Sony a99

Posted in DSLR, sony alpha, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 27, 2012 by reselgroth

TS300x300The Sony SLT-A99 is the Japanese camera maker’s flagship model, aimed squarely at DSLR enthusiasts who will settle for nothing less than a full frame sensor in a rugged body with a plethora of external and customizable controls. It arrives almost four years after its predecessor, the A900, the company’s first full frame DSLR. You’d certainly expect significant new features given such a long gap between products and Sony has lost no opportunity to equip the A99 with every bit of electronic expertise they’ve incorporated into their NEX and SLT models in the interim. Whereas the A900 was a defiantly conventional SLR that would have been immediately familiar to Konica Minolta film-camera users, the A99 is something of a technological tour-de-force.

Start with a dual chip AF system, live view focus peaking, tiltable rear LCD, built-in GPS and 1080p60 movie recording plus the ability to output uncompressed video, and the contrast to the stills-only A900 couldn’t be more stark aside from the A99’s identical 24MP resolution. And then of course, there’s the fact that with the A99 Sony has opted for an electronic, versus optical viewfinder. From a features standpoint, it’s clear that Sony was out to rethink its approach to the enthusiast market and attempt to lure would-be DSLR shooters with a surfeit of technology while broadening its appeal to videographers.

Like its predecessor, the SLT-A99 enters a full frame DSLR playing field still dominated by the ‘big two’, so the camera’s success will depend not just on its advances over the A900, but how well it competes against the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800. Sony may have chosen not to challenge the 36MP Nikon D800 for pixel count – somewhat of a surprise given that the D800 houses a Sony-made sensor – but has opted instead for a unique dual sensor AF system that promises more precise subject tracking along with a 6fps continuous AF burst rate.

Sony has gone to great lengths to stress the work that has gone into improving the camera’s image quality. The latest 24MP sensor has been designed so that more of each photosite is light-sensitive. The electronics in front of this light sensitive region have been slimmed-down to increase the angle from which each site can receive light. These changes, combined with a design that provides a short and high-capacity path between the sensor output and the image processor, and the addition of 14-bit Raw output, should mean improved still image quality.

The rapid adoption of DSLRs by video professionals has made HD recording with manual exposure control a stock feature in even mid-range models. With the A99 though, Sony leverages its considerable video expertise by combining 1080p60 video capture with SLT-enabled phase-detection AF along with the ability to output uncompressed video over HDMI (a feature we first saw in the Nikon D800). Another well-implemented nod to the needs of run-and-gun videographers can be found in the inclusion of a ‘silent controller’ that allows for adjustments to made while recording without the attendant button clicks

a77 Firmware 1.06

Posted in DSLR, sony alpha with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2012 by reselgroth

The Alpha 77 upgrade also adds in-camera lens correction support for the SAM 30mm f/2.8 Macro, SAL 50mm f/1.4 (and presumably for the Minolta/KM equivalent with the same lens identity), the SAL CZ 24-70mm f/2.8 SSM, SAM 28-75mm f/2.8, SAL 70-400mm f/4-5.6 G SSM, SAL 70-200mm f/2.8 G SSM, SAL CZ 16-35mm f/2.8 and SAL 35mm f/1.4 G (again, presumably also correcting the Minolta/KM lens with the same identity number).

There are initial reports of a faster response, and faster image review time, supported by other Sony sources (Sony UK does not list these). Changes like this are normally accompanied by minor improvements in image quality, as the firmware has to be addressed pretty deeply rather than just tweaking a few parameters. Nothing gets to work faster unless it’s re-coded and that is good news. This is a near 64-megabyte program download, and not all of that is used for the updater part of it which runs on your Windows or Mac machine (exact specs are given on the links, and 64-bit is not supported so you need an old laptop or something like that to do your updating, if you have current systems – we always keep an older machine around for exactly this reason).

Specific additional claims which have surfaced include faster start-up and/or shutdown, more responsive front and rear wheels (?), improved auto review response, better AF performance with the new 500mm G, and better AF with scenes including bright areas. http://www.sony.co.uk/support/en/product/SLT-A77/downloads/FW_A77_V106_WIN

a77

Posted in DSLR, sony alpha, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by reselgroth

Preview based on a pre-production SLT-A77 running firmware 0.65

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. The A77 builds on the company’s ‘translucent mirror’ technology, and uses an electronic rather than optical viewfinder. The final result is a product that may look traditional, but is able to promise the unconventional.

Spec-wise the A77 is impressive: it features a new 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, 12fps full-resolution shooting and the highest resolution EVF we’ve ever encountered (a 2.4M dot OLED finder). It also uses a new 19-point AF sensor, 11 points of which  are cross-type (sensitive to detail in both the vertical and horizontal axis). Clever use of the main sensor’s live view allows the A77 to track objects as they move across the frame, enabling the camera to have a better understanding of which AF point it should be using at any given time.

