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Sony Announces Full-Frame DSLR-A850
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posted on Aug 27, 2009 at 7:21PM

Sony Announces Full-Frame DSLR-A850

By Emily Raymond
  • Sony A850
  • Full-frame 24.6 MP CMOS
  • $2,000
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • 3 fps burst
(Credit: Sony)

Sony announced its second full-frame DSLR, the Alpha A850, that shares many specs with its A900 sibling but cuts the price considerably. The new Sony A850 has 24.6 megapixels on an Exmor CMOS sensor and dual Bionz image processors, like the A900, but will sell for $2,000 for the body only – making it one of the most affordable full-frame DSLRs when it hits the market next month.

The new Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 cuts only a few corners from the A900: it has a 3 fps burst mode as opposed to the A900’s 5 fps burst, and the new DSLR’s viewfinder is only 98 percent accurate as opposed to the 100 percent accuracy of the A900’s viewfinder.

The 24.6-megapixel CMOS sensor isn’t new; it was included on the A900. The sensor has a two-stage noise reduction system that first nixes noise as the sensor converts light into electronic signals, and then filters remaining noise when the image is written to memory. The image sensor is mounted on a shifting system as part of the built-in SteadyShot Inside image stabilization that aims to reduce the amount of blur in images “up to 4 steps of anti-shake correction,” according to the company’s Aug. 27 statement.

The Sony A850 has a 3-inch LCD monitor with 920,000 pixels – the same that is included on the Sony A900. The sturdy body has the exact same measurements as its older sibling and the same aluminum chassis and magnesium alloy shell. The two A-series cameras are equipped with rubber seals around openings like ports and covers to prevent moisture and dust from getting inside. The A850 is also protected by a dust reduction system that shakes dust from the image sensor itself.

With a price tag at $2,000, the Sony Alpha A850 will be competitive in the full-frame DSLR market. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II retails for $2,699 with its similar 21.1-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor; this is the same price as the Sony A900. The Nikon D700, which has a 12.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS, retails for $2,999. The three DSLRs have similar 3-inch LCD screens, all with 920,000 pixels of resolution. They have their differences too: the Nikon D700 includes a built-in flash, something the other two models omit, and the Canon 5D Mark II offers HD videos with a live view.

Of course, the three full-frame DSLRs accept their own brands of lenses. The A850 accepts Sony Alpha lenses, which include a few Carl Zeiss glass models in the mix, along with older Minolta A-type bayonet mount lenses.

Sony released a new lens along with its fresh full-frame A850. The 28-75mm f/2.8 SAM lens can be included in a package with the camera for $2,800. The lens, which will be available in November, is meant to be “a bright, general purpose zoom” for full-frame DSLRs. 


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