Toronto, August 25, 2011 – Sony announces 5 next generation cameras and camcorders, the NEX-5N and NEX-7 interchangeable lens pocket cameras, the α65 and α77 dSLR cameras and the NEX-VG20 interchangeable lens camcorder. Considering the target audience of our readers, I will only concentrate on the highest end dSLR, the α77 and camcorder, the NEX-VG20.
The new Handycam® NEX-VG20 camcorder offers several minute but essential enhancements over Sony’s NEX-VG10 including comprehensive manual controls, improved imaging quality and upgraded sound recording quality. Refined ergonomics include enhanced grips for better weight distribution and a second record button to support low-angle shooting.
Resolution have been upgraded to 16.1 effective megapixels, and records in the AVCHD™ Version 2.0 format complemented by a choice of 24p and 60p frame rate options. Footage shot at 24p can be enhanced with Cinema Tone Gamma™ and Cinema Tone Color™ for a more cinematic look and more natural colour capture and reproduction. Dialogue and other sounds are captured by the precision Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone that now supports stereo and 5.1 channel surround. The camcorder also offers a new manual audio level control that was previously unavailable on the VG-10.
Several ergonomic refinements allow videographers to shoot video and stills in even better comfort than its predecessor. The camcorder’s handgrip has been redesigned for an even better weight distribution resulting in much improved stability. To allow important manual adjustment of exposure, iris and other essential settings, the control dial can now be accessed even when the LCD panel is closed. The button layout now features ‘hard’ function keys, direct access to each shooting mode (Iris, Shutter speed, Program AE), a second REC button for low-angle shots and expanded focus button – all located for intuitive operation so users don’t have to take their eyes from the viewfinder. Videographers and photographers alike can now frame and review footage on the three-inch (7.5 cm) Xtra Fine LCD™ display that features TruBlack™ technology for clear, high contrast images. The screen can rotate up to a 270-degree range for easy framing in any position, even with the camera held low.
Pricing and Availability
The Handycam NEX-VG20H camcorder kit includes the E-Mount SEL18200 lens and will be available in November a retail price of about $2,200. A body-only version, the NEX-VG20, will be available for about $1,600.
The α77 dSLR
Blazing speed, enhanced image quality, high resolution and incredible performance are just some of the prosumers will find in Sony’s newest alpha camera model SLT-A77 (α77).
Sony’s latest refinements to its Translucent Mirror Technology make the α77 the fastest, most responsive interchangeable lens cameras in its class. The α77 features a newly developed Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor with 24.3 MP resolution, as well as the world’s first XGA OLED viewfinder. The sensor teams with the next generation of BIONZ® image processing engine to handle large amounts of data from the camera sensor, enabling unprecedented response times and image quality with ultra-low noise when shooting still images or Full HD video.
The much anticipated successor to Sony’s acclaimed α700 DSLR, the α77 boasts the world’s fastest continuous autofocus (AF) shooting performance (as per August 2011), capturing a burst of full 24 MP images at 12 frames per second with full-time phase-detection AF. Precision AF tracking of moving subjects is more precise with the α77, due to a new 19-point autofocus system with 11 cross sensors. Tracking Focus maintains accurate focus lock on a moving subject – even if the target is momentarily obscured. Additionally, a new electronic front shutter curtain achieves a minimum release time lag of just 50 milliseconds, comparable to much more expensive professional-class dSLR cameras. The α77 refine Sony’s Fast Continuous AF Full HD Movie shooting, already featured on previous Sony Translucent Mirror cameras. Phase Detection maintains accurate focus during video shooting of portrait subjects, even when they’re moving at fast speeds.
In another first for DSLR cameras, both new models can capture Full HD video at 60p (progressive) frame rates – incorporating the recently introduced AVCHD Progressive (Ver. 2.0) format. Also, 24p shooting is available for capturing beautiful ‘cinematic video footage. Manual focusing and P/A/S/M exposure modes, familiar to creative filmmakers, also can provide enhanced control during video shooting.
A broad sensitivity range of ISO 100-16000 expands down to ISO 50. At the highest sensitivities, both cameras can freeze fast action or capture atmospheric low-noise shots without flash. Low ISO settings are ideal when used with a long exposure to create expressive shots, such as splashing water without needing an ND (Neutral Density) darkening filter.
The α77 showcase the world’s first OLED Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder with a 2,359 k dot (XGA) resolution, resulting a bright, highly detailed, high contrast image with 100 percent frame coverage and a wide field of view virtually comparable to the optical viewfinders. However, unlike optical viewfinders, users have expansive customization capabilities through the OLED Tru-Finder™ viewfinder and can preview the effects of adjusting exposure, white balance and other settings in real-time. Photographers can also make fine focus tweaks via a zoomed-in portion of the image. The Smart Teleconverter displays an enlarged central portion of the image sensor, allowing compositions to be displayed clearly on the electronic viewfinder and captured with a digital zoom factor of 1.4x or 2x.
In another first for DSLR cameras, the α77 can capture Full HD video at 60p frame rates – incorporating the recently introduced AVCHD Version 2.0 format. 24p shooting is also available. Manual focusing and P/A/S/M exposure modes, familiar to creative filmmakers and photographers provide enhanced control during video shooting.
Shooters can compose and review stills and video on the adjustable-angle three-inch (measured diagonally) Xtra Fine LCD™ display that offers high resolution (921 k dot) and TruBlack™ technology for superb detail and contrast. As an extra refinement, the α77 introduces the world’s first three-way adjustable screen that tilts and pivots freely for effortless framing literally at any angle.
Improved ergonomics on both cameras include a comfortably contoured new grip design and tactile new button layout for ‘eyes off’ operation while viewing via the high-resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder. The α77 adds front and rear control dials for intuitive fingertip operation and a separate top-mounted LCD data display. The body features magnesium alloy panels for strength and lightness. Key controls are sealed against the effects of dust and moisture, complementing similar levels of protection offered by the new SAL1650 lens, VG-C77AM Vertical Grip for α77 and HVL-F43AM flash unit.
A new shutter unit on the α77 is tested to 150,000 cycles and supports 1/8000 sec shutter speed (1/250 sec flash sync). On-board GPS is also included for geo-tagging of photos and video clips with location data.
Pricing and Availability
The α77 will be available in a kit with the new SAL1650 f2.8 lens for about $2 150, and offered as body-only for about $ 1 500. The SAL1650 lens will also be sold separately for about CA $ 800. The VG-C77AM vertical grip, designed for the α77 camera, will be available in October for about $ 400.