Pre-IFA 2009: Sony unveiled its second full-frame digital SLR in the shape of DSLR-A850. It offers almost all features of the company's flagship full frame DSLR A900, but at a more affordable price. It is built around the same 24.6MP CMOS sensor and incorporates A900's 3.0 inch 921k LCD, sensor-shift image-stabilization and Dual Bionz processors. The only compromise is a 98% viewfinder coverage against A900's 100% and slower continuous shooting. To complement the A850, Sony has also announced a mid-priced 28-75mm constant F2.8 SAM lens to fit with the A850's affordable full-frame ethos. The A850 will start shipping from September 2009 with the 28-75mm lens available from November 2009.

MSRP of the new camera (body only) is $2000/€1999

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Press Release:

Full-frame DSLR shooting at a real-world price


New Alpha A850 with 24.6 megapixels and pro-style features

Weybridge, 27th August 2009: The new DSLR-A850 from Sony offers serious photo enthusiasts a step up to the creative possibilities of full-frame imaging at a compelling price.

Ruggedly built for unflinching pro-style handling and performance, the A850 shares the same 24.6 megapixel sensor and virtually all features of the flagship DSLR-A900, introduced last year. Like its full-frame sibling, the A850 fully exploits the creative possibilities of the α family of lenses that includes premium full-frame optics from Carl Zeiss, plus five high-performance G Lens models.

At the heart of the A850 is a full frame 24.6 effective megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor that captures flawless, detail-packed images with vibrant, lifelike colours and fine textures.

The purity of high-resolution image data captured by the full-frame sensor is optimised by two-stage noise reduction in both analogue and digital domains. Noise reduction is first applied as the full-frame sensor converts light to electronic signals. Dual BIONZ™ image engines process large amounts of digital data, applying finely-tuned noise reduction during image processing to deliver pictures with extremely high level of sharpness and minimal noise level. This combination of high native sensor resolution and powerful noise control techniques ensures superlative image quality, even at high sensitivity settings up to a maximum ISO 6400 (with expanded ISO range).

The camera’s optical glass pentaprism viewfinder aids accurate shot composition, offering an extremely bright view with minimal distortion and a generous 98% field coverage.

Serious enthusiasts will also prize the camera’s fast, high-accuracy autofocus system that provides excellent framing freedom while making it easier to achieve optimum focus with moving subjects. The 9-point AF system is supplemented by 10 focus assist points to assist subject detection, improved out-of-focus detection to reduce focus hunting and a dedicated F2.8 sensor for enhanced AF accuracy with wide aperture lenses.

Shots can be viewed on the large, high contrast 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD that offers an exceptionally high  resolution (921k dot) for critical evaluation – even outdoors or in bright ambient light.

For greater creative control, an Intelligent Preview function indicates the effects of exposure, white balance, and D-Range Optimiser adjustments prior to shooting. This Preview is invaluable when composing complex scenes that may typically combine multiple light sources with different colour temperatures.

Touching the Fn button switches the display to Quick Navi mode, allowing convenient one-handed adjustment of key shooting parameters. A secondary backlit LCD panel on the top of the camera body gives useful confirmation of major settings, even when the main LCD is turned off.

In common with all other DSLR cameras from Sony, the A850 features SteadyShot INSIDE™. This in-body optical stabilisation system delivers up to 4 steps of anti-shake correction with all compatible lenses, opening up even greater creative possibilities when shooting handheld.

Like its full-frame sibling, the A850 is ruggedly built for dependable performance in gruelling conditions with a high-tensile aluminium chassis and all-magnesium alloy body shell. Viewfinder, card slots, controls and other sensitive areas are protected from dust and moisture by rubber seals. In addition, a dual anti-dust system guards the full-frame sensor from the effects of dust entering the body during lens exchange.

The supplied high-capacity InfoLITHIUM™ Battery Pack (NP-FM500H) delivers power for up to 880 shots (approx.) per charge. Battery levels can be monitored in precise 1% increments, cutting uncertainty about remaining shooting time.

The camera can be connected to your BRAVIA™ or any HD TV (requires optional HDMI cable) for a big-screen view of your shots. On-screen image quality is optimised for superbly lifelike reproduction on BRAVIA™ models supporting PhotoTV HD. On-screen playback can be controlled via an optional remote commander.

