Sony's new DSLR flagship - the 24.6 megapixel alpha900

Sony's new DSLR flagship - the 24.6 megapixel alpha900
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Sony α900 digital SLR
Sony α900 digital SLR
Sony α900 digital SLR - rear view
Sony α900 digital SLR - rear view
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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.

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

  • Model: DSLR-A900
  • Camera type: Digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses
  • Lens mount: Sony α mount, compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount
  • Image Sensor Type: "Exmor" CMOS Image Sensor
  • Image Sensor Size: 35.9 X 24.0mm
  • Effective Pixel Number: 24,610K pixels
  • Anti-Dust: Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and Image Sensor-Shift mechanism
  • Recording media: Memory Stick Duo,Memory Stick PRO Duo,Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Compact Flash Type I, Type II (Microdrive),UDMA(Mode5) compliant
  • Media slot: Memory Stick Duo/Compact Flash Dual slot
  • Image format: JPEG,RAW(ARW2.1 Format),RAW+JPEG
  • D-RangeOptimizer: off,Standard/ Advanced: Auto/Advanced: Level
  • Image stabislization: On system image Sensor-Shift mechanism
  • Noise reduction: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 second, High/Normal/Low/Off, available at the ISO set to 1600 or above
  • Auto Focus system: TTL phase-detection system, CCD line sensors, 9 points + 10 assist focus points
  • ISO sensivity: ISO 200 - 3200 equivalent, ISO numbers up from ISO100 to ISO6400 can be set as expanded ISO range
  • Flash system: External, Wireless control with HVL-F58AM, ADI flash / Pre-flash TTL metering
  • Shutter: Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
  • 1/8000 second - 30 seconds speed range, bulb
  • Continuous-advance rate: Hi:Approx.5 frames per second at maximum, Lo:Approx.3 frames per second
  • LCD Monitor: 7.5 cm(3.0"), TFT Xtra Fine, 921, 600(640x3(RGB)x480) dots
  • Battery type: InfoLitium NP-FM500H,7.2V
  • Battery life: Approx. 88 0 shots(CIPA measurement)
  • Dimensions: Approx.156x117x82mm(6 1/8 x 4 5/8 x 3 1/4 inches)
  • Weight: Approx. 850g (1 lb 14 oz)
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