Sony’s New Alpha DSLRs Feature Translucent Mirrors

Check out our full review of the new Sony Alpha SLT-A55V camera.

Sony has taken the wraps off a new series of Alpha DSLR cameras, all of which boast a new translucent mirror technology that enables continuous autofocus for both still and video shooting in cameras with interchangeable lenses—something that previously hadn’t been possible with SLR technology. Light coming through the lens is received by both the imaging sensor and the autofocus sensor, enabling continuous, high-speed shooting with continuous focus. The cameras can also handle shooting HD video, and boast a number of other features designed to appeal to pro photographers as well as enthusiastic amateurs.

sonys new alpha dslrs feature translucent mirrors sony a55

“This is the most innovative interchangeable lens digital camera that Sony has ever created,” said the director of Sony’s digital imaging business group Kristen Elder, in a statement. “Our translucent mirror technology is one of the most significant SLR structural changes in more than a decade.”

sonys new alpha dslrs feature translucent mirrors sony a33

First up, the Sony Alpha A55V and A33 come in at 16.2 and 14.2 megapixels, respectively, based on Sony’s Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor. The cameras offer 15-point, phase detection autofocus, and the A55 can manage 10fps high-speed shooting. Both cameras feature an articulated 3-inch LCD displays, and Sony says the combination of the Translucent Mirror and Sony’s TruFinder viewfinder technology with 100 percent coverage makes the cameras the first DSLRs to be able to shoot video in the eye-level shooting style videographers prefer. The cameras also offer three-image high-dynamic range (HDR) shooting capabilities, ISO sensitivity down to 12,800, and a 3D Sweep Panorama feature that enables panoramic photos to be viewed on 3D on TVs and other gear that supports 3D technology. The cameras offer HDMI output, and the A55 has an integrated GPS receiver for geotagging photos. The A55 and A33 will be priced at about $750 and $650, respectively for body-only units; add $100 for an 18–55mm zoom lens. The A33 should be available in September with the A55 following in October.

sonys new alpha dslrs feature translucent mirrors sony a560

Next up, the 14.2 megapixel Sony Alpha A560 offers a similar feature set, including the translucent mirror technology, HDR image capability, 3D Sweep Panorama, and full HD video capture, along with 7fps burst-mode shooting and a tilting 3-inch LCD display. The A560’s video capture mode can save MP4 videos, which makes the movies easier to handle in consumer video-editing software. The Alpha A560 should be available in October for $650 in a body-only kit; add $100 for an 18–55mm zoom lens. In Europe, Sony is also launching an Alpha A580 with a 16.2 megapixel resolution; Sony is also offering a bevy of additional lenses for use with the Alpha line.

Mobile

Qualcomm's 3D Sonic fingerprint sensor could make your next phone more secure

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Social Media

Instagram’s new Close Friends List lets you decide who should see your Story

Have a story to share, but don't want to send it to everyone? Instagram now offers a close friends list that will allow users to share stories with only the users included on that list.
Photography

Photography News: Tiffen launches portable LED, COOPH designs heated photo vest

In this week's photography news, Tiffen launches its first LED in the portable, robust Lowel light line. And this odd photo vest by COOPH has a built-in heater controlled via smartphone.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high-tech and low-budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Social Media

Hotel chain offers an Instagram ‘sitter’ who will post photos for you

If the pressure to post stunning Instagram photos is ruining your vacations, then how about hiring a local Instagram influencer to do the job for you while you go off and enjoy yourself? Well, such a service now exists.
Social Media

Ride the rails and share your stories with Amtrak’s new social media residency

Amtrak is looking for travel fans with a knack for telling stories on social media. The new Amtrak social media residency program wants amateur travelers to share photos, video, and written content from aboard long-distance trips.
Photography

Full-frame mirrorless cameras just made their Hollywood debut with this thriller

The Possession of Hannah Grace isn't just a thriller -- it's also the first Hollywood feature film to be shot completely with a full-frame mirrorless camera. The film was shot with several Sony a7S II bodies and anamorphic lenses.
Photography

Lens Rentals zooms in on the most popular cameras of the year

As 2018 comes to a close, Lens Rentals is taking a look at most popular cameras of the year, based on rental data. While Sony and Panasonic saw more rentals than the previous year, Canon is still the most-rented brand on the platform.
Photography

Luminar’s new libraries don’t even need you to manually import images

Luminar 3's new libraries feature doesn't require importing -- images are automatically added after clicking on a folder. The long-promised libraries feature gives editors a Lightroom alternative with organization tools as well as syncing…
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

Photography News: Startup redesigns tripod heads ‘inside out’ for more flexibility

Well, this doesn't look like the ball heads that we've seen before. Instead of designing a tripod ball head with a small cutout, the Colorado Tripod Company created one with most of the ball exposed, allowing for more possible angles.
Photography

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.