Sony’s Revolutionary Pellicle Mirror SLT Technology May Be Going Away


Back in August 2010, Sony shook up the camera industry by announcing the first pellicle mirror DSLRs, the A33 and the A55. Rather than being called SLRs, the new cameras were labeled SLT, or “single lens translucent”, cameras.

Now, less than three years later, we may be seeing Sony’s big SLT experiment coming to an end. Sony’s A58 announced back in February may be the company’s last APS-C camera to feature pellicle mirror technology.

The rumor was first shared by sonyalpharumors, which heard the news from multiple trusted sources.

Although the APS-C/SLT pairing is coming to an end, the A Mount is alive and well. There will be new A Mount cameras in the future, but just not with APS-C sensors and SLT technology.

The 58A may be Sony's last APS-C A-Mount camera to feature a pellicle mirror

The 58A may be Sony’s last APS-C A-Mount camera to feature a pellicle mirror

So what could the future hold for the A Mount? Well, the rumor does leave the door open for full frame SLT cameras to continue on. Sony’s new A99 camera announced last September was the first full frame SLT, but the latest rumor says that SLT technology is going to be discontinued sooner or later.

Instead, sonyalpharumors says that the most likely outcome of all of this is that Sony goes fully into mirrorless A-Mount APS-C cameras. It is unclear whether or not any new mirrorless A-Mount cameras would continue to look like traditional DSLR cameras.

  • Michal Rosa

    How was it “revolutionary” if they didn’t come up with that idea themselves but copied it from an earlier Canon design?

  • Tyler Magee

    I hope it goes away

  • Brodie337

    As far as I know, Sony’s design was the first pellicle mirror camera to use an electronic viewfinder, as opposed to the very dim optical viewfinder on the Canon Pellix.

  • Gord

    Isn’t this the system that was supposed to be an advantage over SLR yet still had a blackout when you took a picture?

  • tttulio

    Good decision. Purist photographers don’t want anything between the lens and the sensor. This is why pictures with the NEX7 always won over the SLT.

  • madmax

    Sony is the third company -after Olympus and Panasonic-, realizing that their entire line of DSLR cameras is nonsense as long as mirrorless cameras are becoming the best option. First it was 4/3, now is APSC and next will be FF mirrorless. In a few years, DSLR´s will be obsolete.

  • madmax

    I forgot to add Fuji (S1, S3 and S5) DSLRs and Samsung (copy of Pentax) DSLRs. Some big names in the industry have already abandoned DSLR technology.

  • Sky

    It’s not a pellicle mirror.

  • Duke Shin

    Rangefinders never have blackout of light loss. Your move, Sony.

  • Duke Shin

    But pellicle mirrors are pellicle mirrors.

  • Sky

    With it’s 10 lenses… sure it won. lol

  • Sky

    Fun fact is that Sony got patents for:
    – no blackout of EVF during exposure
    – Mirror flip-up mode in single shot mode to maximize amount of light hitting the sensor (while still having an advantage in video or continuous shooting).

    They never used them failing to beat a performance of it’s own Alpha 580 for 3 years in terms of ISO. Now when most of the people thought Sony finally came back to it’s senses and actually aim to comply with people’s demands – they decided to drop it completely. A moment after introducing one of the greatest breakthroughs in AF technology – an AF-D mode with real depth detection. Ridiculous.

    IMHO only reasonable move for Sony would be a return of OVF and traditional DSLRs. Releasing fully mirrorless A-mount is a waste of time IMHO. On-sensor PDAF will never match performance of dedicated full-size PDAF sensors, hence such camera would have rather limited use.

  • Duke Shin


  • Duke Shin

    The Canon RT was pretty cool. Quiet too.

  • Sky

    Yea, guy is a jackass. Obviously no taste about design what so ever.
    A77 wins iF design award – Kai shows how dumb he is.


  • Sky

    Only you couldn’t see anything through the viewfinder.

  • tttulio

    Who cares about the Sony lenses when you can use the Best?
    Leica M, Contax G, Canon FD, PL mount, Nikon F, Canon EOS + Speed Booster.

  • Sky

    Speed Booster as the best? Buahahahaha, funny man.
    And don’t dismiss Sony glass if you have no clue about them. They got the best portrait lenses on a market, and several gems, including excellent 70-400G.

  • fahrertuer

    So they plan on doing what Pentax did with the K-01?
    That camera was a huge success that shook up the market.

