Sony on Monday refreshed its Alpha digital cameras for people ready to move from low-cost point-and-click models to a more professional DSLR camera.
Sony introduced the A380, A330, and A320, along with several lenses for the new models. A DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex, camera is favored by professionals because it provides an accurate preview of framing close to the moment of exposure, and because it supports a variety of interchangeable lenses.
Sony's latest models are meant to take the user closer to a pro-level camera, while making the product easy to use. "Our new Alpha cameras, lenses, and accessories make it easier for new users to get the great photos they expect without the steep learning curve that DSLRs have traditionally required," Kristen Elder, senior manager for the Alpha business at Sony, said in a statement.
The A230 and A330 are the low-end and midlevel cameras in the trio, respectively. Both are 10.2-megapixel cameras; the A230 is the lightest of the series at 15.9 ounces. The A380 is a 14.4-megapixel camera.
The A380, which also has a 14.4-megapixel sensor, also has Sony's "quick autofocus technology" that enables the user to frame photos on the camera's LCD screen as well as in the optical viewfinder. The technology avoids the focus delay common in less-expensive cameras.
The three feature 2.7-inch LCD screens and dedicated slots for external storage, including the Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo, and SD/SDHC media. All are sold separately.
The cameras are also the first from Sony to feature a graphical user interface with a built-in on-screen help guide to explain the gadgets' various modes and settings.
The cameras come in packages of one lens or two. The one-lens A380, A330, and A230 cost $850, $650, and $550, respectively. The two-lens package costs $1050, $850, and $750, respectively.
Three lenses are available for the new products: the SAL-1855 standard zoom for $200, the SAL55200 telephoto zoom for $230, and the SAL-50F18 portrait lens for $150. The HVL-F20AM flash costs $130.
Sony has struggled to maintain consumer electronics sales against the economic downturn and less-expensive products from rivals. The company last week reported its first annual loss in 14 years and expected to report a loss for the current fiscal year.
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