Sony A900 full frame DSLR

Sony has introduced the A900, its first full-frame DSLR with 24.6 megapixel sensor and many interesting features, targeting serious photography enthusiasts. The key features of the A900 are:

  • Superlative, detail-packed images from full-frame 24.6 effective megapixel CMOS sensor Exmor™
  • Bright optical glass pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • Enhanced SteadyShot INSIDE™ offers up to 4.0 steps anti-shake performance with compatible lenses
  • Ultra-sharp shooting responses and flawless, low-noise images from dual BIONZ™ image processor
  • Review images on High Resolution 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD
  • Fast, high-accuracy 9-point AF with 10 focus assist points
  • 5fps continuous shooting at full resolution 24.6 megapixels

Apparently, Sony sets the bar very high for pixel count. It is even higher than Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, which has 21.1 Megapixel sensor. In comparison, Nikon D700 and D3 only have 12 Megapixels but got rave reviews for their low light performance. However there are rumors about a Nikon D4 that will have similar sensor pixel count.

The built-in anti-shake function is another welcome feature. Sony claims this in-body optical stabilization system can deliver up to 4 stops of vibration correction, which means you can shoot at 16x of the typically required shutter speed and still get sharp pictures. Without building vibration reduction into each lens, this approach will hopefully bring down the cost of owning a good camera system.

The so-called “Xtra Fine” LCD is now standard on DSLRs from Nikon and Canon with 920K pixels.

I also like the Intelligent Preview function that takes an unsaved shot to simulate the effect of white balance, dynamic range optimization, and exposure levels on the LCD screen without actually taking a picture. With other DSLR cameras, you will have to take the shot, analyze it, adjust settings, then take another shot. You will have to deal with the unwanted shots.

Constructed from high-tensile aluminium and magnesium alloys, the body is rugged and durable. It also has dust and moisture seals for worry-free shooting in ugly environment.

In addition, Sony also announced a new flash, HVL-F58AM (guide number of 58), featuring innovative “Quick Shift Bounce” system that allows bouncing of the light in many more possible angles than other flash units on the market. For example, in portrait format, the flash head can rotate to maintain the more natural and flattering lighting direction. To see how it works, please watch the following CNET TV clip.

Two new lenses with also be available: Carl Zeiss vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm F/2.8 ZA SSM and 70-400mmmm f/4-5.6G SSM. SSM stands for “super Sonicwave Motor”, which is equivalent of SWM from Nikon HSM from Sigma,  USM from Sony.

Technical specifications

  • Model: DSLR-A900 
  • Camera type: Digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses 
  • Lens mount: Sony ? mount, compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount (without DT le 
  • Lens Compatibility: Sony? Lens*1 and Konica Minolta ?/MAXXUM/DYNAX Lens*1 
  • Image Sensor Type: “Exmor” CMOS Image Sensor 
  • Image Sensor Size: 35.9 X 24.0mm 
  • Effective Pixel Number: 24,610K pixels 
  • Anti-Dust: Charge protection coating on Low-Pass Filter and Image Sensor-Shift mechanism 
  • Recording media: Memory Stick Duo,Memory Stick PRO Duo,Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Compact Flash Type I, Type II (Microdrive),UDMA(Mode5) compliant 
  • Media slot: Memory Stick Duo/Compact Flash Dual slot 
  • Image format: JPEG,RAW(ARW2.1 Format),RAW+JPEG 
  • D-RangeOptimizer: off,Standard/ Advanced: Auto/Advanced: Level 
  • Image stabislisation: On system image Sensor-Shift mechanism 
  • Noise reduction: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 second, High/Normal/Low/Off, available at the ISO set to 1600 or above 
  • Auto Focus system: TTL phase-detection system, CCD line sensors, 9 points + 10 assist focus points 
  • ISO sensivity: ISO 200 – 3200 equivalent, ISO numbers up from ISO100 to ISO6400 can be set as expanded ISO range. 
  • Flash system: External, Wireless control with HVL-F58AM, ADI flash / Pre-flash TTL metering 
  • Shutter: Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type 
  • 1/8000 second – 30 seconds speed range, bulb 
  • Continuous-advance rate: Hi:Approx.5 frames per second at maximum, Lo:Approx.3 frames per second 
  • LCD Monitor: 7.5 cm(3.0″), TFT Xtra Fine, 921, 600(640×3(RGB)x480) dots 
  • Battery type: InfoLitium NP-FM500H,7.2V 
  • Battery life: Approx. 88 0 shots(CIPA measurement) 
  • Dimensions: Approx.156x117x82mm(6 1/8 x 4 5/8 x 3 1/4 inches) 
  • Weight: Approx. 850g (1 lb 14 oz)

Avialiability

A900 will be aviable from October 2008. Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM and 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM lenses will be available from early 2009.

More information

Press releases: USA version, EU version.

Previews of Sony A900: CNET, DPReview.

Posted in: Digital SLR Cameras on September 9th, 2008. Trackback URI
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