Sony's new D-SLR camera sets high performance standards



    TORONTO, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - Sony is expanding its (Alpha) digital SLR system
with the introduction of the DSLR-A700 camera, which is aimed at photo
enthusiasts or serious photo hobbyists.
    The new model features advanced imaging technologies and ultra-responsive
operation, as well as a lightweight, dust- and moisture-resistant, magnesium
alloy construction common to enthusiast-class D-SLR cameras.
    Like Sony's mainstream DSLR-A100 model, the new A700 unit incorporates
Super SteadyShot(R) Inside image stabilization in the camera body and is
compatible with most Minolta Maxxum(R) mount lenses in addition to Sony
lenses.
    "Discerning photo enthusiasts will be impressed with the rugged
construction and outstanding performance of the A700," said David Oyagi,
product manager, DSLR and Memory Stick, Sony Canada. "We also expect that this
new camera will re-define the post-capture experience with HDMI(TM) output for
high-quality playback of images on high-definition televisions."

    Picture quality

    The camera's new 12.24-megapixel Exmor(TM) CMOS sensor conducts
analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion and dual noise reduction right on
the sensor itself. Noise reduction is applied to analog signals before A/D
conversion and the resulting digital signals are then subject to a second
round of noise reduction.
    According to Oyagi, "These digital signals are virtually immune to
external noise and interference."
    Clean, noise-free digital signals are then sent to the newly developed
BIONZ(TM) processing engine. Oyagi said this engine has been optimized to
process data-rich picture information at high speeds, and to reduce picture
noise in the RAW data stage before final image compression and encoding. The
results are high-resolution, detailed images with rich tonal reproduction.

    Extraordinary responsiveness

    The A700 camera is engineered to be fast and ultra-responsive so as to
become "a virtual extension of your own senses," Oyagi said, "capturing
fleeting moments as you see them."
    A newly developed, auto-focus system features 11 wide-area sensors,
including a centre dual cross sensor comprised of two horizontal and two
vertical line sensors for exceptional AF precision. An F2.8 line sensor
leverages the brightness of fast aperture lenses for even greater precision.
Oyagi said that extraordinary focusing speed has been realized through
improved algorithms and a high-torque focusing drive motor.
    The large, bright, viewfinder uses a precision-ground optical glass
pentaprism and a high refractive index eyepiece lens to provide 0.9x
viewfinder magnification and 95 percent frame coverage. Manual focusing is
aided by an interchangeable spherical acute matte focusing screen.
    The camera has a high-performance vertical traverse shutter with a
maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second to freeze fast-moving action. A
high-power coreless motor charges the shutter and mirror mechanism, allowing
continuous shooting at up to five frames per second. In JPEG fine or standard
mode, continuous shooting is limited only by the capacity of the media card
(sold separately), while up to 18 frames can be captured in RAW.

    Expanded creativity

    The new camera features fourteen creative styles, including night view,
autumn leaves or vivid, which can be selected to enhance images. These effects
can then be fine-tuned by customizing contrast, sharpness, zone matching and
other parameters.
    Sony's Dynamic Range Optimizer (DRO) function has been updated on this
model so users can choose the desired level of detail recovered in areas of
shadow. The advanced mode offers the option of five levels of user selectable
correction. Additionally, DRO bracketing creates three images from a single
capture with three different levels of DRO.
    There is an extensive array of customization options to personalize the
camera to match shooting styles. The unit's quick navigation interface can be
accessed instantly with the four-way multi-selector, and selected parameters
can be adjusted directly by control dials.
    Up to 28 camera settings can be stored in one of three user memories for
instant recall. The unit's custom function button can be assigned to 15
frequently-accessed functions.
    With the supplied remote capture application, the camera can be
controlled from a compatible PC via USB without even touching the camera, and
files can be stored on the computer instead of the media card.

    Larger than life photo-viewing

    The (Alpha)700 model features an HDMI output for connection to HDTV sets,
putting a high-resolution spin on the conventional photo slideshow. When
connected to a Sony BRAVIA(R) LCD HD television, photos are optimized for
viewing with the new "PhotoTV HD" mode. This mode brings the look of actual
printed photography to the television.
    "Increasingly, consumers are looking to view their photos beyond the
traditional means of computer monitors," says Patrick Lapointe, marketing
manager, consumer displays, Sony Canada. "PhotoTV HD allows customers to view
photos in high-definition on the large screen, as though they were actual
printed photos - without compromising quality, sharpness, gradation or
colour."
    The exceptional viewing experience of this camera also extends to viewing
photos on its 3-inch LCD screen. The screen's size and ultra-sharp resolution
(921K) makes it possible to check focus and image quality with much greater
accuracy.

