Sony Adds New Alpha DSLRs & Lenses to Line

Alpha a55 and a33 DSLRs

The Sony Alpha a33 DSLR

Late last month Sony added to its Alpha DSLR line with new camera bodies and lenses. The products include cameras that feature Sony’s newly-developed Translucent Mirror Technology. This technology means the cameras can continuously and quickly focus while shooting stills and video, even full HD.

The new 16.2MP Alpha a55 can capture up to 10 fps, and the 14.2MP a33 can capture up to seven fps. Both cameras utilize Sony’s proprietary Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor, BIONZ high-speed image processing engine and 100% Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder.

The Translucent Mirror technology enables light to pass through the lens, and simultaneously be received by the image sensor and AF sensor, so there’s no need to raise and lower the mirror, hence the cameras are significantly more compact than traditional DSLRs.

Rear of the Sony Alpha a55 DSLR with its LCD folded out

Other features include: a newly developed 15-point AF system with continuous Phase Detect AF. While shooting video, the cameras can maintain continuous focus, which means it will be easier than ever to get great video footage; full-time Live View, using either the viewfinder or LCD;  large 3-inch, fully articulated LCDs; and an ISO range from 100-12,800.

Also new is the Auto HDR feature which gives photographers the ability to capture High Dynamic Range photographs with ease; 3D Sweep Panorama technology that creates two images from a single frame, for viewing in 3D on compatible 3D systems and other devices that support 3D technology; and Sony’s Multi-Frame Noise Reduction The Alpha a55 also incorporates a built-in GPS.

Alpha A560 DSLR

Sony Alpha a560 with its built-in flash popped-up

In addition to the Alpha 55 and 33 cameras, Sony also added the A560 to its line. This new DSLR features a number of proprietary Sony technologies include Sony’s Exmor APS HD CMOS Sensor, BIONZ image processor, Multi-frame Noise Reduction, Sweep Panorama, 3D Sweep Panorama and full HD video capture.

At 14.2MP, the A560 also features Quick AF Live View, seven fps continuous shooting and Auto HDR. The camera features a 3-inch LCD that tilts 90 degrees up/down. In addition to the regular Quick AF Live View, the camera utilizes a Focus Check Live View for critical framing and focusing. The camera also has a wide ISO range up to 25600.

All three DSLR cameras accept Memory Stick PRO Duo (including Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo) and SD (including both SDHC and SDXC formats) media.

While these are not necessarily pro-level DSLR bodies, we do expect to see them in the gear bags of pro photographers who are Sony shooters as back-up cameras; as well as with semi-pros and enthusiasts looking for a more affordable camera.

Camera Pricing and Availability

The a55 and a33 cameras will cost about $750 and $650 (respectively) for the body only and about $850 and $750 (respectively) for the body and kit 18-55mm zoom lens. The a33 is expected to hit store shelves in September and the a55 in October

The a560 model with the camera body and 18-55mm kit lens has an MSRP of $750 and will be available in October. Body only MSRP is $650.

Three New A-Mount Lenses

(l. to r.) Sony's three new A-mount prime lenses: Carl Zeiss Distagon T*24mm f/2 ZA SSM, DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM, and 85mm f/2.8 SAM lenses. (Images are not to scale.)

Sony is expanding its A-mount lens line with three new prime lenses including the Carl Zeiss Distagon T*24mm f/2 ZA SSM, DT 35mm f/1.8 SAM, and 85mm f/2.8 SAM lenses. MSRP for the three new lenses are  $1,250, $200, $250 respectively. The lenses will be available in October.

— Diane Berkenfeld

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