September 17, 2008 There's been plenty for high-end camera enthusiasts to drool over in recent times - Nikon's D90, Canon's EOS 50d and some serious professional hardware announcements from Leaf and Hasselblad. Now Sony has added to the smorgasbord with the announcement of a new top-model for its alpha DSLR range - the A900. Not only does the unit pack a whopping 24.6 megapixel resolution, but it does so with full-frame CMOS sensor that's equivalent to a 35mm film frame.
The new-generation sensor combines its impressive native resolution with on-chip analogue/digital (A/D) signal conversion and two-stage noise reduction (applied prior to RAW data conversion and then again during image processing) to produce ultra-low noise image files.
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Even at this resolution the camera can deliver continuous shooting at 5fps backed by a fast 9-point AF with 10 focus assist points to optimize shooting results and a 4 stage in-body stabilization system called "SteadyShot INSIDE™".
The camera is protected by a high-tensile aluminium chassis with magnesium alloy body panels and on the inside, an anti-dust system safeguards the full-frame sensor in the event that dust enters the body during lens exchanges.
The optical glass pentaprism viewfinder has a field of view that matches the image sensor and once you've taken the shot, playback is via a 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD with a high resolution (921k dot) that promises clear viewing, even in bright light. There's also a new Intelligent Preview function - and we like the sound of this one - which simulates the effect of White Balance, D Range Optimiser and exposure level on the LCD screen without actually taking a picture and allows you to quickly apply these settings to the next shot.
Shots can also be viewed on a connected HD television.
The range of compatible lenses has been boosted by the addition of the 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM telephoto which features silent AF operation via a High-torque Super Sonic wave Motor, along with the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM wide angle zoom.
The A900 full-frame digital SLR will be available from October 2008 and the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM and 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM lenses will be available from early 2009. No official word on pricing as yet.
Key technical specifications