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Old Aug 27, 2009, 8:21 AM   #1
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Default Three New Alpha Models from Sony

Sony has just added three new models to their popular Alpha dSLR ranks as well as two new SAM equiped lenses. Geared more towards advanced and professional users, these new models offer some appealing features, including Sony's new Auto HDR function, evolved Exmor CMOS image sensors, updated BIONZ processors, and upgraded Live View systems. While being aimed more at repeat dSLR owners, these new Alphas still retain all of the user-friendly options found on past models, making them usable by every member of your household or office.



The DSLR-A850 joins Sony's Flagship Alpha model, the DSLR-A900. Sharing most of the same features with its predecessor, like the full-frame 24-megapixel CMOS sensor, the A850 was designed to bring the advantages of a full-frame dSLR to a larger range of users, with a MSRP of only $2000 for the camera body. This coupled with some of the new technologies featured on this camera (Auto HDR for example) are sure to make the A850 a very popular model in the months/years to come.



To complement the A850's full-frame sensor, Sony also announced their new SAL2875 28-75mm F2.8 SAM lens. This bright and fast zoom lens offers a constant F2.8 aperture as well as Sony's smooth autofocus motor (SAM) technology. The SAL2875 will be available in November for about $800.
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Sony also announced two mid-level Alpha models, the DSLR-A550 (14-megapixel) and DSLR-A500 (12-megapixel). Sharing almost identical specs, the main differences between these models are resolution of both the image sensors and their LCDs. Each camera boasts a large 3.0-inch titling LCD (920k pixel on the A550/230k pixel on the A500), Sony's proven Live View system (including their new MF check Live View), Auto HDR, and Smile Shutter technology. The A550 and A500 are offered as body only kits for about $950/$750 or as camera+lens kits (including Sony's standard 18-55mm lens) for a street price of approx. $1050/$850, respectively.



Lastly, Sony also released a small bit of information about their new SAL30M28 DT 30mm F/2.8 SAM macro lens for use with APS-C format Alpha dSLRs. No expected ship date was provided, but the lens will have a MSRP of about $200.

For more information on each model as well as to see more product images, please click on the model names above.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 9:23 AM   #2
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The A500/A550 have the AEL button that the A230/A330/A380 lack, but they don't have a DOF Preview or a Mirror Lock-Up.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 9:32 AM   #3
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Good to see Live View being incorporated into α550 and α500 cameras. The Live View has been extremely handy in a number of situations.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 9:40 AM   #4
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What makes me groan about Sony's approach is all the market segmentation - turning DSLR market into a similar beast as the digicam market. That makes it a lot tougher on consumers IMO. I like some of their approaches technically speaking (i.e. implementation of live view, switch to CMOS sensors, improving their AF, etc) but not the massive segmentation. IMO it would be nice to see them just replace the 300 series with the 500 cameras and call it a day.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 10:04 AM   #5
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Different strokes for different folks. ;-)

Users moving from a point and shoot model often want an easy to use camera that's smaller and lighter. That's where the entry level dSLR models come in. Nikon had great success with that marketing strategy with it's D40, D40x and D60 models.

Sony's approach seems to be working. For example, they doubled their worldwide dSLR market share to around 14% in calendar year 2008 from what I can see from sources quoting IDC reports; and tripled their dSLR production for their 2008 fiscal year (which ended in March 2009) as compared to fiscal year 2007.

Now that they're broadening their dSLR offerings even more, I expect that growth trend to continue this year as they fill in more gaps in the lineup.

It also looks like they're planning on increasing consumer perception of their products via more aggressive advertising. For example, in Europe, they're going to sponsor "Twilight Football" events designed to let users see how well the new Sony models work for sports shooting in low light (with cameras and lenses available to attendees).

http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/twilight-football

You see the same strategy in other industries, too (more product offerings to give users more choice). Look at PCs, automobiles, etc. Not everyone wants the same thing in a given product type. ;-)
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 10:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
... For example, in Europe, they're going to sponsor "Twilight Football" events designed to let users see how well the new Sony models work for sports shooting in low light (with cameras and lenses available to attendees).

http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/twilight-football
That program doesn't include any Alphas, though. Just P&S and camcorders.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 10:33 AM   #7
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I think they'll probably include dSLR models. We'll have to wait and see.

They did something similar in the U.S. a while back at one of the pro games, with a booth setup letting users borrow Sony dSLRs and lenses. That kind of thing can go a long ways towards increasing consumer awareness of their product offerings.

In the case of the "twilight football" games, it looks like they're going to have contests to see what users get what kits, depending on game location. But, I strongly suspect we'll see that expanded to include a variety of Sony models, including dSLRs (and I think they'll probably do something similar in the U.S.). Only time will tell.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 10:37 AM   #8
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Added some info on the lenses, and a couple photos.
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 11:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billy View Post
Added some info on the lenses, and a couple photos.
Thanks.

$800 for a Tamron AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD! What a deal!
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
$800 for a Tamron AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD! What a deal!
It looks like we should add code tags for sarcasm:

[scarcasm]What a deal![/sarcasm]

;-)
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