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Sony’s Full Frontal Assault On the HDSLR Market Continues…

Two new cameras with truly innovative features

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If there is a war between manufacturers for the greatest share of the HDSLR market, then Sony is launching a shock and awe campaign with no end in sight. Their latest assault, the second in a month, is the announcement of two new DSLRs, the α55 and α33. These two cameras seem to aggressively target the Canon T2i and 7D head on.

On the outside, they look like any other DSLR. Upon closer examination, the new Sony α55 and α33 clearly have enough new features to distinguish themselves from other HDSLRs.

HD Video
The α55’s 16.2 Megapixel Exmor™ APS HD CMOS sensor and the 14.2MP sensor for the α33 provide a very nice shallow depth of field. Like the other Sony cameras, they record AVCHD: 1920 x 1080i (16:9) and MP4: 1440 x 1080 (16:9) / 640 x 480 (4:3). Sony is also giving us a maximum record time of a whopping 29 minutes! The emphasis of this in their marketing material is a clear shot in the face to the Canon 7D with its mere twelve minutes of recording time.

In-Camera Stabilization
A huge feature for HDSLR shooters is an in-body camera stabilization system providing up to four exposure steps of anti-shake correction when shooting handheld.

Autofocus Even While Shooting Video
Sony debuts their 15-point phase-detection autofocus system providing fast and accurate AF tracking that claims to keep even moving images in focus.

Simultaneous “Live” View From the LCD and Viewfinder
Both the α55 and α33 use Sony’s new “Translucent Mirror Technology”. Essentially, it’s a fixed, translucent mirror that ‘splits’ the optical pathway between the main image sensor and a separate phase-detection autofocus sensor. Unlike other DSLRs where the raised mirror prevents light from reaching the optical viewfinder and vice versa, you can use both the LCD or the electronic viewfinder at the same time. I have to wonder how this will affect battery life. No word yet, but I hope Sony has upgraded their batteries to handle the additional monitor.

Tiltable Swivel LCD
The three inch LCD tilts and swivels to maximum 270 degrees. The electronic viewfinder with 1.15 million dot resolution shows 100% frame coverage. Adjustments to exposure, depth of field and color can be previewed instantly in the viewfinder or on the LCD.

Multiple Storage Options
Both cameras can either use the Memory Stick PRO Duo™, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ and SD, SDHC and SDXC storage cards.

3D Sweep Panorama
Both cameras shoot panoramas in 3D, which is awesome if you have a 3D capable monitor.

Availability and Price

Both the α55 and α33 should be available September/October 2010 at a reported cost of $650 for the α55 and $550 for α33. You can read more at sony.com

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