Sony has lifted the lid on its flagship SLT Alpha model, the A99.

Sony has finally announced the long-awaited SLT-A99 model, the flagship model in its Alpha line with a full-frame CMOS sensor.

The new camera is the first Alpha model to incorporate a full-frame sensor since the A850, only here it’s based on the company’s SLT technology rather than on the construction of a DSLR.

The A99 incorporates a 24.3MP full frame Exmor CMOS sensor, which boasts an ISO range of ISO 100-25,600. This sensor features Photo Diode Expansion technology in order to increase its light-receptive area, as well as a multi-segment optical low-pass filter to maintain resolution while minimising the affects of aliasing.

Sony is keen to point out that its target market for the new model is both the stills- and video-shooting community. Accordingly, a range of video functionality has been shoehorned into the A99, such as a choice of frame rates up to 60p and full manual control over exposure during movie recording.

There’s also a new Silent Multi Controller which allows video settings to be changed discreetly while recording, and a and a headphone jack for audio monitoring.

The camera’s focusing system also stands out from the spec sheet, for a number of reasons. 19 points on the primary AF sensor – 11 of which are cross type – are joined by a further 102 phase-detection points built into the sensor itself, the combination of which allows subjects to be tracked with extra precision when in the new AF-D focusing mode.

The focusing system is also augmented by a new AF Range Control option, which allows the user to specify the area over which the camera should focus. This, Sony points out, ensures the camera isn’t distracted by particularly close or distant objects when the subject is largely stationary.

Around the back, Sony has equipped the new model with a 3in LCD screen, which can be turned in three directions away from the body. As an SLT model the new camera also includes an electronic rather than optical viewfinder, with Sony having choosen an XGA OLED finder resolving details with 2,359million dots – the same as featured in the NEX-6, which has also been announced today.

Sony points out that despite the use of magnesium alloy in the body’s construction, the body itself weighs just 733g, which qualifies it as the lightest full-frame body of its kind. And, as expected for a professionally-oriented DSLR the body is sealed against inclement weather, with the shutter unit also rated to 200,000 cycles.

The A99 is expected to launch later this year at around £2500 for its body only. For further information visit www.sony.co.uk

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