 9 point AF sensor assures faster, more accurate AF performance in live view as well as optical viewfinder shooting modes.
Photographers of all abilities can compose images with greater comfort and freedom using the 2.7-inch LCD screen. Tilting upwards by up to 130 degrees and down by up to 40 degrees, the variable-angle screen allows photographers to remain face-to-face with their subject. The effects of exposure compensation and white balance can be conveniently previewed in live view mode. There’s also a bright, clear optical viewfinder that offers an alternative to live view shooting.
Superb imaging quality
The a350 features the latest iteration of Sony’s advanced BIONZ image processing engine that optimises the extraordinary performance potential of the high-resolution CCD sensor.
Powered by the BIONZ processor, the enhanced D-Range Optimiser automatically ensures balanced exposures with rich shadow and highlight detail. Improved detection of backlit scenes now delivers even more beautiful results, even with problematic against-the-light subjects.
Sensitivity is boosted to a maximum ISO 3200, allowing successful handheld shooting in low-light conditions without flash. A special High ISO Noise Reduction mode improves picture quality still further at increased sensitivity settings.
Super SteadyShot™ inside now offers improved anti-shake performance when shooting handheld with all a lenses. A new control algorithm now boosts correction to between 2.5 and 3.5 steps, compared with the 2.0-3.5 step range of the a100.
Greater shooting and viewing convenience
The a350 and a300 have been designed for greater shooting comfort and wider creative options, even for entry-level photographers who haven’t handled a digital SLR camera before.
Available in Live View mode, a Smart Teleconverter function gives an instant digital zoom factor of 1.4x or 2x to increase the effective focal length range of your chosen a lens. Even with digital zoom activated, the extremely high resolution of the camera’s 14.2 megapixel sensor ensures flawless, detail packed enlargements.
Both cameras are brilliantly easy to use, thanks to the intuitive display that lists frequently used functions with a quick press of the Function button.
In common with other a models, the Anti-Dust drive and protective sensor coating minimise the harmful effects of dust entering the camera body during lens exchange.
Both models also feature a class-leading shooting stamina of up to 730* images (410 images in Live View mode) from a single charge of the high capacity InfoLITHIUM™ battery (NP-FM500H). Accurate confirmation of remaining capacity is displayed in % increments on the 2.7-inch LCD for extended shooting without worrying about power levels.
Available as an option, the powerful new HVL-F42AM Flash unit is ideally suited to the needs of experienced digital photographers and newcomers alike. Alongside ADI metering and wireless remote operation, it offers automatic WB adjustment with colour temperature information plus an evolved Bounce System with vertical adjustment up to 90°, left to 90° and right to 180°.
Also optional, the VG-B30AM Vertical Grip allows comfortable handling in portrait or landscape shooting positions. The grip holds up to two NP FM500H Rechargeable Battery Packs for an extended shooting stamina of up to 1460* images (820 images in Live View mode) from a single charge. The grip is compatible with a200, a300 and a350.
Both cameras can utilise the new GPS-CS1KASP GPS Unit. Compatible with all new Sony a, Cyber-shot and Handycam models, this ultra-portable unit records up to a month’s worth of global positioning data to help map your memories. Photos can be tagged with position information and shown in place as online maps, or displayed as a 'footprint' of your travel route.
The a350 Digital SLR camera will be available from the beginning of March in the following kits:
o a350 body only
o a350 with DT18-70mm F3.5-5.6 lens
o a350 with DT18-70mm F3.5-5.6 and DT55-200 F4-5.6 lens
The a300 Digital SLR camera will be available from the beginning of April in the following kits:
o a300 body only
o a300 with DT18-70mm F3.5-5.6 lens
o a300 with DT18-70mm F3.5-5.6 and DT55-200 F4-5.6 lens
NOTES TO EDITORS
a350/300 Key Features
Camera type Digital SLR with built-in flash and interchangeable lenses
Lens mount All Sony a lenses and Konica Minolta MAXXUM / DYNAX lenses
Image sensor APS-C size CCD with anti-dust system
Sensor resolution a350: 14.2 effective megapixels / a300: 10.2 effective megapixels
Image processor Sony BIONZ engine
Image stabilisation Super SteadyShot with approx. 2.5 – 3.5 EV decrease in shutter speed (actual stabilisation depends on shooting conditions and lens)
Noise reduction Long exp. & High ISO NR at ISO1600 / 3200
Creative Styles Preset modes: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Night View, Sunset, B/W, Adobe RGB. Adjustable parameters: Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness
D-Range Optimiser Operating modes: Off, Standard, Advanced
* D-Range Optimiser Advanced uses technology provided by Apical Limited.
Scene Selection modes Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset, Night Portrait / Night View
Viewfinder Coverage: 95% / Magnification: 0.74x / Diopter adjustment -3/+1
AF system TTL phase detection system with 9 focus points
Sensitivity ISO100 - 3200 equivalent
Built-in flash system GN12 / Auto popup in Auto and scene modes / Manual popup button in other modes
Shutter speed range 1/4000 sec. - 30 sec., bulb (Flash sync speed 1/160 sec.)
Continuous shooting rate a 350: max 2 fps with Live view / max 2.5 fps with viewfinder
a300: max 2 fps with Live view / max 3 fps with viewfinder
Max no. of frames JPEG Fine/Std: unlimited (until memory card is full), RAW+JPEG: 3,
recordable (continuous) RAW (a350): 4, RAW (a300): 6
Monitor screen TFT 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD (230k dots) with AR coating
Histogram display RGB
Function menu Camera Function Display with direct control of Flash Mode, AF Mode, WB, Metering Mode, AF Area, DRO
Battery type NP-FM500H with InfoLITHIUM % power remaining display on screen
Battery life Approx. 730 shots with viewfinder / 410 shot with Live View (CIPA measurement)
Vertical grip VG-B30AM (optional) accepts up to 2x NP-FM500H Rechargeable Battery
Recording media CompactFlash card: Type I, Type II (Microdrive)
With optional adaptor: Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 130.8 x 98.5 x 74.7 mm (excl. protrusions)
Weight Approx. 582 g (w/o batteries or memory card)