Sony Patents a New Translucent Mirror That Can be Flipped Up


Wait, what? When Sony first introduced its SLT series of A-mount cameras sporting a translucent mirror, the whole idea was–or so we thought–that the mirror wouldn’t have to flip up because, you know, it being translucent and all. But now it seems that Sony decided combining classical SLR flip-up mirror tech with a translucent mirror would be an even better idea. And we actually have to agree.

The problem with the SLT technology is, that the mirror isn’t actually tranclucent, but only semi-translucent. That means that part of the incoming light gets deflected towards the AF sensor, while the majority passes through the mirror and hits the sensor. The technology is pretty clever because it allows for permanent live-view while providing phase-detection AF at the same time, but whith it comes a slight loss of light because the semi-translucent mirror is fixed in position and doesn’t flip up during exposure like that of a regular DSLR.

With a semi-translucent mirror that actually flips up during the exposure, Sony could solve the light-loss problem, and still have phase-detection AF and live-view at the same time. Realistically, though, Sony probably won’t ever put this technology into one of its A-mount cameras, and the reason for that is fairly simple: they already have sensors that sporting phase-detection pixels, namely those of the A7 and A6000 E-mount cameras.

So instead of further developing its SLT technology, our bet is that in its next generation of A-mount cameras, Sony will dump the mirror once and for all, and instead rely on its on-sensor phase-detection AF. Technically, this would mean that all future A-mount cameras would essentially become mirrorless, but with a much longer flange-back distance compared to the E-mount system, and with a more traditional DSLR look compared to the styling of the majority of Sony’s E-mount cameras.

As always, this is just speculation at this point and to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the way Sony has been innovating lately, the above scenario seems rather probably to us.

Via Sony Alpha Rumors

Review: Sony a58

sony a58 front

I got my first taste of this camera back at a Sony event held at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. The event wasn’t strictly about photography, but they were showcasing some of their newest cameras. I sketched my first impression of the camera after my few hours with it, and a few months later, I had it in my possession for a month. With 20.1MP, an APS HD CMOS censor, and smooth contours, the a58 can take some fantastic photos. I took it out alongside my a580, the a58’s portly older brother. As time progressed, I found that I warmed up to this camera, more so than I did initially.

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First Impressions: Sony A58

Sony a58

Sony a58

Sony rang, and we answered the call. Editor-in-Chief Chris Gampat and I headed over to the Museum of Natural History for an invite-only press event for Sony’s new line of consumer electronics. There were upcoming television, audio, and photo offerings on display, and it was the latter of the three that particularly interested us. Following a presentation by COO Phil Molyneux and several product specialists, we signed out cameras and went on a small tour of three exhibits. Chris took the new NEX-3N and I had the a58, Sony’s latest addition to its SLT line. In summary, it’s something you’re either going to like or not.

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Announcing The Sony A99, The First Full-Frame SLT Camera

The long awaited successor to the A900 is here,the Sony A99. Full-frame cameras have a long life cycle and this camera has been in development for four years. This incorporates the latest and best technology from Sony and is the first full-frame camera to offer articulating display, EVF, 60p as well as SLT.

Sony’s first priority for the A99 was to achieve exceptional image quality and with this in mind they developed brand new 24.3 mp sensor. The pixel count may remain the same as the A900 but everything has changed about this sensor all the down to the silicon is different. The sensor isn’t the only thing new about this camera, there are many new features coming to the A99 including a dual AF system, display, video features and more. Continue reading…

Review: Sony A37

The Sony A37 is the company’s latest offering to the entry level crowd. Both Peter and I  had hands on time with the unit before it was even announced and in two totally different scenarios. The camera has stylistic differences from the likes of Canon and Nikon: the other two major players in this market segment. The A37 also continues Sony’s dedication to the SLT system; which removes the optical viewfinder for an electronic one and therefore also sticks with a translucent mirror.

Many Sony products are very favorably reviewed on this website. So is the A37 any different?

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Rumor: Sony Working On “Uber-Alpha” With Square Sensor?

According to Sony Alpha Rumors, Sony is currently working on a new Alpha model with a square sensor. While that alone may not sound very fascinating, the new sensor’s format makes it a lot more interesting: it’s said to have a size of 36 x 36mm— that’s almost medium format land! In comparison, most consumer and prosumer cameras feature APS-C sensors with a size of roughly 17 x 25 mm, a standard full-frame 35mm sensor has a size of 24 x 36mm, and medium format sensors start at 30 x 45 mm. So the A1S’s (that’s the rumored name of the camera) sensor will sit in-between lower-end medium format and 35mm full-frame size-wise.

Resolution-wise, the sensor is in-between both worlds as well. With an alleged 37 megapixels, it has more resolution than current flagship full-frame DSLRs, but less than most lower-end medium format backs. That’s more like it!

But wait … here comes the real clou: according to the site, the new camera will be compatible with all current A-mount lenses! What does this mean? Simply put, you can use all current Sony A-mount lenses on this camera, but with more resolution than on any DSLR or SLT model, and with a 33% larger field-of-view on the vertical axis due to the sensors larger size.

We don’t know for sure whether this camera is actually going to be made, whether it’s just a concept that’s being discussed or whether those rumors are just the fantasy of some fanboys. But either way, this is an interesting concept. And if it does indeed work with current A-mount lenses (which, after all, are designed to fill the smaller image circle of a 24 x 36mm sensor), I see no reason not to introduce it. I’m always for progressive ideas and out-of-the-box thinking, and this should stir up the market quite a bit, should it become reality.

What do you think about the rumored A1S concept, and about cameras with square sensors in general? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Sony Presents New α57 SLT Which Does (Almost) All The Thinking For You

Sony today presents the latest model of their Alpha SLT lineup of translucent-mirror interchangeable lens cameras, the α57. Successor to the α55 not only by name, it ups the ante with a bunch of new features that come awfully close to making the photographer obsolete. Besides using the same 16 megapixel sensor as the mirrorless NEX-5n and featuring a new 50p/60p video mode, it comes with a portrait mode that does the framing for you and tracks faces even if they are turned away from the camera. To find out if it still needs a photographer to operate it, read on after the jump.

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