Sony Announces SLT-A77 and SLT-A65

Sony A77
The Sony SLT-A77 takes aim at Nikon and Canon

Sony announced new entries to compete with Nikon and Canon, demonstrating they’re serious about trying to carve out a foothold in the digital camera space.

Sony SLT-A77

The A77 comes packed with features aimed at the Canon 7D and Nikon D5100 and could be compelling enough to wrestle some business away from the market leaders.

Built with a magnesium-alloy shell, the A77 provides clear testimony to the success of Sony’s push to improve the fit and finish of their cameras.

Inside Sony has fitted the A77 with an APS-C chip behind a translucent mirror.  Instead of a flip-up mirror, the A77’s translucent mirror remains fixed and allows continuous auto-focus both in burst mode and movie mode.  This feature was first introduced in the A55 and improved for this generation.

Several features are aimed at sports photography, including the ability to shoot 12 full-resolution images in burst mode with a shutter delay as low as 0.05 seconds.

The video capabilities have been enhanced, with the introduction of the AVCHD Progressive codec.  The A77 can deliver 1080p in either 60 fps or 24 fps and boasts a continuous shooting time of 29 minutes.

The LCD screen has dual-hinge, three-way tilt shift capability, something Canon users will envy when shooting outside on sunny days.

For audio the A77 has stereo mics, but strangely didn’t include any manual audio controls.

The Sony A65 has very similar capabilities in a plastic shell and the burst mode only handles 10 pictures instead of 12.

The A77 will have a $2,000 kit price and the A65 will weigh in at $999 with the 18-55mm kit lens.

Instead of a lower price point, Sony opted for the “more for your money” approach.  It will be interesting to see if it works.

Sony Unveils New Camera/Binocular Fusion

Video camera? Still camera? Binoculars? All of the above
Are they binoculars that work like a camera?  Or a camera shaped like binoculars?  Either way you want to look at them, Sony’s new Dev-3 and Dev-5 camera/binocular fusion devices sport HD video capabilities, 7 megapixel still pictures, auto-focus and image stabilization.Aimed primarily at nature enthusiasts and bird watchers, the Dev series records full 1080/60p HD video in AVCHD format, with audio, and has options for both 2D and 3D video.  The Dev-5 adds options for optical zoom mode for still images and GPS functionality.

On the inside the Dev series offers dual ¼ back-illuminated CMOS sensors, a multi-use card slot that accepts Sony Memory Sticks or SD/SDHC/SDXC type memory cards, HDMI output and headphone and microphone input jacks.

Whether you’re out on a backpacking adventure, hunting, bird watching, or just taking in the wildlife at the beach the Dev-3 and Dev-5 bring a lot to the party in one convenient package.

The advantage for bird watchers or law enforcement on stake out is being able to leave the heavy equipment behind and take one unit that will handle all the functions they’ll need without a second camera.  The NP-FV70 lnfoLITHIUM battery pack is good for up to three hours of 2D video recording.

Sony also incorporated their SteadyShot image stabilization in Still mode, which should smooth out some of the bumps.

The price tag for the first models is a little steep.  The Dev-3 MSRP will be in the neighborhood of $1,400 and the Dev-5 will come in around $2,000.  The real test will be how they perform in low light.

Sony Dev-3 side view
The Dev-5 adds electronic zoom and GPS capability

Create panoramic photos easily with in-camera stitching

Ever wanted to create a panoramic photo? The beauty of panoramic shots is that you can capture a really wide view, great for nature photos, and architecture. Several new cameras (and some older ones) make it really easy by doing all the work for you. All you have to do is take a few photos while panning the camera horizontally or vertically, and the camera will automatically stitch them together to form a beautiful wide or tall panorama.

Many cameras have a panoramic mode, but only some perform the stitching in camera for you, instead of requiring you to run some software on your computer. In fact, there is a group dedicated to in-camera stitched panoramic photos on flickr.

Boston Skyline by soelin, using a new mirrorless Sony NEX-5. The Sony NEX-3 also does in-camera panoramas.

185 degree Panoramic lobby by Debs (ò‿ó)♪

185˚ Panoramic lobby by Debs (ò‿ó)♪, using a Sony DSC-TX5.

Cph lakes panorama by extractor2000

Cph lakes panorama by extractor2000. Taken with a Sony DSC-HX5v.

sea panorama by blumblaum

sea panorama by blumblaum. Taken with a Fujifilm S1000fd.

montblanc by mako10

montblanc by mako10. Taken with a waterproof Pentax W80, presumably the newer W90 also does automatic panoramic photos.

dusk by heiwa4126

Dusk by heiwa4126. Taken with a Kodak V705, an older camera known for its dual lens system, seems to be very popular for panoramic photos!

Bridge Under The Freeway

Bridge Under The Freeway also by heiwa4126. Taken with a Kodak V705