Continuing to move its expert imaging technologies down from higher-end full-frame cameras to more compact models, Sony announced two new Alpha series APS-C cameras, and two E-Mount lenses this week.

The new Sony Alpha series mirrorless cameras include the Alpha 6600 (model ILCE-6600) and Alpha 6100 (model ILCE-6100), which each offer new advanced features packaged in lightweight, compact APS-C-sized camera bodies. In addition to high-quality still image capture, they both support 4K video recording and include a microphone jack and flip screen to assist in framing and shooting of vlog-style content.

The Sony Alpha 6600 will be available in November at a $1,400 suggested retail price for the body only, or $1,800 for a kit including the camera and a Sony 18-135mm lens. The Alpha 6100 will be available in October at a $750 suggested retail price for the body only; $850 for a kit with the camera and a Sony 16-50mm lens; and $1,100 for the camera, a Sony 16-50mm lens and a 55-210mm lens.

The Alpha 6600 and Alpha 6100 models will record 4K movies in Super 35mm format with full pixel readout without pixel binning, to enable capturing approximately 2.4x the amount of information required for 4K movies, Sony said.

The oversampling produces high-resolution footage in the XAVC S format. The Alpha 6600 adds an Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) picture profile for an instant HDR workflow. Recorded movies played back on an HDR (HLG) compatible TV will appear truer-to-life, with no blocked shadows or blown highlights, and without the need for color grading, Sony said. Those who want to add their own color grading in post-production, will find support for S-Log3 and S-Log2 Gamma profiles.

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Sony said the Alpha 6100 is targeted at users looking for a compact camera capable of capturing both high-quality stills and videos from an interchangeable lens camera. The Alpha 6600 model offers expanded versatility for the needs of “the most demanding photographers and videographers.”

“These new APS-C cameras provide excellent image quality in a compact package, with the ability to take full advantage of Sony’s growing lineup of 54 different E-mount lenses,” stated Neal Manowitz, Sony Electronics deputy president of imaging products and solutions. “We are proud to bring so many of our innovations into our APS-C lineup and to provide creators with several new tools to realize their vision.”

Both the Alpha 6600 and Alpha 6100 include a 24.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS image sensor, Sony’s BIONZ X image processor, and a front-end LSI implemented in Sony’s full-frame cameras. The combination is said to help the cameras produce high-levels of “image quality and performance across all areas of photo and video capture.”

Each camera is capable of a fast autofocus speed of 0.02 seconds, using 425 focal-plane phase-detection autofocus (AF) points covering approximately 84% of the image area and 425 contrast-detection AF points.

Both models also offer “Real-time Tracking,” which utilizes Sony’s latest algorithm with Artificial Intelligence-based object recognition for a high accuracy level, even when using touch panel on the rear screen.

The new cameras also offer “Real-time Eye AF,” Sony’s popular Eye AF technology. This system employs AI-based object recognition to detect and process eye data in real time, resulting in improved accuracy, speed and tracking performance of Eye AF for both humans and animals, Sony said. This gives the photographer the ability to concentrate on framing and composition.

The Alpha 6600 model adds the Real Time Eye AF system for video capture as well as stills. When activated, the eye of a subject is automatically tracked with high precision and reliability, allowing the shooter to focus on the content itself as opposed to what is in focus or not, Sony said. The Alpha 6600 also features a headphone jack to monitor audio.

Other features include the following:

Improved color reproduction; algorithms inherited from full-frame models deliver natural color reproduction, particularly in skin tones

Hi-resolution internal 4K movie recording with full-pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm format with easy smartphone transfers via the Imaging Edge™ Mobile application

Interval shooting for stunning time-lapse videos

180-degree tiltable, 3.0-type 921k-dot (approx.) LCD touch screen

Integrated Microphone input for clear and crisp audio on video recordings.

Additionally, the Alpha 6600 model offers an ISO range of 100-32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400), for excellent low-noise, low-light performance. The camera includes the ability to apply noise reduction and sharpness processing optimally in each area using Area-specific Noise Reduction and Detail Reproduction Technology. Sony said this greatly reduces noise while preserving high resolution.

Other advanced features in the 6600 include a 5-axis in-body image stabilization system providing a 5.0-step shutter speed advantage; industry-leading long battery life with Sony Z Battery, capable of extending power performance for approximately 720 still images using viewfinder and 810 images using the LCD monitor.

At the same time, Sony expanded its range of APS-C-friendly lenses with introductions of the E-mount E 16-55mm F2.8 G and E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS. Sony explained that its “One Mount” solution for both APS-C and full-frame cameras provides creators an extreme amount of versatility for all of their photography and video needs.

The new E 16-55mm F2.8 G APS-C Standard Zoom Lens will be available in October at a $1,400 suggested retail, and the E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS APS-C Super-telephoto Zoom Lens will be available in November for approximately $1,000, Sony said.

By Greg Tarr

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