Just as promised, Sony made several major announcements today. The company introduced the world’s first interchangeable lens cameras with translucent mirrors, the SLT A55 and A33, a couple of new additions to their mid-range DSLR portfolio and the wider availability for their latest prime lenses.
The translucent mirror cameras feature a semi-transparent mirror that redirects a small amount of light onto the AF sensor while allowing the rest through onto the main imaging sensor. That in turn allows for full-time phase-detection AF in live view mode. Any geek will tell you that the phase-detection AF system is by far superior to the slow contrast-detection AF systems DSLR manufacturers are using in all Live View-enabled DSLR cameras.
The first two cameras to feature the translucent mirrors are Sony SLT A55 with a 16.2MP image sensor and the Sony SLT A33, which is built around a 14.2MP sensor. The two cameras are pretty well spec’d with 3.0″ 921k-dot tilt and swivel LCD screens, built-in GPS receivers and full HD video recording. Their continuous shooting speed is also very impressive at 10 fps for the A55 and 7 fps for the more modest A33.
You can check out the very positive review of the A55 over at DPreview.com. The A55 will be available in October for an estimated 750 US dollars, while the A33 will come a month earlier for 650 dollars.
Next come the two vanilla DSLR alternatives to the translucent duo – Sony A560 and A580. Identical in every aspect but the sensors (16.2 MP for A580 vs 14.2 MP for A560), those two pack 3″ 921k-dot displays and are capable of recording full HD movies at 29.97 fps. Their maximum continuous shooting speed is 7fps and the available ISO range is 100-25600.
You can grab the Sony A580 in October for 900 euro, while the A560 will come at the beginning of 2011 for 100 euro less.
Finally, Sony also announced that the trio of fast prime lenses they announced last month ( 24mm F2, 35mm F1.8 and 85mm F2.8) will hit the US market in September.