The choice of full-frame lenses to complement the A850 is enhanced with the new 28-75mm F2.8 SAM. This compact, easy-to-carry lens is ideal for photo enthusiasts looking to add a bright, general purpose zoom to their collection of full-frame optics. Delivering excellent imaging quality at an accessible price, it’s the first zoom for the Alpha range offering a wide F2.8 aperture over its entire zoom range. Ideal for day-to-day shooting tasks, its bright maximum aperture makes the 28-75mm F2.8 SAM particularly valuable for interior scenes and available-light portraits.

The DSLR-A850 full-frame digital SLR camera is available from September 2009 and the 28-75mm lens will be available from November 2009.

Features

  • Full-frame 24.6 effective megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor and dual BIONZ processors for detail-packed, low-noise images with high sensitivity up to ISO 6400 (with expanded ISO range)
  • Bright optical glass pentaprism viewfinder with 98% coverage
  • SteadyShot INSIDE™ offers up to 4.0 steps anti-shake performance with all lenses
  • Photo quality (921k dot) 3.0-inch Xtra Fine LCD
  • Fast, high-accuracy 9-point AF with 10 focus assist points

Sony DSLR-A850 specifications

Price (body only)

• US: $ 2000
• UK: TBC
• EU: € 1999

Price (with 28-75mm SAM lens) • US: ~$ 2800
• UK: TBC
• EU: € 2688
Body material Magnesium Body
Sensor • 35.9 x 24.0 mm CMOS sensor 'Exmor'
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 25.7 million total pixels
• 24.6 million effective pixels
• On-chip Column A/D Conversion & NR
Image sizes [Still]

• 6048 x 4032 (24M 3:2)
• 4400 x 2936 (13M 3:2)
• 3024 x 2016 (6.1M 3:2)
• 6048 x 3408 (21M 16:9)
• 4400 x 2472 (11M 16:9)
• 3024 x 1704 (5.2M 16:9)
• 3924 x 2656 (11M APSC)
• 2896 x 1928 (5.6M APSC)
• 1984 x 1320 (2.6M APSC)

File qualities / formats • RAW (.ARW 2.0)
• Compressed or uncompressed RAW option
• RAW + JPEG Fine
• JPEG Extra Fine
• JPEG Fine
• JPEG Standard
Dust reduction • Charge protection coating on low-pass filter
• CCD-shift dust reduction mechanism
Lenses • Sony Alpha lenses
(also compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount lenses)
• Can be used with DT (1.5x crop) lenses in APS-C mode
FOV crop 1.0 x
Image Stabilization • CCD-Shift ' SteadyShot INSIDE' system
• Five level LED shake indicator in viewfinder
• Claimed equivalent to 2.5 EV- 4 EV steps in shutter speed
Auto Focus • TTL CCD line sensors (9-points, center dual cross types + 10 assist sensors)
• EV 0 to 18 (ISO 100) detection range
• Predictive focus control for moving subjects
AF area selection

• Wide AF area
• Spot AF area (center)
• Focus area selection (any of 9)

Focus modes • Single-shot AF
• Direct Manual Focus
• Continuous AF
• Automatic AF
• Manual focus
• AF micro adjustment (+/- 20 steps for up to 30 lenses)
AF assist
illuminator
• Yes (built-in LED lamp)
• Range approx 1m - 7m
Eye-start AF No
Shooting modes

• Auto
• Programmed Auto (with shift)
• Aperture priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual
• MR (memory recall) / Custom

Sensitivity

• Auto (200 - 1600) - upper/lower limit selectable *
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200
• ISO 100,ISO 125,ISO 160, ISO 4000, ISO 5000, ISO 6400 (expanded range)

Metering modes • Multi-segment (40 segment Honeycomb pattern)
• Center-weighted
• Spot
Metering range • TTL metering
• 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
• EV 0 to 20 (Multi-segment / Center-weighted)
• EV 2 to 20 (Spot metering)
(at ISO 100 with F1.4 lens)
AE Lock • AEL button (customizable)
• Half-press shutter release
AE Bracketing • Single or continuous bracketing
• 3 or 5 frames
• 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 or 2.0 EV steps*
*2.0 EV steps for 3 frames only
Exposure compen. • -3.0 to +3.0 EV
• 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps
Shutter Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane Shutter
Shutter Speed • 30 to 1/8000 sec
• Bulb
Flash X-sync • 1/250 sec
• 1/200 sec (with SteadyShot INSIDE on)
Aperture values Depends on lens, 0.3 EV steps
DOF preview Yes, dedicated button
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Shade
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Flash
• Color temperature (2500 - 9900 K)
• Manual (Custom) - 3 memories

