In the lead-up to the huge Photokina 2008 trade show, there were a number of big new camera announcements—more megapixels and better image quality, and in the spirit of convergence, HD video makes the leap to still cameras!
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
Dual BIONZ Image Processing. Sony was able to make the jump to full frame by adding another BIONZ image processor to the package. Noise reduction itself is approached in dual steps as well; it’s applied prior to RAW data conversion on the sensor and then again during image processing. Coupled with a new mirror box design, the dual BIONZ processors provide enough processing horsepower for 5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution for up to 12 RAW or 25 cRAW images (11 XFINE JPEG).
Rugged Body. The high-tensile aluminum chassis combined with magnesium-alloy body panels and rubber seals provide a sturdy build and protection from dust and moisture. The interior system uses an anti-static coating to prevent dust from sticking, and the shutter is rated for more than 100,000 release cycles. Dual card slots accept CompactFlash and Sony Memory Stick media.
24.6-Megapixel, Full-Frame Sensor. The 24.6-megapixel, 35.9x24.0mm full-frame Sony Exmor CMOS sensor has the highest pixel count in the “35mm-style” D-SLR category, 6048x4032. Instead of one analog-to-digital converter, the sensor incorporates on-chip A/D signal conversion with an A/D converter for each column of pixels—more than 6,000 converters—for noise reduction and faster image processing.
SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization With All Lenses. While other full-frame D-SLRs provide image stabilization through mechanisms in the lens, the A900 incorporates Sony’s sensor-shift SteadyShot stabilization, which works with every lens. The drawback is that you can’t see the stabilization effect in the finder; sensor-shift stabilization only stabilizes the recorded image.
Wide Lens Selection. The Sony Alpha mount works with all Sony Alpha lenses, as well as Minolta and Konica-Minolta AF lenses and Carl Zeiss lenses designed specifically for Sony D-SLRs. Sixteen full-frame lenses are currently available, with two more planned for January release. The A900 switches to cropped DX format when a Sony DT lens is used.
Advanced Dynamic Range Optimizer. Sony’s Advanced Dynamic Range Optimizer provides five steps of in-camera dynamic range adjustment, maintaining details in both highlight and shadow areas.
Intelligent Preview. An Intelligent Preview function applies the effects of selectable functions like white balance, D-Range Optimizer and exposure to preview on the 3-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor before you take a shot. Parameters can be set for contrast, saturation, sharpness, brightness and zone matching, and up to six settings can be saved as presets. A Peripheral Illumination function compensates for corner light falloff (vignetting).
Specifications Image Sensor: 24.6-megapixel (effective) CMOS Resolution: 6048x4032 pixels Sensor Size: 35.9x24mm (full-frame), 1x AF System: 9-point with 10 assist points Shutter Speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec. ISO Settings: 200-3200, expandable to 100-6400 Continuous Firing Mode: 5 fps Recording Format: JPEG, RAW, cRAW Metering: 40-segment honeycomb, CW, spot Storage Media: CF, MS Dimensions: 6.2x4.6x3.2 inches Weight: 30 ounces Power Source: Rechargeable NP-FM500H lithium-ion battery Estimated Street Price: $2,999 Contact: Sony, (877) 865-SONY, www.sonystyle.com
With 24.6 megapixels and a full-frame sensor, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 has some heavy-duty pro features in its offerings, including dual BIONZ image processors, an in-camera extended dynamic range, in-body image stabilization and a sharp LCD screen that can show the effects of exposure settings on a RAW preview.