As expected, Sony has announced a bold line-up of compact full-frame cameras, the Sony RX1, A99 and the VG900 camcorder. Following the success of the NEX range, the company is fast establishing itself as a major innovator in the photographic field.
The Sony RX1 looks to be the most physics-defying of the lot. It packs a 24.3-megapixel full-frame image sensor (more commonly seen on professional DSLRs) into a compact Sony RX100-like shell. It weighs just 482kg
Unusually for such a premium piece of kit, the RX1 comes with a 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* fixed lens. While this might put enthusiasts off, do keep in mind the size and convenience (there’s also a pop-up flash) of the form factor – this is essentially a professional-grade point-and-shoot.
How professional? The RX1 has an impressive native ISO range of between 100 and 25,600 (it can go down to 50 with expanded settings), and can shoot 1080p video at 24fps. Oh, and that £2,600 price tag is pretty professional-sounding too.
The Sony A99, meanwhile, places the same 24.3-megapixel full-frame sensor into an larger – but still relatively compact – SLR shell. In fact, that’s inaccurate – the A99 is an SLT camera, which means the mirror is translucent, letting light through rather than flipping out of the way.
Sony has replaced the usual optical viewfinder with an OLED example, much like that found on the NEX-7. The A99 also benefits from an advanced autofocus system – or as Sony puts it a “Dual AF System with 19 sensors.”
This dual autofocus system is also available during video – which shoots at an impressive 1080p and 60 frames per second. It’ll cost £2,500 lens-free.
Finally the Sony VG900 – a bold new full-frame camcorder. Sony has again used that 24.3-megapixel full-frame image sensor, which is 40 times bigger than your average consumer camcorder. This should make for extremely low noise footage and some film-like defocussed effects.
Interestingly the VG900 uses Sony’s E-mount NEX lens range as standard. You can also use A-mount lenses using a bundled adapter.
The VG900 has a “Quad Capsule Spatial Array Microphone” along the top of its elongated body, which will record high quality 5.1 channel sound. It’ll set you back a not inconsiderable £3,000 for the body only.
It seems all three full-frame camera will be available around November/December time, so there’s not much time to save all those pennies. Better get started.