  • Duke Shin

    No, I think Sony cameras are kinda ugly.

  • Gord

    I don’t know why people are upvoting this, I’m not making any sort of commentary. I’m sure it’s a decent camera, I just want to know if this is the same system I heard various gripes about.

  • derek

    it is 11 years sony is trying to outperform canon, and they are near an end of their line :-) nice try sony :-p

  • Ferris

    Yeah, me too. Not that design matters if the camera performs well, but the Sony looks silly to me.

  • lol

    yeah try to focus fast with a mirrorcrapless full frame and spot the focus in 0.00001 second in the dark… you will fail your assigment

  • Rob S

    If you read Sony’s latest filings with the SEC there are strong hints that they want out of the DSLR business. NEX and E mount are clearly where they wan to be. I have a feeling we will be down to Canon, Nikon and Pentax in the DSLR world soon.

  • madmax

    Ok, you better buy super-expensive FF DSLRs and “invest” in heavy, big DSLR lenses too. I think it is the worst buy you can do.

  • madmax

    In the mirrorless arena Sony (and Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus…) is not only outperfoming Canon and Nikon, but sweeping the floor with them.

  • Csaba

    Everyones’s needs are different. If you are happy with your mirrorless system, happy days! Mirrorless cameras are everything but satisfying when it comes to shoot professionally, especially if you are into more fields of photography and not only still life for example.

  • madmax

    Agree. Only I am not going to buy new DSLR equipment nor lenses, because mirrorless evolution is very fast . Some pro (I am not a pro anymore) photographers were using mirrorless cameras at London Olympics and I am pretty sure next year mirrorless cameras will be a lot better and maybe satisfying most amateur and pro shooters, with less weight and bulk. DSLRs are endangered species now.

  • Marc Jones

    I think we’ll see improved performance of on-sensor PDAF, the trick is when the performance becomes imperceptible to dedicated PDAF, although the dedicated sensors may still technically be better. I think this is whats going through the minds of everyone who believes that mirrorless is the future.

  • Sonolta

    I’m going to regret writing this, at least if it gets read.
    Why? Because if word gets out, quality lenses for my camera are going to get
    more expensive really fast. I’m a Sony shooter, not a fanboy, because there’re so
    many great Minolta lenses available that work great with Sony’s DSLR (SLT)
    cameras and they’re dirt cheap. I’m a student on a budget and cheap glass was
    the biggest draw, for me, to the Sony lineup. Any Photographer worth their salt
    knows that good lenses are far more important to getting quality shots than any
    camera body and Minolta made some great glass back in the 80’s and 90’s for
    their Maxxum line of 35mm’s. When Sony bought Konica-Minolta they continued to
    use the Minolta A-mount for their DSLR’s, but the death of Minolta drove the
    prices of A-mount lenses way down. It always irritates me when I read a review
    of one of Sony’s cameras and lens selection ends up being one of the strikes
    against them. The reviewers are correct that Sony doesn’t make anywhere near
    the selection of lenses that Canon and Nikon do, but they never mention the
    selection available from the Minolta Maxxum line.

    I’m not making a fanboy argument here and saying that these
    are the best lenses in any sense. What I am saying is that they are an incredible
    value for the money and they produce solid images. A novice photographer could
    easily build up a useful, practical lens collection while staying in a tight
    budget. They may not be the best, but they’ll do the job and they’ll do it for
    a long time. They aren’t flashy, but they are remarkably reliable and
    practical. These are the Honda or Toyota of lenses.

    Admittedly, there are some quirks that come with buying
    vintage lenses. For starters, you usually can’t walk into a camera shop and
    just pick them up. Finding them requires a bit of research and hunting, but
    they’re well worth the effort. These lenses also aren’t optimized for digital
    cameras so a bit of work may be required in post to remove chromatic aberrations
    and lens flare, but, if you shoot raw you can set up lens profiles in Bridge
    and make quick work of these corrections. There are also the quirks of shooting
    with Sony, such as proprietary hot shoes on APS-C bodies (which can be fixed with
    a $6.00 adapter), and electronic view finders on all their current A-mount
    cameras. If you can endear yourself to these quirks, you can really get a lot
    of value for the money out of a Sony/Maxxum set up.

