Sony A57 Launches w/ 16MP & 1080/60p Video

Sony A57

The Sony A57 is the latest Alpha model utilizing Translucent Mirror Technology – and it steps up the game from its predecessor, the Sony A55.

Priced at $700 for the body, the A57 piles it on in terms of features, offering a 16.1MP resolution CMOS sensor (APS-C format) and the AVCHD 2.0 progressive codec, which allows the A57 to capture 1080p video at a full 60p frame rate – a feature both Canon and Nikon HDSLR shooters have been screaming for on the high-end models (let alone entry-level cameras in the A57 price range).

Sony continues its tradition of fast live-view AF thanks to the Translucent Mirror Technology, which allows users to view the image on the rear LCD or in the electronic viewfinder – all the while maintaining the rapid and accurate AF acquisition that DSLR shooters are accustomed to.

Alongside the A57, Sony announced the HVL-LE1 continuous light for $250, which comes complete with an Alpha shoe mount and barn doors.

The Sony A57 should be available in March at an initial retail price of $700 for the body only, or $800 with the 18-55mm kit lens.

More details in the press release below.

Sony A57 Press Release

Sony Brings Pro-level Performance to Mainstream SLR Users with New High-Speed α57 Camera Featuring Translucent Mirror Technology

Advanced Feature Set Includes 12 fps Shooting, Full HD (60p) Video Capture, New Auto Portrait Framing and more

SAN DIEGO, March 12, 2012 — A wider palette of creative options is now accessible to more shooters with the α57 camera, the newest addition to Sony’s popular line of A-mount cameras employing Translucent Mirror Technology.

The innovative Translucent Mirror design directs incoming light to the CMOS image sensor and the AF sensor at the same time, allowing full-time continuous AF during both still and video shooting.  Users can also frame, focus and preview shots in real-time on the high-resolution Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder, which offers a wide viewing angle and 100% field of view. This allows photographers to capture exactly what they see on the screen.

A natural successor to Sony’s acclaimed α55 camera, the α57 is positioned for a wide audience of DSLR users. It can shoot still images at up to 12 frames per second, capture full HD video at 60p, 60i or 24p frame rates and has a variety of creative modes including Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology

“Today’s DSLR consumer is looking for a higher level of control and flexibility in their camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the Alpha camera business group for Sony Electronics. “With the introduction of the new α57, we’re bringing blazing fast response rates, enhanced artistic capabilities and other advanced features to the mainstream DSLR marketplace, offering professional-grade performance at affordable prices.”

With the α57 camera, shooting speeds of up to 12 frames per second are achieved in new Tele-zoom Continuous Advance Priority AE mode, maintaining continuous auto focus and auto exposure with fixed aperture. Magnifying the central portion of the sensor’s image by 1.4x, it’s perfect for capturing split-second action close-ups with a burst of sharply focused images, even when the subject is moving. In this shooting mode, aperture is fixed at either f/3.5 or the maximum aperture of lens in use (whichever is smaller) and image size of photos is about 8.4 megapixels.

Additionally, the α57 camera lets people create powerfully expressive Full HD movies. Responsive full-time continuous phase detection AF ensures that moving subjects stay sharply focused, just like with still shooting. Support for the AVCHD™ Ver. 2.0 (Progressive) format means that Full HD resolution movies can be captured with 60p frame rate: ideal for capturing smooth, blur-free action. Shooting in 24p is also available to give footage a rich, cinematic look. Movie-making options are enhanced further with full control over P/A/S/M shooting modes for virtually limitless creative expression.

The α57 model shares the α65’s 15-point AF system with three cross sensors delivering fast, accurate TTL phase detection autofocus. Newly enhanced Object Tracking AF keeps faces or other selected objects in sharp focus – even if a target is obscured momentarily by another passing object.

Even the novice photographers can now easily create pro-style portraits with the α57 thanks to new Auto Portrait Framing, a world’s first technology. Using face detection and the compositional ‘rule of thirds,’ the camera identifies a subject’s position, trimming the scene to create tightly framed, professional-looking pictures in portrait or landscape orientation while maintaining a copy of the original image. Saving both the original photo plus the adjusted version allows for easy comparison between the two images, offering photographers inspiration to refine their portrait skills.

