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Sony announces Alpha 300 and 350

By dpreview staff on Jan 30, 2008 at 20:12 GMT

Pre-PMA 2008: Sony has announced another two DSLRs to join its Alpha range. In between the recently announced A200 and flagship A700 come the A300 and A350 live view-enabled DLSRs. Here are the specifications of the cameras that show just how seriously Sony is taking the camera market.

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Press Release:

Sony introduces two mainstream DSLR cameras with unique “Quick AF Live View" system

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 30, 2008Sony is bringing live-view shooting to its digital SLR camera line with today’s introduction of a 14.2-megapixel a (alpha) DSLR-A350 camera and 10.2-megapixel α (alpha) DSLR A300 model. Both cameras feature new technologies that make picture taking faster, easier, and more familiar for first-time DSLR users.

Quick AF Live View System

They both offer Sony’s new “Quick AF Live View” technology so you can frame photos on the camera’s LCD without sacrificing auto-focusing speed common to other live-view systems.

Sony’s innovative Pentamirror Tilt mechanism directs light to a dedicated live view image sensor, enabling fast and responsive TTL phase-detection auto-focusing, even during live view.

Eliminating the focus delay of other systems, the new models are equally responsive whether using live view or optical viewfinder.


With its two sensor design, Quick AF Live View can even continuously focus-track the subject and provide live view during burst shooting, helping you capture that special moment.

Taking further advantage of Quick AF Live View is the models’ variable angle 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD™ screen. This makes it easy to frame scenes from high or low positions difficult to reach when using an eye-level viewfinder.

With Live View and an adjustable LCD, the cameras do not need to be in front of the user’s face, allowing parents, for example, to maintain eye-contact when photographing their children.

 “Mainstream users stepping up to DSLRs are looking for a similar experience to their point and shoot cameras, but without compromise in speed or performance” said Phil Lubell, director of marketing for digital cameras at Sony Electronics. “Quick AF Live View gives these new models a familiar shooting style without compromising speed – ideal for the growing market of first-time SLR users.”

Exceptional Image Quality

The new models produce images with fine detail, rich tonality and vibrant color due to their APS-C CCD image sensors and BIONZ® processing engine. To aid shooting in low light, Super SteadyShot® image stabilization enables shutter speeds 2.5 to 3.5 steps slower than otherwise possible, with every compatible Minolta Maxxum® and Sony α (alpha) lens (sold separately) attached to the camera.

High sensitivity operation at ISO 1600 and 3200 and very low noise are made possible by the user-selectable high-ISO noise reduction features. Sony’s D-Range Optimizer delivers suitable tonality and exposures with rich shadow and highlight detail, even under high contrast situations.

Powerful Performance, Easy to Use

The DSLR-A300 model can shoot about three continuous frames per second and the DSLR-A350 model can shoot up to two-and-a-half continuous frames per second, when using the optical viewfinder. Both are powered by the Bionz processing engine and supplied InfoLITHIUM™ battery for fast start-up times, quick response and long battery life – up to 730 shots per full charge when using the optical viewfinder and up to 410 shots per full charge in live-view mode.

Both models feature lighter, slimmer bodies for easy handling; an improved user interface; an automatic pop-up flash; a comfortable camera grip with an easily accessible mode dial; an anti-dust system to keep the CCD image sensor clean for spot-free pictures; and JPEG and RAW file format support. Both have a slot for CompactFlash™ Type I/II media cards.

An adaptor for Memory Stick Duo™ media cards is also available for the cameras and sold separately.

The new DSLR-A300 and DSLR-A350 cameras are compatible with a range of accessories, including the ergonomic Sony VG-B30AM vertical grip. Also available as an option is the new Sony HVL-F42AM flash unit. It offers advanced features such as automatic white balance adjustment with color temperature information, adjustable bounce angles, ADI metering and wireless remote operation to suit the needs of most photographers.

Price and Availability

The DSLR-A300 kit with a DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens will ship in April for about $800. The DSLR-A350 camera body will be available in March for about $800, and the DSLR-A350 kit with a DT 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 3.9x zoom lens will be available for about $900 at the same time. Both models will be available at sonystyle.com, Sony Style® retail stores (www.sonystyle.com/retail), military base exchanges, and authorized dealers nationwide. Pre-orders begin online today at www.sonystyle.com/dslr.

