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Sony’s 24.6-megapixel Alpha 900 Launched

With a whopping 24.6-megapixels, Sony’s Alpha 900 sets new standards for high resolution D-SLR’s that is sure to fulfill the demanding needs of fashion, wildlife, and nature photographers.

News Release

(Singapore, 18 September 2008) – Sony Singapore adds its latest top-of-the-line α900 to its stable of high-performance digital SLRs (DSLRs). Sporting the highest resolution in its class, the α900 is equipped with a 24.6-megapixel 35mm full-frame size CMOS sensor “Exmor™” to take advantage of the superb resolving power of high-precision a lenses. The result is not only unprecedented image details, but also a wide dynamic range that enables subtle colour and tonal gradations to be captured just as the human eye perceives them. Several other features have also been incorporated in the α900 for the first time.

24.6-megapixel Full-frame Exmor™ CMOS Sensor, SteadyShot® INSIDE, Dual BIONZ™ Image Processing Engines
Implemented for the first time, the 24.6-megapixel Exmor™ CMOS image sensor on the α900 is designed from the ground up for 35mm full-frame imaging, and is produced using proprietary Sony planarisation technologies to ensure an ultra-flat surface across the entire imaging area. Instead of a single analog/digital converter, it uses over 6000 on-chip column-parallel analog/digital converters to convert analog signals to noise-resistant digital signals at the earliest possible stage. The ISO sensitivity ranges from 200-3200 in 1/3 EV steps (ISO 100-6400 can be set as an expanded range).
The α900 also features SteadyShot® INSIDE, a body-integrated anti-shake system developed for use in a full-frame sensor for the first time. This newly developed SteadyShot® INSIDE allows photographers to capture sharp images with shutter speeds up to 2.5 to 4 stops slower than would otherwise be possible despite the larger and heavier sensor. This sensor-shift, optical image stabilisation system works with all a series lenses[1], including wide, fixed focus and large aperture lenses, which have traditionally been difficult to implement in lens-based stabilisation systems. To prevent dust particles from marring images captured, a special anti-dust coating is applied on the low pass filter to prevent dust adherence. Also, an anti-dust mechanism vibrates the sensor at high speed every time the camera is switched off.
Image processing gets a big boost in speed and power with the new dual BIONZ™ image processing engines. The α900 delivers the fastest image processing possible as both processing engines work in parallel to process the high amount of image data delivered from the 24.6-megapixel sensor, especially when shooting continuously at 5 frames per second. Optimised for the α900 and working hand-in-hand with the image sensor, the dual BIONZ engines work to deliver natural colour reproduction, rich tones, as well as excellent image resolution with minimum noise. The D-Range Optimizer[2] (including an Advanced mode that offers 5 optimisation levels for finer control) adjusts exposure and tone for a more natural-looking and balanced exposure even for backlit shots.
“Since the launch of the α series, Sony has continued to innovate in the digital SLR space by offering photographers industry leading technology with unmatched quality. With the α900, we have combined leading-edge resolution, technology and speed in a 35mm full-frame form factor,” said Mr. Takeo Kobayashi, Managing Director Sony Singapore. “We’re certain that photographers will be pleased with the wider angles and perspective available only with 35mm full-frame sensors.”
Full-size Optical Viewfinder, Intelligent Preview and Creative Style Options
Appreciating the needs of photographers to capture exactly what they see, the α900 spares no expense in implementing a bright, full-size 100% optical viewfinder. Featuring a high-quality optical glass pentaprism and a new high-power condenser lens, it offers truly exceptional brightness with approximately 0.74x magnification. A high refractive index glass eyepiece and condenser lenses virtually eliminate distortion, while multi-layer anti-reflective coatings help prevent ghosting. In addition, the α900 now accepts user replaceable high quality focusing screens[3].
Implemented for the first time on the α900 is the Intelligent Preview function, which allows users to capture a shot into the internal camera memory, and simulate the effect of various camera settings on it, such as exposure, white balance and D-Range Optimizer. As the settings are changed, users can preview the resultant photo directly on the 3-inch, 921,600-dot Xtra Fine LCD monitor. To finally capture the shot using the adjusted settings, users can simply press the shutter release button. Intelligent Preview offers a convenient, time-saving method of fine tuning image settings in advance, and is a great complement to the traditional depth of field preview function.
The α900’s Creative Style options now sports a total of 13 image styles – all of which can be tuned to suit your artistic preference. Adjustment parameters include contrast, saturation, sharpness, brightness, and zone matching. The Custom button on the rear of the camera is set to open the Creative Style menu by default, but it can be assigned to open any of the other 15 tasks.
Dual-cross 9-point AF Sensor System, Durable and Lightweight Performance and PhotoTV HD
A newly developed centre dual-cross 9-point AF sensor system is used in the α900, with two cross-type sensors used for the centre AF point. The result is extremely fast and accurate autofocusing in low lighting and low contrast situations. A dedicated F2.8 sensor is also added to the centre of the frame to enhance accuracy when shooting using F2.8 or larger aperture lenses. Furthermore, 10 additional, invisible AF sensors assist in subject detection when Wide area AF mode is selected. Out-of-focus detection range and detection algorithm are also improved to reduce focus hunting – resulting in an overall faster and smoother focusing drive.
For a durable and reliable performance, the α900 features a front, back, and top made of strong but lightweight magnesium alloy. Controls, terminals, viewfinder, and other sensitive components are further protected from dust and moisture by rubber seals. Approximately 880 images can be taken on a single charge of the NP-FM500H InfoLithium battery. Dual memory card slots on the camera accept both Memory Stick Duo™ recording media and CompactFlash® cards. UDMA cards are also supported. The Quick Navi information display allows users to switch between both slots quickly. In addition, the optional VG-C90AM vertical grip accepts two batteries and boasts the same rugged yet lightweight, dust and moisture-resistant magnesium alloy construction as the α900 body.
With PhotoTV HD, users can easily enjoy their photos in high definition on any compatible BRAVIA HDTV using a HDMI cable. The α900 is capable of recording images at either a 3:2 or a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. The new Intelligence Preview function can also be used when the camera is connected to a HDTV.
The α900 will be available in the Singapore from end October 2008.

[1] Lenses include all Sony a series lenses, Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lenses.
[2] The D-Range Optimizer uses technology provided by Apical, Ltd.
[3] Focusing screens are available in L-type (spherical acute matte, grid pattern) and M-type (super spherical acute matte). Both are sold separately.

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