PRESS RELEASE: Sony Releases a new APS-C DSLR, the Alpha a57

Sony Brings Pro-level Performance to Mainstream SLR Users with New High-Speed α57 Camera Featuring Translucent Mirror Technology

Advanced Feature Set Includes 12 fps Shooting, Full HD (60p) Video Capture, New Auto Portrait Framing and more

SAN DIEGO, March 12, 2012 — A wider palette of creative options is now accessible to more shooters with the α57 camera, the newest addition to Sony’s popular line of A-mount cameras employing Translucent Mirror Technology.

The innovative Translucent Mirror design directs incoming light to the CMOS image sensor and the AF sensor at the same time, allowing full-time continuous AF during both still and video shooting.  Users can also frame, focus and preview shots in real-time on the high-resolution Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder, which offers a wide viewing angle and 100% field of view. This allows photographers to capture exactly what they see on the screen.

A natural successor to Sony’s acclaimed α55 camera, the α57 is positioned for a wide audience of DSLR users. It can shoot still images at up to 12 frames per second, full HD video at 60p, 60i or 24p frame rates and has a variety of creative modes including Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology

“Today’s DSLR consumer is looking for a higher level of control and flexibility in their camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha camera business group for Sony Electronics. “With the introduction of the new α57, we’re bringing blazing fast response rates, enhanced artistic capabilities and other advanced features to the mainstream DSLR marketplace, offering professional-grade performance at affordable prices.”

 

With the α57 camera, shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second are achieved in new Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode, maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure with fixed aperture. Magnifying the central portion of the sensor’s image by 1.4x, it’s perfect for capturing split-second action close-ups with a burst of sharply focused images, even when the subject is moving. In this shooting mode, aperture is fixed at either f/3.5 or the maximum aperture of lens in use (whichever is smaller) and image size of photos is about 8.4 megapixels.

Additionally, the α57 camera lets people create powerfully expressive Full HD movies. Responsive full-time continuous phase detection AF ensures that moving subjects stay sharply focused, just like with still shooting. Support for the AVCHD™ Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format means that Full HD resolution movies can be captured with 60p frame rate: ideal for capturing smooth, blur-free action. Shooting in 24p is also available to give footage a rich, cinematic look. Movie-making options are enhanced further with full control over P/A/S/M shooting modes for virtually limitless creative expression.

The α57 model shares the α65’s 15-point AF system with three cross sensors delivering fast, accurate TTL phase detection autofocus. Newly enhanced Object Tracking AF keeps faces or other selected objects in sharp focus – even if a target is obscured momentarily by another passing object.

Even the novice photographers can now easily create pro-style portraits with the α57 thanks to new Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology. Using face detection and the compositional ‘rule of thirds,’ the camera identifies a subject’s position, trimming the scene to create tightly framed, professional-looking pictures in portrait or landscape orientation while maintaining a copy of the original image. Saving both the original photo plus the adjusted version allows for easy comparison between the two images, offering photographers inspiration to refine their portrait skills.

To get closer to the subject, 2x Clear Image Zoom digital zoom technology doubles the effective magnification of your lens and is a highly practical alternative to travelling with a bigger, bulkier telephoto lens. The camera uses Sony’s “By Pixel Super Resolution Technology” to ensure that cropped and zoomed images retain full pixel resolution.

Additionally, the model’s range of popular in-camera Picture Effect modes includes 11 different effects and 15 total variations – offering a generous palette of ‘PC-free’ artistic treatments, including Pop Color, HDR Painting, Miniature Mode and much more. Results can be previewed directly in live view mode on the LCD screen or in the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder while shooting either Full HD video or stills.

Still and video shooting, framing, focusing and real-time preview of exposure adjustments are a pleasure with the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder. With ultra-detailed 1440k dot resolution and a 100% field of view, it rivals quality optical viewfinders. There’s a choice of selectable high-resolution information displays with a wide viewing-angle to help consumers shoot with confidence, including a digital level gauge and framing grid. Information can be displayed either directly in the viewfinder or on the angle-adjustable 7.5 cm (3.0-type) Xtra Fine LCD™ display.

Ensuring detail-packed images, the 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor is teamed with a latest-generation BIONZ® engine. Refined by Sony during the development of its flagship α77 and high-end α65 cameras, this powerful processor effortlessly handles large amounts of image data for flawless, low-noise images and Full HD video.

Thanks to the BIONZ processor, creative shooting opportunities are boosted by an outstanding sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000. Users will experience consistently natural, low-noise images – whether shooting at fast shutter speeds to freeze dynamic action or handheld without flash in low light.

Pricing and Availability

The new α57 interchangeable lens camera will be available this April with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens for $800 (model SLT-A57K).  It will also be offered as body-only for about $700 (model SLT-A57).

Sony will also be introducing a new battery-powered LED video light, model HVL-LE1, which broadens options for recording video indoors or in low light. This new accessory will be available this month for about $250.

