Sony has confirmed plans to launch a full-frame digital SLR by the end of this year and today announced the new Alpha 300 and 350 models.

The 24.6-million-pixel flagship model will carry an Exmor CMOS imaging sensor, claimed to deliver ‘low noise’.

A new prototype of the camera is on display at PMA in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Sony has announced two new consumer-level DSLRs, the 14.2MP Alpha 350 (pictured) and 10.2MP Alpha 300, each featuring APS-C size CCD imaging sensors.

Both models include ‘Quick AF Live View’, claimed to allow photographers to ‘shoot with speed’ using the camera’s LCD screen. It is understood that this system makes use of a separate CCD sensor. ‘This all-new system fuses the convenience of live image preview with the responsive TTL phase-detection system and rapid continuous shooting that is prized by DSLR users,’ added the company in a statement.

The Alphas use Super SteadyShot borrowed from the enthusiast-level Alpha 700, which is claimed to allow shutter speeds of 2.5-3.5 stops slower than otherwise possible.

A new battery grip and flash unit will also be available.

Features include a top equivalent ISO of 3200 and a 2.7in screen.

Speaking before the opening of the PMA show, Toru Katsumoto, senior general manager of the firm’s Digital Imaging Business Group, told journalists that using the Quick AF Live View – as opposed to the optical viewfinder – would ‘transform the photo shooting experience into dialogue with the subject’, by freeing up the photographer to ‘communicate’ with those being photographed.

He added: ‘This year will take Alpha to the main stage,’ adding that the global DSLR market continues to show a ‘steep rise’ with no sign of losing momentum.

Sony hopes to capitalise on consumers who plan to trade-up their point-and-shoot compact models.


Pictures: A prototype of Sony’s proposed flagship DSLR (above) and the Alpha 350 (below)

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