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All posts tagged "a-mount"


Thursday, December 22, 2011

PhotographyBLOG Names Sony's SLT-A77 DSLR of the Year

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

http://www.photographyblog.com/news..._the_year_2011/

"Our penultimate award is for the DSLR Camera of the Year 2011. Somewhat overshadowed by the rise of compact system cameras, DSLRs are still the staple product for the big two of Canon and Nikon. But it’s the young upstart Sony that most caught our eye in 2011 with the launch of the A77..."

Personally, I was a little shocked to find out that the A77 was given the nod, till I realised that in the other SLRs released in 2011 were Sony's own A65 and A35, the Canon EOS 600D and 1100D, and the Nikon D5100. Not much of a competition there; had Nikon launched the D300 replacement or Canon the EOS 5D Mark III, it would have been quite a different story.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Sony's SLT-A77 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:30 PM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyslta77/

"After a four-year wait, Sony has returned to the enthusiast/semi-pro end of the DSLR market. Having made little impact in that market with the A700 that very closely resembled the conventional DSLRs made by Canon and Nikon, Sony has spent the intervening time developing something a bit different."

DPReview takes a look at the Sony SLT-A77, which features a 24 megapixel CMOS sensor in their special pellicle-like mirror DSLR. While the camera performs admirably in many ways, the high ISO performance is not very good, and the noise reduction efforts by Sony are rather ham-handed. I suspect that robbing some light away from the sensor might prove a bit too much for a sensor of this density. Have a look at the review and tell us what you think!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sony Announces SLT-A77 and SLT-A65 Digital Cameras

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:52 AM

http://www.dcresource.com/news/news...tem.php?id=4363

Big news today, as Sony announces a whole slew of cameras. Let us start with the more traditional (but not quite) DSLRs, the translucent mirrored SLT-A77 and SLT-A65. The SLT-A77 features a 24 megapixel APS-C-sized CMOS sensor with sensor shift stabilisation, a new XGA resolution EVF with 100% coverage and 1.09x magnification (which is 0.72x if you want to compare with other 35mm cameras), 1/250 flash sync speed, 19 point AF system with 11 cross sensors, a weather-sealed magnesium body, standard ISO range of 100-16,000, continuous shooting at 12 (!) FPS (making it faster than the D3 or EOS 1D IV), a 3" VGA sensor on a new rotating platform (which flips down, not my favourite implementation), built-in GPS, and a bunch of shooting modes. Oh, on the video side, it does 1080p videos at 60 FPS, allows for manual controls, and has an external microphone jack. The camera comes with a Memory Stick (bleagh) and a SDXC slot. Ships in October for US$1,400 for the body alone, or US$2,000 with the new 16-50mm lens (detailed below).

The SLT-A65 is similar (yes 24 megapixel sensor), and drops a few features, notable, the AF module is a 15 point system with 3 (talk about a drastic drop) cross sensors, continuous shooting is down to 10 FPS (still faster than many cameras), drops flash sync speed to 1/160, loses the top LCD panel, and overall is less robust in build than the SLT-A77, with a full plastic body and lower rated shutter count. Ships in October for US$900 for the body alone, or US$1,000 with the 18-55 lens.

Photo of the SLT-A65 after the break, and there are more links at the source. Also, DPreview.com has a preview of the SLT-A77.

Read more...


Sony Announces Four Lenses and an Adapter

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:41 AM

http://www.dcresource.com/news/news...tem.php?id=4361

Pictured is the lens I suspect everyone will be most interested in, because it has the Carl Zeiss moniker on it, and hey, German Glass(tm) is automatically good, is it not? Anyway, the first of the four lenses is the E-mount (ie for NEX) 24mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss-branded Sonnar lens. This gives a 36mm equivalent, so it is something of a 35/1.8. Good for those who like the field-of-view that particular focal length gives. Thanks to the branding, it will come with a not-too high price tag of US$1,000. Ships in December.

Next up are two more mundane lenses for the NEX system. The optically stabilised 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 gives a field-of-view similar to a 80-300mm, so that is the budget telephoto zoom covered. Then there is the optically stabilised 50mm f/1.8, which umm, is a bit of an odd length. A 70mm probably will be more popular. The 55-210mm goes for US$350 and will ship in October, while the 50mm goes for US$300 and will ship in December.

The sole Alpha-mount lens is the DT 16-50mm f/2.8 SSM lens, which gives a field-of-view equivalent to a 24-75mm. Not much to say, other than this type of lens is pretty much a popular one for both enthusiasts and pros alike. What took Sony so long to come up with this, I have no idea. Ships in October for US$700.

Finally, there is the adapter for NEX cameras, the LA-EA2. It features a translucent mirror, a screw-drive motor, and an AF module to allow AF with older lenses when adapting Alpha lenses to the NEX. Since the module at US$400 is not cheap, and with all of the above components, not small (and with SLR lenses, even less small), I wonder who is actually going to get that.

