Sony Brings Its New DSLR Alpha Trio To Australia

Sony's just announced local details for its new trio of DSLRs – the A500, A550 and A850. There are megapixels and full frame sensors flying everywhere.

The 24.6MP full-frame CMOS sensor of the A850 is the most expensive of the trio, coming in at $3499 for the body only when it launches later this month. The A500 and A550 are yet to be priced, but both will be available sometime in October.

Sony brings full-frame quality to a new class of DSLR photo enthusiast • Full-frame 24.6 effective megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor and dual BIONZ processors • SteadyShot INSIDE offers up to 4.0 steps anti-shake performance • Fast, high-accuracy 9-point AF with 10 focus assist points

Sydney – 1 September 2009 – The new 850 from Sony offers serious photo enthusiasts a step up to the creative possibilities of full-frame imaging. Ruggedly built for unflinching pro-style handling and performance, the 850 has 24.6 megapixels, with a number of features of the flagship 900. Like its full-frame sibling, the 850 fully exploits the creative possibilities of the family of lenses that includes premium optics from Carl Zeiss, plus five high-performance G Lens models.

850

“Providing a follow-up to our flagship model released last year, the new 850 brings the benefits of a full-frame digital SLR camera to a broader group of consumers,” said Maurice Satya, Product Manager for DSLR at Sony Australia. “Feature packed with 24.6 megapixels, Exmor CMOS sensor and dual BIONZ processors, the 850 delivers true-to-life reproduction with breathtaking resolution.”

At the heart of the 850 is a full frame 24.6 effective megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor, that captures flawless, detail-packed images with vibrant, lifelike colours and fine textures. The purity of high-resolution image data captured by the full-frame sensor is optimised by two-stage noise reduction, in both analogue and digital domains. Noise reduction is first applied as the full-frame sensor converts light to electronic signals. Dual BIONZ image engines process large amounts of digital data, applying finely-tuned noise reduction during image processing, to deliver pictures with extremely high levels of sharpness with minimal noise. This combination of high native sensor resolution and powerful noise control techniques ensures superlative image quality, even at high sensitivity settings up to a maximum ISO 6400 (with expanded ISO range).

The camera’s optical glass pentaprism viewfinder aids accurate shot composition, offering an extremely bright view with minimal distortion and approximately 98 percent field coverage. Serious enthusiasts will also prize the camera’s fast, high-accuracy autofocus system that provides excellent framing freedom, while making it easier to achieve optimum focus with moving subjects. The 9-point AF system is supplemented by 10 focus assist points to assist subject detection, improved out-of-focus detection to reduce focus hunting and a dedicated F2.8 sensor for enhanced AF accuracy with wide aperture lenses. Shots can be viewed on the large, high contrast 3.0 inch Xtra Fine LCD that offers an exceptionally high resolution (921k dot) for critical evaluation – even when outdoors or in bright ambient light.

For greater creative control, an Intelligent Preview function indicates the effects of exposure, white balance and D-Range Optimiser adjustments prior to shooting. This Preview is invaluable when composing complex scenes that may typically combine multiple light sources with different colour temperatures.

Touching the ‘FN’ button switches the display to Quick Navi mode, allowing convenient one-handed adjustment of key shooting parameters. A secondary backlit LCD panel on the top of the camera body gives useful confirmation of major settings, even when the main LCD is turned off.

In common with all other DSLR cameras from Sony, the 850 features SteadyShot INSIDE. This in-body optical stabilisation system delivers up to 4 steps of anti-shake correction with all compatible lenses, opening up even greater creative possibilities when shooting handheld.

Like its full-frame sibling, the 850 is ruggedly built for dependable performance in gruelling conditions, with a high-tensile aluminium chassis and all-magnesium alloy body shell. Viewfinder, card slots, controls and other sensitive areas are protected from dust and moisture by rubber seals. In addition, an anti-dust system guards the full-frame sensor from the effects of dust entering the body during lens exchange.

The supplied high-capacity InfoLITHIUM rechargeable Battery Pack (NP-FM500H) delivers power for up to 880 shots (approximately) per charge. Battery levels can be monitored in precise 1 percent increments, cutting uncertainty about remaining shooting time.

The camera can be connected to a BRAVIA LCD TV or any HD TV (through an optional HDMI cable) for a big-screen view of your shots. On-screen image quality is optimised for superbly lifelike reproduction on BRAVIA LCD TV models supporting PhotoTV HD. On-screen playback can be controlled via an optional wireless remote commander (RMT-DSLR1).

