Sony unleashes Alpha 57 and clarifies ‘DSLR’ strategy (update)
Sony insists it is not pulling out of the ‘DSLR category’ as it unveils a new Single Lens Translucent (SLT) camera called the Alpha 57.
Replacing the Alpha 55, key features include a top burst rate of 12 frames per second with continuous AF (in Tele-zoom Advanced Priority AE mode), and a maximum ISO of 16,000 (lowest ISO 100), extendable up to 25,600.
The 12fps frame rate is achieved using a cropped image, reducing the maximum resolution to 8.4MP.
In an interview with Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera, Sony confirmed that it is not likely to launch another DSLR, focusing instead on its Translucent Mirror Technology.
But Sony category development manager Paul Genge stressed that the firm would continue to target the DSLR market.
‘We are not pulling out of the DSLR category,’ he said, adding: ‘Given the level of investment Sony is putting into SLT, it is highly unlikely we will ever introduce another DSLR…
‘We will continue to grow this [SLT] category alongside NEX [compact system cameras].’
The Alpha 57 is equipped with a new electronic viewfinder, offering a 100% field of view and a top resolution of 1,440,000 dots.
Due out in April, at a price yet to be announced, the Sony A-mount compatible Alpha 57 borrows its APS-C-size 16.1MP imaging sensor from the NEX-5N.
Key differences over its Alpha 55 predecessor include Auto Portrait Framing.
This aims to position the subject’s face in the captured frame in accordance with the rule of thirds, using face detection to first identify where the person is in a scene.
Auto Portrait Framing can be used in both landscape and portrait formats, and the original image is saved alongside the altered image.
The Alpha 57 is the first SLT camera to boast Clear Image Zoom, a function designed to double – digitally – the effective magnification of an attached lens.
The camera uses Pixel Super Resolution Technology, borrowed from the firm’s Cyber-shot compacts that deploy ‘pixel mapping’ in a bid to enhance resolution.
The newcomer also incorporates a 15-point AF system – with three cross sensors – and includes Full HD movie, featuring a maximum 50p frame rate using the AVCHD (version 2) file format.
Sony says the Alpha 57 borrows its design from the Alpha 65, following feedback from European customers who reported that the Alpha 55 was too small, so the Alpha 57 has been given a ‘firmer grip’.
Firepower also includes SteadyShot Inside image stabilisation, claimed to deliver up to 4.5 stops of ‘assistance’, plus Sony's Sweep Panorama technology.
Also on board is a 3in (921,000-dot resolution) articulated LCD screen.
Sony claims that an improved version of its object tracking technology features in this new model.