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Sony Alpha 450 announced

The press release from Sony this morning (Tuesday, January 5th) confirms the proliferation of entry-level bodies in the Sony Alpha DSLR range, and the continued emphasis on smaller cameras to suit upgraders from consumer digital cameras. While this leaves Sony in danger of being seeing as a Jack of one trade and master of none, and will not satisfy those waiting for an Alpha 700 replacement, it will no doubt increase market share and allow Sony time to create something worth investing in for later release.

A450_2[1] - lowres 1

In brief, the A450 is an A200 update with an A550 14 megapixel CMOS sensor (the A500 being effectively an A300 update to 12 megapixel CMOS). None of the complaints levelled at the A500/550 or contemporary models are corrected; the same limits apply to EV bracketing, self-timer and mirror up (lacking) functions, control over the range of auto ISO, program shift, functions of controls and buttons, and so on. There may be some surprises present when examined, but the listed specification indicates this camera is exactly what it appears to be.

Camera sets – in every line the first has a fixed rear screen and no quick live view, the second has a quick live view and an articulated screen, the third has a higher pixel count sensor:

A200     A300     A350

A230     A330     A380

A450     A500     A550

The 450 breaks the pattern by using the 550 sensor not the 500 sensor, leaving possible room for a 12 megapixel A400. It’s unlikely we shall see a 14 megapixel A280, but that’s what the model number would be if it was made. In line with speculation, logical models A600, A650, A750 are possible introductions but the Ax30 and Ax80 designations could apply.

It is not an A230-330 style body, but an A5xx-style body, and uses the larger battery – hence the excellent shot count per charge. At the time of posting this information, no further images were available from Sony’s UK press media library.

The logic of this camera may be questioned, but a lot will depend on the viewfinder eyepoint. By choosing a relatively small and safe viewfinder magnification, and removing the articulated screen which forces your eye away from the eyepiece, Sony may come closer to the comfort factor of the Nikon D5000 which despite having an articulated screen allows a closer eyepoint and better visibility of the finder. Until buyers pick up this camera and try it, we can’t be sure. It may just hit the mark perfectly.

The press release follows.

The newest addition to the Sony α family of DSLR cameras teams flawless imaging with generous creative options and is ideal for consumers new to DSLR photography who want the best possible image quality.

Powerful yet easy to use, the DSLR-A450 is a perfect all-rounder when you’re ready to take your passion for great pictures to the next level. Ideal for active shooters, it’s at home in any shooting situation, from relaxed portraits to fast-moving sports action.

Inside the α450 is a high-resolution 14.2 (approx.) effective megapixel Exmor™ CMOS sensor. It’s teamed with the powerful BIONZ processor to deliver highly detailed, ultra-low noise images. Sensitivity extends right up to ISO 12800, allowing you to capture beautifully natural handheld images in low light without flash.

With a generous 95% field of view, the bright optical viewfinder makes framing and composition a pleasure. As an extra refinement, Manual Focus Check Live View previews clear, bright full-resolution images on the 6.7cm (2.7”) Clear Photo LCD screen. With selectable 7x/14x on-screen image enlargement it’s ideal for confirming pin-sharp focus with portraits, still life, macro and architectural scenes.

The powerful BIONZ image processor enables high-speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps (maximum – approx. figure). In Speed Priority mode (with AF and AE set at start of burst) this increases to an amazing 7 fps (maximum – actual speed depends on shooting conditions and media card). More than enough to catch sports and fast-moving action with ease.

Creative options are enhanced with Auto HDR mode that accommodates bright highlights and dark shadow details in a single frame. Two successive frames shot handheld at different exposure values are merged automatically by the camera. The result is a detail-packed High Dynamic Range image – with no need for a PC image editor and specialist skills. In addition to fully automatic operation, the exposure difference between frames can be manually set up to 3EV, in 0.5EV increments.

Featured right across the DSLR line-up by Sony, SteadyShot INSIDE™ offers up to 4 steps of anti-shake correction with the full range of 30 α lenses and two teleconvertors, as well as compatible A-mount optics by Konica-Minolta.