More photos at the source.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sony Announces NEX-C3, SLT-A35 and E-mount 30mm f/3.5 Macro

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:18 AM

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1106/1...exc3preview.asp

"Sony has added the NEX-C3 to its range of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The C3 features the same 16.2MP seen in the SLT A35, again promising improved battery life. The latest model is directly aimed at offering a compact-camera-like experience to users looking to upgrade to a large-sensor camera."

Sony has announced its latest NEX camera, the NEX-C3, which is even smaller than the NEX-3 and NEX-5 before it. I am not sure if such an aggressive reduction in size is needed, since the NEX cameras have to use fairly large zoom lenses to cover the APS-C sensor. The NEX-C3 now also comes with a 16 megapixel sensor, while retaining most of the features found in the NEX-3, including 720p videos and a 3" VGA LCD (which can flip up and down). The NEX-C3 will be available in August for about US$650 with the 18-55/3.5-5.6 kit, or US$600 with the 16/2.8 pancake.

To go with the NEX-C3 announcement, the 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens for E-mount was also introduced. This gives a 45mm focal length equivalent macro lens, which seems a bit short, even for a normal macro lens. I guess it is good for food bloggers? The lens will be available for US$250 in October. Hmm, sounds a bit too cheap for a macro lens.

Also introduced is the SLT-A35, the follow-up to the SLT-A33. It features a 16 megapixel sensor, but as far as I can tell, it is pretty much similar to the A33. It does have a nifty new feature that allows 7 FPS at 8.4 megapixels via a 1.4x crop, making an overall crop of 2.1 compared to 35mm film. Not too different from what the D2X did way back, and can be quite useful when shooting sports with a shorter telephoto lens. The camera also does 1080i video at 60 FPS. The SLT-A35 will be available in August for US$600, or $700 with the 18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Photo of the SLT-A35 after the break.

More Coverage

DPReview.com NEX-C3 Preview

DPReview.com SLT-A35 Preview

Read more...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Glass for Less: A Simple Guide to Inexpensive Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

As more people get into photography as a hobby, a common refrain heard is that it is an expensive hobby. It is not without some truth, as hobbies by their nature can involve spending large outlays of money since it is human nature to delve deeper into our interests, and hobbies that involve any kind of gear will have many opportunities for the hobbyist to spend their hard-earned money on. Not helping is today's world of marketing departments' promises of being better at what you do if you buy their companies' products or services.

Even if you ignore the messages from marketing, you still need some basic gear to take a photo, like a lens, and lenses can be very very expensive. Lenses can range from the popular f/2.8 zooms (as much as US$2,000+) to the super telephoto lenses (too much). Thankfully, there are cheap options out there, some good, some downright awful. So what does a budget (and budding) photographer buy? Well, here's a short roundup of some lenses that can be considered to be not too expensive.

Read more...


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things I Want to See in 2011

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 08:00 AM

Welcome to 2011! The last decade was a breath-taking one for digital photography, and the last few years have brought about a torrent of changes and improvements, along with the digital revolution settling down somewhat. Still, a new year brings new possibilities, and here is what I would like to see for 2011:

1. Open Platform Camera

One reason for the popularity of cameras in smartphones is the software you can add to it. Want different effects? Download an app to process them on the phone. Want to see said effects in real-time? Download an app to replace the default camera app. Want an intervalometer? Download an app for that too!

Having an open platform for developers to add functionality to the camera would be an amazing selling point. This would go beyond consumer-level gee-whiz; there is plenty for for enthusiasts too. Change button assignments, tone curves (this has existed but not always the easiest to do), even autofocus and auto exposure behaviour for the adventerous. There is also something to be said for spending less time in image editors...

Of course this would kill some manufacturers' unique selling points. Olympus and their Art Filters will probably be the first casualty. Coupled with most camera companies being conservative in nature, this is unlikely to happen from a traditional manufacturer. Anyone out there willing to take a chance on this?

2. Truly Connected Cameras

Tying in with the above point on open platforms, connectivity is the next big thing. Most of us share our photos digitally nowadays, and the Internet is the main way to do this. Standalone cameras still rely heavily on having a computer to do this. Smartphone cameras are showing the way this should be done, so where are the connected cameras? The Olympus E-PL2's bluetooth dongle (a leaked piece of news at this time of writing) is a step forward, and hopefully will set the tone for the rest of the year.