Sony A300 and A350 specifications

  A300 A350

Price

US: ca.$800 with 18-70 US: ca.$900 with 18-70

Body color

Black
Sensor • 10.2 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD sensor
• 1.5x FOV crop
• RGB primary color filter
• 14.2 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD sensor
• 1.5x FOV crop
• RGB primary color filter
Anti-dust measures • Sensor shake system
• Static-free anti-dust coating
Anti-shake • Super-steady shot in-camera stabilization
Image sizes • 3872 x 2592 (Large, 10.0 MP)
• 2896 x 1936 (Medium, 5.6 MP)
• 1920 x 1280 (Small, 2.5 MP)
• 3872 x 2176 (Large, 8.4 MP, 16:9)
• 2896 x 1632 (Medium, 4.7 MP, 16:9)
• 1920 x 1088 (Small, 2.1 MP, 16:9)
• 4592 x 3056 (Large, 14.0 MP)
• 3408 x 2272 (Medium, 7.7 MP)
• 2288 x 1520 (Small, 3.5 MP)
• 4592 x 2576 (Large, 12.0 MP, 16:9)
• 3408 x 1920 (Medium, 6.5 MP, 16:9)
• 2288 x 1280 (Small, 2.9 MP, 16:9)
Image quality • RAW
• RAW + JPEG
• JPEG Fine
• JPEG Normal
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Lens mount • Sony Alpha lenses
(also compatible with Minolta A-type bayonet mount lenses)
Autofocus • 9-point AF with center cross
Lens servo • Single-servo AF (AF-S)
• Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)
• Automatic AF-S/AF-C (AF-A)
• Manual focus (M)
AF Area mode • Wide
• Spot
• Local
AF Assist Pop-up flash strobes
Exposure mode • Programmed auto (P) with flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (S)
• Aperture priority auto (A)
• Manual (M)
• Auto and 7 scene selection modes
Metering Multi-pattern metering:
• 40 Segment
• Center weighted
• Spot
Exposure compensation • +/- 2.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
AE Lock Exposure locked at detected value with AEL button
AE Bracketing +/- 1/3EV or +/- 2/3EV
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200
Shutter • 30 to 1/4000 sec (1/3 EV steps)
White balance • Auto
• Seven manual modes with 7-step fine-tuning
    • Daylight
    • Shade
    • Cloudy
    • Tungsten
    • Fluorescent
    • Flash
    • Color temperature/color filter
• Preset white balance
WB fine tuning Yes
Image parameters • Preset modes: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Night view, Sunset, B&W, Adobe RGB (All others are sRGB)
Viewfinder • Optical fixed eye-level
• Pentamirror type
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.74x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
• Spherical Acute Matte focusing screen
LCD monitor • 2.7" tilting TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel
• Features automatic defeat via Eye Sensor
Built-in flash • Auto pop-up in Auto, Vari-program modes
• Manual pop-up in P, S, A or M modes
• Guide number approx. 12 at ISO 100
Flash mode • Auto
• Fill-flash
• Rear flash sync
• Slow sync
• High speed sync
• Wireless off-camera flash (with HVL-F56AM or HVL-F36AM)
Shooting modes • Single frame shooting (S) mode
• Continuous (C) mode: approx. 3.0 frames per second
• Bracket single (press shutter 3 times)
• Bracket continuous (hold shutter = 3 shots)
• WB bracket, Lo/Hi
• Single frame shooting (S) mode
• Continuous (C) mode: approx. 2.0 frames per second
• Bracket single (press shutter 3 times)
• Bracket continuous (hold shutter = 3 shots)
• WB bracket, Lo/Hi
Continuous buffer • JPEG: Limited only by storage
• RAW: Approx. 6 frames (shooting continues at a slower rate)
• RAW+JPEG: Approx. 3 frames (shooting continues at a slower rate)
Self-timer 2 or 10 sec
Video output NTSC or PAL selectable
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)
• Video
Power Lithium-Ion battery pack NP-FM500H (7.2 V, 1600 mAh)
Battery life Approx. 740 shots (CIPA standard) Approx. 730 shots (CIPA standard)
Dimensions 130.8 x 98.5 x 74.7 mm (5.2 x 3.9 x 2.9 in)
Weight
(no batt)
582 g (1.28 lb)
Supplied accessories

• Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NP-FM500H
• BC-VM10 battery charger
• Video and USB cables
• Shoulder strap with eyepiece cap and Remote Commander clip
• Body cap
• Software/USB driver

Optional accessories

• CompactFlash card (NCFB1G)
• External flash (HVL-F56AM)
• External flash (HVL-F36AM)
• Vertical grip (VG-B30AM)
• AC adaptor/charger (AC-VQ900AM)

Additional images

A350 with vertical grip. Viewfinder cover when in live view mode.
The LCD can be tilted up for waist-level shooting.. ...or down for overhead shots.
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