Sony Europe has advised us of the impending release of three new DSLR cameras, the ø¢â‚¬Ëœfull-frame’ A850 and the ø¢â‚¬ËœAPS-C’ A500 and A550 models.


August 28, 2009: Sony Europe has advised us of the impending release of three new DSLR cameras, the ‘full-frame’ A850 and the ‘APS-C’ A500 and A550 models.
All three cameras have been anticipated for several weeks. The DSLR-A850 features an Exmor CMOS sensor with 24.6 effective megapixels plus dual BIONZ processors that support sensitivity settings up to ISO 6400 (with expanded ISO range). Like the A900, the new model is ruggedly built, with a high-tensile aluminium chassis and all-magnesium alloy body shell. Viewfinder, card slots, controls and other sensitive areas are protected from dust and moisture by rubber seals. In addition, an anti-dust system guards the full-frame sensor from the effects of dust entering the body during lens exchange.


Front view of the new DSLR-A850. (Source: Sony.)


Rear view of the DSLR-A850, showing the control interface. (Source: Sony.)
Designed for serious photo enthusiasts, the A850 fully exploits the potential of Sony’s top lenses. The camera’s optical glass pentaprism viewfinder aids accurate shot composition, offering a bright view with minimal distortion and an approximate 98% field coverage. Shots can be viewed on the large, high contrast 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD that offers high resolution (921k dot) for critical evaluation – even outdoors or in bright ambient light.
The A850’s 9-point AF system is supplemented by 10 focus assist points to assist subject detection, improved out-of-focus detection to reduce focus hunting and a dedicated f/2.8 sensor for enhanced AF accuracy with wide aperture lenses. An Intelligent Preview function indicates the effects of exposure, white balance, and D-Range Optimiser adjustments prior to shooting. In common with all other Sony DSLR cameras, the A850 features SteadyShot INSIDE in-body optical stabilisation, which delivers up to 4 steps of anti-shake correction with all compatible lenses.
Two-stage noise reduction is available in both analogue and digital domains, with analogue processing applied as the full-frame sensor converts light to electronic signals and digital processing post-capture. The supplied NP-FM500H high-capacity InfoLITHIUM battery delivers power for up to 880 shots per charge. Battery levels can be monitored in 1% increments. The A850 is fully compatible with the range of official accessories by Sony for the flagship A900.
The new The DSLR-A500 (12.3 megapixels) and DSLR-A550 (14.2 megapixels) models come with Exmor CMOS sensors that support Live View shooting plus a new Quick AF Live View, which includes Face Detection for prioritising AF on people’s faces and fine-tuning exposure/white balance settings accordingly. In another DSLR first, the Smile Shutter function provided on many Cyber-shot models has been included in the new models.


Front view of the new DSLR-A550. (Source: Sony.)


Rear view of the DSLR-A850, showing the adjustable LCD monitor. (Source: Sony.)

A new Manual Focus Check Live View mode enables users to check focus and fine detail on the LCD screen. The live image offers 100% field coverage, assisted by framing grid lines for precise composition. There’s also a selectable 7x/14x zoom function for a close-up confirmation of focus. Both models come with tilting 3-inch LCD screens, the A550 model offering VGA (921k dot) resolution. A redesigned on-screen interface provides easy access to functions and settings during live view operation, while a new Graphic Display shows how shutter speed and aperture adjustments will affect the final image.


Front view of the new DSLR-A500 with flash raised. (Source: Sony.)


Rear view of the DSLR-A500, showing the Graphic Display interface. (Source: Sony.)
Creative options are broadened by new Auto HDR mode that captures shadow and highlight detail in landscapes, interiors and other scenes. Two successive frames are captured and combined in only two seconds, with processing algorithms correcting any misalignment between frames when shooting handheld. The D-Range Optimiser featured in previous DSLR models has been enhanced for even better results with backlit portraits and other tricky high-contrast scenes. Optimisation can also be selected manually from 5 processing levels.
Sony has also announced the new 28-75mm F2.8 SAM lens. This compact, easy-to-carry lens is ideal for photo enthusiasts looking to add a bright, general purpose zoom to their collection of full-frame optics. Delivering excellent imaging quality, this zoom offers a wide f/2.8 aperture. Ideal for day-to-day shooting tasks, its bright maximum aperture makes the 28-75mm f/2.8 SAM particularly valuable for interior scenes and available-light portraits.

The DSLR-A850 is scheduled to go on sale in Australia at the end of September for an RRP of $3499 (body only). The DSLR-A550 and A500 models are due for release in October. RRPs have still to be confirmed. For more information, visit