White balance fine tuning • Auto (none)
• Preset WB: -3 to +3
• Fluorescent WB: -2 to +4
• Color temperature WB: G9 to M9 (19 step Magenta / Green compensation)
White balance bracketing • 3 frames
• Hi or Lo steps
Dynamic range optimizer

• Off
• Standard
• Advanced Auto
• Advanced
• DRO advanced bracketing (3 frames, High/Low selectable)

Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Color modes • Standard
• Vivid
• Neutral
• Clear
• Deep
• Light
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Sunset
• Night view
• Autumn Leaves
• B&W
• Sepia
Image parameters • Contrast (-3 to +3)
• Saturation (-3 to +3)
• Sharpness (-3 to +3)
• Zone Matching (-1 to +2 steps)
• Brightness (-3 to +3 steps)
(Available in all color modes)
Noise reduction • Long exposure for exposures longer than 1 second (User controllable: On / Off)
• High ISO NR High/Normal/Low/Off at ISO 1600 or higher
Viewfinder

• Eye-level fixed optical glass pentaprism
• Spherical Acute Matte focusing screen (interchangeable)
• Magnification approx. 0.74x
• 98% frame coverage*
• Dioptric adjustment (-3 to +1.0)
• Eye-relief 20 mm from eyepiece
• Eyepiece cup removable
• Eyepiece shutter built-in
• Viewfinder info bar

LCD monitor

• 3.0" 'Xtra Fine' TFT LCD
• 921,600 pixels (640 x 480 x 3 (RGB))
• 100% coverage
• Brightness setting -/+
• Anti-reflective coating

Flash compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 2.0 EV steps
Flash Mode Auto, Fill-Flash, Rear sync , High Speed Sync
External flash (optional) • Sony HVL-F58M
• Sony HVL-F56M
• Sony HVL-F42M
• Sony HVL-F36M
• Macro Twin Flash Kit HVL-MT24AM
• Ring Light HVL-RLAM
• Off camera flash shoe FA-CS1 AM
Drive modes • Single-frame
• Continuous (H/L selectable)
• Self-timer (10 or 2 sec)
• Mirror-Up
• Continuous bracket
• Single-frame bracket
• White balance bracket
• DRO bracket
• Mirror Lock-Up
• Remote Commander
Continuous
shooting *
Approx 3 fps max
• RAW: Up to 16 frames
• cRAW (compressed): Up to 18 frames
• RAW+JPEG: Up to12 frames
• cRAW+JPEG : Up to 12 frames
• JPEG (XFINE): Up to 34 frames
• JPEG (STD/FINE): 593/384
Self-timer

• 10 sec
• 2 sec
• Mirror up function (optional)
• Remote control

Orientation sensor Yes, for shooting, playback and control panel display
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mass storage, Multi-LUN or PTP)
• Video out (NTSC or PAL)
• HDMI type C mini jack
• DC-IN
• Remote terminal
• PC control (with supplied software)
Remote control * • Wired: with optional RM-S1AM or RM-L1AM
• Wireless: with optional RM-DSLR1)
Video out • AV (Selectable NTSC or PAL)
• HDMI (1920 x 1080i, 1280 x 720p, 720 x 580p, 720 x 576p)
• 'PhotoTV' HD settings applied with BRAVIA.
Storage • Compact Flash Type I/II, UDMA Mode 5 compliant
• Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, PRO-HG Duo
• Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32
Power • NP-FM500H Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery (1650 mAh)
• CR2025 Wireless remote
• Battery charger included
• Optional AC adapter
• Battery life Approx 880 shots (CIPA standard)
Vertical grip • Vertical Grip VG-C90AM
• One or Two NP-FM500H batteries with auto switchover for power (additional battery is optional).
Dimensions 156 x 117 x 82 mm
Weight (body) 850 g

Additional images