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2 x Sony ILCs, E-mount lenses

Sony has announced two new mirrorless cameras to be available next month, and bolstered its E-mount lens range.

The Sony a3000 - a mirrorless interchangeable model with DSLR styling.
The Sony a3000 – a mirrorless interchangeable model with DSLR styling.

One of the two cameras – the a3000 – is a mirrorless interchangeable housed inside a DSLR-shaped body, while the other is the NEX-5T, which adopts the Sony look for its mirrorless interchangeables but adds NFC for easier WiFi connections.

Sony’s $499 ‘faux DSLR’ arrives hard on the heels of a Sony online video campaign mocking DSLR users as socially inept geeks – either Sony has some kind of corporate schizophrenia or it’s a change of direction from the company.

The a3000 features a 21-megapixel APS-C Exmor sensor and comes with SteadyShot stabilisation technology built into the body. It has acrisp, clear Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder with 100 percent frame coverage plus a newly-designed grip. It supports Full HD video recording with a choice of 50i or 25p shooting modes.

In-camera controls include a palette of 15 artistic Picture Effects that includes Retro Photo, Miniature and Partial Colour. Auto Object Framing neatly trims portraits, close-ups and even moving subjects. An instant preview of tweaks to exposure and white balance settings makes it easier to compose shots with confidence, and optional grid lines can be displayed in the viewfinder.

The a3000 has a Multi Interface Shoe to expand shooting options. Accessories include the new HVL-F43M flash with Sony’s Quick Shift Bounce system, the ECM-XYST1M Stereo Microphone and the battery-powered HVL-LEIR1 Video IR light.

It will be available in Australia from September at a ‘suggested retail price’ (SRP) of $499.

nex5t_wselp1650_1_bkAlso arriving next month, the NEX-5T mirrorless interchangeable has compact styling and 16-megapixel Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. Downloadable apps are available for this camera to expand shooting options.

The ultra-compact camera weighs only 276 grams (with battery and memory card). Fast Hybrid AF combines phase-detection autofocus to track fast-moving subjects with contrast-detection AF for focusing precision, and the LCD monitor can be flipped up to 180 degrees for easy self-portraits. A dedicated control dial and assignable Fn button provide the flexibility photographers need for changing camera settings.

Near Field Communication provides one-touch wireless connection with Android smartphones and tablets for easy sharing, and even remote control of the camera.

Users can add more functions with a growing range of downloadable ‘PlayMemories Camera Apps’. A new Lens Compensation app lets expert users save and apply subtle image corrections for different lenses. Adjustable correction can be applied to compensate for peripheral shading, chromatic aberration and barrel/pincushion distortion. The latest update of Direct Upload Version 2.0 streamlines photo transfers to social networking services wherever there’s a WiFi hotspot handy. Installing the Flickr Add-on now allows direct image uploads to Flickr.

The new NEX-5T interchangeable lens compact camera carries a suggested retail price of $899 (single lens) or $1149 (twin lens).

New lenses

Sony will expand its E-mount interchangeable range with the addition of two new lenses plus a black version of its E 50mm f1.8 portrait lens.

A versatile standard zoom by Carl Zeiss is joined by Sony’s first ‘G ‘(premium) Lens for E-mount cameras and interchangeable lens camcorders. The latest additions boost the total range of E-mount lenses to 16.

The Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS is a compact, easy to carry lens with a useful 4x zoom range, equivalent to 24-105mm in 35mm format. An advanced aspherical lens (AA lens) element and three normal aspherical elements reduce lens size and weight without sacrificing image quality. The renowned T coating reduces flare and ghosting for natural colour reproduction. The maximum aperture remains a constant f4 at all focal lengths. The SEL1670Z will be available from September at an SRP of $1199.

The E PZ 18-105mm f4 G OSS covers a 5.8x zoom range (27-157.5mm in 35mm full-frame equivalent), making it a good choice for travellers. The optical design includes two glass elements plus three aspherical elements for high resolution and contrast throughout the entire zoom range. Distortion and spherical/colour aberration are minimised and the circular aperture ensures smooth bokeh effects. This lens is well suited to Full HD video shooting, thanks to its linear motor AF drive. Independent focus and zoom rings allow manual focus adjustment while zooming. The SELP18105G also maintains a consistent f4 maximum aperture. This lens is scheduled to go on sale in December at an SRP of AU$799.

Sony’s E 50mm f1.8 portrait lens will now be available in black from next month at an SRP of $399. This bright, wide-aperture prime lens is ideal for handheld portraiture.

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