    Weight may be an issue for some and a strong point to others.
    These old lenses weigh a lot more than
    their 21st century counter parts and while some (like me) will love
    the heavy, mechanical feel of these old lenses, others will prefer the
    lightness of plastic housings. My current favorite lens is the 70-210 f4 1:4
    macro zoom and it’s a beast. Affectionately known as the beer can, this monster
    is similar in dimension and weight to a tall can of PBR (so much so that it
    almost feels as if you should feel liquid sloshing around inside if you shake
    it) and it takes amazing photos, especially when you factor in that copies in
    great condition (I don’t really see how anyone could do significant damage to
    one of these things without doing it intentionally or being extremely careless)
    can be had regularly on Ebay for $100.00. The 50mm Maxxum lenses are quite a
    bit heavier that their newer counterparts as well, despite being made of
    plastic as well, but they are a hell of a lot cooler (they have little, built
    in lens hoods) and they just feel sturdier. The modern Sony 50mm f1.8 and f1.4
    are both essentially the same internally to the Minolta versions, but the older
    copies definitely weigh a few ounces more. It’s also important to note that the
    Sony versions have quieter AF than the Minolta ones and this may be a factor if
    you’re going to be shooting a lot of video.

    One of my favorite things about shooting a Sonolta (like
    that?) set up is the fact that I get to have my hipster cake and eat it too. I
    get to shoot vintage and modern at the same time. I know you can do this with
    Canon, Nikon, and Pentax as well, but in this case you’re also keeping these
    great, old lenses out of a landfill somewhere. Sony shooters are keeping
    Minolta alive in a way. I feel like Sony’s bodies are a bit more modern and
    ahead of their time than Canon, Nikon, and Pentax. While I understand why the
    old guard doesn’t like EVFs over OVFs, I think younger photographers, who have
    lived their entire lives using heads up displays in video games, will prefer
    all the info that’s available through the EVF. The EVF is what makes Sony’s
    DSLRs (SLTs) ahead of their time and the artist in me love the juxtaposition of
    combining this ultra-modern tech with vintage lenses, but In this case it
    really does make sense.

    When Minolta released the first Maxxum 35mm cameras, they
    were really pushing the limits of technology available at the time, and taking
    a huge gamble at the same time. The new body wasn’t compatible with the old
    MD-mount lenses and many photographers were leery of a computer in their
    camera. Minolta also used plastic in the construction of the cameras
    shamelessly. They were vastly different from anything that came before them and
    they looked the part. They would have flopped had they been sold on looks
    alone, but the revolutionary auto-focus system worked, extremely well. They
    were ahead of their time, much like Sony has been with their electronic
    viewfinders and pellicle mirrors on their single lens translucent mirror
    cameras. I’m kind of sad that the SLT may be on the way out. I just hope that
    they continue to support the A-mount.

  • pkipnis

    I bought one of the first A55 cameras and have been pleased of how it works with one BIG EXCEPTION.. that being, you don’t see the image as it’s captured. Why go to all the trouble of a pellicle mirror and not have continuous viewing????

    The other factor in deciding to convert from my Contax III with all the wonderful Zeiss lenses was that the Sony did offer Zeiss optics. Again in testing them the A mount optics are soft compared to the Contax Zeiss optics. The color saturation is OK but the 16-85 seems soft. I had the chance to try the 24-70 which seemed better, but not Zeiss better. At these prices…….

  • pkipnis

    Oh, I forgot, I also have a NEX 5 with the Sony 18-55 zoom. Nice lens, OK with the saturation and sharpness for the $175 it cost. The 8 mpix in my HTC phone also gives “nice” images. Put the Zeiss lenses on the NEX foundation and you have a real winner, softness aside.

  • JerryKraut

    As long as they will have a viewfinder and not just be glorified I-Phones, bring them on!

  • JerryKraut

    True! Optical viewfinders will be superceded by superhigh resolution electronic ones and mirror shake (the late Fritz Pölking showed that locking up the mirror has the advantage over optical stabilization when a long lens is mounted on a tripod) will be a thing of the past. If Canon and especially Nikon do not shape up quick, they will be missing the boat and Sony may take the lead in the camera market. But Sony does need more affordable top-notch lenses. An f4 500mm for the price of a small family saloon is not an option for most photographers.

  • fersch

    @59d4f038d43ce3f015c0a0b09e071b18:disqus And the sensors made by Sony are superior than Canon. So FF Nikon have better IQ and many other manufacturers in APS-S surpass Canon in IQ too ;)