Sony announce the world’s first full-frame DSLR with 24.6 megapixels

Just when you thought it was safe to take a breather from all the recent announcements from Canon and Nikon, along comes Sony and trumps both of them!

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The 24.6 megapixel DSLR-A900 comes with a full-frame CMOS sensor with Exmor™ technology. It has a high-performance pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage, a high-speed 9-point AF, SteadyShot and a photo quality 3.0-inch 921k dot LCD.

With 5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution 24.6 MP, it certainly offers a strong challenge to anything Canon or Nikon can offer. Allowing up to 105 JPEGS or 12 RAW images is what its competitors can manage. Bear in mind however, that the Sony is doing this at 24.6 MP!

Its 9-point centre cross AF system has 10 focus assist points and is claimed to be fast and accurate. We have every reason to accept Sony’s claim here but the final verdict will have to wait for comparative tests.

With the usual SteadyShot image stabilisation offering 2.5 – 4.0 extra steps of performance, it certainly compares well with Nikon and Canon’s offerings.

The Dual anti-dust systems and the D-Range Optimiser are two other features that make this an attractive proposition and compare well with the similar systems in Nikon’s and Canon’s offerings.

What differs, surprisingly, is thae lack of Live view or a built-in pop-up flash. Sony’s implementation of Live View in the A350 was widely praised and so its absence here is somethng of a surprise. The lack of built-in pop-up flash is less of a problem. What the market will make of this remains to be seen. For professinal photographers this may be less of an issue than for the enthusiast or semi-pro. However, one of the benfits of the Live View system is in low-level photography, such as macro-photography out in the field.

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Another feature lacking is video, which in light of the Nikon D90 offering HD video (5 minbs recording at a time), may be a minus point for some. It does, however, offer HDMI output at 1920 x 1081i, which is better than the 720p offered by the Nikon.

The α900 full-frame digital SLR will be available from October 2008. The Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 16-35mm F2.8 ZA SSM and 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM lenses will be available from early 2009. Price TBC

UPDATE: The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the list price will be £1,195 when it comes on sale in October. This is considerably less than price previously mentioned by other sources. If its true, then the street price may well be less than this by the time Christmas comes around, possibly around the £995 price point (body only). It would also mean that the likes of Canon and Nikon will seriously have to up their game, when you consider the Nikon’s D3 costs £2,679.00 inc. VAT, body only, and which has only 12.2 MP sensor. The Canon EOS-1 Mk III offers 21 MP and is available for around £4,739.99 inc. VAT.

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