Sony Hits a Grand Slam, Launches New Mirrorless and SLT Cameras

Sony is serious about this whole “catching up to Canon and Nikon” thing — the company has announced four new large sensor cameras, and each one is a doozy. The cameras, which hit store shelves in a couple of months, include the NEX-7 and NEX-5N mirrorless cameras and the A77 and A65 SLT (AKA translucent mirror) cameras.

The NEX-7 rumor we reported back in July turned out to be true: the camera packs a beastly 24MP DSLR-sized APS-C sensor into a compact body, sports a tilting LCD on the back, is capable of 1080p video, and features a 2.4-million dot OLED viewfinder — the highest resolution ever for a compact. Available for $1,200 starting in November, this may be an attractive option for DSLR shooters willing to trade an optical viewfinder for a more compact body.

Sony also announced the NEX-5N today (not pictured). Replacing the NEX-5, the camera packs a 16MP APS-C sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, 1080p HD video, ISO that goes up to 25,600, and a 3-inch touchscreen. If you’re willing to trade the megapixels and built-in OLED viewfinder for an even smaller size, the NEX-5N’s $600 should be extremely attractive.

Like the NEX-7, the A77 SLT camera was also leaked quite a bit in the days leading up to today’s announcement. The 24MP camera can shoot at a whopping 12fps thanks to the translucent mirror not needing to flip out of the way for each shot, and has the same 2.4 million dot OLED viewfinder as the NEX-7. ISO goes up to 16,000, there’s 19 AF points, and the camera does 1080p video as well. It’ll cost $1,400 starting in October.

Finally, the A65 is Sony’s newest entry-level camera for the DSLR market. Although many sites are calling this Sony’s entry-level “DSLR”, it uses the same translucent mirror technology as the A77, making it an SLT camera that targets DSLR consumers. The 24MP camera has many of the same features as the A77, including 1080p video and a max ISO or 16,000. Tradeoffs include shooting speed (10fps instead of 12), the LCD screen (A65’s only tilts instead of supporting a three-way tilt/swivel), autofocus points (15 instead of 19), and no text LCD screen on top. It’ll be priced at $900 when it lands in October.

Sony is doing a terrific job in offering cameras distinct from what Canon and Nikon offer. The landscape is changing.