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Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Sony Unveils Full-frame Mirorrless Cameras, New Cyber-shot RX10 Model


Sony today unveiled the new α7 and α7R, the world's first full-frame mirrorless cameras, a new Cyber-shot RX10 camera along with five new full-frame E-mount lenses and a set of mount adapters.



Sony's latest devices are special since they are the first mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras to boast a full-frame image sensor, meaning that they really are just as good as a pro-grade full DSLR yet are much lighter and compact.

'Mirrorless' cameras offer many of the benefits and features of a full digital SLR camera in a smaller package. But because they're smaller, they use smaller, inferior image sensors and lenses. AT least until now.

Sony claims that the new α7 and α7R digital cameras are the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models.

The α7R model features a 36.4 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail. The α7 model boasts a 24.3 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor and a fast Hybrid AF system.

Each camera feature a new BIONZ X processor; fast AF capabilities; an XGA OLED Tru-finder, full HD 60p video recording, Wi-Fi and NFC connection, dust-and moisture- resistance and more.

Both cameras feature 9 different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial. Users can preview all changes to photographic settings in real-time on the 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder or the high-resolution tiltable 3" LCD screen.

The new cameras shoot Full HD video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p @ 60p). Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording as well, allowing for powerful close-up shots without sacrificing pixel count. Other movie features include an audio recording level control and display plus a "live" HDMI output for passing through video to an external monitor or recording device.

The α7R model has a 36.4 effective megapixel full frame sensor and no optical low pass filter. It features a new Fast Intelligent AF technology along with three selectable sizes for the Flexible Spot AF frame, minimizing the risk of accidentally focusing on the wrong target.

The α7 camera features a 24.3 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor paired with the BIONZ X processor. It has a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase- and contrast-detect AF methods to ensure speedy autofocus. It can also shoot at up to 5 fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking.  

There are a total of 5 new full-frame E-mount lenses designed to take full advantage of the imaging capabilities of the α7R and α7 cameras, including mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Zeiss Sonnar T prime lenses and a G Lens telephoto zoom.

In addition to the new lenses, there are also two new-generation mount adaptors. The LA-EA3 adapter adds compatibility for existing A-mount lenses the new cameras, while the LA-EA4 model adds the fast focusing and shooting capabilities of Sony’s Translucent Mirror Technology.

There is also a new vertical grip (VG-C1EM) that offers comfort during vertical shooting and can accommodate two separate NP-FW50 batteries for extended battery life and shooting time. A new BC-TRW compact external battery charger, and FA-CS1M off camera shoe allows the use of external flashes (HVL-43M, 20M) in off-camera wired applications. Additionally, the new LCS-ELCA premium soft leather carry case protects the α7 and α7R cameras from scuffs and marks while being carried.

The Sony α7R and α7 full-frame interchangeable lens cameras will be available for purchase this December.

The α7R camera will be offered as a body-only for about $2300.

However, all of this innovation comes at a large cost. The Sony α7 compact system camera will be offered with a 28-70mm F3.5 – F5.6 full-frame lens (model SEL2870) for about $2000. It will also be offered as a body-only for about $1700. The α7R will cost $2300 for the body alone. The new LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 mount adapters will be available in December for about $200 and $350, respectively.

The new VG-C1EM vertical grip and LCS-ELCA premium case will also be available in December for about $300 and $ 140, respectively.  

The second camera announced today by Sony is the Cyber-shot RX10. The camera features a 1.0-type, 20.2 effective megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor combined with a 24-200mm (35mm equivalent) F2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T zoom lens.

The new RX10 camera shares the same high-resolution, 1.0-type 20.2 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor used in Sony’s RX100 II compact camera. The BIONZ X processor is about 3x faster in processing speed compared to previous BIONZ predecessors. It also utilizes diffraction-reducing technologies, which compensates for the lens diffraction at smaller apertures.

The Cyber-shot RX10 camera features a new contrast-detection autofocus system thanks to a new-generation Direct Drive SSM (Super Sonicwave Motor) mechanism that works with the Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X processor. Additionally, the camera has lock-on AF that accurately tracks moving subjects, even if they disappear momentarily from the frame. Users also have a choice of three selectable sizes for the spot AF frame, cutting the risk of accidental focus errors with very small subjects. It also has an upgraded 'Eye AF' that promises crisp portraits focused accurately on the subject’s eyes.

The new RX10 high-zoom camera can shoot at up to 10 frames per second with continuous autofocus. The camera also features a high-contrast OLED Tru-Finder that provides a wide viewing angle of about 33°, as well as a 3.0-type White Magic LCD, which tilts up or down for easy framing.

The Cyber-shot RX10 camera has a host of advanced HD video shooting capabilities, including the ability to capture full HD video either 60p (AVCHD progressive) or a cinematic 24p frame rate, with full control over P/A/S/M exposure modes. Additionally, the camera can read and process data from every one of the large sensor’s pixels to create Full HD videos. It also has a 'clear' HDMI output which allows footage to be reviewed on an external monitor or recorded to a separate storage device.

The RX10 has an audio level meter with adjustable levels to ensure that movies sound as good as they look and there’s a microphone jack and headphone output for accurate level monitoring. Further, the RX10 model is compatible with the XLR-K1M adapter, which takes users into the world of pro-quality sound recording and allows for the addition of an external microphone via a balanced XLR terminal.

Aesthetically, the new Cyber-shot RX10 features a variety of customizable controls and settings. The lens itself has a manual control ring that can be used for zoom or focus control, as well as a dedicated aperture ring that can be set to 'stepped' (clicking) or smooth and silent when making adjustments.

The camera has six different customizable buttons plus a top-mounted LCD for instant confirmation of exposure and other key settings.

The RX10 model has on-board Wi-Fi for easy connection with any iOS or Android smartphone, and features NFC (Near Field Communication) one-touch for connection to NFC-enabled Android devices. Consumers can share photos wirelessly on a connected mobile device, HD TV or home networked devices. Additionally, a connected phone can be used as a smart remote control to fire the camera’s shutter.

The new camera plays back high-resolution still images directly on a connected 4K television, offering four times the detail of Full HD. It also features support for TRILUMINOS Color.

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 high-zoom camera will be available for purchase this November for about $1300.



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