The camera, camera kit and a wide variety of Alpha accessories are sold at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

 

Notes to editors:

***For a full video preview of the new α57 camera, please visit http://blog.sony.com/alphavideo

***The SLT-A57 is manufactured using recycled plastics. The camera chassis contains 10% recycled material.

19 Comments

  1. Thanks Steve for constantly sharing annoucements. Ignore most of the negative comments. This announcement shows the incredible progress in cameras to bring such a level of capability to a semi-entry level “SLR”. We are so blessed today with choices in powerful cameras. I grew up when people dreamed of adding a lens to the 50mm that came with the camera. It would be better if people only critqued what they have tried for a few weeks.
    I recieved my Nex 7 over a week ago and it is the first camera where I have owned a lens (zeiss 24 f/1.8) a month before having a body to fit it. I absolutely am delighted with the images it makes and the user interface and especially the focus peaking for manual focus. I have used the ultimate bokeh cream machine on it – the Sony 135mm f/2.8 STF designed by Minolta – and this is a revolutionary camera. I have not enjoyed a camera so much since my Leica M4-P with a 50 f/2. I now waiting for a zeiss F/1.5 and want to get a leica 90mm. So many options and so little time. The 50 T0.95 looks interesting but it will have to wait until my bank account improves. We are in exciting times in photography for making great images. Every camera is a tradeoff – find something that works for you and get out making lots of images and stop peeing on somebody elses joy , especially when you have not tried or do not have the expertise to provide real advice. I think the Alpha 57 looks like a wonderful creative tool, in the right hands, but I have not handled one so this announcement will help someone go check it out and discover the wonderful glass that Sony offers.

    • An assistant in a camera shop, who had just come back from a Sony training course, told me that Zeiss are doing a 50/1.2 for the Nex – due later this year!

  2. Dear Sony,
    Thanks for another camera body – now that you have gotten this out of the way can we have:
    a 16-50 2.8 for emount?
    an 85 1.8 for emount?
    a 35 1.4?
    my 50 1.8 that I ordered 6 months ago?
    Thanks
    Jonathan

    • Yes Sony needs some serious work on their lenses. Even my brother who is the biggest Sony fanboy ever admits that…

    • Oh man thank you so much. Even the Nex-7 is now available in my part of the world, but 24/1.8 fell back to preorder and 50/1.8 never were seen by a real customer.

      Perhaps Sony should associate with Leica who crank out super lenses at an incredible rate, but have probs with bodies.

  3. The “innovative translucent mirror design” sure looks a lot like the Canon Pellix I have from 1967. Another permanent surface in front of the sensor to get dirty, then damaged by cleaning, and exposed whenever the lens is off. No thanks. And it’s needed only for the AF sensor, not the viewfinder? On the other hand, I can see where the traditional moving mirror mechanism gets a lot more use on digital than it did on film, because people burn through so many more exposures on digital. My SLRs from the 50s and 60s still work well, but probably have less wear on the mechanisms that dSLRs today will get in 5 years. Perhaps mirrorless makes sense today – but this looks like only a half-way step.

    • A55 has been out for two year, and there have been no reports about the SLT mirror getting degraded over time. Unlike the old Canon, the material is much tougher (can be cleaned), and is durable.

  4. Why oh why there are still so many new cameras with fake SLR pentaprism humps: this one, the Pentax K-01, the highly praised Olympus OM-D, the Lumix G etc. etc.. With an electronic viewfinder, designers are free to choose an ergonomically optimal location, rather than in the middle and on top of the camera body, with the user’s nose poking into the body and smearing the LCD screen.

    Even DSLRs with real pentaprism hump still maintain the virtual space for the film cartridge.

    Reminds me to the early years of motor vehicles which still utilised design features of horse carts with obvious functional quirks, as for instance high centre of gravity. I wait for the equivalent of the Mercedes Simplex which in 1902 was the first motor vehicle introducing the still current concept of engine in front, passenger cabin in the middle and trunk in the back.

    http://thechive.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/hummer-horse-carriage-41.jpg

    • Because in that “fake SLR pentaprism hump” is where the translucent mirror is reflecting a partial image for the EVF, and of course the EVF electronics are housed in that space as well.

    • The hump on the A-57 (I have the A-55) contains the auto-focus sensor and the electronic viewfinder. Look at the transclucent mirror, it reflects upwards, into the hump. By choosing the classic shape, they were also able to put an on-body flash on it.

      I’m not sure I agree on your point about space for film cartridges either. Most SLR’s today don’t have much space on the left side of the mount, it’s mainly all on the right, whereas when film was the big thing, they were more balanced, to have room for film on both sides.

      So your points don’t hold for Sony’s SLT models. I wont comment on the Olympus since I haven’t used it, and have no idea how ergonomic it is, and dont’ have a NEX-7 or Fuji X-something to compare with anyway.

  5. Ooooh that’s a pretty piece. As one of the few alpha users on this forum I appreciate the attention you pay to this under-reported system. Your review of the a33 was instrumental in me getting that camera. Thanks.

    • Edit:
      I believe (hope?) That the lower pixel count might help some of the purported “noise issues” of the pixel pack a65 and a77. I have felt for a long time that a sensor of this caliber is going to achieve its vest results at a more modest pixel level.
      Hopefully this makes your high ISO dreams come true David! Lol
      and hey I love rangefinderish bodies a little mire in theory but these slt bodies are a pretty awesome compromise. I like the size and handling of these. With my EPl-1 and OM-4 readily at hand. Lol

  6. Doodlelydarn (not the proper euphemism)! I hate cameras that are not rangefinder-ish. Whether that be a real range finder such as the Leica M9 or the, “ish”, a Fuji, these cameras have my heart. This modern plastic balloon does not. Even so, reading the logistics on this Alpha a57 (forget saying this ten times fast, I can’t even say this one time fast) makes my knees weak. Really, a APS-C sensor with usable ISO up to 16,000? I don’t believe it but I am achingly hoping that I’m wrong. O.K.., I’m game, Sony. Convince me that my taste needs to be left in the wind.

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