January 5th, 2015

Sony Brings Its Action Camera Into the 4K Era

 

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GoPro no longer has the 4K action camera market to itself. At CES, Sony has added 4K (3840×2160) recording to its new flagship action camera, the FDR-X100V.

Several advanced functions from Sony’s A7 camera line have also trickled down to the X100V, including full pixel readout during recording, which reduces jagged edges and false colors by pulling all of the data off the CMOS sensor. When shooting in 4K at 30 frames per second, you’ll enjoy bit rates of 100Mbps or 60Mbps when shooting at 24 fps. The X100V can record in full HD at up to 120 fps or at 240 fps when shooting at 720p resolution. It also supports Sony’s XAVC S codec.

The optical image stabilization system has been revamped from earlier action cams with a specific emphasis on stabilizing the camera for use on drones where low amplitude vibrations can induce nauseating jitters. The lens will provide the same 170-degree angle of view as previous Sony action cams.

Sony has added wind reduction to the stereo microphone as well as automatic exposure control and white balance settings to give pro users more latitude when adjusting exposure.X100V_in_the_box-1200

Also new for Sony’s 2015 action cam line is a Loop Recording feature, which lets you designate a recording time interval and when the camera hits the end of the allotted time, it will automatically loop back to the beginning and start over-writing previously recorded footage with new video. You can set loop recording at 5, 20, 60, or 120-minute intervals or set it to unlimited and it will use the entire capacity of your memory card.

For those in search of a quick, shareable highlight reel from the day’s adventure, a new Highlight Movie Maker function uses algorithms pegged to the cameras gyro sensor to flag content recorded when the camera was moving or turning rapidly and compiles the clips automatically into a short movie.

The X100V will be slightly larger than Sony’s existing action cams, so it won’t be compatible with older waterproof cases. Look for it in March for $500 or for $600 when bundled with the new RM-LVR2 live view remote. The new remote is waterproof to a depth of 10 feet and lets you control Sony’s action cameras and preview images.

AS200V_side1-1200If you don’t need the 4K experience, Sony’s new full HD HDR-AS200V updates the AS100V with Loop Record, Highlight Movie Maker, the full pixel readout functionality and a wind-reduction microphone. It will also ship in March for $300 or for $400 with the new live view remote.

 

September 15th, 2014

Photokina 2014: Sony Debuts New E-Mount Wide-Angle Lens

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Amidst new cameras from many of its competitors, Sony came to Photokina 2014 touting new glass and several new accessories for its full frame E-mount camera system.

On the lens front, the Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 lens will arrive in October for $1,350. It features five aspherical elements and three ED glass elements to keep color aberrations at bay while retaining corner-to-corner sharpness. The lens will offer Zeiss’ T* coating on its surface along with optical image stabilization. It’s dust and water resistant too.

Sony also announced a new compact flash unit, the HVL-F32M. With a guide number of 32, it features a 5-second recycle time and draws power from a pair of AA batteries. It supports TTL or manual operation in 1/3 EV steps, high speed sync and is dust and moisture resistant. It will ship in December for $299.

To boost filmmaking with the A7 series, Sony is launching the XLR-K2M XLR box adapter kit. It clips onto a hot-shoe and features an onboard shotgun microphone. It can be used on the A7 series but also the A99, RX10 and NEX-VG900 camcorder.  The audio kit ships in October for $600.

Finally, Sony launched the RMT-VP1K wireless remote kit for any Sony camera with a multi-terminal. The $70 accessory has three channels and a 360 degree IR receiver. It can control shutter releases as well as start/stop movie recording. Look for the wireless receiver in Novemeber.

September 12th, 2014

Sony Courts Filmmakers with New Full Frame Lens

Sony’s continued its push to make its full frame mirrorless system attractive to filmmakers with the new FE PZ 28-135mm F G OSS, the first full-frame lens with a power zoom for smoother focusing. SELP28135G_A-1200

The new E-mount lens is part of Sony’s effort to boost its full frame cameras among filmmakers by tackling three issues that bedevil still photo lenses during video shoots: changes in angle of view during focusing, focus shifts during zoom and the movement of the optical axis during zooming.

The new lens will combat these maladies with a supersonic wave motor drive and a double linear motor to reduce focus noise.

The FE PZ 28-135 will also have separate control rings for focus, zoom and aperture and features a maximum aperture of f/4. Optical image stabilization is also on hand to keep things steady—it can be switched off via a button on the lens barrel.

The new lens is set to ship in December for $2,499.

May 15th, 2014

Sony Adds RX100 III, the Sequel to Our Favorite Pocket Camera of 2013

Sony just launched the pocket-friendly but powerful RX100 III, which is the follow-up to our favorite pocket camera of 2013. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill for a camera that’s just an 1.5-inch thick and weighs around 10 ounces.

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The Sony RX100 III is not an overhaul of RX100 Il — thankfully, since that was a very well designed little camera — and even uses the same 20.1-megapixel 1.0-inch back-illuminated CMOS sensor as its predecessor. It also has about the same dimensions as the previous model — 4.0 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches — though might be slightly thicker.

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The new Sony RX100 III does, however, add some significant new features — particularly relating to the lens — including the following highlights:

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April 6th, 2014

Sony Announces 4K-Shooting, Full Frame 12.2MP A7S Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

Sony just took the wraps off a brand new full-frame interchangeable camera that can also shoot 4K video: the 12.2-megapixel Sony A7S. The Sony A7S joins the 36.4-megapixel A7R and 24.3-megapixel Sony A7, which were announced last year and are the first two mirrorless cameras with 35mm sensors.

