More Than Meets D.I.

I went for the Sony Power of Digital Imaging launch at Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel on the 2nd of September 2010, where they launched a few products simultaneously. Of course, I really was there for the A55. And the NEX-VG10. And the Zeiss 24mm F2.0.

None of these shots were with the A55 – some of them will have EXIF data. I’ll post the A55 shots in the next round.

Sony NEX-VG10 with Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS.

With the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake, it looks like a regular Handycam with an undetachable mike.

I have to say, I am not sure exactly which market this is for – the Handycam market, or the pro market? Videographers were gushing over the quad spatial mikes, but I’m not too sure they are excited about the video spec.

And yes, you can control aperture, shutter and gain (in steps of 3 decibels) in video.

The Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Active OSS is fantastic! The Active OSS makes it much like the Handycams. The Sony NEX-VG10, because it has the same sensor as the NEX-5, also exhibits very little rolling shutter.

Here’s the SLT-A55V with Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM. This is the exact combination I want to get! The 24mm is light and balances well, and the A55 grip is good in my hands.

The A55, however, had very obvious rolling shutter. Also, the RGB tearing is obvious in the EVF when you’re pointing at a high contrast scene (people standing against pier) and you’re panning.

A55 with Zeiss 24mm F2.0 with the Sony A900 with Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) on the right.

In sunny Putrajaya, the event organizers were chilling in front of the fan.

Malaysia notably did not launch the A560 and A580. I was looking forward to seeing it do contrast detect AF!

The A560/A580 bring back the depth of field preview button, mirror lock up with 2-second timer and shutter release without lens. Oh and video, which the A550 does not have, and 3D Sweep Panorama, Sweep Panorama, 6 EV Auto HDR, Multi-frame NR, Hand-held Twilight, 15 AF points (with 3 cross-type), losing only the Smart Teleconverter button.

The lakeside was chosen to show the A55’s AF tracking capabilities with sports. A55 and A33 bodies were chained to a table, equipped with the 70-200mm F2.8G SSM, 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G SSM and 70-400mm F4-5.6G SSM.

However, this was shot with the A900 and screw-driven Zeiss 135mm F1.8, which was more than able to track with the center point. It is not even a 100% crop!

The Sony Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 24mm F2.0 ZA SSM is everything I ever wanted – an extremely close-range focusing wide-angle lens with Zeiss sharpness and contrast, wide open! This was shot with the A900 and the subject is an A55 with Zeiss 135mm F1.8.

The A55 does have Release w/o Lens so you can use your unchipped adapted lenses (e.g. M42 mount) in Aperture Priority mode. Thank you Sony for reintroducing this in the NEX-3/NEX-5/NEX-VG10/A33/A55/A560/A580!

A cutaway of the A55 (or was it the A33, since there was no GPS label on the left?) How does the mirror look like?

Let’s enhance!

What happens to translucent mirrors that get touched? They get donated to science. Yep, it does appear to be a thin membrane.

Another shot. It does not appear to be completely flat (but it could have lost tension or could be a prototype.)

Now I have no idea how you’d fix backfocus/frontfocus if it happens…

The electronic viewfinder. Note that the flash pops up in front of the hotshoe.

The TX9 with 3D Sweep Multi Angle, which works as advertised! You do a normal 3D Sweep Panorama – but when you view the picture you can tilt the camera to simulate you moving around the subject.

However your sweep should not be at a complex angle or it will have a warped tilt. I totally forgot to try Background Defocus mode, though!

Yes, people at Sony do read DPReview!

Later, at the media question-and-answer session, I asked:

Will the future advanced models have translucent technology?

Naoi Sudo, Managing Director of Sony Malaysia, said:

Once it is well accepted in the market, why not, we will definitely continue. This is a first step for us. But we cannot promise all the models will be like this in the future.

We are expecting that this will be one of the most important technology in the future.

The S-Frame launched that day also plays AVCHD videos! So it’s like… an iPad without the apps and phone. It uses batteries instead of being connected to a wall socket all the time.

Of course, Sony also makes bigger wall-socketed photo frames…

In the distance, I spotted something not many paid attention to.

The Sony 35mm F1.8 DT SAM! This was shot on the A33 at F1.8, which was on -2 EV ISO200 JPG only and I forgot to check. So I brought it back up in Photoshop.

100% crop. Effectively, bringing up the -2 EV shot made it ISO800. This was a JPG. Go easy, pixel-peepers!

The 35mm at close focus.

There was also the Sony 85mm F2.8 SAM, but unfortunately they had locked it in the glass display case so I didn’t get to try it.

I tried to record a video with the 35mm F1.8 DT SAM but the A33 wouldn’t let me – probably because I was running out of space. So I couldn’t find out if the SAM motor is quieter, and whether the SAM mechanism in manual focus makes a gear-ish sound. (My friend wants a 50mm F1.4 because manual focusing a Sony 50mm F1.8 DT SAM is audible on the NEX.)

On the A55, I tried the 10 FPS mode with my Zeiss 135mm F1.8 – no problems tracking a walking subject and no dropped frames. However it loses steam after 28 frames and starts writing. If you burst just 5 frames and stop, it will start writing also. So it is critical that you know when to start.

I don’t remember setting Focus Priority or Release Priority, but it seems that 10 FPS works in Release Priority. Then again I was testing it on a wakeboarder and 70-400mm F4-5.6G SSM – so the waves will register as ‘in focus’ and the camera will fire anyway.

More to be posted soon!

5 thoughts on “More Than Meets D.I.

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    Sony Malaysia invited us to Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel for the Power of Imaging launch event last Wednesday. At the event, they unveiled a whole new Sony digital imaging lineup for 2010, which included products from Sony Alpha DSLR, Sony Cybersho…


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