Sony says seven more lenses are in the pipeline for its NEX mirror-less range and a high performance Alpha model too
'Translucent' is the buzz word at Sony presently'
Sony decided not to wait for Photokina when it announced the new translucent mirror Alpha A33 and A55 models last month, so there was relatively little news in the way of imminently available new products from Sony at the show. Instead, Sony rolled out some of its top brass from Japan to give us a preview of what we can expect from Sony in the medium and long term for those interested in Alpha DSLRs as well as the NEX hybrid mirror-less interchangeable camera system. We have a gallery of captioned photos from the press conference further down the page.
A new flash and the long-awaited replacement for the Alpha A700 were previewed by Sony
First: what we understand will be called the A7 is the long-awaited replacement for the A700. This will be an all-new top of the range model for Sony's APS-C sensor DSLRs. It will be the third Sony DSLR after the A33 and A55 to be fitted with a translucent, or semi-silvered, fixed mirror. Without the inertia and complication of a mirror to flip up and down every time the shutter release is pressed the shutter can be operated much faster so continuous shooting frame rates can be radically increased.
The translucent mirror system also benefits live view mode and when recording video. The optical viewfinder doesn't get blanked, and phase detect autofocus can remain in operation instead of relying on contrast detect autofocus using the main sensor, which can be slower.
Translucent mirrors do present some compromises, though. The light from the lens is shared between the optical viewfinder and the sensor. One third goes to the viewfinder and two thirds to the sensor. This means the viewfinder is not as bright as a conventional DSLR, and the sensor gets less light too. Thankfully, Sony's Exmor CMOS sensors are among the best in terms of noise performance, so image quality shouldn't be overly affected, although there are some reports of a minor ghosting effect experienced under certain shooting considerations.
Four out of the seven new E-mount lenses for the NEX mirror-less range will be with us next year according to Sony.
Meanwhile, Sony has announced its intention to introduce seven new lenses of the NEX mirror-less system camera range over the next two years. Currently there are just three. The premium Carl Zeiss brand will make an appearance in the NEX lens range for the first time.
Firmware updates to optimise the use of advanced camera features are on the way for the current NEX-3 and NEX-5 models, while the adapter enabling the use of A-mount DSLR lenses on NEX E-mount bodies will also get a firmware update to introduce AF functionality. On top of that, a larger and more powerful flash option is under development.
Remarkably, Sony has captured 50% of the mirror-less hybrid system camera category in Japan just four months after entering the market.
Below is a gallery of captioned stills taken at Sony's Photokina press conference and from their booth.
Click on a thumbnail below to see a larger captioned version of the picture...
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Photokina 2010: Sony previews Alpha A and E mount plans
DPNow Photokina 2010: Sony previews Alpha A and E mount plans
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