Catch the moment in perfect detail with responsive new DSLR cameras from Sony Easy-to-use 550 & 500 offer enhanced Live View shooting and superb image quality

Sydney – 1 September 2009 – Two powerful, feature-packed DSLR cameras from Sony make it easier than ever to capture beautiful pictures, carefree family portraits, stunning holiday memories and action-packed scenes. The 550 (14.2 megapixels) and 500 (12.3 megapixels) incorporate advanced Sony technologies that combine the spontaneity and freedom of Live View shooting with exciting new features, that help you realise your creative vision.

550

“The new 550 and 500 Digital SLR cameras are designed to encourage consumers to take their photography skills to the next level,” said Maurice Satya, Product Manager for DSLR at Sony Australia. “With brilliant high resolution detail, enhanced Live View features, high speed continuous shooting and a new Auto HDR function, the new range makes beautiful photos effortless to capture.”

At the heart of both cameras is a new, unique to Sony, Exmor CMOS sensor that ensures crisp low-noise images, packed with fine detail and vibrant colours. Sharing powerful on-chip noise reduction techniques with the full-frame 900, this advanced sensor works with processing algorithms handled by the newly developed high-speed BIONZ™ engine, to deliver premium images plus razor-sharp shooting responses. Dramatically reduced picture noise now allows super-sensitive shooting at up to ISO12800, achieving great results when shooting handheld, especially in challenging situations such as low lit interiors.

Thanks to the powerful BIONZ image processing engine, Quick AF Live View now supports even speedier shooting responses with rapid, precise autofocus. This makes it easier than ever to capture beautifully relaxed portraits, dynamic action shots and more.

Powered by the BIONZ image processing engine, fast-moving action can now be captured effortlessly with faster continuous shooting speeds. Sustained shooting speeds of up to 4 fps can be achieved in Live View Mode and up to 5 fps with the optical viewfinder. New Speed Priority mode on the 550 raises the bar further still, shooting at an incredible 7 fps (with AF and AE setting maintained from the first frame). It’s a powerful creative tool for capturing the nuances of a portrait subject’s changing expression, or dynamic action sequences.

Creative options are broadened by new Auto HDR mode that captures a huge range of shadow and highlight detail in landscapes, interiors and other scenes. Previously accessible only to enthusiasts equipped with a tripod and image processing software, HDR (High Dynamic Range) is a specialist technique that combines two or more frames shot at different exposure settings. The 550 and 500 use powerful algorithms to combine and optimise two successive frames in only two seconds, correcting any misalignment between frames when shooting handheld, which is a Sony unique technology. The result is a single HDR image emulating the huge natural tonal range of human vision – with no PC or tripod needed.

The D-Range Optimiser featured in previous DSLR models has been enhanced for even better results when shooting backlit portraits, or other tricky high-contrast scenes. The powerful BIONZ engine now optimises image data in real time, even in continuous shooting mode, processing brightness and contrast in individual areas of each exposure for balanced, natural looking results. Optimisation can also be selected manually from five processing levels.

The 500 offers a crisp, high-contrast three inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen with a 180 degree tilt range for clear, comfortable composition and reviewing shots.

The 550 features a superb (921k dot) 3-inch Xtra Fine LCD screen for critical focusing and photo-quality viewing, with class-leading colour, contrast and detailing. The screen tilts up or down over a full 180 degree range, allowing uncompromised ‘free-angle’ live view shooting in any position. An ambient light sensor automatically boosts LCD brightness for extra screen clarity when surrounding light levels are high, while both cameras also feature a clear, bright optical viewfinder with wide 95 percent field coverage for framing and focusing as an alternative to live view shooting.

In a DSLR debut, Quick AF Live View now features Face Detection, prioritising AF on people’s faces and fine-tuning exposure/white balance settings for crisp, beautiful portraits with natural skin tones. Another DSLR first by Sony is Smile Shutter, already featured on many Cyber-shot models, Smile Shutter detects faces in Live View mode, automatically firing the shutter at just the right moment to capture happy, relaxed smiles.

A special new Manual Focus Check Live View mode assists with fine-tuning your composition. Low noise images can be previewed directly from the CMOS sensor, allowing critical assessment of focus and fine detail, even in low light. The live image offers 100 percent field coverage, assisted by framing grid lines for precise composition. There is also a selectable 7x/14x zoom function for a close-up confirmation of focus.

Operation of both cameras is brilliantly simple, thanks to a redesigned on-screen interface that provides easy access to functions and settings during live view operation. A unique Graphic Display gives a clear, intuitive indication of how shutter speed and aperture adjustments will affect the final image.

A Smart Teleconvertor button instantly boosts image size by 1.4x or 2x to extend your camera’s zoom lens range further, for frame-filling close-ups.

Like all DSLR cameras by Sony, both new models feature SteadyShot™ INSIDE, the powerful optical image stabiliser that cuts the effects of camera shake by up to 4 EV steps while shooting handheld with any lens.

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