Sony-A7SWhat differentiates the Sony A7S from those two models — and just about every other full-frame model on the market — is its ability to shoot 4K video. It’s no coincidence that this 4K-shooting camera was announced right before the NAB show in Las Vegas, which is traditionally the domain of high-end video products.

The Sony A7S also features a BIONZ X image processor, which lets it shoot at a sensitivity range of ISO 50 – 409,600.

Read the rest of this story on the new Sony A7S on PDNOnline. 

February 3rd, 2014

BREAKING: Hasselblad Launches HV, a High-End DSLR Based on Sony A99

Hasselblad-HV_front_wHasselblad has just announced the new HV, a 24.3-megapixel, full-frame digital SLR that appears to be based on the Sony A99 from 2012. According to a press release posted on Hasselblad’s website, the HV camera will sell as a kit with a Carl Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for for 8,500 Euros, or $11,500 USD. (The Sony A99 retails for $2,800, body only.)

Hasselblad, which is known primarily as a manufacturer of medium-format camera systems, has collaborated with Sony in the past for its Lunar, and Stellar mirrorless digital cameras, which are based on Sony’s NEX models, but revamped as luxury items and sell at much steeper prices.

In describing the Hasselblad HV, Hasselblad’s CEO Ian Rawcliffe said the new camera is designed to be stylish, ergonomic, and rugged, and is built with “premium materials like titanium, high-grade aluminium and latest ‘tough as nails’ PVD coatings.”

“This camera is aimed squarely at people who don’t just love taking pictures – but love taking them in real style,” Rawcliffe said in the press release. “And the HV doesn’t just look good; it feels good to hold too.”

Check out some more photos of the Hasselblad HV after the jump. More info on the new camera at Hasselblad’s website.

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January 6th, 2014

Sony Unveils Lightweight A5000 Mirrorless Compact System Camera with Wi-Fi

Sony jusSony-a5000_wSELP1650_front_whitet announced the new A5000, which the company is calling the world’s lightest interchangeable lens camera with Wi-Fi. The camera weighs less than 8 ounces and is powered by a 20.1-megapixel, APS-C sized image sensor and uses Sony’s Bionz X processor, which is the same chip in the company’s Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The Sony A5000 goes on sale in March 2014 in silver, black and white for about $600 in a kit with a compact, versatile 16-50mm motorized zoom lens (model SELP1650). A new, black-finish E 55-210mm (SEL55210) zoom lens will be available in March for about $350.

More details in the press release after the jump.

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November 1st, 2013

Hands-On Test with Sony’s Alpha 7 and 7R, the World’s First Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

John-with-Sony-Alpha-7-close-mIf you’ve been anxious to find out if the new Sony Alpha 7 and 7R full-frame mirrorless cameras live up to the hype, Rangefinder magazine (our sister publication) has just posted an excellent hands-on review of the cameras.

According to photographer and Rangefinder columnist John Rettie, who tried out these much discussed mirrorless models, they certainly show a lot of promise.

“Overall I came away impressed with these two cameras,” Rettie writes. “It’s difficult to argue against the benefits of doing away with the flipping mirror in a DSLR camera. I feel that the benefits outweigh the disadvantage, which is more psychological, as the OLED EVF is just about as crisp as an optical finder and refreshes fast enough for just about every use other than perhaps fast action sports like football.

“Should Canon and Nikon be worried? Perhaps not right away but maybe in the future.”

Read his full hands-on test with the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R and see sample shots at Rangefinder’s PhotoForward blog.

October 16th, 2013

Sony Unveils Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras, New Lenses, and High-End Superzoom Model

Sony-7R_frontSony went where no camera manufacturer has gone before this morning, unveiling the world’s first full-frame mirrorless cameras: the 36.4-megapixel Alpha 7R and 24.3-megapixel Sony Alpha 7. Both compact system cameras use 35mm-sized Exmor-branded, CMOS image sensors but the Sony Alpha 7R has no optical low pass filter over its chip to help it capture more detail in photos. The Alpha 7, meanwhile, boasts a new Hybrid AF system, designed to quickly lock in focus on subjects.

Both cameras will go on sale this December, with the Sony Alpha 7R retailing for $2,300, body only, and the Sony Alpha 7, selling for $1,700, body only; or as a kit with a new 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 lens for $2,000.

You could also pair these full-frame mirrorless cameras with five new full-frame E-Mount lenses that Sony just unveiled. The new Sony E-Mount lenses include three Carl Zeiss-branded models: the Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA ($1,000) and Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8 ZA ($800) prime lenses, and the Vario Tessar T* 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS mid-range zoom ($1,200).

We’re curious what PDN readers think of the new Sony Alpha 7R and Alpha 7 mirrorless cameras. Does the addition of full-frame sensors make you want to give these these high-end compact system cameras a second look or do you plan to stick to your DSLR?

Read more of this story here with details on all of Sony’s announcements this morning and then leave your thoughts in the comments below.

September 26th, 2013

Sony QX100 Teardown Video

Wonder what’s inside the Sony QX100 lens camera? Check out this very cool teardown video. The QX100, which features the same sensor and lens as the Sony RX100 II, and the QX10 just started shipping. For more information, you can read our blog post here.

Sony promises another video tomorrow with a re-assembled lens.