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Sony Alpha A100

Luuk Jurrien
Photokina report
Tuesday 6th, June 2006
Posted by: Luuk Jurrien

Sony is jumping into the digital single lens reflex (D-SLR) camera market with today’s introduction of the a (alpha) DSLR-A100 system. The system combines advanced SLR features with other Sony digital imaging innovations. With its 10.2-megapixel APS CCD image sensor, the Sony Alpha DSLR-A100 camera is expected to have the highest resolution available in its class. It will be introduced with 19 high-quality Sony lenses, and will be compatible with most of the former Konica-Minolta Maxxum mount lenses. The system will include a wide range of accessories as well. Sony developed a new Dynamic Range Optimizer image analysis technology to provide exceptional picture quality and natural color reproduction, along with a new Bionz image processing engine.

Sony Alpha A100

Sony Alpha DSLR-A100
The new engine supports a continuous burst mode for fast-action shooting and performs intelligent power management. "Our system will be attractive to people who are ready for something beyond what’s available in D-SLR cameras today,” said James Neal, marketing director for digital imaging products at Sony Electronics. “Sony enthusiasts who want to upgrade from point-and-shoot cameras, as well as former Konica-Minolta digital & film SLR camera users who have already made substantial investments in lenses, will welcome this initiative."

Sony A100 - Super SteadyShot image stabilization
The Sony Alpha A100 camera is engineered to combat blurry pictures through high light sensitivity (up to ISO 1600) and Super SteadyShot image stabilization, a Sony technology that shifts the image sensor to compensate for camera movement. Because Super SteadyShot is built into the camera body, all compatible telephoto, wide-angle, standard and macro lenses are automatically image-stabilized. This also allows from two to 3-1/2 stops of latitude in exposure, which supports hand-held shooting at longer shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible. In the end, you have more opportunities to shoot in natural lighting without a tripod or a flash.

Sony Alpha A100 D-SLR - Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO)
The a (alpha) DSLR A100 will be the only D-SLR camera that can optimize dynamic range, meaning the range from highlights to shadows, including gain and contrast, through in-camera hardware processing. Sony’s Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) analyzes the captured image data and instantly determines the best exposure and color tonality of an image before JPEG compression. Unlike software optimization of a processed image, DRO is performed in the hardware. It is the first hardware-based DRO solution for high-speed shooting.

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Sony Alpha D-SLR A100 - Bionz image processing engine
The high-speed Bionz image processing engine allows you to capture pictures at lightning speed. The Sony Alpha A100 will offer high-speed burst shooting at up to three frames per second continuously, at 10.2-megapixels and the finest JPEG compression. For those action shots, you’re limited only by the speed of your media card. The new camera will also have a long battery life. The supplied lithium ion battery gives you up to 750 shots per full charge, depending on usage patterns and environmental conditions.

Sony Alpha A100 digital SLR - CCD image sensor
Dust collects on the image sensor, usually when lenses are changed, and appears as annoying spots in photos, which then need to be retouched later. Sony’s new system offers a novel, two-pronged approach to fighting dust. The camera’s CCD image sensor has an indium tin oxide coating to avoid static build-up so that dust does not readily adhere. Additionally, when you turn the camera on or off, an anti-dust feature is activated to literally shake off dust particles.

Sony Alpha A100 d-SLR - Vario-Sonnar T zoom lens
Sony is continuing its long-standing relationship with Carl Zeiss to deliver superior optical performance for the a (alpha) camera system. The two companies have co-developed three lenses, including an ultra-wide, 16-80 mm Vario-Sonnar T zoom model and two fixed focal length telephoto models - a Planar T 85 mm and Sonnar T 135 mm. The system will also be supported with a full range of accessories, including a line-up of flashes, cable releases, rechargeable battery packs and several styles of carrying cases.

Sony a (alpha) A100 - JPEG & RAW file format
The a (alpha) camera also features eye-start auto focus, which starts focusing your picture before you even press the shutter; a 2.5-inch Clear Photo LCD Plus screen for wide-angle viewing and exceptional color reproduction; JPEG and RAW file format support; and a comfortable camera grip with easily-accessible function and mode dials. There is a slot for CompactFlash Type I/II and Microdrive media cards. The Sony Alpha SLR camera also accepts Memory Stick Pro and Memory Stick Pro Duo media cards through a supplied adaptor.

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