Sony on Thursday introduced two new models to its Alpha line of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras — the a550 and the a500. Both are coming in October, for $950 and $750 respectively. The company also introduced a new full-frame DSLR, the a850, and a lens to go with it.
The a550 features a 14.2-megapixel sensor while the a500 shoots at 12.3 megapixels. Both sport Sony Exmore CMOS image sensors and Bionz image processors. Both cameras also feature a “Live View” function that lets you see what you’re shooting using the built-in LCD display. They are also Sony’s first DSLR cameras to feature an in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature; it works without a tripod and can process images within two seconds, according to Sony.
Other shared features include face detection technology, “Smile Shutter” technology that takes a shot when your subject smiles, image stabilization, and, in the case of the a550, up to seven frame per second shooting speed.
The new cameras write images to SD/SDHC media, and are also compatible with Sony’s own Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo and HX series memory cards.
The a550 and a500 will also come with 18-55mm lenses for $1050 and $850, respectively.
Sony also announced Thursday a new macro lens — the DT 30mm F/2.8. It will be available for $200.
Sony’s new full-frame DSLR, the a950, goes on sale in September for $2,000. Its designed to be a lower-cost alternative to the company’s a900 model — it features the same 24.6-megapixel sensor and many of the same features.
Under the hood is an Exmore CMOS sensor and two Bionz processing engines. It sports a nine-sensor autofocus system with 10 assist points, along with the ability to fine-tune white balance, dynamic range optimization, exposure compensation and more using a depth of field preview button.
The camera also has an anti-shake system that Sony claims provides the equivalent to faster shutter speeds by 2.5 to 4 stops. It works with all Sony, Minolta and Konica-Minolta compatible lenses, including wide-angle and large aperture lenses.
The a850 sports HDMI output, a 3-inch LCD display and support for Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo, HX series and CompactFlash media.
Sony also introduced a companion lens — the SAL2875 is a 28-75mm F.28 SAM lens, a general-purpose zoom with an F2.8 aperture over its entire zoom range. The lens bows in November for $800.
Sony’s Web site had not been updated with information about the new cameras as Macworld posted this article.