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August 29, 2009

The Alpha A850 leads the Sony DSLR power-play at $2000


As you can see above, in the poster of the upcoming horror movie released by Sony Pictures, the world of 35mm full-frame has had a little bit of a price-shock! With Canon and Nikon determined to keep 35mm full frame DSLR prices above $2000, it was up to another manufacturer to "force" the action, and the manufacturer who was more likely and most capable to do this, has done it!

Meet the Sony Alpha A850

The specifications of the Alpha A850 had been more or less known for a few weeks when its user manual accidentally *cough cough* was found on a Sony website in Asia. It was evident from the user manual that the A850 was very closely related to the Alpha A900. So the biggest question remaining was price!

so let us quickly go through the main specs. The core of the camera is a 24.6mp CMOS Exmor 35mmFF sensor, with a dual-core Bionz engine, ISO up to 6400, and sensor shift stabilization that promises up to four stops.

This is only the second DSLR (first being the A900) to offer sensor-shift stabilization in a full-frame DSLR, thus putting to rest the excuses of CaNiKoN apologists that such a feature wouldn't be possible with a 35mmFF sensor.

Other features include a 3-inch (921k) LCD that is fixed in place (not moving), a 9-point autofocus with 10 assists, and a 98% OVF.

It is interesting to note that the Sony press release "steers" photographers towards the Carl Zeiss and five G-series lenses.

The burst mode is 3fps, despite the dual-core engine, which goes to show that there is a price to pay for more megapixels, independent of noise-related issues. Also in point, battery life is 880 CIPA, versus 1000 CIPA for the A500 and 950 CIPA for the A550.

Continuing their humbling experience that is reality, Sony offers this camera with your choice of MemoryStick or CompactFlash. This is of note, since their new A500 and A550 offer SD/SDHC which is considered to be more consumer-friendly than CF which is considered to be more pro-friendly. (This being an observation of the current group-think, not our opinion).

Price and Availability
Amazon is accepting pre-orders at $2000, and so is Sony Style.

Further Reading
+ Hands-on with the camera at Alpha Mount World
+ lots of camera body pictures at dpreview
+ press release at Imaging Insider
+ more on this in upcoming separate post

Reactions to the Alpha A850
+ On price-barriers at TOP
+ Is it ugly? An evaluation at TOP

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