Read more...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sony SLT-A55 Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:30 PM

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/s.../slt_a55-review

"The SLT-A33 and A55 have a unique translucent mirror that allows light to hit both its 16 Megapixel CMOS and autofocus sensors at the same time. That means that you get full-time live view and fast phase detect autofocus for both still and video shooting. And, since the mirror doesn't need to flip out of the way, you can also shoot continuously at up to 10 frames/second, with the camera refocusing between each shot. "

Sony's camera division was pretty much struggling for the last half of the year, especially in the DSLR segment. The SLT-A55 is a camera that brings an old idea with new technology, and to me it does away with all the disadvantages of Sony's previous attempts at live-view, which were the absolutely horrible viewfinder, and the inability to do video. The review is mostly positive, and now it's up to the market to judge the product. Any Minolta/Sony users interested in this?


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sony's SLT A55 Given a Review by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyslta55/

"Sony's latest interchangeable lens cameras, the SLT Alpha A33 and A55 represent a significant technological milestone - not just for Sony but for the enthusiast camera market as a whole. The company has rejected the traditional DSLR design and instead created a hybrid that, like a compact camera, is from the ground up built around live view, but one that is also capable of offering full-time DSLR-style phase-detection autofocus. The combination means they can offer features such as phase-detection AF during movie recording and extremely fast continuous shooting rates (10 frames per second on the A55), previously unthinkable at this price."

Sony's finally done something interesting and different with the SLT cameras with their pellicle mirrors; instead of having the mirror reflect a minor portion of the light to a optical viewfinder, it instead uses the light for a phase detection autofocus system. This allows Sony to implement a viewfinder that is larger and brightter than that of their previous live view attempts, allows for AF with all lenses in the Alpha lineup, while using the more time-tested phase detect AF system. DPReview liked the camera plenty much, and the new 16.2 megapixel sensor looks good.

We now have three systems on the market for live view AF; Sony's implementation, Panasonic's improvements on the traditional contrast detection system, and Fujifilm's hybrid AF system. It should be interesting to see which method is the more successful one, both technically and commercially.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sony Alpha A550 Reviewed by PhotographyBLOG

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

http://www.photographyblog.com/revi...ny_a550_review/

"The Sony A550 is a mid-range 14.2 megapixel DSLR camera offering enhanced Live View, Auto HDR functionality and high-speed continuous shooting capabilities. Slotting in above the A3- series cameras and below the A700, the Sony Alpha A550 employs a new Exmor CMOS sensor for better low-light images with an increased ISO range of 200-12800. The A550 offers 7fps continuous shooting when using the optical viewfinder or 4fps in Live View mode using the 3 inch tilting LCD screen, while the new Auto HDR mode promises to capture a huge range of shadow and highlight detail in landscapes, interiors and other scenes."

PhotographyBLOG has a pretty positive review of the Sony a550, but it is baffling how a review of a camera does not dock more points for it having a crappy viewfinder. I wonder if the tech specifications are that good to overcome what is essentially the main interface to taking photos. I struggled with cameras like the Nikon D70, and the Sony DSLRs with their live view implementation is worse; it really is like looking through a straw. I think Sony knows the issue as well, hence the pellicle mirror a55 and a33 cameras, as well as the NEX cameras.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sony A390 Given Quick Review by Digital Photography Review; Lame Duck Confirmed

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydslra390/

"The A390 is essentially an A380 with some subtle ergonomic changes, specifically a new, more substantial grip, and a reshaped top plate. As a relatively minor upgrade, the A390 was never going to warrant a full, in-depth review, but we're curious to see what Sony has changed in its latest midrange DSLR. When we reviewed the A380, one of our main criticisms of the camera's handling was Sony's change from the bulbous, almost oversized grip of the A350 to the more minimal, somewhat sharp lines of its predecessor. Has Sony taken a welcome step back in the right direction?"

So, dpreview.com takes a very quick look at the Sony A390, which in many ways is a very minor update of the A380. Ignoring the mirrorless competition, the A390's output looks dated. The output looks worse than the Nikon D3000 in some areas, and that camera is using a sensor that is some 4 to 5 years old. Newer cameras like the Nikon D5000 and the cheaper Pentax K-x easily best it. It makes me wonder where a big company like Sony is taking the Alpha system to; loyal Minolta users deserve better!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sony Announces A290 and A390 DSLRS; Rest of the World Yawns

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:26 AM

http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/09/...s-big-bro-a390/

"Sony's A290 DSLR may not have been the hottest of this summer's Vietnamese leaks, but nevertheless it was about a month ago that the entry-level shooter was spied over there, and now we know when it'll be coming over here -- roughly, at least. Sony has made the 14.2 megapixel A290 official, along with its A390 sibling."

After the NEX cameras, we get the most ho-hum DSLR launch ever. These cameras bring nothing new to the table, have what looks like a very simplified UI, and are not aesthetically appealing either (the chunky design feels really ancient for some reason and is lacking in Sony's usual design sense). The only real advantage these cameras have is price, but I'm not sure that saving a hundred is going to matter when there are more interesting options on the market, and in a tier of a market that's increasingly enticed by the Micro Four Thirds camp despite the price.

Read more...


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