Crutchfield: Sony Alpha A-mount Cameras
Zak Billmeier grew up in southern Vermont and coastal Maine. After graduating from Mary Washington College with a Geography degree he still isn't sure quite what to do with, he eventually settled in the mountains of Central Virginia. He spends his free time chasing his daughter around, taking pictures, gardening and cooking. He joined Crutchfield's car A/V writing team in 2007 and is now a lead producer on our video team.
More from Zak Billmeier
Sony's Alpha family of digital SLR cameras take a different approach than traditional DSLRs. First, instead of a traditional flipping mirror, Sony employs a translucent pellicle mirror that splits the incoming light, allowing for faster shooting. Second, Sony's sensor-shift stabilization lets all attached lenses fight dreaded camera shake. Sony gives you a mature line of A-mount lenses to choose from, including some from noted manufacturer Carl Zeiss. Get a rundown on the entire line from the Sony booth at CES 2013.
Zak: I'm at the Sony booth at CES 2013 and Eldean, tell me about the DSLR systems.
Eldean: Alright, so we have a full DSLR system — everything from the, you know, the entry-level cameras, the A57, going all the way up to our big high-end, pro-quality, full-frame A99. Some exciting models in between, the A77, APS-C size, 24 megapixels that shoots up to 24 frames a second.
But I think what separates us most from other DSLR manufacturers is that we do things differently. We take Sony's total experience and we say, "Well, how can we improve on a fifty-year-old, you know, design and make it better"? And one of the things that we do is we use translucent mirror technology. So instead of having a moving mirror that goes up and down in the camera, you know, it's a mechanical piece that flops up and down.
You have to use an optical view finder, so if I'm gonna shoot video, it lifts up and I can't use may view finder. And it also slows the camera down. So by taking that out and making a phase detection system that works with a translucent mirror camera, we can have cameras that can shoot extremely fast, up to twelve frames a second. They can shoot HD video with continuous autofocus. They can also be a lot smaller and lighter, better on battery power, and deliver a better resultant image at the end of the day. So that's one of the things that we've, you know, really streamlined in terms of our DSLR lineup.
The other thing that we do is we have sensor-shift image stabilization. So instead of having two or three lenses in our lineup, one stabilized, one unstabilized.you'll find a lot of the other manufacturers, they'll say "Oh we have, you know, we have sixty or we have seventy lenses in our lineup." But they've got two of everything, right. They've got two of each one that actually gets stabilized. We don't need to do that in our lineup. We can actually deliver a higher quality lens, but it's stabilized.
And also every single lens that you buy is stabilized, including fisheye, wide-angle, teleconverter lenses, all stabilized through the image, through the sensor-shift system, the steady shift sensor-shift system. So those are a couple of technologies that we deliver in our cameras that make them perform a little differently, but a little better than the traditional SLR.
One of the other things that we really pride ourselves in is our full lineup of Carl Zeiss lenses. And I believe we're the only company that Carl Zeiss lenses will autofocus on, and the acclaimed G-Series lenses coming from the old Minolta factories, but now run by Sony. We still have that very, very high quality lens that we still produce and recently announced the 500 f/4. So if you haven't had a chance to shoot on that that's a really good lens, yeah.
Zak: Alright. Great. Thank you so much.