To get closer to the subject, 2x Clear Image Zoom digital zoom technology doubles the effective magnification of your lens and is a highly practical alternative to travelling with a bigger, bulkier telephoto lens. The camera uses Sony’s “By Pixel Super Resolution Technology” to ensure that cropped and zoomed images retain full pixel resolution.

Additionally, the model’s range of popular in-camera Picture Effect modes includes 11 different effects and 15 total variations – offering a generous palette of ‘PC-free’ artistic treatments, including Pop Color, HDR Painting, Miniature Mode and much more. Results can be previewed directly in live view mode on the LCD screen or in the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder while shooting either Full HD video or stills.

Still and video shooting, framing, focusing and real-time preview of exposure adjustments are a pleasure with the new Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder. With ultra-detailed 1440k dot resolution and a 100% field of view, it rivals quality optical viewfinders. There’s a choice of selectable high-resolution information displays with a wide viewing-angle to help consumers shoot with confidence, including a digital level gauge and framing grid. Information can be displayed either directly in the viewfinder or on the angle-adjustable 7.5 cm (3.0-type) Xtra Fine LCD™ display.

Ensuring detail-packed images, the 16.1 effective megapixel Exmor® APS HD CMOS sensor is teamed with a latest-generation BIONZ® engine. Refined by Sony during the development of its flagship α77 and high-end α65 cameras, this powerful processor effortlessly handles large amounts of image data for flawless, low-noise images and Full HD video.

Thanks to the BIONZ processor, creative shooting opportunities are boosted by an outstanding sensitivity range of ISO 100-16,000. Users will experience consistently natural, low-noise images – whether shooting at fast shutter speeds to freeze dynamic action or handheld without flash in low light.

Pricing and Availability
The new α57 interchangeable lens camera will be available this April with an 18-55mm kit zoom lens for $800 (model SLT-A57K).  It will also be offered as body-only for about $700 (model SLT-A57).

Sony will also be introducing a new battery-powered LED video light, model HVL-LE1, which broadens options for recording video indoors or in low light. This new accessory will be available this month for about $250.

The camera, camera kit and a wide variety of Alpha accessories are sold at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

***For a full video preview of the new α57 camera, please visithttp://blog.sony.com/alphavideo
***The SLT-A57 is manufactured using recycled plastics. The camera chassis contains 10% recycled material.

###

 

Comments

  1. says

    This always leads us to the same question:

    – WHY Canon cannot give 1080p60 to their customers in a $3,500 camera (5D Mark 3) while other manufacturers like Sony do it in a $700 camera (and other already existing models)?

    Pure marketing decision, NO real hardware limitation.

    The WORST thing that Canon can do is trying to convince all their LOYAL customers that 1080p60 is not needed or an important feature, when in fact slow motion is being used now more than ever…

  2. mvakleko says

    I dont get it. I apologize for my ignorance but why don’t they get rid of the mirror and just just give the oled viewfinder in the same body to ensure the optics/distances don’t get messed up. Put some stabilization into the sensor, give us a weather sealed body, and ensure the video is at its highest bitrate to compete with the Canons at 60p. If you give us these features I would dish out $1500 in a heartbeat and sell all my Canon gear. What the hell is the point with these translucent mirrors or mirrors in general as we now have oled viewfinders and associated technology. Can u not achieve continuous focus just with the sensor like the nex 5n or 7. I don’t get what the hell these companies are doing all of them Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic. Do they know how many people are waiting for a decent camera that takes good pictures and video. I am so dissapointed where Canon is heading, just waiting now for something decent to keep with the technology out there.

    • says

      The mirror allows for much faster and more accurate autofocus than the mirrorless cameras like the NEX-5N. Being able to select a single AF point for critical selective-focus choices still requires the phase-detect AF method. If you don’t want a mirror, the NEX-5N or NEX-7 are perfectly capable options.

  3. Sathish says

    mvakleko – Your wish is already fulfilled by Sony – It is call Nex7 please incase you were living in the caves till now. Holy cow ! You have been waiting for a ‘decent’ camera? Wow – and when do you think it will happen? This world is robbed of all the beautiful pictures and videos till then….pity…