Sony has announced a new addition to its large and growing range of digital SLR cameras. The Alpha A450 is a medium-high spec model that fits into the Alpha series in between the A380 and the A500, both launched last year. It features the same 14.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor as the A380, Sony's powerful BIONZ image processor, a fixed 6.7cm (2.7-inch) 230k LCD monitor with live view and a bright optical viewfinder with a 95 percent frame view.
The A450 has considerably faster performance than the A380, with a continuous shooting speed of 5fps, or up to 7fps in Speed Priority mode when using a high speed memory card. Useful creative features include live view focus checking with 7x or 14x magnification, and sensor-shift image stabilisation for which Sony claims four stops of extra stability
It also features a first for the Alpha range, in-camera Auto HDR. This is a feature previously seen on Pentax's flagship K-7 DSLR. It enhances dynamic range by taking two shots at different exposures and combining them automatically to produce a wider range of shadow and highlight detail. The difference in exposure can be set manually up to 3EV.
The A450 also offers greater battery duration than previous Alpha series models, with up to 1050 shots between charges. Like other recent Sony cameras it is compatible with both Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC memory cards.
The Alpha A450 will be available from the beginning of February. No price has been officially announced yet, but with the A380 selling for around £470 and the A500 for about £500 body-only it's not too hard to guess where the A450 will be positioned.