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.

Sony-RX100-III_Right-1200
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.

Sony-RX100-III_Rear-EVF-1200
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.

September 4th, 2013

Sony Adds $4,500 4K Handycam to Its Line-up

Sony Handycam® FDR-AX1 4K Camcorder (3)Priced at less than $5,000, Sony’s new FDR-AX1 4K Handycam will appeal to indie filmmakers and videographers on a budget who want to move into 4K video without breaking the bank. Built around a BSI 1/2.3-type Exmor R CMOS sensor, the FDR-AX1 can record 4K as well as HD video.

Movies are recorded in the XAVC S format using MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP for extended recording time of almost two hours of 4K/60p or 3 hours of full HD when storing footage on a 64GB XQD card. The camcorder features dual, hot-swappable XQD card slots so you can continue to record while replacing a full card.

Equipped with a 20x, image-stabilized G lens, the AX1 has an optical zoom range of 31.5-630mm (35mm-equivalent). The camcorder also features dual XLR connectors and an HDMI out. The latter will be upgradeable to the new HDMI 2.0 standard via a firmware update. Since 4K TVs are expensive and haven’t become as ubiquitous as HDTVs, the AX1 can easily output full HD by changing the camera’s output settings.

Although there are a few 4K cameras that are smaller than the 7 7/16 x 7 19/32 x 14 ¼ inches, 86.1 ounce FDR-AX1 and less expensive (see Greg Scoblete’s roundup of a half-dozen 4K cameras on PDNOnline) but, at first glance, the FDR-AX1 seems to provide entrée to 4K video without too much compromise in terms of pro features and functionality. It’s likely that the competition for prosumer-type 4K video cameras will increase in the coming year. We’ll have to wait and see what happens but our money’s on a very interesting NAB show in April 2014.

The FDR-AX1 ships in October and comes with Vegas Pro 12 Edit software and a 32GB XQD memory card.

Price: $4,500

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September 4th, 2013

Sony Unveils Two Lens-Style Cameras For Smartphones

The Cyber-shot QX100 attached to a Sony XperiaZ smartphone.

The Cyber-shot QX100 attached to a Sony XperiaZ smartphone.

If you’ve been reading the rumor sites for the past several weeks, you won’t be surprised to learn that Sony just announced two “lens-style” cameras, the Cyber-shot QX100 and the Cyber-shot QX10. These devices function as both a lens and a camera for smartphones and tablets, connecting via wi-fi/NFC and the Sony Play Memories Mobile application. They are designed to bring higher quality optics, larger sensors and optical zooms to mobile photography.

The higher end of the two lens-style cameras, the QX100, is built around the same 1-inch, 20-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor as the Cyber-shot RX100 II camera. It is paired with an f/1.8, 3.6x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 28-100mm and a dedicated focus control ring.

The QX10 features a 1/2.3 -inch, 18 megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor and a 10x, f/3.3, 10x optical zoom lens with a 35-mm equivalent focal range of 25-250mm.

Both lenses are image-stabilized, accept Memory Stick Micro and microSD memory cards and are equipped with stereo microphones and mono speakers.

Images can be composed, viewed and captured using the screen on your smartphone or tablet as a viewfinder. The screen, in conjunction with the free iOS or Android Sony Play Memories app, operates the lens-camera remotely and allows users to trigger the shutter, start/stop video recording and adjust a wide range of parameters such as shooting mode, zoom, autofocus area and other settings directly on the screen. Still images and video clips are automatically saved to the lens-camera’s removable memory as well as the smart device.

The QX lens-cameras can be attached to compatible smartphones with a hard plastic adapter, which fits around horizontal edges of the phone. When used with a tablet or detached from a smartphone, the lens-cameras can be handheld, rested on a surface or placed on a tripod, while still maintaining on-screen control.

However, both lens-cameras are also self-contained and can function independent of a mobile device. They don’t have viewfinders, but each has a rechargeable battery, shutter release and memory card slot.

The lens-cameras are relatively small and lightweight: The QX100 measures 2 ½ x 2 ½ x 2 ¼ inches and weight about 6.3 ounces with battery and memory card. The QX10 is a little smaller at 2 ½ x 2 ½ x 1 15/16 inches and weighs 3.7 ounces with battery and memory card installed.

Initial impressions, after spending a little hands-on time with the lenses, are mostly positive. The QX100 and QX10 are certainly smaller and lighter than expected and since they come with their own cases, I can easily imagine stowing one or both in a handbag or jacket pocket to carry around for shooting with a smartphone. In addition to offering a surprising number of user-controlled camera settings, they seem to have very little shutter lag when triggering the lenses with a smartphone or tablet. It was hard to judge image quality without loading the images onto a computer for a detailed view but, given the specs—particularly of the QX100—I think these unique lens-style cameras will deliver some pretty nice images. The bigger question, perhaps, is who will buy them.

The QX100 and QX10 are available in black or white and will ship later this month. For more details and specifications, visit the Sony website.

Price:

Cyber-shot QX100: $500

Cyber-shot QX10: $250

August 27th, 2013

Sony Announces Three E-mount Lenses and Two Cameras

 

Sony's new E-mount Carl Zeiss 16-70mm power zoom lens.

Sony’s new E-mount Carl Zeiss 16-70mm power zoom lens.

Sony has expanded its E-mount collection with a trio of new lenses: the Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* 16-70mm (24-105mm-equivalent), constant aperture f/4 zoom; the first G lens with an E-mount, the power-zoom 18-105mm, f/4 constant aperture lens; and an all-black verion of its 50mm, f/1.4 lens.

Two new cameras announced today include the 16 megapixel, NEX-5T mirrorless camera, which is the first Sony camera equipped with NFC (near field communication) and the $400 (with kits lens) 20 megapixel, a3000, a DSLR-styled camera that accepts E-mount lenses.

The 18-105mm G lens will be available inDecember, all other products will ship in September and are available for pre-order. For more information and images, please visit our sister site’s Tech Tuesday blog and the Sony site.

Prices:

  • 16-70mm: $1,000
  • 18-105mm: $600
  • 50mm: $300
  • NEX-5T: $700 (kit)/550 (body only)
  • a3000: $400 with kit lens