Last year’s SLT-A55 gave some clues about how Sony hoped to bring its electronics know-how to bear in a high-end camera. Its fixed, semi-transparent mirror design meant Sony could do away with a conventional optical viewfinder and use an electronic display. It also meant that the phase-detection autofocus that gives DSLRs much of their immediacy could be used all the time. The result was a camera that could shoot at an impressive 10fps, could focus quickly in video mode and offered full-time live view with consistent DSLR-like behaviour in a way that no camera had really managed before.

Unsurprisingly the A77 takes all these capabilities a lot further than the consumer-level A55 – it combines the latest processor with an electronic first curtain shutter to offer the level of responsiveness the more demanding enthusiast/semi-pro users will expect. The A77’s massively improved viewfinder is also key to ensuring the A77 can hold its own against the very stiff competition it faces from the likes of Canon’s 7D. (You don’t have to read particularly far between the lines to conclude it was this feature Sony wanted to perfect before launching an SLT into this market.)

And, as with the A55 and a handful of other recent Sony cameras, the A77 offers in-camera GPS. It can be a really useful feature for organising and retreiving images, as allowing tagged images to be geo-located on sites such as Flickr. As with all GPS settings, it can take a while to locate enough satellites, or struggle to find them at all in built-up areas. Then, of course, there’s a battery penalty to be paid.

In addition to the technological advances, Sony has clearly been listening to its audience when developing the camera’s firmware – the A77 is not just the most customizable Sony we’ve ever encountered, but that customization includes a number of long asked-for features. In addition to the ability to fine-adjust the AF tuning, Sony has added the ability to define the upper and lower extremes that the Auto ISO system will use  – a step we suspect many users will welcome.

But despite all this technological wizardry, the A77 is actually a remarkably conventional-feeling camera. It may have a plastic top-plate, rather than the A700’s tank-like magnesium-alloy construction, and  use SD rather than CF cards, but in pretty much every other respect it looks and behaves like a logical progression of the series. Overall, despite the fact that it embraces a rather different set of technologies, it feels and behaves much like a conventional semi-pro DSLR.

I’m so excited to get my hands on this camera and give it a test drive, too bad we have to wait till Oct too see what it can really do in the hand of a seasoned photographer hehehe. I really think they should have given it two memory card slots but oh well with the size of memory you can buy now I’m sure one will be enough to keep you shooting most of the day. Can’t wait.

Sony A77

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2011 by reselgroth

The A77 announcing in July.  If Sony’s new A77 SLT does indeed have a 24mp sensor,  it should be as good or better than Sony’s lovely 16mp sensor. It would have better corner to corner resolution than the A900 and A850 because it will be taking advantage of the sweet spot of the same full frame lenses they use, and a serious advantage even with lower priced lenses over higher priced lenses FF require just to get close to the kind of corner to corner sharpness levels APS-C can produce. We’ll see what happens in July ? (7/11/11) Latest update says it’s NOT going to be a SLT but will be a SLR.

Sigma SD1

Posted in DSLR, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by reselgroth

* 46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C sensor
* Lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body
* Weather-resistant O-ring sealing connections
* Dual ‘TRUE II’ image processing engines
* 11 Point Twin Cross AF Sensor

The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the new SIGMA SD1 Digital SLR Camera, incorporating a 46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor. The SIGMA SD1 is Sigma’s flagship digital SLR model, adopting a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy for its body and O-ring sealing connections to make a weather-resistant design throughout for use in harsh conditions.

The SIGMA SD1 incorporates a 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor and dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engines. The combination of the 46 megapixel sensor and dual TRUE II processing engines ensure the high resolution images are processed quickly with high definition and smooth and subtle graduation of colour. The SD1 is SIGMA’s latest digital SLR camera which meets high requirements of professional and enthusiast photographers for all types of photography.

SD1 Special site: http://www.SIGMA-SD.com/sd1
Product Summary

46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C X3 Full-colour image sensor
The 46 megapixel (4,800×3,200×3 layers) 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor featured in the Sigma SD1 captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour. Using three silicon-embedded layers of photo detectors, stacked vertically to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths, it efficiently reproduces colour more accurately, and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor. Since colour moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required, meaning light and colour, generated by the 46 megapixel APS-C X3 direct image sensor, is captured with a three-dimensional feel.

Dual TRUE II image processing engine
The SD1 incorporates a dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engine which improves the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. The unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones.

CF card
The SD1 adopts the TYPE I CF Card. This camera is compatible with UDMA Mode6, enabling fast processing of large amounts of data.
* It is not possible to use Microdrives and TYPE II CF cards.

11 point twin cross sensor
The autofocus system features an 11 point twin cross sensor. The shifted twin cross type sensor improves AF accuracy.

Magnesium body
The Sigma SD1 adopts a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body designed to withstand rough use and shocks in harsh conditions.

