Sony Bringing Translucent Mirror to NEX-Format Cameras?

If a recent patent application from Sony is any indicator of coming products, it looks like we could see a translucent mirror in future NEX-format cameras.

The obvious benefit of using this design in future NEX cameras is the ability to use a phase-difference autofocus mechanism (as typically found in DSLRs) instead of the slower, less accurate contrast-detection method that so-called “mirrorless” cameras have used to date.

Sony has already forged this technology in current Alpha “DSLR” models – Sony A33 and A55.  The rapid live view and video autofocus in the A33 and A55 looks to be a hit among reviewers so far.

Essentially, this patent application presents the A55 in an NEX-5 body.  It’s actually a design that should have been pretty easy to see coming.  There’s nothing really new that’s not already in the A55 . . . Sony’s just taking out the parts that make it look like a DSLR and presenting it in a smaller package more akin to the NEX cameras we already know.  And, it could very well be an Alpha mount camera in a compact shell, which would mean native functionality with Alpha lenses.

While I found the AF speed and accuracy in the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5 to be quite acceptable, taking it up a notch or two wouldn’t hurt at all.

What do you think about this design?  Would you be interested in an APS-C camera that is this compact and has DSLR-like AF speed?

[via PhotoRumors]


Firmware Friday: Sony NEX-3, NEX-5, Canon SX130, Rebel XS

Camera Firmware Update

Below you will find this week’s firmware updates.  Hit the manufacturer website links for more details and download instructions for the firmware.

Canon Rebel XS / 1000D version 1.0.7 – “Fixes a rare phenomenon in which “Cannot create folder” is displayed on the camera’s LCD monitor, after which shooting is no longer possible with the SD card in your camera.” [Canon Website]

Canon SX130 IS version – “Fixes a phenomenon in which the audio and video get recorded out of sync when shooting movies with the image quality set to high definition (1280×720 pixels).” [Canon Website]

Sony NEX-3 / Sony NEX-5 version 03 – “Autofocus is now supported when using the NEX-5/NEX-3 with 14 lenses from the full range of A-mount optics by Sony and Carl Zeiss that includes telephotos, primes and zooms. Aperture settings can be maintained during HD movie recording, and system menu operation has been streamlined alongside other usability improvements. Registered NEX-5/NEX-3 owners will be advised of the free update via email.” [Sony Website]

Sony NEX-5 Review

The Sony NEX-5 is a 14.2MP mirrorless camera in an ultra-compact form-factor.  If not for the DSLR-sized kit lens that attaches to the NEX-5, this camera would rival some of the consumer pocket cameras in size.  And with the available 16mm lens (shown above), you could make a good argument that it does.

In addition to the great still images the NEX-5 produces with its large, APS-C format sensor, the camera can also capture 1920 x 1080 Full HD video at 60i.  What’s more is the budget-friendly price tag that slides the kit under the $700 mark.

To get the full rundown on the Sony NEX-5, read on. [Read more…]

Sony NEX E-Mount 18-200mm Lens Pricing and Availability

Sony Japan has announced that the NEX E-Mount 18-200mm lens (which is packaged with the Sony NEX-VG10) will be available in September 2010 for 99750 yen for other NEX-format cameras; however, US pricing should be in the neighborhood of $800-900 as a best guess.

No word yet on availability stateside, or official US pricing for that matter.  It’s a good sign that we’ll see the E-Mount 18-200mm lens on NEX-3 and NEX-5 cameras soon though.

Sony NEX-5 Hands-On Review

The Sony NEX-5 is a 14.2MP interchangeable lens camera with a mirrorless design.  What makes the NEX-5 so special is that image sensor is the same physical size of those found in DSLRs like the Nikon D300s or Canon 7D.  This sensor format is often referred to as APS-C format, which results from the sensor being roughly the same size and aspect ratio as the old (as in “1996 old”) Advanced Photo System type-C film.

[Read more…]