The α450 also offers the most impressive shooting stamina of any DSLR camera by Sony to date. The high-capacity battery allows up to 1,050 shots between charges* – plenty for a busy weekend’s sightseeing.

Slots for Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo and SD/SDHC memory cards (sold separately) are offered to suit users’ personal shooting preferences.

Connect the α450 to any HD Ready TV for a breathtaking big-screen view of your photos. PhotoTV HD optimises still image reproduction on compatible BRAVIA™ models, while BRAVIA™ Sync allows control of slideshow and other camera playback functions using your TV remote.

Supplied software includes Image Data Converter SR; Image Data Lightbox SR; and PMB (Picture Motion Browser) for easy image management. The α450 is also compatible with the wide range of high-quality DSLR accessories by Sony, including flashes, carry cases, batteries and chargers, GPS and more.

The DSLR-A450 digital SLR camera by Sony is available from the beginning of February 2010.
Features: DSLR-Α450
Effective Megapixels – Approx. 14.2
Lens compatibility – Sony α lens, Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lens
Image sensor – APS-C size (23.4×15.6mm) CMOS sensor “Exmor” with RGB primary colour filters
Processor – BIONZ™ image processor
ISO Sensitivity Range – 200-12,800 ISO
Image Quality Modes – JPEG (fine, standard), raw, raw + JPEG
HDMI connector and Bravia Sync – HDMI  mini connector (Type C), BRAVIA Sync (Sync menu), PhotoTV HD
Image Size: 3:2 (pixels) – L size:  4592×3056 (14M); M size:  3344×2224 (7.4M); S size:  2288×1520 (3.5M)
Viewfinder Type – Fixed eye-level, pentamirror (porroprism)
LCD – 6.7cm (2.7”) type, TFT Clear Photo LCD (230,400 dots)
Manual Focus Check Live View – YES
SteadyShot INSIDE – YES
Anti-dust System – Coating on low pass filter, plus image-sensor vibration cleaning cycle
Focus Modes – AF/MF selectable. AF modes: Single-shot AF, Automatic AF, Continuous AF
Autofocus – TTL phase detection system; CCD line sensors
Focus Points – 9 points (all line, no cross)
Exposure Modes – Programmed AE (AUTO, AUTO – Flash Off, P), Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Scene selection
Exposure Metering Sensor – 40-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
Exposure Metering Modes – Multi-segment, Centre-weighted, Spot
Scene Selection – Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports, Sunset, Night portrait/Night view
Creative Style Settings – Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, B/W
Shutter Speed – 1/4000-30sec, Bulb
Exposure Bracketing – 3 continuous exposures, in 0.3 or 0.7 EV steps
White Balance Settings – Auto / 6 presets / Colour Temperature/Colour Filter /  Custom WB
Continuous Advance Shooting – Up to 5 fps and 7 fps in speed priority mode.
Approx. no. of shots – Approx. 1050 shots
Built-in Flash – Auto pop-up – GN 12 at ISO 100, FOV coverage up to 18mm
Flash Modes – Flash-off, Auto, Fill-flash, Slow sync, Rear Sync., Wireless*, Hi-speed sync.*,
*With external flash HVL-F58AM, HVL-F56AM, HVL-F42AM, HVL-F36AM
Media – Memory Stick PRO Duo / PRO-HG Duo / SD memory card / SDHC memory card
Dimensions (W x H x D) – Approx. 137 x 104 x 81mm (W/H/D, excluding protrusions)
Weight – Approx. 520g

No price information has been released.

1 comment to Sony Alpha 450 announced

  • I think the only way this product announcement makes sense is if you assume that the A230-330-380 (i.e., everything with the old CCDs) are going away. A new low end would be needed.

    (If that’s not the case, then I have no idea what they’re thinking other than, “Hey, let’s saturate the low-end market with too many non-hierarchical choices to confuse our target demographic and make them go buy a Nikon!” 🙂