Weather-resistant design
Buttons and connections benefit from O-ring sealings to prevent dust and water getting inside the camera body.

Large, highly visible 3.0” TFT colour LCD Monitor
The SD1 camera features a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition.

Optional lenses
The SD1 can be used with over 40 Sigma lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheyes which adopt the latest technology such as FLD and SLD glass, Aspherical lenses, Sigma’s unique Optical Stabiliser function, Hyper Sonic Motor and Sigma’s Super Multi Layer Coating. They meet the various and demanding requirements of all types of photographers.
Sigma SD1 camera specifications
Format Interchangeable lens SLR camera
Storage Media Compact Flash (Type I, UDMA compatible)
Image Sensor Size 24 x 16mm (1.5x APS-C)
Lens Mount SIGMA SA bayonet mount
Compatible Lenses SIGMA SA mount interchangeable lenses
Image Sensor X3 direct image sensor (CMOS)
Effective Pixels 46MP (4,800×3,200×3 layers)
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism SLR viewfinder
Viewfinder Frame Coverage 98% vertical, 98% horizontal
Viewfinder Magnification 0.95x (with 50mm lens at infinity)
Eye point 18mm
Diopter Adjustment Range -3.0 dpt – +1.5 dpt
Auto Focus Type TTL phase difference detection system
AF Point 11 points twin cross sensor
AF Operating Range EV -2 to +19 (ISO100)
Focus Mode • Single AF
• Continuous AF (with AF motion prediction function)
• Manual
Focusing Screen Fixed, all matt screen
Mirror Quick return
Depth of Field Preview Yes
AF Point Selection • Automatic Selection
• Manual Selection
Active AF point indicator Superimposed in viewfinder
Focus Lock Shutter Release Halfway-Down position
Built-in Flash • Manual Pop-up Built-in flash
• GN11
• 17mm lens angle covered
Flash Metering System S-TTL Auto Flash
Flash Compensation ±3EV (1/3 stop increments)
Flash Sync Terminal Available
Flash Connectivity Hot shoe (contact X synchronization at 1/180 sec. or less, with dedicated flash linking contact)
LCD Monitor • 3.0″ TFT colour LCD monitor
• Approx. 460,000 Pixels
Dimensions 145.5 mm/5.7″ (W) × 112.5 mm/4.4″(H) × 80.0 mm/3.1″
Weight TBA

Sony A55v

Posted in DSLR, sony alpha, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2010 by reselgroth

* 16.2MP (effective) APS HD CMOS sensor
* Fixed, pellicle-type semi-translucent mirror
* Maximum ISO 12,800 (with a quasi-ISO 25,600 ‘Multi-frame NR’ option)
* 15-point phase-detection AF array with 3 cross-type AF points
* Electronic viewfinder with 1.15 million dot resolution
* Built-in GPS
* Electronic level in EVF/LCD with pitch/roll indicator
* Dual-purpose Memory Stick/SD card slot
* 10fps continuous shooting rate
* 1080p AVCHD movie mode with continuous AF
* Articulated 3in ‘TruBlack’ LCD with 912k dots
* socket for external microphone
* 2x magnification mode in live view
* Face-detection AF (focus via nearest phase-detection AF point).
Some good stuff here for under $800. nice size, though  I would like it a little bit larger, I have large hands and it may cause some fumbling finger issues. Now if you already own an alpha camera and you wanted HD video you got it and don’t have to buy the NEX and and an adapter to use your lenses. Looks like a Great camera, I might buy one myself unless something closer to a a700 replacement comes out soon.

Sony is expanding its line-up of over 30 A-mount lens.

Posted in DSLR, sony alpha with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by reselgroth

Sony is expanding its line-up of over 30 A-mount lenses with new models that will appeal to seasoned photographers and those new to DSLR cameras alike – a 35mm f/1.8 DT (APS-C) SAM, an 85mm f/2.8 full frame SAM, and the long-awaited 24mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm f/2 for full frame with SSM ultrasonic focusing.
The Distagon T* 24mm F2 ZA SSM (SAL24F20Z) features Carl Zeiss Distagon design and rounds out the existing Planar (SAL85F14Z) and Sonnar (SAL135F18Z) models also developed in conjunction with Carl Zeiss. It is intended to appeal to experienced photographers looking for a large-aperture wide-angle lens of real distinction.

The DT 35mm F1.8 SAM (SAL35F18) adds the important 35mm focal length to what Sony now calls the ‘Easy Choice’ series. ‘Easy Choice’ is intended to provide great value, compact and lightweight lenses that are attractive to entry-level and advanced photographers alike. Each lens in the series is selected for a specific purpose, for example portraiture or macro. – Sony definition.

The 85mm F2.8 SAM (SAL85F28) is another ‘Easy Choice’ lens, this time offering the 85mm focal length considered the standard for portraiture because of the natural perspective it provides. True to type it is extremely compact and light, weighing just 175g.