    A flexible system

    The camera will be introduced with two new lenses, bringing Sony's lens
and teleconverter catalog up to 23 models. Supplied as a standard kit lens,
the new DT 16-105 mm f.3.5 - 5.6 lens features a distinctive zoom range (35mm
equivalency of 24 - 157.5 mm); compact, lightweight design; and internal
focusing.
    Sony's full line of accessories will also expand to include a new
vertical grip. Equipped with buttons and switches for the most essential
control functions, it offers the same ease of operation and handling as when
shooting vertically. It houses two InfoLithium(R) batteries (sold separately),
which will automatically switch to the second battery when the first one runs
out. Remaining charges of both batteries are displayed on the camera's LCD
screen.

    Memory that keeps up with the camera

    The a700 is equipped with a CompactFlash card slot that will offer the
consumer uncompromised speed and precision. The new 300x CompactFlash card
offers a high-speed transfer rate of 300x (45MB/s write), which can be
achieved when used with UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) enabled equipment,
such as the a700. Using a higher speed CompactFlash card with a D-SLR enhances
the maximum bursts for continuous shooting.
    "Consumers who purchase the new a700 can expect technical advancements
and breathtaking photo quality," says Sumant Sharma, product manager,
recording media, Sony Canada. "With a CompactFlash slot, the a700 is also
equipped with the ultimate support available. The 300x CompactFlash will
support the end user with high transfer rates and high storage capacities."
    An image recovery feature is available through which the memory card
attempts to recover some of the data which the user is unable to read. The new
300x CompactFlash cards will be available in two capacities, 4GB (NCFD4G) and
8GB (NCFD8G). The 4GB card is capable of capturing up to 682 photos at a 12
megapixel setting (JPEG FINE) by the a700. The 8GB card is capable of
capturing up to 1,363 photos at a 12 megapixel setting (JPEG FINE) by the
a700.
    The (Alpha)700 is compatible with Microdrive(R) media cards and also
accepts Memory Stick Duo(TM) and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo(TM) media cards
through a supplied adaptor.
    The DSLR-A700 body will be available in late September at an MSRP of
$1,599.99 while the DSLR-A700P kit (body and 16-105mm zoom lens) will be
available in November at an MSRP of $2,049.99. The SAL16105 16-105mm zoom lens
will also be available in November at an MSRP of $749.99. The HDMI cables,
VMC-15MHD and VMC-30MHD, will be available in September at $119.99 and $79.99
respectively. The CompactFlash cards, NCFD4G and NCFD8G, will also be
available in September at an MSRP of $199.99 and $349.99 respectively.

    Further information is available through www.sony.ca,
www.thesonystore.ca, or www.sonystyle.ca.

    About Sony of Canada Ltd.

    Established in 1955, Sony of Canada Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Sony Corporation of Tokyo, Japan, a world leader in the manufacture and
marketing of electronic and computer products for consumer, business,
electronics publishing and multimedia applications on a global scale. With
headquarters in Toronto, sales offices in Vancouver and Montreal and
distribution centres in Coquitlam, British Columbia, and Whitby, Ontario,
approximately 1,200 employees support 79 Sony stores and a network of more
than 500 authorized dealers across Canada.

    Editor's Notes:

    Camera performance is measured using Camera Imaging Product Association
(CIPA) standards. The viewable area of LCD displays is measured diagonally.
Available storage capacity of Memory Stick Duo(TM) and CompactFlash(TM) media
may vary. A portion of the memory is used for data management functions.
    300x CompactFlash(R) Card. 1x = 150 KB/s. CompactFlash is a registered
trademark of SanDisk Corporation. The actual number of images will depend on
the object and other parameters.





For further information:

For further information: Sony of Canada, Tony Smith, Vice President,
Marketing Communications, (416) 495-3707, tony_smith@sony.ca; Silverhammer
Public Relations, Michelle Cowan Lefler, Counsellor, (416) 324-2024,
michelle_lefler@silver-hammer.com

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