Sony releases the α57 SLR

Sony has announced the release of the α57 SLR. The camera features a 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor with a native ISO range of 100-16000 and a BIONZ processor which gives a claimed shooting speed of up to 12fps. For video, the camera support the AVCHD 2 codec, which now features 1080p60 and 24 on NTSC models or 50p and 25p in PAL countries. It also has phase detection AF and full control over P/A/S/M modes whilst shooting video. Lastly, the α57 has a new 1440k dot resolution electronic viewfinder.

The new camera will be available in April, with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens for $800 or body-only for about $700.

Press Release.

α57 from Sony with Translucent Mirror Technology lets everyone grab the action at 12fps

Power-packed camera with unique features including Full HD progressive recording and new Auto Portrait Framing at an accessible price.

*As of December 2011. Among interchangeable lens digital cameras.

Limitless creative options are made even more accessible with a brand-new addition to the range of cameras by Sony employing Translucent Mirror Technology. This innovative 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. Framing, focusing and real-time preview can be achieved on the high-resolution Tru-FinderTM that 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 the acclaimed α55, the α57 is priced to appeal strongly to a wide audience of DSLR users. It shares many of the premium features – plus sophisticated styling and ergonomics – found on the enthusiast-focused α65. For the first time, entry-level photographers can shoot stills and Full HD video with razor-sharp responses and creative flexibility you’d expect from a camera in the class above.

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

The α57 allows incredible shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second in new Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode. 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 your subject’s moving.

Shared with the α65, the 15-point AF system with 3 cross sensors assures fast, accurate TTL phase detection autofocus. Newly-enhanced Object Tracking AF keeps faces or other selected objects in sharp focus – even if your target’s obscured momentarily by another passing object.

The α57 also lets you 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. AVCHD (Ver. 2.0) Progressive compatibility means that Full HD resolution movies can be captured at up to high 50p (progressive) frame rate: ideal for capturing silk-smooth, blur-free action. 25p shooting is also selectable for giving your footage that rich, cinematic look. Movie-making options are enhanced further with full control over P/A/S/M shooting modes for virtually limitless creative expression.

Even beginners can effortlessly create pro-style portraits with the α57. In a world first, Sony introduces new Auto Portrait Framing. Using face detection and the compositional ‘rule of thirds’, the camera identifies your subject’s position, trimming the scene to create tightly-framed, professional looking pictures in vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape) orientation. By Pixel Super Resolution Technology by Sony ensures that cropped, zoomed images retain a full pixel count. The original photo is saved together with the optimally-trimmed image. This allows easy comparison between the two versions, offering photographers inspiration to refine their own portrait skills.

If you want to get closer to your subject, 2x Clear Image Zoom doubles the effective magnification of your lens. Unique to Sony, By Pixel Super Resolution Technology maintains superb image detail, even with super-zoom shots. It’s a highly practical alternative to travelling with a bigger, bulkier telephoto lens.

Framing, focusing and real-time preview of exposure adjustments are a pleasure with the new Tru-FinderTM 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 you shoot with confidence, including a digital level gauge and framing grid. Information can be displayed either in the Tru-FinderTM or on the angle-adjustable 7.5 cm (3.0-type) Xtra Fine LCD.

Thanks to the BIONZ processor, creative shooting opportunities are boosted by an outstanding sensitivity range of ISO 100-16000. You’ll experience consistently natural, low-noise images – whether you’re using fast shutter speeds to freeze dynamic action or shooting handheld without flash in low light.

Already popular with creative photographers, the range of in-camera Picture Effects includes 11 effect types and 15 variations – offering a generous palette of ‘PC-free’ artistic treatments. Results can be previewed in live view mode on the LCD screen on in the Tru-FinderTM, whether you’re shooting Full HD video or stills.

A range of optional accessories makes an ideal match for the α57. The battery-powered HVL-LE1 LED video light broadens options for recording video indoors or in low light. Ideal for active shooters, the ACC-FM1A accessory kit bundles a spare NP-FM500H rechargeable battery with the compact, versatile LCS-AMB travel case that protectively cradles the camera while offering quick access.

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).