The Story of Sony and its Alpha

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Early 2006 was marked with press releases and news stories of Konica Minolta closing its doors and selling its assets in the single-lens-reflex (SLR) and digital camera business to Sony Corp. Less than three months after the announcement, Konica Minolta officially closed its doors and handed over the keys of its SLR camera manufacturing unit to Sony.

After they took over, Sony jumped immediately on the digital SLR bandwagon releasing on June 2006 its first digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, the α (Alpha) DSLR-A100 system. The system combines the previous concepts Konica Minolta had on its digital cameras like the anti-shake system found in the Konica Minolta Maxxum/Dynax 5D and 7D with Sony’s various innovations on digital.

The first Sony Alpha came out packed with features. It has a 10.2-megapixel APS CCD image sensor which was the highest available in its class when it was released. At the same time, Sony introduced 19 high-quality Sony lenses and assures consumers that the camera is compatible with most of the former Konica-Minolta Maxxum® mount lenses.

The DSLR-A100 also features a high light sensitivity ISO of up to 1600 and an integrated Super SteadyShot® image stabilization technology which shifts the image sensor to compensate for camera movement.

The camera for an entry on the side of Nikon was not half bad. So it came to no surprise that Sony is releasing an upgraded version of the Sony A-100. This time Sony is releasing a "high end" version of the Alpha digital SLR system.

Among the rather impressive upgrades include a magnesium alloy body, a 12MP CMOS sensor (with on-chip A/D conversion), and 5 frames per second (fps) shooting. The company giant also released more new lenses and a new vertical shooting grip.

This new and upgraded addition tot he Alpha digital SLR system is named DSLR-A700 camera. Targeted for photo enthusiasts or serious photo hobbyists, the A700 is engineered for maximum responsiveness. Included in is new specifications is a newly remade auto-focus system that has a center dual cross sensor comprising of two horizontal and two vertical line sensors for exceptional AF precision along with 10 other wide-area sensors.

The large, bright, viewfinder uses a precision-ground optical glass pentaprism. And with a high refractive index eyepiece lens, users are provided with 0.9x viewfinder magnification plus 95 percent frame coverage.

Moreover, the Sony A700 shutter has a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000th of a second and is powered by a coreless motor which allows the 5 fps continuous shooting. Image quality is captured in JPEG and RAW modes.

For easy shooting, the camera has fourteen creative styles which can still be fine-tuned by customizing contrast, sharpness, zone matching and other parameters.

The DSLR-A700 camera is set to be sold at about $1,500. The new Alpha is offered with a kit lens of 18-70 mm lens. The camera body alone will be sold at $1,400.

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