Sony has unwrapped the 12.2-million-pixel Alpha A700 digital SLR which is aimed at ?photo enthusiasts and serious photo hobbyists?, according to a press release issued by Sony USA.

Due out next month the Alpha A700 boasts five frames per second shooting, an APS-C size imaging sensor and a 3in screen.

It will accept lenses with Sony Alpha and Minolta A-type bayonet mounts.

A prototype of the new camera first appeared at the PMA trade show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Features include a magnesium alloy body. ?Discerning photo enthusiasts will be impressed with the rugged construction and outstanding performance of the A700,? claimed Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony Electronics.

It uses an Exmor CMOS imaging sensor and a new 11-area AF system, which includes a ?centre dual cross sensor?.

Sony has updated its Dynamic Range Optimiser function to allow users to ?choose the desired level of detail recovered in areas of shadow?.

It has also added an ?extensive array? of custom options. Up to 28 camera settings can be stored in one of three user memories for ?instant recall?.

The A700 will be launched in the United States priced $1,400 (body only).

The A700 will be available as a $1,900 kit with a new DT 16-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (priced separately at $580). And in a kit with an 18-70mm lens for around $1,500.

Also unveiled is a new DT 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 lens ($550).

And plans are afoot to launch a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 SSM G telephoto. This will be available in the UK next spring (a US price has not been released).

? AP is attempting to confirm UK prices but, at today’s European press launch in Italy, Sony UK representatives did not have pricing information

For the UK spec click on the link below:

Sony Alpha A700 full UK specification

For the full Sony USA press information see here:

Official Sony Alpha A700 press release

Alpha A700Alpha A700 Sony Alpha A700